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Would you move your child?

(27 Posts)
Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 19:55:15

Our situation, I will try to be as factual as possible:
- DS1 is 7 (Y2) and in an 'Outstanding', large, village primary school, entered it from the onsite preschool and it was a happy transition
- He's always done very well, exceptionally so at Maths where he has been in a top Y3/4 Maths class since Sept
- Was put on "G&T" list in Y1 for maths, literacy and something else, but have not had any other feedback about this, so I'm not entirely sure what this means
- We are generally very happy with the school, except we feel he's not reaching his potential
- He seems less enthusiastic about school work since being one of the older ones (mixed year groups) complaining about "easy" things
- Shows an aptitude for music
- Loves football, but no real sport at school, just PE twice a week
- He is very happy and settled at school with lots of friends, and it is a massive part of my social structure/life/whatever you call it (SAHM)
- Up the road is an 'Outstanding' prep school, have heard only the highest praise for it. Max 17 per class, lots of sport, 3 music lessons a week, specialist subject teachers from Y3, and all the other things you would expect from a private school.
- A large % go on to the grammar school, which is v selective and where we had in mind for DS1, compared to 3 out of 90 for this years Y6 at his current school
- About a month ago we started talking about the private school again (had considered it at preschool/reception age), and 2 weeks ago, spur of the moment we entered him for an Academic scholarship, on a scholarship test day.
- He was given an Academic scholarship!
- We can afford it (although actually spending the money would hard - we both come from poor backgrounds!)
- The scholarship sort of justifies it in my mind and would make it easier for me to tell people! I do worry about what people are going to think, which is stupid I know.
- I'm genuinely torn (DH isn't - he seems to have decided yes).
- Although he's got loads of friends, he's a really sociable little chap and I really think he would make new ones easily. He would still see all his current friends at Beavers and at football, and we can still have them round, etc
- I really want him to have the best education (and not just academically)

What would you do in this situation?

(Sorry it's long, thank you if you read this far!)

StrawberryMojito Wed 12-Feb-14 19:58:08

What does he want?

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Wed 12-Feb-14 19:58:23

I would put him in the prep school. Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for him. He will soon make new friends.

Shakey1500 Wed 12-Feb-14 20:00:03

In your circumstances I would move him. But only if, as you say, you don't think the transition would be too much of an upheaval with regards to leaving friends etc.

Seems too good an opportunity to miss.

I've also a YR2 "G&T" child and whilst I'm happy with the school at present, I'd move him if all the boxes were ticked like yours. As in, location, scholarship, easy transition etc.

Playdoughcaterpillar Wed 12-Feb-14 20:00:33

I would move him, you'll always be wondering what if otherwise.

ShoeWhore Wed 12-Feb-14 20:01:40

I assume you've had a good look at the prep school? What did you think? Did you see any teaching?

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 12-Feb-14 20:04:04

Move him.

Ragwort Wed 12-Feb-14 20:04:25

I would probably move him - but do you have other children, will they have a similar opportunity to be privately educated?

(PS: we had to move our DS twice during his primary school years due to relocating - not to private schools - he managed the transition well).

ShoeWhore Wed 12-Feb-14 20:04:41

Also have you discussed your concerns with his current school? He's being taught Maths with yr3s/4s so they presumably are trying to stretch him. Just wondering in what way he's not reaching his potential there?

Nice dilemma to have btw smile

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 20:07:39

He is happy & thriving where he is. I can't see the problem. confused

Just what would his "potential" look like? Calculus? Coz he really needs to know that in yr2.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 20:22:19

Wow, I really wasn't sure if anyone would read all that! Thanks.

We went to an Open Day, have spoken to a couple of parents, and I'm going back tomorrow. We saw classes in action and they were VERY different to current school - I help out once a week, so I know firsthand what they're like. That said, it was Y3 classes that I saw. I would like to have a look at the pre-prep (ie. infants) bit tomorrow for a more direct comparison. But I imagine a small (15 I think) Y2 class is going to be v different to a class of 33 mixed Y1/2. When we went to the Open Day my first thought was that DS1 would just <i>thrive<i> - this is what I said to DH and I don't think I've even used that word before, it was the first thing that occurred. He's really enthusiastic about learning, really into his maths, mazes, detailed complicated little things. I loved the special art room with enthusiastic art teacher, the Y5 maths lesson with Head of Maths who has taught there for 30 years (!!) amongst other things.

Have a small DS2 and we could do the same for him, although if this goes well, perhaps we could follow the same path and save some money. He is currently at the same preschool.

strawberry - we don't want to involve him too much in the actual decision as he's just 7 - I really don't feel that it's his decision to make (sorry if that sounds harsh!). I have dropped subtle hints and he said "I wouldn't want to leave my friends", but he had a lovely day at the scholarship thing and talked about playing with other kids (including someone he "knew" as a toddler but didn't remember them). It would be really hard telling him, he really has no idea, but his decision would be based on his friends, not his education and opportunity.

ShoeWhore - no, we haven't and I feel that perhaps we are failing here? It is just really hard - they seem so pushed for time, Head not very approachable. Class teacher mentioned something at the parents evening about her sitting with him, as he is more able and needs to be pushed ahead, for an extra 10 mins a week to help develop his writing skills. To me this just sounded like so little and I'm not sure if it has happened. Yes, they are definitely trying to stretch him by putting him ahead in maths, but if he's on the g&t list for other things... I don't know. I think they do the best they can, tbh. It's the class sizes, specialist teachers and music that appeal at the other place.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 20:27:06

I'm looking at the bigger picture lljkk - like where he's at by the end of primary school, not whether he knows what a certain maths theory is. This decision is surely going to impact on that. There isn't a problem per se, just a decision to make, and its a tricky one for me to make.

Shakey1500 Wed 12-Feb-14 20:30:07

Cake Funnily enough our DS also needs help to develop his writing skills.

I think it sounds a great opportunity.

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 20:32:14

I don't understand "potential". Potential to go to 6th form at the age of 12? What is potential?

Sideways extension is something they can do themselves or parents can do at home, and acceleration is rarely a great idea. So what other potential is there?

Maybe that's what people pay for with private schools, the illusion of potential fulfilled.

TippiShagpile Wed 12-Feb-14 20:35:53

My one caveat would be to check the fees for the prep school (unless your son has a 100% scholarship/bursary) so you dont get any nasty surprises as you go through the school.

Lots of pre preps are reasonably priced (relatively speaking) but the fees go up by a huge amount in Y3 when they enter the prep school. You also need to factor in fee rises of about 3 - 4 % year on year.

Chocolateteabag Wed 12-Feb-14 20:36:58

Do it, you will always think "what if" otherwise.
If he then hates it, you could always pull him out.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 20:49:14

Potential must mean different things to different people, but I would love it if he learnt a language now for example, so that it's easier when he's older.

Tippi, thanks, yes the fees are higher in Y3. And of course the uniform costs.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 20:52:12

yes teabag, I think DH sees it like this - that we could move him back, how easy this would be in reality I don't know. I don't think he'll be unhappy otherwise there would be no point. Haven't told anyone in RL, I just can't imagine what all my friends will say.

Starsandsun Wed 12-Feb-14 20:57:49

There's probably not a right and wrong choice to make. He is happy where he is, school has recognised his talents, and maybe you could use some funds to arrange music lessons, sport classes, cultural experiences.
On the other hand opportunities at a private school seems to be wonderful and will give him lots of experiences too.

If money was no option, I would probably move him, to be honest - otherwise the What ifs would stick in my mind every time I thought he was not be challenged enough (up until year 6!)

exexpat Wed 12-Feb-14 21:05:51

I moved DD from an 'outstanding' state primary with mixed year group classes to a local independent school, at the end of year 2, for very similar reasons, and I would say if you can afford it, go for it.

DD was also on G&T lists, and had enjoyed year 1 when she was in the younger age group but able to work on more advanced stuff with the older children in the class. Then in year 2, when she was the oldest, she seemed to be treading water and not really being challenged by much of what she was doing in school (this would be happening every other year, as they had mixed yr3/4 and yr5/6 classes). I was told at the beginning of the year that she was already exceeding targets for the end of the year, so that was all fine: the implication was that she didn't really need to make any progress because she already ticked all the boxes...

I already had doubts about the school after her older brother's experience in yr6, when it was all about the Sats - revising work from yr4/5 - with nothing for the more able ones to get their teeth into. In general the school seemed much more interested in its Sats performance than in the children actually learning anything.

So DD moved for the beginning of year 3, and has never looked back. She misses her best friend from the last school, though they still see each other out of school; apart from that she is loving the work, the extra sports, all the extra-curricular stuff etc. Her school doesn't offer junior school scholarships, but she is now in year 6 and has just won one for the senior school.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 12-Feb-14 21:17:34

Star, I know where you are coming from as this was our way of thinking to start with, and we try to do this.

Well done for your DD ex!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts - it is really helpful for me.

BooseyAndHawkes Wed 12-Feb-14 21:19:46

Well done to your DS. Move him!

rabbitstew Wed 12-Feb-14 21:37:37

First of all, congratulations to your ds. You must be very proud that he dealt so well with the scholarship test.

A few things worth thinking about, though.

If you're a SAHM, I would have thought it would be pretty easy to arrange musical, sporting and language-learning opportunities outside of school (and/or get music tuition within your child's state school via a peripatetic teacher or the County Music Service if it's any good). If you want it all in one package within one school (even if, in reality, the quality is lower than it would be if you sourced these things individually yourself and you no longer have spare cash to make up for the private school's relative weaknesses), then private school is obviously more what you want.

If it's a prep school, then does it go on to age 13? Or is it up to age 11 only, hence sending a lot of children to the (presumably) state grammar school? Can you afford to remain in the private sector for secondary level, as that's what a prep school is really supposed to be preparing you for?

Tbh, imo, there is nothing a child is expected to learn in primary school that, for a bright child, requires phenomenally good, specialist teaching. Surely, it's either unnecessary or is setting your child up to be bored at state secondary level, because he's learnt a lot of work in, eg, history, or geography, physics, chemistry, etc, that will only be repeated?

Finally, do bear in mind that KS1 and KS2 are very different not only in the private sector but also in the state sector. Do you know what Year 3 is like in your ds's current school? It doesn't seem right to compare year 2 of your state school with year 2 or 3 of the private school - surely better to compare what your child will be moving on to in both instances?

SwayingBranches Wed 12-Feb-14 22:29:48

I moved my ds1 from one state school to an academy which does project based immersive learning. Best thing we ever did. He is absolutely thriving and working up to his potential. He was bored at the other school and it impacted his behaviour and sucked the joy of learning from him. Before that we had home educated and so there was no way that if he was in school I was going to run around and have meeting after meeting to make up for their deficiencies.

In your shoes I would do it.

Laura0806 Thu 13-Feb-14 18:37:08

I actually moved my child from private into state but in your position I would say go for it. I think if you're already having doubts about his state school and hes been offered a scholarship, its a no brainer. i think you may get some 'comments' from your friends/parents at his current school, mainly out of jealousy and you will find out who your real friends are. However, whats more important pleasing them or ensuring your DS gets the best education he can? Let is know what you decided and congrats to your DS

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