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Putney High 4+ - what should I do?

(27 Posts)
safetyzone Mon 16-Mar-15 13:46:34

So my DD has got a place at PHS.

Personally I really like the school having visited it and think the facilities are great, and the teachers and heads all look very impressive. The students I have met have all been really lovely (not just the ones sent to greet us but the ones we walked pass in the playground). I visited our local state primaries, one of them is outstanding rated, and whilst I liked the head, I haven't got that wow feeling (could be the £££ of facilities and staging talking!). And I can relate more to the feel of a private school here than I can a state school based on my own life experience (grew up overseas, so not in the UK for either system).

My family however, don't think I should put the children into private schools at all, until 11+, thinking that it's not worth spending that much money at this level. We might be able to get into the outstanding local primary, although not 100% sure at this point. If going private it will be a bit of a stretch for us financially, but doable. On the other hand though, I feel terrible for turning down this opportunity just because that's really what I would have wanted if money was no object, and I feel it's a good match for DD and it might relieve some stress for the 11+ stage.

Has anyone gone through similar (or parents of PHS girls), that can offer me their thoughts? I know ultimately it's our decision, I just don't know how to gauge the educational aspects of entering private at this stage as opposed to going state and then private at a later stage.

jeanne16 Mon 16-Mar-15 17:35:15

I am a bit confused by this post. Do you have a place at any of the local state primaries? Since state places have been allocated, you should know this by now. If you have a place at one of the 3 outstanding primaries in putney, then it may well be worth taking it and saving the money. However most of the other primaries are not great. Let us know which state primary you mean and then we can comment more meaningfully.

My daughter went to PHS and loved it and did well. However if we had been lucky enough to get a place at one of the good state primaries, I would have taken it.

meditrina Mon 16-Mar-15 17:42:24

Allocation day for primaries is 16 April (it's only secondaries out so far).

The view which counters that of your relatives is a bit Jesuitical 'give me the child until 7 and I will show you the adult'. All stages of education are important, and laying the groundwork in terms of attitude to school and learning do matter. So some would say the prep years are the most important. And of course you have the money now. Who knows what the future will hold?

When does the deposit for PHS become liability for a full terms fees in lieu? Because trying to work out what is the best environment for your DD right now only really works when you have an actual comparison to make.

safetyzone Mon 16-Mar-15 20:10:40

Thanks both for the reply.

I had a look at the contract and term dates... so they need a full term's notice if we are to not take up the place. Their term starts on 15th April... and state primary school decision day is 16th so it sounds like we will have to cough up a term's fee as well.

So the outstanding state primary near us is actually East Sheen Primary. At the moment we're not 100% sure we'll get in, but they have an extra class this year and our neighbour's son got in when there was a bulge class. Everyone I've talked to locally have not a bad thing to say about it, but from a results point of view it seems to have fallen down the rankings a bit last year? We also visited the new free school which I'm pretty sure we'll get in, it seems OK, but it's very new.

Going to PHS does mean a little bit of commute but it's a short train or bus journey away. After school care will be a pain to arrange though.

The main sticking point for me is that I'm from a culture where education is prioritised above most things, and I want to give my children the best. Right now I don't know what that best is...

letsplayscrabble Mon 16-Mar-15 20:24:23

Their term starts on 15th April... and state primary school decision day is 16th

That's not accidental

safetyzone Mon 16-Mar-15 20:28:36

letsplay, yes I gathered that... sad

Xmasmarket Mon 16-Mar-15 20:32:45

We almost put DD in a selective school but decided to send her to the local one instead.

It has been the best decision for her. She has so much confidence from having lots of local friends and being a part of the local community and is doing well academically as well.

We think she'll probably be in state schools until she's 18 now as I can't see a point when she'll be happy to leave her friends. If there is ever an issue with school we'll bring in the tutors. We are lucky that we have decent local schools.

However, the person who will make the biggest difference is you, regardless of where she goes. I wouldn't send my child to any school and think they'll be fine because it's x school and will always monitor her at home.

Good luck with the decision.

anothercantthinkofanothername Mon 16-Mar-15 20:35:50

I'd go for East Sheen Primary if I were you. Had a similar dilemma and went for the state option- very glad I did but probably would have been happy if had gone for PHS as well! I know happy parents and children there and also not so happy ones- same with most schools.

Xmasmarket Mon 16-Mar-15 20:36:10

Also, I do remember chatting to PH mum once and she was delighted about the homework her daughter was getting in year one every night.

That alone put me off that particular school but I could be wrong.

safetyzone Tue 17-Mar-15 10:06:59

Interesting re. homework. On PHS's website they said they don't give homework. On the other hand I've met with parents whose children go to East Sheen at Y1 and they said they have homework quite regularly!

MMmomKK Tue 17-Mar-15 10:34:07

Outstanding primaries are great, but if your plan is to go private at 11+, you need to know what you are getting yourself into.

Not that its impossible to go from state to private at that stage, but it is a very stressful process, and there are no guarantees.

Competition for 11+ places in this area of London is intense and prep schools in the area spend years preparing for these exams. People will tell you - you can save money and hire tutors yourself.

It is true, but you daughter's life would be filled with hours of tutoring and stress - all to try to get her to the same level of preparedness as the kids in private schools. And, many will also point out, that a number of prep school kids have tutoring on top of their school work. Your daughter would have to compete with that.

PH is a very popular school with kids from all the top prep schools in the area - girls from Falkner, Glendower, Bute, Ken Prep, etc. all apply.

A friend just tried that route (state, than private) with her DC and, sadly, failed. I felt so sorry for them. At least, as he is a boy - they can try again at a different point of entry. Girls don't have that luxury.

So, unless you are happy with possibly staying with a state system all the way, I'd think very hard about it.

Xmasmarket Tue 17-Mar-15 10:35:18

That great then. It was at least four years ago I spoke to the mother.

DD's school gives very little which is lucky as I can't stand it!

Lots of state shools give a lot of homework.

anothercantthinkofanothername Tue 17-Mar-15 10:47:06

But equally at DCs state school this year all those who wanted to go private after y6 have got places ( about 20 out of 30). Yes, it was stressful and yes most of them had tutoring in exam technique etc but they all got places at schools that seem right for them at 11 rather than 4 and saved a lot of money in the process. Hard decision - good luck!

sanam2010 Tue 17-Mar-15 14:02:43

One thing to consider financially is that the PHS Junior girls do really well with scholarships for the senior school, they get a lot of the scholarships as the school wants to keep their top performers. Usually, when you look at the list of leavers of outstanding state primaries (Barnes Primary etc.), they are actually not that impressive at all, they may have one getting into really top tier schools but many end up going to second tier schools. Do your research.

safetyzone Tue 17-Mar-15 16:40:50

Thank you all for replies, all food for thought, thank you.

sanam, that is exactly my worry (exit list). East Sheen's list last year in particular was underwhelming, most students went to the local academy, only 3 are going to schools I believe are top tier (Tiffins, LEH, Latymer I think?). Don't know if it's a blip but it's worrying for me. Or is that a good result?

SanityClause Tue 17-Mar-15 16:53:20

Their term starts on 15th April... and state primary school decision day is 16th

That's not accidental

Conspiracy theorists everywhere.... except that most schools - state and private - go back after Easter on the 13th April.

anothercantthinkofanothername Tue 17-Mar-15 17:19:00

OP- I would say part of the change in destinations is because in Richmond in particular the State secondaries are getting more and more popular and families who may have chosen private secondaries in the past are going for state instead.

safetyzone Tue 17-Mar-15 21:55:49

another - that's certainly been something I've been reading, also from ES's head.

sanam2010 Tue 17-Mar-15 22:01:16

barnesprimaryschool.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Secondary-Transfer-2014-2015-Info-for-Parents.pdf

this is an interesting file to look at, it's published by Barnes Primary. About 30-35% of their kids go private. Out of 18 children who went private last year, 3 got into Godolphin & Latymer, 3 to LEH and 2 to the Hampton School. The rest is 2nd tier schools, there is no Colet Court / Westminster / St Paul's / Putney High, zero. Of course, you can also say almost half of those who went private got into very strong schools (although not the most competitive ones of them all), so if your aim is Putney High eventually, you'll probably be fine, but sometimes on mumsnet posters talk as if private school was a waste of money and the outstanding state primaries offered you the same chances at 11+, and that is not true, unfortunately. Putney High at 4+ will make it much easier for you and for your daughter.

But of course it's a financial question, if paying the fees was a struggle and you have to make sacrifices, East Sheen is more than good enough. If East Sheen means you can spend more time with your daughter and work less, then I would still go for the state school. But if you can afford it comfortably and it just means 4* hotel holidays instead of 5* hotels (I hope you know what I mean, hope I don't get flamed for this), then it's probably worth the investment.

saganoren Wed 18-Mar-15 10:29:38

If you initially choose to send your child to - say - Barnes Primary/Sheen rather than a local prep, you are probably less anxious overall about education and less concerned with aiming for a "top" secondary school. You also, very pertinently, may not be able to afford a private secondary, especially a "top" one where the fees are lots more than at the so-called second tier schools.

In any case, I would agree that the reason kids from these local schools are going to the academy, is because the academy is greatly improved and people now want to support it. It's local and free.

OP, your dd will do fine at a local primary, however, if you are worried and you loved PHS and you can afford it, why not go for it?

timeforachangeofusername Wed 18-Mar-15 16:38:11

I haven't read any of the messages apart from your original post but for what it's worth....

My DD got a place at PHS at 4+ and I delightedly accepted it. When I was allocated a place at our local outstanding primary, I immediately turned the place at PHS down. (I was not required to pay a term's fees but I lost my deposit - don't know if the contractual position has changed in the meantime.)

After half a term at the local primary, she wasn't relaxed or happy and neither was I, as deep-down, I knew I had made the wrong decision for my DD. I phoned up PHS and as a place had come free, DD sat the 5+. It was the best move for her - we have been extremely happy with her at PHS ever since.

My guess is your DD will have a great education which ever route you take. For your own piece of mind though, I would just follow your gut instinct.

safetyzone Wed 18-Mar-15 21:06:38

Thank you for more replies!

The main sticking point is of course money and me and H's perception of what we want from the primary stage. H is in the camp of not worth paying for private at this age. Financially it is a stretch - especially at the early years when we have to look at childcare as well. We'll probably have to look at our mortgage to work things out (luckily we have quite a bit of equity on our house). I'm convinced that DD will be better off with PHS, but we've not been able to come to an agreement yet.

Parentingfor2 Sun 26-Apr-15 00:36:13

safetyzone - Please beware that GDST schools (like most private schools) have been hiking their fees every year (way above inflation). Putney High for example has just increased their fees by 5.8% for the coming year despite general inflation running at 0% (and the rate of fee increases have more or less been the same for many years both in the good and poor economic periods). The school does so because it thinks it can get away with it. I have not noticed any real improvement in pupils grades for all the extra money they charge.

Parentingfor2 Sun 26-Apr-15 02:10:15

Sorry, the increase might had been 4.8% (not 5.8%).

safetyzone Fri 15-May-15 12:57:47

Just an update if anyone is interested...

So we got into ES, however I also heard from local mums that the head has just resigned. Considering that she was the thing I liked most about the school, this is a shock. From a practical point of view ES ticks all the boxes (local, free, sibling policy and afterschool club) but I'm still feeling wretched about having to give up PHS, as I still think it's a better school for DD.

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