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Tell my why you turned down an Outstanding State Primary for Private school

(71 Posts)
AliceAnneB Tue 28-Apr-15 11:37:39

We will most likely be faced with choosing between our local Outstanding primary and Private school next year. I'm wondering if there are others and why they did it.

DizzIzz Tue 28-Apr-15 12:00:56

DD was in a private nursery for 3 days each week and I set my sights on enrolling her in a lovely private school afterwards, but due to what felt like a huge financial burden for say another 14 years I became doubtful.

My DD was offered a place at our first choice local school which was rated outstanding and ranked 6th out of almost 300 schools in the region. So, off she went to the local school joining a class of 36. Unfortunately, her confidence declined over the first few weeks and she would go in to school crying each morning for several months. Approaching Easter, I just knew I had made the wrong choice and contacted the original private school.

DD started the private school the following September and the difference was amazing. She was in a class of 13 and her confidence increased tremendously along with her contentment.

This was many years ago as DD is now at uni. It was the very best decision for us although at times it has been a struggle financially, but so worth it. Despite the fact that the local school was ranked 6th out of almost 300 schools, there really was no comparison.

Obviously this is just our own experience, hope it helps as I can remember so well the turmoil of should I / shouldn't I.

tiggytape Tue 28-Apr-15 12:06:47

I know families who've done it as much for the childcare issue as for the school. It depends how lucky you are with local provision and, since prep school costs similar to private daycare, they see it as a way to maintain easier 8am-6pm care all on one site. Some state schools have excellent wrap around care of course but many have none, or it is all full up or it starts too late or finishes too early to be much help for work.

I also know some people who chose it because grandparents were paying so it wasn't really a hard decision assuming they liked the school and some because their child has additional needs that they felt were best catered for in smaller classes or with more 1:1 support (which again some people are lucky enough to get anyway in state schools).

GooseyLoosey Tue 28-Apr-15 12:07:25

It is all child dependent. Tbh, I would be tempted to try the local state primary unless you think you are unlikely to be able to get in to the private school at a later date. The private schools near us have a much more fluid pupil population and children are used to new children joining all of the time.

Mine started at the lovely local state primary and I moved them in Yrs 3 and 4 because they were each unhappy in different ways.

Dd was in a large (32) mixed age class (in which she was the youngest). She struggled both socially and with the work. However, because she was very quiet and well behaved, she generally sailed under the radar and was making little progress. She now goes to a small all girls school and is doing much better.

Ds by contrast is loud, confident and working several years beyond his peers. He was bored and becoming very lazy. He also struggled with the other kids who no doubt saw him as loud, arrogant and a bit of an odd-ball. He is now in a pretty pushy school which largely suits him and he fits in better with the other kids.

I would have left them at the state school for as long as I thought they were happy and making progress. I just found that in the end, resources were quite stretched and there weren't really any for my kids.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 28-Apr-15 12:26:58

Weigh up everything. In my case there were no local childminders who would do picks from local school, but private school provided 7.30am to 6pm wrap around care in price. Yes there are longer holidays, but these are actually easier to deal with.
I strongly believe early exposure to languages at the time state school offered nothing private school offered good grounding in French, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin by the end of year 6.
For my ExH proper sport was very important, but with us both working full time it would be impossible to get to and from sports clubs out of school.

BarbarianMum Tue 28-Apr-15 12:29:19

Friends of mine did this. Their son went private until Y3 when the school closed, then he went to the local outstanding state primary and is now back in the private system for secondary.

Talking to them about it has been interesting. Friend's dh was privately educated and very much wants that 'culture' for his son. Certainly at primary the way children were taught (read with every day, weekly spelling tests, taught history/geography/science/latin separately from an early age) felt very familiar and 'right' to him. Wheras at the state primary it was all literacy/numeracy/guided reading/topic/pair and share and unfamiliar. So although he was the first to admit that educationally state was as good (at least in their case), it just didn't feel right.

QuintShhhhhh Tue 28-Apr-15 12:31:39

We chose the ofsted outstanding primary, but our oldest son sat the 11+ and is now in a private secondary. We are planning to do the same with our youngest son, now year 5.

Oldest sons take on his education so far is that both places were great for learning but in his words: "There are bullies everywhere, but in private schools, the bullies are posher, and therefore tend to be more popular, so have more impact". In Y8 he now knows who to stay far away from.... wink

threegoingonthirty Tue 28-Apr-15 12:54:52

There's also the secondary question to think of. we are in a secondary black hole and part of the reason for doing private at primary is to avoid the tutoring hell for the 11+.

thankgoditsover Tue 28-Apr-15 13:01:00

Are you there yet threegoingon? I loathed all the 11+ prep we did from a state primary, was grim, but I've since found out that all the children I know at privates/preps also have tutoring/parental angst.

If someone could have guaranteed that private primary would have meant zero angst or effort from me, I might have been more tempted. I'd be interested to know if that is the case in reality.

(Although there was also commute for us to factor in - no privates nearby so however much I hated doing comprehensions with my son for a year, I'd have hated driving/bussing to school for 7 years a whole load more)

QuintShhhhhh Tue 28-Apr-15 13:03:45

Tutoring for 11+ was not really hell though. 1 hour tutoring per week from January Year 6, with a break for all the holidays. A couple of bond papers at home, and focus on the homework.

threegoingonthirty Tue 28-Apr-15 13:05:29

No, I sent my daughter to a school that goes from 4-18. Going through at 11 not guaranteed but almost all do. Completely agree that the angst is the same at private preps!

PerspicaciaTick Tue 28-Apr-15 13:07:11

Tutoring for 11+ was not really hell though. 1 hour tutoring per week from January Year 6, with a break for all the holidays. A couple of bond papers at home, and focus on the homework.

Completely agree.

Strictlyison Tue 28-Apr-15 13:08:36

Outstanding schools change - our local area has five primary schools (two faith schools) and one went from Satisfactory to Outstanding, one went from Good to Requires Improvements, one went from Outstanding to Special Measures.

The goalposts change as well, as to what it takes to be a Good or Outstanding school. For me, there's much more to a school than Ofsted results.

threegoingonthirty Tue 28-Apr-15 13:09:45

Tutoring for 11+ was not really hell though. 1 hour tutoring per week from January Year 6, with a break for all the holidays. A couple of bond papers at home, and focus on the homework.

That can't be right - aren't the exams in January of year 6?

Those who I know are doing it in London are starting from late year 4. Article in this week's Sunday Times suggested that as a start point. Depends of course where you are in the country and what you are tutoring for.

Miggsie Tue 28-Apr-15 13:11:54

We sent DD to the local outstanding primary - for the first 2 years it was great, then we realised she had started correcting her teachers and was bored.
So we moved her out to private for year 3 onward.
Socially the school was lovely, we met some lovely kids and mums but DD outgrew it. We still see many of the people we met there but it wasn't the right school for DD.

I wanted to go private straight off but DH said no, DD should go to a state school to get a wider experience of other children - he thought the private school I'd picked was too narrow and restrictive.

He was right, when we did go private we chose a totally different one to the one I originally picked as DD's "school" character was nascent at 4 but very obvious at 7.

QuintShhhhhh Tue 28-Apr-15 13:12:12

Starting after Christmas Year 5, and the exams were mostly after Christmas Y6.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 28-Apr-15 13:21:02

11+ exams for state grammar schools here are the Sept of Y6 - so yes, sorry should have put Christmas Y5.

thankgoditsover Tue 28-Apr-15 13:29:30

We started the tutoring at end of y4, but to be honest you're right, the tutoring isn't the hellishness as it was just an hour a week, v near, before school so even on that day we didn't leave the house as early as all the people I know schlepping across London to go to the privates. I was eavesdropping when picking him up from one of the exams and a woman was saying that to get to her daughter's prep, they leave the house at 7.30, she's back at 5pm and then has an hour and a half's homework. (My son's day, inc travel and homework, is 8.45 until 3.30…)

It was the emotional toll. Nagging my son to do practice papers, worrying that he'd be rejected - not because I liked the schools that much, but I didn't want to knock his self-esteem. And in a way that would have been worse in a private prep as we'd have been surrounded by others doing it and we probably wouldn't have felt as relaxed about the prospect of the state secondary as a back-up.

Academically it would have made no difference going to a private - he got into two of the three v selective schools we tried, including the one I'd marked out as a favourite from the start.

nerfgunsftw Tue 28-Apr-15 13:35:11

We did it. The secondary school was not very good so she would have to change at 11. Also the private was single sex.

Frikadellen Tue 28-Apr-15 14:03:34

We did for our ds. Our dd2 is dyslexic abd we watched the outstanding infant school make her life unhappy ans her unmotivated. We moved he to a private school in april ds started in same school in September. Dd1 had attended the infant school with no issue and was at this point in the junior near by (also outstanding) intention was to keep dd2 in private system ds ans later dd3 in private for year r 1 and 2 however due to a move we endedup with all 4 in a "good" village primary school. Ds went there from year 1-6 dd2 from year 3-6 ds is now in local grammar school - we did not do a years worth of tutoring he did 2practice bond papers. Dd2 is in local comprehensive doing her GCSE she is predicted Bs and As apart ffrom English where we hope for a c but d is likely. Both of our children recall their private school with fondness and lovely memories. Both loved the good primary school. For us the good school with a 15intake was far better for support and aid both for dd2 special needs w her dyslexia and for ds needing to get additional work so he did not get bored. The outstanding school did not wish to find any additional for dd2.

Dd3 will this September start secondary school. She will be the only of our children to not have experienced a move in primary. For us the good school was outstanding and the outstanding decidedly average.

The private school. Everything you could wish for ina school and we loved it. It was just right for our family.

Flower1984 Tue 28-Apr-15 14:53:49

Yes we turned down an Ofsted Outstanding Primary school and decided to keep our daughter in private.
We turned down the Outstanding Primary school due to the large class sizes, the school was once a small village school therefore there seemed to be a lot of children crammed into small classrooms.
There was one concrete playground for the children to play in.
When we met the head master I asked him how long he had been at the school to which he said 25 years or so. I was very impressed by the head master but I was conscious of the fact he was probably coming up to retirement. This was confirmed by a friend of mine who works as a teacher who said he was going to stay for one more Ofsted inspection the retire up.

Ripeberry Tue 28-Apr-15 14:56:06

Some of us have no choice but to use a state school.

threegoingonthirty Tue 28-Apr-15 15:08:49

Some of us have no choice but to use a state school.

Some can't afford holidays, but holidays are discussed on MN. Some can't afford a nice car but cars are discussed on MN. I'm not sure how that is relevant!

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 28-Apr-15 15:33:44

We made this decision last week. The Ofsted-Outstanding state school was lovely in many ways but it came down to facilities.

The state school is trying to fundraise to build a dedicated music room. The independent school has a music building. The state school has a trolley with laptops on it that goes from classroom to classroom. The independent school has a computing block and teaches programming from Reception onwards. The state school has 30 children to a class and a TA isn't always present. The independent school has 16 children to a class and a full-time TA. The state school is in the city and has one small yard the classes have to take turns with. The independent school has playing fields as far as the eye can see.

I am a forriner as well and we like to try to go to my home country a lot, so longer school holidays, cheaper flights, no hassle taking them out a day early was also a big draw.

They learn foreign languages from Day 1 and Latin from 7, which I wanted (former medievalist!).

Obviously she won't start until September so who knows if it is the right decision. It could well not be. Some stuff you just don't know about until you've already taken the plunge.

The state school was lovely though and I do believe she would have been very happy there if the independent school hadn't been an option.

Mopmay Tue 28-Apr-15 16:12:27

At our large state primary people frequently go private until they can get in! I know 3 families who did it. So much depends on what the state primary is like. We have 3 outstanding and 2 good near us. All very different in a multitude of ways (size, formality, outdoor space, faith, ethnic mix, fsm levels etc )

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