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High-achieving child and schools

(12 Posts)
Naicecuppatea Mon 01-Feb-16 09:54:45

If you had a child (7yo) doing very well academically at a good local state school, would you consider moving them to a private selective school for Y3 (if fees just affordable)? For the extracurricular activities offered such as music, sport, drama, and to miss out on the later stress of the 11+ and school selection (as the school goes up to 6th form). What are the main considerations?

antimatter Mon 01-Feb-16 10:02:11

The main consideration for me would be:
* what are the options for state secondary
* can you afford fees if one of you would be made redundant
* what else can you buy for the family if the fees money will be available for everyone

You can provide excellent music education outside of any school! And kids make friends in orchestras and musical theatre schools.

more money left for half-term trips and skiing!

Naicecuppatea Mon 01-Feb-16 10:05:11

Thank you anti, very valid points. State secondary options are pretty limited.

Seeline Mon 01-Feb-16 10:07:40

I can see many advantages.
But some private primaries can be socially limiting - small class sizes can restrict friendship possibilities, and if all your extra-curricular is also in school, mixing with 'outsiders' becomes more unlikely.
Also make sure that the school does go through to 18 for everyone, some have some 'screening' at 11+.
Also, at this age, it can be hard to tell what would be the right school for your child at 11. They can change quite a lot in those 4 years. So be prepared for needing to change again at that age if 'better fit' schools are required.

Naicecuppatea Mon 01-Feb-16 10:15:32

Thanks Seeline. The school does go through to 18 for everyone who gets in at Y3. Good point about needs perhaps changing at 11.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 01-Feb-16 11:01:27

My youngest is at nursery in the pre-prep dept of a prep school 20 mins away (which we chose as it was a small setting and we really liked the staff who were gentle and "got" preschooler and toddlers). He will join his sister at our very small local state primary in September.

The prep has lovely facilities and grounds, the music is better and there is much more space and a great variety of activities (ponies, mountain biking, rugby, tennis, archery, they have their own pool etc etc etc).

The state primary is a small building - really they need an additional classroom or two, and while there is a playground and a little garden, there is not field after field of space like there is at the prep. Inside space is used to the max. Class sizes are however small because it is a small school (average probably 7/8 in each year - often two year groups are taught together).

The extra curricular stuff is not bad at the state primary, they do a couple of really quite impressive theatre/musical productions each year, and lots of adventure things like camping, building rafts, camping out and making pizzas on a fire, forest schools, swimming every week for the whole school, PE and gym at the local secondary each week, dance and so on. However there are no sports pitches so there is no tennis/rugby/hockey etc. Music is ok - they sing a lot - but there is no orchestra/band and although there are grouped violin and guitar lessons the kids seem to progress quite slowly (whereas at the prep they do concerts when each kid does a solo and they progress much faster with a dedicated music department there).

However the state primary is "our school" - part of our community here. Many walk to school, the kids know all the mums and dads and where all their fellow pupils live. You would never get that feeling with the prep (kids are driven/bussed in from a wide area). I think that is really important - little children love to feel connected at school and ours is like one big family for them. It is also a very kind, small school with practically no bullying, and where older and younger children mix together. The values are strong around kindness, inclusiveness, trying your best and so on. The head is very inspiring and really lives to help our school be even better than it currently is.

I don't think the prep is any better academically. My eldest is well above expectations academically and they differentiate so that they are getting appropriate work, mine is doing Y3/4 work now as a Y2. Bright children are entered for level 5 and 6 SATS. There is also very careful monitoring and intervention for any child who is finding any particular thing tricky.

I don't think its "state v private" - it's more do I prefer THIS PARTICULAR private school over this particular state school? They are all different. The state schools around us are some of them quite different in character to ours!

Naicecuppatea Mon 01-Feb-16 12:11:59

Thank you Bumps. You are very lucky with your state primary, it sounds great. Ours is also very good, but without much in the way of sports at the moment. What you said about being part of the community is so true and counts for a lot. As the private I am considering is a selective school the academic side is very strong and will be much better than the state.

antimatter Mon 01-Feb-16 14:22:12

Your DC is very strong academically. What would you say is their strongest point and what is the weakest one?

I also have very academic kids which both went to a very small private school. I think what they got out of it was due to the Head being an ex Music teacher and school during that time was amazing in stretching kids in that area. Academically that school wasn't great. However that we nurtured enough for them both to pass very selective 11+ and both are doing now very well.

Sports were extensive, I would say my dd took more out of it. My ds is not sporty at all smile

I didn't know what I got them by choosing this school. I was not very knowledgeable about English school system. But I am glad I made this choice!!!!

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 01-Feb-16 14:27:21

My questions would be?
Does every child who enters in year 3 genuinely get to move into the senior section of the school or are some parents advised against entering for the senior school exam.
What does the school really offer within the fees that is different to state primary, in particular what age are subjects taught be specialist teachers.
You say just affordable can you cope with a 5% rise every year in fees as this is very normal.

Naicecuppatea Mon 01-Feb-16 14:29:19

Anti, DC also loves sports and is good at it but doesn't get much opportunity at current school. So perhaps what you would call an all rounder, and very self motivated. It sounds like you did very well despite the school not being so academic, with your children both getting through a very selective 11+. Did you need to get a tutor for this?

antimatter Mon 01-Feb-16 14:37:55

yes, tutor and most important me understanding what it was all about to work out where my kids needed help from me

if your son is sporty he would benefit to be in school which will have 2nd, 3rd and even a 4th team for any sport they put on their brochure!

don't get swayed by funky pictures, look at fixtures and number of kids in the school

if coed - what opportunities girls get (my dd played same sports as boys with them in 1st and 2nd team), it was good for her confidence!

Naicecuppatea Tue 02-Feb-16 11:21:37

Thanks again anti. DC is very sporty so we will have a closer look at sports opportunities.

Lonecat, great questions. Thanks. I absolutely agree, the main question is what the new school offers within the fees over the state primary DC is currently at. Personality wise and fit, I think both are good.

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