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Trafford Mums - Primary School or those with experience of Local Prep?

(23 Posts)
starfish8 Wed 17-Feb-16 15:30:59

Keen to here the views of Mums in Trafford who have made the decision between local Primary School and a Trafford Prep school (to age 11).

Due to shortly make decision about where we should send our son for primary.

As we know, the primary state provision is very good overall in Trafford, but Prep schools will offer smaller class sizes and my general perception is they will push more academically. Have read a lot about prep schools getting children to a higher standard in Maths/English by 11. That is obviously aside from specifically prepping for state grammars (and independents) down the line.

Other asides are extra curricular activities look better and wrap around care provision vastly better at prep.

I know the alternative is to send to state primary and tutor on the side. I'm hoping tutoring would only come later down the line in juniors, though it sounds like so many children are already having extra tuition for core subjects, even at a very early age.

Lastly, the whole SATS debacle and pressure state teachers are under are hardly something any of us want any of our children subjected to!

Hope to not cause a sensitive debate on the morals of State vs Private, I would just be keen to hear of anyone that practically went through review and selection of a Trafford Primary vs Prep and what decision they made.

Many thanks

Inkymess Wed 17-Feb-16 23:47:59

I'm sure loads of Trafford parents will be along soon - although it's 1/2 term! I'm not Trafford but know loads that are. All are in state but will be tutoring fir grammar by yr 4 or 5. All chose state over prep. They didn't see the point of paying until juniors and for tutoring. Extra curricular stuff varies at each school, but every activity known to child is available to all locally... Sports, drama, scouting etc It's actually really good for DC to do stuff out of school and with different kids. Good luck

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Thu 18-Feb-16 00:14:45

I think I'd go for prep personally - you'd be well prepared for other independent entrance exams too then, in case you decided you wanted one of those over the grammar.

Also, you'd hopefully avoid having to tutor in that case - obviously higher up you'd have past papers for homework etc but you wouldn't have to another set of learning, which should hopefully leave more time for sports/music/drama/scouts.

Inkymess Thu 18-Feb-16 11:13:01

I guess it depends on finance too - if money not an issue then prep easy option

starfish8 Fri 19-Feb-16 16:39:41

We are professionals but by no means rich! We could manage the payments without having to sacrifice anything major like holidays or cars, but £6k per year will add up over 8 years from 3-11.

Inkymess thanks for your thoughts re: extra curricular. You are totally right, every activity can be found locally, and I certainly didn't do anything extra curricular though my school and made extra friendship groups that way.

Inkymess Fri 19-Feb-16 19:44:35

Have you had a good look at your catchment school(s) - do that first too. Is £6k after tax?

Emochild Fri 19-Feb-16 19:50:14

Depends entirely on your catchment primary

I know people go through both state and private but they pretty much all tutor from yr4 if they think they have a chance at getting into grammar -which you can't possibly know at 3

Also the cost of prep will go up -have you accounted for that in your calculations ?

Inkymess Fri 19-Feb-16 19:52:29

There are some good schools in Trafford and some excellent ones ...

starfish8 Fri 19-Feb-16 21:09:28

Yes fees are £6k after tax! And think they go up by 3% per year.

Our catchment primary is one of the better in the area. Ofsted 'Good' excellent SATS results.

Buttwing Fri 19-Feb-16 21:39:53

Hi I'm an Altrincham mum. I have 4dc and my eldest has just sat and passed her entrance exams for all the local grammars. I think it very much depends on which prep and which state school. My daughter goes to the local (faith) primary which is outstanding. We decided not to go with a prep school partly for financial reasons but for other reasons too. There is no denying that they will prepare children better for the entrance exams but I think that most parents still tutor too.
One issue you may have is most preps in the area have long waiting lists.

starfish8 Fri 19-Feb-16 22:02:02

We are in Urmston Buttwing, so Urmston Grammar and Abbotsford.

Inkymess Fri 19-Feb-16 22:02:12

That's a very good point that a lot of the prep school kids are tutored too!! There was a really long thread a while back about the extent of tutoring in Trafford. Nothing is better than visiting the schools and watching and listening as well as feeling the vibes - every school and family is different

Inkymess Fri 19-Feb-16 22:10:38

I'd assumed you were Alty/Hale and the super competitive schools. I don't think Urmston Grammar is as ruthless? I looked at the extra curricular section of Abbotsford - our state school does every single thing they mention as do most state schools near us - incl Outdoor trips, residentials, museum trips, sports, music, drama and wrap round care. On that basis I wouldn't bother with prep.

starfish8 Fri 19-Feb-16 22:43:05

Hi Inkymess

I'm sure UG is not as ruthless but still competitive non the less!

I guess I'm more concerned about the environment and it being academically driven enough if my son is bright.

Inkymess Fri 19-Feb-16 23:19:18

The prep school looks very small - I had a look at the web site and newsletters. It talks about an open morning where they had 12 prospective parents for reception and nursery and that being very promising!?!? That strikes me as a very odd comment. I'd think hard about the up and down sides of tiny schools - loads of threads on here. It looks like there's only 10-15 in a year group?... Or am I wrong ?

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sat 20-Feb-16 00:04:37

Ah, I presumed you were looking at APS/Hale too.

ZenNudist Sat 20-Feb-16 00:26:13

I'm from urmston and I looked at abbotsford but I couldn't see the point of it over my local school which is outstanding anyway. The other schools I put down were 'good' and honestly looked like they would be great too.

I know people who considered abbotsford but chose urmston infants as lots of the children there go on to UG anyway.

Neighbours in my area sent dc to local community school and all went on to stretford or urmston grammar.

I am finding more than enough after school activities at our school and no great desire to overload ds1 with extra curricular in reception. As he goes up the school ther are plenty of sports clubs music drama etc.

You will need to tutor anyway most likely, everyone I know with dc in trafford prep schools does.

The only people I know using independants are in altrincham and then it's more about social standing and just having the money anyway. Seems unnecessary as the state schools there seem great. Everyone well to do.

In urmston you're going to find less well to do people so if it's more about social mix then go for abbotsford.

From my perspective I'd rather save my money for tutoring, extra curricular activities and possibly private secondary. We also have 2 dc and I am glad not to have to pay 2 lots of nursery fees any more so glad I didn't choose fee paying school.

What are your catchment options?

starfish8 Sat 20-Feb-16 08:31:08

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams - No not in Altrincham, in many ways we are lucky not to have the super competitiveness on our doorstep! wink

ZenNudist thanks for your very local knowledge response. Our catchment primary is Woodhouse Primary as we are in Davyhulme. I presume you must be Davyhulme yourself or Flixton?

Neighbours children all go there and speak highly of it. Excellent head and when we looked around we thought DS would be happy there. A bit of a mixed social area, but only as much as other schools in Urmston/Davyhulme I think. Great attitude and morals in the school and they have a huge playing field as well as a large outdoor learning section for EY which looked great.

APS/Hale isn't for us. I wouldn't want my son feeling like the poor kid, we are down to earth people and that's why we like living in Urmston. (No offence intended for anyone who sends there child there but I hope you can understand why I wouldn't want to ship my child to the other side of Trafford which is much posher.)

The more we talk about it, it's likely we'll go state. If he doesn't seem right for Grammar, I do think moving may be on the cards later down the line if Wellacre doesn't improve - though still plenty of time for that.

Itscurtainsforyou Sat 20-Feb-16 08:40:09

I live in Trafford and didn't see the point in paying for private school when the local schools are so good.

starfish8 Sat 20-Feb-16 08:43:53

Inkymess Good to see you doing your research!!! Love it! The class sizes are up to 20, with most nearer 16-18 when we looked around.

Inkymess Sat 20-Feb-16 15:48:48

All the schools owned by the same company have almost identical web sites. We know people with DC at one of the other schools. It is pushier academically; they claim amazing extra curricular but it's not much fancier or more than other state schools - except maybe the ski trips! The DC who go there do tend to have much more homework and can imagine they are tutored hard for selective secondaries as that's what parents expect

ZenNudist Sun 21-Feb-16 09:44:17

I know children doing very well at woodhouse.

You could always look for the outstanding schools in the area and apply, might get lucky. I think the highly rated davyhulme school is a faith school?

We have chosen faith school as we are catholic but not church attending. It's fortunate that the school is excellent.

I think if you're worried about secondary options then you can consider private at 11+ and you will be in a better position to do so if you've not paid for primary. That's certainly my strategy. Once your dc is older there will be bus services to whatever school they attend. It's too far away to worry about right now.

starfish8 Sun 21-Feb-16 10:36:34

Thanks for your note back ZenNudist.

Davyhulme is non faith, only Our Lady's and St Mary's are the faith one near us.

TBH, I don't think I'll rush towards Davyhulme over Woodhouse. Although DH is Outstanding at the moment, the results are better at Woodhouse. Our son is currently at a Good nursery rather than Outstanding, so its as much about the feel of the place as well as the rating.

Your comments have really helped, and I think we'll focus on state options for now and see how we get on.

Cheers again all!

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