Manchester state vs private education (Moor Allerton Prep/MHSG-Manchester High School for Girls Prep Dep)

(52 Posts)
confusedparent2016 Thu 17-Mar-16 14:51:57

Hello, we would like our daughter to have an all-round good education, in a multi-cultural setting, with plenty of opportunities in dance, music, drama, sports and languages from a young age. We want her to become a happy, confident and resilient young lady with many opportunities, and not to be the subject of any bullying.

We are thinking about Manchester High School for Girls for her when she goes to high school which is close to us, or a free Grammar School further away in Trafford.

We are trying to decide if to send her to the local state primary school (currently Outstanding by Oftsted), or straight away in a Prep School (Moor Allerton) or the Prep Department of Manchester High School for Girls, to increase her chance of getting into MHSG or a Grammar School.

Despite liking Moor Allerton Prep School, the closest 2 options would be a mix of the local state school and MHSG: eg state nursery/school till 4, 7 or 11 years old, then MHSG from 4, 7 or 11 respectively. If she stayed at the state primary school till 11, she could also try the entrance exams for the Trafford Grammar Schools.

However we wonder how hard it would be for her to transition, the earlier she moves, the easier it would be we think in terms of settling in and entrance criteria, but of course it would cost more too. Also, we would like her to be in a mixed education setting as long as possible before going for instance to MHSG (I like the school and the opportunities it offers, but worry about bullying/nastiness between girls etc).

1. Have you got experience of moving from state nursery/primary school to MHSG or a Trafford Grammar School, and what are your experiences please?

2. If a child is bright, is it enough to support them with reading and school work, and do the Bond exam papers etc together, in order to be at the same level as children that went to a Prep School? If a child is less bright academically, but more artistic or sporty for instance, would they be better off at an excellent state primary school or at MHSG where they may be helped more, but could also fall behind other girls?

3. However, would it just be easier and less stressful to send her to MHSG at 4 till 18 years for instance? Would she miss out by not having male school friends at such a young age?

4. Does anyone know if MHSG takes a good proportion of children from State education?

Thank you for your help smile

Inkymess Thu 17-Mar-16 23:22:21

I am local to you with older DC in one of the outstanding and amazing local state schools. Certainly some parents use state primary then go private later. Some move to Trafford for grammar schools. Some go private at various stages of 4/7/11. Loads don't bother. Local state high schools are very good. Every extra curricular activity known to child is on offer in the area (school or outside) so state school DC can do a different activity every day and a lot do - sports, drama, music, tutoring, you name it - obv with some parent taxi support. There is no need to pay for private school for that.
All local state schools that I know of, also offer extended hours and wrap round care.
If you are very clear you want MHSG, then you may as well send her to the prep. Or MoorA until 7 then go MHSG or Withington Girls?
Over in the state sector we parents can see why some opt to just pay from age 4 to be sure of a place later..but that is a very personal decision. And financial of course.

Inkymess Thu 17-Mar-16 23:33:03

The nearest 9-10 or so state schools to MA are all brilliant btw. All different but all very good, mixed, multicultural and high expectations: BO, BRd, StC, DCofE, WDCofE, Cav, StP, WH, LB, CP and more

TheMightyMing Thu 17-Mar-16 23:39:23

My son went to AGSB from a Stockport state school. Some of his friends went to Trafford preps, but many didn't. To be honest , if it's the Trafford grammars you are aiming for, then wouldn't you be happy with a good state school plus some tutoring/ familiarisation closer to the time? The preps with high schools have no vested interest in prepping your child for a state grammar, and places like MA are prepping more for private than state grammars.

We've had no problems at all, my sons have a lovely 6 years at school and is in lower 6th now.

Fishlegs Thu 17-Mar-16 23:41:58

Local high schools are very good - do you include CH in that? Only because we're thinking of there vs Trafford grammar schools.

Inkymess Fri 18-Mar-16 07:51:25

CH school and Stockport Grammar both highly rated. There are actually loads of great schools around: so each family has options that suit them. I'd second that the people I know at MA are heading towards Withington girls and MGS mainly. Re Trafford Grammars isn't it easier to get in if closer due to distance criteria once pass entrance exams?

TheMightyMing Fri 18-Mar-16 10:07:00

The boys grammar admit about a third out of their post code area on a score basis. The girls catchment is 8 mile radius but rarely makes it past 5 EXCEPT this year it has admitted exceptionally as far as 11 miles out - this is due to a change in exam format which seems to have real impact on the results. The faith grammars do as a rule admit out to s Manchester though the move to score as the decider out of area as opposed to distance has again changed the dynamic.

Chinesealan Fri 18-Mar-16 10:13:31

Is she exceptionally bright? MHGS and Withington are the top tier. Def do the assessment for their primary. If she passes she'll be likely to pass for their high school.
Alternatively, if she's super bright, state and Bond books is fine.
SGS is everything you're after BTW.

Inkymess Fri 18-Mar-16 22:34:11

How would op know at age 3 though? I have met some amazing 3 yr olds but loads that are massively academic but we're not exceptional at 3

confusedparent2016 Sat 19-Mar-16 02:09:20

Thank you very much everyone for your replies! I think the main issue is that my husband and I have different opinions, I personally think it may be best to send her first to the local outstanding primary nursery/school near us across the road almost, and see how it goes, so she would also make friends in our community, and move her hopefully to MHSG at 4-5 or 7 possibly (although there’s the risk that the longer she stays there, the more she will not want to move as she will have made friends). My husband would prefer her to start straight away at MHSG (2 miles away on a straight line) or Moor Allerton (4 miles on a straight line, and then go to MHSG) to almost guarantee she will have a place at secondary school, and worries that if we wait till she is 7 or 11, that we will miss the opportunity and at 11 it will be too late for her to be on par with prep children. I have told him about things I have read on here and tutoring and bond papers but he’s not convinced.

Our daughter is adopted and we are possibly very/too protective of her and are worried she may struggle when she grows up with identity issues/information about her birth family, and that’s why we want her as well equipped as possible to be happy and resilient, and possibly wish she’ll remain young and innocent as long as possible, whilst focusing on school and lots of activities. We don’t know yet how bright she’ll be, all we can say is that she’s adorable (of course ), very inquisitive, alert and energetic, loves to chat and has a mind of her own at times. We think she’ll be into a lot of things and love sports and music/dancing, and we’d love her to be academic and I would offer all the support I can give her with homework etc, without pushing her too much however (this is why I have not considered WSG as I feel it may be too academic and strict from what I have read, whlst MHSG seems more well-rounded to me).

In regards to the Trafford Grammar Schools we have seen that some would give some priority to adopted children if not in the catchment area, although of course she would need to pass the entrance exams as everyone else. We are approx. 6 to 6.5 miles (on a straight line) from Urmston Grammar School and Sale Grammar School, so we could be just about in their catchment areas at the moment I think. With traffic they would be quite far however, but I am keeping all options open.

We would like to adopt another child in the future and I think we would stretch ourselves too much paying for both children’ private educations from 4 to 18, so at least we could benefit from state primary if she still had the same chances. How much did the tutoring cost for those that have done this with their DC, is it something you would do in the Year 6 and Year 7 or just Year 7?

However… whilst the private schools’ office replied to my emails immediately to go and visit them (of course it is in their interest), which we did, I have still not heard anything back from the primary state school across the road. I’ll give them a call next week and hopefully we won’t be disappointed when we visit. Thank you Inkymess for the good state schools you listed around Didsbury, we live further north and there are not that many excellent state primary schools around us (I can only compare them at the moment with KS2 results, other stats, Ofsted reports and looking at their websites), but as said above from my understanding we can apply to any state primary school in the Manchester City council area due to our daughter being an ex-looked after child, so I could look at the ones you listed too as going to Didsbury is okish with traffic.

I appreciate it is early to choose, but I fear the waiting list for MHSG would be quite long and so we want to make a decision as soon as possible if we need to apply for a place.

Thank you TheMightlyMing for sharing your experience and the advice about state primary with extra tutoring closer to the time, and you are right, I read elsewhere too that the high schools with preps like MHSG don’t really prep them for other schools.

Thank you Chinesealan for mentioning Stockport Grammar School, I have not really looked at it yet to be honest because of the distance (7 miles) and the fact it is not free. You’re right about MHSG Prep, and getting in at Primary to almost guarantee she’ll be able to go to their high school.

Such a hard decision, I keep going forth and back between all the options! Sorry for the very long post and thank you for all the replies!

namechangedtoday15 Sat 19-Mar-16 12:35:57

Tutoring is generally done for Year 5 as children take (state) entrance exams at the very start of Year 6 and the independent tests only a short while later.

Most children have 1 hour per week during term time with a tutor if they're sitting the exams and here it was £37.50 for 1:1 (slightly less if your child was one of 2 children in the same session).

Inkymess Sat 19-Mar-16 12:48:19

You are correct about LAC status in Manchester. You can request whatever state school you think is going to give your child the best opportunity to thrive. I know lots of LAC children and we have many in our school. Pm me if you want as I have decent knowledge of a lot of schools in the area of Dids to Manchester central

MiniMover Sat 19-Mar-16 12:48:30

It's probably too far for you but Cheadle Hulme School offers everything you want. Good academics but their enrichment programme is also fantastic. My boys loved it there. When we lived in the area, very few people in Didsbury actively chose MA prep as it had a poor reputation. Plus the Didsbury state schools are very good. However, if you don't live in Didsbury, you'll struggle to get a place as they're all massively over subscribed. In fact, certainly 4yrs ago, there was uproar that there wasn't enough Didsbury school places for Didsbury children.

Are you committed to single sex? Because both Stockport Grammar and Cheadle Hulme will offer a very rounded co-ed education.

MiniMover Sat 19-Mar-16 12:54:50

Inky, are PLAC given the same benefit in Manchester? Op, if so then please disregard my comment re catchments. I know in our authority in the south, our friends found themselves excluded from that as they adopted their child from birth and outside the Uk. I think the Ch Act specifies children adopted within the UK or Looked after/PLA in the UK system. Just for the op to be aware in case this applies.

Inkymess Sat 19-Mar-16 14:14:02

PLAC definitely. Even if adopted as tiny baby etc. Op would need to check if DC adopted outside UK.

Inkymess Sat 19-Mar-16 14:38:43

Btw there is no longer a school place shortage at all in Didsbury. Cav & Broadoak (both v good) went to 3 form. West Didsbury CofE opened and has 2 form intake. (Not full at the mo). DidsCofE is 1 form but had DC from well outside of Didsbury get in on faith grounds. St Caths is 2 form and has out of parish children who are siblings etc. Beaver Rd is 3 form and the new BRd school will as an extra 2 forms ... The situation 4 years ago was a freaky issue

Twowrongsdontmakearight Sat 19-Mar-16 14:58:54

If you want your DD to have friends in her community then send her to a nearby school for both primary and secondary.

Both of my DC made different friends in secondary school than in primary. In fact both had already moved on by mid year 8. Not sure how far you are from MHSG but if she goes there her friends may well be from a very wide area and it makes things tricky. She may well lose touch with friends in her local community very quickly.

Rather than spend thousands every year on a private education would you consider spending that on a higher mortgage so that your DD can go to a primary and good secondary close to where she lives and be able to walk round to friends' houses when she's older.

Inkymess Sat 19-Mar-16 15:19:39

There are some very good state schools close to MHSG. William Hulme may be closer too and free

MiniMover Sat 19-Mar-16 16:11:18

TwoWrongs, the wide area thing isn't always the case. When we lived in Cheadle Hulme and my older boys went to Cheadle Hulme school, a very large proportion of their friends lived either in CH or along the road in Bramhall. Although I agree that many girls will travel to MHSG but most are Manchester based. If you opt for the Trafford state grammars you're just as likely to have a child from Altrincham friends with a child from Heaton Mersey..

Inkymess Sat 19-Mar-16 16:23:36

I guess OP needs to ask MHSG about where their girls live. I live in Didsbury and see the odd girl in their uniform but not many. They do run school buses - I've seen plenty of them. I guess OP needs to decide how local she wants friends to be. We totally love having all our DC school friends within about 1/2 -1 a mile with the odd exception and the vast majority walk to school. They also have lots of friends from other schools via other out of school activities - so see them around all the time too. I think that creates a lovely sense of belonging to the local area for them.

MiniMover Sat 19-Mar-16 16:33:11

Yes, absolutely. We were about 4min walk to Chs and lots of their classmates could also walk to school. Others got a bus from Bramhall but that was only as far away as one end of Didsbury to the other so still very local. There certainly was buses but there was still lots of very local children. May have changed in 4yrs though. Good to hear the school situation in Didsbury has improved. There was lots of panicked parents the year we left.

vinoandbrie Sat 19-Mar-16 16:49:18

Hi, it sounds like we live very close. My elder girl is in year 1 at MHSG, and we are very pleased with it so far, pastoral and academic. Good luck with your choice!

Twowrongsdontmakearight Sat 19-Mar-16 22:40:43

We're in Hale with DC at AGSB and AGGS. Most of their friends are in Hale/Altrincham/Timperley. All pretty close. There are probably children from further afield but most are local. Misread OPs second post and thought she was 7 miles away!

TheMightyMing Sat 19-Mar-16 23:47:37

In past two months I was dropped my son off to parties in Cheadle, Stretford, Bowdon and Altrincham. He's drinking, I'm driving!

Just a point that if you sent your child to school out of area, get ready for early starts and lots of chauffeuring. It's been for us as he is an only one, but just something to bear in mind.

Poppits Sun 20-Mar-16 15:08:06

Have you had a look at Bridgewater? It might be to far in Worsley, but it is very inclusive and friendly. It's also not quite as expensive at £7500. It goes from 3-18.

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