stay private or move to state - year 1(13 Posts)
I need so e help and perspective on this one...
Ds5 is currently at a private school in reception and we need to decide where to send him next year. We moved to the area and missed decent school places so a relative paid for the first year while we sorted ourselves out...
1. Current private school - class of 9 (usually grows up to 20 by yr3), school of 130 (but part of a larger school inc secondary and nursery). Lovely facilities, pool, forest school, loads of clubs, wrap around care 8-5 included in fees, lovely food, happy family feel to the school, all the staff know him and understand him (he's struggled with family move and bereavement), he's thrived academically, reads every day, goes up a year for maths which is his strength, loves separate art classes and is generally just in a lovely, polite happy school where he has a best friend.
But....rumours a foot about seniors (been significantly on the decline recently) numbers very low and rumours of money problems etc. we think it might close, but not necessarily the prep school. Ds complains he doesn't have many friends and sometimes I think he's a bit under scrutiny in a small group and can't hide anywhere!
2. State school - very large 2 form entry. If he joined year 1 he would be in a class of 28 and there would be 2 year 1 classes. He knows a few children at the school from nursery but not many. Better access for work and I can drop off for breakfast club earlier to get to work but after school care just in a hall rather than clubs he's used to. It's rated good and has put a lot of work in to improve the school from a poor rating a few years ago. Website is really really informative and open. Kids seem happy and engaged and the school is pretty vibrant but just so many kids compared to private. A lot less resources and facilities than private (obviously lol)
He's a very bright child (so school tell us) and we live in a grammar school area so I don't know which would be best for him. Help!
No answers I'm afraid but we have our two at a small independent school and there are pros and cons - small class sizes, lovely atmosphere, everyone knows kids really well. But limited choice of friends and I think sometimes bizarrely over attention from teachers! Go with gut instinct? And kids do adapt if you do decide to move...
A 2 form entry isn't that large, there are 4 form entry schools round here! DD's is 2 form entry and so far (she's year one) it seems absolutely fine, she's loving it, doing well. As your own experience tells you, if there's 28 kids then that's a much bigger pool of potential chums to choose from.
The school itself doesn't feel huge with billions of kids, and I say this as someone who was at smallish private schools all the way from 3-17. None of the state schools we visited (all at least 2 form entry) felt like there were too many children in a class, they were all very well managed.
Is there a space in y1? Move before any announcement as then everyone will be seeking places at short notice. Even closing part of the school will have a knock on effect throughout. He may also find more common ground with other children in a larger class/year.
There's a few spaces for September currently but that is the only school in the local area with free spaces so if we miss out now and the current school shuts or goes downhill too then we will struggle to find another school.
I'm really worried about how it will affect him going from a class of 9 to a class of 28 in a school on 420 - such opposite ends of the spectrum and he has a tendency to lash out when scared or in unfamiliar territory.
I wouldn't want my DC to be in the private school that you describe. The small classes would put me off - that's a very narrow social circle for him. I'd also be concerned about the long term viability of the school.
You mentioned that a family member has paid his fees for this year. Will you or they be able to afford the fees throughout his school years? If there's much of a doubt about this, I'd suggest you swap to state now, while you have the chance of a place at the local school.
My DD is in Reception at a 1-form entry state primary, and personally I'd prefer her to be in a bigger school, to provide more opportunity for making and changing friends. It feels a bit restrictive - I can't imagine what a class of 9 would feel like!
If he's bright and you're in a grammar school area, you'll get an idea as he moves through primary whether his school is challenging him enough to give him a good chance of passing the exams, and with all the money you'll save on his core education, you'll have plenty left for a bit of extra tuition for him to make up for anything the school aren't providing.
(That all makes it sound like I'm recommending the State option - I'm not meaning to!)
Thanks all. I think I'm pretty set on moving to state school. I'm more worried about the impact on ds because he's been through an awful lot so far and the talk of change again has already had him quite upset. But I think it might be for the best in the long run.
I hope he gets the place and settles quickly - best of luck!
I'd move asap, and grab that space.
Current school sounds terrible for friends, and stifling by the time he is older.
Move him, I turned down a place for dc1 at a prep school similarish to yours for reception in the so-called "rough" local primary because there were rumours school was in financial difficulties. Firstly, dc1 thrived at the state primary, secondly the school in question closed a couple of years later and if we'd stuck with it we'd have ended up in a very tricky situation.
The state school you describe really isn't that big and 28 kids is a smaller class than most primaries. Don't think of it in terms of the entire school number of kids. That's not how they experience it. It's all about their class or even who is on their table or in their little group of friends. He should cope fine with the transition, esp still being young and not too used to the prep setting. It'll be more like going from say a small nursery into primary which most kids manage fine. And really you might find it suits him better as he gets older. I'd bag that place now then hopefully you'll find any worries are unfounded and you can relax about his future education.
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