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Is private primary school really worth paying for ?

(18 Posts)
littlemissmonkey Tue 17-May-16 21:01:49


I would like to hear people opinions of private primary schooling.

My daughter is actually on 3years at the minute however I am keen to start looking at our options.

We live in the catchment area of a very good state primary school with an outstanding Ofsted. So we are wanting to make a decision between sending her to the local state primary of a private primary school .

Both myself and my husband do not earn a crazy amount of money , however we could afford the fees if we made sacrifices else where in terms of treats and holiday etc.

I personally had a hard time at school and did not enjoy my school time whatsoever and ended up in with a bad group of friends which lead to some pretty terrible life decisions, this is something I am adamant will not happen to my daughter , but can private schooling really prevent this ?

I would love her to thrive academically however for me it is more important she is in a safe nurturing environment around other lovely children.

Any input would greatly appreciated smile


EarthboundMisfit Tue 17-May-16 21:28:39

Private school doesn't prevent social issues in my experience, but depending d on the school I do think the quality of education can be far superior.

Chalk2000 Tue 17-May-16 21:38:22

Private schools are all so different .... I went to a rubbish state school then a private school that didn't suit me at all .
After agonising over the state and private options for our children we opted private and the school is absolutely amazing kids are thriving amazing ethos. It really comes down to where you think your child will be best placed

bojorojo Wed 18-May-16 00:58:48

I would think very carefully about the quality of the private school and whether it represents value for money over the state one. What are you buying that you cannot get in the state system? Having used both, I know there are brilliant state schools that are a lot better than some private schools, except in class size. However very small class is no great advantage if there are hardly any girls in it! Small classes are also of dubious value if the teacher is poor. Does the state school have lots of interesting things for the children to do such as clubs and activities to stretch the children or is it a bit of a SATs factory? On the other hand, private schools tend to test more so are you happy with this?

Lots of state schools have a great ethos and there are some brilliant private schools that have very high standards in academics, sport and the arts and cost a great deal - and that is just the uniform! If you need to make sacrifices, remember that school fee increases tend to outstrip inflation. Can you afford this austerity in your private life and be happy about it? Will your relative shortage of money make your DD stand out from her peers in the private school? Are you happy about that? Would you all have a more fulfilled life if you could have holidays and treats? Learning comes from holidays and experiences with your family too.

What about secondary school? What are your expectations? Are you intending to stay private and would she need to do CE? If not, and you would use a state secondary school that the local state school feeds into, what advantage is there by paying now? If you don't like the secondary school, save up and pay at that stage.

bluecarpet Wed 18-May-16 06:18:50

The main advantage of private primary is that it prepares for the entrance exams to private secondary, or in some cases removes the need for such exams.

amidawish Wed 18-May-16 10:33:05

considering We live in the catchment area of a very good state primary school with an outstanding Ofsted. then no. why would you? private does not necessarily mean better.

caveat - if you have your heart set on a particular secondary (but why would you with a 3 year old?) and the private school is a straight through school avoiding the 11+ then i would be tempted. but only then.

sh77 Wed 18-May-16 13:18:31

Depends why you want private. We wanted small class sizes as DS has Asperger's. Beyond that, it isn't value for money at all at Reception level. I've seen a brilliant state school and am secretly envious of the amazing things they do. He wouldn't have coped there though.

Abraid2 Wed 18-May-16 13:22:48

We didn't bother with private schools until they were 10. Yes, a bit more music and sport would have been nice, but they both found it fairly easy to integrate with those educated privately from reception, and did just as well at GCSE.

Save your money, would be my advice. State primary schools can be fantastic places and attending them can root children in their communities more securely. I actually think they are more likely to be using the latest literacy strategy, etc -- some pre-preps seem a bit fuddy-duddy.

CB2009 Wed 18-May-16 16:43:11

We are moving from state to private at Y3 mostly to avoid the 11+. Our state school is lovely but possibly not enough stretch for our son who is lazy. But if it was not a through to 18 school then we would not be switching. I expect to miss the amazing community which we have been part of for three years and so will our son. But I do not expect him to miss 11+ or KS2 SATS!

Frogusha Wed 18-May-16 16:59:07

My daughter is in the private nursery starting reception there in Sep. I declined an outstanding state primary less than 2 mins walk away (have to travel for almost 20 mins to the prep). Reason: 16 children with 1 teacher and 2 teaching assistants in prep, lovely grass area, with trees, playing courts, playground, bikes for everyone, sports and music teacher since nursery, great ethos. She will be starting Spanish from Reception. Activities are structured in 20 mins slots - e.g. 20 mins drawing, 20 mins talking about something, 20 mins dressing up in fancy dress, 20 mins outside etc. Outstanding primary: 30 children, 1 teacher and 2 classes (nursery and reception) are together - so 60 children and 2 teachers are mixed together all day in a tiny cemented playground or 1 room inside, with no grass blade in sight, with only metal fence separating from the road (car fumes all day long). Learning plan in nursery and reception - free play all day. Nursery is to 4pm (not allowed to take out earlier) and no hot lunch (you have to bring packed)- in the country I'm from that would actually be illegal on many fronts. Also due to work I like to go on holidays when it's more suitable for me which can be 1 week earlier or later than term time - most private schools would have no issue with this.

amidawish Wed 18-May-16 17:16:23

that sounds a hideous state primary frogusha and certainly not the norm ime.

bluecarpet Wed 18-May-16 17:24:17

frogusha most private schools will be unimpressed if you regularlytale term time holiday. Keep doing it and unless the shool is under subscribed you'll be asked to leave.

CruCru Wed 18-May-16 17:38:34

There are a few things to consider:

There will be extras on top of the fees - uniform, school trips etc. Can you afford the fees plus these?

Private school inflation tends to be a bit higher than RPI / CPI - if the fees increase each year by 5%, can you afford it? Similarly, lots of schools' fees have a sliding scale where the fees increase with age.

They have longer school holidays (18 weeks a year - ish - compared with 13 weeks at a state school). Can you afford childcare for those longer holidays?

What secondary schools do they send the kids to? Can you afford their fees (some London day schools charge £20k a year)?

CruCru Wed 18-May-16 17:39:51

dairymilkmonster Wed 18-May-16 21:00:44

We gave our local primary a go ( well, the one we got allocated which wasn't our catchment or any of our choices) but ds1 didnt settle and was unhappy and not learning. moved him after 2 terms to a local prep where he has thrived this past year. He has really been stretched and noticed in smaller classes, curriculum much broader and overall he loves going there.

Cost wise, that article was helpful but it is not quite that expensive all round the country.
Fees approx £9000 reception to £15000 yr 8 here
lunches/snacks £600 a year all the way through
trips so far about £50 but ds only in yr1
uniform - spent about £75 on new stuff and all the rest from school second hand, prob £100 total so far
fees inc care 8am to 4pm, after that is £7.00/hr for aftercare til 6pm.
music lessons are the real nightmare -£24 a lesson!

still can't get over the music lessons....

Good luck with your decision!

CruCru Thu 19-May-16 00:42:39

Yes, schools in central London are very expensive. I'm not sure where the OP is.

smellyboot Thu 19-May-16 08:12:08

In our area it would be a waste of money unless you were adamant that you wanted your child to be pushed to get into a top selective secondary school - also fee paying. We are looks as we have lots of good / outstanding state schools around us that have great extra curricular and wrap round care and holiday clubs etc

Cleo1303 Thu 19-May-16 10:31:44

I do a school run to a private secondary with DD who is in Year 7 and two older children, one a boy who is now in Upper 6th. DD went to a prep, and he went to a really outstanding state primary. He commented one morning on how amazingly self-assured and confident the privately-educated Year 7s were by comparison and that it was really noticeable in that they were much more confident about signing up for the Choir, theatrical productions and other extra-curricular school activities as soon as they arrived at the school whereas the majority of the primary school children take the first year to settle down and get used to a more formal school.

He also said that although he'd enjoyed his state primary he really felt they missed out as far as sport was concerned.

OP asked if private schooling could prevent her daughter having a bad time, and this can't be guaranteed, but any decent private school will deal with incidents of bad behaviour very swiftly. In DD's seven years at her prep, which was a safe nurturing environment, there was only one incident of a child behaving really badly. He swore and kicked a teacher, and he was out the same day. Good private schools won't tolerate behaviour like that because it will upset the other parents - fee-payers!!!

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