Hi, I'm grappling with whether we are doing our best for our 2 kids. They're both in a state school in Milton Keynes. After visiting 2 different private schools I am blown away by the major differences in state & private schools. What are your thoughts? Can you please share your experiences?
Well yes, private schools (not just those in MK) have more money and more money = more facilities/smaller classes/more resources.
The question is - can you afford private school and do you perceive the better facilities etc as worth the money? Also (MK specifically) bear in mind that there are no private secondary schools in MK itself, so if you want to go private and stay private you will be committing your child to travelling out of town in the future.
The better schools for secondary are the grammar schools in Bucks, Stowe or the independent schools in Bedford. As MK is still a relatively new city, no private secondary has been established there. As far as I know, privately educated pupils at primary level in MK do like to try for the Bucks grammar schools as they are not geared up for CE. There is also Thornton College and Akeley Wood in Bucks.
I don't think facilities are everything unless your child would clearly benefit. What is worth paying for is better music, drama, art and such things as science labs and fantastic sports grounds, swimming pool, inside sports hall etc. Where my DD went to prep school, elsewhere in Bucks, she had all of this plus after school activities included in the price. It also had lots of children gaining academic scholarships to top public schools. So, in many ways an elite prep. I don't think the ones in MK are in this category. I believe Winchester House at Brackley or Swanbourne are superior but it depends why you want an independent school at the primary stage. I think it is wise to think about what type of school you want for senior level and if you need a prep that goes to 13 and does CE, then the MK preps are not the best.