Private primary school, what's the advantage?

(49 Posts)
jellyspoons Thu 16-Mar-17 12:17:53

I have a 3 year old DD who is due to start reception in Sept 2018. She seems bright and enjoys being read books etc, (like many other kids I know). Nor particularly sporty or musical or other unusual talents. We live 100 yards from our village's (undersubscribed) ofsted outstanding primary school. Nearest private schools are about 25 mins drive away. Friends nearby all really like the local school and her friends from nursery would go there.

I went to state schools throughout my education, but my husband went through the private system (his family sacrificed a lot to pay for this, plus he got scholarships).

We could possibly afford private school fees but it would mean me or my husband working more hours, and less nice holidays. We'd have to start saving now!

Anyhow I can't really see any reason to go private and am reluctant to waste time and energy looking into it, but my husband is keen to look at all options.

For those that have their kids at private school, what are the advantages? What do you like about it? What made you choose the private sector?

Thanks!

halcyondays Thu 16-Mar-17 12:21:25

In your situation I can't see any advantage in going private. Go to the local school and save your money.

jellyspoons Thu 16-Mar-17 12:25:53

Halcyon, I agree with you, but my OH makes the point that we spend hours researching what laptop to buy etc so why wouldn't we spend hours researching schools which are so much more important confused

Ginmummy1 Thu 16-Mar-17 12:27:14

I agree with halcyondays. Start off in state in the knowledge that, if your DD has any issues or the school goes downhill, you will be able to switch her to private.

I understand that private secondary is generally more expensive than primary, so any money you can save by sending her to state school now will be of benefit for secondary (or university).

However, if the private schools are selective or very popular, or secondary is selective, you may need to reconsider!

Ginmummy1 Thu 16-Mar-17 12:31:27

You can supplement state education with lots of wonderful extra-curricular activities, amazing holidays, private tutoring later on if necessary.

You and your OH can spend hours researching schools as well if that would convince him.

If your DD goes to private school, she will get all the benefits but you won't be very involved (as lots of the 'extras' will be at school, and you and your OH will be working long hours and seeing less of DD), and you may not have much spare cash for holidays and family activities. If she goes to state school, you as parents can add lots of value yourselves (the most important being time with her!) AND be able to afford to enjoy luxuries with her.

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 12:31:54

I agree that I see no reason to sent her to private primary in the situation you describe. All three SmallDragons will have done private secondary after state primary and I would not change this if I did it all again. From my vague knowledge of where their friends went, there is nothing to tell the difference between those who went private at primary and those who did not.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 12:32:45

What happens later if you want to do private secondary? Where I am you have to do the 7+ or 11+, both of which are tough without school support. Getting my kids into a school which goes from 4-18 was therefore a priority.

Okite Thu 16-Mar-17 12:39:03

Mine have been to both a state and private primary. Main difference that I can see is that they spend a LOT more time doing sports and arts at the private school, like 6 or 7 hours of sport a week plus termly performances of one sort or another. The classes are small but then they were also small at the state (village) school.
There are more specialist teachers earlier, i.e. Maths, French, science teachers rather than a form teacher teaching everything.
We are very happy with the private school but moved because we didn't have much choice (relocated and local state primary had no room), if we hadn't, we'd have done state primary and private secondary, no question.

Rockinghorsehay Thu 16-Mar-17 12:43:22

My children are at a private school for various reasons but would definitely not send them when there was an outstanding state school in the village and a 25 mile trip to a private school. You're lucky, great to go to a good local school!

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 16-Mar-17 12:47:00

You wouldn't spend hours researching schools, so because unlike laptops, the actual differentiation cannot be identified before you buy. The interactions between teachers and peers and the individual will be the biggest factors in success (if there is something called success in education), none of which can you know beforehand.

So the decision is a much simpler one - and minimising cost (time and inconvenience as well money) is generally the sensible approach as that is all you can control. 50 minutes a day travel would be a huge cost to weigh against the benefits, even if they were known, let alone unknown ones!

On wickerlampshade's point of 7+ or 11+, I'd say a child who struggled in those would be a lot better off with the economic return of 13 years of school fees in their pocket to buy a house than they would with marginal better grades from a school.

Kennington Thu 16-Mar-17 12:53:07

As far as I can gather from my child's private prep the teaching content is the same but the classes are much smaller.
Fees go up each year and it is important to note there are many add-ons, that are not immediately obvious. Uniform is one.
Holidays are longer than in state schools so you will need additional money for holiday childcare.
I chose prep for round the clock childcare and I was twitchy about class sizes and wanted 11+ assistance.

nat73 Thu 16-Mar-17 13:02:58

Our strategy was to go for state primary (school 200m away) and then private 2ndry (60mins via minibus). I would only pay for the primary if:
a) the state primary is rubbish - not true in your case.
b) the private secondary is highly competitive and your child will not get in without 'training'.

In the end due to lack of confidence in our primary but large travel time to decent private alternative we have gone for a half way house which is to remain at the state primary and get a tutor with the plan to switch to private somwehere in years 5-7.

2 hours tutoring a week is cheaper than the bus fair to the school and its 2 hours a week rather than 10hours a week on the bus!

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 13:53:55

"I'd say a child who struggled in those would be a lot better off with the economic return of 13 years of school fees in their pocket to buy a house than they would with marginal better grades from a school."

you think a child from a state school with no preparation will find these exams equally easy compared to one at a private prep/pre-prep where the main focus of the school will have been preparing for them for at least a year before and the school will have had their eyes on the exams since reception? bit tough!

ridinghighinapril Thu 16-Mar-17 14:19:26

On paper, your local school sounds like a winner but both you and your DH should visit it - it could seal the deal one way or another and could save a lot of research time. Whilst opinions of friends are useful, they are obviously in reference to their own children's/personal experience.

Faithless12 Thu 16-Mar-17 14:25:37

It depends on the school and child, a good private school compared to a needs to improve state school. You will do better in the private school. The smaller class sizes are of benefit to most children however, my son has done far better in the bigger class in a very good state school than the tiny classes in an ok private school.
I wouldn't push to go to a private school given your scenario.

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 15:38:43

you think a child from a state school with no preparation will find these exams equally easy compared to one at a private prep/pre-prep where the main focus of the school will have been preparing for them for at least a year before and the school will have had their eyes on the exams since reception? bit tough!

Why do you think there will be no preparation? Mine did 1 hour a week of maths/VR tuition for a year plus some English stuff at home.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 15:55:08

it was in response to the suggestion that children who struggle with the 7 or 11+ aren't suited to private school

that's great that you did preparation at home - but without it most will struggle. many prep and pre-prep schools work a year or so ahead of state. can of course be done and lots do move but it takes a lot of work at home.

Popinpopout Thu 16-Mar-17 16:00:10

25 mins drive is too far away really for a 4 year old. I would start at local outstanding state primary then reassess at 7+ time.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 16:02:17

25 mins drive is too far away really for a 4 year old

not uncommon for private school - I know on MN the groupthink is that everyone must go to a school within walking distance. Most people I know drive 20-30 minutes to school, as did I from the age of 4 - didn't do me any harm!

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 16:08:50

it was in response to the suggestion that children who struggle with the 7 or 11+ aren't suited to private school

If a child needs 5-6 years of private school preparation in order to pass 11+ then no, they probably aren't suited to private secondary.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 16:09:49

If a child needs 5-6 years of private school preparation in order to pass 11+ then no, they probably aren't suited to private secondary.

rubbish

they are competing with other children from that background at increasingly higher ratios

are you suggesting that all children from preps struggle at secondary?

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 16:14:54

that's great that you did preparation at home - but without it most will struggle. many prep and pre-prep schools work a year or so ahead of state. can of course be done and lots do move but it takes a lot of work at home.

It really doesn't take a lot of work at home.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 16:15:46

depends what schools you are applying for and the ratios
the ones round us have 10-15 applicants per place
if it's out of London and only 2-3 per place then clearly not so much work needed

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 16:16:44

are you suggesting that all children from preps struggle at secondary

I suggested nothing of the sort.

SoupDragon Thu 16-Mar-17 16:17:22

I'm talking about a South London borough.

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