State school vs independent school?(10 Posts)
My dd is in year 1, and my ds is in year 3. They are both attending a local state school, however I have recently been looking into moving them, since I have fallen out of love with the school they are currently in. I have looked at local state schools as well as private schools near us, however I'm not sure what to do. I like the idea of the private school as they have such a wide selection of sports available, as well as an amazing dance and drama section which my dd would love. However, I'm worried that in the future I may not be able to afford the fees. I currently can afford it, it's just the worry for the future.
I also would like to know whether I should put my dc into state or independent, will they get the same education in a state school as an independent, etc?
Is private schools worth it?
Thinking of the fees - you need to assume they will go up by about 5% a year, which with compound increases means that by the time your child leaves they could be nearly double what they are now.
Mine are at private from primary and there's no comparison, but fees are a struggle.
I wouldnt choose private over state purely for the extra curricular unless it's really not available in your local community.
A better way to look at this are asking yourself what are the things that are making you want to leave the current school, and do either the private school or the other state schools address those issues?
e.g. the class sizes are too big, there's not enough differentiation, there's not enough literacy support, or whatever.
My view is that some private schools are better than some state schools, and some state schools are better than sme private schools, and on top of that there's finding the right schools for your children because what suits child A who is competitive ad outgoing might be terrible for Child B who is quieter and struggles academicaly, but is very musical.
My DC are thriving in a state primary. We could afford private, but it's hard to see why we'd do that because they are happy and making good progress - I guess maybe they could be even happier and making even more progress!? Obviously you have some issues with their school so it's reasonable to consider private school as one of the options. But if you have good state schools near you then I'm not sure if private school is worth the money.
You can't compare 'private schools' in general with your current state school. Independent schools vary wildly. Just compare the actual schools you are choosing from and decide which offers your DC the most.
Things to consider:
Which school has better wrap around care/ before after school activities? At DS's prep once they are in Y3 they can have breakfast and tea with the boarders if necessary- so you can book them in between 7am and 7pm. I don't know of any state schools that offer this flexibility.
Are there extra curricular activities built into the core school hours? For example on one day a week DS comes home at 3.45pm having already had a tennis lesson, been to coding club and choir, so then he can just chill out after school. If you do all your extra curriculars 'in the community' remember you will be schlepping around A LOT after school leaving less time for life.
The fees WILL go up. Have you looked into how inclusive the fees are- is lunch extra for example?
Where do you want your DC to go for secondary? Which school will provide better preparation for this? DS is used to a class of 15 and lots of attention. The pace of life at his prep is slower because the days are longer so they play more, do more sport- they also bin the curriculum at the drop of a hat for play rehearsals and things like English Speaking Board. I like this for him, but don't think it would be a particularly good preparation for a state secondary school.
If you were made redundant, would they have to change schools?
If in doubt about being able to afford it, the answer is a resounding no. Not only do fees rise at compounded rates well above inflation, there are big jumps, often as children enter KS2 and certainly to KS3.
If you don't know why you would chose independent over state beyond there being better extra curriculars, you don't have a strong enough reason to opt out of the state option.
As others say, it's not about state v independent, but the state and independent options YOU have in your area and comparing those. If the state is pretty awful AND you can afford it, you consider independent. If the state is good and affordability is potentially an issue, you don't. So look more at costs and rises in fees over time and at different ages and more importantly get to know stuff about the local schools - look at their performance, where children go next etc.
"but the state and independent options YOU have in your area and comparing those"
?? That's what lolly47 says in OP that she's already done.
I think, as affordability might become an issue, and as the amazing dance/drama and the range of sports will be of more benefit to an older child, it might be worth looking at a later entry point.
Later entry point might be the way to go; also consider what the other local options are for things like drama and sport, and whether those would offer more or less flexibility (assuming that you couldn't afford to pay both school fees and non-school run extra-curriculars).
For us, there were excellent opportunities in the local area that were nothing to do with any school, so I don't think dd would have benefited at all from being expected to spend more leisure time on school premises, even if we could have afforded it.
Not paying school trips also ensured that we could afford to do some trips which I think contributed a lot to her education.
But the best part was that we were able to save up which means that we can now (when she is 20) offer to pay for an educational opportunity that is probably crucial to her career path.
It's all individual and we can none of us see the future.
It is really going to depend on the actual schools in your area. There will be good and bad teachers/opportunities in either type.
There seems to be quite a lot of movement between schools in my area in most years (and this includes kids moving between indies because they feel they are being stretched too much/too little). You can always change your mind later (though probably best to not do this just before GCSE's!).
Fees do go up by about 5%, but there are bigger jumps as the children get older (especially moving up to secondary). If you add private music lessons, lunches, outings, residential trips to the fee bill too that is probably another £1-2k. Some school will charge for one to one teaching assistant support (for dyslexia etc) too.
Quite a few schools have generous burseries and scholarships available (but I think a lot of those don't kick in until year 7/9). You would need to ask/look online.
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