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Advantages of state over private?

(157 Posts)
CakeLoving Thu 19-Oct-17 10:55:00

Our girl starts reception next year. Her grandparents have offered to help with the cost of private school, and there are a couple of pretty good prep/4-16 private schools close by.

But part of me thinks (having seen step siblings go through the state school system- I went private) that there are distinct advantages to going to the local community school.

I'm interested in what others feel these are. We are in London and some of the threads on here make me feel like an awful mother for even considering state...which seems completely skewed!

meditrina Thu 19-Oct-17 11:00:26

It depends entirely on the individual schools.

Though tbh, pre-preps in London are very good. As are many state schools.

I'd see this offer as a way of expanding the possibilities for your DC, and look around all the schools that you think you might stand a chance if setting an offer from and which are on a bearable school run.

If you find out that you life in an area which has been a bit of a black hole for reception admissions, or only one state school is a realistic possibility and you hate it, then knowing you have other choices will be a good thing.

OTOH, if you live right by a lovely state school that you think would be a good match for your DC then keeping the offer of school fees in your back pocket for a later education stage might be the right thing to do.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 19-Oct-17 11:02:49

The only advantage you can know is thousands of pounds a term available for other things (even if that is just invested such that the child has hundreds of thousands to do what they want with at 18)

The other advantages really depend on the actual school experiences, that you cannot know until you go, as most of the impact is from the kids in a particular year group. You can just guess, the main thing private gives in this respect is more confidence in knowing the type of kids in the peer group. There's no guarantee that you'll actually enjoy your local community, or have people who get involved with it etc.

Bitlost Thu 19-Oct-17 11:03:05

From from what you say, you need to go private. I don't think you'd cope with state.

Hoppinggreen Thu 19-Oct-17 11:05:15

It's free, that's about it really!!!
Joking aside Private vs State is an argument that's been done to death, it should be which school ( that I can get my child into) will suit them best as an individual?
And I wouldn't do it if I was relying on someone else to pay the fees, unless they gave me them as a lump sum upfront.

whitehorsesdonotlie Thu 19-Oct-17 11:06:03

Advantage of state: you meet a wider variety of people from all walks of life
Disadvamntage of state: you meet a wider variety of people from all walks of life

grin

Seriously, some private schools can be very snobby and the children have a very materialistic attitude. Maybe this just kicks in when they're older, though. Smaller class sizes are generally an advantage of private schools.

You need to visit all the local schools to you and see how they feel, what the dc there are like. Then make a decision.

MinesaLattecino Thu 19-Oct-17 11:07:51

Quite rural for us, but we're in a slightly similar position. Advantages for us are:
Much shorter school run, which allows me to fit in a full working day. We will hold off on private until they can catch a bus at least some days a week.
Bigger friendship pool and dual class intake which was important for us (twins).
Slightly more diverse intake (still quite Naice MC school). Proper community feel, something DH and I both feel we missed out on at times as children.
Advantages of an overall bigger school, lots of school-wide special days, whole year trips etc. It feels like our school does a lot on that front.
Shorter school holidays. Currently that mostly helps us with work, and i'm fairly relaxed about the odd week out during term time if needs be.
Cash. Massive savings. Plan is to bolster our savings, get house fixed up, push our income up go skiing while we still have the readies then accept 8-9 years of financial pain later on.

MissSueFlay Thu 19-Oct-17 11:18:18

I went to private schools from 4-18, my DD is currently attending a state primary. It's an outstanding C of E school, so there are admissions criteria in the faith respect, and it doesn't have a catchment so draws children from a wide area.

I think DD will benefit from being comfortable from a young age with a much wider variety of peers than I was - she is in a mixed class of nearly 30, being in London they come from really diverse backgrounds, countries etc. I was in a class of 16, all very like me! DD's school is quite big, so their facilities are pretty good, much better than my little prep which was essentially a large Victorian terrace house!

I have signed her up for quite a few extra-curricular activities to broaden her education generally, stuff that would possibly be offered as a matter of course at a prep.

My sister is educating her two children privately - different area, not as much choice - and, while they are both doing amazingly well academically etc., I do think my DD is more confident with life generally, like holding her own in a large group.

I would like her to go to a girls school for secondary, and will be looking at both state/church and private schools for that.

CakeLoving Thu 19-Oct-17 11:21:04

Haha @Bitlost why do you think that? Genuinely interested as it feels a bit alien.

My cousins kids go to the state one ours would, and she's extremely happy. I've been to some social events there and the PTA is exceptional.

My worry is that I'll put the kids at a disadvantage when I could have offered them private. But that not letting them have the broader, more "normal" experience of our community school is also disadvantaging them.

You're right- everything will be clearer once we have a chance to see all potential schools. Am hoping instinct will kick in!

CakeLoving Thu 19-Oct-17 11:24:07

Re taking the money, I don't have any worries about that. The in laws are very much people who can afford it and will make sure they put aside enough to cover as a trust or similar. We are very lucky, but I don't want to blindly go private because of some notion it must be best.

VeryPunny Thu 19-Oct-17 11:29:25

To be honest if grandparents were prepared to commit to the kind of money needed for private schooling from the age of 4, I would rather they parked it aside to use as a house deposit (or, given how much it costs, to buy a flat outright!) when the grand child is about 25. You are buying several things when you send your kids private, but a better standard of teaching and education is not necessarily one of them.

Bitlost Thu 19-Oct-17 12:13:20

"Feeling like an awful mother considering private"

Get a grip.

Bitlost Thu 19-Oct-17 12:15:10

For considering state (not private)

2014newme Thu 19-Oct-17 12:16:09

Advantage for me was saving £300k.

Kokeshi123 Thu 19-Oct-17 12:16:12

Her grandparents have offered to help with the cost of private school,

Very very vague.

How much? Are they prepared to commit a stated amount per year? A lump sum? Designated bank account?

Because the number of grandparents who say they will "help" with private school fees... and then realize with a shock that the cost of private schooling is now far far more expensive in real terms that what it was in "their day"... and then the kid gets bigger, the fees go up, more expenses are added on, fees continue to rise over inflation... "Well, we can't keep helping more and more. You'll have to cover more of this yourself." Then a second child is due to start school... "We can't really do this for both, sorry"....

You will need to look at the school fees for all years (4-18), factor in above-inflation increases, plus additional expenses like additional childcare, and double it if you plan a second child. Show it to them and then get specific answers on what they are prepared to cover. Ideally, they should put a large lump sum in a designated bank account.

CakeLoving Thu 19-Oct-17 12:16:19

I meant that some threads on here (the ones about crazy competitive north London private school entrance) make me feel like anything but private school is seen as somehow sub-par/a bad education. When I know that is not the case, and to think that is ridiculous. I think maybe you misunderstood what I was saying?

But yes, I probably do need to get a grip regardless. grin

Scabbersley Thu 19-Oct-17 12:21:39

Shorter day
Free
Lovely local friends
Young, enthusiastic teachers

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 19-Oct-17 12:31:57

not restricting you family size based on not being able to afford private for x number of children.

Seeline Thu 19-Oct-17 12:40:52

Much will depend on the actual schools involved, and which 'feel' right for your child.
I think state primaries are probably as good as if not private primaries - when they are a good school.
Advantages - generally pupils come from a smaller catchment so easier to maintain friendships outside school. Larger classes so a larger pool of potential friends, and possibility to move round friendship groups. More money to spend on extra curricular/family outings/trips to supplement education. Shorter days.

Things I would be careful of with a 4 -18 school - whilst it may be a good fit now for your child, will it still be at 7, 11, 16? If your child stays with the same (small) group of people for the whole of their education is that necessarily a good/bad thing? Also what guarantees does the school give on allowing children to continue through the whole school - eg if less academic, will they be pushed out at 11, leaving you with trying to find a new school.

hiyasminitsme Thu 19-Oct-17 12:49:38

kokeshi makes a good point

show them the fees
factor in 5% fee rise every year compound x 13 years and show them what it will be at the end
make quite sure they aren't going to pull out

boylovesmeerkats Thu 19-Oct-17 14:46:40

If we lived in a less expensive house we could probably afford private but personally wouldn't. Both me and my husband went to very good secondary schools, the best in our cities really. Our primary schools were terrible which we both feel gave us a bit of life experience, what we lacked academically (and we caught up!)

Although private class sizes are small that isn't always good. Less choice of friends and less diversity as people say. The most well off children aren't always the most intelligent (even if they have passed an entrance exam) and it's more about value for money. They're likely to have kids come and go, sometimes for reasons that their behaviour wasn't good in a state school, changing classes is more common in private schools. Uniform is more expensive, my friends have to pay £100 for each blazer for their 4 year olds. The teachers pay and conditions are usually worse than a state school and they don't even need to be qualified. The curriculum can be different, inspections are different and the provision of education seems to be more about the market than the individual needs. The idea is that no-one would pay to go to a rubbish school would they? Hmm.. They also have longer holidays so more cost for holiday clubs. And there's the snobbery factor.

I have a friend who works at a very prestigious private school where children board. Some of them are so screwed up. They have a psychologist on staff and there have been scandals. They have the funds to brush over them though. The parents pay for the advantage that the children are at school from 8.30am through to 6.30pm, weekends and all the rest. If any state school child did that much time at school they'd have an advantage academically.

Obviously your chances of Oxbridge and many professions are improved by a private education, but that might not be what you see as the most important thing for your children's lives. Some do!

Eolian Thu 19-Oct-17 14:50:50

I went to state (grammar) myself, have been a teacher for over 20 years (mostly state, but one private for years) and have dc in state schools.

I wish I could say that any of the state schools I've been to or taught in could compare with the private girls' school I taught in. But I can't. The private school was better in every conceivable way I can think of. That doesn't mean all private schools are though!

PhilODox Thu 19-Oct-17 14:52:38

Depends entirely on the individual schools. Though class size in state will generally be much larger.
Do take kokeshi's sterling advice!
Many people whose children are in their thirties haven't a scooby how much school fees actually are! (And then add uniform, after-school care, trips, music lessons etc).

EmpressoftheMundane Thu 19-Oct-17 14:56:02

The advantage of state primary is making neighbourhood friends and you will meet lots of local parents and create a network.

My children are now at private secondary, but the mums I bonded with at the school gates are still my friends. They are a tremendous support system to me and my children now that I am back to full time work and the children are older and out and about more.

Eolian Thu 19-Oct-17 14:57:25

The private school had: better facilities, much much better staff continuity, no behaviour problems, better range of subjects and extra-curricular activities, much better relationships between pupils and between staff and pupils, bullying was very rare, lovely atmosphere and ethos - pupils genuinely liked the school, supportive parents, lovely grounds, enthusiastic and non-burnt-out teachers, great pastoral care, astonishing exam results. Basically I can't think of a single thing about it that wasn't good. It makes me sad when I remember how it was there and compare it to when my dd comes home and tells me about the behaviour in her (comparatively very good) comprehensive and how distracting it is.

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