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Would you educate a bright child privately?

(43 Posts)
songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 10:17:30

We live in the catchment of a good school.

The school itself is in an affluent area - many of the parents who could afford to educate their kids privately don’t and send their children to the local state primary it really is very good.

2 things have worried me (that I’m aware of)

Firstly serious bullying incidents that went on for over a year concerning 2 children in the same class. It now turns out that the teacher responsible for that class and those children tried to deal with the matter internally within her class. Senior Management have found out after a full academic year and now the Heads are involved as is the school liaison officer. I believe this teacher made a big mistake not going to senior management immediately. My DC wasn’t bullied but was in the same class and saw the bullying which was emotional and physical. It has impacted my DC. Now this bullying is being dealt with - behavioural plans are in place and support for the children and parents.

Secondly and perhaps more minor somehow although my DC is in Year 1 realised what ‘set’ they were in for Maths. My DC is generally bright but struggled with Maths and confidence. We have done some basic number bonds work at home and now DCs confidence in Maths has increased and the school is recognising DC ability. But it’s because we’ve been doing some basic maths work at home.

I guess I’m concerned that we are assisting in the teaching in order for our child’s ability to be recognised. We could afford private school. We have 2 DC but I’m against for various reasons private school. My DH was privately educated.

My DC should be exceeding in all areas at the end of Year 1. But I don’t really want to be (or have the time to be) doing lots of extra work at home. The extras we have done are just simple number bond games etc which have helped.

My thoughts to my DH are that even with private school we would still have to do work at home? We do general Home work now. Maths English Spellings And Reading.

Child is definitely bright and socially mature for age. So gets on well and has made good friends. It would mean doing the 7+ and I’m not keen.

Thoughts please.

Maldives2006 Wed 29-Nov-17 12:11:24

Your paragraph regarding maths doesn’t make sense, is your child in the top set for maths?

Have you spoke to the teacher to ask how your child is finding maths? Also what do you mean by having to assist the teacher in their teaching?

My initial impression is that you have an inflated idea of your child’s current ability.

If the bullying has been addressed and your small child is happy and has friends. I would suggest you wait to see how they develop over primary.

CruCru Wed 29-Nov-17 12:11:53

Hi OP

There are a few separate issues in your post. The first is the bullying - it sounds as though this has put you off the school. Without knowing more about it, it is hard to comment but it sounds as though the school have done something about it (although very late). Would your child have that teacher again?

The second is their maths set and the work that you do at home. My son goes to a pre prep but we still do stuff at home. Not worksheets or anything like that but we practise addition and subtraction in the car and talk about what infinity means etc. We would have done that stuff regardless of what school my son went to.

I do help my son with his prep (we have reading, spellings once a week, the occasional written assignment, a presentation to the class once a term and music practise). There will come a time when I will be able to just ask him to do his prep himself (I hope) but he isn't there yet.

From your post, it sounds as though your child has been moved up a set in Maths as a result of your help at home - is this the case? If your child were to go to a private school, would you be upset if they were not in the top set / table for some subjects?

Finally, what sort of private schools are there near you? Not all private schools are the same - some are far more academic than others. My understanding is that the 7+ prep is not a whole lot of fun but that is from friends', rather than my own, experience. Here is some stuff on the 7+. I'm not sure how helpful it will be.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 29-Nov-17 12:21:39

Private school is not a magic solution. We moved Ds1 at the end of Y2 to a private school who were very keen to talk about how they would challenge him in maths (he is talented at maths). However he found maths very unchallenging there. We ended up moving him back to the local school which we had really missed! The prep school was lovely in lots of ways, and the art and sport were fab, but ultimately we didn’t feel that it was worth the financial commitment; we missed the community feel of our local school and we didn’t feel comfortable in the private sector for ideological reasons. That’s by the by I guess for you, but my point is that a private school will not necessarily challenge your DC more.

We have found that the larger number of children in DS’s year in the state school means that there is a higher number of more able pupils and therefore there is a group of them who get taken out for extra challenges from Y3 and they really push each other on.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 29-Nov-17 12:23:39

Also at private school you have longer hours which mean that you have less time at home for furthering my education. My own belief is that you can never totally rely on an establish to fully educate your child, whether you pay or not - it’s up to the family too.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 29-Nov-17 12:24:09

Not *my education, clearly!

SueSueDonahue Wed 29-Nov-17 12:30:03

It entirely depends on the independent school!

I have used several different independent schools before for my children and they are all different in terms of set up, ethos, hours, staff, atmosphere and home work.

No good asking on here really as they are just so different!

My little one for example goes to an independent school that wouldn't suit the other one at all (and vice versa).

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 29-Nov-17 12:45:02

It sounds like your child is settled at school and doing well.

He witnessed, but wasn't subjected to, bullying.
This is a good opportunity for you to discuss kindness and good behaviour with him and to encourage him not to tolerate bullying and to stand up for others. I hope you did this.

He had some difficulties with maths, which he successfully overcame through his own effort, albeit with your support. That is a great life lesson and both he and you should be proud of yourselves.

It sounds like your DC is encountering normal, age appropriate, challenges and is taking them in his stride.
I would be quietly happy with this, in your place and would be very cautious about moving him elsewhere.

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 14:02:05

Thanks for your help everyone.
@unlimiteddilutingjuice you’re right and put it all into context.

No my child is not in the top set for maths but the teacher informed us that our child most certainly (due to recent testing) has the ability just not usually the confidence but scored really highly in the tests. they’ve placed my DC in the top of current set where they can help more with regard to confidence.

I think I’ll have to do more work at home. Not so much extra but just reinforcing what’s happening at school.

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 14:02:57

My DC did stand up for the bullied child and was commended for this by the teacher who spoke to about what a support my DC had been for the bullied child.

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 14:05:51

@CruCru they are tackling the bullying.

They would not have that Teacher again.

The prep schools in our area are very much ‘hot-houses’ I’m just not sure it’s the right environment.

This is and can be a nurturing school.

I think it’s parental anxiety on my part.

BubblesBuddy Wed 29-Nov-17 14:11:53

My view is to stay where you are. He has friends and is making his way very well as part of the school community.

As said above, prep schools vary a lot. Some are nurturing and don’t push much others very much push for scholarships and kudos. You should choose a prep school if your idea about a senior school depends on it. If you want a top academic selective school next and the prep prepares for that, then it’s worth it. If you are happy with the local comp, then is it worth the money? You have to help your child wherever they are??

AliPfefferman Wed 29-Nov-17 14:28:37

* Also at private school you have longer hours which mean that you have less time at home for furthering my education. *

Where did you get that idea? Our London pre-prep is in session FAR fewer days than the local state schools — probably at least 15 days if not more. School runs from 8:30 am - 3:15 pm, which I assumed was similar to state schools but perhaps not. Most of the independents in our area are similar, in that they have much longer summer and between-term breaks than the state schools.

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 14:33:15

The local comp is excellent.
The grammar schools are very selective.
The preps most definitely hot house to get them into the grammar schools and the 2 local independent schools (which are over subscribed at 7 and 11+)

All the children in the family are being privately educated so I feel anxious on that front.

I know prep isn’t always best.

Also the local comp is very good. Kids from this primary school do get into Grammar and the selective independents.

CappuccinoCake Wed 29-Nov-17 14:36:21

If he's got good ability and near the top of his current set why do you feel you need to do more with him at home? He's only year 1 and not behind so I don't see why you feel it's necessary. What's the shortfall?

It sounds like he's happy, settled, performing well and the teacher has a good overview of how he is doing (including setting off confidence.)

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 14:48:16

@CappuccinoCake because initially my DC wasn’t working to ability therefore by doing some basic Year 1 worksheets at home and playing some number bond games the teacher has recognised that it’s not ability but is confidence. Doing the work at home has increased DC confidence in school.

Codlet Wed 29-Nov-17 15:34:03

I have three DC and two of them are very good at maths. (The other is doing fine but not quite as good.)

They’re all currently in state schools (two in primary and one in secondary). We could afford private, but haven’t felt the need so far, as the state education has been very good. Having said that, we are considering private for DC3 who for a variety of reasons isn’t having such a positive experience as the other two.

So I agree with other posters. It depends on the child and the school!

SueSueDonahue Wed 29-Nov-17 16:27:33

Go see the prep schools first and then decide, which would be my advice for anyone who could afford the choice.

It sounds like your DS is fine where he is, but you're basing it on a presumption that the Preps are "hot houses" based on what? Local rumour and the fact that other parents who can afford them choose not to use them.

It may be you'll end up exactly where you are, but at least you'll be making an informed decision then.

Ttbb Wed 29-Nov-17 16:35:26

Absolutely! Provides that it is a proper private school (although I haven't really seen any rubbishy cheap options in the uk so maybe that's not a concern here). Private schools have far more resources and place a huge emphasis on encouraging all pupils to reach their full potential, even the ones who are ahead. I was a bright pupil back in the day and was bored senseless until being awarded a scholarship at a good school. Ok, I was barely ever in class but I was given so many opportunities to grow intellectually outside of school (workshops, conferences and extension groups at the local university etc). The school also pushed me to address my problem areas and had a great support program for G&T students. You also really shouldn't be heaping the cost burden on the taxpayer if you can afford to educate your children yourself but that's neither here nor there.

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 16:35:40

@SueSueDonahue based on the ex-headteacher of her prep school telling me that. Her granddaughter goes to our school on that basis!

songbird84 Wed 29-Nov-17 16:37:00

@Ttbb we pay plenty of tax to educate our children in the state sector

Mamabear4180 Wed 29-Nov-17 16:37:50

It sounds like you're really unsure and generally happy with the school so I wouldn't make that decision now. It's always good to do a bit extra at home whatever the school is like. They can learn more from you in less time than in a class full of other children and one teacher.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 29-Nov-17 16:39:55

My DC did stand up for the bullied child and was commended for this by the teacher who spoke to about what a support my DC had been for the bullied child.

Good for him! You must be very proud

PhilODox Wed 29-Nov-17 16:41:12

Do you genuinely think that parents of the children in the prep schools do not also have to support their children in their learning, and push them, and teach them things outside school?

SueSueDonahue Wed 29-Nov-17 16:45:03

@songbird84 sorry, I'd take that with even more than a pinch of salt if it's a disgruntled ex head of one!

And if the head has changed (or been asked to leave? You wouldn't find out, they all sign confidentiality clauses and it's very strict!) then the school ethos can easily change very quickly anyway.

I would listen to a bit of local gossip, but I'd still go visit them both as well and I'd even ask direct to the new head what you had heard about the school's reputation.

Then at least you've done all the research.

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