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Private school

(35 Posts)
Sugarypie Thu 11-Jan-18 09:40:17

Hi I am sure this question has been asked many times but we are thinking of sending our daughter to private school from primary. Our reasons are small class sizes but I am so debating the state school near us as it’s outstanding and looks really good. We both work fulll time so not much time left in the week to support her through school so I am thinking that private school will be better long term as small class sizes and this private one is a really good one when it comes to education. I am also wondering if she would get lost in a class of 30 as I am hearing from other parents that the case. We can afford the private school as we only have one child but of course we would still have to make some sacrifices which is fine as we have been paying Nursery since she was 1 years old. But there is a little voice in my head that says is it worth paying all this money. I mean I went to state school and I managed to get a degree and a good job. But than in the older days i think the education was a little better than now. Very strict and good state education. So I am swaying towards private for now but is it a good reason to choose private just because of the class size? What do you all think?

BubblesBuddy Thu 11-Jan-18 11:13:26

There is little evidence that class size alone makes much difference in primary education. In fact a very small class limits friendships and learning opportunities. A good class size is 24.

My children were state educated for primary and Private for secondary. If you have an outstanding primary, I would use it. What counts most of all is outstanding teaching and leadership at the school. There is no guarantee a private school does this better than a state school. Poor teaching of a small class, is still poor teaching.

If you want a private school with better sport, art, music and drama and facilities then that is an entirely different matter. It is also a different matter if you wish to prep for a highly selective independent senior school. You then need to consider the pupil destinations of the private school to see if they fit in with your aspirations.

On class size alone it’s a mistake many parents make to think that it is automatically better. It isn’t. I would save my money for senior school.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 11-Jan-18 11:21:13

I choose private primary because it included wrap around care 8-6 in the fees and it offered dance, music, languages, pe etc all from day one on site in the fees.
This meant that despite me working full time DD could do all the activities she wanted.
Would she have done as academically well at a state school yes I am certain she would have done.
But she would not be such a rounded individual as she would have been at the child minder before and after school and would not have tried recorder, clarinet, silk painting, swimming, rounders, gymnastics, rock climbing, Choir, learnt mandarin, French, Italian and Spanish basics. Plus cookery, DT, textiles and done so much drama.
I place a very high value on the opportunity to try things and become a rounded individual and private school ( the one I choose not every private school does) satisfied that.

Sugarypie Thu 11-Jan-18 11:23:07

thanks for the replies. I am thinking about other things like music and sports not just education. I don't have time in the week to take her to things like this.

Pagwatch Thu 11-Jan-18 11:23:12

It depends entirely upon the individual schools so it's impossible to say
If you have visited both schools, got opinions locally and read the reports and can't see much difference then it's probably not worth paying.

BubblesBuddy Thu 11-Jan-18 11:32:21

If you really don’t have the time to engage in family activity or extra clubs, then possibly Private is best for you but don’t do it based on class size. Do it because it gives additional opportunities.

keely79 Thu 11-Jan-18 11:38:46

We went through this and in the end opted for private over our local outstanding state primary. Reasons: (i) nursery headmistress strongly recommended private for the extra flexibility and attention - less chance of getting bored in class; (ii) smaller class sizes - not overly small (22 vs 30 and 2 classes rather than 3 in the state school - so 90 kids in reception!); (iii) extra-curricular opportunities (e.g. language clubs, drama, music, etc); (iv) smooth transition (the private school we sent DD to goes up to 18).

What does your daughter's nursery think?

Sugarypie Thu 11-Jan-18 12:05:20

my daughter actually goes to the nursery attached to the private school so yes it would be a very smooth transition. I would love her to go there but we are also trying for a second baby and if that happens I don't think we can afford it for both. I am not sure even if it's going to happen though with our ages and time has already taken. I am thinking to stop trying anyway, its been stressful thats another story, and this way we would be able to afford it for my daughter. However I am not ready to give up on my dream of having another child still though I need to make a decision as you know April is coming and I have to choose.... so lots to consider. Do you have more than one child? I am assuming it must be expensive to do it for both kids?

KellyMarieTunstall2 Thu 11-Jan-18 12:30:43

I chose private for my DD she's 7 now. She started in the attached nursery, and that's how we became familiar with the school. We looked at state schools, but decided on the school based on the leadership, teachers, the nurturing environment, and the relationship we'd built with the school through nursery. There are a lot of extra curricular activities, music and sport etc.

keely79 Thu 11-Jan-18 12:41:19

I have two children - and yes it is expensive for both (luckily we both work and earn decent salaries) - but both children are very happy at their schools which makes the financial sacrifice worth it. They're very different kids but for different reasons they both thrive with the extra time and attention.

BubblesBuddy Thu 11-Jan-18 14:52:28

Sugarypie: If you cannot easily afford it for one, then you will struggle for two. Fees go up at least 3% every year and you really do need two decent incomes to afford private for two.

I really can assure you that state schools are also nurturing (why wouldnt they be?) and private schools can be significantly more focussed on tests and high achievement. Be careful about what you really want.

It is also rather odd (and lacking insight) for a nursery to suggest a child will be bored in a state school! Even state school pupils go to the top universities! Of course they are not bored (unless they are genious level of course then that's a whole different board game) and the curriculum can be exciting in a state school as well as in a private school. Sometimes it is way more creative. Sometimes the teachers are better because their professional devlepment is more central to the school as is their annual performance review which some private schools still do not engage with.

If you want, and get, a very varied set of extra activities, art, sport, music and drama taught by specialist teachers, then private can be excellent. If it is just standard class teachers who only manage because it is a small class of hand-picked children, then I would evaluate what you are paying for, especially if funds are tight.

Blankscreen Thu 11-Jan-18 23:36:28

Another way to look at it is of you go private you will free up the outstanding state place for a child who's parents possibly can't afford the private option.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Fri 12-Jan-18 06:46:51

The only difference may be class sizes in the pre-prep, but I think if you look further up there will be more differences.

What is the structure like from Y3 at the school you are looking at? My DS (Y3) now has all his lessons taught by specialist teachers, the kids move round to the teachers and Science is in the labs, DT is in the workshop, ICT in the tech centre, French in a language suite, Art in a beautiful bespoke studio, Drama in the performance space and they use the theatre belonging to the senior school for shows. He also has about 10hrs of sport a week across PE, sports coaching swimming lesson/ squad training and matches (at least one match every week, match teas are a big thing). It is really pretty different to KS2 in the school I teach in.

As you both work full time the wrap around could also be a big deal. My DS can come home every day at our choice of 4.20pm, 5pm, 6pm or 7pm. If he were to come home at 7pm he would have had dinner. He could also book in to sleep over on an ad hoc basis. He hasn't done either of the latter two things yet, but I'm sure he will when he is older. Coming home late is not like being 'left' at school- because it's a boarding school lots of kids are still there, the staff are still there and the school is still busy and buzzing well into the evening. Makes working FT so much easier. He is in school on Saturdays though and has very long holidays, which might be less appealing to you.

Anyway, I recommend you make sure you look further up the school and see whether the set-up will work for you/ your DD.

Sugarypie Fri 12-Jan-18 07:57:44

Thanks again for replies. I am more towards the private option because of al these things you mentioned. We can afford it for one child but not for two so I have to decide by April whether we will still try for a second or not. I am not getting pregnant and at my age closer to 40 not looking likely sad anyway so I might just accept it and send her to private at least I have one child who I can give the best I can

NinaNoSleep Sat 13-Jan-18 02:00:30

Remember to ask about teaching qualifications too. in private schools (and academies) teachers don't need to be qualified to teach. That would make me reconsider my options.

trinity0097 Sat 13-Jan-18 19:10:22

Where I teach one of the things we have is daily sport with a proper sports teacher every day, from reception. Things like that you just can’t get in state schools.

BertrandRussell Sat 13-Jan-18 19:13:47

Sibling over private school every single time

AveEldon Sat 13-Jan-18 19:17:29

I agree with BertrandRussell - Sibling over private school every single time

Even with one child - if money is tight, save and consider private secondary instead

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 13-Jan-18 19:19:22

Quite an insensitive thing to say to someone who is struggling to have another child. hmm

CappuccinoCake Sat 13-Jan-18 19:20:53

It isn't the same but we ve had sport every day in junior school at optional after school clubs, school orchestra, music lessons etc.

It's also freed up money so theoretically we could pursue sport at a high level at a local club/additional holidays etc.

However we ve got 2 children and not as high income as anticipated. Ok don't doubt a private school experience is lovely but I'd still choose a sibling and look for a suitable school unless I cou ld afford the fees with ease. You can buy trips and experiences and other cultural capital

Unless you are working long hours and truly couldn't take then to a local sports club/swimmimb/whatever it is they like.

BertrandRussell Sat 13-Jan-18 19:25:16

"Quite an insensitive thing to say to someone who is struggling to have another child. "
The OP was pondering whether to stop ttc so she could send her first child to private school. I think that would be a huge mistake.

Yogagirl123 Sat 13-Jan-18 19:29:49

Your choice OP. My DS’s went to an outstanding secondary school, one now left and at college, my younger son is still there. It is a brilliant school, I would question whether a private school could provide a better education. Every child is different I am sure you will make the right choice for you DD. Good luck.

Sugarypie Sat 13-Jan-18 21:09:51

I wish I could have another child and my choice would be another child over private school for my daughter but it’s just not looking likely and now my husband wants to stop tryingsad

Yogagirl123 Sat 13-Jan-18 21:36:50

So sorry OP, just to make it clear I meant a choice between a private or state school, I thought that was the question? Wishing you all the best and once again sorry if my post caused confusion or hurt you, never was that my intention.

millimat Sat 13-Jan-18 21:53:09

Op have you visited both schools? Gut instinct says such a lot.
I'm a teacher in an outstanding state primary school but I would choose a private school over it for my child if I could afford it.
Ofsted ratings don't always say it as it really is...

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