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To wonder if I’d be holding my kids back if they went to a primary state school....(54 Posts)
Just needing a bit of reassurance here so bear with me. My kids are very small and I’d always hoped we would get into a decent state school when they reached school age. However I have a relative who has always gone private, her kids are in a very expensive nursery and school. I do feel a sense of envy as she has a lot of family support. Out of noseyness, I checked what was on offer there at the schools and there seemed to be so many activities etc offered, thought at a very high cost. I could probably work and remortgage and pay similar fees but will be a bit of a stretch and more pressure. I’m a single mum who has taken a career break to be with my children, and am lucky I can afford to do this. I guess I worry that by not pushing myself hard, my kids may be at a disadvantage because they wouldn’t then benefit from all these classes etc.
A decent state primary school will be fine. Support at home with reading, writing and numbers is the most important thing at that age.
I agree, the best thing you can do is take time to do reading writing, spellings, maths., reciting times tables etc, and save your pennies for things you can afford as extras - eg trips to theatre, swimming lessons, etc
you realise you can pay for extra activities on top of the state school anyway (which will come in at lower cost than private school fees)? And, depending on the activity, this might mean your DC are able to do it to a higher standard plus have the benefits of mixing with a different group of children to those they see at school every day. Plus, your DC might not be interested in "activities" anyway ...
I think it is beneficial to offer children a variety of activities. It is a social thing to do and can give them a love of a hobby for life. Eg sport, music, dance, drama etc. You will be able to afford to do this without struggling financially if they go to a state school. If you are engaged with your childrens' learning, they will be just as good as those in a private school. They will not be at a disadvantage and do not forget that time with you is invaluable.
Live within your means. You can really stretch yourself to pay the tuition fees but considering you have chosen to stay at home, long hours at work and little time with your children seem to go against what you want.
Don’t forget either that private school fees raise at each key stage. I’ll rather send them to a good state school than having to taje them from private school and childhood friends because the fees became too much.
In EYFS, private schools really have the edge in terms of uniform poshness. And that’s it. Cute blazers and striped shirts instead of sweatshirts and polos. In KS1, the same is true, but private schools tend to offer richer opportunities for art and music - both of which you can make up for with extracurricular activities. At KS2 there starts to be more of a difference: I have dc in both systems and the child at state school did a lot more maths and English, while the private school dc produced more written work, of higher quality in humanities subjects.
However, 11+ admissions to selective schools only test the maths and English, so private school dc are not necessarily at an advantage. Nicer uniform though. Hats, even if that’s your thing.
Thank you all, I really would prefer a decent state school but when I see my relative, I just worry if I’m holding mine back. The only other person I know whose kids were in private, was in huge amounts of debt as a result but she never regretted it.
I work with kids from both sectors - their educational and life outcomes seem to relate to their personality and home support.
Don’t get into the exhausting perfectionist arms race of too many activities - just encourage your child to try lots of things, then they will find their things and prosper. And some kids like to be busy, some need more chill time.
And work on your own comparing - if you are going to think you are getting it wrong whenever anyone with different circumstances makes a different choice to you, your anxiety and self-criticism will undermine your parenting - be confident, brave and authoritative.
Remember that those who pay private school fees are unlikely to say that they think they are not getting money's worth for them!!
my niece and nephew are similar age to my DC and go to a private school, whereas mine go to state school. My observations based on comparing notes of their various schooling (clearly this is just comparing 2 schools, but some things I think are representative) is that the independent school does indeed offer more after school activities (though nephew had no interest in any of them!) and better sports and music provision (though my DC have access music and sport out of school). The class sizes in the independent were (slightly) smaller, but there was much more teaching to a level, as opposed to a range of differentiated teaching. the independent school had a wider range of resources and some of their educational experience was undoubtedly "nicer" than that experienced by my DC.
And DB and SIL had as many niggles about their DC's school as I did about my DC's (in fact some of their things were more than niggles e.g. nephew who was very bright at maths was moved onto Year 2 work in Year 1, but once in Year 2, was just asked to repeat it again!).
Thank you all, esp @brownturkey. I do tend to second guess myself a bit, well a lot!
As someone who has done state/private/state, the educational provision is similar for primary but much less rounded, so you need to provide a lot of the non-academic stuff yourself. It is also increasingly expensive, through both inflation and as they get older so if it’s difficult to afford then don’t even consider it.
Secondary level, even at a Grammar school DS’s school is significantly less good in academic teaching, facilities and non-academic provision than even his small prep school and we made a major mistake sending him there. I’d save up for secondary - that’s where it counts.
at secondary level it may well make a difference. I know several friends with children at selective private secondaries - they get loads of homework and that is what you are paying for - substantial cramming plus teachers who are on it straight away if your child's homework doesn't appear or is substandard, and it absolutely gets results compared to the state system. My DS gets about 3-4 hours homework a week in Y10, the private school counterparts have 12/13 hrs per week. That is the difference. I would save for that while remembering that some children will do well anywhere - a self motivated, intelligent child doesn't need private school, but most kids are not both intelligent and self motivating! If you have the former type, do not bother with the private school.
My dc have been in both state (younger dc) and private (older dc) primaries.
TBH I much preferred the private sector but we now live near a very good state primary so couldn’t justify private school fees. I miss smaller class sizes, more teacher contact and more activities/ opportunities. However the current state school is lovely and certainly not holding dc back academically - they are doing very well and very happy.
Mine will all go to private secondary school though and this is a definite decision despite good local state schools.
You just have to reach your own decision on it. I paid fees and I was back at work full time when they were 2 - 5 weeks old. That paid off big time but not all parents want to do that.
The vast majority of kids don't go to private school. State school is only 'holding them back' if your baseline expectation is that they will Be privileged.
In my experience - the outcome at Secondary doesn't seem much different between young people who went to State or Private - they end up at pretty much the same Universities around here. The difference is some of the Private kids are very Rich - so have better parties, and the State kids tend to be more streetwise. But they also can mix quite a bit.
At Primary the biggest advantage for some private schools was eveything being "on site" so for example you didn't have to transport girls to Ballet lessons, that happened in school. But at other schools you don't even get that.
My dn is the same age as ds and goes to a private prep. SIL and I meet about once a year and she loves telling me about what dn can do and has learnt.
Which seems remarkably similar to what ds has learnt (Y5), but with extra uniforms and more PE coaching - which I could have arranged for ds if he'd have been interested.
It's not just the fees you have to take into consideration. It's the expensive uniform, cost of school lunches (payable in advance, no refunds), extra activities etc etc. Children at private school cost lots of money.
My dd went into a stare school in year four after going to school in Australia where you pay for everything extra. Well, actually you pay fees for government schools too but I digress.
It's so lovely for her to have all of these opportunities that her school dives her for free or for hardly any cost to me at all. If she wants to do something I can say yes straight away. I don't have to worry about the cost.
In two years she's done
Cycling proficiency (or whatever it's called nowadays)
My kid is at private due to the extended hours provision.
It is fine but it follows national curriculum so if you have supportive parents then I don’t think there is a difference.
We don’t do much in the way of extracurricular- there is only 5 days per week. You can do additional bits with tutors, if necessary.
The main advantage if the teacher child ratio but this isn’t going to be important unless you have additional needs (in my opinion).
I'm the only one in my social circle with DC in state school and I feel guilty sometimes. We could afford private school at a stretch but chose not to. We pay for extra curricular activities instead and take them to museums, do work with them at home etc. It's not a decision I'm always comfortable with because I sometimes think private school would have been better. However, the logical side of me knows that I have intelligent children with good home support, and that they will end up doing whatever they are meant to be doing no matter what school they go to. A private school education doesn't mean your child will do "well" (whatever that means). Ultimately I'd rather invest in their future in other ways, and hope I'm doing the right thing!
We are in an area with lots of good/outstanding state primary schools but also a number of private primary schools. Lots of people use them because they “they are better because they are private “ or because they like the smaller classes and extra curricular acitivities.
DD attends a state primary. Her school is at the top of the borough’s medium school sport teams, they have a huge musical Departement in addition to privately paid lessons. They do at least one trip per term in relation to their term topic, they even had normal science, history, French, geography and music lesson despite practicing for SATS.
We pay extra for some sport as DD doesn’t do well on team/ball sport and her favourites are not generally taught on school like theatre production and horse riding.
We go to museums, take her on trips abroad and in the UK, we talk about news at home,
I don’t think there is a difference between a decent state school pupil which parents interested in education and a private school one.
Secondary - the majority In our area are selective, DD, due to ADHD borderline, has no chance in sitting any test. The non selective are good up to GCSE level, 6th form is bad due to lack of subjects, most of them are far behind in local league tables from state secondaries.
If anybody goes private you need to think of why, to keep up with the Joneses? To ensure a good education because state options are rubbish? Because your child is good and a private may stretch it further?
I wouldn’t be happy with 2-3 hours homework each day for my child as some PPs said they know private pupil have. I want my child to also enjoy life, having hobbies outside school like Scouts.
What would happen if your child wouldn’t make the cut at an entrance exam? How would you feel? Will you automatically think your child is on the way to eternal doom?
Don't believe the hype. If it is a good State Primary, try it. You can always move. I sent all my DC's to our local state Primary. The Early Years was brilliant. It got tricky around year 3. My DD1 went all the way through, but I did have to provide extra curricular things outside of school for her. I could afford it because I wan't paying tuition. She's done remarkably well and is on an A* track. My DS2 was bullied at this school and I had to move him in the end in Yr 5. The only school place I could find in our area was at a private school. It was wonderful and more organised with great teachers and fantastic extra curricular and sport. It was shiny and I have no regrets even though it killed me ££. It was the best thing I could have done. He was happy and he did remarkably well (because he was happy) not because the teaching was any better. He's gone back to state for Secondary and is doing great and I have no doubt will be similar to his sister. I had a mum friend tell me when I chose to do state in the beginning for primary that " Your DD is very bright, she'll get left behind if you send her to that school" Total rubbish. No school is perfect. My DS2, after experiencing both state and private, was adamant that he wanted to go back to state school, not because he didn't like his experience at the private school, because he said, "I'm really happy you moved me here, but the kids here have no clue what the real world is like, mum, they're so privileged and sheltered," He missed the diversity of state. There is a lot to be said about that. That's a whole other life lesson that has value.
I think there is so much pressure in this country to send children to private schools. Quite frankly I am totally sick of people looking their noses down on state schools. I don't mean that to anyone here but personally people I have met. My mental health has completely deteriorated due to this very subject because I have been so stressed because of the social pressure these days about 'which school'. You are made to feel like a bad parent if you chose the local, closest state school and do not fake renting a property a drive away at the better one. When I tell friends on the continent how it is here they are in disbelief and I have seriously considered moving abroad for this reason alone because of my personal experience with this. Good luck and the fact that you care enough to question this means your children are already so lucky to have such a mum.