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can state primary education plus tutoring = equivalent of private?

(529 Posts)
wheelsonthebus Tue 11-Aug-09 14:16:10

we planned to privately educate dc, but dh lost his job and now dc is going to a state primary - downgraded from good to satisfactory by ofsted sad. if we have dc tutored from yr 1 say, can we get up to standard of a private school(with a view to moving dc if our finances improve - possibly at 7, but definitely at 11). Can an hour a week really achieve anything? Anyone done this from early on? Interested in any views. I now work f/t so doing lots of stuff with dc after school myself is not really an option (except at weekends). I'd be interested to know when tutoring shd really start. My friend said her primary school gets great league table results but that's because most parents pay tutors. Also; what do most people get tutors for - maths or English or both?

frogs Tue 11-Aug-09 16:58:23

No point tutoring from Y1, imo. Spend lots of time reading with them and doing fun activities instead, while keeping a gentle eye on what they do at school to make sure there aren't any massive gaps. Weekends is fine for doing this (though reading with them each night is kind of important whichever school they're at).

If you're going to get a tutor (and you can do it yourself instead) then Y4 is the absolute earliest. The typical weakness that a state-educated child will have at 11+ compared to a similar child in an academic private school is slightly more advanced maths (but you can teach this yourself) and significantly more practice at doing extended writing and probably more sophisticated comprehensions, so that is what a tutor should be looking to work on.

Seriously, Y1 is FAR too early to start -- I'm sure there are tutors who will take this on, but it's bonkers, really it is.

slayerette Tue 11-Aug-09 17:07:04

Tutoring at KS1 is a waste of money, I would think. Lots of reading/talking/playing/outings at weekends to interesting places will do the job, I think.

As frogs says, you will need to read with them every night regardless of school and other stuff can be done at weekends.

frogs Tue 11-Aug-09 17:11:43

Argh, just read back my post and the bit about weaknesses reads back to front. But YKWIM -- state-ed child will have LESS practice at those topics compared to equivalent ability child in academic private school.

But really, don't panic. State schools do actually educate the dc, you know, so it's just a question of filling in a few gaps and fine-tuning exam technique, assuming the child has been reasonably adequately taught up to about Y4.

LIZS Tue 11-Aug-09 17:27:56

Looking at it from the other perspective. dd has just finished Year 3 at an independent school and there were about a dozen joiners in her year group, some from other private schools, most from local state schools. Very few hit the ground running and end of year prizes largely went to those who had been there previously.

There are two issues - to get them in at 7+ or 11+, which can be tutored or achieved with good home support in reading and an average primary school etc , but also to prepare their expectations (and parents') for the length of day, timetabling, self reliance as well as academic standards , which cannot really be gained through tutoring. When we spoke to the same school about getting ds in at 7+ the key thing was a sound ability to read and write and an understanding of (reasonably basic in retrospect) maths.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 11-Aug-09 17:33:09

Slayerette and frogs are on the right lines.

Getting a child through 11+ and/or good grades in SATS is too narrow a view of what primary education is about.

Adding to their suggestions, ensure your child has the opportunity to participate in sports and drama type activities. Look into holiday clubs which do this sort of thing maybe?

abraid Tue 11-Aug-09 17:46:27

Both mine went to state primaries until the end of year five.

Neither have had problems at private school--quite the contrary. Neither had any tutoring of any kind, either. I did quite a lot with them to broaden their curriculums: music theory with my daughter, for instance. And it goes without saying that we heard them reading every single night when they were in reception up to the beginning of year three.

forehead Tue 11-Aug-09 19:50:14

If you are worried about the possible gaps in knowledge, you can find time to teach your children yourself. This can be done at the weekend for a couple of hours. I choose not to send my children to private primary school, i do however, ensure that i work with them at home and they are doing really well.

Smithagain Tue 11-Aug-09 20:43:27

And don't panic about that "satisfactory". DD's school is "satisfactory", but from her point of view it appears to be absolutely spot on. I wouldn't expect her to have a problem getting into any of the private schools around here, if we wanted to move her.

Motivated and interested parents count for a great deal.

trickerg Tue 11-Aug-09 22:16:20

Can someone explain the difference between a privately educated pupil and a state educated pupil at the end of Y6?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Tue 11-Aug-09 22:26:26

Ds has been in both private and state schools, he's being moved back into a private school (when we hear from them). There is a difference although not alot. It depends on what the private school you wish for them to go to teaches. The entrance exam will have verbal reasoning on it as most of them do, this is not taught in alot of state schools. A private school will want to see whether they will fit in more though, what are their interests? If they have spent too much time being tutored then this doesn't always go down too well (sorry). Childhood should be about having fun, there are ways of learning that don't mean sitting down with a text book, experience should be valued more then academia, a child that can't work with others or has no interest in what the school has to offer will be unhappy there, whether they can manage academically or not.
You will be saving this money by sending them to the brownies/swimming lessons/playing chess with them.

frogs Tue 11-Aug-09 22:36:31

tricker -- the level achieved by the end of Y6 will depend more on the child's ability and the priorities of a particular school rather than there being a global state/private divide.

But other things being equal, and assuming the private school under discussion is one that has high levels of academic achievement, a privately-educated pupil will probably have covered more topics in maths (simple algebraic expressions, simple geometry spring to mind) and will have had more practice at basic techniques like long division and multiplication. In English they will have had more practice at open-ended extended writing and will have been taught how to deal with more sophisticated reading comprehensions. They may also (depending on the school and the child's personality) have learnt how to speak fluently and confidently in public. They will probably have neater handwriting and have been taught stricter rules for layout of work.

But none of that really adds up to a hill of beans in terms of the child's actual ability or potential, and is pretty easy to catch up on with a good tutor or a committed parent.

piscesmoon Tue 11-Aug-09 22:46:56

Let them have a childhood! You don't need a tutor, talk to them, take them out, play games, read to them, act plays,let them garden, cook etc. The social side is very important at that age. Have fun-don't start channelling them down some selective route-maybe they aren't suited anyway.

trickerg Tue 11-Aug-09 23:37:12

Hmmm Frogs - sounds like a state primary curriculum to me (even down to the neat layout of work), apart from the 'more sophisticated reading comprehensions'. How do they measure the level of sophistication, I wonder?! Is that over and above the level 4/5 reading comprehension measured by KS2 SATs?

mrz Wed 12-Aug-09 08:02:24

I agree trickerg - frogs's description sounds exactly like the provision we provide and the expectations we have for our pupils.
For comprehension we are looking for children to "be able to read between the lines" to pick up on subtle nuances and to be able to provide thoughtful examination of the text, determining intent and/or mood, picking out the significant facts.

Feenie Wed 12-Aug-09 08:10:50

Agree with trickerg and mrz - description given matches the Y6 curriculum exactly.

Feenie Wed 12-Aug-09 08:40:47

And also matches high expectations for Y5 and more able Y4 children.

abraid Wed 12-Aug-09 08:42:42

At my son's school, by the end of year six they were expected to be writing simple sentences in French. They knew quite a bit of Latin vocab, which they started that year. They were also particularly stretched in geography, I remember.

There was a far greater emphasis on presentation, grammar and syntax in all work.

This was why we moved at the end of year five--the curriculum at the prep school was becoming much broader.

Feenie Wed 12-Aug-09 08:47:05

Modern Foreign Languages become statutory from Sept 2009, so writing simple sentences in the language(s) the school has chosen to teach will be commomplace, if it isn't already. (We've taught French from Y2 onwards for 4 years now.)

Feenie Wed 12-Aug-09 08:47:54

What is commomplace? blush

frogs Wed 12-Aug-09 08:51:00

Comprehensions on the academic private school entrance papers MUCH more difficult than KS2 imo. Eg Ds given one involving an extract from 'Tom Brown's Schooldays', and dd1 did some practice papers involving similar standard of texts.

bluesnowfalcon Wed 12-Aug-09 09:03:48

Not sure about the curriculum of private school but do know that primary schools are beginning to be able to move away from SATs which test knowledge on one day (good or bad)! From this year they will no longer be doing Science SATs but will be graded by teacher assessments from the year which will give a more accurate image of each child.

I would say reading is definately important every night but for short periods at a time otherwise the children will loose concentration and enjoyment.

Other than that I would say particularly for year 1,2 and 3 that outings, trips and fun are the most important ways to enhance learning rather than a tutor.

Also by year 3/4 you will be more able to tell if your child is able to keep up easily of if they need a little more help whereas at yr 1 that is harder to tell.

Hope this helps

foxinsocks Wed 12-Aug-09 09:22:29

I think a lot depends on the school

in our nct group, 2 children go to private school while the rest are at state schools (this in London and fairly pushy, academically driven private schools).

The noticeable differences to me....

1. In reception, my children were playing and doing dressing up and learning phonics while the private school children were doing proper dictation, proper maths and really being pushed on their reading.

2. The private school children did a lot more organised sport. Loads more and team games after school etc. etc.

3. Going up through primary school, the private school kids had the most extraordinarily complicated homework (that the parents must have had to help them with).

4. When it got towards 7+ time, the private school children were coached in taking exams for other schools (should they have wanted to go to them).

I think they examined topics in a lot more detail. So for example, dd (in state school) did poetry in the World Wars and they did the same topic and covered more poems and did more detailed work.

The private school children also write a lot more exams/tests than my two have ever done throughout school!

Still don't think that means one is necessarily better than the other and I agree with LIZS, most of the secondary private schools round here have a similar intake from the state schools than the private ones.

teamcullen Wed 12-Aug-09 09:42:35

My DCs are all at state school. They have been taught spanish since age 3 at the nursery.

Maybe it is just because my DCs state school is so good, that I dont understand why people think their DC is going to be so disadvantaged by attending state school.

Surely it is more important that children have an education that is fun and wide and delivered in a multi sensory way than to have perfect grammar and coached to pass the 11+.

Dont assume that the the state education is going to be detremental to your son. You may be plesantly surprised. I think you would be better to wait and see if there are any parts of your DCs education which you think he could benefit in extra tuition.

Then when he gets to 11, if he is still in state education, you can get him tuition to coach children in passing the 11+ or equivalent. This usually starts at the beginning of year 5, as the tests are held during year 6.

katiestar Wed 12-Aug-09 09:49:00

I'm not sure that Foxinsock's comparison shows that private schools are better.I mean reception was moved out of KS1 and into foundation stage FOR A REASON.
WRT the WWII poetry -there must be a reson WHY the state school didn't go into more detail or cover more poems.They could quite easily face younger children with a Y6 curriculum but that doesn't mean its in their best interests.The government has access to a lot more expert opinion when compiling the national curriculum , than an individual independent school.

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