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'Why I send my child to a private school' Guardian piece...

(307 Posts)
PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 12:43:48

Is there no thread on it? Surely there must be. here
It's just so badly written with lots of fatuous unsupported statements. She's been so suckered by that clever thing that private nurseries do to encourage parents to sign up until 11. Our local one makes the nursery children buy and wear the uniform in the pre-reception year. Especially if the uniform has an expensive boater as hers does (I always notice that the most prestigious schools around us have the least pretentious uniform).
And as for 'Katy's exceeding national expectations', well, a good section of children in a state school will do the same, doh, as you'd know if you really were an educational expert.
And that bit about how lots of children would thrive in a non-academic environment/technical school. But not her child of course.
Oh and she lives in Kent so I think we know the answer to her point about her going private if she's not happy with the secondary school provision.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 12:44:34

Sorry I tried and failed to do the link.

tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 12:59:25

We live in an area where lots of people are 'forced' to go private. Obviously that sounds like a ridiculous statement to many but what I mean is a lot of kids do not get a place at any local school and, rather than go to a failing school several miles away, their parents cripple themselves and go private.

For that reason there isn't such a huge a private - state school divide here like there is in areas where you can actually get into a local school. In fact many people we know have experienced a bit of both (gone private for primary because there were no school places but state for secondary and vice versa).
We also know lots of people with one child in private and one in state which is totally acceptable here because of the school shortage thing but seems a big taboo elsewhere.
The main differences they comment on are the wrap around care issues (a big deal for working parents since many primary schools here don't even have a breakfast club let alone after school care) and also specialist lessons earlier.

I haven't ever really heard the view that private is better than state except in the childcare sense. People happily jump at the state options when they come up and people in local state schools feel sorry for friends who don;t get a place and kind of get forced into going private. Mind you all the prep school kids are scruffier than the state ones - no straw boaters in sight so maybe the private schools in my area aren't posh enough to be significantly better and the state schools are pretty good (if you can get in) so there's no advantage to avoiding them?

Elibean Tue 24-Jul-12 13:02:33

Most of dd's Y3 (State) class 'exceeded national expectations' at the end of this year hmm

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 13:05:22

Tiggytape it's an absolute disgrace for children to have no place at a local school and I can quite see why this would lead parents to go private when previously they haven't considered it. But the author of the piece wasn't forced, although she claims it was 'accidental' (she fell over and her pen landed on the admissions form?). She does what so many parents I see do, she justifies it with some codswallop about how their child is so very sensitive or so very bright, as if all children in state schools are thick brutes.
Worse she then goes and does down the whole state system in a national paper with unsubstantiated cliches about comprehensives encouraging mediocrity.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 13:07:20

Exactly Elibean - that's always going to be the case isn't it? Some will meet expectations, some won't and some will exceed them. And, on the whole, the well-supported child with no specific educational need will probably exceed them.

Iamnotminterested Tue 24-Jul-12 13:23:45

"Bright children who enjoy academic learning deserve the chance to be educated with like-minded peers".

Shit. I'm sending my DD to our local, non-selective, truly comprehensive school in September; sounds like she's going to be in classes of baboons, then?!

Iamnotminterested Tue 24-Jul-12 13:25:25

Right, Janet Murray, your DD's "Way above national expectations" levels then, please; let's compare with our poor, state-educated thickos.

RaisinBoys Tue 24-Jul-12 13:33:21

I think the choices people make concerning the education of their own children is their own business.

They don't need to "justify" it to me and I can't imagine why I would be interested in reading about said choice.

gladders Tue 24-Jul-12 13:38:16

I absolutely object to her identifying with Diane Abbott's statement "I'm and mother first and a politician second".

Surely if you have strong political beliefs, they impact on every aspect of the way you live your life. To claim to believe in state education and then go private is the height of hypocrisy.

It's common though.One of my most left wing friends (sis is a Labour Minister) has chosen to edcuate her children privately after realising how bad her local state options were....

dixiechick1975 Tue 24-Jul-12 13:42:49

Maybe the point of the article is to show there is a choice?

I personally had no idea that the local private school would take DD 8-6 if I wished from age 3 or run holiday care open to 3 year olds. I consequently paid more for her to attend a local day care nursery.

blisterpack Tue 24-Jul-12 13:47:32

Wow, her daughter is exceeding national expectations for her age. Super that the 1000s of £££ paid to the school is working then. How touchingly naive.

I have no problem with people educating privately, go for it if you want to and have the resources. But this person seems to be pitifully oblivious to the fact that state school pupils are achieving all that her daughter is and more for free.

MoreBeta Tue 24-Jul-12 13:50:44

Sorry but that whole article made me go hmm.

Our DCs go private and if we had a decent state grammar nearby I would happily send them there - but we don't and I dont have any guilt about paying for it instead.

My parents sent me to private school for exactly the same reason as we send our DCs - the local state school option was useless.

I don't know why Labour politicians, BBC, Guardian, and the liberal intelligensia in general can't just say out loud that some state schools are rubbish and I don't want my DCs in them and just have done with the hand ringing.

BeingFluffy Tue 24-Jul-12 14:04:09

There are good and bad aspects to private education. Our experience was very positive in that the school was open from 7.30am - 6pm and there were also year round holiday clubs, where they did interesting things. They also had quite a few kids with SN who were funded by LA's or parents, which has I think made both my DD treat autistic people or people who look a bit different as "normal".

The main downside was academic. It was awful. When my younger DD started at a state school in year 4 the Head told me that she reminded him of children who had never been to school, she was completely lacking in academic skills. My elder DD who is naturally very bright got into a super selective but was found to be years behind in maths.

Classes of 12 are too small in my opinion. The other downside was social - there were very few friends to choose from and you had to be friends with people you didn't particularly hit if off with.

Both my children go to outstanding state schools but I live in an area where most children do go to private school. The majority just would not consider state schools. There are a number of outstanding schools in my borough and neighbouring boroughs, it just doesn't fit into their perception of their lifestyle and status. I don't really care if people want to go private it is up to them. I do mind when they look down on state schools thought. My DD2 went to the party of a girl she knows from an out of school activity earlier this year, and the Mum literally recoiled in shock when I mentioned which school DD2 goes to!

azazello Tue 24-Jul-12 14:07:01

My DD goes private because it would cost more in legal fees, estate agents cost and stamp duty to move into the catchment area of the nearest good secondary than to pay 7 years of school fees.

If the local state schools were good (or at least better than the current 21% pass at A* to C for GCSE, I really wouldn't bd paying. No boaters here either. Trousers and sweatshirts for girls.

blisterpack Tue 24-Jul-12 14:17:26

Is one of the main reasons for choosing private school the fact that they have school the whole day? I was just wondering because the writer of the article mentions that more state schools should have that, and a couple of people on this thread have referred to the hours as well.

Elibean Tue 24-Jul-12 14:18:34

I totally understand people choosing private schools if there are no reasonable state schools around. I can see myself agonizing over that one if things haven't improved near us in a few years' time.

But the article is pretty hmm - lots of guilt and self-justification, which I don't really want to read.

What is hand ringing, btw? <dim emoticon>

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 14:26:15

Me too Elibean, I am undecided about secondary, but I will make a considered decision based on thorough investigation, not on which school offers me coffee or not.
I'm not, on balance, a fan of private education. I'm even less of a fan of flannelly, rubbishy journalism. And I'm a fool to react in this way, because it's the Guardian being just as bad as the Daily Mail in promoting silly views from (invariably) women and then sitting back and letting the comments pour in. Cf Rachel Cusk etc.

MoreBeta Tue 24-Jul-12 14:33:30

Erm.... 'hand ringing' should read 'hand wringing'. blush

It means gripping your hands together in prayer and sort of twisting them in an angsty fashion like you are wringing out a dishcloth. grin

NarkedRaspberry Tue 24-Jul-12 14:34:04

11 in a class.

State can't compete with that, full stop.

Chandon Tue 24-Jul-12 14:36:06

a very boring article on a potentially interesting subject! We have had much more thoughtful, insightful debates on MN than this boring woman's meanderings.

I think it is weak to throw principles overboard like that, and then justify it in a weak article (no compelling reasons were brought forward), and this crap about her "sensing how other people judge her".

She is the sort of weak character I find hard to respect.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 24-Jul-12 14:43:34

'I'm inclined to agree to with the historian Niall Ferguson..."Nobody is going to pay between £10,000 and £30,000 a year for an education that is just a wee bit better than the free option."'

Well actually that's bollocks isn't it. Plenty of people pay that because going to private school is what your family or friends do, or because they don't want their kids mixing with normal people's children, regardless of educational standards. And where there are state grammar schools the private schools in the area may well be less selective (at least in terms of academic achievement rather than wallet size).

I often wonder what some of my friends and colleagues got for their parents shelling out thousands of pounds a year that I didn't get for my parents' £0.

lambethlil Tue 24-Jul-12 14:45:34

Weak article, and if you are the Guardian Education Correspondant and send your children to private school, you have some explaining to do.

And I speak as a Private Schooling, Guardian reading, Labour Party Member.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 24-Jul-12 14:57:30

Do you think the original headline was "why I'm still qualified to do my job, honest"?

I really think with many, many people who send their children to private school the reasons they want to send them are just too shite to say aloud, so they think of lots of other reasons afterwards and backdate them.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 14:59:27

I think her explaining should read, 'my daughter was born really early which gave us the shock of our life and made us even more protective than most parents. She's an only child so we have an over-inflated sense of the malleability of children and it means private is affordable for us. We made our decision about primary schooling based on easiest and least scary option when she was 4, which was to leave her where she was, but failed to take it account how much more robust she and we would become. I am now trying to build a whole intellectual and moral value set around this rather arbitrary decision. But I'm not all bad, I will send her to state secondary so long as she gets into the grammar, for which our boater-wearing primary school is a crammer.'

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