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Moving from Independent to State at Sixth Form

(33 Posts)
catseyes123 Thu 14-Apr-11 22:00:10

I was wondering if anyone has done this and what their experience has been.
DS has been in a top private school and has done very well academically but he has had problems with being excluded by friends in the last year and seems to have lost all his confidence.

Mainly due to this reason, we are planning on moving him to a state school or college for sixth form. I am not sure if this is the right move or not. His current school have advised against moving him at such a crucial stage of his education.

Any Advice?

NotaMopsa Thu 14-Apr-11 22:03:34

Hello Catseyes ..I have no experience ( hope someone does) but like you (ish) we are thinking of moving our dd from a selective grammar to a state school

She has done well academically but friendship wise it has not been great.....

We have done our homework and think this is a good move for her.

What is your son hoping to study??? Is the state school strng in these subjects?

Yellowstone Thu 14-Apr-11 22:17:16

Hello catseyes do you know what's at the root of the problem? I thought boys were better than girls with the whole group friendship thing. Losing confidence at this stage is so potentially damaging that I would do whatever it takes to give him a boost before real problems set in. The school is bound to say don't move him. Is there a good substitute? And what does he think?

sue52 Thu 14-Apr-11 23:34:56

My daughter attends a state grammar and every year they get a good number of students from private schools entering their sixth form. I think a change at 16 is often good for students as they are starting from a fresh slate.

senua Thu 14-Apr-11 23:53:22

I don't think that we can advise on a hypothetical basis because it depends so much on the specific circumstances.
Many people move in the sixthform, for all sorts of reasons. Our school get a lot of new students in the sixthform and it works out well because there are so many of them, they create critical mass. Also the school does lots of extra-curric so there are lots of ways to integrate outside of the classroom.
One of the benefits of sixthform college is that eveybody is a newbie.

fortyplus Thu 14-Apr-11 23:56:56

I did this. Years ago, obviously, but it was a total disaster for me. Flopped dramatically after hothouse culture at private school - ended up dropping out of 6th form and not going to university

Collegemum38 Fri 15-Apr-11 00:11:24

We're considering doing this. It will help boost the uni savings fund as well as give our DD an opportunity to mix with more people. She has boarded since age 10 (which she still loves) but I think it would do her good to leave the sheltered world of Boarding School before going to Uni. Ultimately the choice will be hers but it is something she is aware of and considering.

The important factor will be whether we are living somewhere with a decent sixth form at the time.

wordfactory Fri 15-Apr-11 06:48:13

Lots of movement at sixth form within both sectors.

Some DC move from priavte to state, more still move from state to priavte (this age has the biggest density of students going to indie school)

It completely depends on your DC and the provision available.

catseyes123 Fri 15-Apr-11 11:54:16

Thank you all so much. Very interesting to read that other's are also planning a move at sixth form. I suppose what worries me the most is what
fortyplus has said.

The school/college I am thinking of does have a fairly good reputation, and have to keep my fingers crossed.

My ds had a misunderstanding with his best friends and they grouped together and started excluding him. Boys tend to hang out in groups and it's been difficult for ds to join another group. I think the loss of his friends zapped his confidence and that certainly didn't help.

He does manage to spend time with different people during lessons, but problem is during breaks and school holidays.

Ds is very confused himself about what to do for the best - whether to carry on here for another two years ( for the sake of good grades and good Uni) or move and hope he can achieve the same elsewhere.

Thanks again for all your replies.

sieglinde Fri 15-Apr-11 14:38:58

Hi, catseyes. I think you are most likely doing the right thing, but it's also quite likely that you would be able to bail if he was obviously in heaps of trouble at AS with either a return to his indy school or a different indy school. How high a flyer is he academically? Some schools in all sectors are better and getting people to A* than others.

catseyes123 Fri 15-Apr-11 20:51:45

Hi Sieglinde,
Ds is doing extremely well academically and his current school deserves a lot of credit for that. The teachers really are excellent.
I don't think ds would want to return back to the school if he left as it might make matters worse on the social side. The option of another indy school sounds good though if it came to it.
Unfortunately with sixth form there isn't too much time to change schools since its only two years, so am hoping to make the right decision to begin with. Hopefully!

mamatomany Fri 15-Apr-11 21:04:56

I would go for another indy, unless you know the state 6th form is brilliant and plenty are, plenty are not and you don't have much room for error.
Personally I am planning to move mine back to indy for 6th form having seen the turn around in some children from GCSE to A Level our local school has managed, literally a silk purse from a sow's ear in some cases.

Bearcat Fri 15-Apr-11 21:25:56

Make sure you know the correct time to apply to state 6th form.
The most competitive probably have a 1 or 2 day period to get your application in.
You may have to apply online at Easter time to get the application going (Esher College, SW London)

Goinggoing Sat 16-Apr-11 01:52:42

I think if you scour league tables a lot of state schools really come into their own at A level - equally independants can be less strong than at gcse

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 16-Apr-11 01:59:14

I did this (many moons ago) and it worked out fantastically. I hated the atmosphere at my school (very Conservative and teacher-led). I loved sixth form college and got 4 A levels and an AS (back when not everyone did them). I responded better to independence and younger (more enthusiastic) teachers. It prepped me better for University as well, since I could work alone and self-motivate.

Good luck.

PenguinArmy Sat 16-Apr-11 02:11:39

How self motivated is he? I would say that in general, state schools pupils have to drive themselves to the top grades whereas the indy's make it more clear just what work load is expected and required to get there.

<This is from tutoring experience I've never been to a indy just a very bad state school>

Insert1x50p Sat 16-Apr-11 02:34:15

I did this myself, so

Primary School- State
11-16- Private (Day)
Sixth Form- State

I definitely made the right decision. For me it was based on the fact that my school had quite a small sixth form so some classes would have been only 3/4, whereas the 6th form college was very big, so classes were c.15.

Also, I think that the sixth form environment- (no uniform, we only had to attend for lessons, there was no hot housing, if coursework wasn't handed in you weren't chased- just got a zero) really prepared me for studying at Cambridge where I only had 1 hour of mandatory contact time a week. I was already used to organising my time and motivating myself. However, my sister did the same thing and didn't do very well at A-level because she didn't really adapt to the lack of structure, so it depends on the person I think.

On the downside, the minimum requirement for studying an A-level at the 6th form college was a C at GCSE so the classes were, to put it mildly, very mixed in terms of ability- pretty high failure rate. I didn't have many peers within my classes (I know that sounds arrogant but it was true). I definitely wasn't stretched beyond A-level standard so I did find the first year of Uni quite tough in terms of getting my critical thinking to a higher level.

My decision was made easier by the fact that my private school wasn't particularly great anyway- non-selective, teaching a bit mixed.

On a more cynical note, the top universities are trying to improve their intakes from state schools, and the stats only look at "last port of call" so to speak, so applying from a state rather than an indy could help him.

senua Sat 16-Apr-11 07:36:36

"Ds is very confused himself about what to do for the best - whether to carry on here for another two years ( for the sake of good grades and good Uni) or move and hope he can achieve the same elsewhere."

Don't forget the third way - tutoring. If you went State but had a lesson of tutoring a week to bump up grades for all four subjects, it would still work out cheaper than Indie school.
Does he excel at / participate in any sport? That is usually the way in to other boys' social favour.

iskra Sat 16-Apr-11 08:36:02

My little brother did this - moved from a very good independent to the local state school. He LOVED it. He really appreciated the independence he was given, the fact there were girls as well & I think most important of all to him was that his friends lived locally, where as at his indy most pupils came from quite a distance to him. He got his 4 As & went to an RG uni.

catseyes123 Sat 16-Apr-11 13:49:40

It's very comforting to see that others have made this move and done well or even been happier. Tutoring is also an idea to get the grades. Its a gamble I suppose, and we will never know until trying it out.

Thank you all for your advice. It really does help to know that other people have also made these changes and been fine.

senua Sat 16-Apr-11 21:15:50

I find it a bit sad that you and your DS are so unsure of yourselves. It sounds as if the school has got you brainwashed into thinking that it is them and not the children that get the results.

Can you get a list of grades achieved, subject by subject, at AS/A2 level at the target school/college. If no-one ever gets above a Grade D then you know that it is a rubbish school. If anyone ever gets a Grade A then you know that the school must be doing something right - so DS will have confidence that grades are acheivable at this school, and his success (or lack of!) will all be down to him.

PS Grades are not everything. I have a friend who has a very high-acheiving DS. Got into a prestigious school, got excellent GCSE and A Levels, got into Cambridge. He is currently back home with his parents having had a breakdown. They would rather have happiness than grades any day.

camptownraces Sat 16-Apr-11 23:00:29

Partly it depends on how self motivated the lad is. Independent schools nurse and nag the pupils into producing work, even in sixth form.

For my own son, the move back into the maintained sector was brilliant for his social life. But he didn't meet his predicted grades at A2 - and that was entirely his own fault, not the school's.

JoanofArgos Sat 16-Apr-11 23:03:43

The business outfit to whom you are paying thousands and thousands a year don't think you should stop paying it? Wonders will never cease.

Most state Sixths are now not taking any more applications anyway.

Yellowstone Sat 16-Apr-11 23:21:57

senua I'm sorry to hear about your friend's DS. It sometimes comes with the territory. I hope he's moving in the right direction at least.

catseyes123 Sat 16-Apr-11 23:24:14

Senua, unfortunately ds did not tell me until very recently about how bad things were at school. Even though I knew something wasn't right, he didn't want to discuss it before.

You are right that the school alone don't get the results, but they really do encourage the boys and take a lot of interest in their work.

I think it might just be apprehension and worrying about whether a move might be "frying pan into the fire" situation.

I do agree that happiness means more than grades, and that is what we are trying to achieve here.

Ds was very happy at this school for many years and there was never any plan to move anywhere else before.

The situation with your friend's ds is very sad.

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