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Okay, give me reasons why I should educate my child privately rather than at an improving state comp. And vice versa

(30 Posts)
scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 10:27:10

I know it's been hashed over many, many times, but please, just once more (with feeling) grin

senua Tue 25-Sep-12 10:38:50

Short answer: there is no answer.
It depends so much on the child, its abilities or not, the schools, their provision or not, the family, ethos, finances, travel, other siblings ...
There is no single, simple answer - that's why it gets hashed over so many times.
HTH smile

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 10:50:22

Ok...! I know there is no one simple answer, I just want people's thoughts. If I try to answer some of the points you've brought up perhaps it'll make it easier.

Child: male; bright but tendency to coast; sporty; sociable
Schools: private - terrific, v well thought of. v v academic but also amazing facilities for sport, music, drama.
State: previously dire, rapidly improving. Streams. House system. great facilities. But do they have the resources to make sure my DS keeps at it?
Family: we vote labour but are not dogmatic. in an ideal world would support the community school but DS1 is...tricky. I think DC2 would be fine in the state school.
Finances: could afford one child at private school without too much trouble. Would feel the pinch with the second.
Travel: State school v near - short walk. Private is a bus ride but nothing too onerous.

happygardening Tue 25-Sep-12 10:52:02

It does very much depend on the school in particular the independent school and what you and your dd want from education. Some independent schools are just on a different planet in comparison with the even the best state schools others are frankly rather mediocre and many state schools (not necessarily you local one) would be on at the least the same level if not better.

LittleFrieda Tue 25-Sep-12 10:54:40

Why not opt for the state school and review and if necessary switch at 13+?

LittleFrieda Tue 25-Sep-12 10:55:10

PS How can you be a socialist and contemplate private education? grin

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 11:40:28

I didn't (quite deliberately) say I was a socialist, I said I voted Labour! I know plenty of self-professed 'socialists' who deplore private education yet think nothing of selling or renting out their (own) property in order to move into a catchment area. Something the less-advantaged cannot do. Anyway, that's another thread. I stated my voting history to demonstrate that I am not gung-ho re private education, as a Tory voter would be. I am ambivalent/confused.
The state school I am considering was, until very recently, absolutely dire. Rough as a robber's dog, with a low-achieving intake & much truancy & even stabbings. The current yrs 7 & 8 are showing signs of improvement - it really is pulling itself up & is now over-subscribed. I don't expect particular things from education as such, but from my children. Because of DS2's personality I think he'd be fine in the state school. I worry that DS1 will be pulled into a bad crowd & decide he's too cool for school. I loathe projecting as he's only just 11, but on his current trajectory he's capable of doing brilliantly. But he does the bare minimum if he knows he can get away with it.

ChazsGoldAttitude Tue 25-Sep-12 11:47:10

I really think you should budget for both children potentially going to private school as I think it would be quite hard to send one and not the other (I know some people do but you would have to be able to explain your choice to DC2 especially if they are having to give up on things because of the cost of DS1's school fees).

What would your family have to give up on to send one or both children private? Could you use the fee money to supplement your DS's education or is it the whole environment / package on offer?

Go to see both schools and ignore the swanky facilities and look at how the children behave and interact with the staff. Do take into account the educational facilities such as science labs etc but don't be distracted by the music practice rooms etc unless your son is musically inclined. Look at mentoring, pastoral care etc. How will each school keep your son motivated and make sure he isn't coasting?

FWIW my DS are in private schools because they were better than the state schools where we live. However, not all private schools are better than the state schools in the same area. Its about finding the school that fits your child best.

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 12:17:42

Thanks Chazs. Budget-wise, sending one isn't really a problem - we're stingy not extravagant about cars etc. Sending both would mean having to think hard about holidays and stuff like that. However at some point the DCs would inherit money from GPs although of course we have no idea when this would happen. And DS2 might not pass the entrance exam.
The private school we like best is very very good, no question. It's not St Pauls but almost comparable (and cheaper!) I was very impressed by a chat I had with the deputy head about coasting children. They don't let it happen, basically. And the pupils seem beautifully mannered and diligent.
But is it all just an elite little bubble?
DS1 has this wannabe cool, 'whateva' side, but he is also a geek and he loves an intellectual challenge and I think he would thrive academically at the private school. And it might polish off his rougher edges.

But we could save bucketloads of dosh to put towards university fees/house deposits etc by sending him to the local school and having a tutor on the side. Plus we'd be contributing to the community (hopefully). My DCs would have a better idea of society. This school does get kids into Oxbridge/RG but maybe they're the ones with an inbuilt work ethic?

Our Plan B is to start him off at the comp & transfer him if he doesn't thrive, but a) it's disruptive &
b)our preferred private school makes you commit to 13+ entry in November of yr7, which is a bit early to tell.

Farewelltoarms Tue 25-Sep-12 12:30:10

Aren't you presuming he'll get into h? I think that's quite a presumption given how few boys they take in at 11 and 13 in comparison with the intake from the prep. (Have heard it's marginally easier for girls, don't know if that's true). Don't you worry that you're over-thinking a dilemma you might not have. I'm projecting massively here.
I have heard great things about HG school if that's the state you're talking of. But at same time it does feel a bit more of an unknown. It's impossible to tell without a crystal ball.
Completely unhelpful post I know but I do know where you're coming from, ideologically, educationally, financially etc

sue52 Tue 25-Sep-12 12:33:48

So would he take the entrance test in year 7 and shift in year 9? If so, he would have done 2 years at a comprehensive (I assume) and you will have had a chance to check his progress. If you duck out of the private school you wave goodbye to your deposit.

daytoday Tue 25-Sep-12 12:38:42

I think you have to think hard about sending all children private - for the sake of their sibling relationship when they get older.

If you can, find adults in real life who experienced this educational divide. We did and it was fascinating and they all felt hard done by in some way and a lingering resentment and hurt.

I totally understand that if there is a SEN but coasting isn't really enough to explain the divide away.

If I couldn't afford to offer them all it - I wouldn't offer it to one.

I know others parents differ.

JustGettingByMum Tue 25-Sep-12 12:42:27

I am very pro good comprehensive schools, but I would want to know more about this one before committing to sending my DC there.

"The state school I am considering was, until very recently, absolutely dire. Rough as a robber's dog, with a low-achieving intake & much truancy & even stabbings."

What's happened to change that?
Is the current Y& & Y8 intake significantly different? If so, why? Have the "problem" year groups moved on now, or are they still there?

If it is different, then your son would be the third "good" year group moving in, with older years hopefully being engaged in GCSEs. I think that would give you a critical mass of "good" students so further improvements would be very rapid.

Farewelltoarms Tue 25-Sep-12 12:45:35

I am one of those adults and I am resentful and would find it hard to do with my children unless there were cast-iron reasons that were easy to convey.
I think often we make educational decisions for all our children on the needs (or perceived needs) of the eldest. I know a lot of people who have been convinced that their first born is peculiarly sensitive. They've ended doing the whole private primary as a consequence. I think I might have not gone state if my children were in a different order wh would have been a great shame.
What would be your thoughts now if your youngest was your eldest?

ChazsGoldAttitude Tue 25-Sep-12 12:48:30

Is it just an elite little bubble?

Yes and No.
My sons' school is ethnically and religiously diverse (my DH is North African and Muslim) but it is not economically diverse. Few if any are mega wealthy but most people are middle income and above simply to be affording the fees.

However, my children don't just meet people through school. Most of DH's friends are immigrants like himself and are in the lower income brackets or not working at all. The children who go to the arabic school at the mosque are from a range of economic backgrounds as well.

A middle class family with children at the comp in a leafy suburb surrounded by £750K houses who meet up with similar children at scouts, cricket and drama are probably in more of a bubble than some children at private schools.

If you live in a diverse area and your children meet people outside of school then its unlikely that they are going to get a narrow view of the world.

crazymum53 Tue 25-Sep-12 13:06:03

You seem to think that at a state school he would get away with coasting along and would not be pushed to achieve his best - that assumption may not be true. Most good state schools do identify potential high achievers (and under achievers) and have strategies in place to make sure that these children reach their academic targets. This is the sort of question you need to ask when visiting state schools.
However in very high achieving private schools there are some children where additional tuition is recommended just to make sure that their dcs keep up. So I wouldn't assume that children at private schools do not have any tutoring, as many do.
You can apply for both state and private schools and see what happens regarding entrance exams to keep your options open.
HTH

GnomeDePlume Tue 25-Sep-12 13:19:16

Something I would consider is whether your child will be able to take full advantage of the education on offer. You arent buying a guarantee of good results for your child and you may actually do your child a disservice if they struggle. Why do you think that independant school will make your DS less of a coaster?

I'm afraid that the way that schools deal with the students who are potentially going to bring results down is by asking them to leave once a couple of interventions have failed. Of course it is all done terribly politely 'We think that X would do better somewhere that can cater to his particular needs'. This happened to the younger son of a friend of mine, nice lad, well behaved, parents as rich as Croesus (ie full fee paying). They still asked him to leave.

IMO you need to be careful of thinking 'well we dont need a new car' as being a way of funding school. You are looking at thousands of post tax income free every year. Will this impact your other child's life? All very well if family sacrifices are being made for both to attend but it might well stick in the throat if these sacrifices are being made just so the coaster can go to a good school.

What are the 6th form options in your area? Would that be a possibility? State up to the end of GCSEs then decide what is best for each child post GCSE. This way you could pay for whatever was needed with money being bo object. In the mean time all of you could have enjoyed a comfortable family life.

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 13:39:02

Thank you, these are all great, pertinent points.

Farewell Sorry, I do sound presumptious, I know it's not a given. It's just very much on my mind at the moment as the dreaded council form has to be in in a few weeks. The ultimate decision doesn't have to be made until March but I'd rather that whatever we decide is a positive decision rather than, oh you didn't get into X so you'll have to go to Y. (He is capable of getting in, but you never know what'll happen on the day, do you?) BTW, what primary do your DCs go to? (I know from another thread they are younger than mine.)

I look at the current Cabinet and think they're not a great advertisement for the independent sector...

crazymum I am sure that a good state school has every intention of doing the best for all their pupils, but in this climate I worry that they might be deprived of the resources to do so.

I'm boring myself now <shoot me>

Farewelltoarms Tue 25-Sep-12 14:03:51

I know what you mean Scampa about wanting it to be a positive decision. Dh says oh just stick them in for the more selective secondaries (you know the ones) and if he doesn't get in then go for one of the locals (HG or mm). No angst. But I feel like you that if we want to go private we should do the necessary tutoring to give him a good shot and if we want to go state then why put him/us through it. And if we go state just because he doesn't get in what should our decision be for others?
My kids are at a predictable primary - begins with a t.

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 14:18:39

It's a bugger. And the catchment for HG is getting so tight I'm not even sure we'll get in there. But at least you've got even more time to see if HG carries on improving - a new head started this term so that's a concern. What year is your son - 5? (I don't think we're the same school so no danger of blowing cover!)

Farewelltoarms Tue 25-Sep-12 14:52:30

Yes y5 and ditto we might be out of range for both of those aforementioned schools and I'm afraid my liberal conscience doesn't stretch to Cola.
There's a part of me that would hate myself for going private. There's another that would always fret if I didn't. I just wish that I lived in an area where everyone just went to local state whereas things are so fragmented where we both live.
Sorry not helping with your dilemma, just empathising.

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 15:13:38

I'm afraid my liberal conscience doesn't stretch to Cola Ha! Yes, absolutely!

I completely agree with the rest of your post too.

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 25-Sep-12 18:01:43

What makes you think you will improve the state school?

scampadoodle Tue 25-Sep-12 19:31:21

I didn't say I would. I said I'd like to contribute ie be a part of the community. Before this school started improving it used to bus kids in from miles away therefore wasn't a reflection of its local community. Surely a 'community school' (as they are called) should consist of the various facets of the area it sits in?

I certainly didn't mean that this school would be blessed by my son's presence, if that's what you mean.

Coconutty Tue 25-Sep-12 19:47:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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