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Moving from state to private in year 8

(33 Posts)
isteaready Tue 06-Nov-12 18:50:55

I will try and keep this post short although the story goes back a long way. DD3 is in year 8. DD1 and DD2 both went to a brilliant grammar and are now both at good Unis. DD3 didnt get into the grammar and has been at the local average comp (results 52% A-C at GCSE)the last year and a bit.

We have accepted this although we have some issues with the children's behaviour and are not overly happy with some of the teaching, our DD seems to be coasting, hasn't made much progress and often dosen't have homework or it isn't marked. The school is huge, 300 per year group and covers a wide catchment, it's lost out recently to a more popular comp a mile away that has better results but is impossible to get into unless you live on it's doorstep, we went on the waiting list but didn't climb higher than 59.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. Lovely Mother in Law others to pay for DD3 to go to private school!!! We have a lovely girls school a short bus ride away that would suit our DD down to the ground and offer her amazing opportunities. They have a vacancy in year 8 and would like DD3 to sit some entrance exams and have an interview.

We now have to decide whether to put our daughter through this process knowing she a) may not get through the exams (she didn't pass the 11 plus) and hence not get offered the place and b) have to explain why we want her to move schools when she might have to stay at her current school anyway. She does have some nice friends and is happy at her school but we don't feel she is currently having the same opportunities and standard of education as her sisters.

We need to decide within the next few days. Just realised the post is huge, sorry, please be kind, it's my first one.

Umeboshi Tue 06-Nov-12 19:33:41

Welcome, isteaready!

Why not ask the school about the difficulty of the exams? Don't be shy about asking them all the questions you have. As far as I know, independent schools tend to set fewer exams for pupils coming from state schools - they do realise she won't have been prepared by a prep school and should make allowance for that.

As for the move, I can only share my experience. Our DS moved from a comp much like your daughter's at the end of Year 8 to an private school where I'm happy to say he is thriving. The contrast in terms of teaching, pastoral care and school ethos is just breathtaking.

Obviously every school is individual, so it's up to you and your daughter to listen to your intuition here. Some good advice is to observe the children at the school - their behaviour, how they interact with the adults in the school and with each other.

Why not ask the school if you could get in touch with some of their current parents?

joanbyers Tue 06-Nov-12 19:35:14

Which school is it? Lots of private schools are less selective than the grammar might have been. Howe far was she from passing the 11+?

diabolo Tue 06-Nov-12 19:50:26

How good is the private school?

Have a look on this website and see - if it is in the top 150 or so, the the entrance exams are likely to be challenging, but perhaps not impossible. Lower than about 150 and they will be looking for decent intellect, but have a more all round approach.

diabolo Tue 06-Nov-12 19:51:18

sorry - missed a bit off the link

joanbyers Tue 06-Nov-12 20:07:37

Do you know, diabolo, if the schools getting only 2-3% A*s just haven't got many able kids, or are there any statistical anomalies re IGCSE or whatever?

Some of the scores seem painfully low, even compared to schools that have a reputation for SEN.

eatyourveg Tue 06-Nov-12 20:08:48

Is your MIL's offer solely for one particular school? I'd look around to see what your options are, there maybe a school where the entrance exam is one which your dd has a realistic chance of passing. It need not be an all or nothing. You could just tell her honestly that granny has offered to fund a private school and we are going to look at a few different schools and see which one you think you will be happiest at.

Buckeyee Tue 06-Nov-12 20:16:39

Don't even look back.

lljkk Tue 06-Nov-12 20:26:30

Not sure why you're so hesitant. Just talk to her (sell it to her) about it (school & exam) as an opportunity.

The private school will probably put a much larger work load on her, right? So she needs to comfortably pass the exam to know she's up for the extra work load. A plus side of not getting in is not having to endure that workload.

There are still other good opportunities for her at the comp. It's not a Win-Lose situation, just a chance to explore a different option.

Musomathsci Tue 06-Nov-12 20:33:01

It's a private school, they have a space, they want to fill it... I wouldn't be too worried to be honest. If you ask, I'm sure they will give you a sample past paper from their entrance tests - worth it to put your mind at rest?

difficultpickle Tue 06-Nov-12 20:45:38

I would check it's a strings free offer first. What happens if you decide to take the place and then later on decide for whatever reason to move ds back to state?

isteaready Tue 06-Nov-12 22:08:58

Thank you for all your advice. I'm going on my own tomorrow to speak to the head and have a tour. I think I will ask about some sample papers and mention that she possibly might find the exams challenging.
We told DD tonight, she had a few tears but then read the prospectus and immediately became over excited looking at all the wonderful pictures and details of trips and clubs etc, I didn't know whether I was pleased or worried!
She realises it isn't guaranteed and is dependent on the exam and interview, but before I could warn her she had phoned a friend (at her current school) and told her she was leaving !!??

The school is ranked quite highly, thank you for the link diabolo (63% A-A* GCSE) so she would have to perform fairly well. We have approached another two schools but both are full at the moment.

I will let you know how we get on, I just know that I'm going to fall in love with the school tomorrow and come away feeling desperate for them to take her.

iseenodust Tue 06-Nov-12 22:16:27

Take her last school report with you so you can be open about her current levels as well as be clear you feel she can do better. Find out if any of the teachers there provide private tutoring for the exam.

joanbyers Tue 06-Nov-12 22:37:26

63% is not outrageously high. The 90%+ schools are the ones where you really need to be super-bright.

isteaready Wed 07-Nov-12 21:44:37

As expected, went to the school and loved it, very nice cosy atmosphere, good facilities, a wonderful sense of calm and lovely polite girls. The head was very open about the exams and explained that they are looking for potential as well as current ability. They are going to write to her current school for details of her current levels and her year 7 cats. DD is going to take the exams (Maths, Science and English) one day next week and then spend the rest of the day with a year 8 class.

We have decided that if she hates it with a passion we won't drag her there kicking and screaming, the whole school is so vastly different to her current school I can't quite imagine her there at the moment.

I will let you know the outcome, thanks for all the welcome advice.

hedidit Fri 09-Nov-12 16:06:58

Why dont you take a deep breathe and look around. My son moved from state to private school at the beginning of year 8 and truly hasnt looked back despite being labeled a problematic child at the state school. He has now been moved up to the top groups and the school say they dont recognise the child described in the file sent from the previous school. For which I am of course mightily relieved.

Transition wont be a problem I should think, children fit in fast and with the bursery system and pay monthly system a lot of schools offer private schooling is now a lot easier for parents to access. Children there are not stuck up (which was a worry of my sons) and were lovely, warm and welcoming to my son who now has a lot of friends there.

My sons school do not have an entrance exam as they feel it puts too much pressure on a child and can be damaging to a childs confidence if they fail. They do only take children whom they feel will benefit although how they decide that I never did quite work out. There may be a private school not so far from you that does not even have an entrance exam. Making them sound a bit namby pamby, they are not, they are a lot stricter than the state school he went to but with the tiny classes he gets a lot more attention and its helped him tremendously.

My sons school offers a door to door school delivery system (a bus) to school and home again, literally to your front door as a lot of the children do come from a fairly long way away so theres a good chance that even if you choose a school a little further away there will be children who do live in your area for weekend friendships and play.

hedidit Fri 09-Nov-12 16:09:25

bloody hell, that last post sounds a bit "MY sons school" it wasnt meant to sorry. Also I didnt read your last post before I posted.

The fact that the school has such a warm cosy feel sounds fantastic, Im sure your daughter will love it, best of luck.x

hoodoo12345 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:11:40

If i was lucky enough to be in this position i would jump at the chance.

Mutteroo Sun 11-Nov-12 22:21:56

I hope your daughter does well with the assessments & enjoys her day.. Playing devil's advocate here as we moved DD half way through year 9. Check the offer out with MIL as you don't want issues if DD moves. Also check the financial stability of the indie school. (Charities commission if a charity school). DD's school collapsed in her first term of year 11 & while we could see it coming from year 10, it was still a difficult time.

DD enjoyed her private school overall, but experienced a few challenges. She's now 19 & has friends from her state & private school & is finally growing up. For some it takes longer than others I guess!

isteaready Tue 13-Nov-12 18:01:15

Thanks Mutteroo, good point. The school seems stable at the moment although another nearby less so. MIL is wonderful and giving us the funds whatever we decide, so if DD doesn't get offered a place we could afford tutors galore!

DD went for her visit today and seemed to enjoy it, I have tried not to quiz her too much (I keep opening and closing my mouth) as I think she needs to process the experience and tell us what she thought. So far she: Didn't enjoy the lunch but really enjoyed Latin, a subject new to her. She loved the swimming pool but thought the library was small and really liked all the girls, phew. She found the exams 'OK' but science tricky. She really liked having reading time in her English lesson.

We now have to wait, I feel really relieved it's over, I've been stressed all day. My mum is in hospital at the moment and when I visited I dearly wanted to tell her, she would be over the moon if she new what was happening, I don't want to get her hopes up though.

I will update when we hear from the school.

LittleFrieda Wed 14-Nov-12 13:52:45

You also need to be aware that schools are often nothing like they are in the brochure.

isteaready Fri 16-Nov-12 16:51:45

Still waiting to hear from the school after DD went for her visit on Tuesday, thought we might have heard by now if it was a yes, I've convinced myself it's a no. I was hoping it would be before the weekend, another few days of wondering and waiting ............

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 16-Nov-12 18:02:41

What will you do if it is a 'no'??

isteaready Sat 17-Nov-12 12:05:31

Post just arrived, It's a yes! I am crying as I write this, I can't tell you how relieved and delighted we are, we are going to tell DD when she gets back from a cinema trip with her friends. She has kept in touch with one of the girl she met on the visit day who seems to be really keen for DD to come to the school, so hopefully she will make friends relatively easily, but who knows.

In the past two weeks DD has had exactly 2 pieces of homework and one French test to revise for. Last week there were two fights in her class and one temporary exclusion. I have felt so stressed listening to her account of what goes on at the school on a daily basis, the relief when she leaves will be immense.

I will take the prospectus when I visit my mum in hospital today,she has terminal cancer. We have kept most of our anxiety about DD's school from her but she has been very aware when DD chats to her about school that all is not well. I know it will be a big comfort to her.

Many thanks for all the helpful advice and support.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 17-Nov-12 12:15:15

Oh, thanks for posting, OP.

What a relief! I hope it all works out for DD and you. How very kind of MIL to give her this opportunity and I'm sure it will be the best decision.

Sorry to hear about your Mum; it will be though,as you say, some comfort to know her DGD has a fresh start at a (hopefully) much better schooling. :-)

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