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The Big Choice: the State school or the private one - are we thinking with our wallets??

(204 Posts)
scampadoodle Fri 01-Mar-13 13:19:24

Ok, just to add to all the other threads like this today.

DS1 got into the private school he/we liked, but no scholarship. We will also almost certainly have a place at the local state school.

PS is lovely, not super-hot house, but high-achieving. Fees are a lot though & would have an impact on our family life (and we'd really feel it if DC2 went private too). It's about 45 mins, an hour journey each way. He would probably enjoy it there & hopefully it would polish him off a bit. I'm slightly worried that it leans more towards humanities than sciences (not good for DS1) BUT I could be wrong about this as it was just an impression I got on Open Day.

SS is great. Streaming. Latin. It has a very mixed intake but those who do well, do well IYSWIM. It's only been good for 2-3 years though, before that it was awful. If he knuckled down DS1 would do well (that is a big 'if' BTW). I do like the idea of sticking within the local community though, & we could afford tutoring if we felt he needed topping-up.

But are we just being stingy at not taking up the opportunity for the private school? The thought of not having to worry abut school fees is very very tempting...

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 12:03:06

My dp's colleagues think he's some sort of communist because his children are at state school.

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 13:30:54

His colleagues must be a bunch of seriously posh people smile

There are about 30 in my section at a City firm and the norm is state school. People mostly live in the burbs, far from the problems of inner city state schools, so I'm guessing that there isn't the pressure to go priovate even if you can afford it.

Talkinpeace Wed 06-Mar-13 14:06:32

Actually my tongue was nowhere near my cheek.

I was at selective private education until the age of 21.
The real world of work was rather a shock
and I have spent the last 25 years of my working life dealing with legislation written by upper class twits who have NO idea how the real world lives.

I think it would be a VERY good thing for every child to do a terms secondment in a non selective school (that applies to kids like young Cleggy and of course the right on Millibrains)

"choice" in education, healthcare, energy, you name it is all utterly ridiculous to most of the non political classes and the 80% of the population who never go near fee paying or selective schools (most of MN seems to be full of the remainder 20%)

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 14:17:06

MN is full of the remainder 20%???

People who accuse others of not being as competent as themselves shouldn't make such silly 'observations'.

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 14:22:49

Talkin - I am confused. Up to the age of 21 you was in selective private education. Unless you had several stabs at passing your A levels I am assuming that you went to a private university.

Are you saying that apart from yourself such people are twits?

Talkinpeace Wed 06-Mar-13 14:39:02

I was indeed one of those twits
and when I went to uni I was one of the 5%

I've worked with enough people who have gone through selective education, naice universities, straight into consultancy companies
advising other people how to run their lives
when they and everybody they socialise with went to boarding school

diss me if you like, but the statistics bear me out
Lord Neuberger on Radio 4 yesterday afternoon was even more categoric than I about the problem.

MrsShortfuse Wed 06-Mar-13 15:42:46

A state secondary that does Latin!!! envy For me the decision would be made on the Latin alone.

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 16:06:11

Always amused at this idea of Latin being a benchmark of some sort......

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 16:19:12

Talking - Forget about making sweeping statements about the 7%. You seem to be saying that you are an insightful and enlightened soul and that the rest of your cohorts are just twits. grin

If such thinking is the product of your selective education then I guess you are proving your own theory.

MrsShortfuse Wed 06-Mar-13 16:39:46

I did Latin at a state school and think it's just...well.....beautiful..and, er it's really helped me in quizzes wine

Elibean Wed 06-Mar-13 17:32:19

Personally, I think un-worried parents are worth an awful lot in a child's development. So if the private school would cause worry, and the state school is great, I would go state.

OP, you are not me, and you have a very clear picture - if you are leaning towards one, distrust guilt and distrust all our advice, and trust your gut smile

wordfactory Wed 06-Mar-13 17:35:46

It's not that Latin is some magic thing (although I do think ancient langauages and cultures are A Good Thing) it's more that DC, all DC, should be given the opportunity.

Like triple science.

Why do some schools feel they can justify offering no latin or triple science? Why is that okay? Why are we preapred to excuse that and settle for less?

It's as if people just want to make excuse after excuse for limiting choices.

racingheart Wed 06-Mar-13 19:22:59

Talkin - Milliband was state educated. He went to a comp.

I know what you're saying. I knew men at uni who went to a cloistered prep, cloistered boarding school, onto Oxford and then into Lincoln's Inn. They were representing people whose experiences were utterly beyond their comprehension. They had lived with views of neat quads and mellow stone pillars all their lives.

But I don't think you have to go to a comp to mix socially. My DC will go private for secondary but a lot of their friends are going to state schools, we live on the edge of a housing estate and they mix with the children from there all the time.

And I totally agree, wordfactory - the issue lies with the unambitious provision in too many state schools, not in the aspirations of those who send private in order to secure a really strong education for their DC. (Those who send private to keep DCs oik-free are another breed altogether.)

Talkinpeace Wed 06-Mar-13 19:46:47

the Millibands : there are comps and "comps"

Thing is, my kids ARE at a comp and we do not socialise AT ALL with the kids from the poor parts of the catchment and out of catchment.
The kids segregate themselves, but they are aware that there are different types.
THe Cameroons and Gideon Osbournes of this world have genuinely never spent time with "the great unwashed"

wordfactory Wed 06-Mar-13 19:58:00

racing that's what I can never understand.

Instead at looking at what is good in the private sector and insisting we offer some of it to all pupils in state education, people endlessly make excuses or say it's not necessary, or its actually a bad thing...

It's as if their aversion to private education makes them blind.

Latin, oh no, waste of time.
Triple science, oh you don't actually need it.
Smaller class sizes, oh there's evidence it's pointless.
Setting, oh there's evidence it doesn't work.

To quote Ben Elton from his hey day 'I sometimes think the British like things to be a bit shit so they know where they are.'

Talkinpeace Wed 06-Mar-13 20:06:34

I have no aversion to Private : I did well out of it after all - but financially its not an option and I'm lucky enough to live in a part of the country with enough MC kids at the state schools to keep standards high

but I totally agree
there is absolutely no excuse for the SMT in any state school to have low aspirations for their pupils.
Wilshaw and Gove plan to advertise how many kids from every state school (including those that stop at 16) get into RG Unis.
Good thing too.
BUT they should also publicise the percentage who do not go onto education beyong 18 and are in permanent work (the plumbers, hairdressers, farm workers etc)

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 20:21:34

I have met narrow minded rich people who think that people are poor simply because they don't work hard enough.

I have met narrow minded white MC people who thinks that there is no such thing as racism in the UK and that the legal system isn't biased against poor people. Double so if you are poor and black.

I have met narrow minded WC people whose only exposure to anything foreign is a curry from their local.

Narrow minded people exist up and down the economic food chain so it's a bit stupid to try to make the point that the other guy is narrow minded because they were state educated or privately educated OR because they are rich or MC or WC.

Talkinpeace Wed 06-Mar-13 20:52:51

"Narrow minded" is also lacking in education.
Havng never encountered lower class or non academic people until I was an adult, I genuinely did not comprehend that some people are just NOT academic or organised, and nothing will make them be so. T'was a bit of a shock starting work at a Building company ;-)
I have worked in places witha huge range of people.
Those who leave private school and go into the Law or the City or Politics never meet those people so do not understand them.

And as an immigrant (albeit a white one) I see some of the stranger attitudes in the UK

MTSgroupie Wed 06-Mar-13 23:22:04

Talking - sorry for being blunt but if, at the.age of 21, you wasn't aware that there were people in this world that are not organized or academic then that says more about you than the system that educated you.

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 23:47:15

"Latin, oh no, waste of time.
Triple science, oh you don't actually need it.
Smaller class sizes, oh there's evidence it's pointless.
Setting, oh there's evidence it doesn't work."

Do people? I thought most people think triple science and setting are a good idea- I certainly haven"t seen many people on here who don't.

I remain unconvinced about Latin- although it is fun. And I am also unconvinced about small classes. Particularly very small ones.

Trippingthelightfantastic Thu 07-Mar-13 00:41:36

Any child can leave any school state or private not understanding a range of people. Plenty of urban dwellers dont undertsand the lot of those who live in a rural location, the rich don't undertsand the poor and the poor don't understand that being rich is not the be all and end all. What one hopes is that education makes you open minded and non judgenmental of all. Reading some commments on MN it seems to me that there are as many state educated people who are narrow minded when it comes to the type of children at and produced by private schools as there are privately educated people who are judgemental about those from the state sector.

seeker Thu 07-Mar-13 06:50:21

Tripping- I agree with you- up until ". Reading some commments on MN it seems to me that there are as many state educated people who are narrow minded when it comes to the type of children at and produced by private schools as there are privately educated people who are judgemental about those from the state sec"

MTSgroupie Thu 07-Mar-13 07:03:48

"up until" that comment? What don't you agree with?

exoticfruits Thu 07-Mar-13 07:18:49

I am very convinced by small classes - but by that I mean about 16 - 20. I don't think that you want smaller than that because you don't have enough people to bounce ideas about, have choice for group work and it is very easy to be spoon fed. If they are too small it can be difficult with the friendship pool and it is very easy to get the 'big fish in the small pool' and friendship clashes if you get two of them.
I used to think that Latin was a waste of time but now I really wish that I had done it because it is so helpful for other subjects.
I would go state and have the money for other things to enhance the education e.g mine had some really good trips to Russia, Canada etc that we couldn't have afforded if they were private. You will also need it for university.
If it has managed to be good for 2-3 years it is jealously going to guard that reputation- the Head and staff will want to be teaching in a good school and not a dreadful one!
Private would worry me in that circumstances might change e.g. friend's DH, in very good job, called in on Friday lunchtime and made redundant with immediate effect- no warning, no inkling.

wordfactory Thu 07-Mar-13 08:36:21

seeker i can assure you that there are certain posters who will argue that anyhting and everything about private school is bad. On principle.

Go to any thread about double/triple science (there are a couple running at the mo) and there will be lots of psoters saying it doen't matter and giving examples of people who only did double and went on to become nobel prize winners. Completely and utterly missing the point of course!

People will tell you their 'outstanding' comprehensive only offers double as if that proves the point. I mean really. How can a school that doesn't value science enough to even offer its most talented scientists a triple option ever be described as 'outstanding'?

As for Latin, it doesn't matter what you or i think about it's relative merits, what matters is that those DC who are interested in classical civilisations should have the opportunity to learn about them whatever sector they find themselves in. Again, how can any school justify this?

We should be hauling these schools over the coals...not awarding them certificates of merit.

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