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Advice on state x private schools

(6 Posts)
smargolis Thu 11-Jul-13 23:13:11

Hi, I'm trying to decide what type of secondary school would be best for my daughter and can't decide whether I should try a good state school or look for independent ones. What difference does it really make (I'm not just talking about quality of education)? What will she miss if she doesn't go to a private school? Will she carry some sort of stigma in certain circles for having been to a state school? Is it about making friends who are rich and well-connected? Will it be easier to get a job in the future for some reason (accent? confidence?)? Sorry for being a bit bold... In my country, the state school system is really bad and the middle class (based on income not background like here) sends their children to private schools without thinking twice. We could afford it, but I just want to understand what is the whole package you get for the investment. Many thanks!

kritur Fri 12-Jul-13 01:28:20

I think the 'package' you get will be very much dependent on the country you're living in. In the UK in most circles there is no stigma about the school you went to. What independent education gives more than anything is a traditional, academic education, a wider range of extra curricular opportunities and the subsequent benefits that brings to a child's personality. There is some 'old school tie' stuff but apart from the top schools that is somewhat on the wane.

AllegraLilac Fri 12-Jul-13 01:30:25

I mof the belief that if you daughter is clever enough she will succeed wherever she goes. I say this as a state schooled Oxford graduate. I'd only send her to private school if she needed the extra help to achieve elite status.

basildonbond Fri 12-Jul-13 08:09:51

It completely depends on the state and private schools you're considering/in catchment for/have a snowball's chance in hell of getting into ...

Firstly I would go and have a look at the state schools you are most likely to be offered - if your dd is musical do they have choirs and orchestras, if she's sporty is the sport provision good, if science is her thing what are the facilities like - you get the picture. Talk to parents who have children there now rather than relying on local reputations which may be several years out of date

I wouldn't go to look at private schools first as it's very hard to look at state schools properly with visions of fantastic facilities floating in front of your eyes

If you don't like or are unsure about the state schools have a look at your private options but don't automatically assume private is better - in some cases it is but not always

I have 2 children on private and 1 in state (complicated reasons) - the main difference apart from the facilities is the teacher:pupil ratio is much higher at the privates. This'd and that the teachers really know your child and it's much harder for them to fall through the cracks. Ds2's class has 34 children and with the best will in the world he can't have the amount of personal attention that children in the independents get - he is however very happy there and exceeding all his targets and is on course to get straight As/A*s at GCSE

smargolis Thu 25-Jul-13 01:11:06

Many thanks for your replies. I think my task now will be to do more research on the available state schools in my area and start preparing her (subtly, without too much pressure) for the entry exams that she will have to face in a few years.

swingofthings Thu 25-Jul-13 16:19:23

We have considered private school for my DD on the basis that she is very academic and I was concerned the local academic wouldn't challenge her enough. She was going to go to a new school regardless (just moved) so friends were not an issue.

I decided to go against private because of finances. The only local private schools I would have considered (the other ones are not worthy of their status) was just too expensive, offering only a 10% reduction in fees with scholarships. It's not that we couldn't afford, it's just that we would have had to make serious sacrifices and I didn't want to make those sacrifices without assurance that it really made a difference. I didn't want my DD to have this holding over her shoulder. Saying that, she's now been adamant she wants to go to medical school. For that, she will need excellent A levels. The two local colleges are not brilliant and it might be that we will have to look at private. However, by then she would have been motivated to go to medical school for 5 years, and I would feel more confident that it was an essential route to it and therefore less likely to feel it was a waste of money (as it is now, she is very happy and doing exceptionally well....for free!)

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