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Boarding to state school - 6th form

(9 Posts)
TapasGirl Tue 22-Apr-14 22:44:06

Hope you can offer me some advice.

DS currently boarding (yr 10). Has been private most of his school years.
We are not wealthy and have worked hard to support the fees but coming to the conclusion that as DS is not academic (and quite lazy) we are not doing him (or us in the longer term) any favours by funding his 6th form education.

I feel strongly that he has received a good education and all that we can possibly offer and that he now needs to embrace the real world. I think the money we spend on his 6th form education could help us assist him going forward.

So why do I feel so awful about taking him out for 6th form. He loves his friends, is really happy etc etc. and will not even talk about the possibility of changing schools for 6th form. He doesn't have a great deal of confidence which is one of the reasons we sent him to private school as felt it might help.

I think we are putting off the inevitable - he will have to come out of school one day anyway.

Any words of wisdom will be appreciated.

PinkBolly Tue 22-Apr-14 23:03:19

Hmmmm. Ultimately uou have to do what's right for you as a family.

Way way down the line in private primary where we are at now I do know of one family who has taken their DC out if year 5 into state as they recognise the year 6 testing and applying for secondaries will be just too hard for her DC to bear - her DC is an adorable child whom I warm to and think great things of. However knowing this child I do recognise that the mother has made exactly the right decision here and her DC will get a further FULL year of education in state rather than being pushed through the rigorous testing and ultimate useless school play preparations that follow - if you look at it coldly then private for y6 for her child money better spent underpinning and encouraging a fuller ground base in education. She's made a good call.

Could be that you are doing the same.

At thebendcif the day you gave to be practical and pragmatic about these decisions.

In the long term I have absolutely n

PinkBolly Tue 22-Apr-14 23:03:48 doubt that her DC will go on to great and good things.

BlueStringPudding Tue 22-Apr-14 23:34:25

Both my DDs went from private day senior school to state sixth form, and for them both it has been a good move where they have developed their independence.

However they were both really keen to go, and had been state educated up to age 11 too, and so had friends they knew at the college.

Nonetheless, it has been a big transition for them and there is a big difference between GCSE and A level, and I think if they'd been unhappy about the move, then there would have been plenty of distractions, and they could easily waste their time there. They also get less teaching hours per subject than their friends who stayed for private sixth form.

I think you need to find a way of persuading your DS that this is something he wants to do. If you can't and you can afford to pay for the final 2 years' fees, then you might be best
leaving him where he is and letting him become more independent when he goes off to university. I hire graduates, and see a lot of CVs with an obvious performance dip at A level, so this is a tough time, where he would benefit from more rather than less support.

happygardening Tue 22-Apr-14 23:37:33

I would feel awful if I was in your situation. From reading your OP your not taking him out because you literally can't afford it but because you dont want to carry on paying for it and think the money could be better spent.
Have you talked to him about it? Have you considered the enormous change he's going to experience changing from a boarding school (especially if he's been boarding most of his school life) to a state day school especially if the change is not voluntary? My DS boards he will tell you it's the friendships you make that are one of the most important aspects of boarding and your now going to take him away? You say he doesn't have a great deal of confidence do you really think taking him away from his school and friends will help? You also say he's not academic and quite lazy I'd be encouraging him to buck his ideas up if he wants to stay, the school must have minimum grades he has to get to continue into the 6 th form spell it out to him; if you don't get B's (or whatever) at GCSE in your chosen A level subjects you won't be going back, talk to his tutor and HM, get them to put a plan in situ to help him work harder and perhaps in a more organised way, put the ball in his court, you want to stay ok pull your finger out take your feet off the desk and prove to us and the school that you should stay and that we're spending our money wisely.

summerends Wed 23-Apr-14 06:05:57

There is an often repeated mantra here that education from a good private school is not all about academic results but also about other opportunities that may help in later life. If you believe that your DS's school is a good one then as HG says have a frank discussion with your DS about the effort he needs to make to remain there but make the academic targets realistic for him. He may feel that he is unable to achieve academically what you expect from him. Perhaps suggest that he makes the most of other opportunities at his present school.
At the same time take him to visit sixth form alternatives on the open days. He might of his own volition be ready for a change in year 11.
Don't forget that teenagers develop a lot from year 10 to year 13 so he still has a lot of changes to make.

happygardening Wed 23-Apr-14 08:22:58

Have the school not commented on how he's doing academically? Is he actually lazy or is he struggling to organise the would of work. DS1 went to an "outstanding " state comp, he was being made to do 12 GCSE's, he just couldn't organise himself and the work load, he was also constantly struggling with one subject and this seemed to hang over him all the time and he constantly worried about it he was bit like a rabbit in the headlights. The school wouldn't let him drop it (it wasn't a core subject). I personally feel if like DS2 (boarding school) he'd only done 9 subject then he would have got better grades. Now at 6 th firm college he's only doing 4 in subjects he likes and he's really much happier, more confident, working so much harder and doing so much better. How much help does he actually get organising his work load? When I helped my DS1 devise a prep time table that made a difference, children at boarding school are often expected to organise their prep themselves, they may be supervised but this doesn't mean that they are routinely helped to be organised. You and he must know what the grade requirements are for the 6 th form, even fairly non selective schools insist on a B in your chosen A level subject, if you think he's not going to make the minimum requirement then you need to speak to the school to discuss you options. What measures are they going to put in place to help him? You've got over a year to go, if there's a significant problem they should be doing something lets face it they have him all day every day.

Bunbaker Wed 23-Apr-14 08:35:58

PinkBolly your friend is mistaken if you think that there is less pressure in year 6 in state schools. From January onwards DD did practise SATS tests just about every day. When the SATS finished they did some fun stuff. There are also countless threads on mn from parents concerned about the SATS pressure in year 6.

Tapasgirl I think trying to settle in to a new school and all the problems of making new friends, coupled with the extra work that doing A levels brings might be counter productive, especially if your son doesn't have a lot of self confidence. Do you know any of his current friends and do you like them? What if he starts mixing with the "wrong crowd" at state school?

TapasGirl Wed 23-Apr-14 20:28:55

You have all given me food for thought - thank you. I was expecting everyone to say 'yes just change him, he has to get into the real world' so perhaps I'm not doing too much wrong.
As I said before we aren't wealthy (as so many of his peers are) and have made sacrifices to send him to the school which is what concerns me going forward when he will need help with deposits on houses and we can't do this as we have paid for school fees.

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