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If you could pay for GCSE or A level but not both what would you do

(40 Posts)
struckwithindecision Thu 18-Jun-15 13:27:54

We have recently failed to get our son into the state secondary we wanted.

We are left with a choice of the local failing primary or private school. Private is never a route I wanted to go for a variety of reasons. One of which is cost of course as he has younger siblings.

I'm now wondering whether to think we will pay up to GCSE then move to a local college. Or move to private at A level. I can see arguments to fit with any of these options so I wondered what your opinions are. I have no experience of private schools.

Alternatively go state and move if its not going well but hard to assess this. Dis very bright but also quiet and does not make friends easily.

Millymollymama Thu 18-Jun-15 14:06:12

Lots of dilemmas! Firstly, is the failure of the primary school a 'blip' or is it in and out of 'requires improvement' or worse? Has is made any improvement since it was inspected? Did the inspection criticise the year group you want. I am confused that you are comparing a secondary you did not get into with a primary. Did you mean a failing secondary? If so, I think going private is an option to take but some private schools are not that hot either. If it is one that only goes up to GCSE, then you will have no problems about leaving for 6th form. However if everyone goes into the 6th form and that gas much better results than the local college,you won't want to leave.

Therefore the answer is, if you can't afford both, I think GCSEs might be the best way. However leaving at 16 may be a big problem when you get to it. Friends and teaching methods will have been established. So, no easy answer. I think you have to decide where you child will fit in best, whether you can afford the extras at the private school and also perhaps go where the better results are likely to be gained for GCSE. Is there only one choice of private school? GCSE results open the door for A levels but taking a child away from a private school is usually pretty difficult and not guaranteed to succeed. Is the 6th form college a good one and get excellent results and top class destinations for students? I would try and save up to do the whole 7 years.

titchy Thu 18-Jun-15 15:29:33

Start him at the state and then see how it goes. Private unlikely to have spaces for September anyway if they're any good.

Extra tutoring for either common entrance to private at 13 if he doesn't settle, or for GCSEs if he does might be a plan to run with for the time being.

struckwithindecision Thu 18-Jun-15 15:46:49

Sorry I mean secondary. It's level 3. Was level 2 but failing since last ofsted and new head and results down.

It's a run down school and compares poorly to private in terms of facilities. There is no sixth form at the school we've been allocated but there is at the one we wanted.

Local private schools are excellent and do have spaces but to privately educate 4 would cost 320000 over the years. We can't afford that! We could however afford one or two at a push.

I agree it may be hard to leave private for A levels. How about the other way round. If he's clever in theory he should achieve at GCSE then could pay for A levels which are harder.

Alternatively just move to private in year 8 or 9 if things are not working out. I'm so stressed. I wish I'd never looked aroubd the private schools now.

Patricia909 Thu 18-Jun-15 17:15:18

Your DC will only have one chance at a secondary education. If the secondary school you have been allocated is going down hill but not yet in special measures, it is likely to get worse before it gets better. So your DC could well "lose" Y7 and Y8 before the school is turned around by a new management team. That will make it hard for him to get the GCSEs he needs to get into 6th form. My inclination would be to send him private for Y 7-11 and then move to state for 6th form. State 6th forms are all pretty good. There will be lots of movement then so he will not be alone and he will adapt. If you do it the other way round he may not have the grades to get into a decent 6th form. This all presupposes that the private option is a good school.

cricketballs Thu 18-Jun-15 17:25:17

What is the reason for drop in Ofsted rating? Many schools have been dropped a grade recently so look deeper than just the headlines. Same with the league table figures - look at the value added rather than just the headlines; it could be due to the new (for the latest figures) of going to fully terminal, lower ability group etc

When you visited the school - what did you feel about it? What does your DS want?

bikeandrun Thu 18-Jun-15 17:35:59

I work in an over subscribed 11-18 school, which is rated outstanding . It is generally much easier to get a place at sixth form than it is lower down the school. Every year we have quite a few students who have been at a private school 11-16. Most of them settle in really well and get excellent results.

ragged Thu 18-Jun-15 17:38:52

What does your son want to do?

struckwithindecision Thu 18-Jun-15 18:28:46

Well perhaps I shouldn't have shown him all the schools. Obviously when faced with all singing hogwarts style school vs run down 1060's building he would prefer the former. Given the choice though he would like to be with all of his friends in the outstanding state secondary. He's the only boy in a year of 90 in his primary not to have a place there.
If it was just him it would be an easy choice but less so when we have 4 children to consider. Paying would literally mean no holidays, me working more days until I'm at least 60 etc. Family leasure time would be gone. For example we recently had a family weekend to alton towers that cost 500 pounds. That sort of thing would be impossible. I know education is important but so is the bigger picture.
No option seems right. We were confident of winning our appeal so it's been difficult and my son is very upset.

Preciousbane Thu 18-Jun-15 19:07:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

struckwithindecision Thu 18-Jun-15 19:33:03

Yes he will stay on the list.
I certainly feel we have to give them all the same chance. I suppose there's an outside chance our second son could get in. He's currently year 5. Any other year first son would have a place it's just as school 2 has got worse school 1 has got better.
I know they are trying to improve. I'm trying hard to see past the very run down shabby building and look at what is going in inside it.

HowDoesThatWork Thu 18-Jun-15 22:23:29

The league table data now has a low/middle/high attainers breakdown. It may turn out that high attainers do well at this failing school and that it is failing in other areas.

If you give the names of the two schools you would get second opinions on the data.

struckwithindecision Fri 19-Jun-15 07:05:54

Ok it's Bramhall high school. We wanted cheadle hulme high school.

struckwithindecision Fri 19-Jun-15 07:10:33

There were logistical reasons for wanting cheadle hulme. Our appeal did not mention the schools academic status. I won't go into to the other reasons here as that's a different thread.

NewsreaderChic Fri 19-Jun-15 07:17:37

I would firstly find out how far along the waiting list you, there are always people who accept places and then change their minds even at outstanding schools. IF not I'd go private for years 7-11, you might have to accept the private school place now and give it up if offered a place at your favourite place in a few weeks, which means paying for a term. You might also start the private school and take up a place at the state school if a place comes up over the next few years.

Then He'll have a good grounding and you can go state for sixth form, he could even travel over towards Trafford and go to one of the grammars.

struckwithindecision Fri 19-Jun-15 07:56:21

He's number 12 but 27 would have to leave as the school let 15 in on appeal. It's our closest school. ITa so frustrating to be debating spending this kind of money when we wouldn't need to if he'd have got into chhs. Any other year before now he would have got in hence our complacency prior to this.

ragged Fri 19-Jun-15 08:01:32

Does your budgeting take into account bursary offers?

if money is that tight, you need to ask private all-singing school about a bursary (fee reduction). The posher schools offer them.

You have to be completely open about your income & assets to apply.
Bursary can be quite generous and the school may offer more if they think your child is especially clever or capable in some way.

ragged Fri 19-Jun-15 08:02:02

ps: bursaries are means tested, but can be adjusted depending how much they want the kid.

struckwithindecision Fri 19-Jun-15 08:13:50

We wouldn't get a bursary. The huge money worries are related to having 4 children. One would be ok. Two money would be tight. Three would see us struggling and me working full time until I'm 65. Four impossible really.

Preciousbane Fri 19-Jun-15 08:18:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ragged Fri 19-Jun-15 08:19:49

As long as you're sure you've checked the bursary option closely.
Huge decision, but long term, could you move house to make a place in school you like more secure?

Andcake Fri 19-Jun-15 08:20:00

Just wanted to add what I did personally - I was at an ok ish state til GCSEs and then at private for a levels. I think I got better a levels than if I'd stayed at the other school, they were more supportive of the uni admin process, learnt a few things that probably have helped my career ( as people assume I'm posher than I am) and ended up with 2 sets of friends.

senua Fri 19-Jun-15 08:30:51

DS is very bright but also quiet and does not make friends easily.

KS3 can be horrible for children like this but you will find that, by KS4, they will have formed a friendship group. Actually, I think KS3 is horrible for most children.
Put your money into moving house so you don't have this problem for subsequent DC and it might also increase his chances when a space does come up.

struckwithindecision Fri 19-Jun-15 08:33:00

Interesting ankcake. Of course four lots of sixth form cheaper to fund.
A headteacher friend said that he considers GCSE to be easy so pay for the hard but (A levels). But private I think gives you a certain motivation to succeed. Hopefully someone may pop up and tell me bramhall high isn't that bad after all.
I'm at work today so will check back on this thread later. Tonight we are going to sit down and consider numbers.
We looked at moving last year but when everyone who wanted to got into the school we stayed put. Then after a poor ofsted by BHS everyone suddenly wants CHHS which is why we are in this position.

senua Fri 19-Jun-15 09:17:41

The school got a 'requires improvement' in Oct 2014. They had a monitoring inspection in Mar 2015 which said the school "have acted with a sense of commitment and urgency to improve the school towards becoming ‘good’." so it seems that they are starting to turn it around.
They get above-average results: 62% got 5GCSEs compared to the national average of 53.4%. High attainers got 90%. All this before the kick up the backside.

It may not be as good as the other one but it's certainly not the worst school in the country. Not sure that private fees would be worth it. Put your money towards tutoring instead.

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