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What benefit would private education give my DD?

(62 Posts)
Dotty342kids Wed 13-Jul-16 09:56:28


I have two children. Both always been in state education, eldest finishing Yr 8 in good local secondary atm.
DD is just finishing Yr 6 and SATs results confirm what we've always known - that she is very bright and loves learning. (This isn't a stealth boast post - please don't flame me grin )
She's heading to the same local secondary as her brother, which also has an excellent sixth form. I have no doubts that when she's old enough, she'll want to go to Uni.
DH was asking yesterday if we should consider private education for her, as we suspect she'd thrive in a really academic environment and she's always expressed a desire to go. We do not have the money easily available, she'd have to get some sort of bursary and we'd have to scrimp, save and make sacrifices to cover the rest.
DS has never shown an interest in private school and makes it very clear he'd hate to go!
So my question really, is if your child is in private education - what do you feel it gives them that they wouldn't get if they're academically motivated and in a good state secondary? We couldn't necessarily afford the extra curricular / trips etc that would be on offer at the private school, which I know are one of the obvious things that are different to the state sector.

Looking forward to seeing your responses smile

catslife Wed 13-Jul-16 10:26:41

As your child has just finished Y6 you are too late for Y7 entry, but some independent schools take pupils at Y9 and it could also be possible to transfer for sixth form. I wouldn't worry too much though as good comps cater well for bright pupils.

jaguar67 Wed 13-Jul-16 10:51:35

Depends entirely on which state & which independent school you're comparing, TBH. Look at the results & even more importantly, leaver destinations - this is a good starting point. If money's going to be tight, the case for moving to private will have to compelling - and without knowing the schools involved, you could be bitterly disappointed. I have 2 in a very competitive independent & they're both doing just great BUT the class sizes are 26/27+ 'til GCSE. Extra-curricular is great, no question, but in all honesty, you can pursue interests outside. We don't have a decent state alternative, so we've been happy to shell out - but if we did?......... I'd be wary of any school branding itself as academically selective, to have spaces for Yr 7 now, so you've got time to see how things pan out. My hunch will be that your DD will thrive at her new school & won't want to move! Good luck !

sparechange Wed 13-Jul-16 10:55:00

The alumni support and networking opportunities - most private schools will have very established and often global organisations which provide contacts and mentoring. It's the 'old school tie' thing, which can be very useful for getting a foot in the door for certain careers

Gruach Wed 13-Jul-16 11:39:17

When you say your DD has always expressed a desire to go - does this mean you have a particular school in mind, offering a demonstrably better day to day experience and outcome?

Autumnsky Wed 13-Jul-16 11:41:46

I think it will depend on the individual private school. However, I don't think the benefit you get will be worth the money.

If your DD is well motivated and bright, and the secondary school is good, she should be able to do well. You can spend some money on some tutoring, outside school activities etc. And You can also use the saved money for DC's University fee.

We send DS1 to private school as we don't have a good state secondary school, but we will move him to a good state six form.

Badbadbunny Wed 13-Jul-16 11:46:31

It really depends on the individual schools you'd be comparing.

There is no valid state versus private comparison - all state schools are different, all private schools are different.

Some schools are better than others for bright motivated kids whether private or state. Some schools, private and state, have different emphasis on sport - eg a private school or a state school may be heavily sport-orientating which may disadvantage a bright but non sporty child.

A quiet/shy/sensitive child may be more prone to bullying if the school, although good academically, isn't good at stamping out bullying. If the child is very bright and top of the class, again, may be prone to bullying if everyone else in the class is more average. Such a child may be better in a more academic setting where there are lots more like them so they don't stand out.

So, no easy answers. You really have to look at the school. But don't think going private is the answer to all the potential problems, it often isn't.

Autumnsky Wed 13-Jul-16 11:56:37

Yes, I agree the above post. It will depend on the individual school. One of my friend's son went to a good state secondary school with bad history(the school improved a lot over the last few years). He is really good at math, he had great support from his math teacher, took the A level math in Y11, had a very good score in math Olympiad. And he is going to Cambridge this September.

My DS1 is very good at math as well, he enjoyed his private school education very much, however, I don't think he had any additional support. He hasn't been given much extra challenge. I feel his school are good at push all the children to do well, but don't push the most bright ones.

So , don't just think private education is good for your DD, think about the difference of the 2 individual school , which one will be better for your DD.

Dotty342kids Wed 13-Jul-16 14:27:26

Thanks for all the responses so far. She isn't shy - far from it smile - so I am slightly concerned that she may stand out and attract unpleasant attention from other kids in the comp when she pushes herself forwards in class settings. But on the other hand, she may be completely fine. The private school in question is, from all I've heard, very warm and nurturing, whilst having very high expectations for all it's pupils, which I think would suit her down to the ground. But it's a LOT of money when she could equally get great A-level results and head off to a good uni from the state school.
I know we're too late for Yr7 entry and to be honest we've never really thought about it seriously until the SATs results and school report came home and her potential was laid out in black and white if you see what I mean.
I am just mulling the options over and wondering what others see as the USP of the private sector. I do understand the "connections" side of it, and to be honest, that really jars with me from a moral perspective. But I appreciate you want what's best for your own child, and can't ignore how helpful any step up can be smile

jaguar67 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:48:41

I think the 'connections' side of it is reserved for a certain cadre of private school & (dare I say it), boys more than girls. Frankly, the Old Girls' Network, such as it is, at DDs' school certainly wouldn't give either of them a head start over anyone else (NOT, that I was ever looking for this, I stress) - so if I had deemed this a criteria, I'd have seriously wasted my money. I do recognise though, that networking connections exist & again, it's school-dependent.

bojorojo Wed 13-Jul-16 15:33:45

There are lots of things to look at. Firstly, if the "connections" issue feels morally wrong to you, then I really think you do need to think twice. It is what many people want from an expensive education. I can say my DD has benefitted immensely from connections she has made, but it has not been via her individual school. I am delighted because we have no connections whatsoever! Yes, the boys' school networks are stronger but the girls can tap in! In the future, as more girls break into politics, the City, Law, etc girls' schools will become more effective at this. Going to a top independent school also tends to colour who your friends and networking buddies will be through university and beyond. It is often these people, and their parents, who help you out.

You definitely cannot say a bright child will necesarily do better in an independent school. I also feel that some independent schools do want a certain type of conformist child and ones that stand out from the crowd are less well accommodated than you might imagine. Some schools have a certain "type" of child that fits their model. You need to ascertain if a child who pushes herself forward is the type for a nurturing school. She may need a school that allows her personality to flourish but encourages a more collaborative approach to learning.

I always think there is a worry when one child want something that will cause the family to have less disposable income than it otherwise would have had. Although your DS is not interested, at the moment, who is to say he will not add up the sums you have spent on DD in the future and wonder why he did not have £X spent on him. He may not, as a very young person, have wanted it, but he may in 10 years time, be less generous towards you. Did you ever take him to look round an independent school when he was 10 years old? Or do you just favour the child who, by the sound of it, is very up-front with her opinions and lets you know exactly what she wants? Are you happy that the family will have to scrimp and save and that will inevitably further impinge on your DS? What will you say to him now and in the future when he cannot have something or when you have insufficient funds to pay for a school trip for him or his university top-up living costs? I would not be putting myself in your position and I think I would look to move for A levels only - and offer this opportunity to both your children.

If the state school has a good 6th form, you are in a very good position. University entrance is about results and applying for the best university you can get into. Independent schools are good at that, but you really can do the university research yourself and the private school may not have any advantage over a very good state school. You can aim high from whatever school she goes to so long as the teaching and results are good. I would treat them equally, save the money you would have spent, and spend it fairly on both your children, not just the one who is asking for it.

PettsWoodParadise Wed 13-Jul-16 21:32:17

We had a very capable girl in a supposedly nurturing and academic indie that goes from 5-18. She is delighted she has left. The reasons are numerous, mostly academic. DD is very much looking forward to attending state school from September. We are looking forward to being able to finally do work on our home beyond emergency repairs. So OP I mention this as the grass can often seem greener whichever side you are on.

HocusLotus Wed 13-Jul-16 22:45:29

"I think the 'connections' side of it is reserved for a certain cadre of private school & (dare I say it), boys more than girls"

And dare I say it - massively overstated even then.

As PPs have said , if you are prepared / able to pay for a private school , all you can do is look at the state / private options available to you. The simple benefit looking at private schools gives you is that it gives you a wider choice of schools. Other than that it is simply 1 school v another. Private per se is not a benefit.

1805 Wed 13-Jul-16 23:17:00

It's worth asking for sept entry.
We did this with ds at the end of his y3. We had a "straw that breaks the camel's back" thing happen at his primary school, phoned up the private school some boys attended that we know, looked round the empty school as they had already finished for the summer, showed some of ds's work to the head, and he started in the september!!
If your dd is bright and will be a credit to the school - and they have space - you might get lucky. Worth a shot I reckon. Good luck.

swingofthings Thu 14-Jul-16 07:49:17

What are your reasons that your daughter expressed for wanting to go to the private school?

DD finished Y6 top of her class (out of 105 children), we then moved town and she attended the local comp, which is ok, but overall results only just above national. As she didn’t know anyone at all when she first started, she initially felt a bit self-conscious about being teased for being clever, which indeed, she was a bit, but the kids got to know her for the whole person she is, not just her results (as much as she learnt more about them) and shortly became a well-liked kid and respected for her ability. She actually offered tutored time, approved by the teachers to some other GCSE pupils because some said that she could explains things better than some teachers.

She will attend 6th form at an independent school which promotes itself as free private school which is extremely popular and therefore very selective (somehow they are able to be so on the basis of academic results). DD best friend from primary school, who was also very academic went to the local private school as her mum was worried that the local comp wouldn’t help her flourish to the best of her ability, although by doing so, they had to make changes to their lives as they are not well off. Ironically, she has now said that she doesn’t want to stay there for 6th form and her mum also think that the independent school will be best for her, so DD and her will be together again. Her expected GCSEs results are not expected to be as high as DD. I know that private school is not just about GCSE results and she would have gained valuable experiences being there for 5 years, but it was the reason they chose private over the local comp, so not sure how they feel about the £50K or so they would have paid for those 5 years.

JasperDamerel Thu 14-Jul-16 08:12:33

I think it depends a lot on your local schools, but I think that in a choice between a good local comprehensive and a good local independent, the child who will benefit most won't be the highly academic child but one who is a bit more average and gets overlooked in a bigger school.

If the comprehensive tends to send pupils each year to very competitive courses after A-levels, then she'd probably do well there.

marmiteloversunite Thu 14-Jul-16 08:21:53

Are you looking at single sex or mixed independent schools? I think girls can flourish in single sex schools and do not see any subjects as the 'boys' subjects. They study what they are good at rather than being swept along in stereotypical subjects.

Independent schools are always open for business do it is not too late for September.

OhTheRoses Thu 14-Jul-16 08:39:10

OP our ds is academically gifted, sporty, musical, at Oxford now. Where we lived there were no options for boys but there were state options for girls. DS went to one of the most selective independent schools in the country; DD to a girls comp that is considered the holy grail. We felt we sent each of them to the best possible schools for their individual characteristics. DD was very unhappy and we pulled her after two years and sent her to a private school. Only now is the deep seated resentment that she feels her brother was favoured emerging.

My honest advice - if you can't afford it for both don't. Our decision wasn't based on money - I think the resentment would be greater if it had been.

Give your daughter extras re extra curricula and tutoring but don't treat them unequally in the context of their overall education. They don't necessarily articulate their perceived injustice until much later. And for DD it was only two years but there is a lasting effect.

goodbyestranger Thu 14-Jul-16 08:46:44

Roses has your DD achieved less well and attributes that to her two years in state ed?

OhTheRoses Thu 14-Jul-16 08:52:32

No, it's more of a self esteem thing. Her results have been slightly lower and she works harder. Predicted 2x A* and 2 x A at A'Level. He got equiv of 5 A* - only ever really worked hard in upper 6th.

Liz09 Thu 14-Jul-16 09:04:10

I went to a private school, and I have no idea what these "connections" are. My headmaster was well connected with universities etc, so when I was having issues with my university, he was able to advise me on the route to take and offered help if I had to go further. But, aside from that, I've not benefitted from any apparent connections.

However, the learning environment was substantially better than that which I experienced at the two Catholic (semi-private) schools I'd been to previously. They were awful, full of hostile students and teachers, and parents who ensured that children who were from single parents, poorer families etc. had nothing to do with their children, even when it came to sports. The education was sub-par and the schools made no effort to address each child's needs individually.

Moving to a (small) private school was the best thing I ever did. The teachers were bloody fantastic; so invested in their students, and interested in them at a personal level. The students were awesome: no bullying that I ever saw or heard of, and no "group hierarchy" in the grades. There were groups, but everyone mingled and had friends outside of their groups/grades. The discipline was fair and consistent and truly worked in getting you to pull your socks up, if that was needed (and it was for me, at first - I had developed into a model student by Grade 12). They actively encouraged extracurricular activities: sports, hobbies, groups, organising the formal/BBQs, fundraisers etc. I cannot overstate how wonderful and worthwhile it was. However, I'm aware that this isn't all private schools. Some of them are hideously awful, but I think the smaller private schools are generally quite good.

RhodaBull Thu 14-Jul-16 09:07:45

Wouldn't send one and not the other. Terrible message which will come back to haunt you.

I wouldn't choose private school unless the private school was very good indeed or the state options were bad. Where we used to live the pupils emerged from the comprehensive smoking, snogging, tattooed... Plus they had to do compulsory GCSE PE. I would have paid to avoid that school.

My friend's dcs went to a very good London day school. She says that the major advantage it gave them was the opportunity for some really fancy holidays with their friends' parents. One dc is currently spending gap year in apartment of friend's father in New York. Results of local comp here exceed many private schools, but a holiday with friends is more likely to be in someone's parents' caravan than in Cap d'Antibes.

Dotty342kids Thu 14-Jul-16 09:10:27

Thanks for all your responses and experiences, it's good to hear a variety of views.
She has always been interested in the private (single sex) school as she knows that there would be smaller classes and there'd be a more academic environment which she'd like. She has never enjoyed the mix of boys and girls as she says the boys just mess around a lot, and she also finds the wide range of abilities in state education a challenge. She's the kind of child who loves it when they are told to work under "test conditions" (eg. in silence!). Nothing like her brother (or parents!) grin

I take on board what some of you are saying about equality of opportunity for both though, and would never want DS to feel that he was disadvantaged by us not giving him opportunities because of the financial impact of sending her private.

GetAHaircutCarl Thu 14-Jul-16 14:30:29

What you get when you go private is choice.

So you can choose an academically selective school if you feel that will be a good fit. This will provide a critical mass of like ability peers.

swingofthings Thu 14-Jul-16 16:57:33

She has never enjoyed the mix of boys and girls as she says the boys just mess around a lot, and she also finds the wide range of abilities in state education a challenge.
That reason would actually lead me to think that comp was a better choice. Unfortunately, dealing with the wide range of ability is adapting to normal life. DD has learnt to appreciate people for their different abilities, some which she doesn't have and that she could get as much reward from helping others not as fortunate as her to improve their grades then she does getting a top mark herself.

DD knows that she is lucky to be clever, but that it doesn't make her better than other people, and that's probably why she gets along with people of any age, sex, culture, background and intellect. I believe this learning is worth so much more than any additional academic learning she could have got from going to a private school.

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