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Private v grammar

(33 Posts)
Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 11:22:17

We face an emotional dilemma! Our eldest son has been offered a place at a great grammar school which is far but has convenient transport link. He has now also been offered a full scholarship at a great selective private school too which is closet in distance but not so convenient a journey. But that's by the by as the more important issue we have is that we have 2 other children that would benefit from the sibling link to grammar school. We could pay for the other 2 to attend the same private school but seems pointless when they stand a chance to get into the grammar school. Money that could be put to something else. Is it worth letting our son go private in spite of the above hurdles?

Popinpopout Mon 27-Mar-17 12:21:31

Which school do you like more?

highinthesky Mon 27-Mar-17 12:24:40

Grammar all the way. I may be slightly biased blush - educated at a grammar myself and now a governor at the same.

How will your other DC benefit from the filial link if they don't score highly enough in the 11+ btw?

AliMonkey Mon 27-Mar-17 12:44:21

It sounds like private will be longer journey / more hassle journey, and presumably having children all at same school once all at secondary would be simpler for all? So I'd say unless the private offers something very specific that would really suit your DC, or the grammar has some specific bad points that wouldn't be good for your DC, then save your money, and send to grammar. And don't forget all the extra costs at the private school which presumably don't get covered by the scholarship (eg school trips costing £000s). But then personally I don't understand why people go private if their state schools are good ones and would only consider it (even though we could easily afford it) if all the state schools around us were ones you'd choose to avoid if possible. I just think good state schools give a better "all round" education (ie not just academic or sporting or whatever, but about life).

Autumnsky Mon 27-Mar-17 12:52:22

Well, I think you should compare the 2 schools and involve DS in the decision. The 2 schools are all great, that's really a good news, but there might be difference, which is better for your DS1?
Don't let the sibling link into the decision, your younger children will take the exam themselves.

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 12:56:04

Oh so hard! I like them both! The heads seem down to earth and, they have great response pastorally. My son would've plumped for the private one before school choice preferences were known a few weeks ago. Mainly because out of the group of choices, it was the school that he knew about more but when he visited both, he liked them both too. Not easy.

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 12:59:14

Thank you all btw for your opinions which have been very helpful given the tumultuous time we're having in making a decision!!!! My son and I are going to visit both schools this week so who knows what his opinion will be by the end of it! Until then, keep them coming! smile

user1489830224 Mon 27-Mar-17 13:02:05

We have experience of both grammar and private at secondary. Grammar - cons - with current and future gov underfunding (esp sixth forms) we found that resources were scarce and classes getting larger. Many state schools will have to reduce the GCSE courses offered and cuts to music/arts in general. Less opportunity for extra curricular activities/parents being asked to pay large amounts cash/buildings in bad state. Pros - more ethnically diverse, generally good teaching and excellent results. Grammars are sometimes in large academy trusts which we didn't like, esp as those trusts are allowed to employ unqualified teachers. Independents, if they are good, will give generous scholarships to students with grammar school offers (will help their league tables) and then look very favourably on scholarships for younger siblings, esp as you say yours may be grammar school standard. Buildings/sport facilities/parent communication/resources all excellent. Lots of extra curricular and extra GCSEs/A levels offered. Teaching we have found to be generally excellent. Important issue for us was much smaller classes. My DD has 10 in her language classes. Full scholarships may also mean free meals and other benefits. Travel - this will become less of an issue if your son is happy at the school and as he gets older. Many indep schools run coach services. I suggest asking parents there what they think of the school and/or going back to have another look round or chat with the Admissions. If a family have different age children at the school it generally shows that the school is popular. This is my experience of state grammar versus independent. Don't be put off by others being negative about indeps. Best thing I ever did and I have never voted Tory!

Autumnsky Mon 27-Mar-17 13:07:55

It's hard then.What subjects your DS1 likes? Then check the subjects GCSE results from both school.From my own little experience, we are choosing 6th Form for DS1 at the moment, a great state college and the private one, both are quite good for science subjects, but come to humanitiy subjects, like history, arts, music etc, the private school is better.I think maybe it is because the small class size?
And also afterschool clubs, which school has the after school clubs that your DS1 would like to attend?
And the background of the family? Is the private school very posh or has similar family background as the grammar school? Which one your DS1 will feel comfortable to be with?

Claireblunderwood Mon 27-Mar-17 13:16:19

I thought grammars didn't have sibling links?

Enidblyton1 Mon 27-Mar-17 13:30:47

Would it be impossible for your first DC to go to the private school and the other two to go to the grammar?

bojorojo Mon 27-Mar-17 13:34:30

Most do not have sibling links. Often there is little point unless a parent lives way beyond catchment.

I would base it on the rounded education and the 'extra' value of the independent school - if any. Certainly look at links through alumni and the number of extra curricular activities.

Independent schools can and do employ unqualified teachers - more than the state sector. You may find the grammar has no unqualified teachers and that would be normal. Draw up the pros and cons of each and see where you get to.

Splinters6 Mon 27-Mar-17 13:39:25

We had this choice and opted for independent. Although there was no sibling priority attached to the grammar school.

The grammar school has superb results for a state school and is one of the top state grammars, results wise, in the country. However, I was shocked at how sparse their facilities were when compared to the independent. They just couldn't compete on what they could offer other than high exam results. I have no regrets but if I couldn't have afforded the fees I would have been very grateful that my son was offered the grammar place.

Bythebeach Mon 27-Mar-17 13:55:34

If it is a good independent, I would go independent. He has a full scholarship and surely deserves the best academic provision you can access for him. State schools are underfunded and classes are large. My eldest is at grammar because I can't afford independent for 3 at secondary and because the secondary independent provision in our town is distinctly lacklustre aimed at the less academic child. Grammar is adequate but it is v easy for a bright child to coast in large classes in my experience. He's doing 'well' by class standards - top 30% - he does no work and his homework is done in a fraction of the recommended time. Teaching is reasonable but in no way inspirational. The attitude of the kids is far more variable and there is more disruption than at my kids' private primary and than I personally experienced at private secondary. Having said that, if your child is focused and motivated (mine really ought to be nudged a lot more but doesn't get it due to demanding siblings and work!) grammar can certainly suffice. How does his place influence siblings' grammar entry? There is no such advantage in our local grammar!

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:15:57

Providing our daughter passes the 11+ in 2 years time, she would have priority sibling link. At present, she has followed the same trajectory as our eldest although I would say she has had to work harder but she possesses the work ethic which our eldest boy typically doesn't have! We live out of catchment so it was nothing miraculous really that our son was offered a place this year! Thanks for all he honest and invaluably helpful comments

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:31:26

Sorry if ive been confusing! Dashing off a reply while chasing after a three year old tests even the most predictive of texts! confused Anyway, just to clarify...I've just double checked the oversubscription criteria. There is a sibling link when brothers and sisters (High School) are currently at the schools plus also a sibling link for brothers (not sisters) who previously went to the school. So if my eldest goes to the grammar then my youngest son would get in he passes the 11+ and my daughter fails. We live way outside the usual cut off distance for the grammar school so nothing SHORT OF miraculous that he got offered a place!

MrsPatmore Mon 27-Mar-17 14:40:50

What do you mean by a 'full scholarship'? 100% of the fees paid? If so, then I would choose the independent for the overall experience and breadth of education offered. If the 'full' scholarship is 50%, ie, the maximum they offer then choose carefully. There are many extras at Independent schools including many expensive trips and activities, uniform etc.

We had this choice (75% discount) and have opted for the super selective grammar. My ds isn't a boy who likes to avail himself of all the opportunities ( he does music, sports and scouts out of school) so to a certain extent, we felt like it would be money wasted on an indie. He also needs to be pushed but we figured we could get tutors when needed with the money saved. Most of the GCSE children we know at independent schools (top London day schools) have tutors outside of school!

The other consideration for us was the social experience - there wasn't the breadth of social or ethnic diversity at some of the independent schools that we would have liked. However, there is no denying that on the whole the independent facilities are fabulous compared to the state schools as a whole. Finally, the journey to the grammar was straightforward whereas the indie bus journey was an hour. It was a very hard decision but we feel at the moment that we've made the right one. Time will tell!

Peonyfan Mon 27-Mar-17 14:47:36

I have three dc, one at a very expensive private school, one SS grammar and one in Sec modern.

It's by no means a huge sample to compare but for me, the grammar wins hands down for teaching quality and pastoral care.

A lot of the teachers are oxbridge, so passionate about their subjects and so committed.

The private school facilities are outstanding but dd doesn't really make the most of it.
We are in the south east (Kent).

The fees are around 22k including the bus and extras. She only goes as has aspergers and although got in to Tonbridge Grammar, needs a bit more TLC.

I suppose you will have to use local knowledge and reviews for each school and weigh it all up.

chocatoo Mon 27-Mar-17 14:51:09

Have you checked the attainment statistics for both schools at gcse and A level? I would probably go for the grammar myself.

Hoppinggreen Mon 27-Mar-17 14:55:54

We turned down a Grammar place in favour of Private for the following reasons
Proximity
Smaller size
More extra curricular activities
DD preferred itwhen she spent time at both
Facilities

Should say though our decision based purely on these 2 schools not Private vs Grammar in general.
2 terms in it was absolutely the right choice

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:58:22

Yes, we've been offered a 100% scholarship for our son.

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 15:01:50

I think it will be a more competitive environment at grammar then the private just because we know other pupils who passed the entrance exam were not considered academic. But they are streamed from the outset so interms of immediate peer group, (scholarship and advanced pupil program) our son will definitely benefit from being in a bigger percentage of bright sparks then he currently is.

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 15:02:17

That's in the private school

Maisie29 Mon 27-Mar-17 15:03:41

It's been hard to gauge the attainment stats to compare but we will drill down to it in our visit to private on Friday. Grammar wise, the school is in the top 100 of league.

grannytomine Mon 27-Mar-17 15:04:55

I don't think you can just vote independent or grammar as schools vary so much. You really need to base it on your view of the schools or name them so if people know they can make a fair judgement.

Sorry not very helpful I know.

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