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How to compare state with private? Failed 11 plus.

(31 Posts)
PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 12:28:35

I've just found out DS's 11plus results this morning - he was 0.28 marks under the pass mark. I've had my head in the sand, hoping he'd get in to the local grammar, so haven't really seriously considered the other options until now.

We're very lucky and could probably just about manage private fees for secondary - but it would mean other sacrifices. To cut a very long ramble short, a few years ago we had some very very lean years which we've just about recovered from, so yes we could manage private but it would be a lot more comfortable not to. Also I think the worry of the unexpected - like losing our jobs or not being able to work because of unexpected illness - will always hang over me.

But then on the other hand, if I do have the money to give him better opportunities then maybe I'm being silly not to consider that. But are the opportunities / outcomes definitely better at private anyway?

I have an older DS who went through state primary and then got a place at the local grammar. My younger DS did state primary until his school bombed and we put him in private school for the last two years, so I now have experience of both private and state.

The online government portal allows comparison but there's no data for the local independent schools, just the state ones.

Is there a way I can find out whether my local state schools are 'better' than my local independent schools?

If you've had to make this decision, how did you go about it and what factors did you consider?

Fionnbharr Mon 16-Oct-17 12:46:34

I think the question you need to ask is whether the particular private school will be better for your DS than the particular state school

Your DS’ 11 plus result plus school reports should give you a feel for where he is in terms of achievement - I am assuming higher ability group. So I would look at how that group is dealt with and how it performs in the local state school. Remember it does not matter much if the local state school only achieves 50% A- C at GcSE provided your DS is fulfilling his potential. Compare that with what you know/can find out about the private school.

In many areas I do not think there is a massive difference between the top streams at the comp and private. But I think the problem in grammar areas is that the “comprehensives” are not comprehensive as a high proportion of the clever kids end up at the grammars.

Can you look at seeing how it goes until 13 maybe with extra tuition and then moving to private for 13 - 16 if it is not workin out and then back into State for 6th form? We know children who started school in UK at 13 with fairly limited English but still did well at GCSE.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 12:58:25

Thanks for posting Fionnbhar, that's a very interesting point re comprehensives in grammar areas losing a lot of clever children to the grammars, I hadn't considered that.

Of the two state schools I'm considering, one has won awards for it's Gifted and Talented scheme (think the scheme has a different name now but not sure) and has a reputation for bright kids doing well. It used to be Ofsted Outstanding but has now gone down to Good. When I went to look round the school it felt huge and depressing, but I think it's difficult to get a true impression of a school when being shown around by a year 8 girl, just looking through class windows (we missed the open evening).

The second state school has improved over recent years and is also now a Good with Ofsted, but it doesn't do as well on the figures in the government comparison portal. But on our visit the school had a nicer feel to it, much smaller, nice spaces e.g. for lunch and socialising, great sports facilities. But I have known of children who left there because they were bullied, there are social problems etc.

My husband hates private school and won't seriously consider it, but it'd be me paying for it so I'm considering it on my own!

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 13:11:09

I really underestimated how miserable I'd feel about him failing the 11 plus. :-(

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 16-Oct-17 13:31:03

I would ignore anything about G & T because the reality is that means the top 10% of the particular cohort for that school. So it depends who makes up that tope 10% especially if the top 20%/10%/5% (depending where you are geographically) has in reality already been creamed off for the grammars.

As well as charts for the the State Schools there are charts for the Independents too that are separate to the Sate school charts and these will even include those schools that do igcses as well as gcses unlike the State School charts that don't include igcses.

So you can make some form of comparison of results.

As you have already had children go through both systems there seems little point rehashing what some of the other benefits of going private are .

As with all schools some private are good, some are not. Some State are good, some are not.

Have you looked at private in the area yet? How do you feel about them and how does your child?

I m sure you are not letting your disappointment show to your child but with such a narrow miss is worth appealing?

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 16-Oct-17 13:31:37

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 16-Oct-17 13:33:33

RavingRoo Mon 16-Oct-17 13:35:46

You need to meet with the school. Around here private schools make kids take 11 plus too (or a version of) for admissions even if they aren’t selective. So consequently your ds might be competing with kids who have passed theirs plus have other ‘talents’ such as music etc.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Mon 16-Oct-17 13:49:43

a couple of things
I would think carefully about the implications of appealing.
Firstly think about how miserable you child would have been if he had got into the grammar but he was at the bottom of their ability range.
"Success" in the 11+ might have led to him feeling like a failure for years
He might instead positively fly when being in a school where he is competing to be at the top and getting praise an attention for that and it is within his achievement range.
Don't assume the teaching at the grammar school is better. There are a lot of student there who will achieve irrespective of the teachers, and who continue private tutoring outside the schools teaching. The end results are not the thing you should be looking at - you should instead look at the value added figures and even then its not a perfect indication.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 14:13:07

Thanks for posting everyone.

I've looked at two of the local private schools - one is Catholic - it gets very good results but I think the Catholic element as well as it being private would be a total no no for my husband. Also it's quite small and I don't think the sporting / music and drama opportunities are great there (and those are important to my DS).

The other private school I've seen just wasn't for me - it had great facilities but not great results and I've heard bad things about it.

There's one more private school locally that I need to go and look at asap.

I really wish I felt more positive about the schools, state or private. I think because DS1 is really happy at the local grammar - I love the school and it's so near our house - that I'm finding it difficult to get beyond that. But I have to move forwards and get over my disappointment.

We appealed for DS1 - he was first on the waiting list - we won our appeal (though he'd have got in on wait list anyway) but he'd passed the exam and in his case I genuinely felt it was the only right school for him. We've been the only family to win an appeal in many years, so I doubt we'd win on appeal again when DS2 is below the pass mark.

Growingboys Mon 16-Oct-17 19:56:55

Following this. We haven't had results from our exams yet but I'm in a similar boat re: private or state.

Interested to see others' views.

Good luck OP. I think the Catholic one sounds great but I'm RC so I would!

Ta1kinPeece Mon 16-Oct-17 20:02:41

If you send him to the local secondary modern (ie the non grammar)
he'll be in with the other kids like him :
- ones who missed by a fraction
- ones who had a bad day
- ones who mature later
some of whom will also have siblings at the grammar.

Go talk to the state school and ask what they do to stretch the "borderline" kids.
If they give good answers, send him there.
If not, cancel family holidays and go private.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 20:55:41

Ta1kinPeece I found your post really helpful. My brain is unhelpfully focussing on all those school friends of his who did get in, so thinking about those other great kids who will be at the local secondary makes me feel better.

I'm now wishing I'd asked better questions at the state school open mornings, hopefully I can get some good answers by emailing.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 20:56:17

Growingboys - good luck, I hope you get good news on results day.

poisonedbypen Mon 16-Oct-17 21:02:06

Have you asked for advice on the eleven plus forum? If you say the area they will advise you on a possible appeal.They are very down on league tables over there.

Ta1kinPeece Mon 16-Oct-17 21:02:25

I'm glad it helped.

I do not live in a grammar area but I know from detailed obsessive looking at schools data
that the top of SecMod schools overlaps with the local selective schools to a degree which proves why I loathe the 11 plus.

Your son was unlucky on one day.
You now have seven years to make him lucky / valued / happy at the school he goes to smile

Ttbb Mon 16-Oct-17 21:09:24

My parents were in your position (could just barely afford provate) and yet sent me. It was the single best thing anyone has ever done for me. A private education gives children much more than grades. 90% of the time you can talk to an adult and be able to tell whether they were educated privately or in a state school. The worst thing that could possibly happen is that you can't afford it after a few years (in which case many schools will offer a bursary anyway) and you may have to pull him out. In that case he would still have had a few years of stop not h education which is still better than nothing. I say go for it,

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 21:23:20

Ta1kinPeece - I wish I had that kind of data brain! I feel like if I sit down and look at all the tables and start making a spreadsheet then maybe I'll be able to make some decent comparisons between private and state.

Ttbb - really interesting perspective, thanks.

Allthebestnamesareused - thanks for posting those links to tables.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 21:27:38

Ttbb - out of interest did your parents spending on your schooling affect what other help they've been (or will be) able to give you e.g. helping you with a deposit on a house?

A dilemma for me personally is that if I choose to spend on private education then that is money that I won't have in future to help children with deposits on houses, and it will also limit my ability to pay off my ginormous stupid mortgage and also limit my options in terms of when I can (if ever!) retire. So a choice to go private now means reduced choices in other areas of life. It's a tricky one!

Ta1kinPeece Mon 16-Oct-17 21:37:42

I wish I had that kind of data brain! I feel like if I sit down and look at all the tables and start making a spreadsheet then maybe I'll be able to make some decent comparisons between private and state.

Its flipping tough
because the data has so many error margins
and schools vary so much within as well as between sectors
and actually the right school for your kid might look crap on the data but be perfect for them grin

FWIW I went to private school and am really pleased with how mine have done out of state schools - the differences between them were a LOT wider 20 years ago than they are now

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 21:45:27

and actually the right school for your kid might look crap on the data but be perfect for them

THIS is the aaarghgghgiest bit for every parent choosing a school. Where's that crystal ball / mystic meg character to tell me which one is right?!

V interesting (and reassuring) to hear that you came from private but chose state for your children Ta1.

Ta1kinPeece Mon 16-Oct-17 21:55:17

TBH 90% of parents have little choice.
Private school fees were never an option if I still wanted the good things in life well most things actually

And my school options were
(a) catchment comp school, commonly known as "yob central"
(b) comp 4 miles up the road that had a few places
(c) that's about it grin

So I made the best of my chances, and gave the kids as many opportunities as I could.
Its all we can do.

PersonAtHome Mon 16-Oct-17 22:47:43

Makes sense Ta1 smile

Sounds like a sensible approach. Good to be reminded that to have a choice at all is very very fortunate. Though I think I might be kidding myself really, thinking I can keep up school fees for the next seven years and then manage uni costs afterwards. sad

MalbecMummy Mon 16-Oct-17 23:12:28

PersonAtHome - you sound the perfect candidate to apply for a Bursary. Have you considered that?

CamperVamp Tue 17-Oct-17 08:46:57

Really sorry about your 11+ disappointment.

But you are right, you focussed to much on it and put too many eggs in that basket. This is the time to quickly re-group.

It sounds as if paying for private would be a risky strategy, causing friction between you and your DH , putting a massive strain on finances, and as you say, you have the Uni years coming up. Perhaps research the expectations for parental contribution. Access to student loans for fees AND living costs are now means tested.

And it doesn't have to be 'grammar or private'. My Dc's have long lists of As and A*s at a comp, and their friends who (going by tne sets they were in) would have been borderline grammar, or even never quite grammar, have done REALLY well, too.

Look afresh at comps, with positive attitude as well as analysis!

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