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Moving from private prep to state secondary

(38 Posts)
boygirl118 Tue 06-Mar-18 14:34:31


Our son is at a prep school. At the end of his time there (next year) we are considering sending him to our local state secondary. It is a pretty good school and I have heard positive things about it. We will of course go to see it on the open evening.

What I wanted to find out is if anyone has made a similar decision and if it worked out (or not). Our son is bright and enjoys sport. Although I can see he is starting to tire of the how competitive it is getting at the prep school. He also isn't that self motivated but then he is a 9 year old boy!

One of the main reasons for our thinking about this move is that we would like him to be educated with a more eclectic mix of children. We feel his current school is a bit of a bubble of entitlement.

This is simply our personal choice. There is no right or wrong when choosing state or private. I would like to hear about any experiences.


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BubblesBuddy Tue 06-Mar-18 14:53:55

I know lots of people who have done this, albeit mostly to state Grammars. I know there are prep educated children around here who go to the state secondary moderns at 11. I assume the parents cannot continue with Private fees.

However it’s perfectly possible and if you think DS would be happy, then go for it. No one is going to keep asking where he came from. Most children find their tribe and he would find his niche.

My DD1 went from state to Private at 11 and was the only one in that year who did. It didn’t matter because she fitted in. So judge the school on its merits and book some great holidays if you get a bit of spare cash!

Bexter801 Tue 06-Mar-18 14:58:39

I went from a private boarding school to a state secondary,and I loved it smile....I couldn't believe how 'so down to earth' everyone was. How I wasn't pushed to My absolute limits at each and every subject,just encouraged and given help,when needed. It was the best move for me personally when I was a kid.

theredjellybean Tue 06-Mar-18 15:06:27

I did it with dd2, went from private country boarding prep to grammar school.
Best move ever... Bigger school, much more independence encouraged, as a family we were able to do so many things such as interesting travel... Hiked the Inca trail with her aged 12. As we had free cash as no school fees.
Nice balance of friendships, my dd certainly realised quickly what a privileged life she had!
Only downside is lack of sport, much less on curriculum. We filled that with more outside school stuff but meant much more ferrying about for us.
Also shorter holidays... But small price to pay.

boygirl118 Tue 06-Mar-18 15:21:33

Our local state school isn’t a grammar. We don’t have any near us. This is one the other things that’s putting me off the private system. The private schools near us are hot houses with children being tutored within an inch of their lives to get in. Something I not prepared to do! So the other private option are 40/50 mins away and that just seems crazy travel time to me. Also that means few local friends.

It’s funny we have been asked if it’s a money issue by people we have told about our idea of moving to state. Which sums up what I don’t like about the way people at my sons school see things. We couldn’t possibly just want our son to be happy locally it must be a money issue! Which it isn’t.

Yes I’ve thought about the sport and extra curricular element would have to do more outside of school.

I guess I’m afraid I’m being naive. confused

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Taffeta Tue 06-Mar-18 15:32:55

I think you’re making a very sensible choice - don’t listen to the twits who think it’s money related.

I too went from private boarding school to local comp and utterly adored it. Despite everyone at boarding school leading me to believe I’d be eaten alive. Bollocks!!

My DS is at a SS state grammar and I reckon at least 30% of his cohort are from preps.

If it’s a good state school and you’ve visited and can see him fitting in there, I think it’s an excellent choice.

Onmarthasvineyardsound Tue 06-Mar-18 15:33:21

We are also considering this for our son. He is in year 7 at a boarding prep school and has a conditional offer to a top boys boarding senior school. Unfortunately ,he has missed out on our local grammar school so he would have to attend a school which is considered very poor.

I am sure once he is there it won't be as bad as we expect . I am hopeful that they will be glad to have such an able boy.

CallYourDadYoureInACult Tue 06-Mar-18 15:44:20

You have to look at the actual schools. You can have one idea in principle and the reality is very different.

You may look at the state school and suddenly the decision will be made - it may suit your son down to the ground, or it may not be right for him at all.

The same thing will go for the private schools. You say that you are (very sensibly) not prepared to hothouse him. It may therefore be the case that he may not get in anyway.

However, children change a lot at this age; he may hit his academic stride, get into the private secondary easily. Then you seem to be in the lucky position of choosing what school is right for your son.

Other thing to consider is whether he will get a place at the state. Round where we are the catchment areas are tiny. It was no use us deciding that we wanted our DCs to go to the lovely state secondary as there was no chance of us getting in.

maz99 Tue 06-Mar-18 15:57:20

I moved my DD to a state school after being privately educated since Reception.

She has loved it, especially the larger year group from 48 in year 6 to now approx. 400 in the state school (year 8).

She is in top sets for all core subjects (English, Maths, Science), and the state school does also offer a wide range of after school clubs.

I personally prefer the state school, especially since they have been more open about my DD’s results and ability level - which is something I didn’t get from the previous 2 private schools she attended.

boygirl118 Tue 06-Mar-18 17:07:08

Thank you all for your responses. It’s really great to hear such positive stories. grin

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Bufferingkisses Tue 06-Mar-18 17:20:58

Sorry to be the doom monger!

I moved from private to state. Honestly it changed my life. I was bullied and ridiculed all The way through secondary because of my history. Teachers didn't help by singling me out "oh buffering will know this with her background.. ." Cue whole class turning to stare.

I definitely feel I'd have been fine in either all the way through but switching was cruel. It has had a lifelong effect on me. I'm intelligent but naturally hide it out if fear of ridicule. I have awful self esteem. I wasted my secondary years hiding and trying to avoid lessons. Consequently my further education suffered and it has taken me years to get to even the first step of where I could have been starting out.

I had the option for my dc to go to private but didn't in case I couldn't afford it all the way through. Too much of a risk imo.

Onmarthasvineyardsound Tue 06-Mar-18 17:27:47

Your post has worried me, I am sorry to hear that you had such a difficult time. As I said we are currently trying to decide what to do for our son. I am worried about this outcome.

boygirl118 Tue 06-Mar-18 17:48:27

Bufferingkisses I am sorry to hear you had such a hard time. Did you parents know this was happening?

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Draylon Tue 06-Mar-18 17:55:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spacecadet48 Tue 06-Mar-18 17:56:14

We moved our DS to our 'sought after state' at sixth form from a private school. It was truly awful, he was still learning the syllabus the week before his A level, he was looked down upon as he questioned them and they didn't like it. He was advised that he was setting his standards too high with uni choices and didn't want him choosing RG. They didn't support or value extra curricular and when he went out and got rugby sponsorship with two other boys for the school they didn't even acknowledge his effort and focused on the two other boys. Don't get me wrong my DS is bloody hardwork and at times a right lazy .... but his other school new that but never stopped trying with him to reach his potential. I should have left him at a school where his opinions were valued and he was pushed to always do better. My DS ended up switching off. He passed his A levels but not enough to get into his chosen uni and he decided to stay at home, self study and re sit them. This he did and got A* and got better uni offers with him being at home than he did when he was at school! Now don't get me wrong a lot of other DC did the same and did very well with the move, however it doesn't always work for all.

Bufferingkisses Tue 06-Mar-18 20:27:55

Sorry, had to sort DC. My parents knew some of it, I struggled to tell them all of it because I didn't want them to knock themselves out paying for me to go back (I was that sort of child).

The problem is every person and every situation is individual. I was not resilient or self assured. If I had been the outcome would have been different. Also each school is different, had my teachers been sensitive it could have been different. Again groups of children are different, a group less hung up on certain things wouldn't have treated me the way they did.

I suffered a "perfect storm" of events. Of course it's possible that another dc will suffer the same however it is most likely that most outcomes will be somewhere in the middle with a few excellent outcomes.

My sharing wasn't meant to stop you, more to warn you to go in with your eyes - and communication routes - wide open.

boygirl118 Tue 06-Mar-18 20:48:54

Thank you very much for such an honest message. I really appreciate the advice.

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Yvest Tue 06-Mar-18 20:51:32

We’ve done it with both of ours and no regrets at all. It’s one of the top performing comps in the country and although the sport, music and drama aren’t as good as they would be in private school it’s a very very good school with a lovely ethos and both children have settled well and have a lovely group of friends. Eldest is predicted all 7,8 &9’s and he has great teachers and is ambitious for his future as are all his friends. I’m very glad we’re not paying even though we could afford to.

borntobequiet Tue 06-Mar-18 21:01:18

We used to get this at the school I taught in.
Child attends prep school aiming to pass 11+ to Grammar.
Child fails 11+, shock horror for some.
Child enrols at our school, is happy and well taught.
Child gets good GCSEs, enters 6th form.
Child gets acceptable/good A level grades.
Child goes to University, gets good degree, all is well.
OK sometimes (rarely) it didn't follow this pattern but because of other circumstances.

mumsiedarlingrevolta Tue 06-Mar-18 21:06:26

Both my DS and DD did this-both were fantastic moves.

They are happy and thriving.

DS great results and represented GB in his sport from his secondary and now at RG Uni (MN holy grail)

DD in L6th. It is an Outstanding local school but so many opportunities and she loves it. Best thing we ever did.

BubblesBuddy Tue 06-Mar-18 21:43:44

I think, op, that if you feel out of place continuing with Private, then don’t do it. I don’t think individual teachers in a secondary school do not have a clue which school a child has come from. Why would they? It’s not discussed in a staff meeting!

Don’t assume angst over education is confined to the private sector. There’s plenty of competitive parents in state schools! Some would jump immediately from state to Private if they could. Don’t assume all parents will be like you.

I did say that it made me wonder what the money situation was when parents accepted a secondary modern. They might as well not have paid a penny because you could get straight in and clearly it wasn’t a fast track to a grammar school. So what did the prep actually get? I tend to think that with admission to the grammar schools too. Anyone would think state primary children can’t get into them. They can. Only pay if you get something extra whether that’s destination school or something special regarding teaching and extra curricular.

boygirl118 Wed 07-Mar-18 17:38:35

BubblesBuddy Thanks. I agree with you. the reason we went to prep for our son was smaller classes and more sport. But he is very different now at 10 to what he was at 4/5.

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spacecadet48 Thu 08-Mar-18 07:05:15

*Bubbles" depending on what state you choose some do know where your DC is coming from. In London a large number of schools have their own supplementary form you complete. A lot of the schools do tests as they take a selection from across each band and some offer music and sports scholarships. For some on this thread they moved to and 'outstanding state'. Unfortunately not all states are and if your moving a DC from a prep you would need to make sure it's the right fit. Interestingly all my DC went to state primary and all have gone to private at 11. I wouldn't now consider moving them into the state system and certainly not at 6th form after my eldest experience. However that's my choice and I wouldn't judge others for their choices. Good luck Boygirl

TammyWhyNot Thu 08-Mar-18 08:15:54

Loads of kids go from private to our comprehensive.

Transition to a new school for Yr 7 is always a biggish thing, for all children. A state school is just...a school. Don’t Overthink it.

Very sorry a pp had a grim experience. I doubt a secondary school these days would single a child out in that way.

TammyWhyNot Thu 08-Mar-18 08:18:00

Interesting, SpaceCadet: round here it is a very popular move from private to state for sixth form.

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