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Whitgift VS Oustanding State School

(62 Posts)
Popchip Wed 21-Mar-18 19:54:40

ello Mumnetters,

My DS got an offer from Whitgift. My son loved the school and we were very excited. We were about to accept an offer but we just received an offer from local state school which has outstanding rating. My DS didn't pass grammar schools. This is a local state comp but with outstanding rating and has a very good reputation. Most of his primary friends will attend the school too. We thought we were not able to get a place with the state school as our place is located a bit far from the school given previous accepted furthest distance but from this year, the school started to stretch the catchment towards our side narrowing the other side because a new school has opened.
We paid deposit to Whitgift to secure a place anyway but my husband started saying that the state option is better value for money and closer to us. Whitgift commuting time is around- 45-60 min. Very long commuting but his teacher said that commuting time should be the last thing I should worry as he will get used to it quickly and worth long commuting. My husband is not convinced to pay the big fee whereas we have a good state school for free near us. My son's choice is whitgift...
My son loves sports. Academically, he has not been at the top set but quickly catching up. Passing W exam gave him a lot of confidence and he became willing to take on more challenge. I would like him to go to his 'dream' school but my husband doesn't agree. I am worried if we choose state school agreeing with my husband's opinion , we regret to have declined Whitgift later.... Is there anyone who didn't go for Whitgift and chose local state comp? Financially, we are fine to for the cost. My husband just doesn't want to spend the money when good free state school is available. He would like to save the fund for future.
Also, switching between Whitgift and state school, which way is generally easier? If we change our mind a few years later, is it relatively possible to switch to another? The state school should have healthy waiting list as it is heavily oversubscribed and very popular.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Wed 21-Mar-18 19:58:59

Whitgift has a 13+ intake but he would go through the exam and interview process again. He would be up against predominantly privately educated and overseas candidates for a more limited number of places.

MrsPatmore Wed 21-Mar-18 19:58:59

Go with state. Whitgift will have places at year 9 and again at 6th form if you need to reconsider. Your clever ds will enjoy being in the top sets at the local comp amongst his friends and will have lots of extra time to do clubs etc after school.

Leeds2 Wed 21-Mar-18 20:03:17

The state school will probably not have a very long waiting list if you wanted to transfer from Year 8 onwards, as many children on the waiting list above you will have gone to their allocated school, are happy and not want the upheaval of changing schools. You can't of course rely on that, but you could perhaps ask the state school what their wait list is at the moment for, say, Years 8 and 9. Just to give you an idea.

Fwiw, I would choose Whitgift every single time. I live locally to it, but no sons, so no actual experience of the school other than second hand from friends.

Popchip Wed 21-Mar-18 20:15:24

I called school admission at local council and the state school admission office today. It sounded that the places become available fairly rarely. The school takes 240 children at year 7. it is quite a big school but people tend to stay as the school is good and most people are happy to stay. My son is not naturally gifted child type. Has been always given the easiest reading books and very bottom table until around year 4. He is August born child too. I am worried he will be buried in the big crowd at the big state school.

OP’s posts: |
DairyisClosed Wed 21-Mar-18 20:18:45

Your DH wants to save money on your sons education?! That's just shocking. If my husband said something like that to me he would be sent to sleep on the sofa until he came to his senses. What else could you possibly spend the money on that is more important than your son's education?

Popchip Wed 21-Mar-18 20:24:03

Thank you DairyisClosed!! I wish I could send him to a sofa too...
He would like to save money for later education i.e. Uni (he might want to attend medical school for example), he might want to start a business, etc...

OP’s posts: |
PissedOffNeighbour Wed 21-Mar-18 20:24:09

Lots of things Daisy! We could afford private education for our DC but choose to send them to an excellent state school! Any money saved can be used towards house deposit or towards university costs etc.

AveEldon Thu 22-Mar-18 09:30:14

Why did your husband agree to apply & pay the deposit if he didn't want to spend the money?

Has he seen Whitgift and the state school?
Have you compared the sports facilities?

Floottoot Thu 22-Mar-18 09:57:56

Even an outstanding state school won't perhaps offer your DS the same opportunities as Whitgift.
We took my daughter out of a supposedly outstanding state secondary at the end of year 7, and put her in a GDST scjool. The difference in her overall experience is immeasurable. You get more than just an excellent education at a good independent.

Enko Thu 22-Mar-18 10:11:01

Whitgift in a heartbeat. Dh is an old student abd still regularly goes to old student evenings. I wish we had lived close enough for ds to go.

45 mins is no distance at all to travel ds will get used to it quickly

TJsAunt Thu 22-Mar-18 14:54:48

If £ is not a problem then I'd want to visit both schools again to have a second look?

There is no absolute. No one can definitively say that one is better than the other in all circumstances (not even Mrs Patmore hmm).

IMO most kids will get broadly similar GCSE results whichever route they take - as long as they have the strong parental support your ds clearly does.

So the decision has to be about which school offers the best fit for your own dc. Does the school have the facilities to stretch your ds and allow him to focus on his passions? Does the school offer the broader education you are interested in?

We made our choice based on the way the school offered so much outside the GCSE courses.

CatMuffin Thu 22-Mar-18 15:06:10

I wondered if you meant Riddlesdown, but i think that takes more than 240 in year 7

Popchip Thu 22-Mar-18 15:16:59

DH agreed to pay down the deposit purely to buy more time to consider but he is more inclined to the state offer currently and DS and I would like to go with Whitgift. Whitgift attract us because of their language education offer (they offer oriental languages for example) and IB opportunity as our family background is very international. In addition, my son fell in love be with their sports facilities. He thinks Whitgift might offer slightly better education but huge cost differences and children end up going to the same University anyway so not worth the huge cost.

OP’s posts: |
IntheMotherhood Thu 22-Mar-18 18:03:54

Would your DS take up everything Whitgift had to offer? If he would then I think it's absolutely worth the money. If you think he wouldn't then I can understand why the state might have more appeal (plus it being closer).

Are you worried how DS might sit in the Y7 cohort? If that's a factor, the Mr Beck can tell you where he came in exams which had been standardised (but of course not all those that sat will attend) so he could be slightly better or worse, depending on acceptances.

I don't know many people (apart from the Whitgift/Trinity/DC thread) who have actually accepted their Y7 offer. Including us. From my limited viewing point, it doesn't seem to have been a good year.
They've got an incoming head but he was the reason why it went back on our list to apply!

IntheMotherhood Thu 22-Mar-18 18:05:37

Not incoming / he's been there since Sept 2017. Really making a positive impact with boys and staff too.

Dontblameitontheboogie Thu 22-Mar-18 18:29:48

If you can afford it and it's DS' dream school then I really think you should go for Whitgift. I'd point out to DH that it's not just about what University they end up at but about their experience for the next 7 years. If DS loves the sports facilities and would take advantage of them I think it's worth it just for that, and the added international/languages aspect is a huge bonus if your family (like mine) has an international background.

It's a bit too far to have been a realistic option for us, but I know a few very sporty and bright boys who have absolutely fallen in love with the school and whose families have decided to make it work. By all accounts it's a wonderful school. David Attenborough, our DS' hero, thinks so too!

Personally I think it's sad that money buys a better / more inspirational education but it's a fact of life in this country, unfortunately.

As for getting in at 13+, there are some 30 places at that stage I believe, versus 5-6 forms at 11+, so there would be no guarantees of success (and how keen would they be to make another offer to a family that's already turned them down once, having actually paid the deposit and put the school in a position of having to go begging down the waiting list?)

Your DS has done so well to get an offer (I know some very talented boys who didn't make it). It seems cruel to take it away from him at this point, while saying "you can always reapply later". If you do turn it down it needs to be because you feel the alternative is better for him in the long run (or because you truly can't afford the fees but then it would have been better not to put him through the process in the first place).

explodingkittens Thu 22-Mar-18 19:00:48

Don't turn Whitgift down. It's a fantastic school and, on the basis that you can comfortably afford it and your ds loves it, then you'd be mad not to take the place.

Is your husband having cold feet about the fees? I don't blame him, tbh, as it's not a cheap school, but for a hard-working boy who is willing to throw himself into the (frankly amazing) opportunities the school offers, it will be worth every penny.

OlennasWimple Thu 22-Mar-18 19:08:03

What would paying the school fees actually mean for your family finances?

For example, no holidays for seven years? Or only one trip to Blackpool a year? Or losing the ski trip but still going to the Med for a fortnight in the summer?

Do you have other DC to consider?

spacecadet48 Thu 22-Mar-18 19:25:35

My eldest went to W until 6th form and we moved him to the outstanding state...worse decision we ever made. However for a lot of the DC they did brilliantly, just not my DS. We have been offered the same sought after secondary and W for DS2 yr 7 and its definitely W for us. I know my DS will take advantage of all that it has to offer. Fabulous school. Tough decision and funny enough a few years ago I was similar to your DH as I couldn't understand why we would pay with a good school a short walk away. (I went to state myself as did he) My OH went on about it not just being about education, it's about the extras. He has a little chip at not being allowed to accept a scholarship at a top private when he was young after getting top marks in the county, his DF didn't believe in private! Good luck with the choice.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 22-Mar-18 19:39:17

Looking at your reasons for Whitgift and playing devil's advocate to be helpful.

I looked at the Whitgift exam results, 27 out of 209 sat Japanese last year and one sat for A level, and a further one at IB standard level (AS equivalentish). I can also only see 6 sitting Mandarin at SL IB. Thats only a 13% chance of him taking an oriental language even just up to GCSE standard.
According to the results table only 30 sat IB last year so again out of 209 that is less than a 15% chance of him even sitting IB. Although I am actually a little confused because from the tables there are also only 128 sitting A levels last year, giving a total of 158 pupils in 6th forms. Most schools increase their intake for 6th form not reduce it, but I'm sure a W parent can explain.

I have DCs at Indys and they are a nice to have but I know lots of friends DCs who have done incredibly well at state schools.

Wherearemymarbles Thu 22-Mar-18 22:31:51

If you can afford it go private if thats what your son wants. Ours got an offer for an outstanding state and one we would have been happy for him to attend if hadnt got any private offers. He would also be in the top set there. He wanted to go private so thats where he will go. However I do see your husbands point. All in we are unlikey to get any change from £175,000+ when all is said and done. Thats not small change

Popchip Thu 22-Mar-18 23:38:10

I am a main income earner and I will take up the school fees etc. As DH is not supporting private education, he has no intention to contribute to the fees. I will be responsible financially. No one knows about your job security for next 10 years even though you only know your current financial status.
We went back to both schools after offer. My DS jumped around and said it was unbelieabable and miracle he would join this school when we re-visited Whitgift. But he also said that he would understand if we cannot afford. But he also said why the discussion was made before we decided to enroll for the exam. Totally understandable.
My DS is taking the oriental language private tuition last three years and he is keen to continue the study.
If the decision was between grammar vs whitgift, I think it was more difficult decision. But if state comp vs whitgift, I thought whitgift must be a winner but surprised to hear my DH didn’t agree. Also I read the thread here before that whitgift is a third tier private school. But some people are claiming whitgift is a top school. Plus my DH’s disagreement and I cannot make up my mind now. As we receive a letter from whitgift about uniform fitting etc., it should a very exciting time for us but we still cannot decide which school DS goes to and our family is completely in disagreement and torn. It is very sad.

OP’s posts: |
PissedOffNeighbour Thu 22-Mar-18 23:45:40

I think you will find that you are both joinyly and severally liable for the school fees.

Will you be in receipt of s bursary/ scholarship for W as I believe Thames can make a substantial difference?

PissedOffNeighbour Thu 22-Mar-18 23:46:54

Oops sorry for typos *jointly and *they not Thames!

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