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Private to Average Comp

(28 Posts)
LeafyPark Wed 26-Aug-20 09:29:03

I hope someone can offer some words of reassurance I am.in a completely tizzy about this. DD is currently at an all through girls independent. The school is wonderful and she is very happy. We had always hoped she would stay until end of GCSEs. However due to the current situation there is simply no more money and we will have to pull her out at the end of this year, year 6. A fair few do leave at the end of y6 but tend to go onto grammars.

Dd is bright but I am not holding out for an 11 plus place, our nearest two are super selective and the rest are out of counry, she would have to do very well indeed plus it would be a long journey. The ironic thing is we pulled her out of state in y2 to avoid this 11 plus tutor race. I dont want to put more pressure on her.

So that leaves us with one option really. We are not in catchment for the outstanding comp people here Rave about , the one DD will realistically gets very mixed reviews. It's been renamed as it had a poor reputation a while ago and seems to be on the up but a quick browse of the local facebook site shows there have been issues with bullying

However I need to put a positive spin on this for DD and just hope she will be ok. I am kicking myself for sending her private in the first place as I feel I have given her a taste of it, she is happy and thriving and now I have to pull her out. Bursary or Scholarahip not really an option and we have dc2 to consider who luckily is still in pre school .

Thinking positively im hoping she will enjoy the new opportunities, less pressure, we will be able to afford some nice trips and her love of sport drama etc she has from attending the independent will stand her in very good stead .

I would just massively appreciate any positive stories from those who have made the move possibly for similar reasons and it's gone well . I also need to work on my brave face front to avoid pitying looks / comments from the other parents at the independent.

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JoJoSM2 Wed 26-Aug-20 10:22:58

Are you anywhere near me? We’ve got a similar set up with a re-named school that’s now on the up, grammars and some excellent non selective schools.

Have you had a look on the local authority’s website to see if you might have a chance of getting into a more desirable comp? I know near me catchments used to be very tight but it’s been much better this year.

Alternatively, accept whichever place you’re offered and go on waiting lists at the schools you’d prefer. Or move house to a more desirable catchment.

And even if you stick with the re/named school, it could work out well if it’s on the up. It’s also worth remembering that with students in sets, the more academically minded ones just have their own crowd and different sets work at different levels.

CherryPavlova Wed 26-Aug-20 10:34:59

We went the other way but later on - we didn't move them because we were unhappy with state schooling. My eldest went all the way through a comprehensive and came out with very good academic results, a host of fabulous experiences and lifelong friends.
I wouldn't say it was less pressure either - they had high expectations of bright children just as much as the public school, possibly more so. On the whole, teachers are often better qualified in state schools and certainly subject to more scrutiny.
What are you worried about from a state school? Most are not dens of iniquity, drugs and knife crime. The differences were social with my eldest having exposure to a wider spectrum of abilities and needs - which stood her in very good stead for a career in medicine. My others undoubtedly got better holidays from friends and it was easier to work in an environment with smaller classes and less disruption but their grades were no better and they were not noticeably happier - but the parties were grander. My children dined out on fairly inventive state school stories for a good few months, as the perception of state was so inaccurate and so poor.
She'll be fine but you might want to try and get her to meet up with a few state school pupils outside of school, so she doesn't think they are all gun wielding monsters - local youth theatre or county youth orchestra maybe.

LeafyPark Wed 26-Aug-20 10:49:47

Thank you both for responding. We are in Bromley, the schools DD would be looking at are Chislehurst School for Girls . We may squeeze into the better comps catchment after offer day depending on what sort of a year it is but I do not want to pin my hopes on that.

A friend has also been very supportive saying that often the waiting lists move into y7 so if you are not happy with the school offered by the time it starts that there can often be change in that first term so friendship groups take a while to settle. What worries me about this one in particular is reports of bullying. I know you can get this anywhere though.

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mumsneedwine Wed 26-Aug-20 10:50:56

I have 2 DD. Both went to comprehensive school. One now a medical student and the other a vet med student. Tell your private friends that you don't need to pay to get a good education.

Hemst Wed 26-Aug-20 13:10:49

Why don't you start a new thread with the school your DD might be going to named in the title. Ask existing parents with kids there for thoughts - hopefully you'll be reassured. Mine are at a big inner city comp and have had a great time and are doing really well. Good luck!

Beachcomber74 Wed 26-Aug-20 16:26:17

Firstly see the bursar and seek a hardship fund. DD chose to leave stifling prep environment to have a greater mix of friends at local comp & hasn’t looked back. If she’s into Drama maybe find a local LAMDA teacher or Youth Theatre with an agency attached. There will be top sets to aim for at school & also worth sitting the 11plus just in case.

flourandeggs Wed 26-Aug-20 17:05:18

I'm embarrassed to say that due to my own private education I thought that comps were like Grange Hill. However putting my three children through state education has been the most wonderful journey. We have met talented, dedicated, wonderful teachers - also a few not so good but NOTHING like the bullying one that I had an awful time with in my senior school who once called me fat in a lesson (funnily enough I developed anorexia shortly after.) My children have made a host of wonderful friends through the schools, as have we. The bullying in our big comp is dealt with SO much better than both my school and my husband's private school, we both had bad experiences at boarding school that made us willing to search out a different way of learning for own children. The bright dedicated kids in our local school get good grades, no idea if my children will, but that will be up to them and not due to huge amounts of hand holding from teachers. The school doesn't try and mould a particular type of child, instead they allow them to be who they are and help them become happy and achieve their own version of excellence. My children are turning into independent thinkers and they are interested in the world. They know how to deal with a wide range of children and what I really love is that the world inside their school reflects the world outside (minus the top 5% of wealth.) I feel they will go into the world so much better prepared than I ever was, and that makes me very happy. So please, if you can, try not to worry, take the plunge and I suspect you will be really pleasantly surprised and meet some wonderful people and I am sure your daughter will flourish.

JoJoSM2 Wed 26-Aug-20 17:45:37

You’re 2 boroughs away then.

There is a bit of movement after offer day or even at the start of Year 7 so there’s hope.

In terms of bullying, do you feel your daughter could be an easy target? I think I’d be more concerned if she’s shy and lacking in confidence. If she’s confident and outgoing, makes friends easily etc then she’d be a lot less likely to be targeted by bullies.

LeafyPark Wed 26-Aug-20 18:24:41

Thank you all who have responded feeling much more positive and we will embrace this as a new opportunity for DD. No I dont think so, we have never had any problems in primary, she is very keen to learn , I do worry that she may get laughed at for being "geeky" but she is also very sporty and fantastic at her netball and hockey so I am hoping she will make friends through these. I was laughed at for being geeky in secondary and regret to say I dumbed myself down a bit to fit in and lost some of my keenness, but I feel DD is more robust than I was, and I generally think children are actually kinder these days and schools deal with bullying better (I hope). Someome also rightly pointed out that the facebook site which mentions the school is bound to attract those who have had a negative experience rather than those who found it fine. I'm well aware teenage girls are teenage girls regardless of where they go to school.

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UselessTrees Wed 26-Aug-20 18:28:34

Is Bullers your preferred option? DD is starting there next week, and we thought we weren't in with much of a chance when we applied - we're a fair bit outside the last distances offered in 2018 and 2019. We just missed out on offers day but got a place by mid-April. I believe they do generally have quite a bit of waiting list movement, and the biggest bulge years have passed through now so your odds for next year might be better than you think. (Trying to guess exactly which area you're in, now!)

LeafyPark Wed 26-Aug-20 18:28:51

I think my issue isn't particularly state ed, if she was going to the "outstanding" comp everyone raves about I would feel much better, its more that this one seems to result in a bit of a sharp intake of breath whenever the name is mentioned . The ironic thing is there is only a few % difference in the progress 8 score and % of those getting maths and english GCSEs when I looked on the Ofsted website ! It's more others opinion which I know I need to not listen to.

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LeafyPark Wed 26-Aug-20 18:32:01

@UselessTrees we are in Orpington , so the one we were hoping for is Darrick Wood, we are 1.4. Bullers I would be over the moon about but we are 2.9 from there so didnt even think worth putting on our application!

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Effzeh Wed 26-Aug-20 22:56:02

Pretty much exactly what flourandeggs said, except that my older three are now out the other side of the school and uni system, and youngest just going to sixth form college. All mine have been at schools that some woukd consider a bit rough, and all have done/are doing well. As long as there are some dc at those schools getting the kinds of grades you would expect your child to be capable of, there’s no reason why your child can’t do the same, with the added benefit of no fees and a wider peer group.

All my immediate family haVe sent their dc private all the way. Some of them were very sniffy about our choices, and are quite prickly now they can see how well our dc have done.

Ploughingthrough Thu 27-Aug-20 01:03:08

Teacher perspective here. I have worked in two state comprehensives and two different private schools. Of course the private schools are lovely - small classes, leafy campus, no disruption, lots of extra curricular. But both were badly run and managed with some excellent teachers and some frankly terrible ones.
The state comps were quite different to each other but both really very good. There are always a few difficult kids but the overwhelming majority of the children were well behaved and engaged in their learning. There was a wide range of extra curricular music, drama and sport and many of the children went on to excellent universities. Less academic children were well advised on other paths to work for them. The management teams were held much more accountable and worked hard for the schools to be great places. Teaching standards were well monitored. I wouldn't be at all worried about a comprehensive school and I'm sure that within a few weeks your DD will be flourishing.

ittakes2 Thu 27-Aug-20 07:51:26

Don’t worry about the bullying - all schools even private have it to some degree. Concentrate on helping your daughter feel confident - bullies choose victims who aren’t confident.

AuntImmortelle Thu 27-Aug-20 08:08:38

I'm sure your DD will be fine OP.

Focused and supported kids do well wherever.

Also, don't hold onto people raving about outstanding schools - the reality is often very different. Bullers, for example, is resting its reputation on an Ofsted report from 2011. I know many girls there and, unfortunately, have heard very mixed reports.

Also there is a lot of movement from offers day to September - you could get Darrick Wood.

Either way lots of positive conversations is the way to go with your DD.

AuntImmortelle Thu 27-Aug-20 08:11:34

Actually both Chislehurst and DW have had full inspections recently (2017 and 2019) against stricter inspection criteria and came out as good.

She'll be fine.

LeafyPark Thu 27-Aug-20 09:02:03

Thank you everyone for being so supportive and reassuring.

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ByTheStarryNight Thu 27-Aug-20 09:09:20

We knew we would have to take our son out of private school before Y7, as the money had run out. We chose to remove him earlier and got him into the local primary so he could progress to secondary with friends in place already. The local primary turned out to be wonderful and he thrived there.

Is it an option to leave the current school midway through Y6, so she can make those social links?

LeafyPark Thu 27-Aug-20 09:19:13

@ByTheStarryNight the nice thing about one of these schools is that a few friends from her old primary who we are still in touch with will most probably be going there . And I sense at her current school we will not be the only ones in this position but people are quite cagey ! We are ok until the end of y6 but then the secondary fees shoot up. How did your son get on at his secondary ?

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ByTheStarryNight Thu 27-Aug-20 09:29:26

He starts next week. Fingers crossed!

woodlands01 Thu 27-Aug-20 10:35:09

I have taught in a school very like your 'average comp' and (now) an outstanding , high achieving comp.
Bullying/peer pressure much more prevalent in the outstanding comp. Also far more drugs etc and entitled attitudes.
There was a far nicer atmosphere in the 'average' school and the students were more supportive of each other and their differences.

LeafyPark Thu 27-Aug-20 11:06:14

Thank you @woodlands01. Out of interest do you think there is much difference between single sex and mixed? In terms of bullying? I sometimes think a mixed environment might be kinder but for some reasons (my own anxieties) all girls feels "safer" even though I know all girls environments can be very unkind. Plus I'm sure I've read academically girls do better in single sex

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winterisstillcoming Thu 27-Aug-20 13:10:25

She will be fine. I went to state comptroller and grammar for sixth form and found the all girls environment awful. She'll experience a wide range of characters and probably benefit from that. You can always supplement her education by a regular tutor and spend a little on high quality extra curricular and enrichment.

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