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How do I decide which primary school would be right for dd? She has 2 options...

166 replies

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:28

Hi, am a regular but have changed my name for anonymity

I have a dilemma with dd`s primary school options. Both options seem to be very good schools but I am unsure quite how to decide which is the right one for her. Dh and I would both be very happy with either. We live in London so the problem comes at secondary school time?


She is a very bright and fairly confident child, quite bossy at home but very compliant at nursery. She adores learning and soaks it all up like a sponge, she is a bit of a girly swot, loves to be right about stuff and very proud when she learns new things. She forms very close attachments to a small number of friends but gets on well with all of the children really.

School 1
Our very good local co-ed state primary, 10 mins walk away, a lovely school, we were very impressed with the school and the inspirational headmaster when we looked round.

It is walking distance
She is an only child and may well stay that way so it would be nice for her to have her little friends locally.
On Fridays they abandon the national curriculum and do drama etc which is great.
Ofsted report very good, results good, vibe good. All local parents who have kids there rave about it.
No school fees

It doesn?t open til 8.55 so she would have to be taken by someone else (which we have already organised) however that would mean she was dropped off and picked up by someone other than her parents which I don?t really like.
The extra curricular stuff is not great, nor is the sport.
They are knocking down the reception block so her first year would be in portacabins (not really a huge deal)
Although the results are good they are not a patch on school 2.
Class size of 30

School 2
A very good selective independent girls? school - she did very well to get in there were hundreds of applicants for a handful of places.

Almost all of the children go on to the secondary school which is a very good one, but very academic. This would remove the issue of what to do when she was 11, take away the pressure on her of getting her into a school then.
Dh or I could drop her off as it is on the way to work and opens at 8.20 so we would still be able to get to work on time. It would mean getting the train with her and hopping off 2 stops down the line and walking 5 mins to school.
It has fantastic sporting and extra curricular stuff
It has great facilities ie art studio, computer rooms, music room, good library etc.
It is very cheap for a private school and the total cost of primary and secondary there could be the same as sending her to a more expensive secondary.
She would be able to go all the way through in one school, which I did and really liked.
If she is academic then she would thrive in this environment I am sure.
Class size 22

Her friends would be less local (though there are plenty here that go there but as it is independent they could be from anywhere) though the school is only 10 mins drive from our home.
We would have to pay for it (but can afford it so not really an issue)
We would be less involved in the very local community
We found the headmistress rather scary (but apparently the children love her)

My feelings about it

  1. She may feel less pressured in the local school but if she is bright then she may not necessarily feel pressured by being in a more academic environment.

2. She has done very well to get in to school 2 ? would we be mad not to send her there?
3. I would really like her to be in the local school, all the parents there seem lovely and it has a really good community feel.
4. What if we sent her to the local school and then she didn?t get in to such a good secondary school (arguably if she is bright enough she will anyway but it is extra pressure on her aged 11)
5. What if we send her to school 2 and she is not really very academic? How on earth can they tell from a 2hr assessment aged 4?

Any advice welcomed esp from those who have faced a similar dilemma!
OP posts:
bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:29

oh god sorry that was so long

OP posts:
secondclasscitizen · 10/05/2007 11:29

do you really have a choiec?

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:30

what do you mean?
Yes she has a place at both

OP posts:
foxinsocks · 10/05/2007 11:35

Are you considering private at secondary level? By that I mean, have you discounted the local secondaries (so she'd need to pass an entrance exam at age 11 to get into school)?

I think if you definitely want to opt for private secondary then it'll be easier all round to send her to school 2.

HenriettaHippo · 10/05/2007 11:36


Difficult one. My politics would say go to local primary, but you may not have that issue! I also think the local community is important, and if the local school is good, and you liked it, then I don't see the point in paying for education somewhere else.

Can you take DD to the schools and see whether you notice a positive/negative reaction from her to either?

Personally I wouldn't worry about age 11 yet, it's miles off, and you might not even be living in the same area by then.

I think the local friends thing is quite important. does the local school have after school club so that you could pick her up after that? Although that would be a v. long day - is it 5 days a week she'd need after school care?

Blu · 10/05/2007 11:36

We also have one child, and I am finding that the impact of having friends within minutes wak is just brilliant - there is a real community about having each other's children and helping out with reciprocal childcare in hols etc. But I may be v lucky with the particular families in DS's class.

I cn also understand the benefit of the 'no-childcare needed' for school 2.

Results-wise, the outcomes may well represent the average of the class based on it's dmography rather than the quality of teaching and what your individual child could achieve. And that is hard to predict.

In a funny kind of way I would say take option 2 and leave a place in a good London LEA school (which are so sought and fought over) to a family who can't afford option 2!

Do you live near me? We have a lovely independent girls school v near two popular state schools!

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:37

No the local state secondaries are not good at all, it would defo be private

sorry I have reposted this thread as the title wasnt very clear so now I have two threads argh!!!

OP posts:
bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:38

She would still need after school care for both options but that is sorted, her nanny will pick her up (as she does now from nursery at 3.30)

OP posts:
bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:39

Not really interested in the political aspect of this I just want to make the best choice for my dd.

OP posts:
LucyJones · 10/05/2007 11:42

I think i would go with no 2.
What does your dh think?

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:44

He is in as much of a quandry about it as I am.

We keep veering towards the state primary but then worry that we are not giving her the best opportunity given she has actually got in to the other school!

I really can't understand how they can tell if your child is academic aged 4 though
Can anyone enlighten me?

OP posts:
dinosaur · 10/05/2007 11:44

This reply has been withdrawn

This has been withdrawn by MNHQ at the poster's request.

sandyballs · 10/05/2007 11:44

I'd go with no 2 if the financial side wasn't a problem. 10 min drive from your house still means local friends.

dinosaur · 10/05/2007 11:45

This reply has been withdrawn

This has been withdrawn by MNHQ at the poster's request.

GameGirly · 10/05/2007 11:46

I think that if you can afford it and definitely don't want local state secondary, then I would go with option 2. I've recently been through the whole state to private thing at secondary with DD1 and it's not easy because they aren't "trained" at primary state schools for private secondary. If the junior school feeds into the senior school at Option 2, then it is almost their duty to make sure she gets in surely?
I too wonder how on earth they can assess a child academically at 4+. Crazy - but they all do it.

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:46

That's another thing Dino
If she went to state primary I'm sure they would stick that label on her
Wheras at other school she would just be the norm

Not sure if that is good or bad! Just would rtaher she didn't get labelled so young

OP posts:
foxinsocks · 10/05/2007 11:48

do I know you?!

I think you'd hope that academic or not, that school 2 would still provide her with fantastic opportunities (not that school 1 wouldn't - I just mean in terms of school 2 hopefully being more than an academic hothouse). Her selection may also mean that she fits in well with the type of girl they normally have at their school iyswim.

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:48

GG apparantly 50% of the children from this school go on to private secondary school. There are, however, plenty of very average private secondary schools round here! I just think that if she has the opportunity to go to a really good one then surely it would be good for her (unless she is not academic)

OP posts:
bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:49

You do foxy
but not IRL

OP posts:
RTKangaMummy · 10/05/2007 11:51

Are you absolutely sure that she won't have to take exams at 11 to get into senior school

DS was at state primary and now is private senior

One of our friends has a DD who went private at 7 BUT had to get to the same academic level as those joinign the school @ 11 which she did do and so is there until 18

So I would make sure you have that in writing to be sure

What will happen to nanny?

Are you still keeping her on or letting her go if DD goes to private school

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:52

I really am not going to make a decision on the best school for my dd based on altruistically freeing up a state school place for someone else! If we choose private then that will be great obv but am not going to let it influence my decision.

OP posts:
RTKangaMummy · 10/05/2007 11:53

btw about HALF of the boys in his year are from State Primary and Half from Indep proiamry

bitofadilemma · 10/05/2007 11:54

Yes she will have to take exams RTKM
Last year out of 44 of them, 39 went up and two went to St Paul's girls and one went elsewhere as she didn't make the grade academically. So barring a spectacular fuck-up she is fairly certain to get in

However we may not of course be living here then

OP posts:
dinosaur · 10/05/2007 11:55

This reply has been withdrawn

This has been withdrawn by MNHQ at the poster's request.

Blu · 10/05/2007 11:56

We just said it would influence ours, if we were in your lucky position!
And there are plenty of other factors that have been mentioned which I happen to think are spurious.
But everyone uses the factors that ring true for / make sense to them!
Good luck!

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