Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

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Rsatterthwaite
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Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby Rsatterthwaite » Wed Oct 26, 2022 1:41 pm

I am considering schools for my son who is starting primary next September and I've seen both independent and state. I'm getting better impressions from the independents. I always envisaged sending him to a private secondary school but not for primary. I can afford it but wondering if it's worth it?
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TFP
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby TFP » Wed Oct 26, 2022 3:22 pm

It really depends what you mean. e.g. if the money wouldn't be missed much and if going state would involve a significant departure from the 'norms' within your family etc then it's a no brainer to go private. If you're in the opposite position then it's a no brainer to go state.

Assuming that you're somewhere in the middle, i.e. that the fees are affordable but involve meaningful sacrifice, and that either might be a good fit culturally, and that you're considering a mix of private and state my starter for ten would be to rank the following private school options from best value for money to worst:

1) KS2 primary years, if you live close to state grammar school and would like to send your kids there for KS3 and beyond;
2) Secondary, i.e. years 7-11 inclusive;
3) KS2 if a state grammar isn't on the cards at all;
4) Sixth form, i.e. years 12-13; and
5) Infant school, i.e. KS1 and reception.

This ranking aside, whether any of these are "worth it" or not [your personal answer might be that some or none or all are] turns on your particular preferences, financial circumstances, the type of child you have, etc etc.
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waltzer
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby waltzer » Thu Oct 27, 2022 9:40 am

I think it depends on what you mean by 'better'. If you have a quiet child that will benefit from a smaller class size then I would say go private. If you have a child that you think needs to have his or her confidence built and your instinct is that this will come from things like sport or drama I would also say go private. I read over the weekend that the average (state) school is going to be very low on funds for extras like these. Just one point of view ...
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Tin
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby Tin » Thu Oct 27, 2022 1:11 pm

Wouldn’t bother for primary unless your child has particular needs. Prep schools good for 11 plus but you can tutor to the same effect. Remember school fees will get more expensive & the value of private education is reducing but yes the facilities, offerings are definitely better. Good luck in your decision.
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astro
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby astro » Mon Oct 31, 2022 12:05 pm

I agree it depends. The head of my child’s prep school has said herself that there is very little difference between attainment on core subjects such as English and maths between state and independent, the difference comes in the other subjects and potentially in the pastoral care. The advantage in independent schools is that as a parent you can step back more - extra curricular activities are covered in school and there isn’t the same need for tutoring etc

Kids who have joined from state particularly like the small class sizes and increased attention that this brings - particularly if your child needs support or is distracted easily. It isn’t perfect however and equally we’ve lots of friends with kids at state who are very happy. Quite a few have done ‘state til eight’ and then switched then to independent which is a good way of saving a few years of the fees.

Good luck!
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Poppy0750
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby Poppy0750 » Mon Oct 31, 2022 3:19 pm

I would say depends on the child.
If the child is confident and mature for his age he will be fine at the state school.
My son is summer born and I think he is emotionally a bit behind children who are 6-9 months older than him.
I was thinking to delay him by a year if he does not get a place in a private school.
He now goes to two different pre-schools a large one and a small one and seems to be much happier in the small pre-school.
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Lovelyday
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby Lovelyday » Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:39 pm

hi
I would suggest you check the Ofsted reports of the schools.
I disagree that your child has to be confident to go to a state school. This depends very much on the school and if it is run well and not all state schools are large classes. You just can't generalise .
In general I think it is not necessary to pay out for private primary simply to attain the key stages. In addition (again check) the staff might be less qualified and facilities and space not necessarily better.
A lot depends on the Head teacher too.
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readysteadycook
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby readysteadycook » Tue Nov 01, 2022 7:23 am

From what I have seen, when children get to year 3, it’s a good time to be going private - esp if your thinking of going private for Secondary (as the prep school headmasters know the way to write reports and most of the Heads at schools you will be going to).

 
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NBG
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby NBG » Tue Nov 01, 2022 8:07 am

I think you need to view education not just as a means to an end but an end in itself. We spend nearly a quarter of our lives in education - it’s important the kids enjoy it and thrive. That doesn’t mean they have to go to a private school, it means they have to go to the right school for them. My kids went private as my elder child was quite shy so I thought she would benefit from a smaller class size. Had my outgoing and gregarious son been the elder they would probably have gone to a state primary. Both of mine loved their prep school (they stayed till 13) and look back with very fond memories. We have made lifelong friends from among the parents and my now 18 year old daughter still socialises with her prep school mates. It’s been worth the money we spent, but maybe they would have been equally happy at the state primary. Just choose the school you think is right for them.
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szerma
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby szerma » Thu Nov 03, 2022 12:50 pm

Full disclosure- I have 2 children at Belleville and both are thriving there.
If I had the money and wouldn't make a difference to send them to a private school - yes, I would. There is no doubt that for the money you pay, you get better facilities, clubs, smaller class sizes etc. I feel it's a bit like flying economy or premium economy: you pay a premium and therefore you get a better / more luxurious experience, but you are paying for it - and only you can decide whether that's a price worth paying, as ultimately both will get you to the same destination.

Will it make a difference to their life long term? I would like to think that we can put the extra money towards holidays (we would have to significantly cut back if we were educating both privately), or towards a deposit on their first flat (or make sure they can go through uni debt-free).

Saying that - I think we will send our kids to a fee-paying secondary school (and we will be tutoring) because I feel that given we have no grammar schools in the area / almost zero chance of getting into one / the secondary schools in our area are not as academically strong as Belleville is for primary.
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Ex Clapham resident
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Re: Are independent schools better than state? Primary.

Postby Ex Clapham resident » Sat Nov 05, 2022 10:30 pm

I think it depends on the child and the schools near you.

We sent our daughter to state primary until year 6 and then went private. She went to a fantastic, ‘Ofsted Outstanding’ primary, 2 minutes walk from our house where she and we made some great, local friends. I don’t think you always get that in a prep school as they generally have wider catchment areas. My friends who’ve gone private since the start certainly don’t have that.

She has moved up to the attached private senior school, so only one move, as you would usually get, but done a year earlier. I must say, I really feel that the year 6 was worth the money, especially due to the smaller class size, but I don’t regret sending her state til 10. She has met people from a good range of backgrounds, both cultural and financial, and we all now have lifelong local friends and a great sense of community around the school which my friends who sent their kids private from age 3 don’t have.

Another thing I’ve noticed with children I know at preps from the beginning (with girls, anyway,) is that they seem to have little ‘joy’ or never seemed to just have fun. There was always a sense of seriousness and slight anxiety present. It might just be those children, but I do think that state schools are more relaxed and there is learning for learning’s sake rather than Just the industry of doing practice papers for and talk around the 11+ all the time. This would depend on the prep school though.

I think a mix is probably the best of both worlds. Perhaps going back to to state at 16 to avoid the discrimination children at private schools now get when going to university.

This does really depend on what schools you have near you though.
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