Northcote - first you stated that only the 'super bright - not top of the class bright' state children can break into the private sector at secondary level. In your second post, you concede that this is not actually at all the case (hard not to, given the facts Livegreen posted), and that actually, you feel (no proof) that state children may 'drop a level' on secondary transfer.
So which is it? I completely agree that the private schools around here are paid to, and are successful at, ensuring that their leavers go on to good schools. My issue is that for upwards of £100k for the primary years, they jolly well should do! And for many families, that 'value add' just simply is not worth it, given the excellent job many of our local state schools are doing! I should add that I have nothing particularly against private education, but I do tire of the continuous propaganda that paints a black and white picture of state v private. In reality, the combination of parental input and outstanding state schooling make the differences much more subtle and less game-changing than those charging the fees would like us to believe!
For the original poster - sorry to derail your thread
I do know a few families with children at Emmanuel who are very happy with the school. As others have said, your gut feeling is very important and if you feel that your child would flourish in a more demanding academic environment, it is worth pursuing that. (Which is a different thing from feeling that your child is not academic - just that some kids respond well to the pressure of a competitive setting, and others will prefer to be say, at the top of a more mixed ability group rather than at the bottom of a high ability group).