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Is there any benefit in private primary education?

(39 Posts)
KenAdams Tue 13-May-14 09:45:45

We can just afford to send DD to private school. However, DH isn't sure what the benefit of private education at primary level is and would rather just send her to secondary, if she wants to go. I don't think she'd be able to make an objective choice if it means leaving her friends.

He thinks we should pay off more on the mortgage during primary years instead, then move to another part of the country with better schools.

We're in the East Midlands if that makes any difference. Fees would be about £1k a month.

17leftfeet Tue 13-May-14 10:02:28

I think it depends on the quality of the schools in your area and whether your child can cope in a large class

Both my dc have absolutely thrived in a state primary which when they started was rated as satisfactory and more recently rated good

The children that seem to do worse in state in my experience are middle ability

There is a lot of focus on bringing lower achievers up to national standards and stretching higher achievers to reach their full potential

Visit some of your local schools, you may well feel one is right for your child

In my area I would rank 3 of the local state primaries over the local private school

meditrina Tue 13-May-14 10:05:40

It depends entirely on the specific schools you are thinking of, and how well each meets your idea of what a good education for your DD would look like.

YouAreCompletelyRight Tue 13-May-14 10:06:56

Our two are in private junior school and we hope they'll continue on to the senior school.

It is the right thing for our children, the eldest especially.

KenAdams Tue 13-May-14 10:10:08

She learns in a similar way to me. I would have loved to have gone as I think I would have benefited from smaller class sizes, but unfortunately, my parents couldn't afford it.

inthesark Tue 13-May-14 10:15:01

One way round it - and I would say this because it's what we did - is to put her in your local school initially and see how things go, because so much depends on how your child reacts to school (not always predictable) and what the local school is like (ditto, times ten). Even if you leave later on, your DD will have a network of local friends around her and that makes a real difference.

But if it doesn't work out, then a move will not be difficult, and end of Yr2 particularly is a natural point to go.

Fleta Tue 13-May-14 10:21:46

I don't think you can ask in a general way whether there's a benefit to private school at primary level.

However you can ask whether there'd be a benefit to YOUR child at primary level and I think in that case of course there can be. It very much depends on the nature of your child and state provision, but I wouldn't dismiss it, nor would I definitely say "we're going private" and not allow any discussion.

I think it is really important to visit all schools and then make an informed decision.

Our DD goes private for primary - it is by far and away the best thing for her.

iseenodust Tue 13-May-14 10:27:40

We started in state primary, intending to go state all the way through. We ended up moving DS into an independent school for the beginning of year5. His state primary was good at differentiation and had an excellent pastoral ethos. The school was small though & the class had many more girls. The move was right for DS as he is now enjoying lots of team sports, is more confident and has a much larger group of friends. The academic benefits will be clearer as he gets older (local state schools not great.)

BeyondRepair Tue 13-May-14 10:30:06

confused send her to private at secondary or move to better state schools?
it depends on all sorts of factors and also what your state and primary schools are like as well as your child.

It depends what your long term goals for her would be....woking within her abilites.

I like the idea of private for primary if only as they seem, some of them to be more focused on something

mabelbabel Tue 13-May-14 10:44:02

It depends what your long term goals for her would be....woking within her abilites

I find this statement a bit dubious. Surely it will be her long term goals for herself? And also, the school she does not dictate her entire future!

mabelbabel Tue 13-May-14 10:45:20

Sorry for terribly garbled post. Clearly I have a substandard edukashun innit.
I meant "the school she goes to does not dictate her entire future".

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 13-May-14 10:47:52

I really depends what you are looking for. Good grounding in 4 Languages by the end of year 6 was unlikely to happen in the state sector so for me it was the right choice. Only the two of you can visit the potential schools both state and private and make the decision based on the schools avaliable to you.

KenAdams Tue 13-May-14 11:28:31

So those of you that decided that private was right for your children, how did you come to that decision? Did you all send them to the local primary first and decide it wasn't right? That's a great suggestion btw, I think we might end up doing that.

KenAdams Tue 13-May-14 11:29:33

Oh, the other thing is that we are looking to buy a house, so that has a bearing on where we buy. All the independent schools are the other side of town to the decent state schools!

inthesark Tue 13-May-14 11:38:08

Yes, that's what we did. The local school is pretty much at the end of our garden, and we really wanted it to work - and it did for two years with a couple of teachers who really put the effort in. But then it all started to fall apart and she was coasting really badly, and school didn't care, so we moved her (v short summary of v long and tedious situation there grin).

felinesad Tue 13-May-14 11:48:18

There is a school of thought that if you can only afford private for one section of your child's life it should be primary as this is hwere they are taught the building the foundation of their future education and primary is when the basics are taught ie reading, writing maths and instilling a love of learning (obviously needs to be the right school). It's the whole Jesuit saying of 'give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man'.

Obviously the problem with that is that if you then need to send them to a state secondary you may struggle due to the fact your child will want to stay with their friends and may be really settled which is what happened with mine. The private school runs from 3yrs to 18yrs so they really became part of the community and I would have found it really difficult to take them out for secondary even though money is really really tight and we can't really afford it.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Tue 13-May-14 11:51:41

It depends. Where I live there aren't any grammars and the independent schools are academically selective. The state primary schools don't do any preparation for these exams, so it makes sense to go to a private school that does prepare you (not just working at a higher level, not all the schools do I'm sure, but things like exam and interview technique and verbal/non-verbal reasoning).

One reason I would is that at my senior school it was probably 90/10 private to state, so most of us had gone with some friends, and had friends at other private schools in the area, whereas somebody coming in from a state school on their own didn't have that network. I think that would probably be hard if you were shy (I was shy, but had gone with a few from my school, and when we did things with other schools there were people I knew there too so it was much easier).

What sort of opportunities are there outside school in your area? Only sometimes you'll do things at a prep school included, that you wouldn't get to do without paying for them as an extra elsewhere - like we did hockey from being about 7, yoga/judo/gym clubs after school, speech, drama etc. You could pay for instrumental lessons too. You could do them all at clubs I suppose, but that gives you a chance to try them out with their friends and then start at an external club too if you want to do more.

Oh, and wrap around care is usually better, if that would ever be an issue for you.

zzzzz Tue 13-May-14 11:52:29

If the choice is secondary or primary, I'd plump for secondary.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Tue 13-May-14 11:54:45

I've signed up DD for the local private school for both her benefit and mine:

1. Our local state school's recent OFSTED was appalling, including saying that the children are doing badly at maths and English despite not having any of the usual factors OFSTED would expect to impact on this (i.e. it's essentially 100% wealthy, white, middle class). They particularly noted that girls are effectively discouraged from doing maths - and since I have a DD that put me right off.
2. The state school is nearly 100% white middle class. Total lack of diversity. The private school has a wider range of ethnicities at least.
3. We are right on the edge of the catchment, so probably wouldn't get in anyway - yet we're too far from the other, better schools in town to get a place there, and there are enough primary pupils here for an additional primary (not yet built). So we'd be likely to be allocated (if we were lucky) to the school 2.5 miles from our house, in another village, with no bus service. We don't have a car.
4. I want DD to have the opportunity to do languages early, and I don't think much of the language teaching I had even at my secondary school. I also want her to learn a useful language like Spanish, whereas so far as I can tell all the state primaries in this area do French.
5. I don't want to have to deal with 'home school agreements' or trying to get an absence authorised so my DD can go to a funeral or any of the other craziness that appears to be going on with state schools.
6. DD is fairly quiet - she's a 'watcher'. In a class with only 12 children, she won't be overlooked or able to fade into the background. Also, I want DD at a school that celebrates academic success as well as all the other things (like sporting success).
7. The private school has 'outside' days every week in their gardens/grounds, rather than always being in a classroom or on a concrete playground.
8. The fees I pay include all mandatory activities (e.g. trips, swimming, etc).
9. Finally, if I start her at primary, the assumption is that she automatically goes up through the school - i.e. no tests to try and get admitted at secondary level.

There are probably more points that I have forgotten to write down.

carabos Tue 13-May-14 12:03:57

Both of ours had private primary education. DS1 then went on to get a scholarship to private secondary. FWIW my DM, who was a HT, recommended that if you had to choose, choose primary because they get a much better start which then carries them through secondary.

Theas18 Tue 13-May-14 12:11:29

Round here it is usual to have private from 3-11 and assume your child will get a grammar place- without realising (often till very late) that some children are not suited to a grammar education and may not be sufficiently able , even with all the tutoring in the world to pass 11+!

Hmm state primary and private secondary- would work , but , really depends on how competitive entry to your desired secondary is. You may need to move say at year5 to allow readiness for entrance exams. That sounds really disruptive though it avoids the perils of SATS etc

Maybe just move somewhere with good schools? THat may be a better use of your £££ if you are able to move.

KenAdams Tue 13-May-14 15:16:29

Well we're in a unique position as we've relocated and are in rented until we find somewhere to buy here (sold the previous house). So potentially, we could move to the catchment of the best schools in the city.

Spacefrog35 Tue 13-May-14 15:22:10

My parents put me through private from primary onwards (by various means relatives/scholarships etc - they're not rich!). I hated it but for me it was a very good choice. I needed small class sizes as I was precocious & easily bored. In a larger class I would have almost certainly been very disruptive but smaller class meant the teachers could 'keep on top of me' so to speak. I guess it does depend on the child & on the available schools.

I think so. I have both my older two in private primary, with the hope that they will obtain scholarships for the school (2-18years) at secondary level.
Reasons I chose private primary - they both initially started state primary, class sizes weren't ridiculous (23 and 19 in y1/reception) however my son whilst obedient polite and happy wasn't really being stretched and I could see he was starting to get bored and stagnate a little. The final deciding factor for me was my daughter. She was clearly very able, huge vocabulary, mental arithmetic etc, but by end of reception she was still struggling to recognise letters in a book let alone words. After querying this since the end of the first term of reception, she went for a taster day at the school she is currently at (also informal ability testing as it's a selective school) at the end of the day the head teacher said she is really very clever but please take her to the optician as soon as possible as she has a problem with her vision. 3 weeks after she got her glasses she was reading. I'm not saying that I shouldn't have picked up on her eyesight at home (in fairness she can manage without glasses just fine for everything except reading as she's farsighted/astigmatism) but I deliberately didn't do much with her work wise before she started school as I think kids should be kids for as long as possible and I was doing my prescribed half hour of reading with her at night. Also, vision problems don't run in our family at all, so it wasn't on my radar

So really that made the decision for me. Private school spotted a problem in one taster day that the state school had missed for 3 whole terms, meaning she was considerably behind in her reading. If I hadn't taken her for a taster day I don't know how long it would have taken before either I or school twigged she couldn't see properly.

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