Please be frank: is paying for prep/junior school worth it?

(279 Posts)
IHideVegInRice Sat 20-Apr-13 00:40:19

Hello, continuation from my previous thread but with a more specific question! We have mixed sex twins - while private is an option at this stage, the local faith school is pretty good.
What can a prep or private junior school offer my DC that could not be matched by state + extra curricular activities?
Looking further ahead, would they be disadvantaged when applying for highly ranked public schools (if we/they feel this is right) later on if they did not attend private school at primary level?
Thanks!

Elibean Sat 27-Apr-13 12:05:44

OP, it depends on the school, it depends on the child.

And re the second part of your question, it depends on the 'highly ranked public schools' you think you (and hopefully your dc) may be keen on.

I'm not sure personal experience is going to be of much help to you here, but fwiw my neice went to local village school, then a state secondary, then Oxford and is now doing a PhD at Oxford. Her brother went to the same schools, then Bristol.

My brother went to a very well known prep school, then to London. My sister and I went to small Montessori school, then small private secondary, then Oxford (sister) and London (me).

So IME, prep/primary and state/indie don't necessarily make any difference whatsoever. BUT that depends on the individual school (and family/child, probably).

sieglinde Sat 27-Apr-13 11:06:09

Clearly things have moved on - well, up to a point. grin

I'd be the last to deny that I should have spotted the problems earlier in DS's case. A warning, though - because he knew the fees were a struggle for us, he was MORE tongue-tied about the problems he saw. In DD's case, we did spot them early, primed by DS. Bullied kids are often ashamed of it and imagine the parents will side with the bullies. As for the disorder, unfortunately most kids think of whatever they are used to as 'normal', so DS only once said, mummy, the computers have all been broken again so I couldn't email you or do my prep. sad

FWIW, we went to visit Winchester with DS, who quite liked it, but really didn't want to board. Even if he'd got a bursary it would have been a giant mistake for DS - he's dyspraxic, borderline Aspergers, and subject to panic attacks, which I'm afraid I think are the result of some of his prep school experiences. However, I liked the master of School House and I think more confident boys could easily flourish there.

Not Eton, though. DS went there for music lessons for four years, so I spent an hour a week watching the boys interact. A privilege offered to few. Ack. sad

Happy, if you message me I will disclose where DS did go, provided you promise not to share the message...

Yellowtip Sat 27-Apr-13 09:06:15

Oh I assumed that it was the fact of his brilliance that made him different from all these other DC happy, sorry. Yes, that's what I look for from education too.

minimuffin Sat 27-Apr-13 00:11:15

I haven't read the thread at all but I have DS1 in Yr 2 at a mixed private prep (he did Reception and Yr 1 in a London primary rated good by Ofsted and then we moved out of London) and DS2 in reception at a tiny, lovely local primary (also rated Good by Ofsted - DS2 got a place there and DS1 didn't).

The only big difference I can see in the quality of education is when it comes to sport. The private school has its pupils doing far more physical activity and a far broader range of sports. The sports facilities at the two schools bear no comparison - the private school has acres of sports fields and a dedicated sports hall and a whole culture of Wednesday afternoon matches against other local prep schools. DS2's school has a concrete playground and a grass football pitch and the onus is on parents to sign their DCs up for after-school activities if they want more sport. DS1 does some kind of timetabled physical activity 4 days a week, DS2 did 1 PE session per week but has just gone up to 2 days this term as they've started swimming.

There is also a sort of assuredness/cockiness (depending on how you see it) in pupils in DS1's school. I kind of prefer the kids at DS2's school - they seem to spend more time just being children than some (but not all to be fair) of the kids at DS1's school who are busy over-achieving and crowing about it.

The food sounds better at the private school too! Other than that, we're delighted with both schools.

happygardening Fri 26-Apr-13 23:52:01

My DS maybe cleverer than yours DC's yellow then again he might not this is not a competition but a debating forum but I don't think this means he's a "better" person (obviously as his mother to me he's wonderful but that a different kind of best). I personally am not shallow enough to judge how good a person is by his level of intelligence. The most difficult person I know went to Oxbridge at 15 he might be super super bright but he's made a rotten husband and father. On the other hand one of the most devoted father you could ever meet was caring for a severely disabled child was himself disabled with an IQ of 80.
LittleFrieda one of the reasons we choose Winchester was that "notoriety" is not something I wouldn't want to inflict on my worst enemy let alone my children and as for being in the cabinet I'd rather send them to a state school than send then to a school that turned them in politicians. I'm not sending him to Win Coll so that he will be "successful" in later life I'm sending him for the type of education they offer which I hoped and now know he will enjoy and make him happy today not successful in 10-20 years time. This is my individual expectation of education and it may not be yours and neither of us expectations are better but providing neither of us are actually abusing our children to get the education we want them to have does it matter if we all want something slightly different. Some believe this makes me sound arrogant maybe it does but at the end of the day I actually don't care what people I don't know think it's the people who do know me that matter. In fact many much to my surprise most believe I'm rather self effacing.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:39:38

Winchester is a school for nerdy types. Scientists and accountants, not politicians.

LittleFrieda Fri 26-Apr-13 13:35:04

There are no Wykehamists in the cabinet, for example.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:09:41

Somewhere like Eton attracts the self confident, who are more likely to make themselves notorious.

There are plenty of successful Winchester alumni, they just aren't so in your face.

LittleFrieda Fri 26-Apr-13 12:54:50

Happygardening - why has Win College produced so few notable alumni in recent years, relative to other big-name private schools? This doesn't make it a bad school but one would have thought notoriety was a non-coincidental by-product of success.

Xenia Fri 26-Apr-13 12:47:12

A lot of people have things they are good at and others not -I think for fitting things together my IQ is probably very low indeed and if you're fairly bright over all you work around it as suggested above. My older one has mild dyslexia but would never send anything out without loads of spell checking etc. and of course it's not terribly bad so did not significantly hold her back.

I have worked with very dyslexic or disorganised business people who can work around it but they often do need a great secretary or organiser or in bigger companies hire organised accountants and others to make their good ideas work and to follow through.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Apr-13 12:44:05

(ps obviously wasn't actually 100th centile, but about as close as you can get - could they have got the test wrong? He certainly couldn't get very far in the block design test, so no way was his performance IQ going to be great!).

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 12:40:52

rabbit he sounds very like two of my kids (the girls). My son isn't dyspraxic but has other SEN issues, some of which have areas of overlap with dyspraxia. And yes - massive differences across the different categories. Neither of my girls could crawl (and neither could I) urban rumour has it that this is an early marker for dyspraxia (not necessarily for IQ) but, who knows. My sample of 3 of us is hardly representative!

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 12:35:30

It doesn't sound entitled at all (well - it sounds odd which is why I don't use it which was the point I was making. I could really say, with reams of documented diagnostic justification, that my kids are different to most peoples kids. But I don't.). For anyone who knows what they are talking about it just sounds sad. Which is what it is. It also sounds disenfranchised the way things are now with SEN provision, as you should know.

DH refers to it as 2F though. Twice fucked. He's not wrong.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Apr-13 12:32:12

Russians - you say your children have high IQs. Are these universally high, iyswim? I have a child with an exceptionally good verbal IQ (100th centile) who measured a full 50 points lower in his performance IQ. Not diagnosed dyspraxic (probably because he has a phenomenally good memory so can learn physical actions by rote, which is not a common feature in dyspraxics!), but it certainly indicates that he is both exceptional and learning disabled at the same time. He is doing extremely well academically at the moment, but when younger had to be taught how to roll over, crawl, pull to stand, walk, dress himself, etc, and I suspect will not be the most organised secondary school child. Not to mention the effort he has had to put in to fight against his hypermobility and low muscle tone. Doesn't that make him "twice exceptional"? And is it similar to any of your children? Because I'm not really sure at this stage how to prepare him for secondary school, because his particular IQ profile appears to be rather unusual... so if I ever found anyone with children anything like him, it would be nice to talk!

FIFIBEBE Fri 26-Apr-13 12:28:16

I haven't read the whole thread I'm afraid but sent my son to a London prep from age 4, he is now at St Paul's in the lower 6th. Every boy there in his year attended a prep school from age 9 at least. Although the prep experience was lovely in the early years, with hindsight I would have waited 3 or 4 years, saved the money and sent him at age 8.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 12:27:03

No, it gives me rage because my son fits that category, and I don't see that it's a helpful term to use, even among friends, because it sounds very entitled.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 12:21:59

Yellow nothing for you to apologise about at all. smile I'm feeling somewhat depressed today, DD2 is having quite a challenging week.

Yellowtip Fri 26-Apr-13 12:18:23

I knew what 2E meant; I thought in the case of your all your DCs the second E was dyspraxia. Sorry.

Yellowtip Fri 26-Apr-13 12:16:40

happy it's quite exceptionally arrogant of you to infer so obviously that your DS is so much brighter than everyone else's child and that other parents can never aspire to wanting the same sort of education that Winchester provides. You really don't get it, do you?

Obviously your DS may be significantly clever than each and every one of my DC but in fact I do want that sort of education for my DC, broadly, but less the fees and less the boarding, since I haven't had an extra £150k net pa to shell out and also, more importantly, I like them at home.

MTSgroupie Fri 26-Apr-13 12:16:14

happy - my friend is going to have the last laugh. At the end of it all they will still have their desirable house whereas we will have nothing tangible to show for x years of fees. Coupled to this, my DCs will carry the "stigma" of being a couple of privileged adults who achieved what they did because their parents money sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 12:15:50

Yellow not just dyspraxia, 2E means top 1% or higher on IQ but also SEN conditions or conditions such as AS, ADHD etc. My kids are all in that bracket on IQ but have a variety of (in some cases quite extreme) SEN issues including but not limited to dyspraxia, dyslexia and AS.

My point in mentioning this was that I don't habitually go round saying 'my kids are different to yours' to people I don't know. Or even to people I do know. Although there are several people very happy to tell me their kids are different to mine.

I certainly wasn't inviting snidey comments and I wish I hadn't mentioned it now. sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 12:08:43

It'd probably give you more 'rage' if you had kids who fitted that category. FFS. Rage doesn't eve begin to cover it actually. But thanks for your contribution.

MTSgroupie Fri 26-Apr-13 12:08:08

Some parents do want different things for their DCs.

I would like my DCs to go to Oxbridge, graduate and get a high flying (well paid) job. Not all parents want this for their DCs. So I don't understand why thinking it or saying it makes me arrogant or patronising.

Yellowtip Fri 26-Apr-13 12:07:37

It refers to dyspraxia.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 12:04:49

'twice exceptional' gives me rage.

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