Friday, 15 April 2011

State vs Private School Dilemma

We have been discussing Belle's future recently, specifically...the big bad world of schooling! Oh it scares me so much, my little pure and perfect girly untouched by the world venturing out.  I won't be there to make sure her every word is heard and counted.

Belle is only 2 but with reception classes starting at 3.5 we thought it was high time we started making plans. Or perhaps it pays to delay the start of your child's schooling? (The Times)

I am a big fan of the Montessori method of learning (self-directed learning where the teacher lets the child lead the way and allows the child's true normal nature to shine and grow) but these schools are few and far between. And then even if we did manage to move house closer to one I worry about Belle going from a Montessori primary and having to adapt to an average Secondary school.

Then of course we have the classic State vs Private debate.

We have had advice left, right and centre about how we MUST get Belle into a private school because of the way state schools are heading.  Teacher friends confirm this and articles in the news like this suggest it.  We have the brochures for the local private school(s) and at £12-15k a year it is not cheap, and then of course you have all the extra's that come with a private school (more expensive uniform, activities, trips etc) We can afford to put Belle in a private school (just) but we also know we want more children. Can we afford to put two or even 3 in private? We're just not sure at the moment.

Perhaps it is better to move house so we are in the catchment area of a very good local primary?

Perhaps I am worrying too much and I just need to make sure I give her good home schooling too.

We are really in two minds on what to do.

What are your thoughts and/or experiences?


  1. We are fortunate to live in an area with some amazing state schools and the one my son attends rates brilliantly everywhere we've looked. I actually have no idea what I would have done had that not been the case.
    We are toying with the idea of keeping his state schooled and then saving to be able to send him to the best university as we feel this will benefit him long term, but I supposed it really is a case of wait and see as we may have to send him to private school when he starts secondary school.
    Good luck with planning doe Belle!

  2. This really is a tough call and we started the ball rolling when Shivali was almost two years old. I think its made harder by the fact that schools, friend circles all shape your child and ultimately we all want the best for them. After lengthy discussions and visits we have opted for private schooling. This means from Sept I will be doing a 25/30min commute. Having seen a lot of the schools in the area this particular school just works for us. Both myself and Mr P got a gut feeling that it was the right place for us to send our little princess. My personal feelings are that getting the foundation right is crucial, that way by the time your child gets to secondary school the path has been set. Its a tough call and no matter what people say only you will know what feels right and what's affordable. Good Luck gorgeous x

  3. I was not prepard to move out to the city so we stayed and payed...Groving up in Seweden where practically everybody take the state school route(the private schools are few and not that much better)I didn't feel completely comfortable going private, but I'm not ever moving back. The school days in this country are so incredibly long especially for the little ones so I feel It's has to be good. The money aspect is scary a few of my 7yos classmates has left due to the high fees and changes in employment. X L

  4. We have exactly the same debate as you. The primary schools in our area are good but the secondary schools are not so good. I went to private school and my hubby went to state school. It would mean scrimping and saving to send her there and then what about when we hopefully have another one? Hubby would rather have her spend more time with us and happy rather than us working too hard to send her too school. I am not so sure but we have time to think. x

  5. We had the same problem with ours (but completely out of catchment for the excellent primary schools), but we opted for private until they reach secondary stage. The classes are smaller, and any issues picked up and dealth with immediately. The big one is now ready to attend secondary state school, which are all very good in our area. Our commute is 30-40 minutes each way, but it has been worth the pain. We have a discount because all three attended. I'm pleased that we were able to do it for them as I believe that they have been given the best start and they will be able to hold their own. x

  6. Your concerns are exactly the reason why we've decided to home-school Little Moo.

  7. I am lucky, Giraffe attends a Welsh Medium Primary School which, because of how close it is to the Welsh-English border, is undersubscribed (a rarity). They have classes of 17 and get very individual attention. The headteacher also knows all the children and parents' names which makes it more personal.

    Private schooling is way out of our price range so state schools are our only option but tbh I am more than happy with the school we chose for Giraffe. Any problems are nipped in the bud immediately and his learning has not been hindered in any way, shape or form by attending a state school.

  8. If you can afford private, do it. Am not happy with my little boy's state primary school and i am looking into private. My little girl is only 2,so i will think about her school when she is older. right now i can just about manage to send my little boy to private.
    Very disappointed with his present school, big class. the teacher looks after everyone the smae, and those who need special attention etc are left on the side, left to their own, poor little ones, no one to support them at 4!!!!

  9. I have looked at all the options for my little prince, we started early as he is only 16 months old so have time to plan. We have registered him at a private school as there is a waiting list for the school. The general feel is amazing, very warm and the children very enthusiastic about learning. I think its more than just the education received but the opportunities and enjoyment the children have.

    State school in my opinion do not have the full package.

  10. I really believe it's not to do with the school and much more to do with the teacher and the home life of the child. I went to a private school for five years of my schooling and really didn't get on well with the teaching style. I found that it was much more narrow minded and ignorant of children that are falling behind in lesson since the schools are much more focused on high achievers. My sister attended state school throughout her education and has just graduated from Cambridge, so to say state schools aren't good enough is a very broad generalisation. I think it's best to have a look around different schools and to get a feel for them, the atmosphere seems much more important to me :) If a child is unhappy they probably won't succeed even in the highest ranking of schools.
    Good luck!

  11. I think that the importance of good home learning is extremely important and cannot be overstated, especially at a young age. I teach a reception class and can certainly spot those children who are read to at home, explore their own interests with parental suppport etc. Private schools do have smaller classes and better facilites but a state schooling backed up by good learning at home is, I think, just as good. The home learning is key - this gives the child the correct attitude and drive to learn. Also, the great advantage of a state school is the diversity, both cultural and financial - just like in real life!