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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:34 am
Posts: 9
Location: SE London
Hi everyone,

I'm really baffled by this, and am hoping for some advice.

What really is there to be gained from an independent school that children can't get at grammar or an excellent state comprehensive?

My son is so far doing well on selective state secondary entrance tests and like most parents we're awaiting national offer day with bated breath.

His dad also entered him for a highly regarded independent school 'just in case'. I have no experience of indies, assumed his dad was bonkers, DS wouldn't be selected so didn't pay much attention. But he passed the entrance exam and has just had an interview.

We have modest means, so if the school accepts him we might qualify for fees assistance and could just about scrape together the rest, though it would have a significant impact on our household finances.

I've heard people talk about an 'x factor' that stands out in independently educated children. What is it, and how do they get it? Like I said, I have no experience of independent schools and feel completely lost.

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:10 am 
I think you may have started a controversial debate! :lol:

All schools are different, whether they be comps, GS or indies and the area they are in is usually a factor in their make-up. A GS in London probably mirrors a good comp in the shires and a GS in Ripon (for example) mirrors a good independent day school. The major expensive Public Schools are very different, which you may view as a positive or negative, but I assume you are not looking at them.

Personally, if you have an offer of GS and you are very happy with it then you should take it. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:18 am 
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I think it is very dependent on the indies & GS in question and hence quite probably down to the kids....
I find that some areas the GSs dominate and hence all the sparky bright kids with the inbuilt x -factor are there and in other places where the indies dominate it is the other way round.
Interesting to look at a few LEAs league table ( easy on the BBC site) and note that at A level, the top one are all state GS while in others you have to go a fair way down the list to find a state school.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:32 am 
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Location: Maidstone
Its down to what you value and want

Personally I just want to make sure DD has the best available opportunites in her life and like you we will be scrapping by and we are aslo hoping for a huge scholarship when the time comes. For us its also very cultural too that we dont really think twice about paying for education even when you are skint. Its kind of your duty to do it. My parents scrapped by for the 6 of us to go to boarding schools and I feel I have to provide the best for DD too.

Now I am in Kent where there are sevaral gramma school but they dont really appeal to me that much even though its still VERY much an option we are going for in case the huge bursary or scholarship fails to come along.

Its a known fact and if you have read the sutton trust report that even the most accademically giftted kids from state schools, they fail to get to top universities because the schools they come from havent got much support in other areas other than the academic side.

I think there is much more to education than good grades and indies seem to provide the much more. Things like building a child's confidence, critical thinking and all that are life skills in my opinion that you need. For me given a mediocre indie and a top gramma, I would go for an indie....all the way


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:37 am 
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Posts: 237
I'm sure this will be controversial but here goes. My DD independent school is concerned with the overall education of young people, in other words not just the academic side but also their moral, personal and spiritual sides.

To quote

"ETHOS AND AIMS
The School’s aims are to:
- provide an open and happy community in which endeavour and achievement flourish;
- offer a well-proven route to academic success, seeking to enable pupils to realise their potential and prepare them for later life;
- create a caring and structured environment in which pupils grow in self-confidence and enjoy many opportunities for teamwork and personal development;
- set high standards for itself and for its pupils, not just academic but also personal standards of integrity, self-discipline, compassion and respect for others."

This is not treated as lipservice but is an integral part of how the School operates.

In my experience people who have been through the State system have no concept of any of this.

Whether you think any of this matters probably depends on your view of the current state of this country.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:43 am 
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Posts: 4660
And I would go for a top grammar!!

I try to ensure my dd has a rounded life experience and not just a good academic opportunity through school. We achieve this by taking an interest in her and taking her for cultural as well as fun days out. Talking to her about world events, getting her to express her views. Teaching her to question (not just the important things, but also the little things). Teaching her she's valuable and not to allow herself to be trampled on whilst at the same time treating others with kindness and respect.

There are so many things and I could go on and on and on. But suffice it to say I don't want or expect the school to do it all, I want my child to experience my values and hopefully base her life on them (or at least take some of them!!).

Tipsy, you redeemed it there!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:46 am 
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guest43 wrote:

In my experience people who have been through the State system have no concept of any of this.

.


That's exceedingly harsh!!

As you say, in your experience, but just how many schools do you have experience of???? ............. and more specifically, how many state schools?

Each school should be judged on an individual basis and not whether they're state or independent, they all have their good and bad points.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:49 am 
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True guest43 you can only see this from your experience and mine is odd I suppose.
Went to Direct Grant GS when it was genuinely Direct Grant with most fees paid by LEA and no means testing. Became independent while I was half way through :wink:
Kids went to private primary (excellent) and then State GS (also excellent). The senior indies I looked at were very variable as were state schools and the quality of both varied around the country. I do think the kids primary was better than any state primary I saw (OK before you flame me I only saw three in one small very rural part of the country so not much choice :wink: ), I THINK it prepared them well for senior education.
Having said all this you can't do the experiment twice and there are lots of factors kids/ parents / classmates / teachers / school / catchment / affluent GS parents who can spend the dosh on something else :roll: .... etc etc all of which can have an effect


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
I agree Snowdrops.....and can I just say that I would never send my child to a mediocre school, in fact we are jumping through hoops to ensure our children attend very good schools. I cannot understand why anyone would think that a school with an ethos as descibed above is only available in the private sector? :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:53 am 
Quote:
Tipsy, you redeemed it there!!


This worries me SD, because I didn't even try to be balanced. :shock: Therefore I am clearly getting old if I am starting to mellow! :( :wink:


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