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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:20 am 
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Location: London
Hi, :?:
I would like to hear your experiences of prep schools, considering for my DD in year 3.
How much, if any, do they improve children abilities above state primaries?
Have you had children at both state and preps? What were the notable differences?
If you used a prep, would you do it again or not?
Do they really help to get into GS or would the same children got there or not regardless?
Thanks
:shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:00 am 
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Hi there is a very long stream of posts about this just further down the page.It last for eight pages.You should find some answers there. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:13 am 
I believe that the most important years in education are from reception to Year 6 and even if it was my intention to send them to a state secondary school I would send them to a prep school to get a solid foundation. That is not to say state schools do not give a solid foundation.

Now before G55 tells us about the awful private schools she's worked in :P I do understand that all independent schools are different. I have had experience of both and I have even spent a day at one of the best state primaries in a certain county and I also used to listen to children read in another.

Spending a day in the state primary school made me realise the amount of time that is wasted due to class sizes, discipline and undiagnosed learning difficulties. In an English lesson lasting 40 minutes the children did 10 minutes of work due to the amount of disruptions. The most able table was the most disruptive as they were so bored and the teacher's time was taken up with the least able.

My experience with independent schools is that they are more flexible with the curriculum and the ability group within the class. The curriculum is innovative, in places, but also very traditional and time is not spent changing the curriculum because a new government idea has been introduced. There is competition on the sports field and in the classroom. In DS's reception class he was doing Year 3 spellings with a small group and another group was learning their ABC. In the state school DS2 had to learn his ABC eventhough he was reading Level 14 in the Oxford Reading Tree books. This is not just my experience and I know plenty of parents whose children are in the same situation. IMO some teachers do not think outside the box and stick rigidly to the curriculum they have been given.

I also believe that independence is taught from an earlier age at independent school and there are many opportunites where children are expected to venture out of their comfort zone (not in a harsh way) on a daily basis.

But again all schools are different and this has been my experience.

Will your DC have a better chance at getting into GS from an independent ? Only if the testing is English and Maths and not VR/NVR. If you choose a school that is a large feeder to GS then it may well increase your chances but if you want an independent education it should be for much more than the academic results. It should be about the confidence, discipline, self-esteem and promoting the individual that most of these schools provide. I'd rather my sons could look an adult in the eye and have a respectful and eloquent conversation than have a clutch of A'levels, if I had to choose.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:31 pm
Posts: 188
Location: London
Chelmsford mum wrote:
Hi there is a very long stream of posts about this just further down the page.It last for eight pages.You should find some answers there. :D

should have looked first.
Found this
viewtopic.php?t=9235&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
and also this in the indipendent section
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=8905


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:39 am 
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Hi T.i.p.s.y

Always read you posts with great interest.Number of reasons -one is that I think your mathematical son is like my eldest daughter from what you have said.She is in GS but still as unchallenged in that area as always and pretty vocal at home about it.
Anyway to stay on topic.I have noticed that privately educated children, on the whole, do have more social confidence than state children.Just interested to know why you think this is.I have 3 daughters one in teens , one ten ,awaiting dreaded results :cry: and one four.They are all on the shy side even though neither me or hubbie are and we have always done lots to encourage social skills.Private schools seem to do a good job of producing confident children - why?
We moved two years ago and are now experiencing the difference between an excellent state primary and an average one.Although it goes against the grain, if we had the money and we don't, not even tied up in property,I would send four year old private.Many excellent teachers out there but how can she flourish at age four, in a small room with 29 other children? Many of them are "lively" to use a nice word. It feels like she is part of a herd, struggling to get noticed and interacted with.When I stand at the gate with her before school, I actually feel quite sad and do not feel she is in a happy environment where she could thrive.I pity her going in there every day.(obviously i stay positive with her)
i am sure it is true for many others and none of our local schools are much different. Private primaries ,on the whole, must be better,happier places?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:46 pm
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What I would say to you is that private schools vary a lot and it would be good if you could get some personal recommendations from parents. When you visit them ask lots of questions, ask about the qualifications and experience of their teachers. I found in the schools where I was working that a very different picture was presented to parents than the reality of what went on day after day in school.

I have taught in two truely awful private schools but I know that there will also be some very good ones. The main advantage I think is that class sizes tend to be much smaller which allows for a lot of individual time for each child with the teacher which can only be a good thing.

I am lucky in that my local state primary schools are excellent. I believe though that all children whatever kind of school they attend do better if their parents are committed to helping their educaiton by doing things with them at home. I taught all my children to read before they started school and always try to expand their knowledge by doing lots of fun and educational activities with them.

Good luck in choosing your school I hope you will find the best solution for your child.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:58 am 
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BEFORE anyone complains about the way I just spelt education (and as a teacher should know better) it was a typing error, I am wearing my contact lenses and they are not good when typing as sometimes they move about and I can't see the little tiny letters in front of me!! (a sign of old age too probably!)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:16 pm 
I have pm'd you chelmsfordmum.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:43 pm 
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Thanks have replied 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Location: Cloud 9
I would like to step in here in defence of state primaries (at least the one that my children attend/ed!)

My experience is pretty much identical to tipsy's, but THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

My daughter attended a private school for reception & year one. We made many friends there, many of whom are still friends. This is one of the most expensive prep schools in the country and in my opinion, the academic education was poor. Yes, class sizes were small (12/14) but the work was not differentiated at all. The children were not set for any subject and they all had to read aloud infront of the class on a weekly basis. Pure torture for those less able. Many of the teachers were not qualified. In the prep department (Y4 & up) they are streamed by class, into A, B or C. No flexibility for a child whose abilities differ by subject.

At the state school (to which we moved), the children (in a year of 60 for KS1 and 65 for KS2) were/are set into groups of about 8 (not set in stone, dependant on the numbers of children with similar levels of ability), and taught to their ability. The very able ones were pushed HARD. Perhaps the teachers did spend more lesson time with the less able groups, but this was not an issue. They were set by subject (in maths and literacy) which allowed for teaching to be targetted to their ability in that area.

The teachers were (and are) committed, caring and extremely hard working; determined to get the very best out of each and every child. SEN provision is woven into the fabric of the school, rather than being an expensive add-on (similar to a violin lesson). I cannot praise the system enough! I have had my eyes opened by moving my children - which was a tough decision to make. I know of several who have made the same decision since and not one has regretted it.

Having said that, I know of some who have moved in the other direction and have been equally happy...

Like so much else, it does depend on the school and local area to a degree - but don't write off state education! In my experience it is VERY, VERY good!


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