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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:34 pm
Posts: 207
Hello all,

Wondering if anyone can help me here.
I come from another country and don't know the difference between GS & Indie.
Apart from the fact that indies are fee paying school, what are the other differences? Why some people chose to go for Indies even if they get a seat in one of the top GS.

Many thanks in advance.

- svg123


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Independents covere a mixture of schools:
- relatively non selective
- highly selective - often former Direct Grant Grammar schools
- Public schools - traditionally admitted at 13, though now many admit at 11 - mixture of boarding / day in assorted proportions.

Why do people choose one or the other? - well many reasons:

1) May choose Indie if no GS around and not happy with the local comprehensive - happens in many parts of the country with no 11 plus - look at for example Nottinghamshire / parts of Yorkshire / Derbyshire / Norfolk / Cornwall etc etc

2) "Wrap around care" - many indies can offer early starts / after school activities / occasional boarding - all of which can help families ... and the kids often like it

3) additional facilities - indies often have nicer sports facilities / drama studios / swimming pools etc etc -

4) Tradition - family always gone to indies.

5) enjoyed the Indie open day :roll: - very enticing, I've been well fed at some. Indies have to attract people and have stunning marketing - can really make you feel wanted!

6) Indies sometimes have smaller class sizes and may be perceived as being more nurturing (my experience of Yorkshire schools would go against that - but that is just one area and a small sample of schools)

7) Indie / GS may offer single gender or co-ed or vice versa..


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:49 pm 
In some places a public school can be like a local comp but with fees!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:10 am 
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And some people choose them, particularly "top" public schools, because of family connections, cache, a feeling their children will make social connections useful in later working and social life, perceived cache etc etc. Complicated reasons, harder to understand but in certain professions / milieu the "old school tie" still comes in handy.

Another category of school we have not discussed are state boarding schools where the education is free but you pay for the boarding element. Some of these schools are grammar schools. There is a website for the state boarding schools. And then there are some grammar schools that take boarders in the sixth form (e.g. Cheltenham), and comprehensives too (e.g. Steyning).

Soon there will also be "free schools" and most state schools will be academies. We have so many different types of school in England it is getting mind-boggling.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:13 am 
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Oh we forgot to tell you the legal differences. An independent school (education paid for by the parents) has many freedoms that a state school (education paid for by the state) does not have. e.g. freedom from the national curriculum, no requirement for teachers to hold qualified teacher status, inspected by a different body, no requirement to appear in league tables of results etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:50 am 
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People perceive indies as providing better education, but you can get good and bad indie and state schools.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:33 am 
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Sorry did not mean to say Cheltenham, meant to say Colchester Grammar School takes some borders.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:27 am 
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I have very little knowledge of education system in the UK as I was educated in a different country.
Thinking about Grammar and Indies is too mind boggling. At one hand you have the top Grammar schools with nothing to pay in term of fees and on the other hand top Indies, like, Merchant Taylor, Dulwich, etc where you pay close to £5K per term. Is it really worth paying that much for Indies?
I have visited a couple of Grammar schools, like, Royal Grammar in Wycombe, QE Boys in Barnet, who are academic schools with large sports facilities. How do I differentiate them from Indies? Large class sizes, maybe?.
I am sure many have traveled this route before of mind juggling between GS and Indies. I hope you can give me some direction on how you concluded with your decision.
Many Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Hi, I went to Merchant Taylors’, many moons ago, and my son now goes to an all-boys GS in Bucks. IMHO there isn’t much difference in terms of the ‘feel’ of the schools, they are both boys schools run for boys largely by men and have a similar atmosphere.

The biggest difference is probably in terms of facilities – Merchant Taylors’ has its own lake, swimming pool, squash and fives courts, fencing salon and so on. There also used to be 3 years of compulsory Combined Cadet Force and the house system is very important – you had to sit in houses for lunch every day rather than with your friends. And of course Saturday school! The teaching (bear in mind this was 30 years ago) was certainly no better than what my son gets, probably worse, and contrary to popular belief class sizes weren’t that small either; the average was 26 and some of my son’s classes are bigger than that and some are smaller.

The other possible advantage of attending a famous public school is ‘connections’ and ‘networking’ if those things are important to you. They aren’t to me, and nor am I in the sort of profession where they would help, but I guess if your DS was planning to be a lawyer or banker, it might be helpful.

I have no connection with Merchant Taylors nowadays but old school friends who have sent their sons there seem very happy with the school in its current guise. We are equally happy with DS’s school.

HTH


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