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Independent Vs Comprehensive

Discussion in 'Independent' started by ThatBikeGuy1994, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. ThatBikeGuy1994

    ThatBikeGuy1994 New commenter

    I'm currently at University and in my second year with an aspiring career in teaching.

    I was wondering what the differences were between independent and comprehensive schools?

    What are the Pro's and Con's?

    Thank you :)
  2. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Independent versus state?

    Perhaps try Google first, then come back with specific questions - not trying to be rude but....it's apples and oranges and to carry the analogy further, all in the same fruit bowl of educating young people but with different funding, different ethos, etc.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    There are also free schools, academies, grammar schools, etc as well.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  4. ThatBikeGuy1994

    ThatBikeGuy1994 New commenter

    By comprehensive I was generalising state and all public funded schools. Sorry I should have been more specific.

    I've googled how they operate and generated a picture for myself on the differences between the two in terms of how independent schools are ran in comparison to public funded schools, however I do realise my question wasn't that specific. I do apologise and shall reformulate my question(s) to be more specific.

    What are your opinions on working in an independent school? Does your experience as a teacher differ? Is there a difference in the expectations of the individual teacher between the two? If you have worked in both, which did you prefer and why?

    I hope they are more useful.
  5. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    pros and cons.
    minnie me and AshleyWalls1994 like this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  7. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    The question of independent vs. maintained comes up regularly in this forum but the TES search facility isn't great. Try entering the following search term into Google (exactly as it is) and the results will go a long way towards answering your questions:

    state to independent site:community.tes.com

    @TheoGriff had some blog posts about the merits/demerits of independent schools but maybe they have disappeared after the most recent changes to the forums.
  8. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    Ah! @TheoGriff, you know where they are! Crossed with my post!
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  10. MsJ001

    MsJ001 New commenter

    It all depends on what you want out of your career. Like someone else has said there is good and bad to both sectors. However, one misconception of teaching in the Indy sector is that it's the 'easy option' or that life will be so much easier.

    Both sectors are highly accountable- just in different ways. Yes there is less marking, as smaller class sizes however, the time you save not marking will be filled up with other things instead. You have no right to 'guaranteed' frees, if a colleague is out on a course or ill- everyone covers as at the end of the day, it is a business and supply is almost unheard of. Staffing is tight. Days are longer. PDRP opportunities are more limited, due to budget constraints. Planning and expectations regarding your teaching are the same in both sectors.Performance Management is the same in both sectors. Pay is more in maintained sector, especially for areas of responsibility. However, you build up great relationships with the pupils as there are less of them. Behaviour management is no different, you might not have the same level of extreme behaviour however someone said this to me the other day ' all children, no matter how few or how many, are like balloons- they fill up the available air'. In other words, you might have less pupils but they fill up the same space with how much they need from you. There is a lot of constant 'low-level' behaviour issues, that are as time consuming and disruptive to learning as 'high-level' behaviour issues. In the Indy sector you will be expected to attend Open Days on Saturdays, evening events, more parents evenings ( I think someone I know attends 20 a year), attend extra-curricular events and evenings, as well as contributing to extra-curricular activities.

    It all depends on what you want out of your career and what your philosophy is. Neither sector is better than the other, however there seems to be an illusion on both sides that the other is either not as good or as accountable etc. This is nonsense.

    You still do the same job, as someone else said, we are all in the same fruit bowl. We are just different fruits and it depends on which fruit is to your taste :)
    isoken likes this.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @MsJ001 - a long and interesting post, based on your experience, and helpful for the OP.

    But it's important to remember that many of the points that you make above may well not apply to other Indy schools.

    For example, just relating to my school and others that I know well, the following are not true:

    So the main point here is that not only are there differences Indy v Maintained, there are also differences Indy v Indy!

    Best wishes

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
    ValentinoRossi and sabrinakat like this.
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Have to agree with Theo. I worked in three HMC schools before I retired and pay was above state school rates in all three - signficantly more in the case of the last two. Plus many benefits in kind - free meals (three a day if desired), free tea and coffee, BUPA membership paid for, etc.

    It's true that the occasional free period would be lost in cover, but never more than once a week and when you are only timetabled for 22 out of 40 periods a week, it really doesn't matter that much. In my experience cover agencies are not used, but schools have excellent contacts - particularly among retired teachers - who can be called on when long-term absence is involved.

    Staffing may be tight, and pay poor, in small proprietorial schools but that is certainly not the case in independent schools with a secure foundation. And because of generous staffing levels, time off for professional development was never a problem.

    We never had compulsory attendance for open days - they were run by the SLT and prefects. And I never came across low-level behaviour issues on any sort of scale - the kids know how much their parents give up to pay for their education, and they know they are there to work and to have fun, but not to risk sanctions. The great advantage in strong discipline (proper sanctions such as on-report and detentions plus instant suspension/expulsion in serious matters) is that it is seldom needed.

    Finally, while parents' evenings were frequent and long, this was more than balanced by those weeks of extra holiday in the independent sector (finishing at the start of July rather than near the end was particularly refreshing).

    As Theo indicates, there are huge differences in the independent sector. Competition is fierce, but go for the top schools if you possibly can.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    ValentinoRossi, outy and sabrinakat like this.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Difference in my experience of state and independent...not at all a general picture:
    • SLT are happy if children are clearly engaged and learning, how that is achieved is entirely up to the teacher. It isn't the box ticking exercise that was my recent experience in state schools.
    • ISI are more focussed on the things that actually matter than Ofsted, and are more positive in their outlook. They expect that the school will be brilliant and it is up to the school not to mess up, rather than prove themselves.
    • Specialist teaching from year 3 enables much better progress. (All those children to whom I taught music/art/pe in year 5/6 got such a raw deal!)
    • We get double the statutory non-contact time, but do lose some for cover most weeks. However we also get to go out on courses fairly often and people cover us.
    • We get food provided, but sit with children to eat it, giving us only a half hour actual break for lunch.
    • There is much more freedom with the curriculum and time to do extra bits.
    • Parents are very focussed on getting in to next schools, from reception onwards.
    • Experienced teachers are valued and a good selling point.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  14. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

  15. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    It does vary so much. I wouldn't be too fixed on which type-try applying to a wide range. What you expect isn't always what you get.
  16. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I'd be interested in your own experience of school. If you went to a comp yourself, you are pretty likely to understand the behaviour issues that a teacher will face.If you went to an independent school, you are in for a very rude shock if you go into some inner city comps!
  17. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You need to be aware of the massive differences in the Private sector. There are some tiny schools which are essentially family businesses, and you may find working in one of those very different to working for part of a trust, such as the GDST.
    jarndyce likes this.
  18. karel

    karel Occasional commenter

    I've worked in both state and independent sector in the UK and more than 20 years in private international schools outside the UK. From what I have read on here I realise that the 2 independent schools I worked in much have been good ones by all accounts. One was up North, the other in the East on England. They were both boarding and day. I was paid considerably more that I would have been in the state sector I believe. At one school I lived on site with my family and paid no rent or bills. The whole family could eat meals in the school dining room everyday if we wanted to and the food was good. In return for living in site I did one evening duty per week in a hoarding house and one weekend duty per month. We worked long hours, this is normal in a boarding school and Saturday mornings. Our daughter attended the school, at the first school we paid 25% of the fee ourselves. The second school was a more prestigious school than the first. Here we lived in the village close to the school in a house that we rented from the school, subsidized. As someone else mentioned some boarding schools own property in the surrounding village which they have income from renting out. I had to do one evening duty per week but no weekend this time since I wasn't living in sure. Teacher were provided with free food all day long. The hours again were long. During wintervtimetable the kids played sports after lunch and lessons started up again at 4pm until 6.15pm. Every teacher did sports or activities three times per week. From my experience expect a lot from you but they treat you well. In both schools i had my own classroom that no one else used, resources were plentiful. For the most part the discipline and behavior of the students was better than in the state sector but there were still discipline problems, a lot of low level stuff, but find serious issues too. I return to the uk after reaching overseas for 14 years. Did a year back in the state sector, hated it, 33 kids in class! Since we wanted to try to make a go of it being, that's how I ended up in the independent sector. After 5 years however we decided to leave the UK again and I'm now teaching overseas again. Teaching in independent schools was a very good experience though and certainly it was a pleasure to work in two very well run and professionally managed schools in the UK. I would recommend it but you have to know what you are getting into. It's much more than a job, more a way of life and you have to buy into it to be successful and happy.
    Alldone likes this.

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