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Literacy deficits - private schools

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mikeyx, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. I am told that there is an increasing tendency for parents to choose private schools if their child is failing to make progress in the local school. They are often paying between £6000 and £10,000 a year which many can ill afford. I had a conversation with three such parents who claimed that this was the best investment they have ever made but were incensed that they were having to mortgage their own futures in order to make sure that their children would not leave school unable to read or write properly. Does anyone have any experience or views on this or perhaps know of anyway of uncovering any credible data?
     
  2. I am told that there is an increasing tendency for parents to choose private schools if their child is failing to make progress in the local school. They are often paying between £6000 and £10,000 a year which many can ill afford. I had a conversation with three such parents who claimed that this was the best investment they have ever made but were incensed that they were having to mortgage their own futures in order to make sure that their children would not leave school unable to read or write properly. Does anyone have any experience or views on this or perhaps know of anyway of uncovering any credible data?
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    You need mumsnet not TES
     
  4. As part of my PGCE course we visited a local public school, as the course director's wife taught there.
    I always remember the Head of Literacy's frank comment, which I thought then was very brave. She said that those coming into the "Junior" school from the state sector where better prepared and with better Literacy standards than those who had attended 'public school' prep and infant departments.
    Furthermore, in this area, there is a very common trend of students who have attended public school up to GCSE, then returning to the state sector for 6th form. Within this LEA area it is clear that it is possible to get the highest grades possible at 'A' level - so parents who have thus far paid, choose not to for 6th form.
    I
     
  5. In this mainly 'middle class' LEA area, I believe the above happens because many parents do not want the social and educational mixing of comprehensive schools, but are willing to return to the state sector for 6th form study, when the most 'troublesome' pupils have left school.
     
  6. Some interesting responses but none yet confirming what I have been told which is that the parents were concerned that their children's literacy standards were very poor until they started at this one particular private school. A few months ago I was talking to a former local authority advisory teacher who now works as an independent advisor, working mainly with private sector schools. He suggested that parents were dismayed by having their children placed in the 'special needs' box and that from then on little was expected of them. The admittedly small number of parents I have discussed this with, all of whom children attend the same private school, are convinced that their children are now literate, only because they transferred to the private sector. I will try the mumsnet thing - thanks.
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Maybe it is true for that particular locality, with those particular primaries and that particular prep. Maybe it is true for those three or four families. Doesn't mean it is true (or not true) for the whole country, nor even for most of the families in that school.

    Certainly where I live some parents choose private because they feel the standards and behaviour, as well as extra curricula opportunities, are better in the private schools. Others see the primary schools as perfectly well able to teach their child the basics and then send their child to private for secondary. Others choose state, while believing private is 'better', on the principle that they will not pay for what should be free.
     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm afraid it's not possible to confirm of dispute hearsay about unnamed schools ...
     
  9. I would be very reluctant to name a particular school or catchement area on the internet. The advisory teacher I already mentioned suggested that this tendency was pretty widespread geographically. I agree that people are more willing to send their children to 6th Form colleges because the disruptive element is not present there. It has been suggested to me privately as a consequence of this post that some of the smaller private schools are only surviving because of their willingness to accept children with some degree of learning deficit. The very substantial public investment in the massive 'special needs' establishment does not appear to have impacted signiicantly on the literacy standards as measured by government stats. I read somewhere that schools which used teacher assessment instead of the KS2 tests, awarded Level 5 English to large numbers of children who had they taken the KS2 test, would have achieved Level 4 at most.
    I shall see what if anything, mumsnet produces.

     
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I am certainly not asking you to name schools here but pointing out why your question couldn't be answered
     
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I would say that historically some independent schools selection proceedure effectively excluded children with difficulties.
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    bit of a pointless exercise as the schools who boycotted last years tests had no levels published
     
  13. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    i'm not sure mumsnet is what you want - i think this may have been a tongue in cheek suggestion. On the original topic, I'n no expert but the private school in my town does not cater for Special needs children particularly well (at Primary level) - several of our state schools have excellent provision and are well known to really look after the children well according to their individual needs. As regards literacy - our local private school has a good record with GCSEs but there are still children who leave there with less than great levels of Literacy. I think - as others (sorry I can't look back to see who said) have mentioned - that most of my local primaries provide a good grounding in Literacy and for the most part work really hard to ensure the children leaving them have reached their potential. I am one of those who feel that we shouldn't have to pay for a good education. I also feel that if children are given the correct support at home, as well as at school, that they will learn whichever type of school they attend.
     
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    It was slightly tongue in cheek but a quick search on mumsnet will produce a fair number of "I moved my child to private because of poor standards" usually countered by "I moved mine to state from private" or "my local state school is fantastic" ...

     
  15. I find these replies interesting and a little surprising. Online published stats continue to suggest that one child in five leaves school unable to read very well. My admittedly limited understanding is that only Level 5 English at Key Stage 2 is a really good standard and that only about one third of children achieve this standard. About one in five move to secondary school with Level 3 English which is reputedly, a very poor standard. There are reportedly, a high number of schools in which it is rare for any children to achieve Level 5. I too am not in favour of private education but I do want what is best for my children so if I came to believe that private was best (and I had the money) I would not hesitate to send my children private. What interests me most, is the possibility of a trend of parents going private for children with reading difficulties. I think it is reasonable to say that many smaller private schools do now have money worries.
     
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Are you a teacher?
    I know from friends/aquaintances who work in local private schools (not small) that they are losing pupils in the present ecconomic climate
     
  17. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You seem to also have made up your mind that you know the answer and so are not really looking at what anyone else has said.

    so one fifth of children leave school with reading and writing skills below what one would expect of an 11 year old.
    Well let us factor in those who came to the country only a year or two before that...they may have made fabulous progress to reach a level 3.
    Add in those children with significant special needs that mean they cannot and probably never will read and write and yet are in mainstream schools (we have two in my year 6 group who are there due to parent choice.).

    Add in those who have significant problems at home that prevent them getting the support for learning there and often prevent them coming to school.

    Suddenly it seems amazing that as many as 80% of children achieve what is an expected level of an 11 year old.

    Look at your own local state and private schools and make your own decision for your own child. Do not assume that all private schools are better than all state.
     
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I agree with minnie you seem to have made up your mind already that private = better when as in any "service" there are good and bad schools in both sectors ... and remember private school staff don't need to be qualified so base your choice on the school not the label.
     

  19. "Suddenly it seems amazing that as many as 80% of children achieve what is an expected level of an 11 year old."

    I suppose what concerns me is how the 'expected' level is arrived at - if its simply the modal average then my worry is that too little may be expected - my general impression is that expectations are higher in the private sector. What I have seen (admittedly in one school only) of the literacy among children expected to achieve Level 4 is not impressive. My impression is that only those predicted to achieve Level 5 had what I would describe as good literacy abilities. I have received a personal message from a teacher with a child in a private school who expresses the view that the main difference in the private sector is that more is indeed expected. What I would really like is objective information which supports or rejects this.
    I teach Law in a 6th form college.



     
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I had a child join my class from another area and when I raised concerns I was told that our expectations are too high ... we are a state school in a deprived area ...
    expectations are important but to say that only private schools expect more is a bit naive
     

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