Private Schools: Primary
Advantages of Private Primary Schools
- Focus your child’s mindset early on.
- Small class sizes and extra learning support staff.
- Cover core subjects at a faster rate to push educational boundaries.
- Extra-curricular activities to see what your child enjoys and is good at.
Things To Consider If Your Child Is Moving From Private Primary To State Secondary School:
- Be sure to prepare your child for moving onto a state school as the environment will be different.
- Consider finding extra-curricular activities or supplementary education. The wider choice of activities and facilities at a private primary school could make the move to a state school limiting for the able child.
- Class sizes at a state secondary school will be larger than independent school, so your child may not get as much attention as they are used to.
- All children will face a transition going from one school to the next. The privileged start to their education could mean your child feels bereft. Therefore they may need a little extra help settling into a new system.
Private School: Secondary
Advantages of Private Secondary Schools
- Smaller class sizes than state schools. This will help your child to focus on their studies at the crucial stage of education when they are approaching exams.
- The range of facilities and subjects on offer is likely to be much greater in comparison to the state school.
- Your child will likely be focusing on aiming for a top university if they are going on to tertiary education, and the take-up is very high for independent schools. Look at league tables and exam results for your preferred independent school as the results should speak volumes.
Things To Consider About Private Secondary Schools
- Independent school fees are higher at secondary school so be sure to consider the costs and additional expenses for school trips and more extensive uniform.
- Consider a private tutor for core subjects two years ahead of exam entry to give your child the best chance of gaining entry. Your child will be sitting an exam and competing against children from independent feeder schools and/or children who have already been at the attached prep school for the coveted places.
State School: Secondary
Your child is entitled to a free education and private schools are not an option for everyone. So what’s the alternative?
A lot of schools are pushing for, or have already gained Academy status. This means, in brief, that the school is funded by the Department of Education and is independent of control from the local authority. Academies are required to follow the National Curriculum but are free to expand their offering and specialise in one or more areas such as sport, science or technology. This can provide a broader, more balanced curriculum.
Although still early days for the Academies scheme, results suggest that improvements in GCSEs are being seen at a rate of almost double that of a state school.
Essex boasts some of the best grammar schools in the country. Fortunately for us, there are an impressive eight grammar schools to choose from in the county.
These educational hothouses are not for everyone, however for academic kids the results speak volumes.
Key Facts About Essex Grammar Schools
The schools operate a selective admission process with applicants sitting an 11+ exam. All Grammar schools in Essex require applicants to sit an exam provided by the independent body CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools) with the exception of Chelmsford County High School for Girls which requires applicants to sit the school's own exam.
The selective process means that the schools will rank applicants according to their exam results and/or the distance from the school of your permanent home address (straight line radius from the school). A permanent residence is considered to be the address in which the pupil resides for the majority of the school week.
It is worth looking at each school's individual admission process. Some schools offer places in two allocations. 1st allocation: Those inside the defined radius ranked according to score; 2nd allocation: a smaller percentage of places allocated to applicants outside of the defined radius ranked according to score. Other schools are open equally to pupils who live in Essex and outside the county and are simply ranked according to score with extra steps in place to determine allocation in the case of over-subscription.
You will need to fill out a Local Authority application form listing your preferred schools. You can list as many grammar schools as you like as long as you do not exceed the number of preferences allowed by the local authority. List them in order of preference, however, if you are applying for a grammar school, you will want your exam results back before applying. You will only be offered one choice on your list. This will be the highest placed school on your list for which your child meets the Admissions Criteria.