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Ripley CourtSchool

State v. Independent

The current fashionable memes such as "State 'till eight" may lead one to question the advantage to one's child of a fee-paying education. And there is no doubt there are some good state schools in this area, who do many good things. So what are the advantages? Why might we better? Essentially, independent schooling maximises the chances for a positive outcome and minimises the chances of problems and distractions.

Here is a short list for you to ponder:

1. Small classes. This is still the main selling point, and with justification. Our classes are small enough for there to be nowhere to hide! Every child is noticed. Every child is valued.

2. Tight discipline. Children are children and in any school they will fall below perfect at times, but what options and will does the state sector have to deal with real long-term behavioural problems? Do these problems affect your child?

3. Shared traditional values. The promotion of excellent manners, presentation and public speaking skills.

4. The ability to set the curriculum for breadth, not just Keystage 2 English and Maths results.

5. The ability to appoint subject specialist teachers to ensure huge depth in the provision, not just in core subjects but also in sport, music, drama and modern foreign languages.

6. The promotion of competitive values in sport and in academia.

7. The promotion of excellence. There is no such thing as "good enough - s/he ticks the box so we'll leave them to mark time". We believe all children should be working at a level that challenges them. We do not mind if they pull ahead. We praise excellence for what it is.

Perhaps there should be another meme: "Eight's too late!"?