I went to a local state primary school (Victoria School, in Berkamsted, Herts) which was, fortunately, very close to where we lived. The fact it was so local played an important part in helping me gain a sense of independence and responsibility as a child: my sister and I were allowed to walk to school on our own, and it's still a defining memory of my childhood. In fact the only thing about which we were really told to be careful was the heavy traffic of Volvo mums forced to take their children by car to the not-so-local private school up the road.
Lots of stories on this site tell of the importance of being at school with a mixed social group and, even though Berkhamsted in the late 70s was pretty sheltered, I'd have to agree - making friends outside the circle of children of my parents' friends and peers was also a defining part of growing up and establishing my own individuality and interests.
The standard of teaching was also great and I can remember lessons we were taught even now, 30 years later.
The last thing I'd add, more specific to the political issues behind this site, is that my partner is a KS1 primary teacher, currently working in a private school abroad after 10 years in the state system in the UK. While she may mention the staggering amount of paperwork that state teachers in the UK are expected to produce, no complaint compares to the horror stories about misguided management of the New Schools she has worked in by, at best, unprepared parents, at worst, opportunistic businesspeople who let personal ideas get in the way of the greater benefits to children (and staff).