My daughter (year 5) goes to the local state primary. She loves it. I particularly like the enthusiasm of the teachers and how inspirational they are in their teaching methods. She has many friends who live close by and thus gains in school time and during holidays. She is also very friendly with a neighbour of the same age as her who goes to the nearest private school. This poor girl has comes home and consistently talks about having to cope with extremely unpleasant classmates which the school seem unable to sort out. From the age of 5 the girl at the private school has had hours of homework every night and every holiday, huge work assignments and projects to complete. The girl seems to be under a constant stream of tests that she is not allowed to 'fail'. So I am extremely glad that I chose for my daughter to be happy in her learning experience.
There is however a big 'but'. Having gone to a state school myself followed by the local 6th form college, I did go on to University myself (at a time when it was free). I then went on to to an MSc and PhD and ended up working in a Russell Group University as a scientific researcher. It is very sad to say that of all the researchers that I have worked with over my 15 year career I can count on one hand the ones I know that were educated in the state system. I think this is an awful reflection of the structure of our society.