To be ridiculously upset about dd not being able to take her place at private school

(169 Posts)
eminemmerdale Fri 22-Feb-13 23:41:06

DD(7) is super bright - I am not being a pfb mother, she is number 3 with two older siblings but she is stupidly clever. Because of this, we, on advice, put her in for an entrance exam for our super selective local prep school. It started off last summer when we went to the first open day, then did the interview with the head, taster day, pre-test and finally the entrance test. She was awarded a place - we were told she had done 'exceptionally well' and got one of not that many places. We had, from the start, said we would need a significant bursary, and applied - we fulfill all the criteria and were pretty much led to believe that we would get a good enough one. However, although we got what would probably be thought of as a lot of money off, we just couldn't match it (unless we stopped paying utility bills and eating!) I asked if it could be negotiated and they did do their best but clearly the funds weren't there - cue lovely e mails and calls from the head and deputy head, regetting that we couldn't take the place sad Her primary is one of the best in the city and I know that a few other children from her year have been offered places, which is great. However, I now find out that one of them has been offered and accepted a bursary, but the parents are laughing their heads off because the grandparents had offered to pay full fees but the parents kept that quiet! How is it fair that the money they are taking means that my dd can't take the place? If they had been honest and said grandparents would pay then dd could possibly go - how many more are doing this? I could (in fact, have) cry. It is fucking horrible.

Callthemidlife Sat 23-Feb-13 01:20:42

At DCs school, the ability for fees to be met by the extended family is specifically explored and this family would be refused entry if found to have made a false declaration in this regards...

Doesn't help you, of course.

FWIW some of the very best schools in the country hold back generous yr7+ scholarships/full bursaries which are awarded only to children state educated up to that point, so you could look to these potentially at a later stage. I'd also say that IME the educational advantage of private only really starts to kick in around yr 6/7. Before that its mainly bells and whistles (and good support for struggling kids). But that's just my own experience of indie.

Want2bSupermum Sat 23-Feb-13 01:33:10

I would tell the school that you are very keen for your DD to attend and if funds become available in the future you would be very keen for your DD to be considered for a place.

I would also ask the school if they are aware of any other sources of help. I went to a school supported by a guild in London. They supported many children who went to schools they didn't run. Try the Worshipful Company of Drapers as they have a lot of money and are vested in educational projects. If they can't help you directly they will probably know who will.

Mimishimi Sat 23-Feb-13 07:15:43

YABU to blame the other parents. If they had not taken up the bursary, it is likely to have been offered to someone else, not given to your DD as a full bursary. YANBU to be upset that your daughter cannot attend.

kitsmummy Sat 23-Feb-13 07:23:52

So you want your DD to go privately but you can't afford it? Oh, so pretty much the same situation as the rest of the country then?

And fwiw, I don't think there's anything immoral about the other family taking the bursary as the other family obviously can't afford it either. Why should the grandparents pay if there is a bursary on offer?

Shagmundfreud Sat 23-Feb-13 07:31:08

Luckily for your dd she's so clever and so well supported she'll THRIVE in the state sector at a good school.

It's your less bright children you should be thinking about.

Would you spend/are you spending the equivalent of what you'd spend on your youngest bolstering up a bursary, on providing extra tutoring for them to help them reach their potential?

It seems all wrong to me.

Shagmundfreud Sat 23-Feb-13 07:33:04

Why are charitable funds being made over to boost the opportunities of the brightest and best supported children in the country, when these are the children who do well to start with?

Why aren't educational charities focusing on the children who FAIL in the state sector.

They're the ones who need financial and educational support. Not the bright, high achieving ones.

YABU to send only one of your 3 children to private school. My parents did this (sent the girls and not the boys) and it has created so many problems which have lasted long after we all left school.

ll31 Sat 23-Feb-13 07:49:35

Think yabu for reasons stared above, also you know what people say at school gate isn't necessarily true. .. personally what is think is amoral is private education-say you got bigger bursary and sent your dd, how is that fair to another brighter girl whose parents can't afford it?

zwischenzug Sat 23-Feb-13 07:50:33

To those saying the child will thrive in a state school, you are deluding yourself it you think state schools have any interest whatsoever in exploiting the potential of the best and brightest kids. Every government initiative only focuses on kids at the other end of the scale. There is no political capital to be gained from pushing the minority of high achieving kids.

OP, you are right to be upset, but I would look at what you can do for your dd outside of a school setting to make the most of her potential.

Branleuse Sat 23-Feb-13 07:56:44

maybe move to an area with a grammar school?

Coconutty Sat 23-Feb-13 08:01:54

The other people's bursary may be something like 10%, and expecting grandparents to pay is asking too much imo.

Coconutty Sat 23-Feb-13 08:03:34

Also, if your elder two are at a state school you may be causing untold problems by putting the youngest in private.

CaptainMartinCrieff Sat 23-Feb-13 08:07:21

I'm afraid YABU... They've been offered a bursary and accepted it. Something they are totally within their rights to do. You too were offered a bursary but can't come up with the extra fees, that is not their fault. People have money available to then or not, that's life. sad

I'm sorry you're upset. Support your dd in other ways, I'm sure she'll do well.

Timetoask Sat 23-Feb-13 08:08:27

Op, there are countless threads here on mumsnet talking about how amazingly well clever children do with their state education, even better than private.
So please don't worry, your dd will thrive wherever she is, please don't show her you are upset or you will simply set her up for years of resentment.

RedHelenB Sat 23-Feb-13 08:09:39

Zwis you are very wrong, most teachers love teaching bright children & want them to do as well as they can!!

Shagmundfreud Sat 23-Feb-13 08:10:26

"To those saying the child will thrive in a state school, you are deluding yourself it you think state schools have any interest whatsoever in exploiting the potential of the best and brightest kids."

The vast majority of children at Oxbridge and Russell group unis are from state schools.

It's insulting to say that bright children can't do well at any state school, even the good ones filled with other bright children.

lonnika Sat 23-Feb-13 08:12:26

Hi I think u r suffering from jealousy which we all do tbc!!! I agree it sucks but that is the way of the world unfortunately. IME where there is a will there is a way - if you really really wanted it you would find way. As for the other family they are doing nothing wrong IMO as not there's but grandparents money !!! Hope all works out for all three of your children x

Abra1d Sat 23-Feb-13 08:12:31

'also say that IME the educational advantage of private only really starts to kick in around yr 6/7. Before that its mainly bells and whistles (and good support for struggling kids).'

I agree. No need to go private before year six.

potatoprinter Sat 23-Feb-13 08:14:40

OP came here looking for support not to be criticised....

OP I am sorry that you are so upset. Obviously you went through the process expecting to get a place/bursary and you didn't. Please contact the school and say how much you loved it etc etc and ask if DD could be considered for a full bursary if anyone else drops out. I don't know if this is feasible but at the private school my kids attended some parents worked in the school (admin, finance etc) in return for a place for their kids. Perhaps you can ask.

Otherwise keep her in the state school until secondary transfer. If you live in a grammar school area try for that or try the private secondaries for a scholarship/means tested bursary.

Frankly in my experience a good state primary is superior to a mediocre prep school. The school sounds like a hot house for pushy parents and tbh you are better off away from people like the unpleasant family who concealed their position to get a bursary - they will end up making themselves very unpopular at the prep school believe me if they keep boasting about it.

I do not agree that state schools are only interested in bringing along mediocre children. You can always ask for extension activities if your DD is not being challenged in class. I would also get your DD involved in activities outside of school such as music, the arts generally or sports. Apart from anything else you get to meet a variety of other parents and it is useful for sussing out various schools and also how people manage to get bursaries etc later on.

MrsMushroom Sat 23-Feb-13 08:16:26

I'm trying to make you feel better now...my DD went to a selective private school on a full bursary. she's G&T and they grabbed her at age 4...she'd been to their nursery basically and the HT called me in to offer a full bursary when she went up.

She attended until age 8...I took her out as A we had had another child and couldn't pay for her and B Her social life was suffering due to extremely snobbish parents who didn't invite her for tea once they'd realised we live in a 3 bed semi.

She's now at a very good primary and so happy...plenty of friends. She can sit for Grammar (if she wants) later on and I don't feel we've lost anything.

We walked away from a full bursary because the school wasn't EVERYTHING to us....and she wasn't enjoying it by then.

TandB Sat 23-Feb-13 08:16:58

It is a great shame that things have turned out this way.

But I think that YABU to put it down to the other family when you don't know exactly how the system works. It may well be that they always offer x number of bursaries, or that the other family's bursary, if split between the other bursary holders, would only add a very little extra to your share of the pot.

You seem to be sort of assuming that your DD is high up the rankings for bursary money - you don't know this. If the other child didn't take her bursary, it might well be that there is someone else that the school would rather give the money to. Or they might genuinely be desperate to have her and not able to find the money. But I do suspect that the money they have offered is all that they are prepared to offer, no matter what.

I went to private school - on a full scholarship and a uniform bursary - and there were girls there whose circumstances changed. Some of them finished up leaving, but there were some who stayed because the school found the money somehow - one of these was super-bright. One had very unusual and tragic circumstances.

I think you have to accept that this is how much they are prepared to subsidise your child's place and not try and work out complicated reasons why they haven't offered more.

Out of interest, did they ever actually tell you what the maximum bursary would be? Did you ask? You say that you "were pretty much led to believe that we would get a good enough one" - that does sound a bit vague. Did you pin your hopes on her doing so well that they would offer full fees?

You're incredibly lucky that she's in such a good state primary school - things would be much more upsetting if she was in a school where she wasn't getting on at all well and then missed out on a private place that was your last hope.

MrsMushroom Sat 23-Feb-13 08:18:16

Potato is very right when she says a good state is superior to a mediocre prep...that was our experience.

We can't believe how gorgeous the state school is. It's very academic and kids are looked after emotionally too.

eminemmerdale Sat 23-Feb-13 08:28:35

Ok, ok I get that some people have been sarcastic and some people think I am being U. Thank you to those who get where i was coming from. DD seems fine about it - I will be, yes we should have thought it through more.

eminemmerdale Sat 23-Feb-13 08:31:23

kitsmummy The other family were positivly gloating that theire parents were going to pay, had offered to pay, wanted to pay. That seems a bit vile to me.
The school in question does offer up to 100% and we were clear we would need almost this - to the head, to the bursar.
I am sorry if iIseems grasping or entitled, it wasn't meant to sound like that.

RubyrooUK Sat 23-Feb-13 08:32:00

Sorry you are feeling so crap OP. I do understand it is disappointing.

Try to focus on the positives though. My secondary state school was brilliant and as I was classed as very bright (G&T), did lots to support me and stretch me. I loved school, met boys and girls who are still my best friends today and achieved very well academically (top 1% nationally - including private schools). I mention that because I didn't have lots of exam coaching or anything but I was always encouraged to enjoy learning by the school. So state schools can do a great job too. Hopefully your bright daughter will also have a similar experience.

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