to plunge family into even more poverty for dd and a suitable education. LONG!

(129 Posts)
dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:39:01

I'm going around in circles so I thought I'd let you lot decide.

DD is 7, She isn't really properly happy at school, she has no close friends, doesn't fit in and has had a bit of teasing/mild bullying to contend with. She does not get party invites or playdate or tea invites - except from one girl who sort of 'leads' dd. Possibly dominates her a little. My dd is a bit odd, prickly, nerdy, frankly not standard in any way.

She has mild anxiety, some health issues that generated more anxiety around school and is a really cooperative child who is anxious to please.

She has seen a psychologist person at huge expense - maily because dh and I thought maybe we were deluded - but no we were right. She is high on the cognitive scales and is about 95 centile for ability.

She attends the 'best' school ln our area. As measured by stats, Ofstead and also by us - in that there is only one intake per year, very little teacher turn over, a fairly personal approach and so on. School agree she is bright, believe her to be well stretched and 'nothing unusual' in their words.

In her own words - the sums are soooooo easy. There was one sum that she remebers being hard in Sept, but then she 'clicked and I got it and I knew it'. I'm sure there are things she gets wrong and I'm sure her work isn't that easy for her, but I do not feel this is a good state of mind!

OK - what do I do? The only other school we could consider has friends in it and the feedback isn't that great, plus there is a wait list.

An indie school has offered us a huge bursary but it is 35-40 mins away. It's tiny and not actually remotely academic. It is non selective but has a lovely atmosphere. What I would hope is that it is small enough to be responsive. Their independent school report is glowing. Really very good. There are a large amount of children requiring extra support who get very well catered for, and in her way, dd is in a very similar situation to those children. The report states that able children are well served and stretched.

It goes through to 18 so dd could work her way up at her own rate rather than be tied to years and classes. The head has sadi he is happy for her to snake up and down as her education demands, as many classes double up anyway as the school is so small.

It's a cheap school and the fees would be tiny to many of you, but to us it would mean extra work for me ( I already have health issues) and absolute zero disposable income. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. We are poor and not likely to stop being poor for about 6 years. When things look a little better for us the bursary would probably be removed and we would remain the same - grindingly poor. As in about 15-20K for all of us to commute, live on, run the house etc (having bought the house and set up shop 8 years ago on combined salary of about 50K, the recession has been very hard on us). We can't down size as the next step down is a small flat and it would save us about £100 per month if we were lucky. One old car, no holidays as it is etc etc.

AIBU to simply put her in and just muddle through - probably accumulating some debt and probably accumulating a bit of stress and misery which we would need to work our socks off to hide from her. For her education and to try help her find a niche and a path to her best advantage?

Oh and by the way - we have a younger child. I think that one would have to go state like dd until....until....something else happened.

Oh dear. I am sad

TattyDevine Fri 27-Apr-12 21:44:26

I don't think you should. Gut feeling, can't back it up with much. YANBU for thinking about it. wine and unmumsnetty hugs though.

marriedinwhite Fri 27-Apr-12 21:45:43

How difficult for you. How would you feel if she goes to this school and still doesn't fit in? To be fair I think I would try to find things outside schoo that make her light shine - brownies, guides, musical instrument, singing, macrame, riding, nagt (national association for gifted children), gardening. Let her be herself and support her to be herself. Please don't forget that your other dd needs to be herself too and might need some money spent on her at some stage. You could also try another school - square pegs and roudn holes and all that.

Good luck

fivegomadindorset Fri 27-Apr-12 21:45:59

No, non acadmenic rings huge alarm bells.

MyNameIsntFUCKINGWarren Fri 27-Apr-12 21:47:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Fri 27-Apr-12 21:52:25

If they are doubling up classes it sounds like they are desperate for bums on seats and are in dire financial straits. Prehaps you need to find other ways to stretch your daughter mentally with extra curricular activites or send her to one of the tutoring companies to get stretched academically.

There is no point in killing yourself financially. I think the recession is only going to get worse. The school fees are just going to increase as your dd gets older. Sad to say, its a no brainer on your income.

Your younger child would feel very resentful if your dd got private and they got state. Especially if they had no treats and were sent to the supposely poor state school.

yummybunny Fri 27-Apr-12 21:52:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:53:02

OMG thank you for reading!

MN is great.

fivegomadindorset can I ask why? I know nothing about these schools. I grew up and move in very working class circles, this stuff just isn't in my radar.

The psychologist said she would easily pass any 11+ entrance exam pretty shortly. Imagine how I feel knowing her school think she is 'nothing unusual'. Aren't all children bloody unusual? Aren't they all individuals? angry

marriedinwhite - I have no idea. She does music and some sporty type things as she needs an appetite building up (regarding the health stuff). Most of the local out of school stuff is based around performing and is all jazz hands. I swear I'd move house for a chess club.

I'm worried about looing at other schools as where I live is tiny and every one knows every one elses business. The head would be hmm. They are already defensive with us regarding the psychologist.

Thank you Tatty. I do feel very lost on this one, very powerless and like I am failing her. ANd her sister.

yummybunny Fri 27-Apr-12 21:54:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Is there any real, objective reason why this new school would be better than her current one? It doesn't sound like it. If it were academic, or something, I would feel different but it doesn't. Also, I have an allergy to people setting up a situation where DCs are treated differently. If you absolutely can't afford it for DC2, you can't afford it.

Theas18 Fri 27-Apr-12 21:55:12

This is schooling or a bight 7yr old in a none academic school on a large bursary?

And the school goes through t o 18....tempting though it is take a long hard think about this. We were offered a decent scholarship at 11 for dd2 to a school that sees itself as academic, but compared to where she is now is not. The contract on acceptance of the bursary was also that we kept here there till 18- or pay all the bursary back. That was a deal breaker. No way could we be certain it was the right place for her through to a levels when looking at it at age 11. I can't imagine how you old make that judgment for a 7yr old.

RandomMess Fri 27-Apr-12 21:55:51

Wouldn't it be cheaper to home educate her, even if it's just for a couple of years?

fivegomadindorset Fri 27-Apr-12 21:58:34

It is a non academic school which you want to put yoursleves in poverty for, wait awhile and try for burseries at good private schools or state boarding grammar schools.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:59:18

Missed your posts sorry.

ReallyTired yes those are good points. Absolutely no tutoring companies around here though, apart from a Kumon malarky about 45 mins away.

Nearest grammar is about 2.5-5hrs away yummybunny

I'm so interested in how Asian families parent yummybunny I've spoken to many families and they all say the same. If you have a bright one - send it. You would send an athlete to the Olympics even if their sister wasn't remotely athletic so why hold back an academic.

Our local schools 'aint great. And we are isolated. It's a toughie. No one here abouts - including me - know what Goldmans is. How can I hope she achieves when I don't know what a barrister(for example) actually does and there are none in the place we live????? I feel trapped.

BertieBotts Fri 27-Apr-12 21:59:45

I love the sound of that other school, but maybe I'm weird. However I see MTP's point - your DD2 may well resent the extra money spent on DD1 and that would seem unfair. I never wanted to go to private school and was perfectly happy in state, but it does rankle a little bit that my dad's children from second marriage are in private education yet when I asked (as he offered) for some help with uni fees, he sent me a cheque for £100.

MrsMellowDrummer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:02:31

Our son is very very brainy, and absolutely thriving in a tiny independent school. There are just 6 children per year group, and all the classes double up. It's not an "academic" school either - tends to attract children who are a bit quirky, and maybe either end of the spectrum. Mainly as because of the tiny intake/class size, they are incredibly flexible, know the children inside out, and they all work at their own pace.

We stretch ourselves to afford the fees, having moved him from our local school in the middle of year one. I think it's completely worth it. If your gut tells you it's right, then I'd consider it very carefully.

joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 22:02:37

I think it just sounds too tight, paying for that particular school. No disposable income at all? i wouldn't do it, sorry.

So start a chess club. Or talk to the PTA about getting someone to start a chess club, since you are probably working full hours?

Bother the head Teacher about getting someone to run an orchestra? I think a parent who is a music teacher gets paid for a short period of time to run a small orchestra at ds's school. Another way to make friends too.

Identify a friend for her and do a bit of lovebombing. Get them round for a short playdate and foster the friendship, make things together.

In the meantime, have a look at schools that do more in the way of bursaries - e.g. Christ's Hospital/Bluecoat School?

mercibucket Fri 27-Apr-12 22:05:52

She could be bright but no brighter than the rest in her year, which is why the teachers are not all that excited. If it's a very mc school there's probably a lot of support at home, tutoring etc pushing up the grades of some of the other pupils.

HexagonalQueenOfTheSummer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:06:08

No definitely don't do it

Why not just look into moving her into another local state school? Not all schools suit every child and you may well find she comes into her own when moved to another school.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:06:46

BertieBotts - yes that absolutely should rankle.

We would aim to send dc 2 from yr 7. I could work like a demon to cover her fees and dd1 would only have a year left as there is a big age gap. We wouldn't have much of the '2 fees' scenario.

There were no rules attached to the bursary - just yearly reviews of finances - so I suppose that is a positive. Of sorts.

If she got to another school and was still a square peg in a round hole....well, I suppose we'd know we tried. We'd know that it as always pretty much going to be thus and we had to wait it out.

I do feel that our town's schools have really really low expectations though. And i have a couple of secondry teachers who agree! sad We have a lot of deprivation and NEETS and social issues. My girl likes fecking classical music and wants to go to London to the Royal Society that she saw on the telly at Christmas. Whatever that is. Who does she have to talk to?!

WOuld love to HE but really, I haven't the guts, brains or means. How do you even do that.

HolyCameraConfusionBatman Fri 27-Apr-12 22:08:09

I wouldn't.

joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 22:10:20

Does the school have a subscription to Mathletics or similar? If not, could you manage one?

When you have some evidence of what she can do on Mathletics, and what level she has to get to before she is starting to be challenged, take it to her teacher and have a chat about differentiating work for her. I'm going to have a proud mummy moment here, so sick bags at the ready - ds has a maths level that is set specially for him in his class - but in fact, the school is right, it's NOT unusual to be one or two or more years ahead of your cohort at that age. What's great is that as ds's class gets older, several of them are now catching him up, and I think it's partly because that extra level has been set - quite a few of the class are now tackling that level because it's there.

RandomMess Fri 27-Apr-12 22:10:47

I have no idea but look around at the HE forums, you basically just follow their interests. It's not 6 hours of desk work per day! So you could have a trip to a classical music recital and do lots of work based around that - you can compose music completely mathematically for example smile

Do you look after her in the hols rather than use childcare if so you could practice over the summer hols and see what you think of it?

freerangeeggs Fri 27-Apr-12 22:12:15

Don't make the mistake of thinking that because it's independent it will be better. I know a lot of weak teachers who have moved from state to independent (not to suggest that independent teachers are all bad, of course - I'm sure there are many outstanding ones).

Aren't there any other state schools nearby that you could look into?

It does seem like a crazy risk to me. I think if I was your daughter I would grow up to feel pretty awful about making my family's life so miserable.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:12:21

AM thinking through all your replies - thank you.

mercibucket - it is middleclass for here but I am not aware of any tutoring really. Although I suppose all sorts may go on in private. There are certainly no groups as such.

There are no children of Drs or lawyers or dentists or any of those 'sort of people'. Sounds rude but you know what I mean!? blush There are very few of those people in the town anyway and they are mostly in the private schools or out of town and the parents commute here to work.

maybe I should look at some of the rural tiny state schools. <<sigh>>

Heswall Fri 27-Apr-12 22:16:30

I would home school her.
It's not as hard as we expected.

Loonybun Fri 27-Apr-12 22:18:01

No I wouldn't.

I have a bright dd aged 8 and she has had some issues in her (rural village) state school but we talked to teachers, stuck at it and now she's settled, being given more one to one time and made friends.

I think if the school is that terrible you would be better to think about moving to a different catchment area, rather than making yourself struggle trying to afford fees.
We have a joint income of about 28k and there's no way I'd consider us rich enough (or stable enough in the current economy) to put a child into private. What if you couldn't pay and had to remove her? That would be very unsettling.

For the record, I went from a state school in a rough area of south london to winning a scholarship to an indepedent school at 16 and I left after a year. I absolutely hated everything about it. I then enrolled myself ata normal adult 6th form and still left with 3 a grade a levels.

I think if a child is bright then within reason they will always do well. I have found with this with dd so far.

jendot Fri 27-Apr-12 22:19:07

I haven't had time to read all the responses so apologies if I repeat everyone!!
I could have written your post 3 months ago about my ds. The school sounds VERY similar! All except we weren't offered a scholarship!!
We took the plunge and made the move.. It has taken a bit of getting used to.. The change of pace, the commute, lack of money... But for us it was 100% the right move. Ds is very happy, his education has become personal to his needs and he is thriving.
Hope it all goes well for you.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:19:44

No mathletics or anything like that. The school made a big event of bringing the G&T teacher to meet us. Her advice was..... to join the NAGT thingie. Firstly we can't afford that and secondly I'm not sure what good it would do us as the nearest group is 200 miles away!I was a bit let down that that was the sum total of their suppor tfor her and for us as her mum and dad. She is on their register but that appears to be their input.

Private would be a risk - certainly. But if I can't risk it for my girlie what will I do? I feel a bit of a wuss and like I'm failing her for not just grabbing this by the bollocks (sorry) and grabbing what might be an amazing chance for her.

God I can't help but really wish I was someone with enough funds to be able to really choose for my children. It is sooooo crap knowing that it's almost like the blinkers are going on her life at bloody 7. She has such a spark, such a flair and clearness. She sees things in such mature and sensible terms. She is pragmatic at 7. I haven't the education to show her the world - I was never shown it myself.

Annunziata Fri 27-Apr-12 22:25:40

Obviously I don't know you or your daughter, and I'm not a teacher either, but that doesn't sound a good deal to me.

You can show her the world if you want. You have google, libraries, museums, and most of them are free. Let her know how special she is and encourage her to aim as high as she can.

All the best x

wolvesdidit Fri 27-Apr-12 22:26:24

Home education?

RandomMess Fri 27-Apr-12 22:27:43

Honestly if she has the spark, flair and clearness you just need to let her lead you.

Critical thinking is an amazing thing - that just means talking about "What if"

What if the sun stopped shining, What if no-one shared toys.

If she has things she's interested in just help her research them, she wants to see that classical thing - well "how could we make that happen?"

I could save my pocket money
we could go by car
or by train _ how much would it cost, how long would it take (maths)
go to London on holiday
rent a cd from the library
find them on you tube
get some library books about british orchestras


joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 22:28:04

so, could you afford mathletics yourself? It's £39 for a year and it's about 2 seconds away via Google.

Home education is also a real possibility IMO. Don't rail against the darkness, or even light a candle, light a bonfire! grin

I would do something to help her social skills and confidence before doing anything else. Martial arts? If she likes music that's great but most study of music will actually remove her further from her cohort as it's a solitary activity while she gets good enough to join an orchestra.

Don't think you are short changing her by keeping her in the state system. Some kids take a while to find their niche. I was a nerdy kid. Took me till I was 10 to really figure myself out and make friends. Dunno why. Got there in the end though.

hettie Fri 27-Apr-12 22:30:47

My parents thought they did the right thing by sending me to local private as I was 'bright' (99th centile). Some of the teaching was shit.... their response to me being ahead wad to give me a book to read in class so I didn't disrupt lessons! Since then I have met very smart successful people from state and private.... so not worth it imho

Heswall Fri 27-Apr-12 22:36:46

Home education can be a journey together, you can read, you know how to use the Internet you are half way there.
I've spent about £50,000 of my savings on private education which was a huge gamble, I used it to get us where I wanted my daughter to be and now we are there I'm a bit disappointed at times. I also spoke to a man who was at the school I'd have fold my kidneys to send my boy to and he hated it do I'm hanging on to my organs for now.

oikopolis Fri 27-Apr-12 22:36:52

i wouldn't do the private school.

i tested as gifted as a child. private school scholarships all over the place.

my state secondary school was a far better choice for me and it was the only place i thrived. the best junior school i ever went to (we moved a lot and my parents were constantly trying to get me into "better" schools) was also a state school. the teachers knew i was different, but that was fine. i was different.

i ended up with a university scholarship, got a 1st and am now successful in my career. and my career is built entirely on the same type of "giftedness" (languages) that i displayed as a child. i lost nothing by being constantly expelled from/asked to leave private schools; they were just the wrong place for me, i could see through the ponciness and preciousness from a very young age. (i know there are many private schools not like this, but let's face it, a lot of them are)

i was happy as long as my parents dropped me off at the library every afternoon. (my parents didn't go to uni btw, i was first in my family to go, so they had little to offer me and were aware of that). when i got to uni, i had already read almost all the books on the curriculum for my degree and i sailed through it. kids who are passionate about learning will educate themselves as long as you support and accept them as they are.

private schools are great, but they have to be EXACTLY the right fit for your child, and they're an expensive experiment, and if the experiment fails they can destroy a child's confidence/self-esteem.

JMO and JME.
don't fret too much, your daughter will be fine as long as you love her smile

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:39:17

Is mathletics good then?

I do lots of stuff at home for her - well as much as her scooby do and nintendo addiction will allow. We put a sum on each step and ask her to work them out as she climbs them. I got her some handwriting books and really tried to help how she writes and holds her pen and things like that - things I thought school would be doing but don't seem too.

Am I imagining it or are most activities for girls either based on solo concentration (instruments, ballet, gymnastics, dance) or based on dressing up and performing (dance and acting and performing in bloody scrunchies). DD would rather chew her own legs than take to a stage or do Brownies. She refuses to engage in anything to do woth fairies or dressing up.
All the boys do good stuff like football and go carting hmm

There are no non-sport non-performance orientated things in this bit of the world. I think everyone must want to be a WAG or a celeb.

DD wants to be an architect and asks me what that involves and I don't actually know and I don't know any either.

Cabrinha Fri 27-Apr-12 22:48:51

You can use the Internet though... Find a careers website - and get her to read what architects do. Go to your library and ask the librarian to look up some books for you. Go for a walk and talk about buildings - they don't have to be pretty! It's all architecture. Look out for constant re-runs of Grand Designs on TV. There's lots you can do to encourage her!
You seem to think you have to know everything yourself... You don't - you just have to help her find things.
You can go on Chat or Education on here, and ask who knows about architecture!

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:51:39

I know and I will, I guess I am feeling very negative tonight and I suppose I hoped that she could move in circles where it wasn't unusual to want to do these things. Maybe have a friend with a mum who is in that line or be able to see people doing different things. I hope that makes sense.

I'd like that for her and I can't have it and it really hurts.

Disputandum Fri 27-Apr-12 22:51:40

If 'the boys are doing all the good stuff', take her along to those activities; DD does rugby, karate and Cubs.

Dozer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:56:53

The private school sounds like it could be in financial trouble - check out the accounts!

Doesn't sound like a good plan.

I was like your dd, got easier in secondary.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:57:31

Really? That is cool. I have looked into every cub group in a 15 mile radius and there isn't one with girls. Is that usual or do I live in the dead end of nowhere?

Karate is possible, so I'll ask her about that. She is keen to ride but there is no way on earth we can ever afford it. What a fortune!

Thank you very much for all the input and for gentle handling. This is AIBU afterall grin

I have to go to bed as I have a 14 hr shift tomorrow - lucky me. Thanks again.

Dozer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:57:46

Also, the independent schools reports are not independent, and rarely other than glowing!

oikopolis Fri 27-Apr-12 22:59:18

agree with Cabrinha, don't worry about not knowing about her fave subjects - get stuck in with her, learn with her.

for architecture, i'd suggest:
- art history books. learn the history of art together, discuss pictures and how art changes over time etc.
- then get some books of ancient and modern buildings, and apply what you've learned re: art history to architecture. from there, learn together about different phases of architecture both in the West and elsewhere.
- get books about housebuilding. plans, etc. learn how to interpret plans/technical drawings together.
- get her started on learning technical drawing. have her draw objects from around the house.
- research AutoCAD (technical drawing) software; is there a student version that she can start to fiddle with?
- same with model-building techniques. there's a huge amount of model-building in architecture and it's a great hands-on thing to do. she can make a model of your house, a favourite building, all sorts.
- anything to do with geometry will help her.
- i'm sure algebra too actually.

this website will blow her mind.
any kind of maths/science subject will be covered here. let her get in over her head and see what comes of it!

part of becoming educated is learning how to learn things. how to be OK with being clueless, and how to start gaining knowledge by looking for it. if you do this with her, it will serve her for the rest of her life.

WetAugust Fri 27-Apr-12 23:00:12

Defibitely not!

You should pick a school that it 'suitable to her age and ability' and can provide the support she requires.

If she's gifted a non-academic school will not stretch her sufficiently. She'll be even more bored than she currently is.

You'd be moving her her for the wrong reasons:

to sheleter her from bullying - you should address that at her current school
because she's anxious and nerdy - that needs further investigation. It may be that she needs additional support with social and communication difficulties. If you haven'y already done so, you should seek out an independant Educational Pyschologist and start to get explanations for this and suggestions as to the support she requires.

No issues here with independant schools - just think that the independant setting you are considering is not a suitable one.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:00:13

Oh Dozer - don't even go there on secondry. Ours are a disaster. There are about 5, 2 of which were in special measure and the rest 'good'. One got an outstanding in one area - mainly because it got children to actually turn up. I get a bit of a twitch when I ponder secondry. Ther is only one place in the area to study A levels or similar. So if it doesn't offer your preference - tough.


Oh well. Thanks again everyone.

joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 23:06:06

Don't laugh - what about starting a free school?

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:07:48

Hi yes we went to a psychologist. That is where we got the information about the cognitive ability. It cost a fortune!
The advice was to consider moving ahead one to two years as she is unusually eloquent [sp.] and mature and therefore will find mixing with peers in mixed ability difficult. Apparently. The advice was also to target any areas where she is average or thereabouts, like spelling, as this is purely because she hasn't been taught how to self correct etc. Then she could easily move into a higher class.

In general she was found (at 7 and a week) to operate at between 9 and 15 years of age. I can't remember the specifics but her writing form and speed and spelling were her weakest areas.

School seemed unimpressed with the whole shebang. Which I understand. Moving ahead is, imo, very dodgy. They stated plainly they do not think her level of functioning is anything they aren't dealing with. I'm frightened to approach them again tbh.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:10:08

Thank you oikopolis and everyone else of course. You are all very kind.

Maybe me and dd could look into all those ideas on Sunday when I am at home.

freeschool? I won't laugh but honestly, ours is the most in demand school and no one will even turn up to sell second hand school uniform hmm. It just isn't that sort of place. To my knowledge anyway!

MrsShitty Fri 27-Apr-12 23:10:20

I have reversed your DD is also 7 and struggling a little socially and with some anxiety. We have left a tiny, cheap indie school and left our huge bursary behind for the best local state for miles.

Dd had been in her tiny prep since the age of three and was getting on well but there were only 4 girls in her class and then 3 left...leaving DD and one other girl who is her polar opposite.

I was worried about secondary. We could not afford to pay fees at secondary level and have another DD to think about...we were frightened at the thought of DD going from this tiny and homely school into the large comprehensive which she would in all likelyhood attend. she is also bright but I don't think she's the type to pass exams...very nervy.

We feel we've done the right thing and 7 is so young still. DD is slowly gaining confidence and making strides. in the words of our new HT, some kids are simply not the type to go about in a gang...they take longer to make a close friend and that's fine.

We are working on her confidence and helping her by offering as many extra curricular things as she is interested in. I do feel that 7 is very young yet and have confidence that in a year or so, she will come into her own.

Don't underestimate the worry that fees later can bring as well as missing out on other things such as expensive science courses and clubs which are offered at even the smaller private schools.

Mumsyblouse Fri 27-Apr-12 23:13:28

I would pay for an outstanding private school, but not your typical one down the road who only have average attainment (given they have tiny classes, you would expect much better) and describe themselves as 'non-academic'.

Your daughter sounds like my daughter in many ways, a bit quirky, loves geeky things. But being in a state primary (also with few other professionals as parents) has benefitted her, mainly socially and they have amazing pastoral care. She is also stretched, very few children are really so clever they can't be extended by a good teacher, after all, if they are asked to do creative writing, they can be twice as creative as the others, if that's their thing. Maths you can do extra at home online as others have suggested. I have also encouraged her to join group activities such as choir rather than focusing on individual achievement ones where that tendency to get overanxious about succeeding can take hold.

If you had enough money and it wouldn't massively jeopardise your living standards, I would say go for it for a brilliant school. But being poor, really poor, to send her to an ok private school, I'd try to improve the current situation especially given the commute.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:13:41

Wow that website rocks oikopolis. Thank you!

MrsShitty Fri 27-Apr-12 23:16:42

Is home ed out of the question?

Marvellous Fri 27-Apr-12 23:17:21

I think if you move her to a school that lets her move up through classes, she will have a much harder time socially than she does now. How easily will she make or keep friends if she's in a group that fits her academically but not in terms of maturity- if her classmates are 15 and given near-adult levels of independence and she's only 12 and not allowed to do any of the same things? And if she does move ahead, what happens when the year group she's with reaches GCSEs and A levels? You're just storing up loads of problems for the future.

I think you should talk to school about how you can support them to bring her reading and writing skills up to the same level as everything else. Without those, she won't achieve academically in the way you feel she should. And as you're doing that, work with her on the social stuff.

Tbh, you sound sad and disappointed about the area you live in and the people you know. Don't let that cloud your decision; sending her to the new school won't necessarily help, particularly given the distance and how much harder that will make it for her friendships to succeed. It's an enormous gamble to take.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:18:24

I just don't know where I would start or what I'd hope to achieve or how I'd manage the 34 hours I work!

That feels more scary than all the private schools in the world!

Belleflowers Fri 27-Apr-12 23:20:37

No. No No please dont!

If I were you, think ahead - the impact of family stress at home if you were to fork out huge costs for the private school - would impact her more negatively

remember - she will learn from MANY different sources in this life- NOT JUST A SCHOOL - there is too much pressure on kids to perform - and I think all pressure needs to come off your daughter academically for just a little while

1. she needs boosted up regarding the whole friendships/making friends thing first of all - once her self esteem increases in this area, it will have a knock opositive effect on the rest of her life - her school marks or any other school issue, as she will have found the inner confidence to get through it

2. going bankrupt as a family will NOT help your daughter - trust me - she will grow up with an ENORMOUS burden oher shoulders, that money involved in her schooling has put stress into your family life etc

3. I would:
up the trips to the library with her, one on one, at weekends
up the one on one chats about how wonderful she is
up the letting her have time to herself (i think she sounds like me - and i always needed so much time to myself, just to recharge from daily life - my mother never understood this amd was always barraging me, rather than just letting me be...)
up the school support - get teacher to monitor behaviour of others towards her
up the outside activity - maybe Girl Guides, tennis, art, music?

Good luck a you sound like a super mum x

BonnieBumble Fri 27-Apr-12 23:26:02

Where do you live?

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:27:31

Yes I agree Marvellous. I would only ever consider her moving ahead in year groups in the type of private school we looked at - where they can study there to 18 and shift up and down to suit. There are only about 250 pupils across 4-18 so they are able to be fluid and everyone seems to know everyone anyway. So actual age might get lost in translation. I wouldn't consider her moving ahead in state and neither would the school.

I also loved the way the senior students are really expected to take an active role in looking after younger learners. They serve meals, mentor boarders, help with homework and clubs. It all seemed so rounded.

I am uncomfortable where I live and I think this situation is really putting a microscope on it. On the plus side we can live in a house that cost us 130k which in the place last lived would cost 200-300k and never ever be achieved. But there is a reason things here are cheap, it's because there is no industry, no job security, no 20-40 year olds in very much work and huge amounts of under 20's and over 60's. There is no university, no students and the money they bring, only a magistrate court etc etc. It is isolated and badly served by roads etc.

It is a brill place to be 0-5 for sure smile
Thanks for all your insights, some really interesting slants here.

MrsShitty Fri 27-Apr-12 23:31:00

belle that's really good advice...I have been taking it very slowly with my's about confidence in my opinion and some kids don't ccome with that pre-programmed no matter HOW much we try to instill it.

I have I think let my DD "get away with" not mixing enough....she always felt to shy to go to gymnastics though she iked it...I wish I had kept that I have found a sweing group for her and will be starting after half term....little things like that...and also things which can help her in school. Her rather briliant new teacher has begun a programme of traditional games...she's teaching the dc all these old fashioned circle game and they love playing together has become part of the lesson. Could you suggest this OP?

I can't thank my DDs teacher enough for coming up with this idea...she's very thoughtful and caring and the DC of course are all enjoying it.

MrsShitty Fri 27-Apr-12 23:31:29

sorry for bad spellling! My laptop keys are rubbish!

Lueji Fri 27-Apr-12 23:33:49

FWIW, I agree with oikopolis.

If she's into architecture and you have the possibility of going into London, try this out
It looks like fun too. smile

WilsonFrickett Fri 27-Apr-12 23:38:26

Honestly? You are uncomfortable where you live and it sounds to me very much as if you are projecting that onto your dd. You are prepared to put the family on a financial knife edge to send her to a non-academic school simply because it's not where she is now. But that's your issue, not hers. There's masses you can do to support and extend her learning at home, as well as supporting her social skills and development. But you don't want to, because you don't know all the answers and don't like the people she goes to school with.

Sorry. I know that sounds harsh. But you need to live the life you have, rather than thinking 'if only...'

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:42:27

Well, dd does 4 after school activities. I don't think we can fit any more in! I don't want to put her under any more pressure to have a good time, if that makes sense.

I have had countless playdates over. It always ends the same. I end up playing dolls or craft with the guest and dd wanders off into her own little world.

Of course she hears how wonderful she is and how much we love her and how she should lie about and read a comic or do some sums or whatever she facies. She gets zero nagging, if she practises her hobbies if she doesn't - fine. So long as she achieves what is requested of her by her teachers and so long as she enjoys her hobbies. I will never imply that she is expected to do anything she isn't motivated to do. Happily I do feel she can be trusted here - she is so damn sensible she has been known to remind me she needs to stop playing with me and practice something or other!

She will tell me herself that she has never had to actually work or try hard at school, so it will be interesting when she does. I asked her today atually, what she thought it would be like to have some class work that was really tricky and didn't make much sense. She looked really excited and said she thought she'd jsut have to think and work hard like the others do and that she would love that.

She is a bloody saint when it comes to turn taking and negotiating and problem solving. She lets her classmates 'off' changing rules in chess or monopoly because she tells me they really wanted to win and just aren't ready to understand that rules are there for a reason. She is keen that they enjoy the game so she lets them make up rules to suit them.

What can you do with her? It's her nature to be calm and considered and logical and old.

Lueji Fri 27-Apr-12 23:43:07

Also, if she liked the Royal Society lecture check their website

Or do you mean these:

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:46:51

WilsonFrickett Well, I think you may have a point. I don't like the economics of my area, no. But worse things happen at sea and I have a cracking job and massive family support here. But I do like the people she goes to school with, most of them are my social friends in fact. Some of them are relatives. They are all settled families with good work ethics and are essentially good role models.

But I woul dlike to see her happy and she doesn't seem it and I'm worried she will feel out of place for a very long time to come. I thought private school might help as it might differentiate her education more and show her more paths in life.

I can do that, but it would be nice to have some help and back up from school. Which is surely a massive part of childhood?

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:48:46

Yes I think those are the lectures she was talking about. I've never heard of them and couldn't figure out what she meant. Thank you!

Shame I'm working tomorrow there is so much to look through. Will have a good search on Sunday and line up some interesting things for her to look at.

Shagmundfreud Fri 27-Apr-12 23:50:55

Have you considered home schooling?

Then she could have a truly individualised education, which sounds like what she needs.

Belleflowers Fri 27-Apr-12 23:51:24

just let her be herself then!!

and forget about where you live - it is what it is

dont let her hear you complain about the school or area if you can help it - she will pick up on all of it

1. she will probably be a high flier in life regardless of where she has been educated because you have given her so much of your time. Trust me. I wish mine had invested so much concern in what I was doing at choices would have been clearer somewhat and I would have felt supported

yes rambling sorry -

2. if she is somewhat 'old' as you say, then there is nothing to worry about - but you'll only find this out in a few years, hard to see at this time iyswim. It's to her own benefit that she can behave with such an old soul attitude - this is to her credit - and you neednt worry about her.

oh also - i found last week on my sons reading book oxford reading tree website - you can read books for free and choose higher levels or ages - so maybe just read the higher level books online with her at home? or library again

but really - take e pressure off yourself too - sounds like you are doing a great job with her and she is almost telling YOU that she an manage (but in her own quirky way) I remember being EXACTLY like this (v independent too)

sorry long post

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 23:54:55

Shagmundfreud I've heard of it of course and I I totally see why people do, but Honestly I probably haven't properly considered it as an option - I can't imagine I'd be very good at it! I'm not organised and I have zero discipline. God I can't loose a stone never mind motivate and challenge a 7 year old!
Surely you have to not have a paid job outside the home? Or at least not work very much? I'm the main wage earner so that can't happen.

It scares the pants off me - what a responsibility! Maybe I should shuffle in to the home ed board. I know a lady at work did it so maybe I could ask her where on earth she started.

dunnoreally Sat 28-Apr-12 00:02:13

I love long posts Belleflowers grin

Oh God well if thought put into you by your parents makes you feel a happy rounded adult - dd should be up their with Buddah!!
Karma may bite my arse and she may drop out. I don't care as long as her anxious ticks go and she learns to laugh like I hear other children laughing.

It is so odd that she is such a "sensible bundle of fragile anxiety" [ Lord help us - those are the ed psychs words]. Her sibling is a total loon and they are not so much chalk and cheese as black and white. It's amazing just how different they are.

By 3 dd had figured out multiplication. My other one talks about her smelly bum a lot. Just fab grin

I must go to bed. I have the mother of all days at work tomorrow.
I do feel better - thank you everyone. Such considered answers and some very interesting points of view. Thank you for your time.

ImperialBlether Sat 28-Apr-12 00:03:11

If I were you, I'd do everything in my power to move house and therefore school. I wouldn't send her to a private school if it means the whole family is struggling for years. It would be awful to have to pull her out if it came down to that.

I don't think that school would be able to meet her needs. A friend of mine works somewhere suitable and has said how little money the school has for any resources. Classes are doubled up; she could be with younger and less able children just as easily as with brighter and older children. Plus, if you earn more, you'll lose the bursary; what kind of incentive is that?

Make a move as a family to an area where the schools are better. It would be a fresh start for all of you.

Lueji Sat 28-Apr-12 00:08:44

TBH, I suspect your DD will lead her own education a lot if she is allowed.

I'd visit the library frequently and let her bring any books she likes.

You can also buy newspapers (maybe cheaper than the other school) or even let her read them online (preferably broadsheets, by the way).
My father is an avid newspaper reader and I've acquired a broad vision of the world through that.

Look for documentaries on TV, or even YouTube videos. You can get lots of interesting things as well the common funny cat playing piano clips. wink

And you could buy her a chess set. No need for a chess club.
My DS (also 7, but no genius) has enjoyed learning a bit and playing with us (I only barely know the rules, BTW). You may be able to find online clubs where players have distance games.

Essentially, just let her be like herself, as others said, and gain confidence about it.
She's already showing to be socially intelligent by not alienating her mates on the games.

startail Sat 28-Apr-12 00:29:31

Belleflowers is right, bankrupting yourself for private schooling isn't the answer.

Finding what makes your daughter tick and having the money to let her pursue it is!

DD1 is dyslexic, bright and a bit quirky, she finds making friends hard and getting bullied easy.

However, she also discovered she can sing better than anyone else in her peer group and since she doesn't care what people think, is quite happy to perform.

The confidence being genuinely good at something has given her is immeasurable. Also joining the school and village choirs allows her just the sort of controlled social contact she needs.

Seven is very young, DD1 didn't start singing till she was 8-9. Her lovely nerdy male DF didn't find his feet until he was about 9 or 10.

By all means look round all your local state schools small and large. I know a very bright girl who moved to a much larger school where she wasn't the only seriously G&T and was way happier to stand out less. Put your DDs name on the waiting list for any schools hat feel right, but don't jump on the private band wagon.

Keep the money for to allow her to pursue her interests and for a a tutor to get her into Grammar school.

Maryz Sat 28-Apr-12 00:38:57

Calculate how much you won't spend on private schooling and work out what you can do with that money.

I bet it would buy her riding lessons, and other things she might enjoy. Have you considered girl guides for example (dd he thrived in the girl-only arena, which worried me at first, but now I embrace whole-heartedly).

You can have educational holidays and trips.

You can give her extra classes in computers/latin/gardening/art/cooking - whatever interests her.

You will have more time (not working yourself into the ground) to follow her interests.

If school isn't for her, a different school may not be for her either (and will cost a lot).

Take your time. She is only 7. See how school pans out, and make sure you just have time with her.

If she is still unhappy at 13/14, rethink.

RandomMess Sat 28-Apr-12 14:16:57

If your the main wage earner could you and your dh share homeschooling?

You would probably only need to give her a couple of hours guidance per day - there are no rules about which days and what times those are?

Would any of your family be able to have her during the day - sounds like she would love doing stuff with other adults?

MarianneM Sat 28-Apr-12 14:33:34

I would do it OP.

A small, friendly school that offers lots of individual attention and support is just the thing for a child who is less confident socially. No state school will offer such small class sizes as independent schools.

And the independent school may not be described as academic, but compare to a state school and I wonder? And while it may not be at your DD's age but later on...? Also, if a child is happy and confident and gets one-on-one attention and support they are much more likely to do well academically.

With a large bursary and she can stay there until she's 18 - I would definitely do it.

There is a prejudice against independent schools in MN.

ImperialBlether Sat 28-Apr-12 15:00:06

Marianne, children thrive on being with children who are at the same level as them. I don't think that's going to happen in that school.

TheBigJessie Sat 28-Apr-12 15:25:10

"Non-academic". They're defining themselves as non-academic? Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, then.

Hard to put it into words; I'll have a think.

If her current school isn't differentiating work for her, a non-academic school is not going to do better, surely?

And you think you should drive yourselves into poverty for that?

Look, think about extra-curriculars. Languages, music. Trips to museums. The things people look back on with happiness. The things that education is made of.

She's only seven. A school like that seems like a recipe for minimal GCSE choices and minimum A-level choices.

MardyArsedMidlander Sat 28-Apr-12 16:08:38

A very clever child who finds social interaction difficult going to a 'non academic school'???? confused She would find it HELL.

I also went to a non academic school, and stood out as even more of a geeky weirdo than I would have done in a high academic setting. Yes, it's nice that the seniors help the little ones- but if your daughter already feels lessons don't stretch her- she will be bored sh*tless and still not fitting in.

Bobyan Sat 28-Apr-12 18:20:25

Controversial to say this, bit maybe at some point in the future she may do well at a boarding school...

amicissimma Sat 28-Apr-12 18:34:30

I'd be inclined to leave thoughts of independent school until secondary. If you can find money to spare for fees, put it in a separate account and save up a nestegg to subsidise fees later if necessary or for tutoring. If she gets into an appropriate state school, the money will always come in useful.

Regarding the other school, would she like to move if a place comes up, or is she prepared to tolerate where she is, albeit somewhat isolated?

If she's very able, academic secondary schools will be falling over themselves to offer a full bursary. Be brave and approach any she could reasonably get to. If choice is limited in your area that could mean boarding. Could you bear that?

Is she good at music? It's often related to mathematical ability as it's patterns. You might find something through youth music. Alternatively could you buy her a keyboard and start her off on piano via youtube or books? Is there a local community choir or a church with a choir that she could go to? If she can learn to read music the door will open to all sorts.

You can teach yourself to play chess with her from books. It's easy at first, but there will come a point where she's too good for you. Bridge would also be good, but youth groups are rare. Khet is great for 3D problem solving (at least, I think it is; so far DS leaves me perplexed!).

Floggingmolly Sat 28-Apr-12 19:52:08

She will be exactly the same child at a new school. If she's not coping at he moment you need to give her the tools to do that, but don't imagine a new environment will make her "different". You say she's bright? Why on earth are you contemplating a non academic school?

TrollopDollop Sat 28-Apr-12 22:15:25

I don't think a non academic school would be the answer by the sounds of it. Have you tried other independents?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 28-Apr-12 22:29:04

Dunno, I have only read your posts on the first couple of pages, and I dis see there were others from you. I thought it was coming through loud and clear enough just from those that your gut instinct is telling you she needs to go to the other school.

Send her. If I read you right and you do have an instinct that you want to move her then listen to that.

If it doesn't work out, you can always move her back to state. You might never get the offer of a bursary again. You might, as it sounds like you have a very clever little girl, but you just don't know. You are taking as much of a chance by leaving her where she is.

seeker Sat 28-Apr-12 22:31:00

Honestly? I think you need to sk yourself what she will get out of the independent school, if it's tiny- so a very small pool of potential friends- and non academic- she still be a big fish in a tiny pool academically. I would be worried about a small cheap independent school in the current economic climate.

"The psychologist said she would easily pass any 11+ entrance exam pretty shortly" I would beincredibly wary of this- my ds is in that percentile too and completely tanked his 11+- it's IMHO a bit naughty of the EP to make such categoric statements.

Could you be more proactive in her current school? See if you can get a chess club startedfor example? Please don't leave yourself with no disposable income at all- what about holidays and fun stuff? What about your other child? What about you? What if th car blows up or the roof falls in? A life ot precarious on the edginess is no use for anyone. Think about ways to make what you've got better.

difficultpickle Sat 28-Apr-12 22:32:16

I wouldn't waste my money on a non-academic school. Nor would I commit to a 40 minute journey each way if I had an old car and would struggle to afford the petrol or to replace the car if you needed.

I also don't think that not being the child of lawyers, doctors will have any bearing on what she decides to do with her life. I was a high achiever at school. I would have walked any private school scholarship had my parents even known such things existed (they both came from poor backgrounds and had to leave school at 14 to earn money for their families). I am a qualified lawyer and had to do all the research myself to work out how I would achieve that. I started planning when I was 8.

If you are keen on the private route you would be better off investigating what bursaries would be available at academic schools near you.

aquashiv Sat 28-Apr-12 22:37:32

What you do for one child you MUST do for the other is all I can say.

TheBigJessie Sat 28-Apr-12 22:47:37

I recognise that not all people are "academic", shouldn't a school be a place where academia is a valid lifestyle choice?!

If the school wants to take parents' money for that long children from primary to 18, then it should be a sight more multi-faceted. The "non-academic" eight year-old may be very academic by fifteen, and they should want to cater for all their pupils!

Jinsei Sat 28-Apr-12 23:06:12

Hmm. I think you need to be very cautious tbh. The teachers at her school have acknowledged that she is bright, but have said that it isn't to the extent that they are not used to dealing with. This ties in with what the educational psychologist has told you - top 5% means 1 or 2 kids in every class of 30 kids. In schools with an above average intake, there will obviously be more kids at this sort of level. So the teachers should be well equipped to deal with this kind of thing.

She might get more attention at an indie school, but if it isn't that academic, they may not actually be able to cater for her any better that they do at her current school. And the social mixing problems will not necessarily go away. Is it really worth the risk.

My dd is roughly the same age (coming up to 7) and is very bright, but she does fine at her state school. Acceleration was suggested but we ruled it out - she'd have needed to move up several year groups to find her peers academically, and that would have been a social disaster, whereas anything less would have been pointless. Could you not invest any spare money in a range of extra-curricular activities to provide additional stimulation? DD is learning mandarin, for example, and loves it! If you spend all your cash on a private school, you'll have nothing left for this kind of thing, and if dc2 turns out to be bright as well, you will find yourself in a very tricky position.

You say that you can't afford to join NAGC, but it's a lot cheaper than a private education. grin We have membership through the school. Personally, I don't find it that useful, but I know others do.

It sounds like the priority should be to work on your dd's social skills. Don't be fooled into thinking that all bright children inevitably struggle to get on with their peers - they don't. Treat this as a separate issue, and ask the school what they are going to do to help your dd fit in and be happy in school. That is probably the biggest thing you can do for her right now, and it's more important than the academic stuff in the long term - I know this from first-hand experience.sad

Finally, don't worry about your own background and how well placed you are to help her. As someone else has said, your interest and eagerness to support will go a very long way.

kunoichi Sun 29-Apr-12 01:41:14

I empathize because I'm in a similar situation with my DD (aged 7). When my DD first started school, she excelled wonderfully in a state school supportive to her needs. Unfortunately we had to move across town (due to unavoidable personal circumstances). For a while I commuted with her (and my much older DS) every day, a 40-60 minute drive through "close-to-rush-hour" traffic which wrecked my old car, cost a small fortune in petrol and exhausted us all.

Eventually I moved the kids to schools more local to us (due to both the commute and problematic circumstances). My DS thrived as his secondary is good, but my daughter has become incredibly frustrated at her new school and still wants to go back to her previous one.

The area we live in now is severely deprived and the school equally so. Her old state school taught languages, music, physical activity every day. Her new school offers PE only once per week, no languages, no music. Unfortunately I can't get her into any other local state school due to location restrictions enforced by our council, and as we're not religious she's unable to attend the (much better) local faith school.

During her first year, her teacher was not so supportive and stopped just short of calling me a pushy-proud mom when I suggested DD was feeling frustrated at her lack of stimulation. My daughter visibly dumbed herself down at first to try and fit in with the other kids and was incredibly melancholy, so I tried my damndest to make it up at home by providing her with extra homework and out of school activities (homeschooling after school I suppose!).

Lucckily her Y2 teacher is much more supportive and offers extra work, maths with older classes and the like so things are much better now (but far from ideal).

I have looked into the possibility of private schooling, but in my area neither of the only two prvate schools offer bursaries for primary school age children. There is the possibility of a scholarship/bursary when she reaches 11 based on the results of a test so we're working towards this.

Financially I'm at rock bottom (self employed with DS15, DD7 and DS7 months) but hoping to save and earn more over the next four years to make private academic schooling a possibility if she's eligible for a bursary I can afford to top up (plus affors uniforms, school trips, etc).

In the meantime, I try my best to keep up with her needs with extra-curricular activities, Internet (for her 7th birthday I saved for her own 2nd-hand laptop) and as much stimulation as possible. Luckily my DD doesn't seem to have problems being sociable, but does prefer the company of older children and adults whenever possible.

Dunnoreally, in your position I would still be in an absolute dilemma as to what to do NOW. I completely understand why it would be beneficial for your DD to attend private now as in all likelihood she'd feel far more comfortable in the cosy adaptive environment, but as the school is not "academic" how would this fare for her long term?

Let's say she (or you) would like to have a more academic route 11+ to excel at her grades for GCSE. Would your current option support those needs and perhaps help her fly through tests to see if a scholarship at an academic private school were possible then?

Alternatively, could you set up a plan from now til 11+ to help hertowards such a scholarship, meanwhile saving towards expenses and having more finances towards an enriching family life? (That's my plan!).

Believe me, I understand how hard it is to keep up with a gifted child while juggling work and a family life and completely understand why you'd want to offer her the opportunities private schooling offers =)

You might be interested to look into The Children's University if there are opportunities near you - it helps children have recognition for extra-curricular activities (such as going to the library, museums, etc). Not great but helpful =)

BTW some of the links/resources mentioned earlier are wonderful - we'll be using some of these ourselves!

AliveSheCried Sun 29-Apr-12 02:13:46

There is more to life than academics. You have an isolated child who is now going to be very very far away from any friends she makes in the new place, you have a bright child you are considering sending to a less academic school, and you are undoubtedly going to heap more stress on your famly, not to mention possible resentment later of the second child. In your shoes, I´d send her to another school but really, there is too much sacrifice here. Also, dont forget - school trips etc eat it all up too.

NicNocJnr Sun 29-Apr-12 03:17:45

Sorry, barging in again.
I don't have concrete advice as such but just would like to tell you what it was like for me- an awkward, anxious, tall, desperately eager to please child that had dyscalculia and was generally told she was bottom of the heap. Oh and bullied. Err, I'm lovely really! In my own way smile I also had the onset of my Crohns dz in middle school leading to prolonged hospital stays, surgery etcetc.

I started off in a veeerry pooosh private school, there I was four years old (tricky birthday) in my straw boater and blazer ready for this huge adventure. Welp, unless there are unicorns farting rainbows over the lawn I will not opt to have my own child's needs met in that environment. In adult hindsight the academic side was not as strong as was made out when the school was talked about but it was a school to make the next VIPs and high achievers; to support and enhance your abilities- My type of personality does not thrive in that environment. Small classes, lots of individual 'moulding'. And the kids were vicious (this is my school- not all schools).

I was moved to a local state school - still bullied, less attention but better basic teaching. When I arrived I did not know my x tables, had no idea about anything that was taught really. But boy could I read - and they let me. Whatever else went on I no longer cared - this was heaven to me! I whizzed through the books and ended up reading middle school books by the end of my first year. I mostly caught up with everything else and got good enough test results to choose where I went - I opted to stay state. Got A*, As and Bs at GCSE (few though due to illness). Off I went.

Life happened and I was cast adrift for a bit - then I decided to become a VN. I took an IQ test and the behest of a lecturer and scored admirably. MENSA well (if that's your thing). First time ever I was encouraged to learn to my actual ability - First. Time. Ever - and have gone on to more education just for fun. I can learn my own way now, it is different from the 26 other people that were in my school room though - not the teachers fault or problem.

You have the advantage here - you recognise your daughter is bright. From my experience your involvement at this stage is the make or break not, necessarily the school. Encouragement, playing to her strengths and building on her weaknesess by communicating with the school and advocating for her. Whichever school. If it were a case of the private school opening doors for your daughter..well, is it one of 'the' schools iyswim? Is it worth what is at stake if the differences between your dd and her peers lessen with age and development. She is 7 after all.
Is she gifted, she's 95th centile - should she be supported? Most definitely; but if her social/emotional needs are not better met at this school it's benefit is lost. You mentioned it is not as academically an anxious child I was left struggling with the character building to make me an extrovert.
To be blunt for pegs like me there is no hole that will fit 100% - I would have benefitted from home schooling and social activities on the side with an appropriate peer group. Being left without someone to fight for me I was labelled stupid, taught 'stupid' and consquently became 'stupid' to everyone, me included.

My husband is dyslexic - very intelligent but his very exclusive, expensive, school didn't believe in dyslexia or other ''emotional'' needs he was thick.

I went on to do academically well in a less personal, intense environment in spite of the fact I had no support. No highly populated environment would have been comfortable for me so the lessened intensity in the state school was better.
My husband, stuck where he was left with D & E grades and escaped before A levels. He got 8-8.30 days, ridiculed, left of the development pile and got to hang around with some mates all for a very handsome sum each year.

If it were me I would keep them in state schools, advocating for them as you do and have the lessened money worries (for a given value of lessened) make you available as parents to give that support. To both your daughters. I can only wish I had parents like you!

NicNocJnr Sun 29-Apr-12 03:40:33

Please excuse the terrible grammatical errors -it's very late and I can't sleep!

One other thing; I love classical too - played a few instruments as a child. Your DD may like the Piano Guys on youtube. Beautiful compositions using some of the most famous classical pieces mixed with rock, new melodies - you name it! I mention it for two reasons 1) I think she'd love what they have done. 2) It is another means of building a bridge - she likes classical and has knowledge of it but these are fun to dance to with a friend. They aren't the dry music some people view purist classical as. It's a nice introduction into broadening the scope of communication; your DD doesn't have to sacrifice what she enjoys to fit in, she can bring this music with her as far as she wants to. It opens a very interesting door.
Definitely goodnight now smile

delphinedownunder Sun 29-Apr-12 04:43:21

I think that the indie school entails too much sacrifice and lots of potential stress in terms of commuting and financial pressure. Wouldn't be worried about the 'non academic' label though - it sounds like your daughter could benefit from social support and that the academic stuff will be fine as long as she is happy. Can't see that home schooling is a good idea - a child who struggles with friendships deliberately isolated from her peers? Um? Is there a way of increasing her happiness at her current school? A different class? Making new friendships through after school activities? Nurturing friendships with some of the boys? It sounds to me as if the school considers your daughter to be bright but not exceptionally 'we can't cope' bright. I think you might need to trust the teachers judgement on this - in my experience, children tell their parents what they think the parents want to hear and the "I'm bored" or 'it's too easy for me' claim is often as disguise for "I'm not coping and i'm going to distract mum and dad from the real issue". If your daughter is really cruising through the work, she needs to be extended breadthsways with independent extension projects over a period of weeks and not one off extension filler tasks or acceleration into a higher year level's work. Certainly a dislike of girlie things is not unusual for a girl and given an interest in architecture, you could encourage her art and design skills, set her up an architectural pinterest board and introduce her to photography. I too wanted to be an architect - as it turned out I became an urban designer before going into teaching and an interest in the built environment from a young age is not especially unusual - I met lots of people like me in the course of my career who nurtured similar ambitions from an early age - there should be others out their with similar passions.

Zara1984 Sun 29-Apr-12 08:38:35

No no no no. My parents financially over stretched themselves to have me educated privately.

The direct results of this were (extreme but true):
- seriously damaged my parents relationship and let to constant fights about money (I always remember Thursday being "Money Fight" start time through to Sunday - that's what I called it from age. 7 sad )
- led to my mother becoming resentful of me and what was being sacrificed for my education - even though private school was her idea - effectively killing our relationship
- my brothers resenting me for the same reason (they went to state school), and same result, no relationship
- we moved to another country primarily for "better schooling" for me - leading to more resentment, and isolating our family from friends and family.
- over the course of me being at school they financially over stretched themselves by getting into too much mortgage, credit card and store card debt
- after I left home their relationship was so damaged the spiral of money worried and taking on debt continued (they had formed patterns even though I was no longer at school)
- my father, desperate for money, stole funds from his business partner (who was dying of brain cancer at the time so "dear" father thought he could get away with it). He also stole research funds by abusing his university position.
- He got fired and lost his business. My parents had their house repossessed I think. I say I think because I haven't spoken to them in over 2 years, and haven't seen them in nearly 5.

I know this is an extreme case, and there are mental health and serious moral misjudgments involved in my parents' situation. My family wasn't that awesome to begin with. But having experienced the whole shitty scenario I can say without a shadow of a doubt this started from taking on too much financially with my school fees and leaving absolutely no spare cash for anything else.

PLEASE, OP. Don't do it.

It's a

porcamiseria Sun 29-Apr-12 08:41:34

Poor you

I would also advise against

not sure why, just my gut tells me there are other ways to address w/o bankrupting you

good luck xxxxx

Zara1984 Sun 29-Apr-12 08:45:51

Sorry meant to add: I know my posts adds no helpful advice about your daughter's particular predicament.

If she needs further mental stimulation, could you arrange private tutoring for her in eg maths?

Speaking as someone who, as a child, was very bright and "odd", I doubt this new school will be a silver bullet. She might be treated the same by kids at the new school. Are there other extra-curricular activities you can involve her with to improve her social skills? DH used to run a sports club and lots of kids were there for that reason (it worked, generally).

Proudnscary Sun 29-Apr-12 08:46:50

I don't think you should do it

Private isn't a 'magic wand' to better educated, happier kids

This school, in my opinion, could further alienate her from other kids - sounds like the children there might live in a (happy) bubble but I don't think that's particularly healthy or helpful for her in the long run

You will have no money - you have made that clear. You simply cannot live that. You cannot afford private eductaion

LIZS Sun 29-Apr-12 11:35:48

I think you would be naive to believe that this is the answer. What other options exist, state and private, closer by ? She may even feel more isolated and unhappy living so far away from the relatively few potential friends there. You have the current head's view on their flexibility but this could well change if he/she left or the school was taken over/closed (as is happening every year at the moment). You not only woudl have the financial effect of fees (plus trips, uniforms, activities and so on ?) to consider but the cost and logistical issues including getting your younger child to another school with different holidays, hours etc or dragging him/her along. By the time you got back she also may well be too tired or late to pursue her current out of school activities which socially would be a great shame. Sorry, even if the finances were more promising I'm not convinced it is worth it for this place - and I speak as one who has put 2 through private prep and now secondary.

exoticfruits Sun 29-Apr-12 11:57:55

I agree with freerangeeggs-I would look for other state options.

AliceInSandwichLand Sun 29-Apr-12 12:56:11

Would it be worth starting a different thread on one of the education forums, asking for information about this school in particular? You say you don't know the ins and outs of how private schools work or how to evaluate them, but there are plenty of people on here who do, so even if there's nobody who knows this school in particular, there may be someone who can help you judge how suitable the school would be. I too would be worried about the small mixed classes and about the financial stability of the school - it might be great or it might be a complete disaster (or about to fold financially) - and it's really hard for you to judge either way.
Is there any chance of moving somewhere with better state options?

fairyqueen Sun 29-Apr-12 12:57:27

I moved my daughter to a girls' independent at 7 for very similar reasons. She now goes to a large academically selective school, where she is thriving. Being a big school, there are other kids at the same level as her in her best subjects, and she is no longer best in other subjects. She has a huge pool of girls to build friendships with, and she's made lovely friends that really get her quirkiness.

I don't think she be as happy in a small school as she would be less likely to find friends on her wavelength.

My advice is to look at all independent schools in the area. If this one has offered a scholarship so would others, quite possibly. Smaller is not necesssarily better. Large schools can still have small classes, and the kids in each class will be very close in ability.

dunnoreally Sun 29-Apr-12 18:34:01

Thank you one and all for your ideas and comments. I'm on my phone and typing is hard plus I'm at work so must be quick.

In a bid to help I've downloaded a chess app and imaging to try Learn basics.

A few people said a selective school would be better but there isn't one here. The nearest is in our local cities, they're about 1.5 hours away unfortunately. I'm pondering advertising for a teacher to tutor her with a view to perhaps winnings place at a good upper school. Maybe finances would be better then

We have a playdate tomorrow fingers crossed she enjoys it.

Will read and reply ASAP

Youattheback Sun 29-Apr-12 19:02:07

Does the school she attends run a G&T programme? Most do. Can you ask? All of my children are exceptional academically and all are in the G&T in the state system. They never get bored, so they tell me, and are constantly challenged, working ahead and pushed. They are at different schools too, so it's not just the one school.

Why not look for a state school that runs a G&T?

teatimesthree Sun 29-Apr-12 20:57:08

Your DD sounds a lot like me at her age. I wouldn't worry too much about the academics - if she is bright, she can teach herself. My school was OK, but I was never stretched by the teachers. I am always puzzled by the stress on schools on MN - if you are truly clever, you should be able to figure it out yourself through books and the internet.

The important thing is to have access to books (weekly trip to the library is a great idea), conversation with adults, and getting a broadsheet newspaper delivered is an EXCELLENT idea. This will introduce her to all sorts of ideas, culture, books etc.

You sound like a lovely parent, but also rather down on yourself. I am sure you are more than able to help your DD on this journey.

As others have said, I would focus on the friendship/social side of things. I also struggled with this throughout my childhood. It did get better as I got older, and I am now a sociable, gregarious adult.

teatimesthree Sun 29-Apr-12 20:58:32

I also agree that a small indie only gives a small pool of people to be friends with. Better to go somewhere with a larger peer group.

hackmum Sun 29-Apr-12 21:15:01

Two issues here: one is she is very academically bright, and the other is she has problems fitting in socially.

If you could afford it, I'd say yes, go private, as even in a non-academic school they should be able to find ways of stretching her (you are paying, after all). But let's face it, it's hugely expensive and it will make you miserable. So I would tackle problem one by giving her stuff to stretch her outside school - getting her interesting books to read, maths puzzles and so on. I would tackle problem two by getting her to join some clubs, and keep trying till you find something that suits. Maybe see a psychologist who can help her with her social skills at school, because if she doesn't learn to fit in she will be very unhappy. (The psychologist will be expensive, but not as expensive as private school.)

It is hard. A lot of teachers seem to have an aversion to clever children, and are absolutely insistent that the child isn't anything special, they just have a pushy parent etc. (I know someone this happened to and her child was genuinely exceptional - how the school couldn't spot it is beyond me).

dunnoreally Sun 29-Apr-12 21:43:31

Hello - just in from work so will answer a few posts. Thank you all once again smile My heart goes out to those of you who have bad memories of childhood. Thank you very much for sharing them and I promise I will take them on board and try to learn from them.

The school have a G&T programme, which we had no idea about until we asked. SO they have put her on it and it seems to amount to suggesting the NAGT but we are waiting to see if anything else comes of it. SO that is is hand, so to speak. Also I said we wouldn't affoird the membership - we can. I thought it was monthly but it's yearly blush

She does 4 activities after school, all sports/dance based. I am going to hunt about and ask about and see if there are any more 'team' based things that might build on her social skills.

Perhaps my dcs will be best served by staying state for now - partivualry as there are no local private options that really address dd's immenent needs - and I should focus on a plan to getting her & her siblings moved for secondry. We would need to move to another part of the country for this, but it is 4 years away and that is do-able. I'll admit to wishing we had more local choice.

I feel much less alone - than you. Apart form the usual parents sense of being overwhelmed and wondering where the fricking guidebook to my daughter is, I also feel I can't talk about this to other parents. I don't want them to feel I am boasting or questioning their choice of school by saying we aren't happy with it. If that makes sense.

Perhaps I should look at other state options. That is a tricky one. Perhaps. I'll ponder that.

exoticfruits Mon 30-Apr-12 06:57:13

I would concentrate on the social side and do things out of school, find something that she is very interested in, throw herself into it and meet like minded children.

splashingaround Mon 30-Apr-12 08:39:07

She is still young, you can introduce her to so much at home be it music or mathletics etc.

She is academically bright but socially struggling, she may even out a lot in the next few years. One of mine was funny socially but very bright, he is still smart but now easily sociable too. A small class of extremes isn't necessarily the best.

Our area isn't at all mc either that is actually irrelevant really the school should push. Can you join the governors or your dh? You will really know what is going on then!

anastaisia Mon 30-Apr-12 09:22:22

another 'don't rule out home ed' post.

It is possible to work and home ed. I run my own business, which does involve teaching outside of the home although some of my hours include work at home. I suppose I have an advantage in that I always knew we would home ed, so built up a sustainable balance. I work when my daughter is with her dad (I'm single), or arrange swaps with friends, and have very supportive family. I've also used paid for childcare when I've had very busy periods.

Obviously it's not for everyone, which is why I wanted to phrase it as don't rule out, rather than you should home ed. You might look into it and decide it isn't for your family, but it is worth considering as a viable option despite working.

shewhowines Mon 30-Apr-12 09:46:36

I always found school easy. It doesn't necessarily mean she's not being stretched though. She may well be learning new things continually but is bright enough to pick it up straight away, thus thinking it is "easy".

Are you sure some of her anxieties are not being picked up subconciously from you? Don't let her think she is too bright and not being catered for as this brings its own pressures.

Agree that you need to teach her the skill of how to learn herself. Completely second the library and internet ideas.

A small indie will be a smaller "pool of friends" as someone else has mentioned - especially if she is learning with older children. That will do her social skills no good at all.

Are there two classes in her year? A change of class might work and give her a fresh chance.

Stresses on the family will definitely increase with extra financial pressure. If she is an anxious child that won't be the answer.

My niece is the only girl in the football team. Let her be the first girl in cubs etc. If she doesn't like it she can leave.

Explore other options first. Moving her to the indie is not a good idea IMO.

lurkerspeaks Mon 30-Apr-12 09:59:00

I wouldn't do it. School fees go up disproportionately with inflation. If you will struggle now you will struggle a lot more in 3 years.

I would, as others have said, try to broaden her horizons socially - what about brownies, or doing things where she might meet kids from other schools.

Concentrate on doing interesting or stretching family activities - do you have much in the way of museums around you. Encourage as others have said broadsheet newspapers and use the library.

Don't rule out the fact that you don't know people in professions from her becoming a professional. Also be proud of who you are and what you are. When she gets a bit older you might need to start thinking work experience, but 7 is a bit young. When that time comes approach local (or not so local) businesses who might be able to help.

I am a self confessed geek. I was never very comfortable at school despite a variety of educational settings ranging from average state to v. expensive, v. academic boarding. It was only at university when I had the confidence to be me and not care anymore that listening to radio 4 was tragic, that I found my feet socially (and my fellow geeks).

I now have a large and varied social circle and was much amused at work to discover that I have the reputation of being the departmental social organiser. My classmates from school I suspect wouldn't believe it!

My only other caution is not to get too in thrall with her intelligence. Yes, she sounds bright but that don't allow that to excuse her from 'normal' family life eg. chores, being polite etc. You are still the parent and her sibling is important too.

lurkerspeaks Mon 30-Apr-12 10:00:28

Oh and going from being one of / the brightest at my state school to one of the much larger top at boarding school / university was hard.

Add in the first ever exam failure and life can become a bit miserable with age.

rollonautumn Mon 30-Apr-12 10:01:11

I was a bit of a nerdy child who ended up being sent to school out of my local community (and felt odd at my new school too). I would say don't underestimate the value to your dd in being part of your local community and at a school with neighbours (and I think you said family too?). You say you're worried about her not fitting in - the big risk of the private option from that point of view is that, although she possibly fits in better at school (but it's hard to see how, if it's not very academic and there's such a small pool of potential friends), she may start to feel irretrievably disconnected from her home life connections, and like the outsider who leaves there every day and has to come home and feel different. That's not a feeling that gives confidence to a child.

To some extent anyone who goes out of their local area to school gets this, especially if they go private, and I imagine it can be worth it (if still not essential) for exactly the right school, but I'm not sure it sounds like it will be in your dd's case. If this other school was very academic and a lot larger then perhaps it would be, but as it is it doesn't sound quite the right fit for her.

Another point about size - a larger school means more money for teachers, labs and equipment. Of course this school will want to sell you the idea of very individually tailored work for your dd but that doesn't mean they'll have the range of teaching expertise or equipment to be able to follow whatever her educational interests are if they turn out to be expensive or unusual.

If she's extremely bright and academic then she's likely to feel just as different from most of the crowd at her new school - she's quite likely to feel different wherever she is unless or until she gets to a very academically selective school (or a large school with statistically more very bright kids), or to university. But actually if you don't fit with everyone academically you can still get confidence and security from feeling that at least you belong where you are in other ways, such as being part of the local community that goes to a school. It's quite an intangible thing and hard to quantify and may not seem essential, but please do take it into account.

In your position I'd spend the money on other kinds of tuition that you can tailor very specifically to your child - music, website subscriptions, trips to interesting places - and I think do what you say you're going to do and work hard at the social side. Then I'd rethink coming up to secondary. But I wouldn't make the jump to private at this stage - not from what you say about this particular school and your finances.

TheBigJessie Mon 30-Apr-12 10:30:29

I kept noticing that you seem worried that your daughter will be held back by your area, and general background. I can empathise with that- I worry about that kind of thing, too.

But, anyway, when I was around your daughter's age, I received the best present I may have ever received in my life- a set of Oxford Children's Encyclopedias. New, they're more than the price of a new bicycle, I admit. But they're certainly cheaper than the school would be.

I was encouraged to read them for entertainment, and so I did. Without even noticing, I learnt about all kinds of things, from Royal Societies to Burkina Faso.

Take a very deep breath

I'm already saving for our set in a few years. smile

startail Mon 30-Apr-12 10:30:40

lurkerspeaks speaks a tremendous amount of sense!

The social side of life improves markedly with finding like minded people. That might happen at Guides or choir, but mostly it comes with getting older.

School got markedly better in Y9/Y10 as choosing and doing O'levels became more important than petty gossip. A group of us formed who were determined to do well.

We stuck together, helped each other and kept the teachers on their toes. It was a very ordinary comp. It could get people into Oxbridge etc., but you had to pass your determination on to the teachers. Then they were delighted to help.

Likewise university was easy to make friends at, because it was just such a huge pool of people.

School gate Mums I have nothing in common with and I find really hardsad

startail Mon 30-Apr-12 10:32:52

Should have added,

DD1 doesn't make friends easily either and only now, also in Y9 is starting to find friends to work with.

When you were working out the finances dunno did you allow for 'extras' or just the quoted fees? My friend went to an independent school and she reckons you should factor in about the same amount again for books/uniform/music lessons etc. Some of the things are not compulsory in theory but you're looked down on if you don't do them.

Fwiw I was gifted as a child and went through state. You couldn't even take the 11+ then if you were out of county as I was. I did alright anyway (am a lawyer).

I might be able to afford fees for dc1 if I really stretched us, but there's no way I could do dc2 as well so I won't consider it. My sister and I were treated differently as children by my mother and it just fostered resentment and bitterness.

I wouldn't do it either. We have children in private education and the fees go up by more than inflation most years. I think the amount of financial stress you will put yourself under could we undo any benefit your DD may get. I would use some of the money you would spend on fees on enrichment activities - a trip to the nearest orchestra for example.

If you are really concerned about secondaries then may be consider one of the State boarding schools (yes - such things exist) where you only pay the boarding fees but no tuition costs c£8-10K pa. Schools like Hockrill and Cranbrook have a very good reputation

dunnoreally Mon 30-Apr-12 23:42:01

Thank you for the ongoing sense and insights.

The school has very few extras but that is all pretty academic really as the basics seem out of our reach. I do think it would be the best for dd, I am pretty sure of it. However I think, on reflection, I need to admit we just can't do it. Regardless of how important I think it is. That's a bitter pill and not something I can feel good about. But I have to put up with it.

I can't bear to contemplate not sending her for secondry so I will start thinking about how that could be done. Be that moving to am area with better state schools or better fee paying schools. There must be a way. OUr local schools only charge up to £10k even in senior, so I think I will get a shock if we look into city based schools!

I have looked in to some more interesting type summer school stuff and whilst there is nothing remotely local there is plenty 'out there'. It just involves a week away for dd and a parent. There seems to be loads of stuff schools can access, its a bit frustrating. Our school seems more into discos and people coming and putting on pantos. No Childrens University I'm afraid - but thank you for the link, it looks like a great idea.

Which broadsheet do you all recommend? I have no clue really.

Work experience hadn't occured to me - I realise that is for years away but that is a nice thought. She might get to see things and I can help her organise things in different places with different professions.

Thank you to those who have shared their life experiences.

She has flat refused to do Brownies grin She hears the girls talking about their fairy paintings and she said it wasn't her thing. Got to laught with her really, she is a quirky madam.

In response to those who warn against me putting my anxieties on her - well naturally I try to shield her from them. SHe is more likely to pick up on my anxieties regarding being late for school, finding a parkign place and not being able to get the sand pit out due to the weather - as that is what I have mostly been moaning about. I try to keep things easy going around her, as it is like having another adult around some of the time. She is aware of thing like the car tax beiong due and the financial implications of that - stuff like that.

No pulling wool over her eyes for a minute!

seeker Tue 01-May-12 06:47:26

I think you're mde the right decision- for all the reasons people hve posted- no point going over them again.

One thing- might I gently suggest that you need to be careful abbot letting her say a flat no to things like Brownies without trying? She is only 7, you need to be , in the nicest possible way, "in charge" still! And you do say that it"s her social skills she needs to work on a bit.

I think sometimes people with very bright children are a little bit in awe of them, and forget that they are still children like any other children who need guiding- sand sometimes telling!

Youattheback Tue 01-May-12 08:20:10

Totally agree seeker. Plus, there rae few things more off putting to people ( including Oxbridge interviewers wink ) than precocious bright kids who think they're above ordinarychildren's fun activities.

happygardening Tue 01-May-12 08:24:15

I haven't read all of the comments mainly just your original posting. I as many know believe in independent ed. (morning seeker) and have extensive experience of all types from the best in the UK to little schools like you describe. The term caveat emptor applies as much to indie schools as to horses and 2nd hand cars.
Firstly and most importantly
"Their independent school report is glowing." these things are not worth the paper they're written on.
Secondly you describe your DD as a bit of a loner I an unconvinced that this situation will necessary improve in this school both my DS's have been described as eccentric/lone wolf/weird and the older one has a similar IQ to your DD and was at this age awkward socially and bullied in little village school the situation was little better when he moved to a small prep very similar to that you are describing.
IME experience small prep = small ethos children like you daughter do not need this.
Thirdly I'm not bothered so much about non selective plenty of preps are non selective and can meet the needs of the able children and in these kind of schools the parents often want their children pushed and nearly all believe at this age Henry is a potential rocket scientist.
Finally you say you are going to struggle to afford this. We've been there and got the T shirt many years ago we were in an identical situation. We realised that we couldn't continue literally living a hand to mouth existence it was putting an incredible strain on every aspect of our lives and we decided that we wanted one of our children in particular to go to an independent senior school so my husband chucked in his business with its erratic finances and he went out and got a good job. But that was 2007 the world is a different place now. Its not just the fees its the unexpected dentists, new tyres, sick pets it is really stressful.
Both my DS's are now older and both widely accepted in their respective schools. DS1 who has a similar profile to you daughter eventually went to a larger prep where there were more like him and he stood out less and is now very happy in a good comp.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 01-May-12 14:22:43

No real advice to add - there is a tonne of good advice on here already and it sounds like you are coming to sensible conclusions.

I do however disagree with those frowning on non-academic independent schools - I went to one and it was wonderful; I was an academic child and it did stretch me whilst also emphasising art, music and sport. It called itself non-academic simply because it didn't believe in hothousing, it's aim was to produce well-rounded people and it was a very nurturing, encouraging place. I loved it.

But that's by-the-by; what I actually came on to say is just to reassure you a bit; your dd sounds just like my dh was at that age. He was taken out of the regular education system and sent to a school that let children work at their own tempo (not private, this was in mainland Europe in a country where paying for education is unheard of). It didn't really solve his social issues and he suffered mild bullying on and off throughout his primary years. It all got much better at secondary level, when he returned to the regular education system albeit skipping a year, in a school large enough for him to find a close circle of equally nerdy and academic friends. He went on to excel at university and have a very successful and well rewarded career in IT. He is also very sociable now and has loads of friends as well as a fabulous wife and family grin. I think the lesson is, as others have said, keep on doing your best to encourage your dd's interests and introducing her to as wide a range of people and experiences as you can, and try not to tie yourself in knots worrying - easier said than done, I know. Your love and support matters more than anything.

crazyhead Tue 01-May-12 15:33:15

I wouldn't do it because of your other child. If you couldn't afford to send your children both to the same school, you could create a rift between them that deprived them of friendship with other children in later life. Also, it sounds as though it could be cripplingly financially stressful for you - can you totally shield your daughter from the impact of that stress?

If I had quite a shy child, I'd also prefer them to get to know friends locally, which isn't easy with a big travel distance for the school.

If you don't mind me saying, I think you sound as though you maybe lack confidence in yourself a little to give your daughter all she needs regardless of the school, but you are clearly a very supportive parent with a child at an ok school anyway. Quite possibly at her age, the things she needs to learn from school might be social as well as academic, and any fairly decent place could provide that over time.

crazyhead Tue 01-May-12 15:34:03

Sorry - in the first sentence I meant friendship with each other. Sleep deprived!

Ilovefluffysheep Tue 01-May-12 18:36:50

My thinking is purely practicalities:

What happens if one of you loses your job, as you said it would be a huge struggle even on two wages?

What happens if you're ill and can't do school run?

What happens if car breaks down and can't do school run?

You really need to think about stuff like this as well, mundane as it may seem. If you wouldn't have any money left at all after paying fees, then it sounds as if you'd be stuffed if any of the above happened, and where would that leave your DD?

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