To think that if all interaction with schools is down to me, then I get to make decisions

(61 Posts)


1. My DC are in independent schools and likely to stay that way. If that offends you, I am sorry but that's the way it is.
2. I am a FT WOHM. Ditto.

That said, I have all the interaction with school. I set up a meeting with school re DS. I just had to explain to DH why I set the meeting up. His reaction was to say that he should take the lead, and now he has stomped off because I didn't agree, given that we don't agree on the desired outcome.

(Disclaimer 3 - wine has been taken. On both sides. I still don't think IABU though)

2 days until meeting. Do I compromise or risk disagreeing in front of HT?

MileEndRoad Sat 03-May-14 00:49:03

Difficult to say without a bit more detail on the substantive issue. But you are coming over a little defensive, which does tend to be offputting even though it might be entirely justified.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 00:49:31

Don't risk disagreeing in front of the HT, that's not a situation you'd come away feeling good about.

Why does he want to 'take the lead'?

What is it about it that you don't agree on? Something fundamental or just some surface shit?

It's hard to say without knowing what it is, I suppose it's good to compromise, but then why should you just because he's come stamping over your meeting with his DMs?

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 00:51:02

'But you are coming over a little defensive'

She's posting on AIBU, wouldn't you try to flame dodge? grin

joybee Sat 03-May-14 00:53:14

Why would your children being in an independent school or you being a WOHM offend anyone? hmm

HanSolo Sat 03-May-14 00:53:15

The type of school, and your employment status have no bearing; if one parent is left solely to organise all educational matters, then they should be the one at the meeting with school.

That said, I do think you and DH should discuss the matter and desired outcomes before the meeting and you should try to see all sides.

Do not have a disagreement in front of HT, postpone the meeting if necessary (not if it's urgent though, obviously).

YAthereforeNBU. (but perhaps need some compromise when not tiddly)

feathermucker Sat 03-May-14 01:01:45

Surely it's a joint thing? Neither of you should take the lead. Work together wink

You sound so defensive in your OP. No one will care a jot about whether the school is independent or otherwise except you.

Sounds more like a jostling of egos than a real problem tbhhmm

MileEndRoad Sat 03-May-14 01:06:29

Um, yes, I guess so Agent. Not sure it works, though!

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 01:08:34

Surely it should be a grin after saying that joybee? You can't be asking it with a straight face, surely?

OP knew posting in AIBU can be painful, she was trying to protect herself, she can't win.

But then, what does it being an independent school and working full time have to do with a meeting at school? Maybe suggesting an imbalance of power if you weren't working full time?

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 01:09:58

You're right, there is no escape MileEnd.

Panned if you say, panned if you don't grin

It's nice to hear that's people won't care about employment status and school type, but IME they do. Situation FWIW is that super-academic DS has an "extra" year in prep school due to being a year ahead of his chronological age group and we need to decide how the school approaches it.

Disclaimer #x: this is clearly my biased PoV, but based on numerous conversations with teachers and with DS I want him to have a fun year in which he gets to explore all the non-core academic stuff which he loves (particularly art, drama, music, as well as sport). DH wants him to "build his CV" whatever TAF that means in Y8.

We do agree that if he is left to coast too much academically then he would switch off, so I guess we broadly agree, but I guess my issue is with the "let me take the lead" statement, which immediately makes me think "well if you wanted to take the lead, why didn't you set the bloody meeting up,then?"

I mentioned the wine, didn't I?

Forago Sat 03-May-14 01:15:58

joybee have you seen the latest thread on WOHM? very inappropriate face.

fwiw I feel the same way. I set up all school actions and make all the decisions. I pay lip service to consulting DP but, ultimately, I make the decisions about their education. not great from a relationship perspective but that's the way it is.

mind you, my DP isn't complaining wheras yours is. so maybe you will have to pretend to give him some semblance of being involved.

has the DS been in trouble?

Forago Sat 03-May-14 01:18:48

sorry cross post, do you mean he has to do year 8 twice? does he already have a place at senior school? in which case I'd say chillax!

either way sounds like a positive situation so doesn't sound like anyone needs to be particularly hardball or taking the lead, just listen to what the school are suggesting?

Thanks for all the responses, BTW - I fully expected to be talking to myself at this time of night!

Forago Sat 03-May-14 01:21:27

I just got woken up by work and can't get back to sleep so I appreciate other people MN ing

Forago - doesn't have a place, but TBH that won't be an issue, All potential target schools won't let him sit scholarships until he is chronologically Y8, though, so it next year which us the potential chillaxing year,

HanSolo Sat 03-May-14 01:22:19

Do you really have to hold him back a year? Won't all his friends be going on to schools?

It almost destroyed me sad

Surely, art, drama, music, sport are building his CV?

HanSolo Sat 03-May-14 01:23:33

x-posted, sorry!

ThingsThatShine Sat 03-May-14 01:24:10

Err you haven't even told us what it's about so how can we possibly tell. Yabu just for that!

ThingsThatShine Sat 03-May-14 01:24:51

Sorry x post

Forago Sat 03-May-14 01:24:51

so this year is y8 first go, next year is y8 second go and common entrance? did he skip a year further back?

apologies for dimness. my DC ate younger and I don't know anyone in this country who has skipped a year. (I did many moons ago)

none of this relevant to your beef with your husband of course, I'm just curious.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 01:26:21

The wine has made it into a 'this is going to happen' rant from him, rather than 'what will happen to the bits that'll look good on his CV?' discussion.

It's his opinion on his DSs education so you can't just brush him off, you need to talk about it tomorrow without the wine.

Soz like grin

It's the right thing for him. He is physically and intellectually at the top of Y7, but chronologically and emotionally Y6, if that makes sense. The school have made him play sport with his chronological year group throughout, for which I am retrospectively grateful because it gives him a ready-made friendship group for his second Y8 (and they are a really nice bunch as well. My only concern is that he doesn't know the girls).

I am not sure where DH and I differ TBH but I bitterly resent the "let me take the lead" when I am so much more involved with the school than he is.

IABU, aren't I hmm?

The year he "skipped", FWIW, was nursery - the school decided he fitted better , socially, physically, and academically, into YR, and they were right, and he has continued to fit but now we have to decide the mechanics of doing Y8 twice when you are already at the top of "your" year group (good problem to have, I do realise).

Thanks, ZigZag. You are right, sober discussion is called for. It's just a "I deal with it all therefore I get to say" reaction on my part, which is wrong because DH gets a say too.

joybee Sat 03-May-14 01:37:31

No not seen the WOHM thread. Was genuine query. Don't understand why it would be an issue for anyone. Off to see if I can find it.

Btw I make all decisions re dc re school. But if dh expressed an interest would include him. Actually think it's nice he wants to be involved. So yabu.

Forago - this (academic) year is Y7, next year is Y8 V1, following year is Y8 for real.

Raskova Sat 03-May-14 01:45:35

I'm intrigued about the wohm thread. I work full time and get a lot of shit.

I'm confused thick tho. What an independent school? An academy or a private school?

Someone up thread said you should be a team effort! Sounds great on paper, if you think it can be done grin

Sober discussions called for. No arguing in front of ht. shock

Forago Sat 03-May-14 01:46:02

joybee its a thread called something like aibu to accept this great job offer without people being judgy. it started off as quite a reasonable and interesting debate about jobs, children, lifestyles etc but then
descended into the usual tedious "your children are neglected because you work" "you are being mean to sahms" tedium.

thanks for the explanation OP. I skipped year 8 funnily enough as a child, wouldn't choose it for my children. seems a shame to make him repeat when he doesn't need to. will no schools take him a year before?

Raskova Sat 03-May-14 01:46:46

What is an independent school**

I made myself sound even more thick then, so I had to correct. grin

Raskova Sat 03-May-14 01:48:31

Oh I did see that thread. That's taking it to an extreme tho. Being away from a child four days a week cannot be compared to my standard 7-4.30 job.

CorusKate Sat 03-May-14 02:00:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

What's WOHM? Sorry I don't have a clue

Forago - senior schools would be reluctant to accept him a year early, and I would be reluctant to send him. Current school is small and flexible enough that skipping/repeating years is not unusual, so DS is quite happy with the concept. Meeting is really me anticipating problems before they occur (and happening now so that we can talk to both current head and the head who will take over in September), as I know he will be unhappy if (a) bored, or (b) pushed too hard when he knows full well he doesn't have a scholarship exam at the end of next year. It's a tricky line to walk. The challenge is that I think I am better placed to liase with the school to make sure we walk it right and rebalance as needed, and DH clearly think he is even though he only knows what is going on on a day to day basis because I go out of my way to tell him

Tequila : working outside home mother (FT working mother)

Corus: LOL. Yes, you just went straight to the core of what wound me up, I think.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 02:14:06

What does your DS want to do stealth?

ZigZag - that's the thing. I asked DS if he was worried about this time next year when all his friends are starting to do all the "leavers" stuff and his answer was that no, he wasn't, because he would join the year below and have a whole term of no academic pressure, in which he can do all the stuff he doesn't have enough time for (art, drama, music).

I just want to make sure that happens. DH seems to think he doesn't need a "gap term".

Anomaly Sat 03-May-14 05:13:09

So your DH wants to take the lead so the school do what he wants them to do rather than what you want them to do? You all need to agree and I would include your DS in that.

Can't help but feel a little sorry that at 12 your son already feels he has too little time for art, drama and music.

No, Anomaly - DH is just talking about the meeting.

And yes, me too, but he wants to do everything (loads of sport, too) and it doesn't all fit (he's 11 BTW)

dripty Sat 03-May-14 06:59:59

I think the real problem is that, so far, you have been expected to sort out DSs education, such as parents evenings, replying to any letters that get sent home, general day to day interactions.
Your DH has only been involved because YOU have supplied him with the information which shows a lack of interest on his part .
All if a sudden he has decided that he wants to 'take over ' this role.
I could be completely wrong here but I would feel a lot if resentment if my DH suddenly decided to get involved with our DCs education after showing little interest over the past few years.
Does that make any sense?

sashh Sat 03-May-14 07:03:04

Your dh needs a kick up the butt. He is not a superior being because he has a penis.

So far the school have been right about where he fits and have also been right about the sports, also it sounds like ds is not the first child they have done this with.

If anyone should take the lead it is the school.

nennypops Sat 03-May-14 07:17:22

I really can't see why DH should have some sort of automatic right to 'take the lead'. Why does he think he does? This isn't some sort of knee-jerk "because I'm the man" thing, is it? I'd have thought if you can't reach agreement prior to the meeting, you need at least to present it to the school on the basis that these are the alternatives and you are asking their opinion: they presumably know what works best within their environment, and indeed what is the best preparation for the next school.

One of my rants is that children do tend to get channelled too much down the academic route. For instance, I can never see the point in academic children doing 10 A levels or whatever: they don't need the extra qualifications, and rather than doing, say, six unnecessary tightly-defined exam courses, it would be much better for them to do some research or in-depth study of something that really interests them. So instinctively I agree with you, OP; after all, if he is doing art, drama and music he can certainly include the academic basis for all three subjects and they would contribute very well to his CV, if that's necessary.

addictedtosugar Sat 03-May-14 07:35:52

Is it y8 v1 that is the "extra" year? Or are you going to slack off just before common entrance?

I'd be tempted to make Y7 the repeat, if possible, and not what your already planning!

Could CV building, whilst having fun, include things like obtaining grade X in an instrument, or a dance qualification, art certificate, if such things exist at an appropriate level for him? Meets both of your requirements.

I think if you know more about the possibilities and options, you taking the lead is more sensible, but that could mean priming DH with all the info so he can look like the one in the trousers in front of the headmasters (the outgoing one will already know who is the dairy organiser!)

addictedtosugar Sat 03-May-14 07:36:32

Sorry, drama, rather than dance!

Retropear Sat 03-May-14 07:53:47

Sorry both parents are the parents so both gave equal rights on decisions imvho.

I am a sahp,don't see that I should get to make all the decisions just because dp can't do the school run.

I generally take my lead from school(state) after voicing any concerns if making decisions(rarely happens) as they generally will be be the more knowledgable of what is best.Maybe private schools are different.

I'd both put your views across and see what school have to say.

KatieKaye Sat 03-May-14 08:00:27

It might be worthwhile working out the points you wish to cover, and then deciding who will deal with each point.
And also to have one person providing a summary of the meeting and points agreed (along with areas where there is no agreement) and what is going to happen next.
That way you are both involved and clear about what is going to happen. It also means the meeting is structured and you can ensure all your points are covered - plus you are both participating!
Maybe one person opens the meeting with a statement about why you are there and what you hope to achieve and the other provides the summary?

MissDuke Sat 03-May-14 08:02:08

This is why missing nursery is so unusual, it creates this problem! How does your ds feel about it all? That would be my biggest concern.

After that, why can he not have a mix of the two approaches? He absolutely needs to keep continuing academically, I don't see how he can be expected to just switch off for a full year and then get fully back into it thereafter. However having a balance between different activities would be wonderful for him. Can school accomodate that though? If so independent schooling sounds blissful to me (although I don't know what it actually is, we don't have it where I am unless Rupert Steiner counts).

Your dh is being unreasonable in my opinion!! This is a joint thing between you, him, ds and school.

Martorana Sat 03-May-14 08:03:32

I'm still not sure what is actually happening, I get that your ds is going to repeat year 8- but is he just going to do the same lessons over again? Won't that be crashingly boring? It's all very well saying he will do loads more drama and stuff- but who I he going to do it with? Presumably his classmates will all be working hard for common entrance?

And what specifically does your Dp want him to be doing?

jasminemai Sat 03-May-14 08:07:37

We both work full time but at a normal school. Dh and I do everything to do with the school together and attend everything together

LIZS Sat 03-May-14 08:08:23

Agree, Year 8 is probably not the best to repeat since there is very little new teaching and an awful lot of exam preparation and past papers. After exams there are eoy trips and activities which won't mean so much to your ds if he isn't leaving with that year group and needs to got through it all again. Presumably your intended secondary either doesn't have an earlier intake than year 9 ? If it did could he leave a year earlier and be placed in Year8 at the new school, so get a different experience and established among that peer group?

Littlef00t Sat 03-May-14 08:12:57

Funnily enough I think you both want the same outcome. In my book, cv building is focusing on all the non-academic stuff to demonstrate you are well-rounded. Joining clubs, doing sport etc would be exactly this. I presume if not worrying too much about homework etc, you will want him to have some targets and not just totally Coast, so working towards music exams etc might be good.

Thanks, all. Unreasonableness is definitely on both sides, and to those saying let the school take the lead - yes, that's what I want too - we just need some consensus between me and DH as to what we want them to suggest. It's not the first time they have done it (there will be a child in doing his Y8 v2 when DS is doing v1) and I want to hear how they plan to keep it interesting.

Independent just equates to private /fee paying, BTW - it's not any sort of "alternative" school, but they have small classes and are teaching this particular lot to scholarship exams rather than CE. That means that there is a lot of individual teaching anyway. If DS had been borderline CE /scholarship then, I am told, they would recommend repeating Y7 instead, but he's not (he is at the top of the year group he is in now, IYSWIM) so the view is that Y8, for the scholarship group, is the best one to repeat.

Gah. I will attempt a sober conversation with DH later and get him to let me do it my way agree an approach.

fascicle Sat 03-May-14 08:35:23

YABU to think that you have all the decision making powers just because you deal with the school. Your dh is being unreasonable for saying he 'should take the lead'. Clearly, you need to come to some agreement together.

As Little suggests above, perhaps your desired outcomes are more similar than you think. All depends what your husband means by cv building.

I know your son sounds quite amenable to the plan, but I would question the wisdom of a student skipping an academic year, only to have to repeat another year later on. Might not work so well with other children.

LIZS - the summer term when the rest of them head off on trips etc is what I mostly want plans for. DS won't do all that stuff until Y8v2 - he will nominally join the year 7's but will need to be occupied somehow.

As PP have said, we mostly need to listen. Meeting is happening this term precisely because if we are not happy with the plan, we need to decide now and make plan B (moving schools at the end of next year, or whatever)

DS is not worried about it at all, BTW, as he has seen others do it (or do other repeat years /skipping years /whatever) so takes it as normal.

Fascicle - I agree. I would (and do) advise extreme caution to anyone considering moving their DC out of their chronological year group. It has worked so far for DS, but more, TBH, by luck than judgement as I really didn't think it through at the time.

mummytime Sat 03-May-14 08:45:52

Okay I'm a SAHM, and do all the school stuff. On the rare occasions DH attends meetings he often takes the lead BUT that is because he can be less emotional than me, and he's usually there because they've already upset me. If they manage to upset him we know we have real problems! Only happened once in a meeting and once when recounting events.

Hopefully your questions will be answered in the meeting. Ask your DH what he means by building your DS's CV. See what the new Head's view is.
I would be quite worried TBH as holding time especially at this age could lead to "going off the boil". I'd rather he did something alternative, like a year at an overseas school, but that's my gut feeling.

Good luck! I hope you don't have too much of a headache.

LIZS Sat 03-May-14 09:03:02

But you are , at best taking about mid May or even mid June onwards (depending how many take scholarship vs CE. and what is organised - or not - between them ) For Autumn and Spring terms year 8 is one long slog towards those exams, dull and demotivating for those not required to pass them as a condition of their offer. If he practise the papers during Yr 8 v. 1 then he won't be able to do so in the same way when he needs to. Better to retake Year 7 and relax a bit then before gearing up academically again.

Gubbins Sat 03-May-14 09:46:58

Both of you ABU if you expect your opinions to trump the other's. You have taken on the day to day dealing with the school, but this is a bit more fundamental than that, this is your (plural) son's actual education, not just the administration of it, so you have to discuss it and come to a solution you can both agree on.

Outside that, I'm very confused as to why the school regularly bumps pupils up a year, only to bump them back down again at the end. Particularly when, in my experience, public schools are usually more than happy to ignore age in favour of ability. I know plenty of people who were/are a year ahead of their chronological peers, and remained so for their whole education. I'd focus my questions on why he can't take the exams next year and what benefit to him there is in holding him back at this stage. I'd also speak to the target schools to confirm if they really don't accept pupils a year early.

DoJo Sat 03-May-14 10:07:37

Why do either of you have to 'take the lead'? It would occur to me to divide up responsibilities in that manner when you are both there to ascertain what the school can offer your son and which course of action will best suit him. If the school know what you want to talk about and you both have ideas of what you want, then surely all of you working together to reach an optimal arrangement is the most sensible way to get things done.

Or is he assuming that the final decision will be down to him? Is that what he means by 'taking the lead'? Because if so, then he is a twat not to be considering all the options, discussing them between yourselves at home and with your son, and going back to the school when you have all reached a decision that you are happy with.

LIZS - I know lots of people who were ahead of their age group too, but senior schools are a lot less keen on ignoring age on favour of ability than they used to be. None of the schools we have looked at want him to come early, and I don't want him to go early - he needs the emotional maturity. I have thought this through, honestly.

As for the school, there are a different set of circumstances for every child that they move in either direction and they adapt accordingly, as far as I have seen.

For whoever asked - head is fine, thanks smile. Nothing that some fresh air and an Alka Seltzer couldn't deal with.

Mummytime - a year (or even a term) abroad was an option, as we have family he could go to but DS is not keen on that one.

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