‘Posher’ versus ‘poorer’ school – what’s the real difference?

(325 Posts)
stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 13:58:04

A bit long, sorry.

Please feel free to be very candid about this, I am being! I am forrin and my perception/hang ups about class/social advantage are different to DH's (or the majority of the population for that matter).

My DD will start primary school next September. So far, we have seen two state schools. Both are in our catchment, although one of them is very small and oversubscribed (we are talking 70 vs. 170-ish pupils) The larger school has a Good Ofsted, so does the small school. The larger school is in our relatively 'poor' (if you like more 'working class') village, whereas the small school is in the more affluent village next door. When I have spoken to parents asking for advice I can't shake the feeling that there is a certain snobbery towards the larger, 'poorer' school, and I am not sure that it's actually a better school.

We like both schools, but they are totally different and we can't decide our order of preference.

I guess my question is, would we be missing a trick by not pushing for the small school? Is there some sort of 'social advantage' to be gained for DD? (also could it even influence whether she gets a place in the oversubscribed local state grammar later on?). We are not the type to engage in convoluted social dilly-dallying for personal gain, but we are not so naive that we think it does not exist (we are just useless at it!) and we are aware that it's not all about numbers and academic ability.

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:36:51

Very good points both wordfactory and Joan

Veremy that's exactly what I need, thanks! I guess I was hoping someone would come along and tell me it's not really like that.

Sorry usual the angst is mine, and all mine. I have tried to let it go in the past. Did not work (can you tell?) so I'm currently embracing it wink

wordfactory Mon 22-Oct-12 14:37:14

OP I don't believe a school/teacher would discourage any bright child whatever the socio-economic make up of its pupil body.

However, once our DC are in school, they very much become part of its pupil body. As they get older our influence becomes less and less important. Their friends and the culture of the school community become more important.

WorriedBetty Mon 22-Oct-12 14:39:45

well, it might be 20 years ago, but some teachers definitely resented and blocked some bright kids if they were 'too posh'

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:40:20

It's not really like that, but you won't believe me anyway.

So send them to the posh school. good luck.

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:42:27

I wouldn't want my children growing up to think that WC jobs were beneath them either.

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:42:42

Whatever a WC job is.

Bonsoir Mon 22-Oct-12 14:49:30

You want your child to be happy at school and to make progress. Your gut feeling will tell you much about whether or not that is likely to happen - you need to visit several schools in order to trust that gut feeling, however.

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:49:35

NotQuint I do worry about bullying, and that's one of my worries. Although these two schools are about 4 miles apart, so I expect they are not worlds apart.

Another good point wordfactory, she will become the school demographic won't she? Hmm, food for thought.

Aboutlastnight, I haven't really decided , no.

I guess you are all thinking I am leaning towards the smaller school. But the fact is that we both prefer the larger school (by a narrow margin so far) but we are worried that we should prefer the small one if that makes any sense!

Bonsoir Mon 22-Oct-12 14:50:58

My DD is resented, and held back, by one of the teachers at her school for achieving what that teacher's own children failed to achieve. That sort of behaviour is alive and well sad

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:52:26

Very sorry to hear that Bonsoir, I was just about to make up my mind that that did not happen anymore sad

wordfactory Mon 22-Oct-12 15:04:07

usual it's not about thinking certain jobs are beneath you. But many jobs traditionally held by the WC no longer exist! Those that do, are paid badly and the workers treated badly.

As my Mum and Dad (a supermarket cashier and a miner respectively) explained to me when I was little, these are not interesting or well paid jobs. You are not treated with respect...aim higher.

Farewelltoarms Mon 22-Oct-12 15:07:34

What you know for certain:
Large school is near you (walking distance vs car?).
Large school is 170 (ie not v large at all), smaller one is 70.

What you could find out:
What the raw data is for sats.
What % is fsm, eal etc

What you'll never know:
Which class is going to be filled with kids who yours will like, which will have the brightest, which will have the most disruptive etc. Posters on this thread have suggested that you can use the stats above to make an informed guess, but that's not my experience. The boy that's twice tried to strangle my dd in reception has Oxbridge parents.

If I were you I'd be influenced more by what I can know to be true, than unknowable speculation. But then, I'm one of word factory's poncey professional parents who use nearest state, who apparently don't exist in real life...

LJBrownie Mon 22-Oct-12 15:18:54

My DCs go to a school with roughly 40% of children are entitled to free school meals and many children speak English as an additional language. It is rated good with outstanding features by Ofsted. In our school at least, EVERY child is encouraged to reach their full potential - none of the focus only on the struggling kids that some posters have mentioned. Ofsted want to see good progress for all ability groups so this isn't really an option for a good school (assuming that behaviour is good etc so the basics are in place to enable good teaching).

I am probably relatively posh (and of the left leaning professional group mentioned above I guess) and so my DCs had met mainly people and children like us before going to school. I think they are lucky to have the opportunity to go to school with people from all different cultures and backgrounds which I never really had growing up... And the quality of education is great. And there is no reason to expect more bullying in one school rather than another based on social class - it would be quite possible to put together an argument that bullying might be worse at the 'posher' school (but I won't). Good luck with the choice- visiting the schools is definitely the way to go smile

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 15:27:29

Farewelltoarms that's a helpful way of putting it.

I guess what I want to know is precisely 'what I'll never know'. Like Bonsoir very aptly put it, I want my daughter to be happy and make progress.
Your poor DD, I hope the school is doing something about the little bully.

FWIW I don't think wordfactory meant to say you 'don't exist', just that perhaps MN is not that representative by and large.

LJBrownie, that's very encouraging, thank you. In fact, on paper, the large school is Good with some outstanding features, the small school is plain old Good. And yes, I do worry about DD's own social life in a smaller, more clickey school too.

We are going to see one more school. That's an Outstanding Ofsted, but it's also in a different village and also oversubscribed (chances of getting here are quite slim, although I do like this one, have visited when we were looking for nursery for DD).

Definitely, a crystall ball would be most useful!

tilder Mon 22-Oct-12 15:54:20

There are definite drawbacks to a small school as well. Look at number of classes ie are some years taught together or split. Ask about funding as this has recently changed in small schools. Is the small school looking to federate or become an academy? Does it have a full time head?

Also in a small school parents generally become more involved as there are fewer people to do the jobs. Plus generally smaller circle of friends for dc, so check class numbers and girl boy ratio.

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 16:04:22

tilder in the small school they do mix several years in the same class, which is another reason I'm not as keen as expected (?) on that one.

I was worried that it may detract from the actual learning, but some people seem to think that it actually helps. Especially with more able pupils, who can move up or down a group by simply joining the group at the other end of the classroom.

aufaniae Mon 22-Oct-12 16:05:29

"Being close is one of the attractions of the bigger school, I must admit. Which in turn makes me think I'm being a negligent mother by choosing my own convenience over by DD's future"

It's not just convenient for you to be near school. Your DD will most likely have more friends local to her if you go to the nearer one, which can make an enormous difference.

I went to a school that wasn't near, and the families we knew when I was very little moved away. Consequently I didn't have any friends who lived near me when I was young and am very jealous of those who did! DP talks about his friends calling for him, this simply never happened for me.

Likelihood of DCs to make friends with locally is an important consideration for me now (we're currently moving).

CecilyP Mon 22-Oct-12 16:06:18

I hope Betty is being tongue in cheek but I have a horrible feeling that she isn't. Do primary schools have careers teachers?

OP, your main choice is between a smallish school and a tiny school. If the tiny school is so oversubscribed, presumably some children will be at the larger school even if they had the tiny one as their first choice, so I doubt if your DC will be the only MC child at the larger school. The tiny school may be limited in that it will certainly have composite classes and limited opportunities for sports and friendship groups. OTOH, it may have a lovely family atmosphere that could really appeal to you. You really need to have a look at the schools to make up your mind. Bullying can happen anywhere, BTW.

In terms of accessing the grammar school later on, if mumsnet is anything to go by, most children have extra tuition, one way or another, to pass the exam.

SilverCharm Mon 22-Oct-12 16:08:26

We're in the "small posh one" and it has very good SEN and G7T provision. We have good links with the local special school and some kids come part time so I think the idea that smaller ones don't have good SEN provision isn't true.

We find parents very friendly....my DC are happy...there are no problems with behaviour either.

Aboutlastnight Mon 22-Oct-12 16:08:56

our primary has 600 pupils.

advantages of large school: more money for specialist teachers, after school activities and a wider selection of potential friends.

If your choice was between a school which was excellent and another which was struggling then obviously you want to go for the excellent one. But your choice is between two good schools, so I would suggest you visit both and make your decision after that.

By the way, I am not hmm at your op, but more at the responses...

rockdoctor Mon 22-Oct-12 16:10:21

This may not be relevant given the grammar school aspect but I would just check how many of the pupils at the smaller school leave at age 7/8/9 to go private. That has been a big issue where we are (parents happy to use state system for infant school) and has had a disruptive impact on DDs friendship groups - in an already small school.

OwlLady Mon 22-Oct-12 16:13:22

this is what has happened with us.

I live in a village but the village school is over subscribed, it's very naice (one of my other children went there) and it's very safe, it looks picture postcard, there are no people with tattoos or staffordshire bulls at the school. Everyone knows everyone else and if you aren't in a clique you are doomed. i don't think anyone at all has free school dinners, not even the dinnerladies. ofsted is good

we didn't get in. we were offered a school in the next town, everyone was aghast

we looked round the school and it's on a council estate, nevermind the houses are mainly privately owned, it's on a council estate oh and nevermind we are from council housing stock ourselves, people in the village were aghast we had been given this school, the larger more diverse one. Anyway we looked round, ofsted is outstanding, yes they have more sen pupils but it's managed well and it's not something that bothers me. Some people have free school dinners. We happily accepted the place there.

Honestly you would have thought we were sending the poor child to school in a shanty town and he had to take his own desk hmm I have no idea why people are snobby about it, it's lovely and it's what we went with

Yes, trust your instincts but also be realistic

My stereotypes in the post are very tongue in cheek

sorry but snobbery of schools when they are perfectly fine gets on my nerves

Everlong Mon 22-Oct-12 16:18:21

We have two schools in our village. One is a C of E outstanding that I pulled ds from the other is what the locals call the council school. I didn't look at the latter. Mainly because my other dc had gone to the c of e.

The c of e is oversubscribed but is in no way perfect. Lots of middle class parents but a lot of different problems. Any special need children are not dealt with correctly.

Quite a few parents withdrew children and enrolled them at the other school where they received much more appropriate support.

The other school has a much better reputation for dealing with varying degrees of learning difficulties and special needs. It's academic results don't differ much either.

Definately look at both schools.

Tryharder Mon 22-Oct-12 16:18:52

My DCs go to the nearest school as well. It actually wasnt my first choice but it was the one we got and I didnt bother appealing about not getting the first choice because I didn't see that we would win.

But if truth be told, the school they go to is probably "posher" than the school they were rejected for. I am middle class by definition of my profession only but I can't be doing with all this middle class angst and hand wringing.

Ask yourself this: in 40 years time, will it really matter if your DC went to Primary school A or Primary school B?

tilder Mon 22-Oct-12 16:22:07

Mixed years together means for younger children they can join in with the older ones but when they are the oldest in a mixed age class they are then with the same age. Also helps if older children need a bit more time with a younger age group. If that makes any sense at all!

I would check if the mixed years are based on keystage though.

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