Who is being unreasonable here regarding school fees?

(84 Posts)
Scitteryscattery Wed 23-Oct-13 23:39:38

Friend A and friend B both send their DDs to the same private school. Both receive a bursary though A gets a larger amount than B. B scrimps and saves. A does as well and must be on a lower income to receive a higher bursary but does sometimes appear to be a little less careful and to have more cash floating around I think she gets into debt quite a lot too

I've just had friend B around this afternoon incandescent with rage as A has been telling her all about her holiday plans this year which consist of a 3 week trip to Japan. Now her DH sometimes has to travel there for work but on this occasion A and the 2 DCs are also going. I understand that work will pay for his airfare and hotel room for the 2 weeks he is working but not the other 3 fares nor the extra week. The grandparents are helping out however.

B tells me that the school have a bursary policy which states that expensive holidays are incompatible with a bursary. Apparently they also consider if other family members are in a position to help with fees though how they work that one out I'm not sure. She is considering reporting them to the school. shock

I have tried to suggest that she doesn't really know A's financial circumstances, that the school may not care anyway even if they do know and that there isn't much point in reporting anyway as the school are bound to find out - they can hardly get their DD to pretend she was on holiday for 3 weeks in a tent in Skegness. B feels the school will take more note if someone complains. Worse still, I've pointed out that the school might actually take it really seriously and stop the bursary. In which case, how will B feel if A can no longer afford to be there? Either way its likely to be the end of their friendship.

I feel a bit stuck in the middle and glad the DCs are still pre-school. Who is being unreasonable here, A or B? I suspect that when B calms down she is unlikely to report A but it has occurred to me someone else might. I am not too aware of how private schools operate anyway and how seriously this would be taken. A can be a bit avoidant about money issues and may have ignored the fact this could cause her problems. Should I tentatively ask A about the bursary policy when she next mentions the holiday to me?

MidniteScribbler Thu 24-Oct-13 02:32:32

I think that B sounds like a jealous bitch.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 24-Oct-13 05:09:57

B really doesnt know A's circumstances. It is perfectly possible that A is doing this trip to Japan on airline and hotel points. I know that when I traveled a lot these can really add aup without having a genuine cash value as not exchangeable.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 24-Oct-13 05:14:28

Honestly though, dont get involved. It is very easy for people to make judgements about other people's finances and to have totally overlooked some fact which flips the whole thing on its head.

JellyMould Thu 24-Oct-13 05:19:32

B is being unreasonable - keep out of it though!

rootypig Thu 24-Oct-13 05:24:07

Nobody is. A is possibly taking the piss - but self interest is what private education is all about, isn't it? so B is annoyed that she's not winning the game. She wants the rules applied - so she can go ahead and report, her choice, fair and square. It's life. They should both just have sent their kids to the local comp grin

Ignore. If A or B asks anything about it, say, I am choosing to ignore.

SavoyCabbage Thu 24-Oct-13 05:25:53

B is being ridiculous! She sounds mad as a hatter to be carrying on like this.

They might be doing it on airmiles, they might have won it in a competition, they might have taken out a loan, they might have eaten beans for a year.

Her dh's company might be paying.

Perhaps they are thinking of moving there.

Sunnysummer Thu 24-Oct-13 05:47:49

B sounds bitter and a bit crazy. She is being U, I'd also agree that you probably don't want to be involved, anyone who wants to take a step like this is not likely to be a great friend in the long term, and is likely to cause you a whole lot of drama in the meantime.

Neither of you know A's circumstances, it could be a bequest, a work and air miles thing, or a holiday of a lifetime that they have scrimped and saved towards for years and years (or a combination of the above).

middleclassonbursary Thu 24-Oct-13 08:11:08

Usually bursaries are confidential and this is a condition of being given once. I have never told anyone at my DS's school that we even receive one let alone the amount. If someone was crass enough to ask me if I was on a bursary I might say yes because I'm crap at lying but I would be very reluctant to give details of the amount.
Bursaries are also complex; assets are taken onto consideration at varying levels, at some academic ability effects the size of the award, even when your DC starts has an impact because the school may have more money one yr to the next. The age of other children, dependent relatives etc etc also come into play when figures are worked out.
Of course B feels jealous and bitter, and she's right sizeable contributions from family members are usually considered an income but as already said she doesn't know the full picture or how in debt A is to go on this holiday.
Telling the school probably would result in A being investigated if the school didn't know, maybe they do, because I think they would have no choice but to me the concept of grassing up what I'm assuming is a friend is pretty hideous and also there is a risk both families could loose their bursaries through breech of confidentiality even if nothing was found to be amiss.

EdithWeston Thu 24-Oct-13 08:24:00

As middleclasonabursary says, this sort of thing is th reason why, in most schools, bursaries are kept confidential (and a school normally reviews all awards annually).

It is extremely unlucky that the circumstances of a school less hot on confidentiality and shit-stirring parents have come together.

Let your friend vent. But then stand clear. This is not your business. B may or may not decide to report; that is her decision and hers alone and she can base it only on her personal morals (would she tell a spouse of other spouse's cheating; report cannabis users; report possible benefit fraud; report school admissions address cheats?) and how sure she is that the information is true and a fair reflection of circumstances. I wouldn't try to influence her either way on those points.

Scitteryscattery Thu 24-Oct-13 08:54:44

Poor B! I think she would freely admit she is bitter grin she's not normally hard work but A does constantly complain that she has no money for food on the table whilst we're out for dinner and I think B had a couple of hours worth of A describing the holiday and how the grandparents would pay half the fares and the 'rest can just go on the credit card'.
I don't think she'll really report when she's calmed down though as I say, I am a bit worried about someone else. However I think the smile and nod policy might be best for me smile

May09Bump Thu 24-Oct-13 09:10:04

I'd keep out of it. People are sometimes so jealous they forget kids are involved. Imagine the impact if this kid has to be removed because of this. Very sad.

middleclassonbursary Thu 24-Oct-13 09:33:08

Here's a possible scenario; A and family get the possibility of a fantastic holiday, A's DH's work are already paying most of his bill, A tells her parents they agree to make a sizable contribution and A has to find the rest I'll max out my credit cards thinks A. She's an honest person gets on the phone to school "I've got this opportunity to take the whole family on a holiday of a life time I know your views on expensive holidays, we'll have a staycation for the next two -three yrs if we take this holiday, DH's work are paying for him, grandparents are contributing etc etc. Bursars are only human who wouldn't say you go? It might be different if they were having expensive holidays all the time but a one off followed by no holiday for 2-3 yrs is that so unacceptable?

Biscuitsneeded Thu 24-Oct-13 13:59:12

I think it's nobody else's business. B's bursary will be calculated on her family's means and A's on her own, different situation. If B is scrimping and saving to maintain private school fees then that's her choice. And if A is benefiting from her husband's work, grandparents' generosity and is willing to max out her credit card, then that's her choice too.
I can't afford private school, although I wouldn't say we are poor. We have friends with kids at private schools, friends at the same state school who can afford two weeks in a villa in France AND a posh ski-ing holiday each year, and friends on a very modest income with 4 kids who just accept that they can't have birthday parties. To be honest if I ever felt that our different material circumstances got in the way of our friendship I would be really disappointed in myself and in my friends. I think your friend B should calm down and consider whether she wants to ruin a friendship over a jealousy issue.

derektheladyhamster Thu 24-Oct-13 16:55:26

They could also have done something like re mortgaging, to extend the term, just like we have

ExitPursuedByABogieMan Thu 24-Oct-13 16:58:30

but self interest is what private education is all about, isn't it?

Seriously?

OP - I shouldn't worry about it. Not your problem.

GinAndIt Thu 24-Oct-13 17:14:32

B is being ridiculous, and bitter. A one-off holiday, paid for by company, grandparents and maxing out the credit card, doesn't mean you're in any way able to pay full school fees for however many years are remaining of the child's school career!

If they were doing it twice a year, every year, then obviously B would have cause to feel hmm. But even then, it would still be none of her business. Surely getting a bursary herself, she knows how thorough the forms are? It's pretty hard to hide spare cash. And what exactly is she hoping to achieve by reporting anyway - how would she feel if the child did have to leave the school? Not worth it.

Having said that, though, A would do well to be a little more discreet.

JoannaBaxterLovesBumsex Thu 24-Oct-13 17:16:53

B = bitter and twisted. She should be grateful she has a bursary and will look a prize twat to dob A in with the school.

JoannaBaxterLovesBumsex Thu 24-Oct-13 17:18:00

Anyway I think it is not the done thing to discuss who has what in bursary allowances. It is nobody's business but between the parent and the bursor. (sp?)

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 24-Oct-13 17:22:21

I think you need new friends.

LittleBairn Thu 24-Oct-13 17:42:33

TBH if it gets out around the school that she's going on expensive holidays then someone else might just report her. There are probably plenty of other families in the school that could use the school bursary too.

rootypig Thu 24-Oct-13 18:43:52

*but self interest is what private education is all about, isn't it?

Seriously?*

Yes, Exit. Play the game, be prepared to lose. B chose to enter a money carousel. Suck it up, or get off.

TheBuskersDog Thu 24-Oct-13 18:59:08

What does B hope to gain, does she think she'll get a bigger bursary if A loses hers? Is she usually obsessed with money and what people have compared to her, why have they even discussed how much both families get?

"Incandescent with rage" about her friend going on holiday, seriously? Most of us would feel slight envy and think how lucky our friend was to be going on a fabulous holiday, we might even wonder how they manage to afford it but rage about it, no.

Tell B she sounds jealous and to mind her own business.

Scitteryscattery Thu 24-Oct-13 19:26:52

Interesting so many people have said its almost against the rules to discuss whether you have a Bursary or not, though I guess as my DCs are not at the school they might be a bit more open about it with me. I have noticed before that people with children at expensive private schools tend to be a bit preoccupied with money when its clearly stretching their budget so didn't think anything of it to be honest.
I think GinAndIt has it when she says A should be a bit more discreet as she tends to be very vocal both about how little she has and about any extravagances she then spends on.
I spoke to B again today and she isn't going to be making any anonymous calls to the school thankfully for all the reasons people have mentioned. I think she does feel that there is one pool of money that gets shared around according to need and feels aggrieved that A gets more of it despite appearing to have greater spending power and knowing A I can sympathise a bit with that! Still I'm very glad it looks like it will blow over and hopefully no one else will complain

ExitPursuedByABogieMan Thu 24-Oct-13 21:09:18

Do you have issues about private education rootypig?

::head tilt::

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