Is this the usual attitude to recipients of scholarships/bursaries?

(90 Posts)
ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:18:43

Dd has a v generous bursary for secondary school. Twice in the last fortnight I have been asked which school she will be going to.

The first person looked surprised when I said name of school, repeated it twice to me and then said "oh, does she have a scholarship" to which I said yes and she said "I see" and the second person quizzed me over every aspect of it.

Clearly it is obvious we have no money, I myself wouldn't question anybody even if I thought they couldn't afford fees for a particular school but I have been surprised how quick others have been to ask me.

Maybe I am overthinking things. I just worry a bit that if its that obvious we are getting help will it set dd apart and the other children at the school will know too? Tbh as soon as dd makes friends and they come back to our teeny council house they will probably guess.

I am just surprised at how judgy the people I've spoken to seem.I'm still surprised people think its ok to question how I'm affording to send dd there and assuming its with financial assistance.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:23:45

change your reply to
"no, trust fund came through"
and watch them shuffle away back under their rocks
or "great uncle ethelred is paying, we may have to meet him some day"
or "no, we won that exact amount on the lottery"
daft questions deserve daft answers

BreasticlesNTesticles Thu 18-Jul-13 20:27:37

Barking laughter followed by "oh god, no, we're loaded" and walk off.

Jealous and/or nosy and/or rude.

<wonders in OP has bumped into my SIL>

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:30:32

"oh, its a temporary thing while we build the house on our new island"

getting all sorts of bad thoughts about telling every person a different daft answer
(and they have to be really, really daft so that DD can tell her friends the truth without being accused of lying)

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:32:08

It has just surprised me hugely. Never in a million years would I ask somebody how they can afford x, y or z.

Bowlersarm Thu 18-Jul-13 20:33:11

I wouldn't worry about it. At the school my DC go to there are loads of children on scholarships and many on bursaries. And lots more who's fees are paid for by grandparents.

We have to pay unfortunately, so I am very envious of anyone lucky enough to have a bursary.

Maybe people are curious. But I doubt your DD will be made to feel out of place because of it. Children don't tend to be aware too much of that kind of thing. (Although I have not terribly aware DSes-not sure if girls would be different). Be confident with her about it, if she knows, it is not something to be embarrassed about. She should be proud of her scholarship smile

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:35:18

Brilliant that your DD got a good bursary. They are like hens' teeth so she definitely deserves one. It's hard to tell why people react the way they do. Maybe they don't think children should get a private school education if their parents can't afford it? Maybe it challenges their assumptions about what private school is and stands for? Who knows? Our children's school is very good in enabling children from lower income families to attend. They are less good with people from average income families in temporary straits but that's fine. It's just as it should be.

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:36:58

PS: DD got a music scholarship for the next 2 years- it's not masses (10%) but makes it a bit less like a white knuckle ride.

lunar1 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:37:24

I think it depends on the school but nobody cares at ds1's school who is on a bursary/scholarship. Their bullying policy is amazing though and there is no way one of the pupils would get away with it.

The parents are lovely too, we did however select the school for its pastoral care and community/ family feel rather than going for a hugely academic school.

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:39:36

Oh and no way does anyone look down on DC with scholarships. I doubt anyone in my DC's schools really knows who has and who hasn't.

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:43:33

I know how lucky dd is to have got such a good opportunity and I am so pleased for her. She worked incredibly hard though as we couldn't afford a tutor like her friends so I was thrilled she got in and have been proud when people ask where she's going.

Now I'm feeling slightly anxious when people ask as it seems to precede lots of questions and hmm looks.

BeckAndCall Thu 18-Jul-13 20:45:06

Bursaries and scholarships are not the same thing.

Scholarships are awarded to children for high achievement - academic, music sport etc. regardless of financial means.

Bursaries are awarded according to family circumstances.

Tasmania Thu 18-Jul-13 20:47:32

Don't worry - I am assuming the questions came from people whose DC is not at the school?! Are they neighbors who have similar income, and could not afford it? Jealousy can cause this. The "why her kid not mine?" thinking.

Also, many people who send their DCs to private school with their own money are perennially skint for one sole reason! So in the end, many are in the same boat...

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:58:18

When she asked was it a scholarship I said yes as didn't want to lie and say we were paying full fees yet didn't want to go into the whole bursary thing as got the feeling I'd just be questioned further!

The other person who asked was much more direct even saying how they couldn't afford fees unless they gave up a car/holidays etc and I just felt a bit like the conversation was getting very awkward as they were asking will my other dcs go for "free places" too.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:59:39

time to practice those daft lies then.

It is NONE of other people's business how you arrange your finances
unless those finances are entirely taxpayer funded benefits

amigababy Thu 18-Jul-13 21:00:11

I can't say how it affected my parents, whether anyone asked them, but from my POV at school (vvv small private school) it was acknowledged that I was "the scholarship girl" but that was in purely factual way, no edge to it, accepted that I would win annual academic prizes etc, no problems with any of this at all. As each year started there was mild curiosity over who got the scholarship that year ( a bit like at dd's grammar school now where they all know who got the top score in the test that year but no one makes a fuss at all about it)

I did once get a bill to pass on to parents, which was a bit scary till they realised it had the term's fees on the top line and then the total deducted as a discount further down. It was interesting to see how much I was "receiving" as we honestly had no idea, and it has gone up since I had started there (olden days, no smart prospectuses available then)

Noggie Thu 18-Jul-13 21:01:07

I work in an independent school and nobody but the headmaster and the bursar knows who is on a bursary etc

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:03:50

The only benefits we get are ctc and dla for dcs. Part of applying for the school was due to medical needs but dd still had to do well in the exams.

Somethingyesterday Thu 18-Jul-13 21:11:20

The usual attitude to recipients of scholarships / bursaries is AWE followed by ENVY followed by mental somersaults to overcome the first two emotions and recalibrate the world to enable the "reacter" to stand on the moral high ground...

"Oh well OFF COURSE..."
"I would NEVER send..."
"Well of course WE..."

Obviously I'm speaking of people who might possibly have been in even indirect competition with the recipient. Everyone else will be delighted for you. If they know.


ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:20:25

The thing is neither person has a dd same age as dd1 so it was surprising. The second person was asking will my other dcs go for "free places" as her dd is same age as my dd2 and she was saying how her dd deserves a place and they are very interested in scholarships. I got the feeling she thinls there is 1 'special' free place a year??

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:22:17

When ds started at his school in September where probably 75% of the children came up through its own prep, a couple of the parents asked me if ds had a scholarship but that was (I think) because their sons had come home saying 'MiniHey is really clever and knows loads of stuff about X Y and Z' (they told me this) and because they didn't know who had got scholarships (as they shouldn't), so idle speculation. When I said 'No', they just said 'Oh' or 'You should try for one in year 9, my ds said he was really bright'...

I can only assume they were trying to pass on 'compliments' from their dc and not passing judgement on whether we looked like we could afford the school or not.

Most people couldn't give two hoots about other people's circumstances; the children even less so.

Picturepuncture Thu 18-Jul-13 21:24:59

There are loads of people with misconceptions, jealousies and downright nosy opinions about private education.

I think you will discover that once DD has started, the people she (and you) meet through school will care much less.

Picturepuncture Thu 18-Jul-13 21:27:29

CarrieAnn IME some parents care a lot about who has/might get a scholarship- because of the prestige (being very bright), that's a much bigger badge of honour than money- something most independent school parents don't talk about (because they either have loads or none!)

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:28:00

Just realised you meant other parents NOT with dc going to your dd's new school were a bit 'snotty'. Just rude/nosy/maybe jealous, like a pp said.

Happymum22 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:28:01

Maybe I'm being stupid, will blame my tiredness, but do you have a bursary or a scholarship or both? I am not sure from your comments.. Is it that you have a bursary but called it a scholarship to your friend?

DC had bursaries and no one ever knew, I guess our money difficulties weren't that obvious as they began a few years after DC started at the school and DD never felt any need or wish to tell anyone.
At our school a good number of the DC were sent because of the academic excellence and struggled to scrape together fees, not having holidays and living in relatively small houses etc. My DC didn't stand out whatsoever because of this, other DC never commented nor parents about us not going off on holidays regularly or living in a pretty small house. DC were still invited to all sorts of houses and their DC happily came over to play at ours. Children really don't care- even at Secondary school.
DDs had additional bursaries due to me working at a school in the same company/group as their school, no one knew or asked about this even though it is widely known children of teachers within the group all got discounts.

Think it is something very personal and nothing to share, perhaps with a very close friend, but no further than that. Past that, I have never experienced anyone outrightly ask and once you are at the school you will hopefully find no one ever comments on the matter.

If it is a scholarship...
Scholarship holders were well announced and known about at DC's schools though, perhaps I would congratulate a close friend if their DC had won one. Especially if I knew they would struggle to attend the school otherwise and hence meant a lot to the family. Otherwise I wouldn't comment and from my experience apart from the initial polite congratulations among parents who are friends, it is not something that needs to be discussed, showed off about or compared. Our school was different maybe as it was so academic, just to get a place meant your DC was very bright and the difference between scholarship holders and non-scholarship holders was often so slim that it was somewhat seen as irrelevant...Maybe except the discount scholarship holders got!

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:30:51

True, picture but the scholarships at ds's school are reasonably generous and the parents/families are reasonably 'normal' so many parents would sit their children for them in the hope of a bit of help with fees, iyswim.

Anyway, I just meant on the whole that people seemed interested, friendly and very welcoming and not at all judgemental one way or another.

agendabender Thu 18-Jul-13 21:31:34

I was offered a couple of scholarships that I ended up turning down for other things. Two were unsolicited, and came through "scouts" from independent schools. I was offered them because I was clever, not because my parents couldn't pay. Why should anyone think anything different of your DD? Good for her! Incidentally I also had my BA and MA fees waived by two universities. Might be worth thinking about in a couple of years if your DD is interested.

(Sorry if I sound like an arse. I've had a heap of bad luck too, promise!)

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:39:01

And you quite literally can never know other people's circumstances just from looking at them on the outside. I've got to know two other Mums quite well from school who on the outside appear much 'better off' than us (going on jobs and size of houses) and you would never know the bad luck and circumstances (both financial and otherwise) that they actually find themselves in, on appearance alone.

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:39:28

Dd1 has a bursary. The person asked was it a scholarship, I said yes as didn't want to explain about having a bursary.

Second person asked lots more, I did mention means testing that was when she said they were poor and could only afford full fees if gave up hols etc. Didn't like to start explaining about our finances as we are clearly as poor as we look!

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:40:23

Ignore, smile, don't engage.

Look forward with dd to her new school.

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:43:23

I'd almost forgotten this as it was well over a year ago now but at least two of ds's old school friends' mums made snotty comments about us affording a fee-paying school when they have bigger houses, much newer cars, nicer holidays, clothes and everything than us.

No-one at the actual fee-paying school cares.

rabbitstew Thu 18-Jul-13 21:50:00

ariane5 - why do you think the people are being "judgy" rather than interested? Why do you think it is judgmental for someone to assume that you are no better off than they are - given that at least one of the people you were talking to has expressed an interest in doing for her child what you have done for yours, so she clearly doesn't have the cash, either?

I think it's pretty normal for people to assume the other people around them are from a relatively similar background to themselves unless they get strong signals that indicate otherwise, so the same is likely to be the case at the private school for your dd - she won't stick out like a sore thumb, she will be assumed to be in the right place at the right time, with similar interests and aspirations, or she wouldn't be there in the school uniform, going to the lessons. If anyone does have a problem with your dd when invited round to your house, then you'll all know that person would make a lousy friend, anyway. There are plenty more fish in the sea, you can't be friends with everyone.

Fairdene Thu 18-Jul-13 21:56:22

Agree with Beck. A bursary is not a scholarship and it's probably best not to conflate the two. There's nothing especially meritorious about a bursary whereas a scholarship denotes merit.

tricot39 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:57:32

I would say that your dd getting a place has given them a shock. Most people assume that private schooling requires payment of fees. The discovery.that this is not the case is probably making them feel foolish for not having put their children forward - the second person sounded like she had that in mind for her dc and that you were the competition! Well don to your dc and ignore the "envious"/surprised comments!

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 22:00:25

I just wouldn't ask somebody how they were managing to afford something, even if I wondered I would never question over it.

The second person who quizzed me was saying that if they gave up their holidays they could afford full fees for their dcs but didn't want to do that so was asking all about these "free places". I mentioned means testing but didn't want to go into it.

The school dcs are currently at is in a very affluent area, we are out of catchment by a long way and live in a council house (and everybody seems to know this after dcs have had just a handful of friends round). I dod feel I was being judged, it may not have been intentional and usually the person involved is quite nice but gets quite agressive with her questioning over this matter.

The means testing we went through was extensive, we had to provide absolutely everything but I just don't feel it is anybody elses business but I was asked about so much! I wish it was as simple for us to just 'give up holidays' and afford school fees then I wouldn't have had to worry!

MrsOakenshield Thu 18-Jul-13 22:03:24

well, we are near 3 pretty impressive independents, and I would be astonished if anyone I knew (including us) could afford them, especially at secondary, so I might ask out of interest (they are excellent schools but the only way DD would be going is via this route, and bursary more likely as I can't imagine she'll be a genius!), not as a disparaging comment on your own financial status.

Fantastic for her!

frogwatcher42 Thu 18-Jul-13 22:09:00

I too think it may be that they were simply shocked that bursaries are available.

I found out a year or two ago that our local church gave bursaries for full school fees for families. I only found out as I knew a family that got one for both their children and it was too late for us.

I felt a fool for not having investigated it for my children or investigated bursaries full stop. I never knew they existed and a scholarship wouldn't have been enough support so we never progressed that either.

I reckon that is what the people quizzing you felt. A bit envious.

Mintyy Thu 18-Jul-13 22:15:31

Don't worry Ariane, that whole stupid giving up holidays thing and being able to afford school fees is a ridiculous urban myth. Dh and I, for instance, with our two children three school years apart, would have to be giving up £40,000 pounds worth of holidays every year in order to be able to send our dc to private school!

Whereas this year, back in the real world and as a quite well off family (for which we are eternally grateful etc), we will have spent about £5,000 - £6,000 on holidays.

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 22:37:15

Perhaps I was being a bit sensitive then. Its difficult as if I was 100% truthful I would have just said to her that we were lucky enough to get a bursary as we have no savings, huge outgoings, dcs have lots of problems hence us considering private school and that was how we got a "free place".

The means testing was verging on intrusive but obviously the school have to rank applicants by financial need and then offer a bursary in order of applicants who get highest marks in the exams.

I just felt quite threatened by the relentless questioning.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 22:38:45

line your ducks up for next time : daft responses at the ready

tiggytape Thu 18-Jul-13 23:17:55

I'd assume it was more that other people would like your insider knowledge rather than are judging you - especially parents of children in Year 5 and below.

A bit like parents whose children get into super selective grammar schools get asked about which tutors they hired, how many practice papers per day the child did in the Summer Holidays - basically something they can emulate to increase their own chances.

Of course that doesn’t mean you’re obliged to tell them anything though!

Somethingyesterday Thu 18-Jul-13 23:27:52

ariane Please don't feel threatened! It's not a "free" place - the school has offered the bursary because they genuinely feel that your DD has something to offer the school. So even if the parent who questioned you so closely had only one tenth of your income there is no guarantee that her daughter would be granted one.

If a school offers bursaries then other children in the school will have them. The richer the school, the greater will be the proportion of children in receipt of funding. It isn't given because the school"feels sorry for" the recipient but because they are extremely eager to have that child in their school.

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 23:37:12

I know it is silly that I felt threatened.It was just too many questions-even had dd1 sat the same exams as everybody else!

Perhaps I should just be upfront about it all and say yes dd has a bursary due to our finances. It just feels so awkward discussing things like that but maybe its my issue and I need to get over it and accept that people will be curious as to how dd got a place there.

Somethingyesterday Thu 18-Jul-13 23:50:40

You DO NOT have to discuss your finances with every nosey parker who buttonholes you! In fact I absolutely forbid it. smile

Why should you? Someone up thread said that there was merit in a scholarship but no merit in a bursary. This may be her understanding or experience - it is not mine. And my experience is pretty extensive. The school REALLY wanted YOUR DD. A bursary is very much a "scholarship with benefits" nowadays.

Every time someone butts their nose into your private business just imagine them trying the same thing with the richest person you know.

eatyourveg Fri 19-Jul-13 08:11:58

One mother when she came to collect her ds who had come home for tea remarked, "if you are at (name of school) how come you live here?"

I said that ds was on two scholarships and a bursary with grandparents topping up the last bit and she's blanked me ever since. Feel sorry for her. The boys have remained friends (but only in school).

Wish I'd thought of a trust fund response at the time

tiredaftertwo Fri 19-Jul-13 08:27:35

Has the school not asked you to keep the bursary and your circumstances confidential? I thought that was fairly standard, to avoid the situation where the school does extensive means testing and goes into detail, and bystanders make assumptions from what they can see or illicit in casual conversation, and gossip, rumours and complaints start.

I think I'd practice a big smile and say "Do contact the school if you are interested in financial support, I cannot give you accurate details" and if they persist say politely that it is your business.

Honestly, avoid engaging. It will get ugly.

Good luck to your dd at her new school. IME, teenagers do sometimes (not always) end up going to the larger houses a bit more because there is more to do or a bigger garden, but it is absolutely not taken as a personal thing, and no-one has any idea who the bursary holders are, and I have never heard it discussed, hinted at or anything. Some kids don't like others coming to their houses - it is fine. Parents tend not to know that much about each other at secondary school and the children couldn't care less. Scholarships are public - I would not confuse the two to outsiders - people will think you have lied.

JohnnyUtah Fri 19-Jul-13 08:38:13

My yr 9/10 son knows one of his friends is on a full bursary. And knows a boy in his class is on a partial one. I don't think it is an issue at all, but he does know.

DeWe Fri 19-Jul-13 09:37:07

I would assume that the second person was interested in how it works for them/someone else who was considering applying under similar circumstances.

I would expect if they had a scholarship, people to follow it up with congratulations.

I was at a private school which had the assisted places scheme. People talked freely about having those. I knew exactly who had them in my year, and none of them were stigmatised by it in any way. They went to the people who had passed the entrance exam whose parents had the smallest net earnings, and this was standardly known, so looking back it could have been very easy for it to become an issue.
Scholarships otoh were generally not discussed. My best friend had one, and could guess that one boy almost certainly had one, but other than that I don't know who did.

Dd1 got offered an academic scholarship for half price-we still couldn't afford it realistically. The issue would have been that we couldn't have considered at all for the other two, even if they got the same scholarship, so we didn't feel this was fair.
We don't have foreign holidays, only have one car, don't over spend, dh earns a reasonable (but not brilliant) salary, but we wouldn't get enough on a bursary to be able to consider it with having three dc who would all need to be at secondary at the same level.

So if someone who I would regard as similar circumstances told me they were going, I might ask, for interest for myself. But round here it's often that grandparents etc. are paying, so I probably wouldn't.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 11:59:24

The school have not asked us to not say that we have a bursary but I don't really want to tell anyone as I don't think its anybodys business! I would not ask how somebody else has afforded their new car/house/holiday so I don't see why our finances are anybody elses business.

I didn't correct the person who said was dd getting a scholarship as didn't want to go into the whole bursary thing so I just said it was. That was probably wrong of me but I am quite a private person and just wanted to change the subject!

showersinger Fri 19-Jul-13 12:00:40

There's nothing especially meritorious about a bursary whereas a scholarship denotes merit.

Well, no. Not now in the current climate. The schools receive more deserving bursary applications than what they have funds for and thus select on merit basis. We have just gone through several applications to independent schools and that's what we were told by the schools... Unless we are talking about a school in the country. But if we are talking about competitive London schools for example, some of them now call the bursaries "means tested scholarships". You need to show financial need but also to have scored very well in the entrance exam and interview.

Ariane, my DS is in the same situation as yours. There is no way we can hide it because he was so happy and proud he announced it in school! grin I have decided not to care. People who don't know have not asked directly, but they have given me that puzzled look: "private school, you?" I smile and say, "yep, can't afford it, but DS earned himself the full fees!!" And I leave it at that.

Congratulations to your DD. She should not be made to feel like it is something to hide!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 19-Jul-13 12:03:21

Why do you answer the questions?

People are free to ask whatever they like.

That in no way obligates you to answer them.

you can say why are you asking?
why do you want to know my financial information?
are you asking my about my finances?
that's a very personal question, isn't it?
why do you need to know that?

etc etc etc

You don't owe anyone any sort of explanation. That's your starting point. It doesn't matter what they want to know. Only what you want to tell them.

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 12:10:31

showersinger Your post was very interesting but I was rather astonished at this:

Unless we are talking about a school in the country!

As you are apparently currently involved in this process you may like to know that it is entirely possible to find highly sought after, competitive schools OUTSIDE LONDON!smile (Some of them even out-perform London schools.....)

showersinger Fri 19-Jul-13 12:26:18

OMG sorry I deserve the comment! I was typing faster than my brain can think! Absolutely, somethingyesterday! I did not want to say "in the country". I meant a non competitive school in an less populated area thus less oversubscribed etc...?

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 12:32:28

shower Huh! Insufficient I'm sure SCHOOLS like that EXIST... But the OP's DD's new school sounds like the sort you would recognise.....

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 12:33:56

Don't know why cap on "schools"...

cephalicdream Fri 19-Jul-13 12:36:38

Nosey and jealous so and sos
I had a free place to very expensive secondary... Be pleased and proud and put the worries right out of your head
Well done to dd btw

duchesse Fri 19-Jul-13 14:27:48

shower- that' s what I told DD. She "earned" a 4 figure sum in 20mn- well worth doing! She was pretty chuffed.

Fairdene Fri 19-Jul-13 19:54:44

My children are towards the older end of the age range (uni age broadly) so I might have that wrong, about the merit factor with contemporary bursaries. But a few years ago they were each offered a bursary of 45%/ 50% on an average parental income for allegedly competitive schools, so it seemed like a mere application triggered a large bursary. Perhaps the current economic climate has shifted the goalposts. We never accepted any bursary, so I was never subject to any intrusive questions. Had I been, I think I would have tried to judge the questioner and if it was malevolent I would have told it to buzz off whereas if it was a seeker of helpful info I like to think I would have tried to point it in the right direction.

Minifingers Fri 19-Jul-13 20:09:07

There's loads of jealousy on this one. I'm jealous of anyone who gets a bursary for their child. We wouldn't get a bursary but still couldn't afford private schooling, even if we made loads of sacrifices. I went through a stage of wanting to cry every day about the fact that my dd would have to go to a fairly crap comprehensive because we simply had no other option as far as her schooling went.

It's hard that some children get a worse deal educationally than other children through no fault of their own. Particularly as the children that get given money from bursaries tend to be the ones who would still succeed in the state sector, and the ones who would really benefit from the individual attention and extra support available in private schools, ie the less bright and motivated children, get fuck all from anyone.

So cut people some slack maybe?

PinkyCheesy Fri 19-Jul-13 20:17:14

Ha! I have the opposite problem to the OP. We live in a fairly affluent area of the country, where there's lots of private schools, and lots of good state schools. We chose our village primary, and local secondary, and most of our children's friends go there too.

But one of the social circles I am in once a week or so is full of private school mums, who do go on endlessly about driving in and out to school for events etc. I roll my eyes and laugh that I don't have that problem. To which there is always someone who is shocked that my children go to a state school! I obviously give off some kind of aura grin And I do get quizzed quite a lot about "surely you can afford private". I usually laugh and say "oh sure, but I can't be arsed to drive them to school every day when the state one is close enough to walk". But IT REALLY IS NONE OF THEIR FLIPPIN BUSINESS!

PinkyCheesy Fri 19-Jul-13 20:21:28

Can I just add that we would struggle to pay private fees. It would certainly mean no family hols, no school trips and no fun extras as a family. And could prob only manage it for one child. Thankfully we don't have to worry because we struck it lucky in the postcode lottery (moved here prior to having children) smile

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 20:28:59

and the ones who would really benefit from the individual attention and extra support available in private schools, ie the less bright and motivated children, get fuck all from anyone.

The thing is Mini, although independent schools are nominally charities they do have to operate as businesses. The richest schools can only maintain their position by remaining the most sought after. As this is generally judged by how successful the children are at reaching the desired next stage of their education it is imperative for the school to select those who are most likely do do extremely well. The schools who are best at this can command the highest fees - and thus they will have the most to spend on offering bursaries.

There are hundreds of less selective schools where thousands of less bright children thrive - but those schools simply can't afford to offer the same level of funding.

It is obviously frustrating.....

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:13:39

I can understand your frustration mini. It must be extremely frustrating to be in the grey area of not being poor enough to qualify for a bursary yet unable to afford private school fees.

One of the main reasons we went for private for dd was due to medical reasons meaning the local state secondaries, although good schools were completely unsuitable for her due to her problems and we looked for a school that could meet her needs. I know how lucky we are that we qualified for a large bursary but also most of it was down to dds tremendous hard work.

I am all for cutting people some slack but I wish they could just be honest like you and say how they feel rather than questioning me and then being decidedly off when they don't like my answers/dont get all the answers they want.

AlienAttack Fri 19-Jul-13 21:52:53

I fully agree with you OP that people have no right to expect you to answer questions about your financial status. But can I please ask you to be careful when you say that your DD achieved her bursary "down to DD's tremendous hard work". As others have pointed out, there are some children whose parent or parents earn just above the threshold for bursaries but could never afford private school, whatever sacrifices they made. And do, even if their DC works tremendously hard or achieves te highest scores, they will never qualify. I think you have every right to not answer people's questions if you feel they are intrusive but I do think you need to realise that some people may genuinely be asking for suggestions and pointers to help their own application process...which feels ok to me.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:08:40

Why be careful? Dd DID work tremendously hard and that's the truth. Despite her medical problems she put in hours and hours of work.

I have no problem whatsoever with people asking me how the bursary process worked, but all I have been subjected to was intense questioning from somebody I had thought I got along with quite well who is now being decidedly 'off' with me.
Joking about "giving up one of the cars and going without holidays" to afford school fees-she would rather keep those luxuries and apply for a bursary and was making that very clear. If I had the choice to give up something and pay dd school fees myself or get a bursary I would make sacrifices and pay myself but we are not lucky enough to have that choice.

And for the record, as proud as I am of dd and my other 3 dcs. I would swap in a heartbeat to be like the person who questioned me, with dcs who are completely healthy and could thrive and be well at any school. We looked into private mainly for health reasons but if somebody said to me now they could wave a magic wand and change things, make dcs completely well but that we would never qualify for bursaries and they'd have to go to a rubbish school somewhere I'd take it just to have them well.

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 22:12:31

Hmmm ...... Alien I can see your POV but - the reason I'm still buzzing around this thread (and feeling embarrassingly protective of the OP) is that, in far too many areas of my life, I know what it is to endure almost unendurably impertinent questioning from people who are uneasy about my inexplicable existence in what they had imagined was a sufficiently fortressed arena.

People are rude. And relentless.

It's one thing if the OP's closest friends ask her how things work - it's quite another if (and this is the impression I have of the situation) people who have rarely, if ever, spoken to her in the past suddenly show far too much interest in her business.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:28:44

The person involved had, up until now been quite friendly but it has all changed since dd got a place at the school.
Her attitude towards me is quite hostile and abrupt and I'm really quite hurt, I feel like I was good enough to be her friend when everything she had was better than me-huge beautiful house v my pokey council house, endless chats about her holidays at pick up time, etc etc etc and suddenly now its all changed.

A couple of mums asked me today about dd going to the school (they were lovely though about it so no problems there) but I havnt told anybody else so can only assume that they have been told by the person who questioned me. I feel uneasy that dd is such a hot topic of conversation. It is taking the happiness out of it all slightly for me.

QTPie Fri 19-Jul-13 23:16:29

Re "children at school", any child worth being friends with will make no judgements on size of house or income.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:26:42

From what I saw at the induction day all the other girls and parents were lovely.
Nobody there asked any questions, dd got on well with them and said how nice everybody was.

It just seems to be an issue at the current school oddly.

waityWaity Fri 19-Jul-13 23:39:22

"I would not ask how somebody else has afforded their new car/house/holiday so I don't see why our finances are anybody elses business."

Hmm... if they suddenly moved from a two-bedroom terraced house to an eight bedroom mansion with a huge garden and a pool you wouldn't even say "gosh, what a lovely house, did you win the lottery?!"

Anyway don't assume it's all down to the particular way you happen to be paying the fees. Anyone who chooses a private school has to accept the fact that they are implicitly saying the alternative isn't good enough for their child. If you've been keeping quiet till now about your plans then people may feel a bit like they've been made a fool of - as if you've just been pretending you've got the same choices as they have, discussing the nearest state options with friends, and all the time you were thinking secretly to yourself "yuk no way, not for my child, I'm looking elsewhere".

I'm not saying you were wrong to keep it all private (assuming you did, given that these friends have only just found out). Prob v. sensible, but an unfortunate side effect can be that people feel a bit fooled and snubbed, especially if they may have shared their own thoughts about schools and not had entirely honest answers from you because all along you were planning something quite different.

So maybe just consider whether some of the reactions are more to that than to the bursary itself.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:40:02

I would tell any future questioners exactly what you have just said; if they raise an eyebrow over your choice of school, say that it's the school that will meet your DD's medical needs better than any other local school. Any self respecting, non intrusive person (if they don't know anything about your DD and her medical problems) will be polite enough not to say anything else. If the questioner still goes on, tell then non of your damn business and walk away, after all, you will most likely not be crossing paths with these people at the school gate for much longer!

Well done to your DD for her academic achievements, and I hope that the school is everything you and she need for a successful future smile

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:45:18

waitywaity; that might be how you view it, but not me, or anyone I know (unless they are privately seething with jealousy and resentment). Out of 60 Y6 pupils at my DS's outstanding state primary, one child is going on to the selective private grammar school. There is not one fellow pupil, or parent who is feeling that way; the overwhelming response is how clever she must be to have passed the entrance exam and wishing her well, and more than a little concern about her not knowing anyone else at the school. She is one of the most lovely children I have ever met though; so difficult not to wish her every success.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:52:13

Also, if this child hadn't got the place at the selective grammar, she would have gone to the outstanding state secondary; no question of the alternative not being good enough as her parents applied to the local comp using the common preference form like everyone else did. Everyone knows this was a back up in case she didn't pass the entrance exams, but still there is no feeling towards this girl and her family other than pleasure that she passed the exams, and pride that a local girl is going to the posh school grin

waityWaity Sat 20-Jul-13 00:09:02

Who said anything about not wishing a child success?! And the grammar school example is not relevant to what I was talking about, which was private schools, and more specifically someone keeping a plan to go private secret till the last minute, from people they might otherwise be having conversations about schools with. It's nothing to do with a child being the one child to go somewhere else.

Plenty of my dcs peers have gone private or to grammars, and it's no big deal at all - no seething resentment here! However those of their parents who are my friends have always been able to be quite open about trying for exams and interviews at other schools.

If they had been secretly trying for a private school while on the surface pretending to be happy with the state options, I would have been irritated by that when I found out, and that's what I'm suggesting the OP considers may also be behind her friend's manner, not just the fact that she's got a bursary.

funnyossity Sat 20-Jul-13 00:33:14

waity I understand what you are saying.

We are thinking of not sending my DS2 to the local comp but to a private school in the next town and I find myself unable to talk about it to other parents- it is a reflection on what's on offer locally (limited subject choice) and I don't know how to articulate that without sounding precious. I also feel guilty because I can pay.

kickassangel Sat 20-Jul-13 00:54:08

I get a discount for dd's school fees, but she had to pass the entrance process. I got one comment about how she must have got in just because I work there. Then their kids stopped asking dd on play dates.

I can only assume that they are jealous. I also suspect that the person who did that had tried to get their dd into the school but was turned down.

I have also had a lot of people ask me exactly what the reduction is for teachers.

As you say, it is nothing to do with anyone else and I never give them a straight answer.

I do find that I fall back on how convenient it is to have dd in the same school as me, but the truth is that we were wondering about private anyway as dd is ADHD/asd, bright and funding round here has been cut massively so she would be in a big class with no support.

My real friends just say that they hear it's a fantastic school, is dd happy, and all the normal responses.

VenusSurprising Sat 20-Jul-13 01:01:00

Ariane5 well done to your dd for passing the entrance exam.

The parent who is being weird, is being just that: weird!

She has better than you expectations, and your DD has challenged her idea that her kids will be better than yours.
But your DD got in to this school, and hers did not.

She sounds so envious!

You need to practice some of the answers given:
Why do you need to know?
I'll get back to you about that.
The school could answer your questions about the financial aspects of fees better than I could.

And lastly, you don't need to tell anyone anything! Really! You don't! I also forbid you to tell anyone anything they don't need to know.
Mind your own business is fine with a smile. Or, if you feel under pressure from releltles questioning, try smiling, and say, well that would be telling.

You'll find the parents of the students and the girls in your Dds new school will all be lovely, and your dd will have such fun!

Best of luck!

Minifingers Sat 20-Jul-13 13:12:11

Again - the bottom line is that EVERYONE wants the best for their children and worries for them. Especially the parents of children with special needs (most of whom, like my ds, won't get any particular help to find a suitable school at secondary), and the parents of children who don't do well academically. People know they should keep their feelings of envy and anxiety to themselves when it comes to discussing school places but hey ho, some of us can't. I've come to terms with the fact that my children will have a second rate education, and I can control my responses when talking to people whose children will have a better deal than mine. But I do remember a time when it was hard, really hard. And it used to make me want to cry.

Xenia Sat 20-Jul-13 13:38:09

Not normal at all, really weird (although just about everyone I know sends children to fee paying schools so no one would comment if someone could afford it as we all can so I just am not often amongst people who cannot afford them). I don't think children or other parents at fee paying schools care who pays, who doesn't etc etc. In general if someone has a bursary and has got into a good school you think - well done them, must be a clever hard working child.

ariane5 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:39:37

I really can sympathise minifingers.I was very upset when dd initially didn't get a bursary then a week later when others had turned down places we got a letter but in that inbetween period I was very upset as knew what it would mean if she went to a school unsuitable for her needs.

I really hope your ds manages to get the support he needs.

waityWaity Sat 20-Jul-13 13:54:43

"We are thinking of not sending my DS2 to the local comp but to a private school in the next town and I find myself unable to talk about it to other parents- it is a reflection on what's on offer locally (limited subject choice) and I don't know how to articulate that without sounding precious. I also feel guilty because I can pay."

You don't need to justify looking at a range of schools, you can just casually (not apologetically!) say that it's one of the ones you're looking at, if schools come up.

It does feel tricky, I know (been there too), but I'm not sure it is unless you get into deep discussions about the pros and cons of different schools, which is when one person having much more choice than others can make the discussion a bit unbalanced and pointless. It's a school, so it's worth looking at, full stop - details not important right now.

Also, don't assume all the people around you who aren't considering private can't afford it. There will be people who can, but who want to avoid single sex education or long journeys, or who just had bad experiences at private schools, or who want better SEN provision or all sorts of things.

All children are individuals and everyone's circumstances are different and the most surprising people can turn out to be considering options you'd never expect them to.

I think a good general rule is that the more choices you have (about anything, not just schools) the less detailed thinking aloud you can do with other parents about the pros and cons of each choice. That's different from actually keeping the fact that you're considering more options secret though.

AlienAttack Sun 21-Jul-13 00:16:54

Sorry OP, only back to this thread now. I said that I agree the comments are intrusive. My suggestion to you to be "careful" About suggesting your DD had worked hard to achieve the bursary may have been misleading and I apologise. I did not mean to suggest your DD had not worked hard. But I wanted to gently remind you that other DC may also have worked hard but not been successful for a bursary simply because of their parents' income rather than what hard work or what results they had achieved. And this is not about those children of parents who can afford the fees. This is the difference between the children whose parents earn £10k and £20k.

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:37:56

I completely understand that and agree alien. Hence my decision to not broadcast dds bursary to everybody as I didn't want to appear to be showing off in any way.
As it happens people know anyway just through being nosey now!

nlondondad Sun 21-Jul-13 11:00:37

The two great obsessions for people who like being competitive, education and money. And sending your child to a selective, private school, with some form of special financial assistance really does hit the buttons.

I like the advice to give all sorts of daft explanations regarding the source of the cash. (It comes from "uncle" steve, well we call him that, we dont see much of him at the moment, its very generous of him, so we will need to be extra nice to him when he gets out of prison)

I have had people assume we are poor cos we do not own a car....

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 12:42:43

Very very tempting to use the uncle steve who is in prison explanation!!!

bursarylady Sun 21-Jul-13 14:57:59

This is the difference between the children whose parents earn £10k and £20k.

Lots of misinformation here! You don't need to be earning £10K to be eligible for a bursary. Schools recognise that even on a joint salary of £40K, it is a stretch to pay £16K before tax on fees only, plus all the extras. Before you decide you are earning too much for a bursary, call around the schools. Ask! They will take into account personal circumstances, mortgages, etc. Most set their limits on £50K with some mentioning up to £60K. The Whitgift Foundation have a scale starting at £70K. The most important factor for them is whether your child will benefit from the school and the school from your child.

AlienAttack Sun 21-Jul-13 18:44:00

bursaryladu there are as many reasons why people don't qualify for bursaries as you have listed for why they do qualify. My point was not about specific amounts to qualify, it was that some children could have worked hard and performed well but not been eligible for a bursary because their parent earned over £20k. Income is a blunt instrument, for example where there is a lot of equity in the house. Anyway, I don't wish to derail the thread, I think OP's question was about attitudes not how to get a bursary.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 21-Jul-13 18:50:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Minifingers Sun 21-Jul-13 19:25:33

Actually I think you'll find people's main obsession is their children. Most people can accept that chance or good luck, or circumstance will sometimes result in one person experiencing much better life chances than another in relation to their own situation, but they may find it hard to accept in relation to their children. People should be welcoming of the success and good fortune of others, but when they're anxious about how inequality in education impacts on their own child's life chances , it's sometimes hard to be generous spirited.

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:09:42

Minifingers-when we thought that dd1 had a place but no bursary before a bursary became available for her we researched other ways to fund her education and there were some educational trusts/trusts for parents with certain jobs, none could help us but it may be worth looking up if you havnt already.
Also, I am not sure if they could help you but there's a charity called the black robin club that provides things for children with SN (not sure if this would include school fees but maybe worth a try for you) or if you get a statement for a dc naming a private school I think your LA is duty bound to pay the fees.

I really feel for you as we were so nearly in the position where dd had to go to a school completely unsuitable for her.

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