How many working class or families receiving benefit would you find

(186 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-Jan-14 21:17:00

In fee paying selective schools?
Or how many do you know?

I'm really referring to those who are one or maybe two steps from the breadline.

If you are one of these families do you think you would mix well with the parents at these types of school?

middleclassonbursary Fri 17-Jan-14 22:30:05

Assuming those who are one or maybe two steps away from the breadline are not wearing badges declaring this then how would anyone know how many there are without asking them which would be an exceedingly crass thing to do.

inthename Fri 17-Jan-14 22:38:39

Why would you need to know, my own experience is that the bursary system provides access to an I

inthename Fri 17-Jan-14 22:39:49

The bursary system provides access to this style of education and is used by folk 'on

TheLostPelvicFloorOfPoosh Fri 17-Jan-14 22:40:00

Why..?? hmm

inthename Fri 17-Jan-14 22:41:14

Give up, it keeps sending my post too early!
Yes I do know people, yes I am

middleclassonbursary Fri 17-Jan-14 22:42:49

Couldn't agree more why would anyone need to know? Our individual incomes are our business and it's usually a condition of a bursary that it's confidential

zizzo Fri 17-Jan-14 22:45:49

OP's post has an odd flavour.

lougle Fri 17-Jan-14 22:48:31

Perhaps the OP is exploring whether she could fit in at a Private school given her circumstances, and is asking other parents in those circumstances to reassure her?

Hedgehog80 Fri 17-Jan-14 22:49:17

I've never mentioned it and nobody has ever asked.

I don't think anybody is aware of who has a bursary

SiliconeSally Fri 17-Jan-14 22:59:24

Loads of working class families at private school. Class and income are no longer the same thing. Many working class families earn far more than my middle class but low income household .

Anyway. None on the breadline. The fares, Uniform and other costs are prohibitive even assuming you get a bursary for the full fees. Which mostly you don't . So mostly bursaries support people who are way above truly, actually poor!

SiliconeSally Fri 17-Jan-14 23:00:31

So, it's about costs Not bollocks about 'parents fitting in'.

MaeWestfield Fri 17-Jan-14 23:08:30

I would have wondered this too. We r not working class,but i was on benefits. I work now but still a single paremt which in conservative mc circles is still difficult at times. At one point i thought aboutsending my dc to my old school but i have decided not too. I am happier for dc1 to take place at a local and more diverse (socially) catholic girls school. Ididmt want her to feel poor. We arent poor really! But i dont know if we can keep up with scjool trops that cost a grand and that kind of tbing.

DalmationDots Fri 17-Jan-14 23:10:02

As others have said, I wouldn't know which specific children at DC's old schools because schools are sensitive.
I do know the school I used to work out gave full bursaries to two children each year. These bursaries include all uniform, trips, stationary and other 'exta' costs. They do go to children from really disadvantaged backgrounds (not just poverty but also in care/health issues etc) but careful assessment went on to ensure it was right for the child and what the child was comfortable with and wanted, not just an idealistic perspective assuming this would be best for the child.
The school also gave smaller bursaries for families who weren't 'on the breadline' but would not be able to afford full fees. This is the kind of bursary given at most independent schools.
There were many families at DD's and DS' schools (academically selective and very very good but not mega posh) who were not at all well off and really struggled to scrape together fees to send their children there. They obviously were not near the breadline though as they are managing to find 9k + spare per year for the DC's fees.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-Jan-14 23:18:02

Just interested, there is no ulterior motive.
There are many different schools and types and Mnet has a good cross section of society, I think.
I studied quite a bit about education at Masters level during my PGCE and have often wondered this exact thing.
I know how the system works and some people have burseries but I'm thinking more general really not considering who has burseries and who doesn't.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-Jan-14 23:25:29


We have considered it for dd way in the future but not for many years yet. She is happy H.ed for the rest of primary and most of secondary, but I must admit to wondering if it is a rarity or whether these schools are becoming more accessible, purely as I said because I studied education.
It was more of a general discussion and a bit vague, sorry.

ItsATIARA Fri 17-Jan-14 23:32:08

I also know some schools where 100% bursary really does mean 100% - transport, uniform, trips, the lot. I was quite impressed.

flatmum Fri 17-Jan-14 23:32:09

Ime, plenty of all classes, very, very few actually poor or dis advantaged children. Plenty pretending to be to access bursaries. I have the impression there are probably more children from truly disadvantaged backgrounds at the public schools that have specific programs of that nature.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-Jan-14 23:53:07


Do you mean public schools or are you not English and mean the English state schools.
I would never have thought disadvantaged dc would go to public schools.

Btw, if anybody is still suspicious it is merely understanding, peoples knowledge I am interested in, education is a fascinating subject, wish sometimes I had completed the Masters after PGCE

NearTheWindmill Fri 17-Jan-14 23:59:51

Both my DC's independent schools publish address lists. In their years from having a quick scan of the lists, I would none. There are mega rich families, rich families, comfortable families, and families keeping up appearances but I don't think there are any on the bread line, any with a meter key, any on benefits, etc. There are a few clapped out 15 year old cars but not that many and they are usually parked in the drive of an expensive house.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-Jan-14 00:04:38

publish address lists for everyone to see shock or have you worked/associated as staff at the school?

What if you didn't want your address on the sheet, could you opt out.
Interesting there are different types.
I think at one time most families would have been pretty much identical wouldn't they? Or am I talking rubbish?

NearTheWindmill Sat 18-Jan-14 00:12:59

No, the lists are circulated to all the parents in the year group. Helps keep in touch with school families, keep tabs on your dc and where they are and very useful for PTA type stuff. Yes, you can opt out but why would you.

Why are you asking OP? What's your point and issue. FWIW when I went to grammar school years and years ago families weren't all the same at all. I went to school with the daughters of surgeons, army officers, bus drivers, nurses, bank tellers, librarians, teachers, factory workers, waiters, etc. If anything I think the old grammars were far more diverse than any other sort of school. Can't remember it bothering each other much. Rather as it doesn't especially bother my DC if their friends' dad is managing partner of a magic circle firm, a GP, or a civil servant. They judge on personality, common interests and niceness.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-Jan-14 00:20:30


I really am interested and swear that's all. One day I will have to make the decision or at least think about it for our dd and I have very little knowledge apart from what people are kind enough to tell me.
My dh went to a Grammar school where he had to do 11+ now I understand a bit about his school as he has told me. It wasn't really posh or super selective.
I don't know anybody personally who has gone to private/selective/super selective.
I suppose I wonder as said in OP if lower classes always fit in, if there is any snobbery or if it exists in one type of school more than another.
However, there is no real theme to my OP apart from discussion in general and info.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-Jan-14 00:22:47

Near, that sounds like dhs old school, he went to Clitheroe many centuries ago grin

middleclassonbursary Sat 18-Jan-14 09:03:24

"But I admit to wondering if it's a rarity"
That is your answer to your original question OP it's a rarity. 100% bursaries whether there being given to a couple on the average wage or a single parent on the bread line are a rarity.
Boarding school fees are currently pushing at the very least £33k a year before extra even if your lucky and get 50% that's still 17k a year, outside of the reach of a couple on an average wage.
I personally don't think you can blame the schools (if you accept that 33k PA is a reasonable and legitimate amount to charge) they simply don't have the recourses to offer big bursaries to lots of pupils.

middleclassonbursary Sat 18-Jan-14 09:10:48

"I wonder ... If there is a snobbery or if it exists in new type of school more than another"
Honestly? I would like to hope and believe that if you were just off the bread line know one would mind but deep down if they knew of course I think there might be. But doesn't that apply to many other areas of life as well? I'm always shocked by peoples intolerance, avoidance and unkindness to those who are really genuinely poor.

Hedgehog80 Sat 18-Jan-14 09:11:59

Dds school publishes an address list for parents, just so that dcs can socialise out of school and everybody has one another's contact details.

I must admit to being a bit in awe when I've dropped dd off at a friends house on more than one occasion. We have also avoided inviting anybody to our house as I do think immediately people might assume dd was getting a bursary. As it is now I think they assume we lay full fees like they all do.

Hedgehog80 Sat 18-Jan-14 09:12:36


NearTheWindmill Sat 18-Jan-14 09:25:43

Oh tosh hedgehog. I doubt anyone who mattered would care and it's unfair if your dd can't have friends home. That's your problem not hers and you must be careful not to project a sense of inferiority.

I havbe found that my DC's friends are the ones they are comfy with and paradoxically it seems to be the very wealthy ones (think indoor pool, zone 3 London) who get joshed most.

Having said that I don't think there is anyone really hard up. There is one boy who I imagine was on a full bursary because the address is social housing but he is a fabulous boy, only in 6th form did my son note it and then positively. It was unremarked for 8 years he was xxxx, not xxxx who lives in xxxxx block.

Hedgehog80 Sat 18-Jan-14 09:32:25

I can't help but compare the houses of dds friends with ours, maybe it is my problem but we are from a vastly different background to her friends.

She fits in well but I do worry that if a friend came here they would be surprised. She socialises a lot goes to her friends house etc and joins in at school but nobody has ever been here.

middleclassonbursary Sat 18-Jan-14 09:59:16

We live in a lovely very old but small i.e. 3 bedroom house. Over the years Sunday a Times Rich Listers, the aristocracy and the simply very wealthy have been invited round, (ten bedroomed houses indoor swimming pools and 2nd 3rd 4th houses are the norm), I used to assume that people then guessed we're on a bursary but actually I don't think they do, they just assume that we've decided to channel all our money into school fees and that this is why we don't own a massive pile and frankly they approve!
On leaving our prep I mentioned to a very good friend (husband on ST list) that we were on a bursary and she was surprised it had never crossed her mind and she also appeared not to have noticed our small cottage; "but you have such a nice house!"
As my DS said most of his school mates don't care and who wants to be friends with those that do?

Hedgehog80 Sat 18-Jan-14 10:05:05

I think its just my problem. We live in quite a run down area in what is very obviously a council house. The area isn't actually horrible and its not a high crime area its just very run down.

Our house is tiny, and not particularly tidy and after seeing dds friends beautiful houses I am just a bit worried.

Dds friends are all lovely girls, I'm sure they wouldn't be bothered in the slightest.its me.

NearTheWindmill Sat 18-Jan-14 10:13:29

To be honest hedgehog the only thing you will be judged on is not having the manners to return invitations. That is just rude. If you give that nuch of a fig then send your dd to the local school.

happygardening Sat 18-Jan-14 10:23:19

OP a friend lives in what she would be the first to admit is a pretty hideous council house on a fairly run down estate. One of my DS's who spends most of his time in the homes of the super rich commented a few years ago about what a nice house it was and he would like to live in it! My friend is enormously warm caring and most importantly funny, and a fab cook I think it's the atmosphere that makes a home not solid gold taps staff and a stunning 10 acre garden.

happygardening Sat 18-Jan-14 10:23:51

Sorry not OP I talking to Hedgehog.

Hedgehog80 Sat 18-Jan-14 10:31:19

Its a very complicated situation as to why dd can't go to the local school.

I admit its completely my problem, and I'm not rude to not return invitations dd just invites her friends out rather than to our house.

Bowlersarm Sat 18-Jan-14 10:31:41

My DSes have been through a variety of private schools. I would say that quite a few of the parents struggled to find school fees along the way, quite a few had grandparents who paid the fees, a lot used the second hand uniform shop etc, and a number live in modest houses. But I would say I know of no one at all who is one or two steps away from the breadline.

Danann Sat 18-Jan-14 15:01:07

DD is at a private prep, my little brother and sister are at super-selective state schools, both my mum and I are at the poorer end of working class (FIL pays DDs school fees) and so far it's worked out absolutely fine, the children fit in well and are popular, although when it comes to birthday parties for DD the difference in money is painfully obvious as I can't afford the big, whole class parties at the soft-play center her friend have, not such an issue for my brother and sister though as they are year 9 and year 11 so the days of whole class parties are long gone.

MaeWestfield Sat 18-Jan-14 15:09:42

morethanpotatoprints, I think it's a reasonable thing to wonder about. I might have started this thread a year ago before I made my decision, but I knew that I'd be ripped to shreds on mumsnet, for being a snob! which is ridiculous because in the end I would rather my daughter mixed with other children in our income bracket! THAT is where I have decided we will experience fewer difficulties. If all the other girls are catholic and we aren't, we'll get through that! If there is a diverse range of social class, so much the better really, as that's The World at large, but the one thing I can't cope with (personally) is children coming home from school and asking for £1000 for this and £1000 for that like it is no big deal! My children will be the first in the last three generations to go to a non-fee paying school so it feels (ludicrously) like a bold move!

basildonbond Sat 18-Jan-14 15:19:55

There are plenty of boys at ds1's school who live on council estates, plus plenty of boys who live in gorgeous houses with tennis courts and swimming pools - and all points in between

However it is a school which is well-known for its generous bursary and scholarship provision

Dd at private primary and only one of her classmates lives in social housing (v talented sports player on scholarship) but I think independents at primary/prep level have a much narrower pool of pupils

Ds2 in top stream of partially selective school and his classmates, while racially diverse, come from a very narrow strata of society with parents almost exclusively being professional middle classes - much less diverse than ds1's independent but without the extremes at either end

Danann Sat 18-Jan-14 15:32:19

Oop forgot to answer the part about mixing with the parents, I get on well with quite a few parents and the ones I'm not friends with has nothing to do with money, it's just there is a group of mum's whose lives seem to revolve around dieting, jogging and going to the gym together where as I love food and by the time I've walked everywhere and taken the dog out I'd rather scoop my eyes out with a teaspoon than go jogging or to the gym so we'd have little to talk about

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:05:42

I wish some wouldnt overthink these things! Both my DS's go to boarding schools - the oldest to a very well known one. The boys really dont care as long as you are a good egg and up for a kick around of a football or to go into town at the weekend.

Also, I do think we need to remember. Prepared to get flamed. Schools are a business, they will provide busaries and scholarships for the very bright but if you cannot afford it you cannot afford it. They are not there to give endless busaries and reduced fees.

I would love to travel business class on airlines. Sadly I cannot afford it so I have to look longingly at people who turn left when they enter the plan.

wordfactory Mon 20-Jan-14 12:12:47

In truth, not many.

The fees of most independent schools preclude most families on benefits or on low income.

A few are on bursaries, but whilst these families often have little income they do have the no how and the aspiration to apply and get their DC into these schools.

A few have family paying for them.

That's not to say everyone is loaded, but I think we need to be realistic here. A child who comes from a disadvanated background, as opposed to just being not rich, will be in a tiny minority.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:18:41

Word - I do agree with you. What I would say is that the boys/girls really dont care. They want to know that you are OK to hang out with.

My DS went to London last year with one of the boys whose family gave him £1000 for a day in London! Boy does get a bit of a hard time at school because he is throwing his parents money around. Didnt get a huge amount of response - boys dont yet crave the posh restaurants and are too young for the bars and certain dont want to waste their precious time with someone they dont particularly like.

They went to the cinema and then for a pizza

wordfactory Mon 20-Jan-14 12:23:52

I agree that the other pupils don't care generally. Well, you'll always get the Malfoy types, won't you? But that's in every sort of school.

I wonder though, if the pupils from the low income families would care, though? One of DD's best friends is on a scholarship and bursary and whilst they are clearly a long way from the breadline, I know she does think about her situation versus the situation of others.

Bursarymum Mon 20-Jan-14 12:34:38

I have two on bursaries in a local prep school. We don't have much money but I come from an educated background. I don't really care if anyone else thinks we are too poor to be there. I want my children to be there because IMO they both benefit a great deal from small class sizes. As others have said though bursaries are supposed to be confidential.

Blueberrypots Mon 20-Jan-14 12:37:10

hedgehog please don't do this - my mum did this to me throughout my childhood and I felt like a pariah. We lived in a one bedroom flat in a very upmarket area and I went to an upmarket school - but I was never allowed any friends round because she was worried about what they would think about me.

Although I fully understand why she did it, I remember girls commenting about "why are we never invited to your house" and me blushing and changing the subject many times. Eventually they stopped inviting me to theirs (after a few years!). It was very upsetting for me.

I feel a bit like this since DD has started at prep. We live in a 4 bedroom detached in a lovely area but there are parents living in mansions - also ours is a very simply furnished house, we don't have antiques or silver or anything expensive at all. However I think now that if people want to be snobs and not be friends with us because we don't live in a mansion, or have pompous lifestyles, then that's their luck out.

Mintyy Mon 20-Jan-14 12:43:32

I am sure it is an absolutely tiny number, op.

My utterly middle class friend has her ds at private school on a bursary and can get away with it as her household income is less than £40,000. Her dh is self employed (an artist) so presumably if he has a good year and goes over £40,000 then they will have to pay some of the fees.

Meanwhile, she choose not to work, which makes me extremely hmm about the bursary system as I thought it was for genuinely poor families, not those who make the decision not to earn very much just because it suits them.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:50:18

Totally agree with Blueberry. It does seem to be the parents worrying though and making things more difficult for their children then it has to be.

My DS room at school looks like he has been burgled! Just relax about it and avoid anyone who thinks where you live is an issue for THEM.

MerylStrop Mon 20-Jan-14 12:50:30

I was a scholarship girl at a very selective, very expensive independent school. I knew who the other two scholarship students were in my year of 90.

I wasn't very happy there but I think that was perhaps to do with other circumstances than much snobbery or being made to feel second class - that certainly wasn't the case, although I did have entirely secondhand /cobbled together uniform etc.

But I also think times have changed and many people have a worse case of affluenza now than they did when I was at school (80s).

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 14:49:28

God - the boys have 2nd hand uniform unless it is not available. You would be daft to get it at full price the way it is treated. After a couple of weeks I defy anyone to remember which was brand new and which was 2nd hand!

I think the other thing to remember is that a fair number of parents in private schools are first time buyers so perhaps they may be comfortably off but their parents or grandparents weren't. Our DC go to a prep school but DH's family in N Africa only got running water less than 10 years ago and my grandad worked in the coalfields.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 17:48:29


Thank you so much for your honest responses and they have put to rest some of the fears I had.
We can't afford one of the schools we were looking at, the one for which I was asking the questions about really. It is also selective academically and I don't think dd would make it tbh, she struggles.
We were also thinking about the future and the talents that our dd possesses and the fact its usually only the rich that can afford such privileged education.
However, we went to an open day recently (sat) where the other school offers 100% bursary which we have fallen in love with for the future.
She almost had her bags packed when we came home, but there's one little thing called an audition she has to pass first. grin
The parents were lovely, there were a few I didn't feel as though I would like to approach but I'm sure you could find that anywhere.
I met one parent who was sooooooo posh and obviously worth millions, she was so lovely and we discussed our dds and them working together maybe in the future.

Thanks to you all for your wonderful and honest responses. I will stop worrying now and que sera grin

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:52:53

Honestly you are worrying about nothing at all. My parents both voted Labour - my DF in particular hates Margaret Thatcher. Blames her for all his ills! I came from a single parent background tbh. Went to a rubbish school and didnt particularly do well education wise. Yet, here I am sending my DS's to some of the best schools in the world.

Yes, I have been lucky, I have made sensible decisions with hindsight. Didnt get married until mid 30's which makes one afford more. I have not taken a career break and both my DH have stable roles.

But do remember that these schools arent there to fund people who cannot afford the fees. They must get people like my DH and myself who blooming well pay the full fees with no help from grandparents etc.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:59:34

Also a small word of warning if I may. 100% bursaries are very hard to find and to win! You really have to be very very academically inclined.

My DS went to a prep school where they had a chap taken from a very run down area of Slough. He was brilliant apparently and he was prepped for Eton. He won a Kings Scholarship but he struggled personality wise. He developed a nervous twitch and didnt have many friends. His parents who I met were like rabbits in headlights although they had clearly pushed and pushed him. Is it Ok if I say he was Asian? Both my DSs have tons of Asian friends and they hold academic achievement in very very high regard. The social side not so much.

So, I guess in life - you cannot have everything. Does anyone remember Ruth Lawrence who went to Oxford at a really young age (along with her father!!). Very strange story and one we would like to repeat with our children (at least I wouldnt!)

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:59:57

Wouldnt (not would!)

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 19:01:50


Many thanks. I do appreciate what you are saying and dd knows she has to work hard and prove she is at the required level, shows promise for a career in music and that she will benefit from intensive study.
Otherwise game over, where the school is concerned and rightly so imo.
She hasn't passed yet but dh has several colleagues who teach their and at other schools who have heard her and said she stands a good chance.
We aren't looking at applying for a while yet though.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 19:06:38

If she has that much of a chance - please go for it. I have a friend who entered her DS for every entry test going even though he was just average academically. He kept failing the tests but she said it didnt matter.

Yes, it does. If you really feel and others feel (we can be quite biased us mums!) there is a good chance then please apply.

And you know what - somehow you find the money. We are high earners, however we still have a mortage and sometimes I dream about a 2nd home somewhere hot but tbh - I dont have the time work wise to take it off so it would be a bit wasted.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 19:36:42

Oh yes, I remember seeing her on the news and thinking she had done really well, didn't hear anything else, what happened to her?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 19:46:09

Thanks again handcream

I seem to remember taking a contrary stance to many of your posts not purposely or vindictively, just differing opinions.
I will try my best to be lovely to you from hence forth. grin
We will have to make some sacrifices as we won't get the full bursary, you need to be broke to get this but we will manage. We will save a lot from the private tuition she has at the moment, so this will help. Second hand uniform will no doubt be required too, but not sure about it yet.
I know pigs might fly, but it could be reasonable who knows?
They have said something about a £50 a half term holding for pocket money, if she ever boards. We are only 45 mins away on train so I'm not as keen as she is on boarding.
Anyway at the very least sept 2015

middleclassonbursary Mon 20-Jan-14 19:50:47

"Whilst these families often have little income they do have the know how and aspiration to apply and get there DC's into these schools.
There is a degree of truth in this, any one can apply for a bursary/place at my DS's school. Their bursary policy is clearly stated on their website, my DS is super bright but he's not unique, but many don't I'm sure for a whole variety of reasons.
OP best of luck with your future school plans as one head once said to me "if you don't ask you won't get".

NearTheWindmill Mon 20-Jan-14 21:13:27

I agree with mintyy. Fully support bursarys for those on low incomes where both parents work or where only one parent can work sdue to disability. I do not expect to subsidise people who are able to work but chose not to. If those people want private schools they can work and make some contribution if they can't pay the whole whack. No way am I prepared to subsidise those who chose to stay at home.

middleclassonbursary Mon 20-Jan-14 21:19:00

NearTheWindMill in my now very extensive experience of bursaries if your children are older than primary school age both parents are expected to work unless they have health problems or are caring for an older disabled child or increasingly common an elderly relative.

middleclassonbursary Mon 20-Jan-14 21:23:53

I'm curious NearTheWindMill are you subsidising those on bursaries? At my DS's school current parents are not subsidising children on bursaries of which there are currently about 15%, the average being 60% of £34k PA, consisting non scholars and scholars (a scholarship has no financial reward it is a status reward only). The money is not being raised from fees.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 21:28:36


If neither of you work you receive the full bursary, free school uniform and free travel if you live further than 3 miles away.
My dh does work but has a low income.
The school is open to all irrespective of income, a place is gained on merit alone. Fees are either 23k or 30k.
I personally think this is fantastic and shows that its not how much money you have, you can't buy yourself in.

NearTheWindmill Mon 20-Jan-14 21:38:03

The school cannot be open to all. It is open to a mojority who can pay and a minority who can't. I stand corrected if full fee payers aren't subsidising - I'll look into where the money comes from at my children's schools. It has to come from somewhere. And I hope those on bursaries would agree that they should be contributing as much as possible even if that means bioth parents are working wherever possible. Enough parents on full fees do it because they both work - if parents on bursaries can both work then they should want to and if they don't the bursary should nbe reduced so they have to. This is beginning to sound like the something for nothing brigade. If you want privilege for your children you should pay for it wherever you can.

I think the bursary position might be slightly different for your DD if she is going to a specialist music/arts school (you mentioned an audition). I think they may have different sources of funding to the conventional school bursary pot.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-Jan-14 23:08:18


Yes, it is drama and music awards. You can earn a whacking 100k+ before you pay the full fees.
I can't remember how many exactly but 90 odd % receive some kind of funding.

I chose not to work to allow dd to follow the career path she chose when she was 2.5. When school became too time consuming and interfered with her goal we allowed her to be H.educated.
I spend many hours ferrying her around and travelling up and down the country, its what we do.
The school is open to all irrespective of background or income.

Which was a God send after not needing to visit the other school which was a bursary/scholarship if mummy and daddy had paid a teacher to pass a few exams.

There are people with money who want something for nothing, believe me. We see them buying houses near nice state schools.

middleclassonbursary Tue 21-Jan-14 06:18:21

NearTheWindmill many PM me for advise about bursaries most are struggling to pay, all are working, contributing as much as possible, I'm sure there are parents who are not making sacrifices, who are not working but these are definitely in the minority.
Our school publishes accounts detailing how the bursary money was raised, donations. I'm sure in some schools full fee paying parents are contributing (in fact I know this happens, a friend who DS attends a very famous and wealthy boarding school was once telling me about a letter detailing the fee increase to raise money for bursary pot) but this in not a for gone conclusion.

wordfactory Tue 21-Jan-14 07:46:44

Most schools are strict about bursaries. Both parents must work, and maximise their income where they are able. They must give an accepotable explanation if this isn't the case. They also have to detail any assests and are expected to sell them where reasonable. I think that's right.

wordfactory Tue 21-Jan-14 07:49:09

Oh and bursaries are not available to pupils whose parents have paid for them to pass a few exams - they go to the most talented!!! Often the bursary kids are absurdly bright.

craggyhollow Tue 21-Jan-14 07:52:44

I have no idea, wouldn't presume to guess whether they are claiming benefits

Depends how you define working class?
Probably none at our senior school

There's a girl with a tiny house and dad works for a plumber and mum doesn't work. Presume they are not rolling in it. Their dd very sweet and clever. My presumption is that age has a scholarship and bursary plus nshe is an only child

However maybe they won the lottery and are keeping it quiet, who knows

She doesn't mix with anyone apart from one other family despite having had tons of invites

She's a lovely kid but parents hugely controlling not that has anything to do with anything really

Grennie Tue 21-Jan-14 07:59:23

Yes truly poor kids don't get into private schools, except in exceptional circumstances. So I once knew a boy who was exceptionally talented musician. He got a 100% bursary because the school actively wanted such an amazingly talented boy as a pupil. But even then the parents still had to come up with travel costs, uniform costs and the costs of extras.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 08:06:44

morethanpotatoprints massive numbers of mothers at my children's school work to pay the fees. You should too so you can contribute towards the cost of your child's private education. If you worked you might have been able to afford a better house. Good for you; many children have to make do with an au-pair to take them to activities.

glammanana Tue 21-Jan-14 08:20:52

Why should it make a difference I know quite a few families would don't qualify for bursaries but find it very difficult to keep up with the extra costs even though they are on good salaries,my two DGSs both won full bursaries to one of the best schools in our area at the time DD was on her own with 4 children and she managed with our help to send them there worth every stressful moment as DGS1 is now 3rd yr law & DGS2 electrical engineer,if your child has the caperbilities it doesn't matter if you are on benefits or not,I know some of the boys who went through school with our boys are unemployable at the moment they live off their parents so what does tell you in the long run only that mummy & daddy have paid out £?k's for what ?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-Jan-14 14:54:12


If I had worked we wouldn't have been able to afford any house after paying an au pair, car and fuel, etc. I don't want or need a better house and don't see your point tbh. Why does it matter whether we can afford the fees or not? We wouldn't get everything free anyway as my dh has an income. We would end up paying a proportion, uniform and travel
do you not agree that the children of very poor parents should receive burseries? The school we are looking at will pay the whole lot if the parents earn under 10k.


That was my point, dc on bursaries have to be very bright imo, those who can afford full fees maybe not so.
I am arguing this point, that if you have an exceptionally gifted ort talented child you should receive bursaries.
Apologies if I didn't make this clear.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 21:09:32

Yes but if you worked you would pay a bigger proportion and pay more of your way. It would be less entitled and I'm afraid if by working I had to subsidize you less that would please me. If you have the intellect to home ed you presumably have the intellect to earn at least 25-30k?

I have checked now and my DC's schools do use fees to subsidise bursaries. I for one don't expect my money to allow other mothers the luxury of staying at home.

The biggest lesson you are teaching your dd, imo, is to take rather than give.

craggyhollow Tue 21-Jan-14 21:15:32

30k?? What planet do you live on??

I live in rural England and to have any chance of earning 30k I'd have to commute to the nearest city

After petrol, tax and childcare I'd have feck all left, let alone enough to pay school fees

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 21:21:27

Depends on the age of the children I think and often feck all in the short-term is worth it in the long term. If I can earn 50k in the public sector, not having gone to uni I'm quite sure someone brilliant enough to home ed can earn an average salary of between 25-30k tbh.

craggyhollow Tue 21-Jan-14 21:24:16

Where do you live?

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 21-Jan-14 21:31:00

Near - doing what?
I've got two good degrees but struggling as a teacher and can't see how on earth is earn that much!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-Jan-14 21:36:09

I think the biggest lesson our dc have learned is money doesn't buy you happiness and material possessions aren't important.

My dd belongs to an organisation where some of the children attend the first school I was talking about, some of their parents have the same attitude as you when we came to discussing the particular school.

We decided against it anyway, it didn't come up to the standard we would expect and in the words of dd "I'm not going there they have stripy uniforms and daft hats"

She is still very interested in the other school we visited on Saturday and wants to attend one day. I am glad the parents there including some very rich ones were warm friendly and sociable.


We live in the NW in Lancashire. The fees are 23k for day pupils and 30k to board. It is this planet, honestly.

craggyhollow Tue 21-Jan-14 21:41:11

Yes I know I privately educate my kids.

And I work as a matter of fact

But I hate the sneery attitude from high earners about subsidising SAHMS

I live very rurally and it is just not easy for anyone to get jobs, let alone 50k jobs
And it must be nice to be there for your kids and go to matches etc

loveroflife Tue 21-Jan-14 21:54:44

NearTheWindmill - not sure if it's intentional but you're coming across as rather right wing and begrudging of those that have/are entitled to bursaries.

A lot of private schools are charities, they absolutely should be giving places to those that are unable to attend because of financial circumstances.

We're all subsiding each other in life in one way or another and I just can't bear that ghastly assumption of 'I'm paying for everyone else'.

I find your assumption to the OP that "The biggest lesson you are teaching your dd, imo, is to take rather than give" pretty offensive actually.

Let's say the OP's daughter went to private school on a full bursary and turned out to be for e.g a wonderful surgeon that operated on you and saved your life, would you still begrudge her a place then?

Or a teacher that inspired and nurtured YOUR children? Have a little compassion and generosity.

OP - if you want a place and are entitled to it - go for it. Best of luck.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 21:57:29

Yes it would be nice to be at home with one's children but I don't expect anybody to subsidise me to do so.

I live in london, zone 3, a 25 minute walk from my home so not a london salary except for the 3k LW. Salaries for my role (Snr H R Manager) are the same country wide except for the LW.

My DC attend extremely selective London day Schools - think top 3 for boys, top 20 for girls. Money doesn't buy them in, only ability does. The boys who left my son's school at 13 left for Eton. Winchester and Sevenoaks.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 22:00:41

I quite agree the child is entitled to the place - I just don't think the parent is entititled to a large bursary whilst not being prepared to work to contribute.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 22:02:27

And I am well aware that private schools are charities.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-Jan-14 22:03:01


I would have had a job if we had ever have made a slight profit from me working. When we had the 3 dc (2 are grown up now) the childcare alone would have been more than one of our incomes. When we were first together with the older ones little, wraparound care didn't exist.
I do enjoy being a sahm and H.ed dd, but so many people think if you live like this you are a bad person.
The school in question as I said up thread has 90 odd % receiving bursaries and fees are charged on a sliding scale. Their ethos is providing a specialist education irrespective of family income.
I think if we didn't have schools like this the sports, entertainment, art, music industries would be considered only for the elite.

NearTheWindmill Tue 21-Jan-14 22:06:55

If 90% are being subsidised where does the money come from then? Presumably the school can't be entirely independent with charitable status benefitting a minority then ??

loveroflife Tue 21-Jan-14 22:18:01

unless you are caring for children (siblings) who are not in school yet or a family member with a disability, it is unlikely that a school would give a bursary to a parent that chooses to be a SAHM when the children are of school age so the argument about subsidising SAHM's is not valid.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-Jan-14 22:28:45


I have no idea. It was on the banner when we visited on Saturday.
It has charitable status and also everyone who goes is entitled to a drama music award, amount depending on income.
So you could look at it another way. If I did work and we had an extra 30k income and that was being spent on the au pair you suggested and the relevant costs of working, we wouldn't be able to afford the fees.
We would be assessed on this extra income but we wouldn't have the money as it would be paying working costs.

I started this thread because I couldn't believe that many shared the opinion of the people I had met in rl, but you have proved me wrong.

I would like to thank those that have been supportive and bothered to try to understand.

middleclassonbursary Tue 21-Jan-14 22:51:24

Morethan take no notice of those who criticise you.
NearTheWindmill many specialist schools which is what the OP seems to be talking about e.g. ballet, music ect subsidise a large number of their pupils. I know the the government makes a contribution to the a Royal Ballet School.

craggyhollow Tue 21-Jan-14 23:30:01

Near than

I earn considerably more than you

Thank god I am not as smug

I am sure you are lovely in real life but your post makes you sound rather chippy

summerends Wed 22-Jan-14 06:10:40

Morethan, looking at if from a different point of view, if your daughter was boarding to go to this specialist school and you could find flexible-time term-time work voluntary or paid would you not want to?
Obviously, in those circumstances, if any extra money one earned could be put directly into the same charity fund that pays bursaries for this school, that would make it all much more straightforward!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jan-14 11:28:08


I help my dh in the business whilst I'm around and have done voluntary work in the past when dc were in school.
If we had a higher income due to me working, we would be assessed on the higher income, the fees would be higher and we would be less likely to be able to afford the higher fees, obviously depending on the figures.
I wouldn't be against looking into and trying to find work if dd was at school. Likewise, I would be willing to seek voluntary work again.

Buggedoff Wed 22-Jan-14 11:49:27

I know someone poor who sent her son to an independent school. She was a single mum in a council flat. She did a bit of off the books childminding to help cover uniform costs, but was essentially unemployed. Dad lived overseas and did not help with anything. Her son went to a naice primary school, and the head teacher told the mum about how to go about getting him into the indie secondary. It did rather lock her into staying on benefits though. Had she got a job, it would not have covered the fees, because she would have to cover rent etc. This would mean her son losing his place at school.

This was a good few years ago though. Her son would be in his mid twenties now, and he was one of the last children to get an assisted place.

Another friend's dd has just got a place at my dd's school. She has her full fees paid, plus uniform. Her parents run a fastfood restaurant, and the children do their homework in the back of the restaurant. They are not rich, but not needing the foodbank either.

Usually to get a fully paid up place at a school your child needs to be clever. Really clever. So their smartness is going to be one of the first things that other children notice about them. My dd has a paid place at an indie. She has never been on ski trips etc. Nor have many of her friends. We don't see the need, although we could stretch for it. She has been on a few PGL type trips, but I think these are similar to the kind she did in her state primary.

summerends Wed 22-Jan-14 11:50:32

So NearTheWindmill from that it is clear that morethan would want to work or contribute to wider society if costs were balanced and her DD was at school but understandably not want to fall foul of income thresholds that would penalise her DD from being able to attend this school.

I'm a sahm except my youngest started school in September. I have two at prep and there is no way we can afford for me to work. Today for example one needs to be picked up at one time, the other has matches so finishes a bit later. Of course the younger two finish earlier as are at state.
This would be doable I guess with a nanny or an au pair but if I got a job it would be minimum wage and quite likely shift work. It just wouldn't be financially viable. The school assesses who they want to give bursaries to. They have the information so if they deem it ok that I stay at home then I am fine with that.
Most of the other parents at their school would be a little hypocritical to complain anyway as there is a lot of inherited wealth and property (and titles)

middleclassonbursary Wed 22-Jan-14 20:06:54

I only ever worked part time till my DS's were secondary age. Most boarding preps have 18 weeks holiday a year few employees will wear this.
By the time they were secondary age but still at prep I increased my hours but again not to full time I was personally uncomfortable about leaving a couple of 11/12 year olds unsupervised for ten hours a day with the nearest responsible adult 3 miles away; we live in the countryside so are rather isolated.
Bursars are human if your applying for a bursary questions can and will be asked but no bursar wants you to compromise your DC's safety, or for that matter starve, not pay essential bills or go out to work to earn money only to have to spend it all on childcare.
The bursar at our prep even budgeted in very cheap family holiday a year inessential expenditure. Your not meant to be killing yourself paying the fees.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jan-14 20:18:31

Some of these schools, including this one, openly state they are for children who wouldn't normally have the opportunity, hence up to 100% bursaries.
I think this applies to several situations and why the threshold is set so high before a parent has to pay full fees.
It is a very small school that only attracts a minority due to the entrance standard, there are fewer than 300 in the whole school. We are not looking at thousands of parents applying, receiving places and gaining huge bursaries.
I have considered finding some voluntary work, maybe even the school library or support work within the school as a starting point. There seems to be many small and large businesses in the area that may have small pt work available, which would help with the transport problem too, if she gained a place.

summerends Wed 22-Jan-14 21:29:30

I know that bursary calculations vary but I was told that in at least some schools they would take account of major outgoings such as rent / mortgage, other bills, even fees for other private schools! If that is true the calculation should be based on real income and there would not be the problems of earning threshold.

AmberLeaf Wed 22-Jan-14 21:47:36

No personal experience, but my Mum went to public school on a full scholarship that she got because she was very bright.

She was a boarder and absolutely hated it.

AmberLeaf Wed 22-Jan-14 21:48:23

oh and she was poor and from the east end of London.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jan-14 21:59:45


I haven't spoken to the bursar yet but have read the general section of fees and the FAQ section.
It is purely income and no account is taken for mortgage or fees for other children.
I think it is done to make it fair for all. If you are a high earner I suppose they think you are likely to have higher outgoings, so you can earn a lot before you pay the full fees.
They do include all income not just earned, things like interest, bonus, unearned income, dividends if you are in business etc.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jan-14 22:18:24


Hello again.

I thought I'd check out the exact amount, and unless tour income is 190k you don't pay full fees. No wonder so many receive bursaries. grin. From what people have said on this thread I'm beginning to realise that this school is unique and dissimilar to many other fee paying schools.
Having never been in this position before and having no one in our family ever attend a private/or selective/ school I was totally unaware how most operated. I feel like I have learned a lot.
I am looking forward to some freedom if she attends and wasn't trying to appease you with my answer. I am looking forward to some voluntary work or very low paid job grin

summerends Wed 22-Jan-14 22:27:31

morethan that's interesting, it is a well supported school!
Workwise, I was thinking that if she was your last child you might welcome keeping busy whilst she was away boarding. The difference an extra salary makes to income thresholds would however obviously have to be taken into account for this school.

middleclassonbursary Wed 22-Jan-14 23:30:20

summer of course bursars take into account major outgoing e.g. mortgage rent etc. providing the cost is reasonable, so for example they are happy for you to rent/pay the mortgage on an average house, ours has three bedrooms but not a 15 bedroomed pile, drive a reliable safe car but obviously not a brand new Aston and also pay into a pension scheme life insurance etc providing its a reasonable and yes some take other children's fees into consideration.
In my now long and extensive experience of bursaries they don't expect parens or children to walk around in sack cloth and ashes live on Value baked beans and drive a death trap. Bursaries are just number crunching excersise, at my DS's school they do the following, you earn X and to function and survive pay out Y leaving Z, we ask you to contribute a % of Z, for assets you contribute 10% of their value towards the fees, even if its not realisable, so if you have 50k you will have to contribute 5k to the annual school fee bill.
The problem arises when the school having done the maths simply doesn't have enough money in the pot to offer you the reduction the sums indicate would be enough to enable you to send your DC to the school. We're just lucky my DS's boarding school which is super selective offers substantial bursaries to scholars and non scholars and the bursary pot is generous and therefore bursary generous.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jan-14 23:46:15


I know you are familiar with bursaries and I could be wrong, but it does clearly state that property is not taken into consideration or mortgage, fees paid for other children. They don't seem to be interested in your out goings but as I said up thread they are interested in every penny the household earns, any profit made etc. They don't take into account assets I believe, but could be wrong here, I must check.
I am only just becoming familiar with it myself and don't know much as we didn't see the bursar. I thought we'd wait until nearer the time we were considering applying.
If the thread diminishes soon I will pm you and let you know as you have been kind enough to offer support and your knowledge

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 00:08:17

I think that very badly off parents can have a real advantage in applying for bursaries. A private school near us says in its publicity that it offers up to 100% bursaries. But if you apply for a bursary they ask what equity you have in your house (if you own one), and a vast number of other detailed financial questions. You then get offered a bursary that doesn't enable you to send your child to the school unless you completely change your way of life - eg move to as small a house as possible, next to the school so you don't have to pay for DC's bus fare, never go on holidays, etc etc. Unless you are prepared to sacrifice everything you have to enable your DC to go to the school, it is not an option. However, if you don't own your house, are on income support and housing benefit, etc, then you may actually get a 100% bursary and you can accept it without putting yourself into abject poverty, as you are in abject poverty already.
I gather that there are many very poor children at Christ's Hospital, for this kind of reason.

AmberLeaf Thu 23-Jan-14 01:07:12

Dromedary my Mum went to Christs hospital, the one in Hertfordshire.

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 07:18:10

House value taken into account here

Plus other parents dobbing in bursary parents who suddenly turn up with new car and skis wink

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 07:33:37

morethan every school is different as you are applying to a specialist school where funding is likely to come from an external body like the Art Council then different rules are perhaps being used but most independent schools look at assets, mortgage/rent, etc. otherwise you could have 1000 000 in assets and why should you receive financial help? A friend applied to CH they had a 2 nd home (in London) with a very small mortgage on it their application was turned down and they were told to sell the house end use this to pay the fees. I know of someone else who applied for a bursary having recently purchased a 13 bedroomed house and the size of the mortgage meant they couldn't afford the fees, the school (a very famous boarding school) told then to downsize to an average house reduce their mortgage repayments and then come back to them if it was still a struggle, one bursar told me he looks at the cars people drive, turn up in a brand new Range Rover and he's going to be asking lots of questions, home visits are also done by many schools to check that your are living in an average house (although with google maps I'm not sure why), and we have a whole page on our annual application forms about costs of other children including a specific question about school fees. This is IMO fair. Dromedary we don't live in the smallest possible house! Next to the school, we have one holiday a year, and have what most would say is a good income. We do complete an extensive form every year but as we get a substantial reduction I think this is fair too.

Grennie Thu 23-Jan-14 07:34:34

When I was 4 my very poor parents looked at applying for scholarships for me in the closest private schools 12 miles away. They didn't as they wouldn't have been able to afford the daily bus fares. Private schools tend to be a fair distance from poor areas and without a car, public transport is very expensive.

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 07:58:40

My DS boards so transport to school is not an issue but on our bursary application form there is space for "other expenses" and I know that some schools who are very committed to widening access will pay for transport, trips, uniform etc.
Grennie it's all about the size of the bursary pot, if you sit most bursary down I'm sure they would say they would like to be more generous, and cover the costs transport uniform etc but the reality is that they just don't have enough money in their bursary pots and many I suspect take the view that they'd rather give smaller reductions to three than a 100% reduction to 1.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 09:56:32

How much is a certain private school worth to a parent? Eg parent 1 earns £100K net pa. Feels it is clearly worth spending £15K on school fees as there is loads left over for other things.
Parent 2 earns £50K pa. Can afford the fees quite easily, but is starting to question whether the private school education is worth that much.
Parent 3 earns £30K pa. Could get by while paying the school fees, but it would be a constant struggle and nothing could be put by for university fees. Probably decides not worth it.
Parent 4 earns £20K pa. Is offered a 50% bursary. This would leave the family constantly struggling. Probably decides not worth it.
Parent 4 is unemployed and on benefits. Cannot afford any fees. The child is offered a full bursary. This is a win only situation, bursary grabbed with both hands.

The parent who is so poor that their child qualifies for a full bursary is in the simplest, most attractive (as far as school choices are concerned) position. Their bright child will go to private school, whereas someone on a modest income with the offer of a part bursary is much more likely to turn it down.

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:09:53

Parent 3 earns £30K pa. Could get by while paying the school fees, but it would be a constant struggle and nothing could be put by for university fees. Probably decides not worth it.

I'd be surprised anyone could afford full school fees on 30k pa btw
or even 50k really

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:11:26

Dromedary I can see you point and you right it's about choices we would obviously -be lying in a beach in the Seychelles three times a year-- much better of if we sent our DS's to one of our many excellent state options but it is all about choice. We wish for our DS to have all the opportunities and experiences he currently gets and are prepared to pay for it we just can't stretch to 33K + a year.

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:11:53

maybe if you had ONE child

I'd be amazed anyone thought it would be worth the hassle at 30k

You'd have to have a tiny mortgage and eat beans every night (literally)

Norudeshitrequired Thu 23-Jan-14 10:12:12

Dromedary - most schools do an annual review of bursaries, so parent 4 would have to remain on benefits in order to qualify for a full bursary each year. With benefit rules and back to work schemes it is likely that parent 4 will be in employment sooner or later and will therefore have to contribute towards school fees. I think your idea that parent 4 is grabby and in a better position than the others is unfair. Do you have a problem with bursaries? Do you think a child should be denied a place solely because their parents are unfortunate enough to be unemployed at the time of application to the school?

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:12:45

We send two
Earn considerable more than 30k pa

Still counting the pennies at the end of each month

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:12:51

Try again we would be lying on a beach in the Seychelles three times a year much better off....

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:15:11

We'd have a bigger house
better cars
nice clothes
holidays - just holidays not necessarily the Seychelles
less financial worry

constnatly asking myself why the hell we do it to be honest and then one of them comes home so pleased with school and themselves or something they've done/won/written and it all seems worth it


middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:16:29

The tragedy is that more people on benefits etc. don't get help. But I can see that many bursar/school governors take the view it's better to fund three children than 1 the system will never be perfect.

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:20:43

Craggy we've grappled with this for over 10 years and in retrospect there have definitely been times when it definitely wasn't worth it. Currently I believe it's worth every penny after all it's not forever. We'll have done 12 years on a bursary by the end, over 200k spent!

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:23:10

we dont get a bursary because we own the property that our business is in

not that we could sell it anyway so we are stuffed really

If I could do it again I wouldnt bother with prep and would do state until year 7

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 10:26:44

I agree that the fees alone are 30k for boarding and 23k for day, so the 30k and 50k earners couldn't afford full fees.

I do agree though if parents are unemployed and on benefits they receive a full bursary, uniform, travel and other subsidies.

Then fees are paid on a sliding scale after this. So the next income level will only have to pay a small percentage, and on it goes.

It is a mine field and short of sending all our details to the bursar, I'm not sure how we will know whether we can afford fees or not. In our case its not straight forward as dh has a LTD company, so will need to find which figures/boxes on the tax return they need.

It will be too bad if after all this we have to tell dd we can't afford it anyway, she'd be heart broken. I'm not too confident at the moment grin

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:32:25

yes you do have to send ALL details to bursar

we never bothered as we knew we'd never get one but they want to know EVERYTHING

Which is as it should be

I have never met a school which has such an organised approach to bursaries they are all clouded in mystery in our local indies

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:35:29

It's the prep bit that I'm dissatisfied but my DS moved to senior school at 13+ with a pre test and interview at 11+ so it would have been more complicated to state ed him and we wanted boarding from day 1. I suppose my dissatisfaction is really with the individual prep school

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:37:36

yeah mines rubbish

but dd2 can go to indie girls school in year 7 and flexi board thank god

dd3 is staying at state primary

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:42:58

At my DS's school you can apply to the bursar even before your DS sits the pre test and I think even before registering to get a ball park figure for what might be offered although of course it's not guaranteed. We did this, answered all the questions on the very long form, easy when the answer is zero, but didn't submit accompanying paper work (P45 etc) as it wasn't necessary as it wasn't an official offer and got a ball park figure within two weeks. The idea is that you can then decide if you wish to proceed with the application. morethan this is unusual but you can still talk to the bursar and get a feel for one what they offer, ask about others in similar situations to you, and two whether the pot is unlimited etc.

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 10:43:46

I'm very disillusioned with prep schools!

craggyhollow Thu 23-Jan-14 10:46:07

me too

dd went to look at two others (both very highly regarded) and didn't like either

tbh she's keen to go to a senior school in year 7, theres a great one near us non selective and sporty but with fab results so that's where she'll go rather than bothering with 7 and 8 at Crap Prep

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 11:03:03

I have nothing against a parent subsisting solely on benefits qualifying for a 100% bursary for their child. Otherwise it would be impossible for their child to attend the school. I'm just saying that it is much more straightforward to decide to accept a bursary if it means that your financial circumstances are completely unaffected, than if it means that you have to pay every spare penny you have in school fees for say 7 years, thus vastly reducing your living standards as well as your ability to save anything at all towards university. It is a very different decision.
My DC has a high scholarship rather than a bursary. We didn't have to fill in any paperwork. But I strongly suspect that the size of the scholarship was influenced by how poorly dressed I was on the day of the interview! Although it is a high scholarship, I am always aware of how difficult it is to pay the excess, and the temptation of free state school is in the back of my mind.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 23-Jan-14 11:28:55

It's surely impossible for most children to attend a private school? Or at least incredibly difficult, or there wouldn't be over 90% in state.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 11:46:11

I think that most state school parents haven't caught on to the possibility of scholarships and bursaries, or they have caught on but are not prepared to pay the % of fees that would be required of them after the grant of a scholarship and/or bursary, or are not prepared to go through the hoops required to obtain one (with the risk of not obtaining one). And there are plenty of people surely who are happy with state and have no particular interest in private? Some people are actively against private.
Obviously, if more people applied, it would be harder to obtain assistance with the fees than it is currently.

I was speaking to the school a bit ago about the forms for reapplying for our bursaries (formality) and he mentioned that people just don't apply for them, especially from the poorest backgrounds. The people who do tend to are people like us. We're not wealthy but my dh is prep/public school educated so has some knowledge of the system. It seems people just assume that it's not for them so don't bother applying.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 23-Jan-14 11:53:17

Although it is probably much easier for parents on benefits to accept a place knowing that they don't have to worry about top up fees I think you will find that not many families surviving on unemployment benefits long term apply for bursaries in the first instance. It isn't just the fee issues there are other concerns such as fitting in with a more affluent crowd, being able to afford school trips to far away destinations and just a feeling that private school isn't for people like them. This isn't my personal stereotype, it's just a feeling that I get and things that I have heard in the past. I think a family who are temporarily unemployed might be more inclined to apply for a bursary than a family who is long term unemployed.

vixsatis Thu 23-Jan-14 12:13:06

My son is at an expensive boarding prep.

There are families with next to no money with boys at the school and siblings at expensive public schools, all on full bursaries. The children with these bursaries are invariably very clever.

Whilst as poor as church mice, these families are all very middle class and educated. They have both the educational aspiration to have their children in these schools and the self-confidence to navigate the process. Families nearer the bottom of the social heap are less likely to do so, so they don't apply.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 12:20:33

As with many things, it is the educated middle classes who catch on to the opportunities and take advantage of them.
My child doesn't go on school trips abroad, although the school is good at choosing trips that are not hugely expensive. She also wears second hand uniform. It's no big deal. It might be more of an issue at a really posh school though. I'd have thought that a bursary child who can go on expensive school trips abroad is probably on too high a bursary - it's not a core part of the education.
I do think it's a shame that bursaries seem to be snapped up by fairly wealthy parents, often with children who have been to prep school. A lot of schools limit their bursaries to eg 50% of the school fees. Many people simply can't afford that, so the bursary system is subsidising the relatively wealthy.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 23-Jan-14 12:41:31

I do think it's a shame that bursaries seem to be snapped up by fairly wealthy parents,

That depends on your definition of wealthy. A prep school near me that offers bursaries sets it's cut off point for bursaries at household income of£25k. I don't think a family with a household income of 25k can be considered fairly wealthy (the full fees are £6500 pa),
Local senior independent school sets it's household income limit at £44k. It's full fees are £11k pa, only families earning less than £22k are considered for a full bursary.
Based on those figures I can't see that fairly wealthy families are snapping up the bursaries.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 13:00:43


I think you are completely right regarding state school parents not knowing about opportunities.
My dds best friend is really bright and would pass an 11+ with really good results. Her mother and step father are both members of Mensa and yet coming from a working class background have never been told of opportunities neither in their past education or their daughters.
I'm not suggesting this is the same for all WC parents, but seems to be consistent.
I'm sure they exist somewhere but I haven't come across state primaries that inform parents of opportunities for bursaries, scholarships or entering private education for secondary.
Preparation is also down to parents, which is fair enough if they are going to another sector, but how do parents ever find out.
There is also the attitude of its not for us, which I have experienced a lot. Such a shame when it would provide future mobility for the bright child.
I suppose we are fortunate that dd isn't that bright and her talents are elsewhere, it helped us to see the type of education that would suit her. Other parents aren't as fortunate not in terms of income, but knowledge.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 23-Jan-14 16:22:48

Schools aften don't advertise on their website either.

Im ex oxbridge but very low income post husbands redundancy, and know others in similar situations. We wouldn't be able to top up fees, buy expensive uniform, trips or anything similar.

I think its highly unlikely they're giving out full bursarys left right and centre. And wed have to be able to afford petrol and time to drive to get her to one.

There's lots of bright children in state ed. Id love my daughter to have the experience of sport and extra curricilar of a private school, and good music and drama but can't see us affording it.

middleclassonbursary Thu 23-Jan-14 17:01:48

My DS's schools clearly states on it's website that they wish to broaden access therefore bursaries are available. Why don't more on benefits apply? It's full boarding only so that put parents off, it's super selective, that puts parents off, it starts at 13+ not all that convent for those in the state sector, the 85% not on bursaries are basically very wealthy and very posh another put off.
As already said it's likely that most on bursaries are the well educated upper middle classes and often privately educated. At my DS's school culture; art, music and drama are very big and carry a lot of weight in the curriculum I suspect those applying for bursaries very much value these things, high priority is also given intellectualism, and the boys are encouraged to be very intellectual both are integral to school daily life but also as importantly for parents it's non examined, where as sport is a lower priority again not everyone's cup of tea.
So I suspect it becomes self selecting.

SpecialistSubject Thu 23-Jan-14 17:06:17

Regarding Dromedary's categories of parents it might be helpful to know that bursary application forms are quite likely to mention the "economic benefit to the family" of a child being awarded a bursary. This is certainly the case with some boarding schools.

So consider Category 5, the family with only benefit income. A truly charitable school, that wants to engender success from the widest possible range of people, may conclude that the category 5 child needs the chance more, because they have fewer other opportunities to improve their lot and possibly face a grimmer future if they can't take full advantage of their braininess or other talents.

The category 4 and above families may well struggle to pay fees - but they might more easily be able to supplement the child's education in other ways.

Does that make sense?

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 19:32:27


Yes, totally agree.
If you can remember back to my first posts we were interested in 2 schools to begin with. The first school was exactly how you describe especially the culture, this is what interested us.
We would never have fit in at this school because everybody was so rich and some of the parents are really not welcoming, we found this at an organisation dd is involved with, where some of these children attend.
It is exactly as you say, we were totally put off applying.
I am not suggesting that all the parents were snobby and unfriendly or that this is typical of this type of school as I have no experience really, but this is what we found on this occasion.
The school we will apply to now is the total opposite and whilst no testing or selection academically it is very selective musically.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 19:46:28

Children who are high achieving musically tend to be middle class. Supporting a child with music (by which I really mean classical music) takes time, money, research into opportunities, etc. I doubt that you will find many working class children applying for music scholarships. Sport may be a bit different, though we're a long way from the US culture of poor boys being taken through college because of their basketball skills!

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 21:16:44


I couldn't disagree with you more tbh. If you are talking about playing 3 tunes and passing an exam, yes maybe. However, the most talented children I have come across don't need supporting much, apart from taking to groups, choirs, orchestras and ensembles.
Real talent is innate it can't be bought with money grin
Maybe they don't apply for scholarships as much, but the most prestigious school in the country doesn't look for grades passed but attitude and potential.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 21:18:47

whoops sorry, the ability to pay is not important neither.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 22:09:16

When I said that supporting children to do well in classical music meant spending a lot of time, taking them to groups, choirs, orchestras and ensembles (lessons, concerts that they are performing in, music courses etc etc) is exactly what I meant. It varies from county to county, but where we live there are no county run music groups and the schools do very little, if you want your child to join an orchestra or go on a music course, it is very expensive and means a lot of transporting them around. Lessons are unsubsidised and are very expensive. And the parent has to find the opportunities - orchestras, good teachers (very hard to find), holiday courses etc. If they get into a national orchestra there is an enormous amount of travelling. Instruments are expensive, and have to be traded up as the child progresses. The child has to be allowed the time and the space to practise for a long time every day. Music is highly competitive and requires much more than just natural talent, and children who don't get this kind of support don't have much of a chance. It may well be different for eg pop music. I very much doubt that a school such as Chetham's auditions many children who have picked up a clarinet in a junk shop and taught themselves.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 22:59:48


My apologies, our music service is very good and everything is free or very reasonable. All the children are given the opportunity and the groups are all pretty central and if parents aren't able/willing to take them they would be able to get there themselves unless they were too young.
Lessons are subsidised for those entitled to fsm and there are instrument schemes for rent or cheap to buy.
I guess all LAs are different.
I don't think that the support is confined to the middle classes though, otherwise schools such as Chets and the other schools of music, drama and dance that offer these bursaries wouldn't profess that nearly all their students received burseries. They would have enough students paying full fees without the need to offer them.
I would have agreed with you in the past, but over the last twenty years there has been a turn around and more working class families are seeking opportunities.

Dromedary Thu 23-Jan-14 23:14:03

Yes, I think our county is very probably the worst in the country for children's instrumental groups.
The music schools run a government funded bursary scheme. Of course these schools are only for the most able children, who have a real chance at a professional career, so very much for a small minority only. There is some level of bursary for middle earning parents, with higher bursaries for low earners.

Stressedbutblessed Fri 24-Jan-14 01:42:56

Sorry to jump into this but it's been a fascinating thread! My 2p is I was singled out by my junior school for scholarships for 2 super selective schools. My very WC parents refused to allow me to try as " it's not for our us- you would start believing you are better than us etc etc etc" school HM visited my home to try and persuade parents and reassure them but they were firmly not allowing me to try. ( father later beat me for embarrassing him).
Allowed to go to selective Grammar which was fantastic as it opened my eyes to opportunity. But lived everyday with my Father calling me lady muck for going to a posh school. Had second hand everything and crap stationary etc so it was obvious we were poor & As you can imagine no school friends came home as my parents wouldn't allow it.
But the fantastic thing was whilst in school no-one cared or even asked.

Grammar school wanted me to sit scholarship exams for A levels at super selective school but parents again refused. I sat them anyway as by this time I could see the way out of poverty was education.
I was accepted and my father told me if I went I couldn't come home as it was time I was bringing in some money. I went anyway and haven't ever looked back!
There were 2 of us on full bursaries.
There will always be families richer and poorer than yourself but in my humble opinion your concern should only focus on being the best that you can be whist facilitating and instilling the same ethos in your children.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 24-Jan-14 22:43:45


shock you poor love, what an awful story and what motivation you must have had to see it through when the person who should have supported you would deny you choices.
I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you and so glad you came through and have thrived.
I won't forget your story and thank you for sharing.
There was a certain amount of not getting beyond your station when I was growing up, but not from parents it was more a societal class system.
I am so glad that things are improving but it isn't quite there yet.
There is a lot in the state system for widening participation and a lot in the private sector for improving access, if only the latter was a natural progression and encouraged from the former, we would be genuinely getting somewhere.
We need to tell those who would benefit, not rely on their parents to inform them, quite often they don't know themselves.

Stressedbutblessed Sat 25-Jan-14 00:33:16

OP- I am sure had at least one of my parents understood the education system then maybe I wouldn't have had to fight so hard. I was extremely lucky to have very supportive teachers otherwise I would not be where I am today.
My parents certainly had no clue about selective v state, feeder schools or even how to get to university.
I believe there are still children today that are in the same situation as I was. That is why I believe you may not find many near breadliners at selective schools unless they are educated breadliners who will scrimp and save to provide the best education they can afford.
( and this is why I passionately believe state Grammar schools need to be re introduced and university grants not loans re-instated to provide opportunity and motivation for breadline students)
At true breadline selective schooling isn't a parental priority and there is inverted snobbery, there was no chance my parents would mix probably because we had no car and my Mother rarely had new clothes and holidays were only every other year as my Father couldn't take time off - to a caravan in Devonsmile
My father worked hard and insisted we lived within our means and didn't allow my mother to work so we had very little and this ultimately gave me the motivation to succeed.
In 6 years they attended no school functions but at least they did attend parents evening ( but didn't attend my uni graduation).
Hence stressed but blessed smile

Svina Sat 25-Jan-14 01:11:40

Interested in what dromedary says about classical music education being for middle class children. I think I agree. Don't underestimate how tough it can be for parents to do all that fetching and carrying. To agree to do in in the first place, and then to stick it for years. There are some wonderful schemes modelled on el sistema where children get all the instrumental, musicianship and ensemble delivered in school, which is fantastic for the children who get that opportunity.

My children are fortunate, and have a fantastic music education. But the fact that I have to take them after work, when I have poor health and no car makes it really exhausting.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 25-Jan-14 06:52:24

Wow, no music system like that here morethan. Ive looked. First thing our children can do is lessons in school at 8, no choice of teacher, and it costs lots.

We are no longer on fsm as husband is working but very low income. Without being on fsm we aren't entitled to any help. We simply cant afford it.

There's a lovely orchestra that plays for children every few months near here we used to go to. We now can't afford it.

I would desperately like my children to get a musical education but can't see that we can.

So I agree its for the middle classes, or at least for those on a decent income. We're middle class but poor, and really struggling to supplement the children's education in the way we would like with music, theatre and after school activities.

Dromedary Sat 25-Jan-14 20:29:45

Goodness - if you do some research you may find that you can find free or cheap musical activities for your children. Even where we live, where the County cut all its music groups a while back, there are ways round the problem, to some degree, if you work at it and are flexible.
I'd suggest:
1) check what county subsidised music groups are available (if any). Also group lessons - makes learning cheaper.
2) check what local choirs accept children - you may find that there is a free choir near you. Singing in a choir is a good way for a child to get started with music, as they don't need to have singing lessons before starting in a choir. School choir is better than nothing.
3) check whether there is any local brass band that has a children's section. These vary, but some lend instruments and provide free teaching. If they charge, it is likely to be cheap (as run by volunteers not to make money)
4) check what other music groups are available - the odd one may be cheap or even free if run by volunteers
5) you could consider setting up a children's music group run by parents and doing everything as cheaply as possible
6)check out the local amateur operatic groups, and let your children audition for anything suitable. Being in a show can mean masses of fun rehearsals for months on end, building up to performing in public. And doesn't cost anything.
Keeping your eyes open makes all the difference. Eg an instrumental course has been advertised to us for my DC - it costs £70 per day. I have subsequently found out about a similar course, run on a volunteer basis rather than profit-making, and it costs £12.50 per day. We also manage to go to quite a few free concerts and music festival events. Not specifically aimed at children, but still worth going to. Again, you have to keep your eyes open for this kind of thing, and be prepared to give things a go. My DCs are frequently the only children at an event or in a music activity!

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 25-Jan-14 22:09:18

Thankyou for your reply. I've been googling...

No county groups in my area, there are in other parts of the county. Group lessons may well exist in school, but these don't take place in the infant school.
Again no choirs, although I think there might be a basic one at the middle school.
Haven't found brass bands/groups but will keep my eyes out as she gets a bit bigger.

I didn't get the chance to be musical (my parent's weren't. Lots of books, great education otherwise, but no music) which is fuelling desire for the children to have a chance.

I need to work out how to make some extra money....there's so much I'd like them to have the opportunity to do!

Dromedary Sat 25-Jan-14 22:54:34

I'd suggest that you teach yourself recorder (it's really easy, just get a basic teach yourself book and you'll realise that anyone can do it), and then teach your DC. "Recorder Playing in Colour" is great for young children (recommend you use something different for you though). The recorder is a great starter instrument - it's a proper instrument, but also easy to learn the basics of music on, which then transfer over to other instruments, and very cheap and difficult to break.
Also do some singing with DC, can use books with CDs to help with this. Plus the recorder.
If you know like-minded parents, could join together for some of this. Who knows, one of them may play the piano to accompany the singing.
If you do recorder and singing and going to any available free events for a couple of years, it will be good preparation for being taught by a professional teacher /joining a choir when a bit older.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 25-Jan-14 23:20:03

Thank-you smile We have a couple of recorders in the house. I will have a look out for some things we can start looking at.

Svina Sat 25-Jan-14 23:24:12

Our schools do not do choirs either, but there is a choir at a nearby church, which has good progression... Ie you can sing for pocket money at services when the children are bit older.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 26-Jan-14 17:42:48


We are a pretty degenerated area but the music service has always been pretty good.
However, it is the same as others in terms of visiting peris, it does cost for lessons unless fsm, and you can't have lessons in school until y3, then they are resticted to certain instruments.
The county music service uses local high schools after school and children can have lessons here, for the same price as they would in school, usually by the same teachers.
There is a county Jazz orchestra, big band, wind band, string ensembles x3, recorder group, brass band, youth orchestra, perhaps a few more. These are for the whole county though and serve all different levels of players. For example youth orchestra you need to be a grade 6 player. There are groups for begginners too. Oh, I forgot the two exceedingly good choirs junior youth and youth. grin

I know there may not be many who have such a range but I'm sure all county music services have to supply some.

Have you tried your council website, under education, then music?

Dromedary Sun 26-Jan-14 19:10:44

You're wrong, Morethan - our county music service literally got rid of every single county run music group. It does provide some funding to its selection of privately run music groups, but they are privately run and I assume can charge parents whatever they choose to. Certainly some of them charge a great deal of money. They also compete with one another by running their sessions on the same days, so children can only join one, which is very limiting if you have more than one instrument or type of music you're interested in.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sun 26-Jan-14 19:44:24

Yup - I know how to google! There is literally nothing in our area. The website just says there is an instrument loan scheme and something about supplying teachers in schools, but my daughter is at infant school.

The area I used to live in had a "hub" or something where kids could go on a saturday morning very cheaply. Nothing like that here!

middleclassonbursary Sun 26-Jan-14 23:31:09

If you want your children to hear live music it's worth contacting your local independent school and see if you can listen to their concerts, DS's school holds at the very least 2 concerts a week often 3, these are open to anyone and they're free, my DH's old school (big name London independent) does the same thing.
DS's school also does at least 4 plays a term (the standard is extraordinarily high) and again tickets are free.
My parents took me to many classical music concerts some I hated and fidgeted all the way through, some were ok and others like the carnival of the animals and the Mikado I never forgot, but now I'm old I can see that all these concerts sparked in me a love of classical music and spurred me on to learn two instrument even if my motivation was to play the swan or the flowers that bloomed in the spring which still makes he smile to this day.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 11:47:11

I know our service sounds good but even here you have to pay for lessons and groups, it isn't provided free. Lessons in school only start here in y3 too, you just have to wait until then or pay for private lessons from somebody outside the ed system. This can be even more expensive but I know some parents who have done this.
I think it is dreadful that not all music services are the same, it makes it a post code lottery like so many other things in education.

Svina Mon 27-Jan-14 17:16:41

Goodness... That is terrible. Where do you live? Is it a rural/ isolated area? I would have thought most big towns have got something going on like a brass band, which might not have anything to do with the council... Or like I mentioned a church youth choir, which again might not be mentioned on the council website.

I'm not disbelieving your ability to google, I'm genuinely surprised.

summerends Mon 27-Jan-14 17:31:44

I'm not sure if this is correct but my impression is that for classical style instruments the only way for children to have a cheap / free lessons is either to have a parent or friend who can teach you or to be a chorister.
Even cheap county music groups cost money although initial trial sessions are sometimes free

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 17:42:55


Yes, you are right to a certain extent, just on our area in my experience.
As I said even though we have what many would consider a good LA music service, you can only have lessons in school or outside through the authority from y3 upwards.
If in receipt of fsm you can have subsidised lessons, instrument hire and ensemble fees. Everyone else has to pay and for many it isn't cheap at all.
Our dd had private lessons from aged 6 but dh teaches her one of her instruments, the rest we pay for.
However, LA music service ensembles cost £35 per term and you can join as many as you like for this price. So £3 per week does not sound much to me, there are also discounts if you have more than one child attending.
I know there aren't many authorities like ours, but believe there are a few in the SE that are similar, maybe more expensive though grin

Dromedary Mon 27-Jan-14 21:08:16

That is amazingly good, morethan. Where we are being a member of just one of the ensembles that used to be run by the council costs £300 per year.

summerends Mon 27-Jan-14 22:20:13

As said before it all seems to be a lottery. The costs for ours are not as much as yours Dromedary but nowhere near morethan's.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 22:30:23

It saddens me that we have such a good service that offers all this but then somehow it doesn't seem to do much good for dc to specialise as they get older.
Within a short distance are 2 really good music schools. Very rarely do dc from the area get to go to these schools.
The same benefits are offered to low income families in the form of bursaries and grants and yet only a very few in the area get to one of them.
The one that dd wants to attend has nobody, that I know of.
The only conclusion I can come up with is nobody is telling the parents.
It can't be a financial issue as fees are paid as I have said up thread.
It continues to mystify me.
Maybe its a case of people thinking the schools are too high brow or too rich for them. I'm not sure.

Dromedary Tue 28-Jan-14 14:21:57

If it's a matter of nobody telling the parents, that could be put right very easily.
Are there many high level young players in the local ensembles? Children at specialist music school are expected to practise for several hours a day, and to be aiming for a professional career, so it is obviously a big leap to make, and towards a competitive and uncertain future. Can your DC report back on where the children at her specialist music school come from (is it from wealthy families in London and the South East)? I think that most people tend to do what those around them are doing, rather than going out on a limb with a very different type of education.

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 17:35:24

I would feel very uncertain about applying to a specialist music school for my dc, should they be of the right calibre when they are the right age.

1) I worry they would struggle to fit in with a different class of children
2) I would feel less confident about a boarding school because there is less opportunity for me to monitor how the dc are, and support them if it is tough
3) I would worry about the amount of stress my dc would be under in such a competitive environment
4) if they were to hate it and want to come home they would find if very hard to get into the ok school in my locality, having missed admissions.

Our family would be in the middle class, state educated, full bursary category.

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 17:38:39

Are there many high level young players in the local ensembles?

You don't get to be a high level young player if the support is not given at an early age.

We are very fortunate that our regional orchestra has a music school attached which offers excellent musical education from age 5 for which bursaries can be obtained. But by the sounds of this, it is pot luck

LauraBridges Tue 28-Jan-14 17:59:37

Stressed, wonderful story of overcoming such a negative family.

On the music side as people have said you can do stuff for nothing - we borrow much from the library or can print some from the internet (if you can afford internet access and a printer I suppose). If the parent is music they can teach the child at home - we did which costs zero. As someone mentioned singing is free and recorder almost free. The working classes used to do loads of singing, at work, on the way to work at weekends and that has all passed away or a lot of it. Working men's clubs had choirs and brass bands. Children were in the local church choir which is free of charge.

Why did the working class abandon cultured things> I know that's a controversial statement but there used to be more of an emphasis on bettering yourself, reading Shakespeare at home (my grandfather left school aged 12 and taught himself - fierce efforts to educate himself and the family and his children getting to university, becoming doctors etc, moving classes). Has that all been lost - that desire to read good literature, sing Bach in church. Is it all dumbed down guitars and pop music?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 18:16:47


The first school we were interested in are all mc families and the school was grammar, selective and they gave bursaries/scholarships.
We didn't even look in the end because dd is not that bright tbh and would never have passed the test. however, even if she would have passed, the difference between this school and the other school she has decided to apply to are unbelievable.
The first school dd shares an interest with many of the girls and they meet for weekly rehearsals. The girls are lovely but the mothers are really nasty stuck up pieces of work. They were so horrible to me when I was asking about the school, they literally looked down their noses at me shock I have never experienced such bad manners in my life.

Back to the question, sorry.
There aren't many high level players at a young age but many leave at 16 with grade 8. Now I know this isn't grand in the bigger scene but I know how they are taught and some have the ability to be this level much younger iyswim.
My point is that there are dc with potential that don't somehow have this realised, either by their parents, schools, county service. There are a few others that do but these are a small minority.
I know of 6 families where their dc would be at the level to gain a place in a specialist school, but they don't seem to know or bothered.
Perhaps its as suggested scared of the unknown and not wanting to rock the boat.

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 18:23:32

the mothers are really nasty stuck up pieces of work. They were so horrible to me when I was asking about the school, they literally looked down their noses at me

I am really sorry you have had this experience. No wonder you have made this thread!

This is exactly one on the reasons why I would be reluctant to go selective/ independent/ specialist at secondary. Like I said I am fortunate that we have fantastic music opportunities locally, and I hope this will continue to be broad enough for my dc to engage their interest fully as they grow.

People everywhere find it hard to embrace people who they know are not like them. It is a great sadness in the human race that we have this flaw. It holds people back and makes life much harder than it needs to be.

handcream Tue 28-Jan-14 18:32:00

The pupils arent like that tbh. The parents might be but defintiely not the kids! There is more comparing of the latest trainers in the local sec modern then there is in a independant selective school (my DS's go to a prep and senior boarding school).

Lets get this chip off our shoulder. If someone wants to look down on me - let them! I am working full time to provide this sort of education for the boys and so is my DH.

These women swanning around not working and stating how busy they are and how important they feel they are in life - well I work with their husbands. They often feel their wives dont understand the pressures they are under. The missed school events etc. When you are a high earner all of that comes with the job.

LauraBridges Tue 28-Jan-14 18:46:58

Indeed. In fact many of the mothers won't be at the school - they will be working so you probably would not have met many of the mothers. I don't think I have often been with privtae school mothers who would look down their noses at anyone but London is a very racially mixed community in the academic private schools where in a sense you pay at least in part for a huge spectrum of children of all colours, creeds etc (and parents) in one school. That is not the case all round the country.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 18:54:51


The children are lovely and they all rehearse together just like a family, supporting each other and have lovely friendship groups.
It does make me laugh, you are so right. The friend dd likes the most is the one whose mother is the worst, get them all together and me and the other less well off mums hide in the pub grin

Don't get me wrong had I known it was selective academically then it wouldn't even have been considered. It was during the initial consideration/gaining knowledge stage we found out and it was immediately a no go. The mums didn't know dd wasn't academic so it wasn't because of this they were nasty, it was a social class thing.
Its fine now and I certainly am not put off at all, in fact I'm a bit newty and go in me flat cap sometimes grin

However, I still believe there are some really well off people who are lovely and I must confess again to meeting such a lovely lady at the school we finally did visit.

I don't think that manners cost anything and dd did me proud when at this group it was noted by a visiting dignitary. She was picked out for good manners. When her immediate leader praised her she said well my mum says please, thank you and a smile cost nothing.

summerends Tue 28-Jan-14 20:57:03

Morethan your treatment by this group of mothers may be similar to the ostracising behaviour of certain cliques in playground. I would n't necessarily attribute it to a difference in economic class. TBH at secondary school age, the parents' influence on friendships becomes less and less so how you get on with the parents almost irrelevant as long as the children are friendly. This is even more so in a boarding environment.

rightsaidfrederick Thu 30-Jan-14 16:13:26

I was one - grandparents paid for tuition only, but one parent was in and out of low paid agency work, and the other was alright until they were made (permanently - never worked again) redundant when I was in the sixth form. I was eligible for full EMA.

This was at secondary level though, so at that point parents fitting in isn't really a thing, because there's no school gate where kids get picked up or anything like that. I fitted in fine though, and as this was a school which was very much at the budget-but-very-academic end of the private school spectrum (not a pony in sight!), there were quite a few other kids whose parents worked in jobs that weren't fantastically paid by any means but made big sacrifices (e.g. living in crap areas) to send their kids there.

happygardening Thu 30-Jan-14 18:08:27

You're so right OP good manners costs nothing. I always smile/wave say hello and make some comment about the weather, or glad it the end of term, or did you have a good holiday or something similar when ever I meet other parents. I have no interest in being best friends with everyone but basic courtesy is just the decent thing to do IMO.
Aa already said you have little contact with parents at secondary level anyway (and even less if your DC full boards like mine) I know little about the financial situations of the other parents or what their houses are like and frankly couldn't care less. The boys as a general rule dont seem to care either.

Stressedbutblessed Fri 31-Jan-14 07:33:17

@ Laura - thx Im now a great believer of anything is possible.
OP:Truly the kids couldn't care less about social ranking - and once they are old enough to notice they care even less!

I have found the parents at my boys prep friendlier than the parents at the primary where my other children go.
I think people like to stick to groups of what they know and that can make it seem like they're ostracising others when it's not really a deliberate act at all.

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