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to think that if they really want ds to go to a fee-paying school they should put their hands in their pockets and help out?

(129 Posts)
FalseMonica Thu 27-Sep-12 13:24:06

First-time AIBU so be gentle(ish).

Ok, so it's secondary transfer time. I'm looking for schools for ds. There is a good comp up the road which most of his friends will go to. There is also a super-selective grammar just out of area, and a fab but wildly expensive independent school.

My parents sent my brother to the fab but wildly expensive school, 20 years ago. They had a significant amount of financial help with the fees from my mum's wealthy parents. It's a great school, no argument. And tbh I'd be thrilled if ds could spend his schooldays there. But it's £15,000 pa (at the moment!) and that is totally and completely out of my reach. Not a chance.

So here's the thing. My parents are very, very keen to see my ds go to this school as well. They've made it very clear, in their way, that they think any other school is second best. They also know that there is no way on Earth I can manage the fees without a lottery win (single parent, renter, low income etc). My dad then frequently says things like 'oh, I know, I wish we could help but we're not in a position to'.

They live in a 5-bed, 4-reception room house in the south-east with the kind of garden that makes people gasp. It's worth a fair bit and they've always been mortgage-free (thanks again to my mum's parents before they died). They talk constantly about how they need to downsize. It's too big, it's too expensive to heat. They've never been happy there. It's an 'unlucky house'. They can't manage the garden. They actually pretty much live in two rooms and the kitchen. They don't use the garden at all. Etc etc etc. You get the picture. It's a white elephant, and they've said so themselves.

In these circumstances, would IBcompletelyU to suggest that, if they are so keen to see ds at Fab School, this would be the ideal time to consider downsizing, thereby freeing up enough capital to make a considerable contribution to their only grandchild's potential school fees? Do these thoughts make me a horrible, selfish, snobby person, or are my parents actually being a bit tight? After all, the only reason my bro and I went to fee-paying schools is because our grandparents funded it.

I don't want, btw, a public/state debate. This is just about whether the IWBU to raise the matter of the considerable equity in their house to help send ds to the school they so dearly want to see him attending...

LadyMargolotta Thu 27-Sep-12 13:26:15

Just a quick question, were you also sent to a private school?

FalseMonica Thu 27-Sep-12 13:27:00

Yes (a crap one but that's by the by grin)

Nevercan Thu 27-Sep-12 13:27:11

No harm suggesting it..... You don't get if you don't ask. They can always say that's not want we want to do which is fair do's. smile

mindosa Thu 27-Sep-12 13:28:45

I wouldnt suggest it.
If they really wanted to help they would offer but they are under no obligation to do so

FredFredGeorge Thu 27-Sep-12 13:29:40

Just tell them to shut up - there's almost no chance that 15k a year is a good investment in schooling. Even if they could release the equity it would unlikely be a good idea for them, don't suggest it.

funnypeculiar Thu 27-Sep-12 13:29:54

Their money, their choice, I'd say (my parents funded a big house, and our school fees through my grandparents, & like you, don't seem tempted to pass the pattern on)

Otoh, next time they bring up the fee-paying school, I would be quite honest "I would love him to go there too. But there's no way I can afford it, so it's not even worth thinking about as an option". If they don't bite then, they're not going to.

LadyMargolotta Thu 27-Sep-12 13:30:21

Even if they were willing to sell their house, now isn’t a particularly good time to sell. It may not be as financially beneficial as you think.

From your father's reply, it's clear that they are not going to help.

Just tell them, that you can't afford it, and that they are not helping your ds by talking about it all the time.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Sep-12 13:30:53

Why don't you tell them like you've told us. Way beyond my reach as single parent as just managing now. It would be lovely in a perfect world, but I just don't have the money.

rubyslippers Thu 27-Sep-12 13:30:56

They be asset rich and cash poor?

Even if they down sized and used the equity for fees at £15k per year for 6/7 years that's a heck of a lot of money

You could suggest - only you know if that's the right thing to do

holidaysarenice Thu 27-Sep-12 13:31:25

you are not unreasonable to tell them you cant afford it and to shut up going on about it.

you are unreasonable to expect them to sell and pay for it. How would you feel if they started telling your son how to run his life at this school, which activities or subjects he should do? after all it would be them paying for it.

And what about ur brother and his children? he would have to get the same money/equivalent. How would that change things?

You can certainly ask them to help you finance it, but u have to expect them to help dbro the same (whether he needs it or not).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 27-Sep-12 13:33:43

I would not suggest they downsize, as much as their decision to stay in that house seems a bit odd.

But I would say 'look Dad, you know we aren't going to be able to afford that school and it makes us feel a bit rubbish when you keep on about it - I think we should just put it from our minds, ok?'.

MistressIggi Thu 27-Sep-12 13:33:57

Ask them to stop talking about it. They are making you think that 2 perfectly acceptable schools are "second-best" with their talking about the private school.
Let them keep the money (I'm assuming you will inherit half of it anyway!)

DorisIsWaiting Thu 27-Sep-12 13:34:00

I think you need to forget it. Send your ds to the good comp.

Even if they did sell the house, there is every possibilyty they may want to do other things with the money.

Also if you start him at a private school (with eye watering fees) would they be aware that you would need help for the next 7 years? Then add in the cost of uniforms trips etc.

Much as it would be lovely for him to have the same educatuion as your db it's not going to happen (not mentioning what your db would think of you spending a potential shared inheritance on your child what about any dc your db has/may have)

FalseMonica Thu 27-Sep-12 13:34:10

They are asset rich and cash poor, yes.

They are fully aware of my situation, we've talked about it endlessly. The school is quite generous with bursary provision and I think they're hoping we'll go that way.

I dunno. It irritates me when my dad says things like 'oh the teachers will be better at Fab School' - well a) not necessarily dad and b) well, bloody well put your hand in your pocket then if it means so much to you!

They are lovely, lovely people btw!

EdgarAllanPond Thu 27-Sep-12 13:34:52

you would not be unreasonable to ask, you would be unreasonable to expect them to do it though,

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 27-Sep-12 13:36:53

Start talking up the other schools. Remind him that he has no real way of knowing what the teachers at that school are like now, and certainly not what the teachers will be like wherever your DS does end up.

He really should shut up about it, yes.

tiggytape Thu 27-Sep-12 13:37:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alligatorpie Thu 27-Sep-12 13:37:21

You could say something like "given my current financial situation, how do you suggest I afford that?" and see what they come up with.
I wouldn't suggest they sell their house though.

kakapo Thu 27-Sep-12 13:38:49

Well I wouldn't suggest the downsizing. But, next time they say they aren't in a position to help, ask them why they think you'd be able to afford it then.

FalseMonica Thu 27-Sep-12 13:39:17

I don't think I expect them to do it. I just don't think they should be making their preferences so strongly known when they could potentially help out and seem not to want to. I don't really understand it, tbh.

I do get the points about it being a massive investment etc. Ds is their only grandchild though. They are devoted to him. Just, I dunno... I'd like to think if I was in their position I'd do it.

squeakytoy Thu 27-Sep-12 13:40:40

What happens if you have more kids, or your brother has children, would they be expected to do this for every child.

I do think it is unreasonable to ask, but I would also tell them to shut up going on about it.

delphie Thu 27-Sep-12 13:40:45

if the comp up the road is good and all his mates are going there it's simples send him there and tell your parents the topic is closed.
What TheOriginalSteamingNit said to say to your dad sounds spot on.

Brycie Thu 27-Sep-12 13:41:04

You could apply any way, as bursaries are considered after the exams I think, and maybe you could ask your folks for some money for tutoring towards the exam which could also help with applying to the grammar? Don't ask them to sell their house though. What if it went belly up at the private school? It can happen. Dreadful risk to take.

margerykemp Thu 27-Sep-12 13:41:34

oh right NOW it makes sense- they dont want to pay up when you will be eligibile for a bursary.

So they want you to apply for that and then maybe they'd sell if you didnt get it?

They are being fly and immoral but I can see why wink

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