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Private schools - want to shout IT'S NOT FAIR!

(1000 Posts)
Yermina Mon 04-Feb-13 10:59:22

Went to PIL last night and heard all about sil's children's school. One of her boys is already attending a fantastic private school. Just found out his two brothers have also got places at very good private schools.

In the mean time my dc's are in classes of 31 at the local state school. My youngest needs additional support (sn) but isn't statemented (diagnosed but no statement) so doesn't get it. SIL's middle child has got into a mainstream private school that has outstanding support for children with dyslexia, which he's been diagnosed with. And will be in classes of 18.

Our middle ds is musically talented but there is really poor provision for music teaching at his state school and very few children there are learning an instrument. We struggle to pay for music lessons for him outside school.

Is it wrong of me to feel eaten up with jealousy and anger at the unfairness of a school system which privileges the children of well-off people so openly and seemingly without anyone else seeing it as something that's wrong or deeply, deeply unfair?

How would you explain to a group of children: you lot over here will have XXXX spent on your education, and lots of opportunity to develop your talents, and you lot over there will have about half as much spent on you, and will have much less attention from the teacher because there'll be twice as many of you in the class. Oh, and you kids with sn or specific gifts - unless your parents have money, you probably won't get the help you need to thrive educationally.

I know it's the way the world is but at the moment I feel bitter about it. Really really bitter. And jealous

Every time I go to my PIL's and have to hear about all the amazing thing SIL's dcs are doing at their school, their academic achievements, I want to go home and hide under the duvet and cry.

We'll never, ever be able to afford private education. We'll never be able to afford to move to an area with really good state schools. We'll never be able to get our children into church schools as we're not church goers, and our local grammar schools (2) are bursting at the seams with children from the local private prep schools, who bus their students in to take the 11+ en mass.

It's just so fucking unfair. It really is. I just want to get that off my chest.

That is all.

dikkertjedap Mon 04-Feb-13 12:09:49

Lost of learning takes place at home not at school. So it may be more worthwhile to concentrate on that as it is something you CAN influence.

I would not be so hung up about private music lessons either. As another poster mentioned a love for music can last a lifetime. You don't need to do it all whilst at primary school.

The fact that your child doesn't qualify for bursaries must mean you are reasonably well off, so spare a thought for all the kids who literally have nothing.

No point being jealous, it is not helping you, it won't help your children either.

Use your vote wisely next time when there is an election.

mrsjay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:12:23

FWIW I think children get amazing opportunities at state schools and you can get music lessons in high school anyway for free, dont be hung up on what they dont have now it is what they can have in the future but I do agree paying into things does have an unfair advantage sometimes,

Yermina Mon 04-Feb-13 12:15:24

"Or having only one child so you could give it the best?" "All these are within your ability"

What do you suggest I do with the other 2? Sell them to pay for school fees for the cleverest one?


FlouncingMintyy Mon 04-Feb-13 12:16:55

I do think its unfair. Actually, unfair is the wrong word, its a bit too childish, but I can't think of the right word (darned 70s comprehensive education wink).

Imagine how much fun it was explaining to my Year 6 dd that she wouldn't be going to one of the many private schools with amazing facilities and rolling playing fields that surround us, but instead she would have to be shipped out to a different borough to go to an all girl's school because we do not live in the miniscule catchment area of the good mixed school here.

On top of that, my best friend's son H is going to one of these schools, even though they are noticeably worse off than us.

"So Mum if we can't afford for me to go to that private school, how come H can go there?"

"Well, his Mum and Dad can apply for a bursary which pays his fees for them as they don't have enough money"

"Right, so why can't I have a bursary?"

"Well, we earn too much money to get a bursary"

"So how come we can't afford the fees?"

"Well because we earn too much for a bursary but not enough to be able to pay for you to go to school ..."

ad infinitum

mrsjay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:17:13

What do you suggest I do with the other 2? Sell them to pay for school fees for the cleverest one?

shove them back in like they never happened grin oh and i have read some do send 1 private and another not confused

GothAnneGeddes Mon 04-Feb-13 12:17:14

YANBU. It is unfair.

Also, I wish that going to private school wasn't a big deal, but looking at how vastly over-represented privately educated people are in the professional classes and positions of authority, it obviously does make a big difference.

I'm not having that privately educated people are "harder-working" or any other boot-strappy nonsense either.

A good quality of education should be a right for all children, not a privilege.

elizaregina Mon 04-Feb-13 12:18:54

I dont get this private tutor thing I really dont.

I am not well educated at all - I have four GCSE's and anyone who reads my posts will know I cannot spell!!! HOwver

I am hoping to get my DD into local grammer schools - and I doubt there will be an option for private tutors already I am envisionoing buying the books and finding out what the exams are what they want and doing it ourselves.

Luckliy I am more humanities and DH is sciences so hopefully we have got her covered.

I will find out from the exam papers the kind of things they want - make sure DD is covered and send her for the exam?

TwinTum Mon 04-Feb-13 12:18:57

Getting rid of private schools is not the answer (or the whole answer) - I just dont think you can ever have a fully level playing field. If there were no private schools, I bet your SIL would be using the money to pay for tutors, extra-curricular music lessons etc, or moving house to get access to a great state school. I think a much bigger issue is the difference between state schools. I send my DC to private school, but would be more than happy to send them to state if our local state schools were as good as the one I went to in a different part of the country or the ones my nieces and nephews go to. Our other option was to move house to be in catchment of a really good school, but that would be depriving someone else of a place at that school (and we like where we live for all sorts of reasons).

Also, money and differences in the quality of state schools are not the only reason why there is not a level playing field. Parental interest and involvement makes a massive difference. So your children are in a much better position than many in the country.

Viviennemary Mon 04-Feb-13 12:21:54

I do see your point. But going to private school doesn't absolutely guarantee success in life or a happier life. I would have considered private school but we simply couldn't have afforded it at the time. So it wasn't an option for us. We moved to an area where the schools were good. Not grammar schools though. I think it's wrong that the schools vary so much in different parts of the country or even in quite near areas.

I am even more against the grammar school system than private schools.

mrsjay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:22:25

. Parental interest and involvement makes a massive difference. So your children are in a much better position than many in the country.

I agree with you it is what you put in that you get out of them ime

chocoluvva Mon 04-Feb-13 12:23:11

I feel sorry for some of the children at fee-paying schools. They're under such a lot of pressure to achieve academically and their lives revolve completely around school. Woe betide them if they forget their lacrosse net (what with rushing off in the morning to make a long trip past the closer state schools, hastily grabbing themselves something to eat) talking to their DF as it's his only window what with having a stressful job that eats up almost all his time).

Also - it's usually the private schools who favour the truly hideous uniforms (am thinking of one school I know here who have a brown uniform, including compulsory brown knickers!). My DD feels sorry for anyone who has to wear that!

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 12:23:32

<Puts on 'Eton rifles'>

Flatbread Mon 04-Feb-13 12:23:57

But chocoluvva,

Don't people think about the cost of having children when they have them?

If you value private education, then make the right decisions to get it for your child, rather than whining about others who can afford it.

I honestly don't get the envy. It seems op is looking for some magic silver bullet that would magically make her children's lives wonderful...only if they were in private school, only if class sizes were smaller, only if he was in a similar musical cohort, blah blah.

There is no magic bullet. Being successful involves hard graft, determination, focusing on math, sciences and harder subjects and a belief in oneself. It is within OP's reach to inculcate good values, focus on math and science and tutor her children herself.

But instead she would rather moan and be jealous at the 'state' for not making things 'fair'

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Mon 04-Feb-13 12:25:36

ubik Listen to Eton Rifles all you like but do so in the knowledge Paul Weller sent his dc to private school wink

mrsjay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:27:07

so in the knowledge Paul Weller sent his dc to private school

fab grin

Collaborate Mon 04-Feb-13 12:28:16

We could afford to send our kids to private school but choose not to. We'd rather spend our money elsewhere. Why should my choice mean that I limit what others do with their money? I'd prefer to live in a free society where parents can spend whatever they want on their children, rather than one in which the spending habits of the majority set the spending ceiling for all.

LesBOFerables Mon 04-Feb-13 12:28:38

Of course it's unfair. But this is AIBU, so you will get people queuing up to tell you black is white.

chocoluvva Mon 04-Feb-13 12:28:54

The OP doesn't particularly value private education, Flatbread - she values good quality education.

maisiejoe123 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:28:59

I went to a rubbish sec modern where there were no aspirations for anyone... I have done Ok but nothing to do with my schooling. Both my DS's go to private schools. Where people get the view that somehow this has all landed in our laps with no effort is beyond me.

I got married late and no previous relationships with children. Decided to have just two children.

We both work full time and always have. I didnt choose to stay at home. If you want to stay at home that is fine but unless your DP is an investment banker or similar you just wont be able to have some of the options that I have. I have missed lots of things that SAHM's attend as a matter of course. That is the price I pay and the consequence of what we have chosen to do.

We have stopped at 2 children. Any more and we would not have been able to afforded the fees!

We live in the SE where there are more opportunities.

We all have our own cirucmstances. Some people make daft decisions around men, some choose to stay at home and not work, some choose to leave school at 16 with no qualifications, some feel they want 4 plus children, these are YOUR decisions. My decision is to spend money on school fees and I have never regreted it!

mindosa Mon 04-Feb-13 12:30:59

Life is sadly unfair but not being able to give our children what is best for them is particularly hard for any parent to stomach

FlouncingMintyy Mon 04-Feb-13 12:36:49

Should just put my cards on the table and say we wouldn't chose private schools either, even if we had tons of money.

NotADragonOfSoup Mon 04-Feb-13 12:37:46

The real unfairness is why state schools are so varied.

FeistyLass Mon 04-Feb-13 12:39:44

I think, as others have said, the problem is the variation in state schools, not that private schools exist.
I went to a brilliant state primary and high school. I worked hard and was the first person in my family to go to university.
I didn't realise we lived in a deprived area or that my family was 'poor' until I went to university. It was a genuine shock to me because, despite all my parents' faults (and there were many!) they never told me I couldn't do something. They didn't teach me that other people had better chances or more opportunities. They didn't limit what I could achieve because of where I was born or how much money we had. They did instil an ethos of hard work and a love of learning.
I've had a brilliant career which I love and sometimes one of my aunties will say 'Imagine a wee lassie from here doing all that' but you see, my parents never ever gave me the attitude that I was a 'wee lassie' from a certain area or a certain class and that's probably why I was able to achieve.
Now, I'm faced with deciding where to send my ds to school and our local state schools are awful. For my ds to have the same opportunities that I had, I'll have to move to a different catchment area or send him to a private school. My preference would always be to send him to a state school. Sorry I've went on for so long - I guess what I'm saying is don't let your children feel that they start life at a disadvantage. And if you want to get angry about schooling in this country then focus on improving the local state schools or/and enrol your dcs in as many extra curricular clubs as you can manage.The Brownies/Guides gave me opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise.

fromparistoberlin Mon 04-Feb-13 12:39:59


and I know that when it comes to children, it fucking eats you up inside

but dont let it, please

such is life, and its such a negative corroding emotion

chocoluvva Mon 04-Feb-13 12:42:39

There are plenty of one-child families who can't afford private education. Should that child's parents not have had children at all?

The OP is in a situation where she feels that the only way to get a good education is to pay for it. How can that possibly be fair?

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