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or was she actually asking me whether or not I am 'poor'?

(204 Posts)
PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:25:59

I was at playgroup today and started making small talk with a woman I've never spoken to before. We started talking about schools and childcare and she said her children are in private school. I told her my DD is only 2, and not even in nursery yet, as I'm still at home, so I haven't thought much about schools. (I won't be going private, but I didn't tell her that.)

She then went on to ask if DD didn't qualify for free nursery as a 2-yr old? I assumed that she was a bit ignorant of the scheme, which offers free childcare to 'disadvantaged' children (that's the 'official line', not my words) in order to prevent them from falling behind academically when they start school. I told her that DD doesn't qualify, and she replied 'the threshold is so ridiculously low', so clearly knowing that the threshold household income is around £16K / year.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful to anyone who does qualify (in fact I should imagine they would find the question rude also). But effectively she was asking me whether or not I am poor, wasn't she?

TeaBelle Fri 03-Feb-17 22:29:36

I don't think she was, no. Her follow up seems a comment more than a question about hour money. Afterwards she might have kicked herself and thought 'god, she must have thought I meant she was poor, shit', but I just can't see that she was tbh

arethereanyleftatall Fri 03-Feb-17 22:29:54

She might not have been. She may have been just trying to help you in letting you know about something she didn't know you already knew about. What a crap sentence. I'm drunk.

Magzmarsh Fri 03-Feb-17 22:30:13

Maybe just trying to do a public service in making you aware of it. There's no shame in being poor but you seem to think there is 😕

SparklyLeprechaun Fri 03-Feb-17 22:32:58

She wasn't asking you, she had already made up her mind that you are poor.

PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:36:06

There's no shame in being poor but you seem to think there is

I disagree. Poverty is really stigmatised in the UK and people on benefits are constantly vilified in the press and on TV. Maybe that's why I was so offended.

x2boys Fri 03-Feb-17 22:38:10

i have read your op three timesand i still dont understand what you think she was aking you or why and i,m not drunk.

PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:42:50

Her actual question was "doesn't your daughter get free nursery hours now that she's two?"

Those free hours are only available to two year-olds whose parents earn less than 16k annually.

welovepancakes Fri 03-Feb-17 22:43:11

She then went on to ask if DD didn't qualify for free nursery as a 2-yr old? I................. told her that DD doesn't qualify, and she replied 'the threshold is so ridiculously low', so clearly knowing that the threshold household income is around £16K / year.

If her children are at private school, she may have no idea about the criteria for free nursery places for 2 year olds. (I thought places were allocated because a child is identified as vulnerable, rather than based on household income?)

SparklyLeprechaun Fri 03-Feb-17 22:45:26

Tbh, there's no reason to be offended. Something about you made her think you were poor. Maybe you were wearing scuffed shoes or you haven't got the latest pushchair model. Does it matter?

PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:45:35

But pancakes why did she say that the threshold was low, in that case, if she doesn't know what the threshold is?

wifework Fri 03-Feb-17 22:48:13

I don't have a 2 year old so wouldn't know the threshold - in fact I thought they'd extended the 3 yr old provision. Obviously not. Maybe she was ignorant of it too. Or maybe she didn't know what the threshold is but was saying that very few people seem to be benefit from the free hours.

I think she probably just said it without thinking tbh, unless she seemed like a bitch in other ways.

MammyNeedsASpaDay Fri 03-Feb-17 22:48:17

I looked into the 2 year old provision, you're right it's incredibly low.

I might say to someone "oh don't you qualify for that?" when they say no-"oh it's so low isn't it" because I looked myself. I wouldn't be judging it would be more of a.....yeah we have this in common I didn't qualify either.

I don't judge. My mum was a teenage mother, never lived on benefits and neither have any of her children.

x2boys Fri 03-Feb-17 22:52:08

is it the area where i live i expect the vast majority of two yr olds would qualify for free hours or was the playgroup in a poor area ?

haveacupoftea Fri 03-Feb-17 22:53:11

No its a fairly normal conversation.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Fri 03-Feb-17 22:53:45

Yeah, she was asking if you were poor. And less subtly than she thinks.

FATEdestiny Fri 03-Feb-17 22:53:58

Her actual question was "doesn't your daughter get free nursery hours now that she's two?"

I've got a 2 year old. This is a regular question among my peers (ie parents with children the same age) at toddler group.

I've asked it several times. And been asked. It never occured to me anyone could take offense to this line of conversation.

It is just that, conversation. At aged 2 some families have a child in nursery - so you get all those sorts of questions you get at aged 3: how's she settling? Is she enjoying It? Are you enjoying your free time? Any plans for your free time? It's just conversation. Nothing sinister or malicious is meant. At least I assume not.

It's just a conversation I've had hundreds of times as each of my chikd started nursery (aged 3). Now that some children can start a year earlier, it's just a slightly different version of the same conversation.

It bears no relevence to your income really. Just a chat, a conversation starter about something you have in common - toddlers.

flossietoot Fri 03-Feb-17 22:54:35

Are you a lone parent? If you are and she knows this she may have assumed you would be.

PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:54:46

Sparkly it really bothers me. My parents struggled financially and I always had crap clothes add a child, so I over-compensate by trying to look 'right' all the time as an adult. I always dress my DD in nice clothes from good brands and I have a bugaboo. blush I never want anyone looking down on my DD. Stuff like this gets to me.

JournosAreLazy Fri 03-Feb-17 22:56:40

I'm not really understanding why you think she was asking if you were poor? I think you're reading far too much into a very average conversation.

PrimsGoat Fri 03-Feb-17 22:56:43

was the playgroup in a poor area ?


pregnantat50 Fri 03-Feb-17 22:57:04

what would her reaction have been if you had then said "wow, your daughter did well to get free Private education, did she win a scholarship?" same sort of assumption..

NotJimbo Fri 03-Feb-17 22:58:03

If her kids are older then this scheme wouldn't have existed for her when her kids were at this stage, so chances are she doesn't know much about it. Without hearing tone or whatever I think the odds are she was just chatting. My kids are also older, and I hear snippets in the news about increased free nursery provision and think that would be nice to have, not looking into any of the detail to realise it's income as well as age based, so I couldn't have accessed it anyway. I can imagine this is exactly the sort of thing I might say, with no hidden meaning intended.

Californiasoul Fri 03-Feb-17 22:58:05

It's not just low income families who qualify. We earn £50,000 between us and our daughter qualified for the scheme. She had/has severe speech delay and autism.

WorraLiberty Fri 03-Feb-17 22:58:23

She wasn't asking if you were poor.

She was letting you know that if you have a household income of £16K per year, you would qualify.

Just in case you didn't know.

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