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to plunge family into even more poverty for dd and a suitable education. LONG!

(129 Posts)
dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:39:01

I'm going around in circles so I thought I'd let you lot decide.

DD is 7, She isn't really properly happy at school, she has no close friends, doesn't fit in and has had a bit of teasing/mild bullying to contend with. She does not get party invites or playdate or tea invites - except from one girl who sort of 'leads' dd. Possibly dominates her a little. My dd is a bit odd, prickly, nerdy, frankly not standard in any way.

She has mild anxiety, some health issues that generated more anxiety around school and is a really cooperative child who is anxious to please.

She has seen a psychologist person at huge expense - maily because dh and I thought maybe we were deluded - but no we were right. She is high on the cognitive scales and is about 95 centile for ability.

She attends the 'best' school ln our area. As measured by stats, Ofstead and also by us - in that there is only one intake per year, very little teacher turn over, a fairly personal approach and so on. School agree she is bright, believe her to be well stretched and 'nothing unusual' in their words.

In her own words - the sums are soooooo easy. There was one sum that she remebers being hard in Sept, but then she 'clicked and I got it and I knew it'. I'm sure there are things she gets wrong and I'm sure her work isn't that easy for her, but I do not feel this is a good state of mind!

OK - what do I do? The only other school we could consider has friends in it and the feedback isn't that great, plus there is a wait list.

An indie school has offered us a huge bursary but it is 35-40 mins away. It's tiny and not actually remotely academic. It is non selective but has a lovely atmosphere. What I would hope is that it is small enough to be responsive. Their independent school report is glowing. Really very good. There are a large amount of children requiring extra support who get very well catered for, and in her way, dd is in a very similar situation to those children. The report states that able children are well served and stretched.

It goes through to 18 so dd could work her way up at her own rate rather than be tied to years and classes. The head has sadi he is happy for her to snake up and down as her education demands, as many classes double up anyway as the school is so small.

It's a cheap school and the fees would be tiny to many of you, but to us it would mean extra work for me ( I already have health issues) and absolute zero disposable income. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. We are poor and not likely to stop being poor for about 6 years. When things look a little better for us the bursary would probably be removed and we would remain the same - grindingly poor. As in about 15-20K for all of us to commute, live on, run the house etc (having bought the house and set up shop 8 years ago on combined salary of about 50K, the recession has been very hard on us). We can't down size as the next step down is a small flat and it would save us about £100 per month if we were lucky. One old car, no holidays as it is etc etc.

AIBU to simply put her in and just muddle through - probably accumulating some debt and probably accumulating a bit of stress and misery which we would need to work our socks off to hide from her. For her education and to try help her find a niche and a path to her best advantage?

Oh and by the way - we have a younger child. I think that one would have to go state like dd until....until....something else happened.

Oh dear. I am sad

TattyDevine Fri 27-Apr-12 21:44:26

I don't think you should. Gut feeling, can't back it up with much. YANBU for thinking about it. wine and unmumsnetty hugs though.

marriedinwhite Fri 27-Apr-12 21:45:43

How difficult for you. How would you feel if she goes to this school and still doesn't fit in? To be fair I think I would try to find things outside schoo that make her light shine - brownies, guides, musical instrument, singing, macrame, riding, nagt (national association for gifted children), gardening. Let her be herself and support her to be herself. Please don't forget that your other dd needs to be herself too and might need some money spent on her at some stage. You could also try another school - square pegs and roudn holes and all that.

Good luck

fivegomadindorset Fri 27-Apr-12 21:45:59

No, non acadmenic rings huge alarm bells.

MyNameIsntFUCKINGWarren Fri 27-Apr-12 21:47:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Fri 27-Apr-12 21:52:25

If they are doubling up classes it sounds like they are desperate for bums on seats and are in dire financial straits. Prehaps you need to find other ways to stretch your daughter mentally with extra curricular activites or send her to one of the tutoring companies to get stretched academically.

There is no point in killing yourself financially. I think the recession is only going to get worse. The school fees are just going to increase as your dd gets older. Sad to say, its a no brainer on your income.

Your younger child would feel very resentful if your dd got private and they got state. Especially if they had no treats and were sent to the supposely poor state school.

yummybunny Fri 27-Apr-12 21:52:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:53:02

OMG thank you for reading!

MN is great.

fivegomadindorset can I ask why? I know nothing about these schools. I grew up and move in very working class circles, this stuff just isn't in my radar.

The psychologist said she would easily pass any 11+ entrance exam pretty shortly. Imagine how I feel knowing her school think she is 'nothing unusual'. Aren't all children bloody unusual? Aren't they all individuals? angry

marriedinwhite - I have no idea. She does music and some sporty type things as she needs an appetite building up (regarding the health stuff). Most of the local out of school stuff is based around performing and is all jazz hands. I swear I'd move house for a chess club.

I'm worried about looing at other schools as where I live is tiny and every one knows every one elses business. The head would be hmm. They are already defensive with us regarding the psychologist.

Thank you Tatty. I do feel very lost on this one, very powerless and like I am failing her. ANd her sister.

yummybunny Fri 27-Apr-12 21:54:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 27-Apr-12 21:54:15

Is there any real, objective reason why this new school would be better than her current one? It doesn't sound like it. If it were academic, or something, I would feel different but it doesn't. Also, I have an allergy to people setting up a situation where DCs are treated differently. If you absolutely can't afford it for DC2, you can't afford it.

Theas18 Fri 27-Apr-12 21:55:12

This is schooling or a bight 7yr old in a none academic school on a large bursary?

And the school goes through t o 18....tempting though it is take a long hard think about this. We were offered a decent scholarship at 11 for dd2 to a school that sees itself as academic, but compared to where she is now is not. The contract on acceptance of the bursary was also that we kept here there till 18- or pay all the bursary back. That was a deal breaker. No way could we be certain it was the right place for her through to a levels when looking at it at age 11. I can't imagine how you old make that judgment for a 7yr old.

RandomMess Fri 27-Apr-12 21:55:51

Wouldn't it be cheaper to home educate her, even if it's just for a couple of years?

fivegomadindorset Fri 27-Apr-12 21:58:34

It is a non academic school which you want to put yoursleves in poverty for, wait awhile and try for burseries at good private schools or state boarding grammar schools.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 21:59:18

Missed your posts sorry.

ReallyTired yes those are good points. Absolutely no tutoring companies around here though, apart from a Kumon malarky about 45 mins away.

Nearest grammar is about 2.5-5hrs away yummybunny

I'm so interested in how Asian families parent yummybunny I've spoken to many families and they all say the same. If you have a bright one - send it. You would send an athlete to the Olympics even if their sister wasn't remotely athletic so why hold back an academic.

Our local schools 'aint great. And we are isolated. It's a toughie. No one here abouts - including me - know what Goldmans is. How can I hope she achieves when I don't know what a barrister(for example) actually does and there are none in the place we live????? I feel trapped.

BertieBotts Fri 27-Apr-12 21:59:45

I love the sound of that other school, but maybe I'm weird. However I see MTP's point - your DD2 may well resent the extra money spent on DD1 and that would seem unfair. I never wanted to go to private school and was perfectly happy in state, but it does rankle a little bit that my dad's children from second marriage are in private education yet when I asked (as he offered) for some help with uni fees, he sent me a cheque for £100.

MrsMellowDrummer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:02:31

Our son is very very brainy, and absolutely thriving in a tiny independent school. There are just 6 children per year group, and all the classes double up. It's not an "academic" school either - tends to attract children who are a bit quirky, and maybe either end of the spectrum. Mainly as because of the tiny intake/class size, they are incredibly flexible, know the children inside out, and they all work at their own pace.

We stretch ourselves to afford the fees, having moved him from our local school in the middle of year one. I think it's completely worth it. If your gut tells you it's right, then I'd consider it very carefully.

joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 22:02:37

I think it just sounds too tight, paying for that particular school. No disposable income at all? i wouldn't do it, sorry.

So start a chess club. Or talk to the PTA about getting someone to start a chess club, since you are probably working full hours?

Bother the head Teacher about getting someone to run an orchestra? I think a parent who is a music teacher gets paid for a short period of time to run a small orchestra at ds's school. Another way to make friends too.

Identify a friend for her and do a bit of lovebombing. Get them round for a short playdate and foster the friendship, make things together.

In the meantime, have a look at schools that do more in the way of bursaries - e.g. Christ's Hospital/Bluecoat School?

mercibucket Fri 27-Apr-12 22:05:52

She could be bright but no brighter than the rest in her year, which is why the teachers are not all that excited. If it's a very mc school there's probably a lot of support at home, tutoring etc pushing up the grades of some of the other pupils.

HexagonalQueenOfTheSummer Fri 27-Apr-12 22:06:08

No definitely don't do it

Why not just look into moving her into another local state school? Not all schools suit every child and you may well find she comes into her own when moved to another school.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:06:46

BertieBotts - yes that absolutely should rankle.

We would aim to send dc 2 from yr 7. I could work like a demon to cover her fees and dd1 would only have a year left as there is a big age gap. We wouldn't have much of the '2 fees' scenario.

There were no rules attached to the bursary - just yearly reviews of finances - so I suppose that is a positive. Of sorts.

If she got to another school and was still a square peg in a round hole....well, I suppose we'd know we tried. We'd know that it as always pretty much going to be thus and we had to wait it out.

I do feel that our town's schools have really really low expectations though. And i have a couple of secondry teachers who agree! sad We have a lot of deprivation and NEETS and social issues. My girl likes fecking classical music and wants to go to London to the Royal Society that she saw on the telly at Christmas. Whatever that is. Who does she have to talk to?!

WOuld love to HE but really, I haven't the guts, brains or means. How do you even do that.

HolyCameraConfusionBatman Fri 27-Apr-12 22:08:09

I wouldn't.

joanofarchitrave Fri 27-Apr-12 22:10:20

Does the school have a subscription to Mathletics or similar? If not, could you manage one?

When you have some evidence of what she can do on Mathletics, and what level she has to get to before she is starting to be challenged, take it to her teacher and have a chat about differentiating work for her. I'm going to have a proud mummy moment here, so sick bags at the ready - ds has a maths level that is set specially for him in his class - but in fact, the school is right, it's NOT unusual to be one or two or more years ahead of your cohort at that age. What's great is that as ds's class gets older, several of them are now catching him up, and I think it's partly because that extra level has been set - quite a few of the class are now tackling that level because it's there.

RandomMess Fri 27-Apr-12 22:10:47

I have no idea but look around at the HE forums, you basically just follow their interests. It's not 6 hours of desk work per day! So you could have a trip to a classical music recital and do lots of work based around that - you can compose music completely mathematically for example smile

Do you look after her in the hols rather than use childcare if so you could practice over the summer hols and see what you think of it?

freerangeeggs Fri 27-Apr-12 22:12:15

Don't make the mistake of thinking that because it's independent it will be better. I know a lot of weak teachers who have moved from state to independent (not to suggest that independent teachers are all bad, of course - I'm sure there are many outstanding ones).

Aren't there any other state schools nearby that you could look into?

It does seem like a crazy risk to me. I think if I was your daughter I would grow up to feel pretty awful about making my family's life so miserable.

dunnoreally Fri 27-Apr-12 22:12:21

AM thinking through all your replies - thank you.

mercibucket - it is middleclass for here but I am not aware of any tutoring really. Although I suppose all sorts may go on in private. There are certainly no groups as such.

There are no children of Drs or lawyers or dentists or any of those 'sort of people'. Sounds rude but you know what I mean!? blush There are very few of those people in the town anyway and they are mostly in the private schools or out of town and the parents commute here to work.

maybe I should look at some of the rural tiny state schools. <<sigh>>

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