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Private school vs state school - the two tribes

(98 Posts)
UrbanDad Tue 19-Oct-10 14:17:53

I have been walking DCs to their (state) junior school and have noticed a marked difference in the two tribes on either side of the road (girls' independent and prep school on one side, state junior and comprehensive secondary on the other).

These two streams of humanity mark themselves out in the following way:

1. Private school kids hop out of SUVs, whereas there are scooters, bicycles and shanks' pony for the state school kids.
2. No dads or grannies taking private school kids to school - it's almost all mums and nannies.
3. Private school kids look like pack-horses with sports kit with hockey stick, racquet etc., school book bag and occasionally a monstrous musical instrument (sometimes several times the size of the child) whereas the state school kids carry a book bag or nothing at all.
4. Private school girls' skirts are so short they would not be acceptable in the state school (which is odd - there are no boys to impress at the private schools anyway - maybe a girly competitive thing?).
5. Immaculately coiffed hair is de rigeur for the girls' schools, although state school kids have more adventurous hairstyles (e.g. corn-braids, spiky hair).
6. Private school girls are much more diverse in height (some very little, some very tall), but state school kids seem to cluster around the mean.

Missbopeep Fri 01-Mar-13 11:43:23

This is a pretty narrow view. In my town the 2 state schools' kids look like the ones you describe from your private school- the boys and girls here play hockey, learn musical instruments, have loads of kit, etc etc.

Amber2 Fri 01-Mar-13 11:17:47

Xenia, you must be a magic circle law firm partner or hedge fund manager ....but no need to tell us...keep them guessing!

CecilyP Fri 01-Mar-13 11:13:35

Where did you say your DD went to school again, Xenia?

Xenia Fri 01-Mar-13 10:47:00

Heights... varies. My daughter at North London Collegiate (academic private, lots of Indian and Jewish girls i.e. fairly short) who did loads of sport said in lacrosse when they played posh country private schools the girls were all very tall and blonde. When they played largely Afro Caribbean/African origina state school pupils at netball they could be really tall (good for goal shooting). I assume Somali girls are tall but not sure how much they pay netball if they have to be covered etc.

I do agree that you can classify people. You can do it anywhere and amongst adults too. People seem to like their badges of class or group, their public affirmation that they belong to XYZ. In a good few private schools it is a bit common and nouveau riche to drive a ridiculously expensive car. That Perry artist did a good 3 part TV series on class and in his upper class programme the last one the family had a very old car as a matter of course. The middle class trying to look richer than they are lot in their 4 bed new estate homes had the trying to show off kind of cars.

Agree with the being weighed down point. Our 5 children (yes I pay 5 sets of school fees or did and yes women can earn enough to fund that alone plus other costs if they pick careers wisely) are pretty musical (3 won music scholarships). The biggest instruments have been french horn and 'cello and loads of sports bags. I could hardly pick up the bag of one this morning but that's because he obviously is carrying around more than he needs.

DadOnIce Fri 01-Mar-13 09:56:17

The idea of it being "two tribes" is an exaggeration anyway, which one only finds on places like... predominantly middle-class parenting chat fora hmm It's easy to get the impression that parents are divided 50-50, into those who have made one "choice" and those who have made another. In reality, an very small percentage of pupils go to private schools (about 7% nationally, and as low as under 1% in some towns). It isn't even an option for the vast majority of parents. For most normal, working, middle-class people.

To put it into context, 7% is about the proportion of the population which is left-handed smile

seeker Fri 01-Mar-13 09:44:00

No, OP, everyone knows that state school kids and their parents are clad from head to toe in designer gear, drive 4by4s and are tanned from their regular long haul holidays. Oh and are massively fat because they spend all their time watching Sky. While private school kids and parents wqlk 10 miles to school because their beaten up old Volvo has broken down, wear second hand uniform and clothes from charity shops and are still recovering from the trench foot they got on their camping holiday in Cornwall.

EnjoyResponsibly Fri 01-Mar-13 09:38:17

I second the kit. My 5 yo DS looks like he's going on an expedition on a Monday. I just hang bags off him and push him through the gate in the hope his own momentum will get him in the class before he topples over.

On the skirt front our girls grammar school has to be the worst offender. But it was the same when I went there 25 years ago. We had GIANT perms though where now there is ironed barnets.

Amber2 Fri 01-Mar-13 09:35:12

yes height comment is ridiculous...didn't bother to take bait on that one

hardboiled Fri 01-Mar-13 09:28:12

OP My post was edited somehow I meant your height comment was very very silly and flippant. Really.

Amber2 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:56:20

Sorry - SUVs are standard and Range Rovers even more so.. but this is a country prep

Amber2 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:55:09

Think it depends on the private school- DS is not heavily laden at prep school - ...1) sports kit (clothes, boots, sticks etc) for whole term is taken in large holdall on first day of term, and I don't see it again til last day of term - it's all labelled in the right places and sports clothes laundered and sorted weekly by school laundry (which is great)

2) prep (i.e. homework) is done/supervised daily in school after lessons - which is why he has a longer day so not a lot of folders come home.

Rest is musical instruments to and fro and rucksack with a couple of books and pencil case.

hardboiled Wed 27-Feb-13 18:52:43

OP, not in London. Not at all. Somewhere else I dunno.

The height comment is though.

diabolo Wed 27-Feb-13 18:15:11

I've just realised I posted on this thread 2 years ago under a previous name! grin

It still pisses me off a bit though.

diabolo Wed 27-Feb-13 18:12:27

Sorry OP - your "observations" are not typical of the independents I know and use. The everyone drives an SUV stuff is nonsense and as far only mummies and nannies taking the kids to school - really? Are you being truthful here? Do you live in Chelsea? Are they all the children of oligarchs?

The only things I would agree with is that more children (at Junior level anyway) are driven to school, (as the privates draw their custom from a 10/20 mile or so radius - not exactly walk-able) and yes - they certainly do carry more kit.

Naranji Wed 27-Feb-13 16:50:30

That OP was a bit bitter wasn't it? I have two at private, one at state. They all have nice hair smile. Yes, the private school kids have loads of kit - that's because they all learn an instrument and all play loads of sport. They work hard at both, its not a fashion statement. State school dd also learns an instrument but the only music lessons they do at her school are recorder and piano - the recorder fits in her book bag and they don't expect her to carry the piano around wink.

You've generalised, so so shall I. None of the state school comprehensive kids wear coats here as they don't have pegs, if they wear coats they have to carry them around all day. When they tried to introduce lockers, stuff kept getting vandalised and nicked. I think I'll take the extra violin cases.

EducationalAppStore Wed 27-Feb-13 11:48:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Learningtoread101 Wed 27-Feb-13 11:25:33

Cor OP, chip on shoulder much?!

TiffIsKool Wed 27-Feb-13 10:52:10

A large heavy duty bag stuffed with books is part of my DCs standard daily 'uniform' at their indie. Most days they have extra luggage like sports bag and instrument case. Less books I can understand but why arent the state kids laden down with sports bags???

I don't have a SUV but I accept that many others do, probably so that they can transport all the kids plus the above mentioned 'luggage'.

Fashion? No difference. Girls are girls regardless of type of school. And since when girls let limited funds determine what clothes to buy? smile

outtolunchagain Wed 27-Feb-13 10:24:32

You obviously have better public transport than us Racing, the earliest bus from our village is 10.15am.There are school buses but I work next door to the school so drive.

Not much difference in terms of smartness here , if anything I think the local state school is neater ,skirts tend to be shorter but a more flattering style than the independent . There are a lot more designer labels on display at state though , practically all the girls seem to have Jack Wills and Abercrombie sweatshirts on to walk to school.

It does puzzle me that the teens have such small bags though, even the 15 and 16 year olds seem to have a small drawstring or just a handbag . Do they do all their homework online? The independents seem have huge rucksacks full of books , and I know because ds 1 was at the I dependent that they do store stuff at school so don't need to bring everything home, it is homework.

State high performing by the way so not implying that they don't do homework or not work as hard etc, just puzzled.

Talkinpeace Tue 26-Feb-13 22:53:49

I drive mine to school - out of catchment, buses at wrong times and cost lots, no trains, 4.5 miles away.
they get the bus home

racingheart Tue 26-Feb-13 22:51:12

OP I'm surprised any parents at all are taking their DC to secondary school. Round here, state or private, they make their own way by train, bus or on foot.

Your number 3 on the list is also surprising. Round here the comps also provide loads of chances for people to play monstrous musical instruments and different sports. I'd not be keen on any school that had pupils who couldn't be bothered to play a range of sport and instruments, or read a lot of books. Walking like packhorses from the SUVs they've just hopped out of into the school grounds can't be too arduous. wink

Talkinpeace Tue 26-Feb-13 21:04:19

having been at private, lots of friends kids are private, my kids are state
I thought the OP was really funny
inaccurate but funnyte

surreygoldfish Tue 26-Feb-13 20:26:54

SC - hadn't noticed this was old - hey ho - mild diversion whilst cooking dinner!

LaVolcan Tue 26-Feb-13 20:26:18

Never noticed that! That's the trouble, once a thread gets resurrected you tend not to look at the date. I thought it was possibly a light hearted response to the thread about whether you would go to state school if you could afford private, which got to 1000 posts.

surreygoldfish Tue 26-Feb-13 20:25:43

This made me smile - gosh some people are touchy.....

YYYY to the clobber - particularly at prep v state primary. Net bags - clothes, hockey sticks, trainers, astro boots, football boots etc plus cricket bags in summer, book bags, plus instruments of varying size. Local juniors - one rucksack.

YYYY to SUVs - generally large - parking a nightmare (most drive) we feel smug as walk - but the amount of kit does stop some walking relatively small distances....

YYYY to daft uniform at prep (berets and boaters and blazers over cricket whites in summer really is daft and i hated these trapping at first but have got used to it.) More variation in secondary round here.

Mixed bag in terms of who drops off - will also look out for the height thing!

We've done both state and private, have friends locally in both, so don't have an axe to grind either way.....From what I have seen locally, have no doubt that they are worked harder in the private system from an earlier age and have less free time....but that's part of the offering from the schools here....(pre secondary a mixed ability bunch in both state and independent locally)

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