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‘Posher’ versus ‘poorer’ school – what’s the real difference?

(325 Posts)
stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 13:58:04

A bit long, sorry.

Please feel free to be very candid about this, I am being! I am forrin and my perception/hang ups about class/social advantage are different to DH's (or the majority of the population for that matter).

My DD will start primary school next September. So far, we have seen two state schools. Both are in our catchment, although one of them is very small and oversubscribed (we are talking 70 vs. 170-ish pupils) The larger school has a Good Ofsted, so does the small school. The larger school is in our relatively 'poor' (if you like more 'working class') village, whereas the small school is in the more affluent village next door. When I have spoken to parents asking for advice I can't shake the feeling that there is a certain snobbery towards the larger, 'poorer' school, and I am not sure that it's actually a better school.

We like both schools, but they are totally different and we can't decide our order of preference.

I guess my question is, would we be missing a trick by not pushing for the small school? Is there some sort of 'social advantage' to be gained for DD? (also could it even influence whether she gets a place in the oversubscribed local state grammar later on?). We are not the type to engage in convoluted social dilly-dallying for personal gain, but we are not so naive that we think it does not exist (we are just useless at it!) and we are aware that it's not all about numbers and academic ability.

DoIDare Mon 22-Oct-12 14:00:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorriedBetty Mon 22-Oct-12 14:01:07

If you go to a posher school, you won't have a swarm of thickies saying 'who do you think you are' when you say 'I can read' Also you won't get the careers teacher mistakenly thinking that you never want to leave the town you grew up in and would really like a shit job in a factory making cakes or whatever.

BramblyHedge Mon 22-Oct-12 14:02:02

You could visit them and see how they actually feel rather than prejudging them.

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:03:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:04:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:05:11

Thanks for the replies.

DoIDare, DH seems to think that too.

Blimey Betty, that's exactly what I meant by being candid wink. Do you honestly think it can be as bad as that, or are you being tongue-in-cheek maybe?

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:07:24

Thanks BramblyHedge and usualsuspect

Like I said, we have been to see both. Gut feeling so far is leaning very slightly towards the larger school but the 'missing a trick' side of things is nagging me...

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:13:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorriedBetty Mon 22-Oct-12 14:15:02

read 'why working class kids get working class jobs' and the anti-intelligence value system.

lisad123 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:18:34

Dd1 went to a very large eg 90 in each year group, school in a not great area. She is a bright quiet child and the school had an outstanding Ofstead. However the parents were pretty dire and there was so major problems with children's behaviour in class.
We have just moved her to a small school and the change in her has been great. The teachers have time for her, because they aren't managing a massive class and a huge school. The children there are nice, of course there are kids with behavioural issues but no where near as bad.

Personally I would go for the smaller school.

wordfactory Mon 22-Oct-12 14:19:21

OP, the class system is very muvh alive and well in the UK and the education system is very much a reflection of it.

JoanBias Mon 22-Oct-12 14:20:40

I'm sure there must be a tendency to promote low-status jobs to people in poor areas. Can you imagine the careers adviser at a £20k/year private school telling their students (some of whom will be much less bright than children at state schools in a poor area) to get a job as checkout assistant? Parents would not be impressed.

Perhaps you can stand outside the gates at chucking out time, if there's a lot of parents there with a fag hanging out of their mouth, a dog on a piece of string, wearing pyjamas at 3:30pm, then I'd worry?

Rosebud05 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:21:33

The 'posher' school is likely to have more engaged parents, more PTA events and funds and possibly be a bit more cliquey especially as it's small.

I think you're absolutely right about the snobbery towards schools with a perceived 'poorer' intake.

Parents also get a bit extreme and bonkers about schools - a friend of mine has just moved her child to a school which she's spend 5 years criticising. It's now the best thing since sliced bread.

If you can go with your heart and rise above social snobbery, you'll be unorthodox, that's for sure.

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:21:47

Being close is one of the attractions of the bigger school, I must admit. Which in turn makes me think I'm being a negligent mother by choosing my own convenience over by DD's future confused

Thanks for the reference Betty, I'll check it out.

If would be interesting to hear from someone who has kids in a good school in a 'rougher' area. They are not that rare, are they?

Aboutlastnight Mon 22-Oct-12 14:23:51


<goes for fag>

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wordfactory Mon 22-Oct-12 14:24:35

On MN there are oodles of posters claiming to send their DC to the nearest school and being super happy.

But MN is a bubble of a particular type of middle class left leaning porfessional wink.

Back in the real world parents do whatever they can to secure a place in the best school they can.

JoanBias Mon 22-Oct-12 14:25:41

I think you have to read between the lines with Ofsted. If school A has 30% ESL students, 40% free school meals, then it will be 'Good' if it gets average results. It may be 'Outstanding' for someone from that background, but 'Failing' for a less disadvantaged children.

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:25:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VeremyJyle Mon 22-Oct-12 14:28:58

When DC make friends with "Poppy and Timothy" whose parents work in law firms or "Shaniquabcdefg and Tyler" whose parents work in a pub, who would you rather they were asking for work experience later in life? This is how my SIL put it to me. You asked for candid that's about as candid as you can get

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Oct-12 14:30:12

Sorry, threading moving a bit fast.

Lisad123, that's very interesting to hear. 'Shy and bright' sums DD up, which is why we are considering the small school, even if it's further away (and may have a few traits I'm not that keen on). But then the larger school is not that big either.

wordfactory, that's what I'm afraid of.

Rosebud05, what you say makes sense. In fact, one of the parents at the posh school admits to it being clickey.

JoanBias but if a kid seems bright and able, I wouldn't think the school would discourage him, would it? smile at the pyjamas at the gates suggestion.

wordfactory Mon 22-Oct-12 14:30:49

I suspect the OP is not part of your real world usual...or she would hardly be posting on MN about education.

But it is a fair point OP. The larger school will probably have many children whose parents don't mind where their DC go to school. The smaller school will probably have children whose parents do mind...

Which camp do you wanna be in?

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 22-Oct-12 14:33:52

My children are now in a very good school in a very affluent area. Most of the children have parents who care a lot about education, some might call them pushy. The children have various activities, play cello, violin, go to stagecoach (it is so useful for confidence and public speaking), or been playing sport since Reception (rugby, football), swimming, gymnastic, etc. And from Y5 onwards, most have seen tutors, with the aim to get to grammar, or sit exams for independent schools. These children have received a lifetime of coaching towards one goal: An excellent Future.

Until last year my children were in a local school in provincial Norway, where most of the parents had very little aspirations for their children. Children were supposed to be children, not have homework, but play out and roam free. I guess you can call it rough. Maybe even "working class" - despite Norway having a very flat class less structure. What need is there for education, if your child is likely to be a lorry driver, tarmac layer, fisherman, work in a fish factory, etc. The best you can hope for is work as a teacher, or in local government, or study medicine and law, to practice in this little provincial outpost. But by all means, dont let anybody know you have aspirations beyond working at the post office! shock

Guess where my children experienced narrow-mindedness, intolerance and bullying? Guess where they are thriving?

Aboutlastnight Mon 22-Oct-12 14:34:28

I think you have already decided op.

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