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Coping with children's attitudes to private school

(136 Posts)
GooseyLoosey Tue 23-Oct-12 09:52:42

There have been lots of threads here about the way in which adults view private education but I am looking for some advice in relation to children's perspectives.

I live in a small village and I took my children out of the village school in April. I am aware that some people have criticised my decision and perceive me negatively as a result. This upset and surprised me, but I am a grown up and can deal with this.

Because the community we live in is a fairly close one, I have tried very hard to ensure that the dcs remain a part of it. This means that they are still involved with village sports and I ensure that they still see village friends.

The problem is that ds (9) is now getting a lot of negative comments about the school he goes to, about how it is full of nerds and he will grow up to be a geek with no friends etc. etc. He is easily hurt and he wants to react to this by withdrawing from village life completely.

What do you think? Should I let him or should I encourage him to confront their views?

iseenodust Tue 23-Oct-12 10:01:23

Kids can be horrid. I would encourage him to maintain his village friends and the village sports. Part of it is lack of understanding and probably part spouting what (small minded/jealous of the opportunity) parents have said at home. If he doesn't rise to the comments, time will pass and they will move on to who hasn't got a superdry hoodie or whatever. Keep inviting them round and supplying the cake.

difficultpickle Tue 23-Oct-12 10:01:52

Comments from whom? Other children or adults? Ds goes to private school but all the dcs he plays with go to state school. No negative comments as he is in year 4 and no one cares where each other goes to school. Is it children the same age making comments or older? I would be inclined to get your ds to ignore the comments because they will probably only get worse if he reacts.

GooseyLoosey Tue 23-Oct-12 10:13:32

Thanks both.

The comments are from other children. If they were from adults, I would deal with them in no uncertain terms. The kids are the same age (now in Yr 5) and were formerly in his class at the village school. My advice to ds so far has been to ignore them but they are clearly upsetting him now. Previously he loved playing football, now I can see him looking for excuses not to play. He has come away from training trying not to cry.

tovetove Tue 23-Oct-12 10:27:47

Dd1 and dd2 are fully aware that some children now think they, and by default us, are snobs. I have heard other children say that their school 'is full of snobs' to them. However, the dds rise above it and are actually still good friends with these children who now the dust has settled (they've been at private school for 4 years now) only say it jokingly which the dds seem to accept in good part as they are beautifully mannered children who can laugh at themselves grin

happygardening Tue 23-Oct-12 10:28:28

Sounds to me like the children are repeating the comments of their parents! Frankly if your DC is that upset by the comments then why don't you keep away from these children for a while and see if it all blows over or perhaps change football teams he'll go in as the child who goes to an independent school rather than the child who used to go to a state school whose parents moved him! I think you'll find that as children get older you'll get less comments as older children are often more accepting of difference.

GooseyLoosey Tue 23-Oct-12 10:32:24

That is exactly the kind of comments ds is getting (though oddly not dd who is a year younger). He does not want to engage in an argument with them but I think he lacks the ability to let it wash over him. He takes it to heart and it hurts him.

I think he would be happy just to associate with children from his new school and to let all of his village associations go. I could let this happen, but am not sure that it is the right thing and that in the long term he might not regret it.

rabbitstew Tue 23-Oct-12 10:35:27

Villages can be cruel places.... It is most definitely children spouting the prejudices of their parents. When I was at (state) village primary school, in my final year, I got a lot of unkind comments about being posh, about how I apparently thought I was better than everyone else and thought I was wonderful, about my posh accent which I couldn't help and the house I lived in, which I also couldn't help - all because of the divisions caused by the 11 plus (none of these things were an issue before the 11 plus year - apparently I didn't suffer from these defects, then). I found it dreadfully upsetting at the time, because however hard I tried to argue I wasn't any of those things or couldn't help those things, some people just kept saying them, but my parents just kept telling me that it was just jealousy and understandable, really - I did have advantages other people didn't have, including a loving family, and I was very lucky and people can be horrid, but it's not because they are all horrid people or I deserve them to be horrid to me, it's because they are hurting, too, because life just isn't fair. Frankly, it didn't make me feel any better about it at all, because I just wanted to fit in, but it at least helped me see that it wasn't my fault and whilst it was all very personal, it wasn't personal, really. I could be the nicest person in the world and still provoke the same reaction and the people who were really worth knowing would grow out of saying those things or never said them in the first place. It certainly taught me to tell a fair weather friend from a real friend - I've been exceptionally good at choosing my friends ever since... and it was often the people at the bottom of the social and economic pecking order, who in some ways had most reason to be jealous of me, who were the nicest - because they knew what it was like to be picked on and unfairly judged, too... It taught me that there are actually plenty of people in the world you can join up with who don't have the pack mentality.

Sparklingbrook Tue 23-Oct-12 10:37:46

State School older children round here call the Private school 'Hogwarts'. My two DC have never really mentioned it.

They both go to state schools (Middle and High School). The ten year old isn't really aware but DS1 (13) presumes people that people who are well off go to private school I think. He has friends that go to state and private and they all seem the same to me and get along fine.

Hopefully it will get better as he gets older Goosey.

Sparklingbrook Tue 23-Oct-12 10:40:06

Can I ask a genuine question? My 2 went to a tiny village First School and a lot of parents sent them private for Year 5 when First School finished. Why not private from the start? No axe to grind. Just curious as it's like State was ok to start with then it wasn't. confused

tovetove Tue 23-Oct-12 10:41:03

Because usually state IS ok to start with and then it isnt.

That was my experience anyway.

Sparklingbrook Tue 23-Oct-12 10:43:48

So would it be around Year 5 that things go all horribly wrong in state schools?

GooseyLoosey Tue 23-Oct-12 10:46:28

I hope so Sparling, I really do. He was unhappy at the village school and has been so happy since we moved him.

If I withdraw him from the village football team, it will have difficulties in continuing as they will struggle for numbers to field a team. That too will become ds's fault and alienate him even further from the boys I thought he would grow up alongside. Maybe that doesn't matter though? I do just wonder if there will be a time when he wishes he had friends whose house he could walk around to rather than ones who live 10 miles away and that on occasions like bonfire night etc he could hang around in the big crowd.

Rabbit you are so right, villages can be cruel. They have a lovely side to them but stray from what is expected and they are not nice at all.

Happy, I too have wondered if they are repeating their parents' comments. I think I may be a little like ds because I too find that idea hurtful.

jeee Tue 23-Oct-12 10:47:00

This can cut both ways. At a sports event at a local prep school I saw a boy who had until recently attended that school being teased by his former classmates for having to attend a 'chavvy' state school. And I've heard various other similar comments from children at fee-paying schools.

Of course, I've also heard state school kids making the kind of comments the OP talks about.

Children tend to be proud of the school they attend (even if it is 'bog-standard' state), which can unfortunately mean that they criticise other types of school.

tovetove Tue 23-Oct-12 10:48:33

I moved mine in year 5. IMO and E it is when things should really start to step up. Also we don't have the middle school system (which is very good IMO), so there was no feeling of moving on when children got to year 5. It was just more of the same for the last 2 years.

Mine wanted to do more. Their private school offers a huge amount of extra curric (too much!), an orchestra, loads of sport, lots of charity work and extra academic lessons such as Latin, French, Geography, History, Science all in dedicated rooms with dedicated teachers. They took off like rockets. They'd have been bored and frustrated at the village school for years 5 and 6.

iseenodust Tue 23-Oct-12 10:49:38

We hopefully will be moving DS for year5 (currently yr4). State primary has been a mixed bag for us so far but we really like/appreciate the school he currently attends. However our state secondary choices are essentially two. For various reasons we don't feel either would be great for DS. So we will be moving him early but with the bonus of not wasting much of y6 doing SATS papers.

tovetove Tue 23-Oct-12 10:50:52

Don't withdraw him unless he hates it.

Like finds like with kids and if there are boys there that he likes it would do more harm than good to move him. Just try and rise above it. I tell my children that with all their advantages it is good to experience the rough (unkind comments) with the smooth. And with the attitude to private school children being what it is as the moment in the media they are going to have to get used to it!!

Doodlez Tue 23-Oct-12 10:52:11

Oh, we had this. Exactly this! And I don't think it's the children just repeating what they've heard at home either! I think one or two repeat their parents ' views and hey presto, all the little sheep children follow suit and it gathers speed!

My DS & DD are three years down the line and pretty much withdrawn from local life EXCEPT...they've both retained a couple of local friends and it's enough Goosey, it really is BECAUSE what's happening now, as they've grown and matured, it they are becoming really good at saying "Jeez, I changed school like THREE YEARS AGO! Are you not over it yet? Move on - everyone else has!". The one or two friends they retained from home are now helping them bridge the gap back in to local life.

My DS went up into Yr7 in September from the attached private junior school. This had an interesting effect on his view too. All of a sudden, all these 'outside' kids arrived on the scene and they're a really mixed bunch. Some come from loaded familes. Most don't. The school operates a robust bursary scheme. This has given DS a much more balanced and positive view of it all and therefore, his confidence has grown too.

tovetove Tue 23-Oct-12 10:52:21

Yes we never intended ours to go to the local state secondary so year 6 in state primary would have been a waste of time.

Sparklingbrook Tue 23-Oct-12 10:53:06

You are not wrong about villages. We drove to the great tiny village school but didn't have to live there fortunately. Clicky, nosey and the gossiping was shock. I jokingly called it Royston Vasey. grin

I would be tempted to stick with the footy if at all possible. DS1's footy team is a real mixture of state, private and boarding school and everyone gets along together. Could you have a word with the coach?

seeker Tue 23-Oct-12 10:54:05

I was just about to come on and say that sdly, this happens both ways. My ds is having a hard time at an after school activity at the moment with children whe were his good friends in year 6, but who think he is not worth knowing now because he isn't at grammar or private school.

It is heartbreaking- but it is a symptom of our divisive education system.

Op- what I say to ds is not to let other people stop him doing what he wants to do, and things will get better in time. Personally, I think that it's a shame this dividing up of children happens at a time of the year when the weather and dark evenings means there is less messing about outdoors going on, so the children only mix in "formal" clubs. But that might be my hobby horse!

iseenodust Tue 23-Oct-12 10:55:10

Back to OP. When they hit 11 will all the village kids go to one school or will some also go elsewhere (whether state or private)?

GooseyLoosey Tue 23-Oct-12 10:55:44

Sparkling, I so wanted them to go to the village school and to be part of the community. I saw no advantage in private school education, I just wanted them to be happy and to enjoy learning. Sadly, by the time I moved them, ds was very unhappy and dd (a quiet, well liked girl, floating about the middle) was struggling in a class of 34 where the teacher had no time to spare and she had no confidence to ask for help.

thebestisyettocome Tue 23-Oct-12 10:55:55

How awful.
Shame on the parents who have taught their children to be inverted snobs.

difficultpickle Tue 23-Oct-12 10:55:56

Ds moved from a prep day school to a prep boarding school (flexi boarding). He has met up with his old school friends and none of them have made negative comments about why he is now at boarding school (they are all keen to know about it). The same cannot be said for some of their parents but none has said anything to my face.

I also know dcs who have moved from prep to state for financial reasons and nothing negative has been said when they all meet up.

Ds has never been to the village school but was at the village nursery so knows plenty of children from there. No issues at all other than not having dcs to play with this week as they are all still at school and ds is already on half term.

I'm surprised at year 5 dcs saying something, it is something I would expect from older children so it is probably eminating from their parents.

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