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Is this the usual attitude to recipients of scholarships/bursaries?

(90 Posts)
ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:18:43

Dd has a v generous bursary for secondary school. Twice in the last fortnight I have been asked which school she will be going to.

The first person looked surprised when I said name of school, repeated it twice to me and then said "oh, does she have a scholarship" to which I said yes and she said "I see" and the second person quizzed me over every aspect of it.

Clearly it is obvious we have no money, I myself wouldn't question anybody even if I thought they couldn't afford fees for a particular school but I have been surprised how quick others have been to ask me.

Maybe I am overthinking things. I just worry a bit that if its that obvious we are getting help will it set dd apart and the other children at the school will know too? Tbh as soon as dd makes friends and they come back to our teeny council house they will probably guess.

I am just surprised at how judgy the people I've spoken to seem.I'm still surprised people think its ok to question how I'm affording to send dd there and assuming its with financial assistance.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:23:45

change your reply to
"no, trust fund came through"
and watch them shuffle away back under their rocks
or "great uncle ethelred is paying, we may have to meet him some day"
or "no, we won that exact amount on the lottery"
daft questions deserve daft answers

BreasticlesNTesticles Thu 18-Jul-13 20:27:37

Barking laughter followed by "oh god, no, we're loaded" and walk off.

Jealous and/or nosy and/or rude.

<wonders in OP has bumped into my SIL>

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:30:32

"oh, its a temporary thing while we build the house on our new island"

getting all sorts of bad thoughts about telling every person a different daft answer
(and they have to be really, really daft so that DD can tell her friends the truth without being accused of lying)

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:32:08

It has just surprised me hugely. Never in a million years would I ask somebody how they can afford x, y or z.

Bowlersarm Thu 18-Jul-13 20:33:11

I wouldn't worry about it. At the school my DC go to there are loads of children on scholarships and many on bursaries. And lots more who's fees are paid for by grandparents.

We have to pay unfortunately, so I am very envious of anyone lucky enough to have a bursary.

Maybe people are curious. But I doubt your DD will be made to feel out of place because of it. Children don't tend to be aware too much of that kind of thing. (Although I have not terribly aware DSes-not sure if girls would be different). Be confident with her about it, if she knows, it is not something to be embarrassed about. She should be proud of her scholarship smile

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:35:18

Brilliant that your DD got a good bursary. They are like hens' teeth so she definitely deserves one. It's hard to tell why people react the way they do. Maybe they don't think children should get a private school education if their parents can't afford it? Maybe it challenges their assumptions about what private school is and stands for? Who knows? Our children's school is very good in enabling children from lower income families to attend. They are less good with people from average income families in temporary straits but that's fine. It's just as it should be.

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:36:58

PS: DD got a music scholarship for the next 2 years- it's not masses (10%) but makes it a bit less like a white knuckle ride.

lunar1 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:37:24

I think it depends on the school but nobody cares at ds1's school who is on a bursary/scholarship. Their bullying policy is amazing though and there is no way one of the pupils would get away with it.

The parents are lovely too, we did however select the school for its pastoral care and community/ family feel rather than going for a hugely academic school.

duchesse Thu 18-Jul-13 20:39:36

Oh and no way does anyone look down on DC with scholarships. I doubt anyone in my DC's schools really knows who has and who hasn't.

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:43:33

I know how lucky dd is to have got such a good opportunity and I am so pleased for her. She worked incredibly hard though as we couldn't afford a tutor like her friends so I was thrilled she got in and have been proud when people ask where she's going.

Now I'm feeling slightly anxious when people ask as it seems to precede lots of questions and hmm looks.

BeckAndCall Thu 18-Jul-13 20:45:06

Bursaries and scholarships are not the same thing.

Scholarships are awarded to children for high achievement - academic, music sport etc. regardless of financial means.

Bursaries are awarded according to family circumstances.

Tasmania Thu 18-Jul-13 20:47:32

Don't worry - I am assuming the questions came from people whose DC is not at the school?! Are they neighbors who have similar income, and could not afford it? Jealousy can cause this. The "why her kid not mine?" thinking.

Also, many people who send their DCs to private school with their own money are perennially skint for one sole reason! So in the end, many are in the same boat...

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 20:58:18

When she asked was it a scholarship I said yes as didn't want to lie and say we were paying full fees yet didn't want to go into the whole bursary thing as got the feeling I'd just be questioned further!

The other person who asked was much more direct even saying how they couldn't afford fees unless they gave up a car/holidays etc and I just felt a bit like the conversation was getting very awkward as they were asking will my other dcs go for "free places" too.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:59:39

time to practice those daft lies then.

It is NONE of other people's business how you arrange your finances
unless those finances are entirely taxpayer funded benefits

amigababy Thu 18-Jul-13 21:00:11

I can't say how it affected my parents, whether anyone asked them, but from my POV at school (vvv small private school) it was acknowledged that I was "the scholarship girl" but that was in purely factual way, no edge to it, accepted that I would win annual academic prizes etc, no problems with any of this at all. As each year started there was mild curiosity over who got the scholarship that year ( a bit like at dd's grammar school now where they all know who got the top score in the test that year but no one makes a fuss at all about it)

I did once get a bill to pass on to parents, which was a bit scary till they realised it had the term's fees on the top line and then the total deducted as a discount further down. It was interesting to see how much I was "receiving" as we honestly had no idea, and it has gone up since I had started there (olden days, no smart prospectuses available then)

Noggie Thu 18-Jul-13 21:01:07

I work in an independent school and nobody but the headmaster and the bursar knows who is on a bursary etc

ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:03:50

The only benefits we get are ctc and dla for dcs. Part of applying for the school was due to medical needs but dd still had to do well in the exams.

Somethingyesterday Thu 18-Jul-13 21:11:20

The usual attitude to recipients of scholarships / bursaries is AWE followed by ENVY followed by mental somersaults to overcome the first two emotions and recalibrate the world to enable the "reacter" to stand on the moral high ground...

"Oh well OFF COURSE..."
"I would NEVER send..."
"Well of course WE..."

Obviously I'm speaking of people who might possibly have been in even indirect competition with the recipient. Everyone else will be delighted for you. If they know.


ariane5 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:20:25

The thing is neither person has a dd same age as dd1 so it was surprising. The second person was asking will my other dcs go for "free places" as her dd is same age as my dd2 and she was saying how her dd deserves a place and they are very interested in scholarships. I got the feeling she thinls there is 1 'special' free place a year??

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:22:17

When ds started at his school in September where probably 75% of the children came up through its own prep, a couple of the parents asked me if ds had a scholarship but that was (I think) because their sons had come home saying 'MiniHey is really clever and knows loads of stuff about X Y and Z' (they told me this) and because they didn't know who had got scholarships (as they shouldn't), so idle speculation. When I said 'No', they just said 'Oh' or 'You should try for one in year 9, my ds said he was really bright'...

I can only assume they were trying to pass on 'compliments' from their dc and not passing judgement on whether we looked like we could afford the school or not.

Most people couldn't give two hoots about other people's circumstances; the children even less so.

Picturepuncture Thu 18-Jul-13 21:24:59

There are loads of people with misconceptions, jealousies and downright nosy opinions about private education.

I think you will discover that once DD has started, the people she (and you) meet through school will care much less.

Picturepuncture Thu 18-Jul-13 21:27:29

CarrieAnn IME some parents care a lot about who has/might get a scholarship- because of the prestige (being very bright), that's a much bigger badge of honour than money- something most independent school parents don't talk about (because they either have loads or none!)

HeyCarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-13 21:28:00

Just realised you meant other parents NOT with dc going to your dd's new school were a bit 'snotty'. Just rude/nosy/maybe jealous, like a pp said.

Happymum22 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:28:01

Maybe I'm being stupid, will blame my tiredness, but do you have a bursary or a scholarship or both? I am not sure from your comments.. Is it that you have a bursary but called it a scholarship to your friend?

DC had bursaries and no one ever knew, I guess our money difficulties weren't that obvious as they began a few years after DC started at the school and DD never felt any need or wish to tell anyone.
At our school a good number of the DC were sent because of the academic excellence and struggled to scrape together fees, not having holidays and living in relatively small houses etc. My DC didn't stand out whatsoever because of this, other DC never commented nor parents about us not going off on holidays regularly or living in a pretty small house. DC were still invited to all sorts of houses and their DC happily came over to play at ours. Children really don't care- even at Secondary school.
DDs had additional bursaries due to me working at a school in the same company/group as their school, no one knew or asked about this even though it is widely known children of teachers within the group all got discounts.

Think it is something very personal and nothing to share, perhaps with a very close friend, but no further than that. Past that, I have never experienced anyone outrightly ask and once you are at the school you will hopefully find no one ever comments on the matter.

If it is a scholarship...
Scholarship holders were well announced and known about at DC's schools though, perhaps I would congratulate a close friend if their DC had won one. Especially if I knew they would struggle to attend the school otherwise and hence meant a lot to the family. Otherwise I wouldn't comment and from my experience apart from the initial polite congratulations among parents who are friends, it is not something that needs to be discussed, showed off about or compared. Our school was different maybe as it was so academic, just to get a place meant your DC was very bright and the difference between scholarship holders and non-scholarship holders was often so slim that it was somewhat seen as irrelevant...Maybe except the discount scholarship holders got!

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