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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.

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:09:42

Minifingers-when we thought that dd1 had a place but no bursary before a bursary became available for her we researched other ways to fund her education and there were some educational trusts/trusts for parents with certain jobs, none could help us but it may be worth looking up if you havnt already.
Also, I am not sure if they could help you but there's a charity called the black robin club that provides things for children with SN (not sure if this would include school fees but maybe worth a try for you) or if you get a statement for a dc naming a private school I think your LA is duty bound to pay the fees.

I really feel for you as we were so nearly in the position where dd had to go to a school completely unsuitable for her.

Minifingers Sun 21-Jul-13 19:25:33

Actually I think you'll find people's main obsession is their children. Most people can accept that chance or good luck, or circumstance will sometimes result in one person experiencing much better life chances than another in relation to their own situation, but they may find it hard to accept in relation to their children. People should be welcoming of the success and good fortune of others, but when they're anxious about how inequality in education impacts on their own child's life chances , it's sometimes hard to be generous spirited.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 21-Jul-13 18:50:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlienAttack Sun 21-Jul-13 18:44:00

bursaryladu there are as many reasons why people don't qualify for bursaries as you have listed for why they do qualify. My point was not about specific amounts to qualify, it was that some children could have worked hard and performed well but not been eligible for a bursary because their parent earned over £20k. Income is a blunt instrument, for example where there is a lot of equity in the house. Anyway, I don't wish to derail the thread, I think OP's question was about attitudes not how to get a bursary.

bursarylady Sun 21-Jul-13 14:57:59

This is the difference between the children whose parents earn £10k and £20k.

Lots of misinformation here! You don't need to be earning £10K to be eligible for a bursary. Schools recognise that even on a joint salary of £40K, it is a stretch to pay £16K before tax on fees only, plus all the extras. Before you decide you are earning too much for a bursary, call around the schools. Ask! They will take into account personal circumstances, mortgages, etc. Most set their limits on £50K with some mentioning up to £60K. The Whitgift Foundation have a scale starting at £70K. The most important factor for them is whether your child will benefit from the school and the school from your child.

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 12:42:43

Very very tempting to use the uncle steve who is in prison explanation!!!

nlondondad Sun 21-Jul-13 11:00:37

The two great obsessions for people who like being competitive, education and money. And sending your child to a selective, private school, with some form of special financial assistance really does hit the buttons.

I like the advice to give all sorts of daft explanations regarding the source of the cash. (It comes from "uncle" steve, well we call him that, we dont see much of him at the moment, its very generous of him, so we will need to be extra nice to him when he gets out of prison)

I have had people assume we are poor cos we do not own a car....

ariane5 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:37:56

I completely understand that and agree alien. Hence my decision to not broadcast dds bursary to everybody as I didn't want to appear to be showing off in any way.
As it happens people know anyway just through being nosey now!

AlienAttack Sun 21-Jul-13 00:16:54

Sorry OP, only back to this thread now. I said that I agree the comments are intrusive. My suggestion to you to be "careful" About suggesting your DD had worked hard to achieve the bursary may have been misleading and I apologise. I did not mean to suggest your DD had not worked hard. But I wanted to gently remind you that other DC may also have worked hard but not been successful for a bursary simply because of their parents' income rather than what hard work or what results they had achieved. And this is not about those children of parents who can afford the fees. This is the difference between the children whose parents earn £10k and £20k.

waityWaity Sat 20-Jul-13 13:54:43

"We are thinking of not sending my DS2 to the local comp but to a private school in the next town and I find myself unable to talk about it to other parents- it is a reflection on what's on offer locally (limited subject choice) and I don't know how to articulate that without sounding precious. I also feel guilty because I can pay."

You don't need to justify looking at a range of schools, you can just casually (not apologetically!) say that it's one of the ones you're looking at, if schools come up.

It does feel tricky, I know (been there too), but I'm not sure it is unless you get into deep discussions about the pros and cons of different schools, which is when one person having much more choice than others can make the discussion a bit unbalanced and pointless. It's a school, so it's worth looking at, full stop - details not important right now.

Also, don't assume all the people around you who aren't considering private can't afford it. There will be people who can, but who want to avoid single sex education or long journeys, or who just had bad experiences at private schools, or who want better SEN provision or all sorts of things.

All children are individuals and everyone's circumstances are different and the most surprising people can turn out to be considering options you'd never expect them to.

I think a good general rule is that the more choices you have (about anything, not just schools) the less detailed thinking aloud you can do with other parents about the pros and cons of each choice. That's different from actually keeping the fact that you're considering more options secret though.

ariane5 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:39:37

I really can sympathise minifingers.I was very upset when dd initially didn't get a bursary then a week later when others had turned down places we got a letter but in that inbetween period I was very upset as knew what it would mean if she went to a school unsuitable for her needs.

I really hope your ds manages to get the support he needs.

Xenia Sat 20-Jul-13 13:38:09

Not normal at all, really weird (although just about everyone I know sends children to fee paying schools so no one would comment if someone could afford it as we all can so I just am not often amongst people who cannot afford them). I don't think children or other parents at fee paying schools care who pays, who doesn't etc etc. In general if someone has a bursary and has got into a good school you think - well done them, must be a clever hard working child.

Minifingers Sat 20-Jul-13 13:12:11

Again - the bottom line is that EVERYONE wants the best for their children and worries for them. Especially the parents of children with special needs (most of whom, like my ds, won't get any particular help to find a suitable school at secondary), and the parents of children who don't do well academically. People know they should keep their feelings of envy and anxiety to themselves when it comes to discussing school places but hey ho, some of us can't. I've come to terms with the fact that my children will have a second rate education, and I can control my responses when talking to people whose children will have a better deal than mine. But I do remember a time when it was hard, really hard. And it used to make me want to cry.

VenusSurprising Sat 20-Jul-13 01:01:00

Ariane5 well done to your dd for passing the entrance exam.

The parent who is being weird, is being just that: weird!

She has better than you expectations, and your DD has challenged her idea that her kids will be better than yours.
But your DD got in to this school, and hers did not.

She sounds so envious!

You need to practice some of the answers given:
Why do you need to know?
I'll get back to you about that.
The school could answer your questions about the financial aspects of fees better than I could.

And lastly, you don't need to tell anyone anything! Really! You don't! I also forbid you to tell anyone anything they don't need to know.
Mind your own business is fine with a smile. Or, if you feel under pressure from releltles questioning, try smiling, and say, well that would be telling.

You'll find the parents of the students and the girls in your Dds new school will all be lovely, and your dd will have such fun!

Best of luck!

kickassangel Sat 20-Jul-13 00:54:08

I get a discount for dd's school fees, but she had to pass the entrance process. I got one comment about how she must have got in just because I work there. Then their kids stopped asking dd on play dates.

I can only assume that they are jealous. I also suspect that the person who did that had tried to get their dd into the school but was turned down.

I have also had a lot of people ask me exactly what the reduction is for teachers.

As you say, it is nothing to do with anyone else and I never give them a straight answer.

I do find that I fall back on how convenient it is to have dd in the same school as me, but the truth is that we were wondering about private anyway as dd is ADHD/asd, bright and funding round here has been cut massively so she would be in a big class with no support.

My real friends just say that they hear it's a fantastic school, is dd happy, and all the normal responses.

funnyossity Sat 20-Jul-13 00:33:14

waity I understand what you are saying.

We are thinking of not sending my DS2 to the local comp but to a private school in the next town and I find myself unable to talk about it to other parents- it is a reflection on what's on offer locally (limited subject choice) and I don't know how to articulate that without sounding precious. I also feel guilty because I can pay.

waityWaity Sat 20-Jul-13 00:09:02

Who said anything about not wishing a child success?! And the grammar school example is not relevant to what I was talking about, which was private schools, and more specifically someone keeping a plan to go private secret till the last minute, from people they might otherwise be having conversations about schools with. It's nothing to do with a child being the one child to go somewhere else.

Plenty of my dcs peers have gone private or to grammars, and it's no big deal at all - no seething resentment here! However those of their parents who are my friends have always been able to be quite open about trying for exams and interviews at other schools.

If they had been secretly trying for a private school while on the surface pretending to be happy with the state options, I would have been irritated by that when I found out, and that's what I'm suggesting the OP considers may also be behind her friend's manner, not just the fact that she's got a bursary.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:52:13

Also, if this child hadn't got the place at the selective grammar, she would have gone to the outstanding state secondary; no question of the alternative not being good enough as her parents applied to the local comp using the common preference form like everyone else did. Everyone knows this was a back up in case she didn't pass the entrance exams, but still there is no feeling towards this girl and her family other than pleasure that she passed the exams, and pride that a local girl is going to the posh school grin

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:45:18

waitywaity; that might be how you view it, but not me, or anyone I know (unless they are privately seething with jealousy and resentment). Out of 60 Y6 pupils at my DS's outstanding state primary, one child is going on to the selective private grammar school. There is not one fellow pupil, or parent who is feeling that way; the overwhelming response is how clever she must be to have passed the entrance exam and wishing her well, and more than a little concern about her not knowing anyone else at the school. She is one of the most lovely children I have ever met though; so difficult not to wish her every success.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 19-Jul-13 23:40:02

I would tell any future questioners exactly what you have just said; if they raise an eyebrow over your choice of school, say that it's the school that will meet your DD's medical needs better than any other local school. Any self respecting, non intrusive person (if they don't know anything about your DD and her medical problems) will be polite enough not to say anything else. If the questioner still goes on, tell then non of your damn business and walk away, after all, you will most likely not be crossing paths with these people at the school gate for much longer!

Well done to your DD for her academic achievements, and I hope that the school is everything you and she need for a successful future smile

waityWaity Fri 19-Jul-13 23:39:22

"I would not ask how somebody else has afforded their new car/house/holiday so I don't see why our finances are anybody elses business."

Hmm... if they suddenly moved from a two-bedroom terraced house to an eight bedroom mansion with a huge garden and a pool you wouldn't even say "gosh, what a lovely house, did you win the lottery?!"

Anyway don't assume it's all down to the particular way you happen to be paying the fees. Anyone who chooses a private school has to accept the fact that they are implicitly saying the alternative isn't good enough for their child. If you've been keeping quiet till now about your plans then people may feel a bit like they've been made a fool of - as if you've just been pretending you've got the same choices as they have, discussing the nearest state options with friends, and all the time you were thinking secretly to yourself "yuk no way, not for my child, I'm looking elsewhere".

I'm not saying you were wrong to keep it all private (assuming you did, given that these friends have only just found out). Prob v. sensible, but an unfortunate side effect can be that people feel a bit fooled and snubbed, especially if they may have shared their own thoughts about schools and not had entirely honest answers from you because all along you were planning something quite different.

So maybe just consider whether some of the reactions are more to that than to the bursary itself.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:26:42

From what I saw at the induction day all the other girls and parents were lovely.
Nobody there asked any questions, dd got on well with them and said how nice everybody was.

It just seems to be an issue at the current school oddly.

QTPie Fri 19-Jul-13 23:16:29

Re "children at school", any child worth being friends with will make no judgements on size of house or income.

ariane5 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:28:44

The person involved had, up until now been quite friendly but it has all changed since dd got a place at the school.
Her attitude towards me is quite hostile and abrupt and I'm really quite hurt, I feel like I was good enough to be her friend when everything she had was better than me-huge beautiful house v my pokey council house, endless chats about her holidays at pick up time, etc etc etc and suddenly now its all changed.

A couple of mums asked me today about dd going to the school (they were lovely though about it so no problems there) but I havnt told anybody else so can only assume that they have been told by the person who questioned me. I feel uneasy that dd is such a hot topic of conversation. It is taking the happiness out of it all slightly for me.

Somethingyesterday Fri 19-Jul-13 22:12:31

Hmmm ...... Alien I can see your POV but - the reason I'm still buzzing around this thread (and feeling embarrassingly protective of the OP) is that, in far too many areas of my life, I know what it is to endure almost unendurably impertinent questioning from people who are uneasy about my inexplicable existence in what they had imagined was a sufficiently fortressed arena.

People are rude. And relentless.

It's one thing if the OP's closest friends ask her how things work - it's quite another if (and this is the impression I have of the situation) people who have rarely, if ever, spoken to her in the past suddenly show far too much interest in her business.

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