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Are we mad?

(19 Posts)
JammieMummy Sun 04-Aug-13 16:05:14

We are quite a way off yet, but are considering schooling options for our son. Our daughter attends a local girls indie (prep school) and there are a large number of girls secondary options locally to us for what ever type of child she turns out to be in a few years time. However, there is very little by way of boys or co-ed prep schools which we feel would suit our son and almost nothing at secondary level locally (unless he turns out to be über bright - not impossible but we won't count our chickens just yet!).

We are therefore considering a more traditional prep school starting at 7 or 8 with a view to him attending a public school for secondary. Of course this has the caveat that the schools would have to be right for him and his personality. We are not in the habit of throwing our money away for no good reason, it would have to offer him the right education etc. We are lucky that there is a good state infants school locally, which he is likely to get a place at and all the children move from there to other schools at 7 so it is a natural breaking point for him.

The concern I have with this plan is that we do not live in a big house (nice sized 3 bed detached in a good area) we don't drive flash cars etc and although we do enjoy lovely holidays they are alternate years. We would not be eligible for a bursery as we own other properties and they (in part) will be funding his education. We have "professional" jobs that pay well and we are careful with what we earn.

My question is this (if anyone has braved reading thus far). Will he be a fish out of water in these schools? Will he be teased for a small house etc? I would hate to put him in an environment whereby his worth was not judged on his own merits but that he didn't live in the right place or mummy and daddy didn't have good enough jobs! I don't want to spend time and energy researching and visiting schools etc if the ethos will make him an outsider from the start.

Please don't turn this into a "state vs private" thread, I know all of those arguments (being state educated ourselves) but genuinely want advice on if I am "barking up the wrong tree" so to speak

Coconutty Sun 04-Aug-13 16:07:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JammieMummy Sun 04-Aug-13 16:13:52

Thank you coconutty! We are worried because you hear about children "comparing" and while this doesn't happen at our daughter's lovely smaller school, I am concerned that school's which are known to be "posh"-er may have issues. We are thinking of schools like Woodcote, Sunningdale and in the future (in our dreams) Eaton, Winchester etc although I am aware that he would need to be über bright for these!

Coconutty Sun 04-Aug-13 18:07:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LottienHuw Sun 04-Aug-13 18:30:50

The independent schools local to me have children from lots of different backgrounds.

Many of them are being funded by Grandparents yet their parents live in little terraced houses and drive small/modest cars.

Some parents are very wealthy and live in huge houses in the country and drive some very high end cars.

Some children live on the local estate and have bursaries to cover all their fees.

I have found that the children really dont mind who lives where, occasionally you do get the odd parent commenting on who can now send their children to the independant schools but as a general rule you hear very little from that sort of person.

If you want to send your son to an independent school then thats exactly what you should do.

peteneras Sun 04-Aug-13 20:31:32

” Will he be a fish out of water in these schools? Will he be teased for a small house etc?”

Don’t be silly. Don’t even think about this and get it completely out of your mind. Your son may get the vibe from mum and he’d start his life with an inferior complex and carry it through for the rest of his adult life - all for nothing. Even at the posh-est school in the land, you’ll find paupers and princes mixing together without one knowing who the other is. And they don’t ask.

JammieMummy Sun 04-Aug-13 21:27:59

Thank you all for your reassurances!

Peteneras - I think you are right, I definitely don't want to be the cause of any issues or the reason he doesn't settle. I would worry about him being able to invite friends over during exeats etc.

Although I am sure it would help if I could spell "Eton" if he is going to attend confused

keepsmiling12345 Sun 04-Aug-13 21:30:26

You sounds very comfortably well off to me so I don't see you'd be a fish out of water at all.

Gatita1980 Mon 05-Aug-13 19:56:13

Heya, I was at Marlborough College a while ago and we had people there from all backgrounds and it never made any difference to me or anyone else I was friends with. My kids are now privately educated and the same goes for them, many families help with fees, it's not an issue for the children, it makes no odds to them. If it does it could more likely come from the parents than the kids. I also teach in the non private sector and the kids there come from all over as well. Don't worry about it smile

JammieMummy Mon 05-Aug-13 21:54:13

Thank you Gatita, it is good to hear from someone who was there! We are very new to this and to be honest it feels a bit like a foreign land. It is very helpful to hear about your experiences and those of your children.

Gatita1980 Tue 06-Aug-13 07:57:34

Not a problem, I was the with some seriously socialite kids who could have looked down on me and made life tough, but I made my own friends and still have them 15 years after leaving. Kids are resilient and as long as they have good self belief and someone to talk to if they need to they will be fine.

trinity0097 Tue 06-Aug-13 14:41:19

Some of the kids at the prep where I work have Dad's with helicopters or 2nd homes far flung exotic places where they top up their tan every holiday, others are from single parent families living in council estates, some have parents who work really hard to afford to send their children to an independent school, forgoing flash cars and holidays to do so, some can easily afford it, others struggle, even with bursaries. I have known one single mum to tell her children to make sure that they have 2nds at lunch because she had run out of money for that month and it was value toast for breakfast and supper until she got paid. All these children mix perfectly well with each other, you do get a few ones who like to flaunt where they have been, but the others usually ignore them or put them in their place. One of the kids who has a helicopter at home has to earn money at home by rearing chickens and selling the eggs to parents and staff at school. He has to pay for the feed etc out of his earnings before he can take any as profit for himself!

2nd hand uniform is the norm for kids, we run a thriving 2nd hand uniform shop, where parents can either get the money back from the items sold or it can go to the school fund.

trinity0097 Tue 06-Aug-13 14:43:54

Out of interest where do you live/where are you looking for schools?

JammieMummy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:24:05

Thank you for that insight Trinity. We live in Surrey and there are excellent independant girls schools close to us (our daughter attends one of them) and there is ample choice at secondary level. But our son is another matter, there are only two boys preps and the co-ed's are (IMO) not worth the money. At secondary it is worse with there only being one boys school locally which is very difficult to get into. So we are looking a little further afield for prep school, such as Sunningdale or Woodcote with a view to him gong to a public school such as Eton or Winchester.

I don't worry about the cost so much as how he will fit in, I have heard stories of people not feeling that they belong in the school because their parents didn't have masses of money etc. but it seems that those are quite outdated views and that I may be worrying for nothing (I hope)

peteneras Tue 06-Aug-13 21:25:42

If you have designs for DS to go to Eton/Winchester, it is important to choose a feeder prep school that has a good track record of sending boys there. Don’t know where you are in Surrey but the county has many excellent feeder schools for Eton such as Danes Hill School, Eagle House, Feltonfleet School, Cranleigh Prep School, Bishopsgate School, Hall Grove, and Aldro to name but a few.

Don’t care too much about Winchester except Horris Hill in Berkshire sends lots there. You may also want to consider some good preps just outside Surrey such as Papplewick in Ascot.

IndridCold Wed 07-Aug-13 18:24:38

People who don't feel they have fitted in to a school community may attribute it to the difference in income, but I really don't believe that this is a valid reason for feeling different or uncomfortable. Not being good at sport is more likely to be a factor.

DS went to prep school in Devon, and we always felt slightly like outsiders. This was because many of the parents were already friends outside the school because they shared an interest in either a) owning/riding horses, b) sailing and c) ski-ing and d) hunting and shooting.

DH and I did not (and had no desire to) participate in any of those activities and as a result DS did miss out on social gatherings at weekends and holidays which were arranged around these activities.

However, he wasn't the only one and it did not prevent him being very happy at school and being very popular. It didn't prevent us being friendly with other parents, when we met them at school functions, either.

If your DS does end up going to Eton (where my DS is now) then any difference in family income will certainly not be an issue at all. Boys there come from an extraordinarily diverse range of backgrounds, and none of them seem to be particularly aware of these differences. They are more interested in discussing computer games than how big their houses are, or where they go on holiday. I'm sure that the same would apply at Winchester too.

TheOneWithTheHair Wed 07-Aug-13 18:31:24

Dd is about to start a prep on a bursary. She's 9. We live in an ordinary semi, no flash cars and her school is in an area that is filled with the rich and famous.

In all honesty I couldn't give a stuff about keeping up with the Jones'. If they judge me for that then it's their loss and I don't want to know them.

If dd ends up complaining about it she will be brought back den to earth pretty sharpish. She is well aware what a privileged position she is in.

JammieMummy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:32:57

Peteneras - thank you for that list of schools I have looked at most of the websites previously, discounted some and need to look into others further. There are some new names there though so that gives me some reading to do tonight. I know I need to pick a feeder school and that is part of the thought process I am going through at the moment, however he is still young and so I am not clear as to which public school would be the right one at secondary (and being a total novice to the system) I am likely to rely quite heavily on the headmaster's recommendations as to the right school for him.

IndridCold - I have to agree with you in have no interest in those activites wink it is good to hear from someone who's son is at one of these schools and does not find any issues.

TheOneWithTheHair (love the name by the way) - we are definitely not about keeping up with the Jones' one of my concerns is that our son is judged on his own merits and not judged by anything to do with us (it is not his money or his career that pays for this).

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about posting on here, but am very pleased I did. If my son has your children in his cohort then I will be one very happy mummy grin

DalmationDots Mon 12-Aug-13 18:24:15

If you are in the Guildford area, feel free to PM me as I know the schools well and I send my DC to private despite not being particularly wealthy. Have you considered Lanesborough or is this written off already?
It is a very tricky area for boys schools.

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