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How many working class or families receiving benefit would you find

(186 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-Jan-14 21:17:00

In fee paying selective schools?
Or how many do you know?

I'm really referring to those who are one or maybe two steps from the breadline.

If you are one of these families do you think you would mix well with the parents at these types of school?

middleclassonbursary Sat 18-Jan-14 09:10:48

"I wonder ... If there is a snobbery or if it exists in new type of school more than another"
Honestly? I would like to hope and believe that if you were just off the bread line know one would mind but deep down if they knew of course I think there might be. But doesn't that apply to many other areas of life as well? I'm always shocked by peoples intolerance, avoidance and unkindness to those who are really genuinely poor.

Edenviolet Sat 18-Jan-14 09:11:59

Dds school publishes an address list for parents, just so that dcs can socialise out of school and everybody has one another's contact details.

I must admit to being a bit in awe when I've dropped dd off at a friends house on more than one occasion. We have also avoided inviting anybody to our house as I do think immediately people might assume dd was getting a bursary. As it is now I think they assume we lay full fees like they all do.

Edenviolet Sat 18-Jan-14 09:12:36


NearTheWindmill Sat 18-Jan-14 09:25:43

Oh tosh hedgehog. I doubt anyone who mattered would care and it's unfair if your dd can't have friends home. That's your problem not hers and you must be careful not to project a sense of inferiority.

I havbe found that my DC's friends are the ones they are comfy with and paradoxically it seems to be the very wealthy ones (think indoor pool, zone 3 London) who get joshed most.

Having said that I don't think there is anyone really hard up. There is one boy who I imagine was on a full bursary because the address is social housing but he is a fabulous boy, only in 6th form did my son note it and then positively. It was unremarked for 8 years he was xxxx, not xxxx who lives in xxxxx block.

Edenviolet Sat 18-Jan-14 09:32:25

I can't help but compare the houses of dds friends with ours, maybe it is my problem but we are from a vastly different background to her friends.

She fits in well but I do worry that if a friend came here they would be surprised. She socialises a lot goes to her friends house etc and joins in at school but nobody has ever been here.

middleclassonbursary Sat 18-Jan-14 09:59:16

We live in a lovely very old but small i.e. 3 bedroom house. Over the years Sunday a Times Rich Listers, the aristocracy and the simply very wealthy have been invited round, (ten bedroomed houses indoor swimming pools and 2nd 3rd 4th houses are the norm), I used to assume that people then guessed we're on a bursary but actually I don't think they do, they just assume that we've decided to channel all our money into school fees and that this is why we don't own a massive pile and frankly they approve!
On leaving our prep I mentioned to a very good friend (husband on ST list) that we were on a bursary and she was surprised it had never crossed her mind and she also appeared not to have noticed our small cottage; "but you have such a nice house!"
As my DS said most of his school mates don't care and who wants to be friends with those that do?

Edenviolet Sat 18-Jan-14 10:05:05

I think its just my problem. We live in quite a run down area in what is very obviously a council house. The area isn't actually horrible and its not a high crime area its just very run down.

Our house is tiny, and not particularly tidy and after seeing dds friends beautiful houses I am just a bit worried.

Dds friends are all lovely girls, I'm sure they wouldn't be bothered in the slightest.its me.

NearTheWindmill Sat 18-Jan-14 10:13:29

To be honest hedgehog the only thing you will be judged on is not having the manners to return invitations. That is just rude. If you give that nuch of a fig then send your dd to the local school.

happygardening Sat 18-Jan-14 10:23:19

OP a friend lives in what she would be the first to admit is a pretty hideous council house on a fairly run down estate. One of my DS's who spends most of his time in the homes of the super rich commented a few years ago about what a nice house it was and he would like to live in it! My friend is enormously warm caring and most importantly funny, and a fab cook I think it's the atmosphere that makes a home not solid gold taps staff and a stunning 10 acre garden.

happygardening Sat 18-Jan-14 10:23:51

Sorry not OP I talking to Hedgehog.

Edenviolet Sat 18-Jan-14 10:31:19

Its a very complicated situation as to why dd can't go to the local school.

I admit its completely my problem, and I'm not rude to not return invitations dd just invites her friends out rather than to our house.

Bowlersarm Sat 18-Jan-14 10:31:41

My DSes have been through a variety of private schools. I would say that quite a few of the parents struggled to find school fees along the way, quite a few had grandparents who paid the fees, a lot used the second hand uniform shop etc, and a number live in modest houses. But I would say I know of no one at all who is one or two steps away from the breadline.

Danann Sat 18-Jan-14 15:01:07

DD is at a private prep, my little brother and sister are at super-selective state schools, both my mum and I are at the poorer end of working class (FIL pays DDs school fees) and so far it's worked out absolutely fine, the children fit in well and are popular, although when it comes to birthday parties for DD the difference in money is painfully obvious as I can't afford the big, whole class parties at the soft-play center her friend have, not such an issue for my brother and sister though as they are year 9 and year 11 so the days of whole class parties are long gone.

MaeWestfield Sat 18-Jan-14 15:09:42

morethanpotatoprints, I think it's a reasonable thing to wonder about. I might have started this thread a year ago before I made my decision, but I knew that I'd be ripped to shreds on mumsnet, for being a snob! which is ridiculous because in the end I would rather my daughter mixed with other children in our income bracket! THAT is where I have decided we will experience fewer difficulties. If all the other girls are catholic and we aren't, we'll get through that! If there is a diverse range of social class, so much the better really, as that's The World at large, but the one thing I can't cope with (personally) is children coming home from school and asking for £1000 for this and £1000 for that like it is no big deal! My children will be the first in the last three generations to go to a non-fee paying school so it feels (ludicrously) like a bold move!

basildonbond Sat 18-Jan-14 15:19:55

There are plenty of boys at ds1's school who live on council estates, plus plenty of boys who live in gorgeous houses with tennis courts and swimming pools - and all points in between

However it is a school which is well-known for its generous bursary and scholarship provision

Dd at private primary and only one of her classmates lives in social housing (v talented sports player on scholarship) but I think independents at primary/prep level have a much narrower pool of pupils

Ds2 in top stream of partially selective school and his classmates, while racially diverse, come from a very narrow strata of society with parents almost exclusively being professional middle classes - much less diverse than ds1's independent but without the extremes at either end

Danann Sat 18-Jan-14 15:32:19

Oop forgot to answer the part about mixing with the parents, I get on well with quite a few parents and the ones I'm not friends with has nothing to do with money, it's just there is a group of mum's whose lives seem to revolve around dieting, jogging and going to the gym together where as I love food and by the time I've walked everywhere and taken the dog out I'd rather scoop my eyes out with a teaspoon than go jogging or to the gym so we'd have little to talk about

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:05:42

I wish some wouldnt overthink these things! Both my DS's go to boarding schools - the oldest to a very well known one. The boys really dont care as long as you are a good egg and up for a kick around of a football or to go into town at the weekend.

Also, I do think we need to remember. Prepared to get flamed. Schools are a business, they will provide busaries and scholarships for the very bright but if you cannot afford it you cannot afford it. They are not there to give endless busaries and reduced fees.

I would love to travel business class on airlines. Sadly I cannot afford it so I have to look longingly at people who turn left when they enter the plan.

wordfactory Mon 20-Jan-14 12:12:47

In truth, not many.

The fees of most independent schools preclude most families on benefits or on low income.

A few are on bursaries, but whilst these families often have little income they do have the no how and the aspiration to apply and get their DC into these schools.

A few have family paying for them.

That's not to say everyone is loaded, but I think we need to be realistic here. A child who comes from a disadvanated background, as opposed to just being not rich, will be in a tiny minority.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:18:41

Word - I do agree with you. What I would say is that the boys/girls really dont care. They want to know that you are OK to hang out with.

My DS went to London last year with one of the boys whose family gave him £1000 for a day in London! Boy does get a bit of a hard time at school because he is throwing his parents money around. Didnt get a huge amount of response - boys dont yet crave the posh restaurants and are too young for the bars and certain dont want to waste their precious time with someone they dont particularly like.

They went to the cinema and then for a pizza

wordfactory Mon 20-Jan-14 12:23:52

I agree that the other pupils don't care generally. Well, you'll always get the Malfoy types, won't you? But that's in every sort of school.

I wonder though, if the pupils from the low income families would care, though? One of DD's best friends is on a scholarship and bursary and whilst they are clearly a long way from the breadline, I know she does think about her situation versus the situation of others.

Bursarymum Mon 20-Jan-14 12:34:38

I have two on bursaries in a local prep school. We don't have much money but I come from an educated background. I don't really care if anyone else thinks we are too poor to be there. I want my children to be there because IMO they both benefit a great deal from small class sizes. As others have said though bursaries are supposed to be confidential.

Blueberrypots Mon 20-Jan-14 12:37:10

hedgehog please don't do this - my mum did this to me throughout my childhood and I felt like a pariah. We lived in a one bedroom flat in a very upmarket area and I went to an upmarket school - but I was never allowed any friends round because she was worried about what they would think about me.

Although I fully understand why she did it, I remember girls commenting about "why are we never invited to your house" and me blushing and changing the subject many times. Eventually they stopped inviting me to theirs (after a few years!). It was very upsetting for me.

I feel a bit like this since DD has started at prep. We live in a 4 bedroom detached in a lovely area but there are parents living in mansions - also ours is a very simply furnished house, we don't have antiques or silver or anything expensive at all. However I think now that if people want to be snobs and not be friends with us because we don't live in a mansion, or have pompous lifestyles, then that's their luck out.

Mintyy Mon 20-Jan-14 12:43:32

I am sure it is an absolutely tiny number, op.

My utterly middle class friend has her ds at private school on a bursary and can get away with it as her household income is less than £40,000. Her dh is self employed (an artist) so presumably if he has a good year and goes over £40,000 then they will have to pay some of the fees.

Meanwhile, she choose not to work, which makes me extremely hmm about the bursary system as I thought it was for genuinely poor families, not those who make the decision not to earn very much just because it suits them.

handcream Mon 20-Jan-14 12:50:18

Totally agree with Blueberry. It does seem to be the parents worrying though and making things more difficult for their children then it has to be.

My DS room at school looks like he has been burgled! Just relax about it and avoid anyone who thinks where you live is an issue for THEM.

MerylStrop Mon 20-Jan-14 12:50:30

I was a scholarship girl at a very selective, very expensive independent school. I knew who the other two scholarship students were in my year of 90.

I wasn't very happy there but I think that was perhaps to do with other circumstances than much snobbery or being made to feel second class - that certainly wasn't the case, although I did have entirely secondhand /cobbled together uniform etc.

But I also think times have changed and many people have a worse case of affluenza now than they did when I was at school (80s).

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