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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?

TheWomanTheyCallJayne Fri 31-Jan-14 08:01:13

I have found the parents at my boys prep friendlier than the parents at the primary where my other children go.
I think people like to stick to groups of what they know and that can make it seem like they're ostracising others when it's not really a deliberate act at all.

Stressedbutblessed Fri 31-Jan-14 07:33:17

@ Laura - thx Im now a great believer of anything is possible.
OP:Truly the kids couldn't care less about social ranking - and once they are old enough to notice they care even less!

happygardening Thu 30-Jan-14 18:08:27

You're so right OP good manners costs nothing. I always smile/wave say hello and make some comment about the weather, or glad it the end of term, or did you have a good holiday or something similar when ever I meet other parents. I have no interest in being best friends with everyone but basic courtesy is just the decent thing to do IMO.
Aa already said you have little contact with parents at secondary level anyway (and even less if your DC full boards like mine) I know little about the financial situations of the other parents or what their houses are like and frankly couldn't care less. The boys as a general rule dont seem to care either.

rightsaidfrederick Thu 30-Jan-14 16:13:26

I was one - grandparents paid for tuition only, but one parent was in and out of low paid agency work, and the other was alright until they were made (permanently - never worked again) redundant when I was in the sixth form. I was eligible for full EMA.

This was at secondary level though, so at that point parents fitting in isn't really a thing, because there's no school gate where kids get picked up or anything like that. I fitted in fine though, and as this was a school which was very much at the budget-but-very-academic end of the private school spectrum (not a pony in sight!), there were quite a few other kids whose parents worked in jobs that weren't fantastically paid by any means but made big sacrifices (e.g. living in crap areas) to send their kids there.

summerends Tue 28-Jan-14 20:57:03

Morethan your treatment by this group of mothers may be similar to the ostracising behaviour of certain cliques in playground. I would n't necessarily attribute it to a difference in economic class. TBH at secondary school age, the parents' influence on friendships becomes less and less so how you get on with the parents almost irrelevant as long as the children are friendly. This is even more so in a boarding environment.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 18:54:51


The children are lovely and they all rehearse together just like a family, supporting each other and have lovely friendship groups.
It does make me laugh, you are so right. The friend dd likes the most is the one whose mother is the worst, get them all together and me and the other less well off mums hide in the pub grin

Don't get me wrong had I known it was selective academically then it wouldn't even have been considered. It was during the initial consideration/gaining knowledge stage we found out and it was immediately a no go. The mums didn't know dd wasn't academic so it wasn't because of this they were nasty, it was a social class thing.
Its fine now and I certainly am not put off at all, in fact I'm a bit newty and go in me flat cap sometimes grin

However, I still believe there are some really well off people who are lovely and I must confess again to meeting such a lovely lady at the school we finally did visit.

I don't think that manners cost anything and dd did me proud when at this group it was noted by a visiting dignitary. She was picked out for good manners. When her immediate leader praised her she said well my mum says please, thank you and a smile cost nothing.

LauraBridges Tue 28-Jan-14 18:46:58

Indeed. In fact many of the mothers won't be at the school - they will be working so you probably would not have met many of the mothers. I don't think I have often been with privtae school mothers who would look down their noses at anyone but London is a very racially mixed community in the academic private schools where in a sense you pay at least in part for a huge spectrum of children of all colours, creeds etc (and parents) in one school. That is not the case all round the country.

handcream Tue 28-Jan-14 18:32:00

The pupils arent like that tbh. The parents might be but defintiely not the kids! There is more comparing of the latest trainers in the local sec modern then there is in a independant selective school (my DS's go to a prep and senior boarding school).

Lets get this chip off our shoulder. If someone wants to look down on me - let them! I am working full time to provide this sort of education for the boys and so is my DH.

These women swanning around not working and stating how busy they are and how important they feel they are in life - well I work with their husbands. They often feel their wives dont understand the pressures they are under. The missed school events etc. When you are a high earner all of that comes with the job.

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 18:23:32

the mothers are really nasty stuck up pieces of work. They were so horrible to me when I was asking about the school, they literally looked down their noses at me

I am really sorry you have had this experience. No wonder you have made this thread!

This is exactly one on the reasons why I would be reluctant to go selective/ independent/ specialist at secondary. Like I said I am fortunate that we have fantastic music opportunities locally, and I hope this will continue to be broad enough for my dc to engage their interest fully as they grow.

People everywhere find it hard to embrace people who they know are not like them. It is a great sadness in the human race that we have this flaw. It holds people back and makes life much harder than it needs to be.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 18:16:47


The first school we were interested in are all mc families and the school was grammar, selective and they gave bursaries/scholarships.
We didn't even look in the end because dd is not that bright tbh and would never have passed the test. however, even if she would have passed, the difference between this school and the other school she has decided to apply to are unbelievable.
The first school dd shares an interest with many of the girls and they meet for weekly rehearsals. The girls are lovely but the mothers are really nasty stuck up pieces of work. They were so horrible to me when I was asking about the school, they literally looked down their noses at me shock I have never experienced such bad manners in my life.

Back to the question, sorry.
There aren't many high level players at a young age but many leave at 16 with grade 8. Now I know this isn't grand in the bigger scene but I know how they are taught and some have the ability to be this level much younger iyswim.
My point is that there are dc with potential that don't somehow have this realised, either by their parents, schools, county service. There are a few others that do but these are a small minority.
I know of 6 families where their dc would be at the level to gain a place in a specialist school, but they don't seem to know or bothered.
Perhaps its as suggested scared of the unknown and not wanting to rock the boat.

LauraBridges Tue 28-Jan-14 17:59:37

Stressed, wonderful story of overcoming such a negative family.

On the music side as people have said you can do stuff for nothing - we borrow much from the library or can print some from the internet (if you can afford internet access and a printer I suppose). If the parent is music they can teach the child at home - we did which costs zero. As someone mentioned singing is free and recorder almost free. The working classes used to do loads of singing, at work, on the way to work at weekends and that has all passed away or a lot of it. Working men's clubs had choirs and brass bands. Children were in the local church choir which is free of charge.

Why did the working class abandon cultured things> I know that's a controversial statement but there used to be more of an emphasis on bettering yourself, reading Shakespeare at home (my grandfather left school aged 12 and taught himself - fierce efforts to educate himself and the family and his children getting to university, becoming doctors etc, moving classes). Has that all been lost - that desire to read good literature, sing Bach in church. Is it all dumbed down guitars and pop music?

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 17:38:39

Are there many high level young players in the local ensembles?

You don't get to be a high level young player if the support is not given at an early age.

We are very fortunate that our regional orchestra has a music school attached which offers excellent musical education from age 5 for which bursaries can be obtained. But by the sounds of this, it is pot luck

Svina Tue 28-Jan-14 17:35:24

I would feel very uncertain about applying to a specialist music school for my dc, should they be of the right calibre when they are the right age.

1) I worry they would struggle to fit in with a different class of children
2) I would feel less confident about a boarding school because there is less opportunity for me to monitor how the dc are, and support them if it is tough
3) I would worry about the amount of stress my dc would be under in such a competitive environment
4) if they were to hate it and want to come home they would find if very hard to get into the ok school in my locality, having missed admissions.

Our family would be in the middle class, state educated, full bursary category.

Dromedary Tue 28-Jan-14 14:21:57

If it's a matter of nobody telling the parents, that could be put right very easily.
Are there many high level young players in the local ensembles? Children at specialist music school are expected to practise for several hours a day, and to be aiming for a professional career, so it is obviously a big leap to make, and towards a competitive and uncertain future. Can your DC report back on where the children at her specialist music school come from (is it from wealthy families in London and the South East)? I think that most people tend to do what those around them are doing, rather than going out on a limb with a very different type of education.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 22:30:23

It saddens me that we have such a good service that offers all this but then somehow it doesn't seem to do much good for dc to specialise as they get older.
Within a short distance are 2 really good music schools. Very rarely do dc from the area get to go to these schools.
The same benefits are offered to low income families in the form of bursaries and grants and yet only a very few in the area get to one of them.
The one that dd wants to attend has nobody, that I know of.
The only conclusion I can come up with is nobody is telling the parents.
It can't be a financial issue as fees are paid as I have said up thread.
It continues to mystify me.
Maybe its a case of people thinking the schools are too high brow or too rich for them. I'm not sure.

summerends Mon 27-Jan-14 22:20:13

As said before it all seems to be a lottery. The costs for ours are not as much as yours Dromedary but nowhere near morethan's.

Dromedary Mon 27-Jan-14 21:08:16

That is amazingly good, morethan. Where we are being a member of just one of the ensembles that used to be run by the council costs £300 per year.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 17:42:55


Yes, you are right to a certain extent, just on our area in my experience.
As I said even though we have what many would consider a good LA music service, you can only have lessons in school or outside through the authority from y3 upwards.
If in receipt of fsm you can have subsidised lessons, instrument hire and ensemble fees. Everyone else has to pay and for many it isn't cheap at all.
Our dd had private lessons from aged 6 but dh teaches her one of her instruments, the rest we pay for.
However, LA music service ensembles cost £35 per term and you can join as many as you like for this price. So £3 per week does not sound much to me, there are also discounts if you have more than one child attending.
I know there aren't many authorities like ours, but believe there are a few in the SE that are similar, maybe more expensive though grin

summerends Mon 27-Jan-14 17:31:44

I'm not sure if this is correct but my impression is that for classical style instruments the only way for children to have a cheap / free lessons is either to have a parent or friend who can teach you or to be a chorister.
Even cheap county music groups cost money although initial trial sessions are sometimes free

Svina Mon 27-Jan-14 17:16:41

Goodness... That is terrible. Where do you live? Is it a rural/ isolated area? I would have thought most big towns have got something going on like a brass band, which might not have anything to do with the council... Or like I mentioned a church youth choir, which again might not be mentioned on the council website.

I'm not disbelieving your ability to google, I'm genuinely surprised.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 11:47:11

I know our service sounds good but even here you have to pay for lessons and groups, it isn't provided free. Lessons in school only start here in y3 too, you just have to wait until then or pay for private lessons from somebody outside the ed system. This can be even more expensive but I know some parents who have done this.
I think it is dreadful that not all music services are the same, it makes it a post code lottery like so many other things in education.

middleclassonbursary Sun 26-Jan-14 23:31:09

If you want your children to hear live music it's worth contacting your local independent school and see if you can listen to their concerts, DS's school holds at the very least 2 concerts a week often 3, these are open to anyone and they're free, my DH's old school (big name London independent) does the same thing.
DS's school also does at least 4 plays a term (the standard is extraordinarily high) and again tickets are free.
My parents took me to many classical music concerts some I hated and fidgeted all the way through, some were ok and others like the carnival of the animals and the Mikado I never forgot, but now I'm old I can see that all these concerts sparked in me a love of classical music and spurred me on to learn two instrument even if my motivation was to play the swan or the flowers that bloomed in the spring which still makes he smile to this day.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sun 26-Jan-14 19:44:24

Yup - I know how to google! There is literally nothing in our area. The website just says there is an instrument loan scheme and something about supplying teachers in schools, but my daughter is at infant school.

The area I used to live in had a "hub" or something where kids could go on a saturday morning very cheaply. Nothing like that here!

Dromedary Sun 26-Jan-14 19:10:44

You're wrong, Morethan - our county music service literally got rid of every single county run music group. It does provide some funding to its selection of privately run music groups, but they are privately run and I assume can charge parents whatever they choose to. Certainly some of them charge a great deal of money. They also compete with one another by running their sessions on the same days, so children can only join one, which is very limiting if you have more than one instrument or type of music you're interested in.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 26-Jan-14 17:42:48


We are a pretty degenerated area but the music service has always been pretty good.
However, it is the same as others in terms of visiting peris, it does cost for lessons unless fsm, and you can't have lessons in school until y3, then they are resticted to certain instruments.
The county music service uses local high schools after school and children can have lessons here, for the same price as they would in school, usually by the same teachers.
There is a county Jazz orchestra, big band, wind band, string ensembles x3, recorder group, brass band, youth orchestra, perhaps a few more. These are for the whole county though and serve all different levels of players. For example youth orchestra you need to be a grade 6 player. There are groups for begginners too. Oh, I forgot the two exceedingly good choirs junior youth and youth. grin

I know there may not be many who have such a range but I'm sure all county music services have to supply some.

Have you tried your council website, under education, then music?

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