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Private school and fitting in with wealthy classmates

(34 Posts)
Thumbcat Tue 11-Feb-14 14:38:43

It's a long way off yet, but DH would like DS to go to a private secondary school, although the chances of this happening are rather slim.

If he did go we wouldn't have money for fancy holidays and nice cars (not that we do now), and one of my concerns is that DS would be perceived as the poor boy, the only one who didn't go skiing at half term and whose mum drives an old banger.

Is this how it would be, or are there a lot of parents who scrimp and save to send their children to private school and he'd fit in just fine?

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 14:55:40

DS has been in private ed for 7 years.

We've never been skiing.

I drive a small, 3 year old hatchback.

Nobody gives a toss. Honestly.

jennywren123 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:58:16

are there a lot of parents who scrimp and save to send their children to private school and he'd fit in just fine? <---- This (in our experience)

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 14:59:00

I should add that people care even less about your circumstances at secondary level as there is far less parental involvement.

LIZS Tue 11-Feb-14 14:59:46

Depends on the school . I'd say the prep dc attended has increasingly become the place for yummy mummies and shiny 4x4's which was far less the case in ds' time. Their secondary is a much wider demographic (partly due to scale) but there will always be those at the more aspirational end, or beyond.

OldBeanbagz Tue 11-Feb-14 15:00:35

My DC are in private school.

We don't ski and went to the Lakes for a week last summer.

I sometimes pick them up in my DH's van and there's plenty of old bangers in the car park when i do.

Your son will fit in just fine.

Impatientismymiddlename Tue 11-Feb-14 15:00:39

At my local prep school Nobody cares (well the vast majority don't). Caravan holidays are as normal as six weeks in a private villa or a fortnights skiing. Most people have cars, some have fancy 4x4's, some have fancy convertibles, some have solid family saloons, some have little old hatchbacks and some people catch the bus (primary school and some parents bring and collect children by public bus).

LIZS Tue 11-Feb-14 15:02:21

If kids of staff go there they are much more likely to be in your position

wordfactory Tue 11-Feb-14 15:06:41

The vast majority do not care.

Obviously you get some twats, but you'll get them in all schools.

If you are good people them you are good people!

WandaDoff Tue 11-Feb-14 15:07:41

I was the 'poor girl' at private school, it was horrible.

I was also the 'posh bitch' to the children living locally to me, so I didn't really feel I fitted in anywhere.

I hated the position I was in & resented my parents for it.
That's just my experience, though.

Pukkapik Tue 11-Feb-14 15:08:13

Loads of people scrimp and save..(us!) Not sure which part of the country you are in, but here in SW London there are some very rich families at these day schools, and some where people are very pushed to foot the bill, work extra yet still sacrifice holidays, lifestyle etc.
Obviously can't talk for other families, but other people's relative wealth or 'poverty' is not a talking point amongst my DC when they get home. Our school chats are all about the usual stuff - about studying, sport, friends, teachers, school lunches etc.
Have a look round the schools on Open Days. Lots of normal people..if there's significant oneupmanship it's gone over my head!

redskyatnight Tue 11-Feb-14 15:13:14

I was also the "poor girl" at private school. I found the majority of my (rich) fellow students unable to grasp that everyone didn't live in a big house, have oodles of money and holidays abroad.
I couldn't tell my parents because they had scrimped and saved to send me and were so proud of doing so.

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 15:14:22

That's a good point pukkapik. DC's just don't talk about their houses and money etc. they're too busy talking about PS4 vs X-Box, or music or the countless other things teens talk about.

Primrose123 Tue 11-Feb-14 15:16:22

are there a lot of parents who scrimp and save to send their children to private school and he'd fit in just fine? yes.

Our DDs go to private secondary school. We are not rich, not desperately poor either, but not much money to spare. My car is 11 years old, and DH drives a very economical skoda. We both work. Our house is nice but quite shabby and we can't afford to change much about it at the moment. There are other parents like us, and there are some who seem to be millionaires!

However, lots of my DDs' friends go to the local comp, and the kids there seem to have more designer clothes and gadgets than many in private school.

My DDs' school is not a 'posh' private though, it's very down to earth. It hasn't got great facilities, but it has good teachers, small classes and is very caring. That is why they go there.

MoreBeta Tue 11-Feb-14 15:19:09

Choose a school that fits for you. If its all helicopters landing on the lawn and summers spent on the yacht in the Carribean then maybe its something you don't feel comfy with. On the other hand we have friends who do send DC to a school like that, rub shoulders with the rich 'n' famous and no one gives a toss.

DSs at private school a lot of people on scholarships, scraping fees together and driving battered cars.

AmIIndecisive Tue 11-Feb-14 15:19:52

I was also the poor kid at a private secondary school, none of the kids are even aware of it at such a young age and by the time they notice or would be aware, kids have formed friendships based on how well they get on so it really doesn't matter (apart from the why can't I go on the school ski trip conversation), and any parents who have issues with it aren't really people you'd want to know anyway.

lynniep Tue 11-Feb-14 15:20:19

I went to boarding school (a loooong time ago). I wasn't aware of being a 'poor girl'. I wasn't aware of people going on fancy holidays and having nice cars, although I vaguely got it that some people did different stuff to what we did. The only person everyone was in awe of, was the girl with hollywood connections whose holiday pics included snaps of her with Joan Collins and so on. Having said that, it wasn't in a 'posh' area.

Pukkapik Tue 11-Feb-14 15:23:33

Oh yes, diabolo! And Flappy Bird!

Lottiedoubtie Tue 11-Feb-14 15:23:41

I think it telly depends on the school. Choose wisely and it'd be fine.

The one real crunch point IMO is school trips. Private secondary schools run some eye-wateringly expensive trips (as do state secondaries, but you'd be able to afford them in that case). Nobody goes on every single one, but I'd be reluctant to have to say no to all of them.

cathyandclaire Tue 11-Feb-14 15:28:11

Our DDs go to a private secondary with a huge mix culturally and financially, lots of bursaries, lots who scrimp and several rich Bentley owning types. They all mix brilliantly my grotty Polo doesn't stand out in the car park. Having said that, their private junior school was much flashier...you didn't fit in without Uggs and Juicy tracksuits (I know hmm smile ) so worth picking your school carefully!

antiabz Tue 11-Feb-14 15:31:08

I found myself in the same boat as Redsky and others.

The poor girl at posh school...

and the rich snob on the estate, quite confusing for a kid.

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 15:31:36

Cathy - goes to show you can't buy good taste grin

I went to a nondescript boarding school on a full scholarship. Most of my friends had broke parents and some sort of assisted place. The parents of the one girl who had a drawer full of cashmere sweaters in every colour, and the boy who recieved a new Volvo for his 17th birthday (which he promptly totalled) were generally mocked for having more money than sense.

This is not, however, to doubt the experience of the posters who did feel like second class citizens at their schools. If you are going to do this then you need to pick your school carefully and research the culture.

LauraBridges Tue 11-Feb-14 16:13:52

It's only the awful nouveau riche who have posh cars. If you've nothing to prove (and can be very rich) you don't need to show off with a smart car. In a sense in the UK the older your old banger the richer and higher your class. Class is not all about showing off wealth - it can be about understating it.

Lots of children in my children's private school are by no means well off and my daughters had all their school uniform second hand.

I could afford for my children go to on all the school trips but they don't want to go on them. Lots of children don't.

Also it depends on the child. Most are not interested in money or status and some are - some go on about have you got a smart phone or not (but state schools are the same).

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