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Grrrr, why does this irk me so!?! Warning - this is about private schools!

(145 Posts)
BogeyNights Tue 07-Oct-14 17:21:08

DS1 has just started high school. Got into our first choice (state) school, and he's settled in great. We, as in my DH and DS are all really pleased with our choice and we are incredibly relieved and happy that things are going well so far.
My DS2 is at Junior (state) school, and this too is fantastic. We love the school, staff, ethos and atmosphere and both boys have been (and are) very happy there.

So why does it grate on me so much that all (and I mean ALL) their cousins go to private schools. I feel like the poor relative, which is crazy because we're not. And I have to listen to the parents bang on about 'speech day' and 'saturday school', 'entrance exams' and 'after school prep' and other such stuff. And now there's chat about 'having to find a sporty school for cousin Billy because it's so important to him.'

State schools do offer sport! Some of them even 'specialise' in sport. DSs school offers sports clubs before and after school and at lunch EVERY DAY. But is specialises in humanities (whatever that means!) and other schools specialise in science and other subjects. What the heck is wrong with state schools - btw all the cousins live in 'naice' areas of the country, where the term 'special measures' is no doubt very rarely applied to a school near them.

I know it's all about choice but I still grates. Although on reflection, I suppose I know lots more kids that go to state schools and they're all ok - ie the ones who go with my kids!

Just a rant, and a grumble... thanks for listening smile

Doodledot Tue 07-Oct-14 17:52:16

Hold head high and ignore them. State schools can be amazing and they are free grin Near me a lot of the private parents never actually visited the state school. I have friends who did the same at infants although I am not sure why - constant mystery

Sparklingbrook Tue 07-Oct-14 18:00:50

Yes, just ignore. Sometimes it seems like people think State schools do no sport at all. confused
At least State schools don't have compulsory Rugby on a Saturday morning. grin

Is 'after school prep' homework?

PastorOfMuppets Tue 07-Oct-14 18:03:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

outtolunchagain Tue 07-Oct-14 18:11:21

Prep is homework in Independent Schools its short for preparation , as it it shouldn't preparing you for the next lesson.

OP hold your head up, you have chosen the best school for your ds , it sounds fab and he's happy and thats all that matters .

ComradePlexiglass Tue 07-Oct-14 18:11:22

I think it is just irksome. There is massive white middle class flight from my child's state primary at the moment and I feel really gutted and sad every time a perfectly nice white middle class parent tells me, with guilt, that their kid is moving on to the next school along the road. It is nothing to do with me or my kid and we are very happy with her school but somehow it does feel a bit like a slap in the face.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 07-Oct-14 18:17:41

Maybe they are looking enviously at you and the £50K you are saving each year. smile Or maybe your house cost more because you are living in the catchment areas for really good schools. Do you feel like they're bring judgy about your choice?

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 07-Oct-14 18:18:05

*Being not being

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 07-Oct-14 18:18:26

Arghhhhh ! Being not BRING

MaryWestmacott Tue 07-Oct-14 18:21:51

Well the sporty school reference could be to in relation to private schools, a lot of people who chose private schools only care about the academics, the schools, being businesses, will put their efforts and pressure that way. If you were looking for private education with a sporty child, then it would take a bit more effort in some areas to find one. And if all the other siblings are privately educated, many parents don't feel they could just send one DC state then the others private, but find a more appropriate private school.

But anyway, why do you think it bothers you? Is it because you feel you have to defend your choice of education for your DSs because they've picked something different? They aren't insulting your choices, they just are chosing differently. This doesn't mean you've made the wrong choice for your DCs, and it doesn't mean they've made the wrong choices for theirs.

Your ILs annoy you because on the face of it, they've rejected your parenting decision, they aren't questioning your decision, but by making a different one, you are taking it personally. It's very hard with things related to your children, while making choices for yourself and seeing other people making different ones for them, it's fine because you live withyour choice, whereas when it comes to your DCs they live with the results of your choices, it's more pressured.

It's hard not to see people picking differently as a rejection of your choice, but remember, it's not about you. they are picking from their options avaiable what's best for their children.

Are you 100% certain you are happy with your choice? at a push, we could afford private but chose state, I'm not bothered that BIL and SIL have chosen private, but then I'm happy I've picked the best choice for my family and I genuinely wouldn't prefer for DS to go private. Are your irked because deep down you're worried they've picked something 'better'?

Let it go, it's not about you, they've picked the best for their children, you've picked the best for yours. They aren't insulting you by picking something different. You aren't insulting them by picking something different. Try not to be temped to insult their choices and explain why they've got it wrong, they've not done that to you.

BogeyNights Tue 07-Oct-14 18:31:58

FeedEm I do wonder if they're being judgy, yes! As in 'Poor Bogeyfamily they can't afford a private school, shame..."

Comrade we do live on the edge of a good catchment area, but we are also lucky enough not to have 'paid' for it in terms of a stupid house price.
I do get your 'slap in the face' thing - it feels like an underhand way of saying "well good luck with YOUR kid at this school".

I know I know it's all about choice, but like I said, I'm having a moan and a rant and a vent. that's all.

MumTryingHerBest Tue 07-Oct-14 18:33:08

I have a relative who could not understand why everyone did not send their DCs to private schools if they had the financial means to do so. They've changed their mind since their DCs have finished school. One at home at the age of 40(ish), without a job and no idea what they want to do, qualifications not great either (actually asking me for advice and commenting on how well I've done for myself). The other doing well but not thousands of pounds of investment better, IYSWIM.

They recently commented on how good one of my local state schools was. I think they've finally realised that private is not always better (granted, sometimes it is, but certainly not always).

My DC had a child leave their class to join a private prep. to get them a place at a local selective school (11 plus). A year and a half later they've been diagnosed with minor learning difficulties and told may not do as well as hoped in the 11 plus. The state primary had put special learning support in place for the child yet the mother insisted the problem was with the school not the child. My DC, at the same state primary, is performing well above average.

My DC has a child join their class after leaving a local prep. as the parent felt they were not getting good value for money (the school was rather vague on academic progress).

It is not as clear cut as private or state is best. It is more to do with finding a school that fits the child and their particular needs. I think at the end of the day, the outcome will indicate if the choice was the best one. Sit back and wait until their DCs have finished school, you might have the last laugh yet depending on whether they made a decision based on vanity rather than what's best for the DCs.

BogeyNights Tue 07-Oct-14 18:37:42

Mary I know, you are absolutely right. I'm almost second guessing myself and worrying what is really right for my kids. But like you, I really, genuinely believe that my two are happy and and at the right schools for them. And us as a family. We don't have the financial worry of fees, more a worry of whether we'll go for one holiday next year or manage another little trip at a squeeze.

And you're right, we are all good people, making (or trying) to make the best choice for our kids. I particularly liked what you said about making a choice for your kids that they have to live with. That's so accurate. Maybe that's why i worry and it irks me. But at this moment in time, with the income and lifestyle we have, the choice is right for us.

MumTryingHerBest Tue 07-Oct-14 18:40:33

MaryWestmacott fully agree with you

Leeds2 Tue 07-Oct-14 18:53:09

How old are your DC and the cousins? Just wondered if their GCSE/A Level results would be likely to be compared.

BogeyNights Tue 07-Oct-14 18:56:19

The cousins and my kids range between Y4 and Y11, so quite a broad range of ages...

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 07-Oct-14 18:57:35

It's a shame if they're being judgy. I would congratulate yourselves! My DC aren't school age yet, but I'd be thinking 'lucky Bogey living near the good state school and getting nice holidays! Wish we'd bought a house in the right place' envy

Private education is so expensive now (especially given how expensive houses are compared to when we grew up.) Lots of my friends who were privately educated themselves, aren't, or won't be, able to privately educate their own children. Hopefully state provision will get better and better across the board. smile

1805 Tue 07-Oct-14 19:00:00

What are their state school options like?
Our dc are both in private at the moment, but dd may well go to state school for senior school. Being able to afford private school opens up genuine choice of school, not "we must go private because we can afford it".
We don't have a choice of state schools where we live, it's catchment school or….well, I don't know what actually.

I would just be smug that you are happy without having to find school fees, attend (v boring) speech days, and whatever else they go on about. Lucky you, and poor them!!

How about you leave some holiday books out next time they visit?!!!

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 07-Oct-14 19:01:02

Oh and I went to mix of private and state schools, there were gooduns and badduns in both camps.

bakingaddict Tue 07-Oct-14 19:14:02

Are their financial circumstances vastly different to yours? If you are all quite similar jobs wise and income then you've just made different choices but if they afford all what you have and are able to send their kids to private school then perhaps you're just feeling a little envious that you can't do the same.

I'm not judging you for it simply pointing out what can be quite a natural feeling even between peers. Recognize what's driving this feeling of inferiority and you'll be able to deal with it better

GirlsTimesThree Tue 07-Oct-14 19:14:15

I wouldn't let it worry you. You're really lucky that you have schools that you and your children are happy with. Everyone questions their decisions, whatever school they've chosen.
Our DDs have been/are being educated in the independent sector, mainly because we move so often and it's easier to get them into a good independent school than an oversubscribed good state school. Believe me, we look slightly enviously at friends who have their DCs in really good state schools who seem to get as much as our DDs get and they're not paying for it! I don't regret or resent and single penny of it, but if we lived where our friends live, and could stay put, we'd be using the same school as them. However, I know at least one who would love to be in our position and tells us so. I don't understand it. Their children are getting into the same universities, and are just as articulate, sociable, confident and happy.
Be happy that your children are happy and thriving.

skylark2 Tue 07-Oct-14 19:15:10

Can't you talk about what you like about your kids' schools, and why you chose them, when that sort of conversation happens? And surely they do sport and have homework too?

You can't assume that just because an area is "naice" the state schools are any good - they don't have to be in special measures to be boring the brighter kids to tears, for instance. It's entirely possible that your relatives are jealous and would much rather not have to pay for a decent education for their kids. Goodness knows I would.

newgirl123 Tue 07-Oct-14 19:20:22

i imagine they are working through their expensive decision - I think Id be constantly thinking whether 50K a year was the right decision! That money is now more useful than ever for university, property deposits etc.

It is easier to get into our local private schools than the outstanding secondaries if that helps. The only people I know who have opted for private are the ones who could not get into the state ones as don't live near enough.

on a sporty note - one of the reasons the private schools don't compete with the state schools for sports is they tend to get beaten - that really annoys the fee-paying parents. If you look at the county level swimmers, rugby players, athletes in an area - those are the sports I know - most come from state schools. go figure.

HappydaysArehere Tue 07-Oct-14 19:22:20

Obviously there is a wide spectrum in the private sector. Cost alone is one variable. Some people assume because it is private it has to be better than free state provision. In some cases it is and in others it is not. Often depends on the area you live in and whether there is parental concern about the child's happiness in certain situations which leads to the desirability of going private. Historically, private schools have often employed unqualified teachers and not all enjoy the provision of books and equipment that the local state provides. On the other hand private schools provide smaller classes and many offer great facilities.

BogeyNights Tue 07-Oct-14 19:24:33

You know what, you've all been so fair and reasonable. I thought I may have got flamed when I wrote my OP, but I needed to vent in an anonymous forum! - get 'it' off my chest. It's just crazy what gets under your skin as a parent sometimes. Thank you all for being so kind. I can see sense in everything you all said. I think I should just file this little niggle and not let it bother me any longer. In the words of the Penguins of Madagascar, "smile and wave boys!"

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