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If you are at a fee paying school, do children know?

(128 Posts)
Parky22 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:10:43

DD is 6 and currently Y1 at a fee paying school that ends at Y2.
I have been to open days for the next schools and a headmaster has said how they want the children to know they are in a privileged position.
Also heard another mum state that if her child gets a scholarship she has promised them 10% of what they save.
Should the children know about fees/scholarships/bursaries and at what age should they know?

MachiKoro Thu 09-Jun-16 15:15:25

No, I don't think they should. Children should never feel beholden to their parents, they don't have a say in being born, nor indeed in how they're educated. My DC did not know for quite a long time, but my eldest is now Y5, and has known for about a year. It came about through discussion about schools in England, the different types etc.

itsbetterthanabox Thu 09-Jun-16 15:30:05

Yes of course they should know. They are a very privileged position and should be aware that other children do not have the same automatic privileges.
The bursary deal the people you know have made with the their child is strange. Could the child just choose to go to state school and have all the fee money?
Kids do make decisions in their education. Choosing your own senior school and college. But they also need to be aware that other children can't choose because they weren't born into wealth.

TheCatCushion Thu 09-Jun-16 15:40:34

My son does not know. I don't want him to think he is "privileged" - but generally he should treat everyone equally and value things (including education)

Pagwatch Thu 09-Jun-16 15:47:46

I neither told them nor hid it.

I'm pretty sure not telling them will last as long as their ignorance about Santa.

Imho it doesn't hurt for children to understand they ways in which their lives can be different from the lives of others. Two of my children had questions about schools at quite a young age when they saw the differences between their school and their brothers special school.

Once a child asks how do you lie about that?

SAHDthatsall Thu 09-Jun-16 15:51:43

Of course they should know. And at some point they will ask and then you would have to lie if you wanted to prolong the secret as said above!

My DS keeps reminding us about how much he's saving us since he got a Scholarship! I just remind him about the costs involved in getting it in the first place and about the other part of the fees that we are still paying! smile

redhat Thu 09-Jun-16 15:55:19

I think it would be very unusual not to know. Mine both know and have known for a long time. They are in a privileged position and I don't know why you wouldn't want them to know that not everyone is as lucky as they are.

I guess it might be different if the parents were making massive sacrifices in their lives to fund school fees and the children then felt guilty about that. But even then, its hardly going to be secret for long.

NotCitrus Thu 09-Jun-16 16:00:16

I didn't know until looking at secondary schools - my parents had to pick a boarding school for me in a hurry, for me to start in either Y6 or Y7, and I knew they were fee-paying. My parents weren't the ones paying for the first few years though.

I didn't know that my previous two primaries were private, but had always wondered why I couldn't go to the infant school down the road or the juniors round the corner - and still wondered that after about 12 or so when I knew they were private and the local schools weren't.

I was in my 20s when I found out that the local schools wouldn't take me as they didn't want a mildly-disabled child (early 80s).

Once I got a scholarship for boarding school (in Y8 and another for 6th form), my parents took me out for a nice meal each year and put about 1/4 the proportion of fees it saved into an account to cover my uni costs, which I think was a good way to do it - they certainly would have struggled to cover that otherwise.

I think children should know if a secondary school is paid for, but not necessarily how much the fees are. Trying to explain privelege is much harder, especailly if the main differences are that the private primary has worse facilities but just the ability to associate with children of weatlhy families and for any disruptive kids to be kicked out. Actually the same could be said for my secondary compared to DP's technical school (became a comp by his time).

Iamnotloobrushphobic Thu 09-Jun-16 16:03:33

Well my child has a very significant bursary at a fee paying school and he knows about it. It would have been cruel to not tell him that we would be reliant on a bursary offer prior to him sitting the entrance exam. There are several boys in his class on bursaries and they all discuss it without shame. He is in senior school.

GetAHaircutCarl Thu 09-Jun-16 16:10:45

I told them when it became appropriate and relevant.

I can't recall the exact age though.

It's never been a stick with which to beat them ( though it's sometimes used as a sausage to hit them on the head with grin).

They know that DH and I see it as our privilege to be able to do this for them.

SAHDthatsall Thu 09-Jun-16 16:17:53

Yeah they all talk about it in the classroom etc, DS came home saying who had what scholarship and one lad wasn't paying anything as he was part scholarship and bursary and his mother works at the school - though he couldn't understand why he was on any scholarship as he was the least smart in the class! At this point I kept it secret that I had it on good authority that said mother had come home with the actual test papers before entrance exam day!!

CassandraAusten Thu 09-Jun-16 16:22:02

I was at a fee-paying school on a full scholarship and I knew both these facts. That was at secondary level though.

happygardening Thu 09-Jun-16 17:07:43

I've never hid it from my DC's (both went to boarding prep) and lets face it if Id tried to hide it they probably worked it out for themselves.
Why would you hide it? I doubt they've ever felt beholden to us, we've paid because we felt it was the best thing for them not because we wanted them to feel that they owed us something.
With regard to the fees most children are perfectly capable of looking it up on the schools website if they really wanted to know.

Littlelondoner Thu 09-Jun-16 17:10:29

I was -really- slightly naughty at school. My parents used to try and guilt trip me evey time I failed an exam or got in trouble by saying. Your education is costing us £x ammont etc etc it deffo gave me issues with failure and trying to be a perfectionist.

I would worry if you envisise cost of things too much it will put added pressures onto the child and perhaps feelings of guilt if they are perhaps not doing as well.

freshprincess Thu 09-Jun-16 17:17:43

The school I went to used to tell us how privileged we were and and for any infraction of school rules, no matter how small, you'd receive a long lecture about how you were letting your parents down and wasting their money.
I don't think I'd want my child feeling that kind of pressure.

CruCru Thu 09-Jun-16 17:53:29

When my children are teenagers, they will know. I'd rather that my reception aged DS doesn't find out though - partly because I can imagine him announcing that his school costs £x a year don't you know to the bus / supermarket etc. Which would be embarrassing.

Fridayschild Fri 10-Jun-16 07:21:32

The school will tell them. Private schools tend, unsurprisingly, to not feel embarrassed about the extra privilege they bestow on their pupils. If you don't want DC to say something loudly about their posh school in a shop or on the bus you need to counter act this by what you tell them at home. I speak from experience here....

TheCatCushion Fri 10-Jun-16 08:15:49

In our case my son is still quite young and the question has just not arisen.

DayToDayGlobalShit Fri 10-Jun-16 08:21:05

Mine know. Well only one left now.

mouldycheesefan Fri 10-Jun-16 08:41:28

I do feel uncomfortable with either parents or school telling children that they are 'privileged', meaning that they have an advantage only available to a few. It smacks of somehow telling them they are more fortunate than others or in some way better.
My children do not attend a fee paying school, I can afford for them to but haven't chosen to. they attend a fantastic school that they love. Are they less privileged than if I had taken up the places at the fee paying school? I believe not. In fact, as I a saving £250k of school fees over the course of their education in many ways they have opportunities and 'privilege' that would not have been open to them had I been paying £250k of school fees.
So please parents, pay for education if that is right for you, tell or don't tell your children you are paying for it, but please do t tell them that they are privileged or advantaged in any way. It send s the wrong message that fee paying schools are in some way better or that your child is better. Unfortunately this is where a lot of snob issues with fee paying schools stem from.
When they get to uni or work they will be in a melting pot of people from all types of schools, fee paying, non fee paying, boarding schools, international schools, state schools, grammar schools, sink estate crap schools, home educated, Steiner schools, military schools, massive schools, tiny schools, online educated etc. 'Privilege' can mean many things. Tell your children that all education is valued and important ,but that one type of establishment is not better than another. Don't tell your children that they are more privileged or advantaged because of the school they attended.

MistyMeena Fri 10-Jun-16 09:01:56

No, I didn't tell mine as to begin with they were too young to understand and it wasn't relevant. I had to tell them when others in the class mentioned it and they came home asking.

Only1scoop Fri 10-Jun-16 09:09:21

Dd is in year one at a fee paying school. She has no clue about the financial side etc. I certainly wouldn't want her ever feeling beholden to is and certainly not at 5.

Only1scoop Fri 10-Jun-16 09:12:01

Funny, the only time I ever hear 'privileged' banded around re private ed is here on MN.

I'd run a mile from a school where the head wanted this drilled into young DC.

Have never actually heard our school or pupils use that word.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 10-Jun-16 09:20:56

I'm quite surprised at those who say their primary aged children don't know.

Surely they must have noticed they don't go to a local school? Isn't is likely that it will come up in conversation with other children when they go to Brownies, Cubs, dancing etc.

Presumably they know that they had to sit an entrance exam?

Only1scoop Fri 10-Jun-16 09:25:18

No entrance exams here.

Dd chats with her friends about school. The fact it's a private school is neither here nor there at her age.

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