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How can I help dd1 understand that, unlike most of her friends, she won't be going to an independant school in 2009?

(24 Posts)
2sugars Wed 09-Jul-08 07:05:27

This has all come about because the local state schools are touting for business - the other day the entire year group went to the local Catholic secondary school for the day, and it was universally hated. (Incidentally this isn't the one we have planned for her.)

I think (and that's a very big think) we could just about scrimp and make sacrifices to send her to the cheapest one, but with dds 14 months apart there's no way we could afford to send both.

I've explained the money thing but it must be very hard for a 9yo to understand, when all of her friends are going that way. She just seemed very worried, particular since she's heard about her Y7 cousin having his faced pushed into a wall at the one we have planned for her, and breaking his tooth.

lou031205 Wed 09-Jul-08 08:02:59

Short term pain for long term gain, I'd say. Harder to be the child whose parents can't afford all the extras, in an independant school, rather than one of the crowd in a state school.

kiddiz Wed 09-Jul-08 08:08:20

As she is 9 do you have another year or two years till she goes to secondary school?

Seems odd to me that schools are touting for business. In my area most the secondary schools have open evenings for prospective parents in the autumn term and you have the choice to attend or not. These give parents a chance to look round the schools and see what they have to offer but, although children can attend, they are essentially aimed at parents. Of course they emphasise the good points of their particular schools (they are hardly going to say "our schools crap but send your kids here if you want") but there would be little point in touting as they have strict admissions criteria which they have to follow. So even if some extremely bright child from outside their catchment area wanted a place they couldn't offer one in preference to a child from within the catchment area.
My dd will be spending the day at the secondary school tomorrow but that's because she has a place there and will be going in September. I have never heard of children spending days at schools before they have a place there specifically to encourage them to choose it as their secondary. I our area, although you are led to believe you have a choice, unless you "choose" the school whose catchment area you live in you have little chance of getting a place anyway.
I think only you can decide. It's a very personal decision. I couldn't afford an independant school no matter how much my dcs wanted to go to one. But If I could afford it for one and not the other I don't think I could do that. Also there is no guarantee that there wouldn't be incidents like the one with her cousin at an independant school either. If you can acccept giving one chld an independant education and not the other go for it, but who is to say that you dd2 won't be just as worried when her it's her turn to change schools?
The transition from one school to another is huge for some children and I do feel for you. I hope everything works out.

posieflump Wed 09-Jul-08 08:10:19

Just be honest with her - she's old enough to understand that some people have lts of money and some don't. We were always told this when we were kids 'yes well so-and-so can afford to go to Disneyworld but we can't', we soon stopped asking!

LIZS Wed 09-Jul-08 08:23:49

I think she'll grasp it and with credit crunch there is every chance she won't end up being the only one when the time comes.

batters Wed 09-Jul-08 08:25:50

A bit of honesty.

A bit of selling the other school to her. Has she actually visited the school you are hoping to send her to? If not, take her there (it might be a year early, but that's okay) at the next open day. Have a look at the website, see if it does a good job welcoming pupils etc. Look at the extra curriculum activity - is there something that your dd would love to do?

Good luck.

2sugars Wed 09-Jul-08 09:02:09

Thanks everyone. She's the youngest in her year group so has another year at primary school. Things got so tearful last night that she actually asked to be home educated shock shock shock, 'then you won't even have to pay for school trips'.

I don't know if, since she's a Catholic in a state Catholic school, this is the reason she had days at the (Catholic)schools (one independant, one state). Needless to say the independant one had a huge swimming pool, was smaller, and she came away with puzzles with the school logo on them. The state one isn't in our catchment area - but I wonder if their admissions policy/catchment area is different since it's a Catholic state secondary.

The state one (wall/face incident) is about a mile from us and is heavily over-subscribed, so aside from it not wanting to pinch the Catholics I don't think it needs to tout for business anyway.

At the moment dd2 is happy to go anywhere her best friend is thinking of going (she's in Y3 btw, and it's the wall/tooth school) but even if we did manage one child I'd hate to get 10/15 years down the line and have her wonder why she went to state and her sister went to independant schools.

lou031, you're so right about all the extras. We'd never be able to do them. Hell, the uniform would be hard enough.

All the schools do open days for the parents - I just think this was a way of getting the children to decide instead of the parents hmm

potoftea Wed 09-Jul-08 09:24:51

I agree that kids should be told about what the family can or cannot afford, but in this case I think I wouldn't overdo it on the financial issue.
Maybe she feels you don't really "believe" in this school but have no other option, and so I'd start telling her that she's going there because you believe it's the best school for her overall, where she'll be happiest. I'm sure she knows you will always do what's best for her, including put yourself in debt if that was the only way to get a decent education, so I'd emphasise that you are happy for her to go to this school, and have no doubts about it.

sundew Wed 09-Jul-08 09:32:26

2sugars - I went to an independant school and my parents scrimped and saved every penny for it and for me it was the worst thing they could have done sad. I was the 'poor' girl who never had the right clothes went to the right places on holiday and couldn't afford to go on the 'fun' trips.

By the time I picked up the courage to say something to my parents it was too late - as I couldn't go to the local state school as I would have been ripped apart as having gone to the local 'posh' school.

Go with your instincts - you will be a happier family if you are not constantly scraping around for money. Also, the wal/teeth incidents happen at independat schools as well!

AbbeyA Wed 09-Jul-08 09:49:04

Are your state schools bad in your area?
I have been very happy with our local comprehensive. I know a boy who went to an independent school at 11 and got his nose broken in the first week when an older boy took a dislike to him! I should just tell her that you can't afford it. If you scrimped and saved you wouldn't be able to afford the extras. My 3 DSs are all state educated and I have been able to send them on school trips to Russia, Iceland, French exchange,the school outdoor centre in Wales etc. It has also meant that I could employ a tutor when youngest DS was struggling with a subject.

geekgirl Wed 09-Jul-08 09:52:07

I was beaten up in a racist incident at my posh boarding school - IMO bad things can happen anywhere, and having parents with money doesn't stop children from being thugs. There is a lot of bullying at independent schools IME - not as much physical stuff, but a lot of underhand things like comparing car types, holiday destinations etc.

Like potoftea said, I really wouldn't put much emphasis on the finance side of things (apart from anything else, I think 9 is too young to comprehend all that fully) - you need to communicate to her that you have confidence that the school she will attend is a good school, and will be a good place for her. Don't ever say that it's a shame you can't afford to send her to the independent school - that'll only sow unnecessary anxiety about the whole thing in her mind.

Cosette Wed 09-Jul-08 09:55:53

I'm shocked that your daughter's state school arranged for the whole class to go visit an independent school. Surely they must have appreciated this would result in many of the children wanting to go there and that this would cause problems where the parents weren't in agreement or can't afford it. I would be inclined to ask the school why they did this.

Does the independent school offer bursaries and/or scholarships, perhaps that might be an option - although they are very hard to get of course.

seeker Wed 09-Jul-08 09:58:54

I would be on the phone to the head and chair of governors so fast you wouldn't see me for dust if the school took my children to an independent school! How dare they! Did you consent to it?

snowleopard Wed 09-Jul-08 09:59:12

We were discussing private schooling the other night with a friend who went to one (DP would consider it, I wouldn't!) - friend said the bullying and income-based hierarchy were horrendous, and being the one who didn't have as much money as everyone else was a big issue - they all had ponies and yachts etc and sneered at the "poorer" kids. Friend also said there was a terrible drug problem as many of the kids had vast spending allowances and could afford cocaine.

I think you can hand-on-heart tell her that the independent school is not necessarily a better place to be and she will always be able to make great new friends. But having a wobble about moving school is a normal part of childhood IMO - she probably will get over it with lots of reassurance.

batters Wed 09-Jul-08 10:04:18

Hmm I agree with cosette and seeker too, did you give permission for your dd to visit this independent school?

TigerFeet Wed 09-Jul-08 10:09:09

I am shock that she went on a visit to the independant school - I would be fuming. There must be a few children whose families can't afford for them to go there but of course they are going to want to go to the nice school with the great facilities and aren't old enough to understand the financial implications. Totally irresponsible of the school to allow it imo.

AbbeyA Wed 09-Jul-08 10:30:08

I would most definitely say that the more expensive the school the harder the drugs.
I would also be highly annoyed if my DCs were taken to visit an independent school with a view to going when there was no chance of it happening.

pralinegirl Wed 09-Jul-08 11:44:10

My friend at work has her 3 kids at an independent school and while she says the education and extra activities are great there are so many sacrifices. The other mums there drive up in fab cars and are well stuck up, they have extra weeks holiday all the time when she has to arrange childcare, and they are having to do bed and breakfast business in their nice house to afford to send them.
We were lucky, our DS got a place in our first choice state primary and I'll admit if he hadn't we had considered fee-paying schools. But it would have been very very tight. Great facilities also don't make a great school always.

frogs Wed 09-Jul-08 11:51:33

Ds (Y4) was taken for a day's extension activity to the local private school.

Have v. mixed feelings about it, as obviously he had a fun time and it's nice for them to do imaginative extension work. But you don't have to be excessively cynical to see that for the private school it is (a) an opportunity to tick the 'public benefit' box for the charity commissioners; (b) a marketing opportunity as all the kids will see the lovely facilities and the whizzy science experiments and want to go the school and (c) a chance for the school to have a reccy of the brightest upcoming talent in the local primary schools.

Ds of course came home wanting to go to said school -- er well, you can ask grandma very nicely if she can liberate an extra £5,000 a term for the next 7 years (don't rate your chances) but we def. can't.

[ambivalent emoticon]

purits Wed 09-Jul-08 13:25:45

In accordance with the OP's feelings, this has become the usual State v. Private thread. Why hasn't it become a Religious v. non-denominational thread? hmm

seeker Wed 09-Jul-08 14:23:52

I don't think it's state vs private. My objection was that the OP's child was taken to a school that was obviously touting for custom without her permission. I just don't think a primary school should put a parent in the pressured postition that the OP now feels she is in.

Cosette Wed 09-Jul-08 14:53:17

Absolutely, I agree with seeker - the issue is that a problem has been created unnecessarily. The school should have been particularly sensitive given that some children clearly will be going privately and it's always hard for children to be separated from their friends at this age.

I wonder whether it was one of these "event" type days - but either way it's had the same effect.

Pavlovthecat Wed 09-Jul-08 14:57:05

There were lots of rumours of things happening to first years at secondary school before I went and I was scared out of my mind.

They were all rumours, no one I knew actually had their head flushed down the toilet!

I would not consider sending my child to private school because she is upset that her friends are going and she is not. I would make a decision based on what is best for her/for the family as a whole (you said you have another child whom would not be able to go to private school too). She will cope with her new school very well once she is there, and you can spend the next couple years reassuring her.

findtheriver Fri 11-Jul-08 21:39:27

Explain to your dd that she will be educated in the system that is used by 93% of children and young people. The vast majority of whom end up as well rounded, happy and successful people. And then carry on being involved in her education and supporting her. She'll be fine!

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