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Worried about Private school

(165 Posts)
CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 13:23:57

My DC has passed the entrance exams, and been offered a scholarship, for a very good private secondary. What worries me is that the head has expressed concerns that 'we' night not fit in to their environment.

DC is in year six and predicted a strong level six in Maths and Literacy. Wide ranging extra curricular interests with friends also planning to attend the school. Local state Primary has always said DC has strong personality but well behaved, polite and a wonderful pupil etc.

I can only guess at the subtext behind the heads comments, single parent, working class, don't socialist within the local wealthy cliques, can't afford skiing holidays, asking awkward questions at the information events, challenging the schools opinion, DC having extra needs etc etc.

So the place we are offered is conditional on us accepting their ideology of being seen and not heard, that we don't rock the boat and DC's personality being supplanted by the tried and tested Stepford children conditioning (I paraphrase the heads words).

I want the best education for my DC but is it worth sacrificing his amazing individual personality, and possibly extinguish what I think makes him heads and shoulders above his peers? The alternative is a strong state school, good social inclusion, will meet DC's extra needs, good academic record, well regarded locally but maybe not so established nationally so might not look as good on his CV as a private school.

Ten years ago I always dreamt of a private school and have remortgaged in-case DC didn't get a scholarship, but not the time has come to decide. Am I mad to pass up the chance of sending my DC to a private school because its full of stuck up snobs?

Mosman Sat 02-Feb-13 14:28:52

That sounds most odd I have never come across a school that wants to quash a child's personality, inject some with one yes.

Ladymuck Sat 02-Feb-13 14:35:48

I would really advise you to turn this offer down. You clearly don't like the school or the head, and for the sake of having that particular name on the cv, the obvious clashes that you will experience over the next few years aren't worth the hassle.

That said, given that you clearly are not enthralled with the opportunities or product of the particular school, I don't understand why you're even entertaining the idea? The whole point of using independent education is that it increases your option of secondary schools to hopefully include one that suits you. I've ended up choosing different schools from close friends of mine, even though our sons were at the same prep school, mainly because I was looking for something different from them. It's not a big deal, and again their preferred school would have made demands on me and my son that I would have been unhappy with. Not that they are trying to clone the boys, but schools do have different ways of working, and you need to consider what style you're looking for.

If you haven't already, I would look around other schools quickly. If your son has been offered an academic scholarship at a very good school you may find other heads will be willing to look at a late application.

IndridCold Sat 02-Feb-13 14:36:23

Doesn't sound like much of a school if that's the attitude of the HT. Just because a school is private, doesn't automatically make it good.

Narked Sat 02-Feb-13 14:42:42

Utter bollocks. I don't believe this for a second.

Toughasoldboots Sat 02-Feb-13 14:48:02

Neither do I narked.

CaptainNancy Sat 02-Feb-13 14:49:00

You know, all the decent independent schools I know prize individuality, and make proud pronouncements about how they nurture it.
I don't like the sound of yours much!

exexpat Sat 02-Feb-13 14:51:12

In all my experience of private schools (as a parent and professionally) I have to say this all sounds highly unlikely.

Moominmammacat Sat 02-Feb-13 14:56:42

What's the name of the school?

ohfunnyhoneyface Sat 02-Feb-13 15:01:26

Your questions you said had made the head perceive you as 'rocking the boat' which suggests to me that you were asking questions that made him feel uncomfortable and that perhaps you and the school's have mismatched philosophies.

You want your child to have the opportunities that this private school provides that you think he won't get at a state school- do you want to be more specific about what you're looking for? I don't really understand- do you mean academically? Socially? What will they teach him or offer him that you won't be able to get at a state school?

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sat 02-Feb-13 15:06:00

I don't believe a single word of your post OP. if it's true surely any normal person would immediately turn the offer down rather than agonise over it. I also know a few people who have sent their ds to schools which are very exclusive on scholarships and nothing like this has ever been said to them.

Abra1d Sat 02-Feb-13 15:07:32


TravelinColour Sat 02-Feb-13 15:12:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sat 02-Feb-13 15:17:15

If this is true- and if it is I suspect if it is it's massively exaggerated, then I would run like the wind!

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 15:19:31

givemeaclue - well of course its just my opinion blush but ... comedy mixed with intellect makes DC very sharp. Takes everything literally, (bordering on the spectrum) which makes DC very observant but can be misconstrued by adults in various ways. Very good mix of male and female skills and gets on equally well with both. Attention to detail, and refusal to give up, can test patience but produces amazing results. Questions anybody to 'prove' statements they make, which is difficult for adults who don't know what they are talking about. Independent and always preferring to take the harder challenge in any task. A strong belief in himself and desire to get the most out of life, possibly due to his extra needs. I could go on. Qualities that might not make him a homogenous 'leader' but I think qualities that would benefit an individual charismatic entrepreneur / billionaire playboy

seeker Sat 02-Feb-13 15:20:28

Ah. joke thread.

AuntieStella Sat 02-Feb-13 15:22:00

A DC who has been awarded a scholarship is also likely to have been offered ordinary places at other schools applied for. I do know families who have turned down scholarships or the more known/prestigious school because they feel their DC would be a better fit elsewhere.

That is why I think OP should consider other offers, as I cannot on the basis of these posts see her being happy with this one, nor with it having influence on her DC.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 02-Feb-13 15:22:03


JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sat 02-Feb-13 15:22:22

Where is the school, and initials OP because I don't believe a word of what you say

difficultpickle Sat 02-Feb-13 15:22:46

I was expecting when you pay for school that it would be more caring, more focused on individual needs, not this.

Then don't send your ds there. My ds is at a prep school on a large scholarship. He has a 'strong' personality but that was part of why he got his scholarship (plus his talent of course). I would be horrified if any head said to me that ds had to confirm and be a conditioned to be a particular way. My experience of 5 years of private school is ds is encouraged to be an individual, even if being an individual to the extent he is can prove quite challenging to some of his teachers (who all said at parents' evening what a lovely boy he is).

So far I have spoken to one senior school who said that they would expect ds to have a lively personality (because of his scholarship) and how enriching it would be to have him at their school.

I would love to know which senior school as I can't imagine a head of a good senior school speaking in those terms and would find it very depressing to meet someone who did.

difficultpickle Sat 02-Feb-13 15:23:49

Forgot to add I'm a single parent, ds has no contact with his father, and that is an issue at all. Nor is the fact that there is no way I could afford full fees.

difficultpickle Sat 02-Feb-13 15:26:28

Just seen your latest post. My ds questions everything and has a vocab and way of talking way beyond his years which can sound very pretentious unless you know him and realise that is just how he is. As I've said, none of it has caused any problems at all. For good or bad though, ds is the sort of child that knows everyone in school and everyone knows him.

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 15:36:51

Thank you very much for all the comments.

I probably had my decision made already but having a few other opinions helped me bring it together. Not wanting to to put my DC in for loads of entrance exams I put to many eggs in one basket. I am going to look at my second choice private school, which I felt was more inclusive but as it was single sex put me off. Luckily I am happy with the state option so not worried if we don't get in.

Having read the comments I think those inside a certain environment don't really understand what its like to look on from the outside and really just prefer to live in ignorance (that's perfectly understandable). However I know I just don't want my DC to be like that no matter what.

I can't believe what the head is saying to you ! What a cheek shock

They'll be very lucky to have your bright and lovely DS.

I would accept the place, and carry on regardless in your own and your son's particular idiosynchratic ways - which is surely much more in the spirit of English public schools anyway - unless it's one of those very common minor public schools where everyone has to conform in a terribly suburban way wink

pippop1 Sat 02-Feb-13 15:37:29

I don't believe a Headteacher would so daft as to write these things down on paper and send them to a parent.

I can (just about) believe that they might say them to you, over the phone but not that they would write them, knowing that they could be shown as evidence in some future dispute or to other future parents.

Unless there is something extra that you are not telling us OP.....

TotallyBS Sat 02-Feb-13 15:39:19

grin at the OP and her DC.

If this isn't a 'joke' thread - you sound like you are sooo full of yourself and thinks that the sun shines out of your DC's arse.

And the mystery deepens as to why the head is concerned that your DC may not fit in.

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