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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?

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:43:41

Is the letter from the new school or your current school Head? If its from the current head I would book an appointment to see the Head of the school that offered the scholarship?

Regardless of the badly worded letter - To offer a scholarship they obviously see potential in your child, it would be worth meeting the potential Head, words on paper can be read wrong/standard issue/ etc only back the school, take the offer if you believe in it, feel it is approachable and the right thing for your child.

Like many posters have said a lot of parents at independent schools are just normal people with the normal mix of divorced, separated etc etc but the common bond for most is they have chosen the school and for many chosen to sacrifice money for a few years to send their child there.

The bit about trips and ski trips etc is quite standard there will be amazing trips offered during your child's time there sometimes skiing or to crazy far away places for a lot of money, there are things to buy cricket equipment, uniforms etc all not cheap - but if thr trips are essential say geog field trip there are usually bursaries to support children that can't go and there is usually more than one or two families that ask for a bursary.

With uniform etc all independent schools I know have fantastic well stocked second hand uniform shops with absolutely no snobbery about using them.

The most important thing is that you are confident with the school and feel you could have a relationship with the Head or it is a huge school Head of year etc -

If you don't want to meet the head you could ask to meet head if Year 7 or similar and just talk it all through -

Independent education is not everything for everyone but for some Children it can open opportunities to learning and allow them to thrive academically - but a tough choice for you and your child to make, last thing to consider is the alternative schools what are they like etc?

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 15:47:12

Thank you dorapeppageorgenoddy for your thoughtful comments.

difficultpickle Sat 02-Feb-13 15:50:11

CountingClouds not sure if your comments are directed at me or others on this thread. Fwiw until ds went to private school I'd never even visited. State educated all the way so choosing private was rather a leap in the dark and not what I knew. However circumstances forced the issue (need for wraparound care and let down by CM).

However one thing is certain it doesn't matter how much money I have or don't have or what job I do, no one is better than me. If anyone tries to make me feel like they are better then it says more about them than it ever does about me.

If a head said to me that my ds had to conform in a particular way I would run fast and run far. Your ds will be spending up to 5 years there (assuming you are looking at age 13) and it is a long time to be miserable.

MrsHelsBels74 Sat 02-Feb-13 15:52:51

I can't believe a head would actually write 'you probably won't fit in' hence asking for the actual words. confused

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sat 02-Feb-13 15:53:15

What are your current school saying about the offer?

Have you visited the school?

What does your child want to do?

Is this for 11+ entry or 13+?

Any clues on area or school would e fascinated to know, also sorry to ask again is the letter from the new head or has your current head written the letter/given you his/her thoughts - cause that makes a difference?

MrsHelsBels74 Sat 02-Feb-13 15:56:35

I'm also confused as to whether you have DS or DD. I thought DD but then you started talking about billionaire playboys.

Am I missing a reference to binned cake eating?

I think the opening post had a couple of "his" in there but I agree it's odd she didn't go with DS or DD throughout if she was talking about a real person

givemeaclue Sat 02-Feb-13 16:15:26

...are you going to fit in at any school though, with your ideas about how brilliant your son is comparable to peer group, "billionaire playboy?". Etc

Home ed?

diabolo Sat 02-Feb-13 16:29:55

Apologies if this is true OP, but I simply don't believe it.

If it is true then you are incredibly silly to even be considering "fitting in". I know several private schools, ranging from small non-selective preps to large, expensive selective secondaries and I have never come across anything like this, simply because there are all types at those schools. Relatively poor families with DC's on bursaries, lords and earls, many single parents and "old" money families and everything in-between. These types of people aren't mutually exclusive you know?

I think you've made this up to try to start a bunfight.

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 16:30:26

Letter was from the Private school Head. A reference was taken from primary head but they have never expressed any concerns over anything to me about DC and I have asked. Also they aren't keen to express an opinion that doesn't support the LEA.

Its a small private school in a very exclusive wealthy area of a large city. My DC has visited the school several times, has friends there. There is no one from a minority group or SEN students, its 100% white upper middle class, mostly families in second of third generation attendance.

Yes MrsHelsBels74, head did write, "I have concerns that xxxxxxx would not fit in to the xxxxxx xxxxxx school environment". And its a DS.

I was not posting to have a go about any school or person, it is purely about what is best for my DC, certainly wasnt wanting to create a storm. He is happy to go with whatever I choose, I don't think he has a strong preference.

Honestyisbest Sat 02-Feb-13 16:34:44


AuntieStella Sat 02-Feb-13 16:35:20

I cannot believe a school will offer a scholarship to a pupil they do not think will fit in.

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 16:37:31

This doesn't ring true having known a few people lucky enough to get scholarships and bursaries - the schools are welcoming and no mention at all is made of background.
If they didn't like you and your son, you wouldn't have got an offer. It isn't like state school where they have to take people who fit the criteria, at private schools they can turn people away if the school feels that it is not the right place for them.

All schools have policies about not bringing them in to disrepute and not behaving in such a way as to ruin the school's reputation - is it something like that perhaps? Even state schools have that as normal policy. But to offer you a place on the proviso you keep quiet and make no trouble seems either so odd as to be unheard of or like you've got the wrong end of the stick.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sat 02-Feb-13 16:37:56

Which large city CountingClouds?

diabolo Sat 02-Feb-13 16:38:20

All white upper middle class families?

Really? In an independent school?

The mystery deepens as even here in rural East Anglia (something like 95% white British population), there are far more children from different ethnic backgrounds at DS's prep school than there are at the state school where I work!

Now isn't that slightly weird too - apparently a DS - at 11 ? - has no strong preference about his next school ?

But if it's genuine I'd go for it as I said in my earlier post and be as eccentric/ unusual as you like !
And they can't make you go on all the expensive extra-curricular trips once you're there !

Coconutty Sat 02-Feb-13 16:42:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stargirl1701 Sat 02-Feb-13 16:45:15

A billionaire playboy?!?!? Private schools rarely produce those. Wealth like that is inherited or made by entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs don't do well at school as it's too conformist - see Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, etc.

MoreBeta Sat 02-Feb-13 16:49:36

CountingClouds - what on earth is this Head talking about?

I went to private school and my children go to private school and I have never heard anythng like what you describe. It sounds utterly awful and completely against the ethos of private school.

This is NOT what private school is about. I would put DS in for exams elsewhere - he clearly could get scholarships in other places.

diabolo Sat 02-Feb-13 16:50:09

OP - me again.

I've just googled the number of pupils with EAL at the senior day/boarding school my DS is going to in September, and it is just under 20%. It's on the outskirts of a small market town, not even in a city and I think that's quite impressive.

I would be very interested in knowing which independent school in this country only allows white British children to attend? (So I can make sure I never move there)

Are you sure you don't just have some imaginary idea of what private schools are like and are talking about that? ('cos it's about 100 years out of date).

SminkoPinko Sat 02-Feb-13 16:51:44

If the head actually said that then do not touch this school with a bargepole. I must say I am stunned that any head of any type of school would say such a thing though- are you sure you haven't misunderstood? If you are certain this was what was said/meant you should definitely choose the other school. I am doubtful that parental choice of secondary school is a CV issue. Exam results and calibre of university are far more important.

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sat 02-Feb-13 16:57:26

what school independent or not is 100 white British mainly made up of 2nd or 3rd generations attending with no SEN?

Fee paying schools are made up of parents who may not have attended private/independent/fee paying schools themselves this is written about regularly in independent schools magazines as schools strive to be more accessible to academic talent over birthright - YES of course some snobbery exists but on reality these are usually the private schools in more rural areas rather than city schools as city schools have the normal demographics of a city and are linked in with primary schools hence the scholarship programme being in place.

Independent schools usually are made up of a range of ethnicity and believe or not parents from different professional backgrounds. If this school is 100% white as you declare and your child is not maybe that's where you are feeling the tension from but I can't for the life of me imagine this stat being true....

In regards to the SEN, special education needs are not linked to economic status and most even traditional public schools have an SEN department as often (massive generalisation here) bright, boys still have problems with how to put their learning in place or may have dyslexia - nothing to do with intelligence or other specific learning disorders -

Anyway good luck but my experience is that public/private/independent/fee paying/state schools all have children in them - have no idea of the school that you talk about that has clones in them?

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sat 02-Feb-13 17:01:29

Sorry for typos in posts (just re read)

- Anyway be great to know the school/city/or a clue cause if your genuine someone may be able to give you a 'real' insight...

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 17:03:23

I happen to believe the school wants my money and wants my bright child to to come but on the proviso I accept the way they do things don't make demands about extra needs, social inclusion, or anything that might put off any of the other parents.

Coconutty - I don't really care if you believe me, I came on her for genuine opinion not space filler. I have better things to do with my life that arguing a fictitious point on the internet. I just wanted a few genuine opinions to help me organize my thoughts.

So again thank you to those who did comment.

annh Sat 02-Feb-13 17:06:00

Why are you so reluctant to name even the city where this school is?

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