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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?

ninjahamster Wed 13-Feb-13 21:39:23

Coming late to this and assuming it is true (doubtful), I would be forwarding a complaint to the governors with a copy of the head's letter and then also copying it to any independent school bodies.

My child certainly wouldn't be going there.

Boski Wed 13-Feb-13 19:23:53

There is no level 6 literacy paper at key stage 2.

northwestlondon Wed 13-Feb-13 16:41:21

I followed this thread with great interest It does indeed seem very strange that the person who started this thread has gone quite. Maybe it is a fake. I just don't get why. Very odd!!!

diamondsinthesand Wed 13-Feb-13 13:13:23

Is it? Oh, that makes sense then - a private school-resenter? How odd to such trouble.

diabolo Tue 12-Feb-13 20:43:52

diamonds - it's a fake OP.

diamondsinthesand Sun 10-Feb-13 23:26:35

That is a very strange and unusual response from a head- sounds more like the sort of thing they worried about 30 yrs ago than now.

You're concerned you may be different to other parents (unlikely actually)- did this make you more aggressive and in their face with questions? nervousness can do that (and it will go if you get used to the place) Schools don't want difficult or pushy parents - regardless of income - but they obviously like your dc. - the proof of the pudding is in the eating - are the kids snooty or friendly? have they offered a 'taster day' ? The fact that you're on this, posting a concern, could mean they've read you wrong.

You could pay for another, nicer, cheaper, school but, as an ex- single parent, i would not choose state school again if given a choice - they can be far more snobby, the teachers are less secure, more chippy, the rich kids stand out a mile instead of blending in and if there are any problems at all, you will be blamed for every single one. Not everyones experience, though, I know.

I would not worry about CV at this stage either. Lots of Yr 9 scholarships and also 6th form but most of all, a thriving dc from unheard-of-school will get much further in life than a miserable one with a 'posh school' on his CV.

Do whats best for your ds - sod their 'concerns' - its your ds that matters, not them. Grit your teeth and go for it for his sake? Good things come in tough packaging, sometimes. Secondary school will demand conforming to something including peer pressure but i find parents not nearly so involved as in primary school.

happygardening Thu 07-Feb-13 12:24:37

The OP seems to have gone rather quiet since it was mooted that she was making this all up! shock

legalalien Thu 07-Feb-13 12:22:21

There are quite a few references to the school not wanting to change the lessons to meet op's ds's extra needs, presumably as requested by op. if we knew what was being requested it would be easier to judge the reasonableness of the head's response. OP?

Magdalena45 Thu 07-Feb-13 08:11:21

I would NOT send my child to any school if those things were said. Even if your child successfully conforms and fits in, what kind of school cannot accept difference? That's not the education I'd want for my child. And if your child has any problems there like bullying? That's hard enough to sort even with an empathetic head. I'd run a mile!

burntoutdad Tue 05-Feb-13 11:41:28

Has anyone stopped to think that its the head who usually makes decisions on scholarships (not necessarily bursaries) - or approves them anyway and they are not compulsory. So with this in mind it would appear that the head wants DS to attend the school as she has approved the award of a scholarship. Of course this may have been done on her behalf by deputy etc and without her actually meeting OP and DS but the fact remains that the offer of a scholarship generally means that the school want you to attend.
In relation to the comment about fitting in - could it be read as just advice i.e. 'we want DS here but must advise that he might find it difficult to fit in with the other DC's and might not get as much support with any (statements? if they exist) so consider the offer carefully'.
Just another way of looking at things, but agree perhaps the wording could have been a bit more considered.

eatyourveg Mon 04-Feb-13 15:45:43

I wouldn't send my child to a school where the head clearly didn't want them. Why not compromise and accept the state school place and then look to apply for 6th form entry. You say the state school is a good one and can meet your dc's needs. At 16 yrs old your dc's strong personality may be something the private school will find more attractive. The whole thing sounds very bizarre!

Copthallresident Mon 04-Feb-13 15:19:38

TotallyBS All those schools that get into the lists of schools that get the most kids into Oxbridge go out of their way to enable bright children from different backgrounds to access their schools, and they are certainly not all white. They might be a bit of a sausage machine academically but they also encourage individuality and the development of individual talent. And the Heads tend to be so committed to diversity and inclusivity that they would take a perverse pleasure in including a child in spite of their obnoxious parents (what ever their background) Whether they succeed in their aims is another matter but I really can't think of a top co ed that is remotely like the one OP describes.

A struggling snob factory somewhere in the burbs, more than likely a faith school with a "traditional" ethos, maybe.

annh Mon 04-Feb-13 14:01:09

We don't know what the Head wrote to the OP. Much of her post seems to be based on her interpretation of what he wrote (or said) and she says herself she is "guessing at the subtext" so i strongly suspect there is a large mismatch between what he said or wrote and how she has chosen to interpret that.

Katryn Mon 04-Feb-13 13:46:55

If the head wrote that to me, I would send back a very rude letter. It seems extraordinary that someone should offer a scholarship but also tell you that you may not fit in. How awful.

TotallyBS Mon 04-Feb-13 11:59:44

We chose DS's indie because of its academic record. I don't want to out myself by being too specific about the school but it gets mentioned in the list of who sends the most kids to Oxbridge.

They have a method, a sausage factory if you want to call it that. Well, if I like a sausage enough to pay a premium then it's kind of stupid to pay it AND complain about the way its prepared.

The school has its methods and it produces results. If you don't like the school's ethos then go somewhere else. Simple.

Miggsie Mon 04-Feb-13 11:49:24

Scholarships are often conditional.
My friend's son has a sports scholarship - there are under no illusions that if he doesn't get the school team back in the national league, he's out.
Luckily he is an amazing player and his contribution has got the school back in the nationals.

You either accept these conditions or not.
If there is a place, accept it, but keep your options open by looking around.

A lot of schools do have a very specific type of child they look for - hence the interviews they do. Lots of children who pass the academic test fail the interview at DD's school. The head is quite clear about it.

The school wants to work in a certain way and is putting you on notice that either your child fits in or he doesn't and they won't tolerate certain types of behaviour - even from a scholar.

The local girl's school here has a clause saying a child will be expelled if the parent annoys the head teacher. This is how they get great and consistent results - becuase they ruthlessly weed out any child or family who will cause them a problem that detracts from thier sausage factory education methods.

Abra1d Mon 04-Feb-13 11:38:55

It is a real school. Wow. No way would I let my son go to it, either.

You need to look at this

pippop1 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:37:55

That's true. In my area they do have more white children in them than the other local schools but I just wanted to point out that not all Jews are white.

Copthallresident Sun 03-Feb-13 15:29:34

pippop but the very white schools I am thinking of are faith schools . Indeed the exclusive faith state schools around here are far more white (by bme measures) than non faith schools and the local population.

pippop1 Sun 03-Feb-13 14:52:56

Emm Meditrina, not all Jews are white you know so it is highly unlikely to be a Jewish School.

TotallyBS Sun 03-Feb-13 14:20:36

Jeeze, this thread still active?

Private schools are pretty much free to offer places and scholarships to whoever they want. So its kind of ridiculous (stupid even) to put up all these theories about the school being obliged to offer a scholarship to a kid they don't really want.and how the school is now trying to discourage the OP from taking up the offer.

The more likely truth is that they offered this bright boy a scholarship and now the mum is questioning their teaching methods. Upthread the OP talks about how she has issues about the school being 100% white.

I can imagine the conversation.

Yes HM I would like my DS to come to your school. He is a natural born leader and one day you will be proud to claim him as a former pupil. By the way, I am not happy that the school is 100% white MC. I think that you should change your policies. grin

difficultpickle Sun 03-Feb-13 13:35:05

I'd be surprised if the school were obliged to offer a scholarship just because the OP's ds had reached the required level. Eton doesn't do this. Passing the scholarship exam is only part of the admission process. Not every boy who passes gets a place.

meditrina Sun 03-Feb-13 12:47:54

There is no "pass mark" required standard for a scholarship, nor is it necessarily highest mark on exam. It's a combination of interview, reference and test results. The question of "is this child likely to fit in" would be part of the interview assessment, and there is no way a school would make an award to a potential pupil they did not think would flourish.

I agree that some heads are complete arses.

Veritate Sun 03-Feb-13 12:39:24

"No head would write such a statement. Neither would any school offer a scholarship, even if only 25%, unless they really wanted the child. The competition today is too fierce."

Not so. I suspect that the position is that OP's DC has attained the level required for a scholarship and therefore they feel they have to offer it, otherwise they will be accused of discrimination - so the head is trying to put them off by writing this letter. Never assume that headteachers are infallible, I've seen sillier things than this from very experienced heads.

IDreamedADreamOfSausageRolls Sun 03-Feb-13 12:32:21

OP, you mention that your DS has some additional needs - can you clarify what these are?

Good schools don't "go under financially" so if the school has recently had serious money problems you should perhaps reconsider on that basis alone.

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