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When parents are slagging off the local comp...

(727 Posts)
Everyoneafter3 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:43:12

I've posted before about my concerns over the local secondary, which, thanks to comments on this board and an excellent recent Ofsted, are very much allayed. I had a very good read of school newsletters etc and am much happier. Dd1 (Y4) is musically gifted and will also audition for a specialist music school.

The area in which we live is very affluent: many children round here go to fee-paying independent schools. These dc are going to school and telling my dd (and others) that the local secondary is rubbish ("my mum and dad say..."). One particularly stupid parent has said at home that "no child of mind will set foot in x school" which of course is coming back home with our dd.

Dd1 has now got it into her head that the local school is terrible, that she's really upset to go to not a good school, that she wishes we weren't poor (we're not! But no, we can't afford independent school fees without having to sacrifice other stuff we prioritise as a family). She's been researching exam results and all sorts.

For our part we've said well look at any local school she'd like to, although as we live across the road from the school in question it'd be unlikely that she'd get in.

I'm heartily sick of parents telling their dc how awful the local school is. It's simply not fair. My dc won't receive a 'lesser' education. They aren't going to a 'rubbish' school. If this continues I'm tempted to speak to their current primary school tbh. What else can I do? I've told dd to not listen, we've looked at the school website, talked about results (!) but I'm at a loss.

happygardening Mon 17-Apr-17 08:56:01

I personally think that if you believe in your choice (what ever it is) and talk positively about it your children will do the same. Tell your DD that every school will have its supporters and detractors, this is life, but as long and you and she are happy that is all that matters.
Results are fairly meaningless to children especially in the early years talk up other positives; extra curricular stuff, great friends, lovely form teacher, easy walk to school brilliant head etc etc.

Everyoneafter3 Mon 17-Apr-17 09:03:45

Believe me I've done all of that, and it's dd that has been researching results: I didn't even know she knew what a GCSE was until she started going on about them!

We are being unfailingly positive at home but she's surrounded by children at her primary who are repeating what their parents are saying.

oklumberjack Mon 17-Apr-17 09:07:23

I sympathise.

I didn't quite gave the same situation as you but I had a LOT of unwanted/unasked for comments on our choice of secondary school for my dd last year.

Where I was, I was virtually the only parent in the whole year (2 form entry) to chose a school (still a state comp) that went the feeder secondary. Our feeder secondary doesn't get the best results, but by no means atrocious results. However I felt the School we chose was slighter better for my dd - more drama, music and yes, better academic results. From March 4th I had parents (and indeed some TA's at the primary) telling me how awful the school I'd chosen was. How I was crazy. I was even told that I was no longer part of the community. It really affected my dd. She had to bat away lots of inflammatory comments made by other pupils (that fad obviously home from their parents).
I was very upset by the whole thing at the time. Without sounding really braggy, my dd is by no means a genius but I think it may have been because my dd was one of the cleverest academically in the class and it un-nerved people that we'd gone out on a limb. ^^

Fast forward 7 months into Year 7 and we definitely made the right choice for us. I'm happy her old friends are happy too. It's just that no-ones asks me how she is. No-one dares mention her. Like she's disappeared. The whole thing has been bizarre.

Sorry to detrail your thread OP.

Basically, what I think it is - is the other parents are uneasy that you've chosen different to them and almost subconsciously makes them question themselves.
I have a friend down in Harpendon who is constantly having to defend her use of state schools. She's choosing state for secondary and is finding it tough comments-wise.

I was advised to just not mention school choices, but people used to cross the playground and email/text me to ask (and then slag off)

Sigh.

oklumberjack Mon 17-Apr-17 09:08:22

Sorry *wasn't the feeder secondary school.

Bumblebeeinflight Mon 17-Apr-17 09:11:29

It makes them feel better as they are so insecure.

In my ds class, two girls passed to get in to the grammar school but they still went to the secondary modern. The other parents were horrified but it was the right school for these girls who loved the drama and dance that could be provided.

They are doing it to make themselves feel better. Hold your head up, your child will go far.

Rudi44 Mon 17-Apr-17 09:12:08

Unfortunately there will always be lots of differences in opinion (mostly spouted second hand from parents views) in the play ground, be it about School or politics or whatever. You just need to give your DC the tools to deal with what others say and be respectful of their opinions but not believe everything she hears. Year 4 is so young for them worrying about these things, in a year or so she will probably have visited the school a couple of times and be more confident in her own view point. I know when we were looking at schools my daughter had really strong views on what she liked.
My DD is in year 6 and there is a bit of this going on (we still haven't got our School for next year figured out). Thankfully any 'my school is better than yours' seems to not be worrying DD too much as she trusts her own judgement (and certainly more than she would have done I. Year 4 when she would have been much more likely to believe everything her school friends said).
Maybe you should just park the whole school conversation for at least a year?

Borntoflyinfirst Mon 17-Apr-17 09:12:36

Our local school has a very negative history. Consequently many parents that went there 'would never send their child there'. However it is a new building (5 years old) with a new Head, mostly new staff and a fantastic ethic. We chose to ignore the people who felt the need to point out the history and have been very happy with the school for the last year. Both younger children will go there too.
We found the whole school application system for secondary was a nightmare of opinions and really the only thing to do is make a decision for your child and don't worry about everyone else. We actually had one parent say 'the difference between us is that we'll do everything we can to get our child in the right school!' I'm not talking about private schools either. We actually feel we have got our child into the right school and the fact it's the local one is a bonus for her in terms of independence and friendships being nearby.

OhTheRoses Mon 17-Apr-17 09:17:11

We lived in a similar area. However there were other choices that were free but more selective than the comp. I recognise these conversations but kept quiet.

Roll on ten years though OP of the six cleverest girls in my dd's class, and I'll rank them thus I'll put what they are planning to do.

Girl one - comp - foundation art, went off rails
Girl two - Indy - history cambrdge
Girl three - comp - drama school
Girl four - Indy - Top RG uni, academic subject
Girl five - Indy - top rg ini, science
Girl six comp - reading or Sussex geography

I find it interesting that relatively the Indy girls are more ambitious and focused at age 18. If you're in an affluent area I think I'd relocate to raise the fee money tbh.

Also I seem to remember the parents who were going to the comp being very vocal about their liberal, principled views and how their dc would do just as well and being quite sneery about those of us who were looking further afield.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 17-Apr-17 09:18:40

You'd think adults could behave like adults, wouldn't you!
I like your idea of speaking to the primary school - they can't do much about the idiot parents but they can make sure that they talk about the local school positively and as if it's the natural choice. They may be able to organise a science day or sports day visit as well. Do you know older children at the school who could reassure DD? It's much better to talk to people at a school than to hear things from people with no connection to it!

cowgirlsareforever Mon 17-Apr-17 09:20:03

OP, your dd has an intelligent, engaged mother and therefore she is at a huge advantage compared to a lot of other children, both state and privately educated.

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 17-Apr-17 09:21:06

Are year 4 children really spending much time discussing secondary school hmm.

I doubt it.

I suspect you're over sensitive to the odd comment OP because you have misgivings.
Just ignore.

In any event you can't stop other parents having views or expressing them.

Bumblebeeinflight Mon 17-Apr-17 09:22:59

I don't know OhTheRoses, we have one of our dds in private school and had lots of sneery comments in RL and on here. Please tell me that she will pull her socks up soon, your list looks hopeful but she just wants to work for roblox grin

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 17-Apr-17 09:25:29

Yeah we got a lot of unasked for commentary on our school choices.

DC school is quite famous and every buggar has a view on it. There are literally no fucks given in Casa GetAHairCutgrin.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 17-Apr-17 09:26:39

And just to add - there's nothing wrong in choosing alternatives. What I dislike is the way the OP and her DD have been made to feel bad about a perfectly valid choice that the OP has researched.
My dcs go to the local school. They have friends at grammars and independents whose parents obviously feel they've made the right choice but are much too sensible and empathetic to say things that would hurt other people's feelings.

Bumblebeeinflight Mon 17-Apr-17 09:27:16

A prolific school commentator on here said that Dd2,s school was full of overweight, lumpy girls. (Opinion based on 25years ago).

No shits given here either grin

OdinsLoveChild Mon 17-Apr-17 09:28:06

I think you are generally going to hear about the bad stuff over the good. Rarely do people say they've sent their children to a brilliant school and they want to share that experience but you often get parents saying their childs school is dreadful and theyre happy to share that experience.

I did send dd to what was considered to be the better school in the area but she has had a bloody awful time there. She has gone from absolutely loving school at primary to hating every single day at high school. When people ask me about the school I share my own experiences and theyre not good. None of my family would now pick that school.

If your DD has visited the school and it's the right school for her then thats all that matters.

Whileweareonthesubject Mon 17-Apr-17 09:28:55

I agree with Born to... The school we chose for our DC was the right school at the time - both DC excelled there ,both in terms of exam results and in terms of personal enrichment. At the time it had a decent reputation. In the years since they left, the school has been on something if a rollercoaster ride - changes in leadership have led to changes in ethos which has had a negative effect on the school with many excellent, longstanding staff choosing to move on. A more recent change in leadership, the appointment as HT of one of the staff who had left under the old regime, seems to be reversing the trend on terms of reputation. Amazingly, over the ten years or so, exam results have pretty much remained the same when compared to national average. I can well imagine that in a couple of years or so, when former students of my DC s generation are looking for schools for their own children, their old school would probably feature in many of their lists, whereas those who were there just a few years later would consider it as one of those ' never send my child there' schools.
If you are confident it's the right choice for your child that'swhat matters.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Mon 17-Apr-17 09:46:57

It started in year 4 for my younger DC partly because about half of them had a sibling in year 6 that year and partly because one of the local secondaries started a hard sell on them in that year, sending glossy pamphlets through the school, HT coming in to see them etc. It worked, about 3/4 of the year (now year 6) are going there. Some of those children are being sneery about where the others are going. We decided very firmly against that school for both our DCs for specific reasons but I have been very careful what I say about the decision. It's almost impossible to avoid, we all have reasons for thinking our choice is the best one for our child, but for children it's hard for them to explain and you get Chinese whispers. A parent can say to their DC "we think X school is better than Y school for you because" which gets translated into "my mum says X school is better" which gets misunderstood as "Fred's mum says Y school is worse" and off it all goes.

2ndSopranos Mon 17-Apr-17 09:47:38

Ohtheroses - no, we aren't going to relocate to afford school fees! It seems you think HE choices are indicative of focus?

Dd1's class really do talk about this stuff. A lot. A huge number of them have older siblings.

Bluntness100 Mon 17-Apr-17 09:50:25

I'm not sure what you can achieve from telling the school. Parents have a right to their opinions, as do the kids. The school can hardly make an announcement saying the school is a good one or to stop talking about it. And even if they did it would probably make it worse. You're just going to have to talk your daughter over this hurdle.

MaisyPops Mon 17-Apr-17 09:53:00

Parents like that are insecure snobby knowitalls who just like the sound of their own voice.
Maybe theyre mouthing off about the local comp so in their head they can "justify" their choice to go independent. After all then they can pretend that its purely educational and had nothing to do with their own snobby attitudes about how great thry must be.
Generally parents who are confident in their reasons for going private tend to be quietly pleased with their choice and dont go around being rude about others.

Everyoneafter3 Mon 17-Apr-17 09:53:51

I was sort of thinking they might put something in the newsletter along the lines of "please respect the choices of other families, and try not to encourage your children to think that one school is better than another".

BoboChic Mon 17-Apr-17 09:54:12

Successive governments have actively promoted the marketization of schools. In such circumstances, people are supposed to discuss the relative merits of their different school options and a hierarchy between establishments is created and promoted. It is impossible to ignore and you cannot avoid it. Some schools will be at the bottom of the pecking order. If you don"t like the marketization of schooling and its consequences and you live in England... tough shit.

DriftingDreamer Mon 17-Apr-17 09:56:18

I am considered to be 'sacrificing my child' re sending him to his local secondary. [From those who send their children to more middleclass favoured comp].
I have wobbled but he seems happy and is doing very well.
Children did say in year 6 that he would 'amount to nothing' if he went to this school. Clearly view from parents. I did go to primary and ask for help and all year sixes spoken to as a group.
Frustrating op but try to rise above it....

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