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Not rich kid in private secondary

(80 Posts)
irvineoneohone Mon 16-Oct-17 11:18:34

My ds is in yr5. I think this is the time you need to think about secondary school.
State option is very limited, and there is great private secondary not too far away.
We can't afford the fee, but maybe can seek out bursary. Maybe not.
But the thing is, even we can get bursary, we may not be able to afford to pay all those expensive trips abroad etc. that comes with going to private school.
I really don't want to put my ds through entrance exam, 11+ etc., if we decide to send him to local state anyway.

I would like to ask the parents who sends kids to private secondary with bursary how does it work out? Do your kids feel ok about parents aren't rich compared to others? Do they have good experience?

bluees Mon 16-Oct-17 11:20:14


zzzzz Mon 16-Oct-17 11:24:41

grinlots and lots of people do private school for one reason or another on a shoe string.
None of my children have ever been abroad on a school trip, and none will. It’s fine. They are not noticeably scarred or particularly unusual in their classes.

That said if you have a good state school then why wouldn’t you buy them a house instead?

WhyOhWine Mon 16-Oct-17 11:26:40

My DD is at private school. She is not on a bursary but has 2 close friends who are (one full bursary incl uniform and whole year trips, the other on about 80 per cent). Both seem very happy at the school. Yes they have missed out on some of the optional trips but not overyone goes.

The school does not have a particularly wealthy vibe however unlike my other DD's school, so it might depend on the actual school how much of an issue it might be.

Hoppinggreen Mon 16-Oct-17 11:27:27

My DD has a part scholarship and I actually went to a Private school on full scholarship many years ago.
I suppose it depends on the school, my DD's school is in Yorkshire so no bankers or oligarchs mostly Doctors or people with their own business or only children with 2 parents on a reasonable income ( e.g. Teachers). We are reasonably well off but I wouldn't say rich, we have a few foreign holidays a year but mostly Europe and our house is an average 4 bed detached in a nice area.
I would say though that if you can't afford any trips or uniform or extras I probably wouldn't do it, the kids don't seem to care what phone you have etc but it would be a shame if they were the only one not on school trips

iseenodust Mon 16-Oct-17 11:28:51

IMO it depends on the nature of the school. DS is at a local independent school where most of the parents are your every day ordinary working professionals; doctors, nurses, teachers, police, accountants. 10% of the pupils get a bursary (open knowledge & bursary info routinely included in registration pack) . DS is not on a bursary & wouldn't have a clue who was. He didn't go on the ski trip last year. Friends are friends based on common interests.

DaisyRaine90 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:31:58

I would definitely factor the trips into your decision as regards affordability. That’s all part and parcel of it.

Although I suppose no one considers that when choosing a state school

You will be by no means the only ones strained financially. I’m sure no one will ever talk to you about it, but even “posh” people regularly have to rely on Credit and take the equity from properties in order to afford school fees 😊

Abitofaproblem Mon 16-Oct-17 11:36:56

A grammar would probably be the best solution, are there any near you at all? How academic is the private school? Have you visited it yet?

ineedaholidaynow Mon 16-Oct-17 11:39:34

DS goes to a private secondary school. Not a very fancy one so don't know if this makes a difference. Certainly more geared to middle income families rather than rich, if that makes sense.

He is in Y8, so far he has not been on any expensive trips. His Y7 one was under £100. There have been some expensive trips offered but they are not compulsory and it is the minority that go on them rather than the majority.

Uniform wasn't too expensive either, PE kit being the most expensive bit, but that seems the case for all schools not just private ones.

The only extra curricular activity we have to pay for are piano lessons.

We have had to pay for a couple of text books and a some day trips but nothing too onerous and we are usually warned in advance for any additional costs.

I would check with the potential school or preferably parents of children already there what the level of additional costs could be.

BubblesBuddy Mon 16-Oct-17 11:41:05

I think you need to be very careful about the school. My DDs former school had bursary girls and a few of them were very unhappy. They very much felt they couldn't join in and did not fulfil their potential in the school and left early. One of these girls was very bright. Others were more successful but the child must be robust and accepting of their situation. If they are jealous of others and find it hard if they don't have the latest gadget or fashion, then it can be a problem.

Not going on trips is another problem in my view. It separates out the bursary children from the others. That's difficult to handle unless you are robust. If a school has many well off parents, then lots do the trips including foreign sports ones that cost thousands! Be prepared for these issues or avoid them by going to the state school if your child won't be happy at the private school.

I also think bursary parents can be so grateful for the bursary they don't ask how their child feels. So problems go unnoticed and the child never asks to go on the trips because they know a request will be turned down. They therefore self limit their ambitions and needs go unmet.

If the school has lowish fees and parents are scraping fees together, as in two teachers, you may well be ok. London schools probably cost more than Yorkshire schools though due to staffing costs.

Seeline Mon 16-Oct-17 11:51:13

Check out the school carefully.
Both mine go to private secondaries. We don't qualify for a bursary but are no way as well off as many of the parents. DS hasn't been on any of the expensive trips (although has been on some that we didn't have to pay for as they were sponsored music events). DD has been on a French exchange which as staying with her exchange partner's family wasn't too expensive.
The really expensive trips aren't actually linked to the academic work so we do not feel bad not sending them. Most of the trips only offer enough places for a very small proportion of the year group (s) eligible to go so not everyone goes in the first place.
The trips connected with actual school work tend to be day trips at reasonable cost, using public transport where possible (outer London). I think there are some compulsory residential for GCSE/A level field work, but again UK based and reasonably priced.

Ktown Mon 16-Oct-17 11:56:15

it depends on the private school and the local area. if the parents are doctors/lawyers/professionals they are a very different profile to the business people/banker types.

in general you can get an idea by the cars driven/local housing stock.

if the parents are ostentatious, then it isn't a good sign.

babybarrister Mon 16-Oct-17 11:57:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

irvineoneohone Mon 16-Oct-17 11:58:23

Thank you everyone, for your advice.

I think the private school is great. Have seen the name mentioned on MN. Every thing sounds like a dream. I really want to send him there.

But the thinking about reality, I think he would struggle with not be able to do all the stuff others are doing.
Local state is getting better, but not great at all. My ds's strength is maths, but GCSE result seems like only 1 child got 9, 2 got 8 , less than 10 got 7. Around 10 % getting 7-9 in all subjects.
And we are not close to big cities/towns, the choice is so limited. No state grammar nearby as well.

Ooogetyooo Mon 16-Oct-17 12:11:30

If you can afford to meet the fees and buy uniform and believe that he will succeed academically there more than the state school, I would send him. As previous posters have mentioned not everyone does these trips, numbers will be limited. I would see it as a life lesson for him, in that he needs to learn and accept your financial limitations. The main reason for going to the private school is because you believe he will achieve his potential, I would focus on that.

PatriciaHolm Mon 16-Oct-17 12:14:38

My children are at state schools, both of which run trips that cost over 1000!

So that issue may arise regardless, though of course there may be more who can't go. The trips are limited in numbers though so it's usually more a case of running out of space, so there is no stigma about being the ones who can't go for any reason.

irvineoneohone Mon 16-Oct-17 12:35:44

I know! State school is expensive these days too. I have been to open evening and seen state school offer things like ski trips to Switzerland!
But it may not be so bad in state, as not many may be able to afford trips abroad every year anyway.
But wondered how it's like in private, where children has access to anything they fancy.

Gruach Mon 16-Oct-17 12:44:01

Well, it's up to you OP - but the whole point of bursaries (particularly at schools with huge funds for them) is to ensure a mix of backgrounds amongst the pupils.

babybarrister Mon 16-Oct-17 12:53:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ttbb Mon 16-Oct-17 12:55:25

Loads of children in private schools are not wealthy. In Eton for example 70% of children are on sone kind of bursary. I was on a scholarship myself. My parents were in a lower income bracket and we could not afford all the trips etc. It never effected me, lots of my friends st school were in the same boat so I could hardly feel left out.

thesandwich Mon 16-Oct-17 13:01:13

Does the school offer academic scholarships? The feel of the place is what matters... get a tour on a school day and see the place in action.

charlmum60 Mon 16-Oct-17 13:01:56

Agree with allot of comments - largely depends on school. My DD at Indie not on a bursary but prior to her going to the school we had a very nice comfortable lifestyle - we have cut back on a few things now so not so many treats as before - I am also a single parent although DD's dad contributes to fees. My DD does struggle sometimes with being surrounded by other girls who may have allot of material wealth - big house/swimming pools etc although some of her friends are not so well off but still middle class. The girl who does have the bursary has really struggled - not necessarily because of the bursary but because her interests are very different from allot of the girls and she shows real signs of depression..(my DD has befriended this girl because she was worried about her - and is very inclusive with her)
If I could turn the clock back I may have actually moved house into a grammar school area because I think my DD would get a more balanced view of life rather than being surrounded by kids with horses/boats/swimming pools etc ...although it was the best choice of school we had because DD had been bullied a little in the state you can deal with one issue and it sometimes opens up others .

explodingkittens Mon 16-Oct-17 13:06:00

Some independent schools just pay lip-service to bursary provision, some walk the walk a little more. Ds's school has 50% of kids on some level of bursary/scholarship, from a nominal sum to 90% off. Applying for a bursary is positively encouraged. It very much depends on the school and its ethos but, whilst there are always going to be some who can afford everything, you might be surprised at the mix. Certainly it's not the case that everyone goes on the trips, by any means!

I genuinely wouldn't worry about that side of things tbh. However it is very much worth bearing in mind a) how you will handle putting him through the application/exam process and possibly not getting a bursary at the end of it all, and b) remember that fees go up an average of 5% per year and as soon as your income rises, your bursary will fall! Best of luck smile

explodingkittens Mon 16-Oct-17 13:07:00

Scholarships are rarely worth much/any money these days. Some schools may combine the two though.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 16-Oct-17 13:48:37

I was going to say that lots of my friends have kids in state schools that offer expensive trips too. My DS is at an independent that offers a variety of trips but they are optional and because there are so many no-one ever notices that "John" isn't on the trip where my friends at state say because there is only one trip its more noticeable when someone doesn't go.

(Their state school year 11 trip is £2k and she has twins!).

What I would do is speak to the school about what bursaries are available. I think our school has them available if the family income is less than £70k pa and we have a high number of children on full or partial compared to many schools . If you then think you would be able to afford the fees go and see it for yourself first without your child. This way if you think it is not right for you/your child you won't have either got his hopes up/or unsettled him if its not for him.

If you can afford it and like it then take your child to visit too.

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