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Total deadlock with DH over school choices!

(36 Posts)
NW11985 Tue 27-Mar-18 21:21:07

DH went to state school, state 6th form, worked his butt off, got 7 A's at A Level and went to Oxbridge getting Bsc and MA.

I went to fee-paying school (co-ed), got 2 C's and went to a mediocre regional university (though loved it).

I subsequently taught in state comprehensive schools for 20 years.

DH and I simply cannot agree on DS schooling. DH feels he himself missed out on many opportunities his contemporaries at Oxbridge had, such as all the benefits of private school ed. He wonders what he could have achieved if he's had this start in life (as if 7 A's wasn't enough)! He is therefore passionate about sending DH to private school.

I on the other hand am passionately pro state ed, and co-educational / mixed. I think our DS will get a real richness of experience from his upbringing with us as conscious parents who encourage him to do lots of activities, travel etc, and that the social benefits of attending comp with a more inclusive range of young people will make him a more rounded person (like my husband is!)

I believe my DH is brilliant because of his state ed and not in spite of it. He believes he missed out and does not want that for our son.

We are in good humour but absolutely at deadlock! We are joking about using DC2 as an experiment and sending one (mine) to state and one private (his) and then placing bets. Jokes obviously!

Please help! How on earth do we ever find a compromise or solution to this which has been going on for years!

OP’s posts: |
alldonenow2 Tue 27-Mar-18 21:29:09

Don’t think about whether the school is state or private - just focus on which school fits your dc best. It’s not about one being better than the other - they both have merits - it’s about what’s best out of the options available to you and the fit.

BrownTurkey Tue 27-Mar-18 21:29:18

Treat all the options as equal and on the table, go and see them all and decide which offers your dc the best opportunities. Either of you may have your preconceptions challenged. Remember, no one is right and your dc will be very fortunate either way. Ask dh to look at schools through your eyes, and you try to do it through his.

Lupiform Tue 27-Mar-18 21:30:22

Maybe ask your DS what he would like to do?

Lancelottie Tue 27-Mar-18 21:31:05

Sorry, but I can't get past the 7As at A-level.

Maybe is he hadn't had his head in a book the whole of his teenage years he wouldn't feel he'd missed out?

Butterymuffin Tue 27-Mar-18 21:31:15

Your DS gets casting vote in that case.

Hoppinggreen Tue 27-Mar-18 21:37:40

My DH was quite anti Private School. I attended one and he didn’t
However, when it came time to look st Secondaries for DD once we had visited all options ( 2 Comps, 1 Grammar and 2 Private) he was quite adamant that the Private option would suit DD best.
The only disagreement we had was which Private School !
Look at all the options and see which School available is best for him

Notcontent Wed 28-Mar-18 14:15:13

There are two key points here:
- first, what schools do you have near where you live? A lot of people rave on about how fabulous state education is, and how bad private is, but sadly not everyone has access to a good state school.

- the second issue is what sort of school would suit your dc.

DairyisClosed Wed 28-Mar-18 14:18:15

Your DH is right. Private education affords opportunities that neither state education nor parents can. Why not give your child the best just because you entirely failed to be egotistical from it? Essentially you are wanting to deprive your son fir no reason other than you think it's not as good as some people say it is. Did you even go to a public school or just a second rate fee paying school?

Oratory1 Wed 28-Mar-18 14:42:32

Agree with others, I bet in your area there will be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ state options and ‘good’ and less ‘good’ private. More importantly there will be an option that is best fit for your dc. Ideal position would be to view all with an open mind - but sounds like with you guys as parents they should have a good chance to go well anywhere !

Snowcatrunsthehouse Wed 28-Mar-18 15:01:58

Oh now this is interesting!
My DH is top public school and oxbridge. ( he also demonstrated some of the negative snobby arrogance that came with it when I first met him).
I am state educated ( top performing but stil a non selective state), good uni but not oxbridge.

We can’t actually afford the kind of education DH had. ( DH has now lost the arrogance he once had and joined the real world).

We have a state educated friend who went on to oxbridge with my DH who has the same thoughts as your DH. what I find so sad is he is not seeing what actually made him the good person he is or the fact that his very rounded education actually is what made him. ( he was at a super rough London comp). The basic truth is the really bright will get where they need to be.

Our DC will be state and co ed. DH is very keen they stay co ed as he was single sex from day one and finds our children’s mixed friendships absolutely amazing. He admits the failings of single sexed schools.

Nice to have the money to choose but I do think a good state school will offer a rounded education and as we can prove will not stop an oxbridge candidate or entry to any top uni or profession.
What aspect of the private sector is he so keen on? All the extra sports and music etc can be added onto a state education?

Snowcatrunsthehouse Wed 28-Mar-18 15:05:13

Why do we use oxbridge on MN and just not state Oxford or Cambridge?
Sorry if being dim here but been up all night and wondering the etiquette reason?

Kingsclerelass Wed 28-Mar-18 15:09:21

I'd ignore the funding, forget the dogma and what it was like 10 or 15 years ago, and go and look at the schools themselves.

I'm trying to manage private for my ds but only because our two catchment schools are "significantly underachieving" according to Ofsted this January.

DailyWailEatsSnails Wed 28-Mar-18 15:18:36

So what opportunities will your child have that your DH reckons he missed?
Music, sport, drama? Does he wish he attained much less academically?

After almost 12 yrs in state schools, DD campaigned hard to go to expensive private 6th form. She will be much too busy studying, determined to get very top grades, to do much of those ex-Currics, when she switches from state to private sector. What if you have another highly academic kid just like your DH, who isn't interested in music-sport or drama? Will you get value for money?

Rudi44 Wed 28-Mar-18 22:27:54

To echo what others said it isn't state vs indi, it's about looking at the secondary school your DS is likely to be allocated and deciding if that is going to be the right school for him.

I was hugely pro comprehensive and actually for various reasons independent didn't sit entirely well with me until DD wasn't allocated any of our choices and was given a place at an underperforming school that was one of only two in our city that was under subscribed. Had we received any of our three picks we would happily have packed her off there.

MartaHamm Wed 28-Mar-18 23:38:07

I agree with previous posters. You could first see what options/offers you have and then compare, see what suits your child better and if you still disagree let your child decide. We always said we would pay private for secondary education but in the end are going state as we were impressed with the school we were allocated (and despite receiving and offer from our preferred independent). But I know some who are doing the opposite as they don’t like the state options available/allocated and are going private against their original plan.

Witchend Thu 29-Mar-18 00:52:08

the social benefits of attending comp with a more inclusive range of young people will make him a more rounded person
It slightly amuses me when people put this.
Dh is very pro-state school for this reason. He went to a state comprehensive.
However he was most put out when I pointed out that all the people he got on with/has kept in touch with are very much like him: The home owners, white middle class males. In fact I don't think he mixed much with anyone else at school.

I went to a small private in the days of assisted places and mixed and have kept up with a far greater variety of people. I didn't realise it at the time, but looking back I can see that.

peteneras Thu 29-Mar-18 03:15:54

". . .using DC2 as an experiment and sending one (mine) to state and one private (his) and then placing bets."

Ehh. . . my life savings all on your husband's please!

claraschu Thu 29-Mar-18 05:07:08

I like the first comment you got, OP.

I would add to it that, in my experience, you don't pick a school, send your child to it , pick a secondary school, send your child to it, and not worry too much in between. Our 3 kids all had complicated mixtures of schools, including state, private, and periods of home schooling. Our decisions were affected by unforeseen things like bullying, the need for a specialist arts school, and significant chronic illness. Other people I know have had to cope with kids who have serious school phobias. Then there are people who have just sent their kids to the local schools, not worried too much, and it has been great for them. I think it depends on your character and parenting style, as well as the luck you have had with the problems and strengths of your particular kids.

One thing that shouldn't influence you too much is your own experience in school, which really has nothing to do with it.

DailyWailEatsSnails Thu 29-Mar-18 10:33:26

About social mixing... I might start a thread about that! I suspect 70% of us end up mixing with "our own kind" almost all the time, but I'm in the 5% who at times goes wildly different. DC are a mixed bag.

NW11985 Thu 29-Mar-18 10:37:20

Thank you everyone for these responses - a very interesting discussion.
In answer to some previous questions:
DailyWailEatsSnails DH believes that he missed out on good 'connections' which would have helped him get a leg up in his field. He saw his privately educated Oxbridge contemporaries benefiting from networks he did not have access to which supported them on the first rung of career progression - what I would call and old boys' club. (Makes me feel deeply uncomfortable). He has done incredibly well in his career by himself but I think he believes it would have been easier.
Also, DH benefited and was very fortunate to have parents to ferried him about to all sorts of extra curricular things, sports, drama, school trips and so on, so it wasn't all academic and he mangled this without private school.
Contrary to Witchend's experience, DH remained friends with a group of school friends from disadvantaged backgrounds and he himself has a single Mum living in a council house. This is in addition to his Oxbridge clan.
Snowcatrunsthehouse I'm using it to avoid specifics, and to be clear as Oxbridge is specific type of education unlike other Russell group uni's.
Also I should add / clarify that I did go on to obtain an MA and an MSc so wasn't a complete flop, but I was a late developer academically. For me I believe anyone can achieve academic success if they are so inclined and have the support, and for me it is all about the socialisation / political aspect.

OP’s posts: |
NW11985 Thu 29-Mar-18 10:38:37

Sorry for typos - in a rush! *Managed obviously - not mangled!

OP’s posts: |
spacecadet48 Thu 29-Mar-18 11:08:29

NW11985 my OH is exactly the same as your DH. My OH was a very high achieving state school kid who skipped out with As and studied medicine. (not heard of within his school). He is aggrieved as he was offered 6th form scholarships for private but his DF didnt agree with private. (DF supports all his GC going private now though!) My OH still feels that he missed out. He is a consultant and is around a lot of colleagues who went to public school and oxbridge unis and he describes them as a 'club' which he is not part of. They get offered any of the associate and director roles in his trust etc. Obviously not all across the country are like that but I am merely commenting on where my DH works. He feels the same as your DH that you make connections and it is these that help you in life. He has a mission for all our DC to go private after primary. We have 2 DC who went private, one now in uni and the 2 other DC are starting in September. His DB has exactly the same view as my OH, he was high achieving also and he has 4 DC too and they are all in private and their eldest starts in cambridge this year too. Whether it will make a difference in the long term is yet to be seen. I find it interesting that neither my OH or his DB went private, both high achieving but really feel they missed out. I myself went to a little state school in Scotland and I was not high achieving academically but have done well in my chosen career path. Good luck with your choices,

HPFA Thu 29-Mar-18 12:08:32

It's interesting that on other threads we see people saying that choosing private is not about buying privilege for your kids but about smaller classes, extra curricula etc. Yet here we have people openly saying that going private is about making connections for success in later life?

RedSkyAtNight Thu 29-Mar-18 12:29:29

I know you are joking but what are your success criteria for your "experiment" - perhaps that might help to clarify for your both what you consider to be important in a school?

My SIL went to a top private girls school and then went on to get a degree and PhD at Oxbridge. She then worked for 2 years, fell pregnant and has been a SAHM ever since with no intention of this ever changing. She is still passionately pro-private education because she thinks she got so much out of it (though has never been able to quantify "why" to me!).

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