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Private schools and parents’ occupation

(75 Posts)
PlipPlop7clocks Mon 12-Aug-19 23:41:26

A friend is applying for highly competitive private secondary schools for her daughter in SW London. She has to put her occupation (she’s a doctor) on the application form. This really surprised her and me. Is that something that gets taken into account during the selection process?? If not, why do they ask? Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Mon 12-Aug-19 23:48:48

If there is a space that asks, you complete it. I guess they don’t want cleaner or pot washer as these parents might not have the money for fees. They also link parental job to likely intelligence, behaviour of DC and a source of money to be tapped for school donations. Hedge fund managers, merchant bankers and city high flyers are very welcome. The school will google them all to ascertain potential wealth.

catsbeensickagain Mon 12-Aug-19 23:48:49

My school ask that, we do not use it as a selection criteria. It just helps us “get” the family. Actually my son’s previous school (CofE primary) also asked which I believe was for similar reasons.

PlipPlop7clocks Mon 12-Aug-19 23:50:11

So what judgement will be made about my friend?

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BubblesBuddy Mon 12-Aug-19 23:50:33

No state school should ever ask! That’s totally wrong and is open to abuse!

BubblesBuddy Mon 12-Aug-19 23:52:29

Your friend? Good egg. Intelligent. Can probably pay the fees but not really rich. Likely to have a bright and well motivated child. What do you think “Doctor” says about someone?

PlipPlop7clocks Mon 12-Aug-19 23:58:06

I just worry that they would pass over her for a richer parent! My friend earns less than she pays her nanny.

OP’s posts: |
PlipPlop7clocks Mon 12-Aug-19 23:59:29

But her husband has a reasonable income so they can afford the fees.

OP’s posts: |
catsbeensickagain Tue 13-Aug-19 00:00:27

@Bubblesbuddy? Why he was 5 years old, it is nice for the reception staff to be able to know a little about the children. I have taught in a wide range of areas and always found information about the home life of the children I teach useful - I am not sure how I might abuse it.

Also even for a private school parental employment equals affordability is not a straightforward calculation. Many children at my current school have fees paid by grandparents, family members, charities and the local authority. This information is not available to staff, parental occupation is so that we can chat to the children from a basis of some knowledge and judge good times/places to call etc

Wildorchidz Tue 13-Aug-19 00:01:17

Do they ask for his occupation also ?

PlipPlop7clocks Tue 13-Aug-19 00:04:02

Yes they ask for both parents’ occupations. I don’t totally understand what he does but he’s some kind of business consultant.

OP’s posts: |
ReasonedCamper Tue 13-Aug-19 00:08:18

“They also link parental job to likely intelligence, behaviour of DC “

I would do a I could to avoid having to send my child to a school that made such ignorant prejudicial assumptions.

pallisers Tue 13-Aug-19 00:10:30

I'm surprised she was surprised.

I'm in the US so different private school system in some ways but of course the parents' occupation is going to be noted/asked. They want to know will you be able to pay, will you support, will you match the ethos of the school. The only time dh in his life has used the honorific Dr was on private school applications (and in fairness only then because I filled them out).

Private schools want to know what the student will add to their community. It can be brilliant smarts or athletic ability or parents who will host the fundraising gala or parents who will allow them to say "we have students from minority groups and low-income families" Maybe it is different in the UK.

CendrillonSings Tue 13-Aug-19 00:11:34

If in doubt, just write in “Landowner”. That usually does the trick.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Tue 13-Aug-19 00:18:39

I’m not sure it’s about paying the bills. Don’t a fair number of grandparents help out with fees these days? I’ve never really thought about it but we’ve been asked on registration documents.

CendrillonSings Tue 13-Aug-19 00:21:02

Seriously, “doctor” will do just fine - there could hardly be a more classic occupation for a private-school parent. Good schools record this information as part of the biographical lists of former pupils published every few decades. There’ll be a fair share of barristers, financiers, senior civil servants and academics, but also plenty of parents in more mundane occupations.

Arewedone Tue 13-Aug-19 02:18:30

@PlipPlop7clocks Dd is attends one of those schools! Ime parents profession is used for fundraising ie the top earners are invited to private fund raising events and encouraged to part with their money. I was invited once, they realised I don’t have a spare 30k to fund a bursary so haven’t been invited since! It’s kept very low key and in fact is probably only 20% of the intake.
The other reason is that parents are invited to give lunchtime lectures on their profession to provide insights to Y10s upwards.

Arewedone Tue 13-Aug-19 02:29:11

As Cendrillon says the range of occupations is broad, admittedly a fair swathe of banker/ lawyer couples but equally some with ordinary jobs. It’s easy to forget that some have grandparents paying the fees but also the cut off for bursary assistance is a joint income of below £120k

myself2020 Tue 13-Aug-19 05:33:56

Our school asks that. gets used if they are looking for people to explain jobs, like a pilot coming in to explain a bit about aircrafts, or a chef about cooking, ....

BogglesGoggles Tue 13-Aug-19 05:39:08

I don’t think they care. Private schools just invest a lot of time into building communities and like to know about the families at the school. They’re not going to reject a child just because their parents have a particular job. So long as the fees are paid and the parents well behaved they don’t really care who they take, unlike state schools which discriminate openly against religion and where people live @BubblesBuddy.

myself2020 Tue 13-Aug-19 05:41:07

(the majority of parents in our school
have rather normal jobs: teachers, office managers, musicians, HR people, some university scientists, chefs, )

dimsum123 Tue 13-Aug-19 05:51:11

DS got asked at his interview. He said his dad is a banker which was true and that I did nothing! I was a SAHM at the time! He was only 10 though so I forgave him.

dimsum123 Tue 13-Aug-19 05:56:42

This was at a school in the top 3 boys independent schools. He's there now so I guess they weren't bothered that I swanned around at home doing nothing!

Soontobe60 Tue 13-Aug-19 06:20:39

@BogglesGoggles
So long as the fees are paid and the parents well behaved they don’t really care who they take, unlike state schools which discriminate openly against religion and where people live
You've confusing State schools with Church schools.
Do you honestly think that having a catchment area is discrimination? So you'd be fine if you lived next door to a school but couldn't get a place there because they randomly allocated it to another child who lived 10 miles away? How would you suggest a school has their admissions criteria arranged then?

CraftyGin Tue 13-Aug-19 06:50:53

Some schools invite parents in to give careers advice, so it’s good to know what they do.

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