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Is DD not posh enough for her new school?

(19 Posts)
peacefuleasyfeeling Thu 02-Jan-14 22:30:58

Looking for some level-headed person to help me get a handle on this one, please. (On phone so can't do paragraphs, apologies.) We live on the outskirts of a perfectly lovely little old estate of modestly sized council and ex-council 3 bed semis (but lovely, big gardens, thank goodness). We are in the process of applying for schools for DD1 who will be starting Reception in September. As we live on the periphery of our estate, our closest primary is one in the very affluent neighbouring area. It's a good school (I am a primary school teacher and know this school fairly well) and we have just assumed DD would go there as we're within spitting distance so definitely live near enough. Today I bumped into a neighbour (also a primary teacher) whom I don't know very well whose son attends said school. I asked her what she thought of it. She grimaced and said that her perception is that the parents are very pushy and snooty, and that the one time her son had a school friend over to play, his friend (aged 6, ffs) had complained that their house (identical to mine, of course) was too small... DP has worried all along that there would be these kinds of issues, but I've told him not to be so silly, not really believing that people really behave like this (I'm from a part of the world where class and social aspiration just don't feature as much in people's consciousness, and the school where I teach is an inner city "urchin school" grin with too broad and ecclectic an intake for these kinds of attitudes to find any kind of foothold. It would break my heart if DD1 was made to feel embarrassed about her home or background because I've sent her to the "wrong" school. Have I been naive? The alternative schools would be the school on the estate, just a little further away, which is one of the most improved in the country (having been turned around in the last couple of years from bleeding awful) or as a last resort (or perhaps ingenious solution, I can't decide) the school where I teach, which is in a completely different part of town. I just don't know now; at posh school we'd stick out because of our Liliput house but at the estate school people would probably think we're her grandparents (I'll be 40) grin. I just want her to be happy and fit in! What would you do?

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 02-Jan-14 22:41:33

I was warned similar about our school by friends whose children are in the next catchment along. We have had precisely zero problems of snobbery, although sometimes the school's presumptions (that every family has a SAHM and plenty of disposable income) do grate.

Have you visited?

peacefuleasyfeeling Fri 03-Jan-14 09:30:26

Thanks for responding! Yes, we've visited and had the talk and tour at both schools. Just like you say, posh school does indeed seem to be making assumptions about SAHMs (rather sparse wrap-around care in terms of places, more of a tick-box exercise) and perhaps unrealistic expectations of parental involvement in school life during the school day. Actually, for the next few years neither of these things will affect us adversely as we're both working PT / compressed hours until DD2 catches up and starts school too, so there will always be one SAHP, at least for now. The other parents who visited at the same time (and were reassuringly mature like us grin ) did, on reflection, ask lots of very pointed questions and really put the head through her paces, but I just assumed they needed clarification of the online data / OFSTED report and were going about it in a bit of an OTT way. Oh well, luckily a few of her nursery friends are going, and whereas I don't know their parents very well, they seem pretty normal and friendly. I feel better about it this morning, but last night it really got to me; I was lying in the dark trying to figure out how we could afford to upgrade my old banger AND bring forward the building of an eagerly anticipated extension to this summer before she starts... Silly. But I know it'll bug me now.

HoratiaDrelincourt Fri 03-Jan-14 09:33:46

I think any snobbery is really more in my head than in reality - schools really want parents who hear their children reading, get them to school at the right time in suitable clothes and with suitable equipment (lunchbox, PE kit, etc), and preferably help with PTA fundraising.

If you walk to school nobody knows what car you drive anyway grin wink

LEMoncehadacatcalledSANTA Fri 03-Jan-14 09:40:39

You are going to build an extension so your house is big enough for your dd school friends approval? Oh dear.

My dd goes to the "Posh" school. We are RAF dp is a builder. I am a slattern, but we get on ok and all the well off mums use my do for building work - win win. I don't judge people for what they have so not going to hold it against someone if they have a bigger/nicer house than I do.

to be fair I did share some of your concerns but it turned out they were unfounded.

Moln Fri 03-Jan-14 09:46:26

I live in "the poor" estate and my children go to school in a very affluent area.

There ars most certainly displays of snobbery from parents, so don't even say hello in response to mine, but quite frankly why in the name of whatnot would I want to be friends with people like that . There are more that do speak to me.

Yes I've had many children inform me my house is 'tiny' etc, but I tell them not to be rude about where their friend lives or they won't be coming back.

Both boys are very happy there and have made friends (DS1 has only a small group, by choice, of three close friends, and oddly enough two of these would have similar housing and family income to us.)

The school has a good bullying policy and an excellent ethos, this I feel plays a major part. Thpugh I know that the other class in DS1's year isn't as nice and there are some 'mean boys' who do look down on others, but they are monitored it seems by the head and teachers.

I'd ask more than one other parent as sometimes it can be hang ups of the individual you are speaking to, but sometimes it can be reality. Also ask about the schools bullying policy etc.

MPB Fri 03-Jan-14 09:51:30

Just choose the school you prefer.
I went on gut instinct.

Similar situation lived in an ex council house on the very edge of a 1950's estate. Looked at the outstanding sort after school that served the estate with all the detached houses and the satisfactory school which served my estate and other older estates.

I preferred the Satisfactory school (now good). Gut instinct, it was nearest, plus the other school was amalgamating with the nearby juniors and this would involve some upheaval. Also lots of ridiculous snobbery about it, lots of issues about getting children in.

I would never have chosen a school because I didn't think me or my DC weren't good enough for it! But maybe a small part if me went for a more down to earth school.

However, I live in an ex mining town how posh can people be? wink

But if you get any snobby shit from anyone it's a valuable lesson in how not to be for your DC!

MPB Fri 03-Jan-14 09:53:29

Should have said - never have not chosen a school

I'm in a similar position OP. Our local primary (actually a first school) is in a very wealthy rural area. We aren't wealthy at all. I too was worried about DD's new friends being sniffy because our house is too small/not having a pony/not going skiing etc.

I started a thread about it a few months ago, and was reassured that it was probably all in my own head and to concentrate on whether I liked the school, whether it would be best for DD, and to tackle any issues IF they arise, rather than pre empting at this stage.

I also think I'm overly aware of differences between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' in the village, because we're in the 'have not' group which means I do have a chip on my shoulder which I need to be conscious of. (We are not on the breadline particularly but don't have money for holidays, extras, ponies etc)

amidaiwish Fri 03-Jan-14 10:06:32

whichever school you go to there will be a spread of incomes/haves/have nots. i am sure if you are a different generation to the parents at the other school that will be harder than having "less" than most at the "posh" school.
it sounds like your friend had a bad experience which has influenced her, we are at a school in a very mixed area - those that you think are rich (eg own business, big house) often have zero disposable income and watch every penny. Others choose to spend their money on holidays etc... people will be much more of a mixed bag than you can imagine. even after 5 years at the school we go to you can see people's fortunes change up and down. Choose the best school in your eyes and don't be put off.

jojane Fri 03-Jan-14 11:16:48

I know exactly how you feel.
We live in a village, nice enough not posh not poor, but we don't have a school. Our catchementnschool is in the nearby town which is a poor town (as opposed to the other nearby town) so lots of young single mothers etc etc. the next village over is a very rich village and has an amazing school, our garden fence is the catchment line so we were able to get in as were a lot of people in our village.
It is a lovely school and most of the people are lovely but there is a LOT of money there and some of thier houses are amazing and huge, and they go on several luxury holidays a year etc etc. I and some of my friends from our village definitely feel like the poor relations sometimes and I do wonder if we had gone to the other school we would have seemed rich in comparison to most of the people at that school!
When my eldest started I was driving a clapped out mondeo covered in gaffa tape whilst everyone else had brand new 4x4 and bmws, audis etc. I know have a vauxhall zafira and whilst still old it's in good condition and makes me stick out less! Has definitely helped my self esteem a bit.

I still think we made the right choice though and the school has been amazing with my eldests special needs and my daughter has made loads of friends, kids don't care about how much money you have but I don't mind the kids coming round to p,ay but hate haing to invite the parents in as the house is shabby and desperately needs redecorating, etc as opposed to thier houses with brand new kitchens every other year and coordinated designer interiors.

Skrifa Fri 03-Jan-14 12:22:22

We are in a situation like that. Althoigh the other area isn't affluent at all (in fact, it's generally quite disadvantaged looking at FSM and so on) but it is more affluent than the estate we're on for sure. I worried people would judge the flat, or whatever, when they either lived in bigger ones or had a house and so on, but it was actually okay and the parents were largely very accepting.

brettgirl2 Fri 03-Jan-14 18:45:21

yabu to judge people on their houses and the cars they drive. Some may be stuck up but tbh there are vile people of all social classes.

Another thing is that many people who have a big house and posh cars have a massive mortgage and cars on hp. They aren't rich, just in lots of debt and on a financial cliff.

The opposite is also true. DH earns very well but refuses to buy an expensive car for the children to mess up because he is tight. He drives around in a 10 year old banger with dents down the side. If anyone wants to judge me for having a shit car then they quite simply are not worth thought or headspace (which predictive texting came out as headlice grin )

The same is true the other way round though op. If someone wants to judge me for being comfortably off then they are the ones who are smallminded.

MrsGrasshead Fri 03-Jan-14 19:01:33

We live in an area with quite a lot of large houses and we have a small house. Most people aren't bothered about it. I think people just want nice friends for their dc, regardless of where they live. The dc really don't notice. We had a friend of dd's come round and say "oh your house is tiny". But it wasn't in a horrible way, just an observation. And she still comes round years later. I would choose the best school educationally for your dc.

brettgirl2 Fri 03-Jan-14 19:08:29

tbf we went round to a friends new house and dd made a comment about the kitchen being small. I was shock blush but my friend was falling about laughing at my mortification. It was just an observation (and the kitchen is small but then ours is hardly something out of a magazine either!)

Idespair Fri 03-Jan-14 19:16:17

I think that you should just send her.

A 4yo/5yo making a comment in house size is just saying what they see, they aren't being rude.

There are horrible parents at all schools, the entire spectrum. You won't avoid them wherever you go.

As someone pointed out upthread, the school is interested in you supporting your dd by listening to her read in the evenings, cooperating with things they send home etc. Not your house size or location.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sat 04-Jan-14 01:32:15

Thanks everyone, this is making me feel a lot better about it. Personally, it's not really been something that's crossed my mind before, this snobbery thing, I mean I don't feel worse off than anyone else; we've got a small house so we could have a small mortgage and more time for our family while still having money left to save, we bought here because it's a beautiful area with great gardens, I love my banger because I'm a bit sentimental about it, if you see what I mean. But it upset me to think that someone would judge DD because of my hippie priorities. But come to think of it, I've got friends from all strata of society, title to breadline, and nobody's judged me so far, so perhaps DD will be OK too smile. And LEM, don't worry; the extension is planned anyway, but not for another couple of years. It was just a late-night knee-jerk response wanting it to happen in time for September. I'm not that daft, honestly. Thanks again, everyone, it has been really helpful and reassuring to hear your viewpoints. I'll submit our application in the morning. Good night.

aciddrops Sun 05-Jan-14 15:50:13

Not all affluent people are snobbish and judgemental. In respect of the 6 yr old passing comment on the size of his friend's house - all kids do this. Anything significantly different to their own will be noticed. They are not being rude or judgemental but only stating the facts. My kids will comment to me about some of their friends' houses either being "really small" or "massive - are they millionaires, mummy?" It doesn't affect their view of the child as their friend though.

jessie26 Mon 06-Jan-14 17:18:01

I was the poor child at a very posh school when I was young. I rather enjoyed being different and had no real problems - though thinking about it now, my best friends were the other poor kids.

My daughter was also the poor child in an even posher school and she neither had any problems. The opportunities that she had there were things we could never have dreamed of. The only real problem was when the letters came home for school trips and were in the four figure band - one was once £3500, but there were always more affordable cheaper trips too and my daughter was always understanding.

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