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AIBU to want to send my DC to private school after seeing kids in park?

463 replies

Fishnchipsagain · 24/06/2015 19:16

DS is 2 so schools haven't really been on our radar yet. But the local primary is rated Outstanding so we just assumed he'd go there in due course.

This afternoon we met some friends at a park at 4pm. The park is close both to the state primary and local prep but is not one we usually go to (and we normally avoid parks at school turning out time).

The park is big but was packed with school children most of whom looked about 7 or younger, so was pretty chaotic. Most of the kids were dressed in polos and shorts or summer dresses and looked pretty much the same. However I rapidly realized that the children in one uniform were generally behaving far better than the others, so I looked at the uniforms to see which schools the kids attended.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving between the primary school kids, and one was utterly foul mouthed. These kids were also the ones who tried to shove the toddlers out of the way on the climbing frame, were clambering the wrong way up the slide, not waiting their turn or yelling at/pushing my DS and his friends if they tried to go in the play house. They took no notice of me when I suggested they wait. One picked up my son's toy and pulled the string so hard he broke it, then just chucked it down and ran off laughing. Obviously they weren't all like this, but a significant number were.

In contrast, the prep school kids we met were universally respectful and friendly to the toddlers, waiting their turn and not sliding into the child in front, one said sorry when he ran into my buggy and they generally seemed to be playing much more nicely together and have more social awareness.

AIBU to want to send my DS private after witnessing this or am I just not used to 4-7 year olds and this is normal? Ive looked on the prep school website and we could just about afford it if we scrimped and saved.

OP posts:
BitOfFun · 26/06/2015 22:33

All this anecdata does really is reveal posters' prejudices. People (and children) are all different, and all the same, when it comes down to it.

Mehitabel6 · 26/06/2015 22:56

Luckily universities and employers don't have such ridiculous prejudices and go on merit.
You choose the best school for your child- a tiny minority have the money for an extra choice.
I have friends and relatives on both sides, private and state, and you can't tell the difference now that the children are adults- except that the majority managed it without school fees or selective schools.
At my age you can't tell who was educated privately, who went to grammar or who went to secondary modern schools - unless they tell you. And then you get some surprises!

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 07:50

Something to think about here

holmessweetholmes · 27/06/2015 08:26

I don't think comprehensive school kids are a feral mass, but I have taught at five comprehensives and an unacceptably large number of the kids behave badly. I don't think many teachers would disagree with that. Except that possibly some teachers have become so used to this behaviour that it seems normal.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 08:30

Some comprehensives have zero tolerance on bad behaviour.

BertrandRussell · 27/06/2015 08:49

"I don't think comprehensive school kids are a feral mass"

Oh, you do a bit don't you? Tell the truth and shame the devil, as my grandma would have said Grin

harryhausen · 27/06/2015 09:32

I've read this thread with fascination. With the obvious exceptions I think most people are pretty balanced on this.

I visit a lot of schools via my job. I run and host author/literary/illustration events/workshops. I've travelled all over the country from Southern England to North Scotland - state and private. I know my experiences aren't a 'normal' school day, but I can honestly say that in all schools the behaviour of the children has been fantastic and they've all been very knowledgable about books and reading.

The most stressful visits has been one state primary where no technical equipment worked and the head teacher was rather rude, and 2 private schools where the teachers were stressed about me being 'off timetable' and a few awkward private school teachers who refused to follow the agreed classroom brief.

Basically what I'm saying is that I've found no huge difference in confidence, eloquence, enthusiasm, speaking and obvious IQ levels in either state or private schools.

Funniest thing was in a a really expensive private school in Bath, a year2 boy announced out of the blue while discussing his drawing that his Dad was in prison and mummy won't see him! Teacher looked really embarrassed and swiftly moved on - but then, when my dcs started their state primary the mother stood next to me in the playground had a tag onGrin

holmessweetholmes · 27/06/2015 10:01

Grin No, Bertrand, I really don't, because that would be to ignore the many lovely kids who go to them. I went to state school myself, my dh is deputy head of a comprehensive and my kids will go there. When I talk about the amazing difference I saw when I worked in a private school, people tend to assume that I'm a private school educated snob who looks down on oiks who go to comps. But that really isn't the case. I think that the knee-jerk, outraged 'Well MY children certainly don't behave like that! 'reaction when we talk about poorly-behaved kids in schools is one of the things which makes it harder to address the problem.

WhattodowithMum · 27/06/2015 10:43

I think that the knee-jerk, outraged 'Well MY children certainly don't behave like that! 'reaction when we talk about poorly-behaved kids in schools is one of the things which makes it harder to address the problem.

I think you have a point here. Since the vast majority of children in the UK do go to comps, we should be focussed on making them as good as possible, not getting side tracked with a minority issue.

DocHollywood · 27/06/2015 11:32

Sometimes we forget what an amazing job comprehensives do. They have to take whatever pupils are given to them and turn them into young adults with skills that enable them to live in the big wide world. They don't have the luxury of selection nor the ability to kick out undesirables. And yet the majority will gain a set of good qualifications and the chance of higher education if desired. Probably nothing to do with the thread but felt it needed saying.

LotusLight · 27/06/2015 12:13

I agree with Doc. It's not really comparing like with like. Most of hte parents at my sons' fee paying school bust a gut to pay those fees. You might get 4 family members working full time in a pharmacy to fund one set of school fees. That child is not likely to mess around. In fact my sons' peers often say they wish I were there mother as I don't pressure the children too much whilst their friends might be doing all day revision at a half term for GCSEs (they just finished GCSEs). When you buy that kind of peer group it's a wonderful influence and people tend to behave well because most of the parents are pretty law abiding, hard working, committed to education etc.

If you compare that with an average comprehensive which is not even academically selective like a state grammar you are comparing apples and pears which is not fair.

Same with that London comp which has just done so very well at getting immigrant children in London into RG universities - of course it's doing well because it has I think fairly tough academic entrance requirements just like Eton or St Paul's or in the state sector selective grammars.

However on an individual choice basis if you can afford to pay fees 50% of parents would do so surveys show but only 8% can afford it.

None of this is a massive deal as 50% of Oxbridge entrants are from state schools and plenty of children do well from all sectors and if you did not make as a woman a wise career choice in your teens so the result is you cannot afford to pay school fees well don't beat yourself up over it. Just carry on.

I don't regret paying school fees. I have been enjoying the controversy over the supposed "posh test" as I have 3 children in their 20s who have graduated and are at that looking for or finding or moving jobs stage and they have been in one of the toughest environments for getting jobs for decades. I think it will be better for children following as we are coming out of recession and indeed this year 30% of graduates have jobs to go to which was not the case a few year ago.

I think those who are not well off can do things to help ensure they get jobs in places with high pay which are very simple and easy to do - look at the clothes the others wear and wear them; change your accent if it's very strong and off putting - watch youtube videos of people you may work with to see how they are; develop a few hobbies and travel. that doe snot have to cost a lot. My daughter worked in Antigua in university holidays, not because I paid for her to go there but because she applied for a job in a holiday resort and that cost nothing.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 13:39

I see it has gone back to a comedy thread! I can't even be bothered to start to address the utter rubbish on that last post by Lotus.

I will just say that my comprehensive educated DC graduated into that very tough year for getting jobs and it took him about a year to get his first job because treble figures were applying for each one. He got a job with a top firm in London. They are not bothered which school you went to - just whether you can do the job. He has quickly been promoted and is doing very well. He has the necessary skills. He isn't unusual among his state school friends.

I think that the last time that I was asked on a form for the schools that I attended was 1969, ( certainly not after 1973) . No one is interested. No one can tell.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 13:41

Actually I am almost rolling around the floor with laughter at that last paragraph about clothes and accents! Which planet are you from? Grin

LeBearPolar · 27/06/2015 13:43

Am ticking off all the usual MN anti-private school vitriol so wearyingly trotted out on these types of threads. It is at least amusing to see the complete lack of self-awareness at the inverted snobbery involved in making all the sweeping generalisations about private schools whilst simultaneously criticising others for their sweeping generalisations about state schools.

Thank God for the voices of sanity and reason pointing out that basically kids are kids regardless and that anyone who tries to generalise about an entire cohort of children based on the single factor of where they are educated is an idiot.

Yarp · 27/06/2015 13:44

Well, The OP (fol-de-rol) got a laugh from the thread

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 13:46

If I didn't manage to treat it as the joke it is I think I would actually get very angry about it. This is over 90% of the young people in this country who come from all walks of life- an entire cross section.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 13:52

No vitriol here. I have nephews and friend's children educated privately. I looked into it for one of mine. It is an extra school choice for those who can afford it. There are good and bad in both sectors. You wouldn't be able to say which of my friend's children were educated privately or by rather state. They can all hold a knife and fork, make eye contact and intelligent conversation, have lots of hobbies and interests and have travelled extensively. None have strong accents and all know how to dress for work!

LotusLight · 27/06/2015 14:03

The planet where our children earn £100k+.

By the way people do look at linkedin profiles to see if the school is given. I am not saying it is a huge thing and in fact someone from a really bad school who has As all the way and achieved much is going to shine, no doubt about it at all as most good jobs are a meritocracy and Tim nice but dim doesn't last a day at most good places but people do ask about schools. One of my off spring was involved in a hiring recently and it was definitely being talked about amongst many many other things - like good fit, experience (usually top of anyone sensible's list) and all the rest.

Sparklingbrook · 27/06/2015 14:05

Ooh is the Bingo back on? Grin

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 14:21

The same planet then. All ,state educated people in good jobs on LinkedIn too. They put their schools if young. I wouldn't - far to old to be relevant. My son's friend has just been headhunted from LinkedIn. No idea whether the school is there - can't say it matters with her university, degree and work experience.

Yes Bingo is back on- order extra popcorn!

WhoreGasm · 27/06/2015 15:38

Well yes, I would agree with whoever said upthread that there's more kudos to being at a grammar rather than an independent.

But, whatever. I am just very, very grateful that our children are at a grammar. The local private schools seem to mainly take the children who failed the 11+ .

paxtecum · 27/06/2015 16:13

Lotus: I think Jim O'Neill is a perfect example of someone who is absolutely top of their game, despite going to a state comp and keeping their regional accent.

WhattodowithMum · 27/06/2015 16:43

To be fair, in real life, I hear people say a lot of the things Lotus does on this thread. I wonder if it is where I live, or, if people are less inhibited face to face than they are on an anonymous forum! Her view of the world, may be unpalatable, but it isn't completely out of sync with the world I see around me.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 16:56

With only 163 grammar schools left there must be very few children to take as 11+ failures!
Thankfully I was able to move out if an 11+ area to a fully comprehensive one- the best thing that I did for my children. The 90% of the children in the area are in the comprehensive and therefore they are good schools.
Thankfully I have never heard anyone with Lotus's views- that is why I find her such a hoot- I just can't take her seriously.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 16:59

Are you in London, WhattodowithMum? I might have different views if I lived there.

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