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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:
BertrandRussell · 27/06/2015 18:27

I know some Lotus'. But I live in a wholly selective area, so I also know a lot of "well, it's practically independent's" too!

WhattodowithMum · 27/06/2015 18:44

Yes, Mehitabel6 I live in a "leafy" London suburb. I don't know anyone quite like Lotus. She really is sui generis, but she doesn't seem all that out of touch when I think of conversations I've had with other parents. People sort of speak in code, or dance around it. But I think a lot of people where I live agree with her. Sort of like "shy Torries."

LibrariesGaveUsPower · 27/06/2015 19:06

The funny thing is, I worked in a City law firm for 10 years, and I don't recognise the world Lotus purports to be commentating on from the professional side. They cared about universities, massively so. They took schools off application form data before handing it to partners 10 years ago in the interests of equality and I remember hearing two partners at the tea point chatting (and, quite frankly laughing) at an interview that had gone really badly because the interviewee kept trying to shoehorn the name of his school into every question as if it was leverage.

Private schools give you great small class teaching, which should enable children to reach their potential (particularly those where it is application and not aptitude which is lacking). That academic achievement helps them get into the good universities. A bright, focused kid can do well anywhere, but a private school can certainly push harder and can give those rounding off 'extras' a state school pupil has to work harder to achieve.

Families with high earning parents are also more likely to have improving hobbies and spend their holidays travelling (or working somewhere exotic) rather than shelf stacking in Tesco to balance the books. Those things count for a lot more than they should in applications - having a good answer to all those ghastly 'give an example of how you have helped a team resolve a conflict' questions.

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 20:03

I can understand it in London, but things are quite different in small towns.
It does explain some of it. I wouldn't live in London, and even if I put up with it for a short while I wouldn't have children until I had moved out. A whole different ball game with schools!

I really don't think that top firms are bothered about the school once you have been working a couple of years. It isn't relevant.

However it has given me a laugh. I am still chortling over 'watch youtube videos of people you may work with' - I am surprised that it wasn't mentioned that they don't keep coal in the bath!

Mehitabel6 · 27/06/2015 20:16

A comprehensive in Winchester, Harrogate, Keswick, Horsham, Stourbridge and places too numerous to mention are going to be very different from an inner city comprehensive.

WhattodowithMum · 27/06/2015 20:39

Libraries I agree.

I haven't worked in a while, but when I was, I did do some hiring of graduates. We didn't care about schools at all. We were focussed on degree. What was it in? Where was it from? How well did they do?

Of course poise and confidence make a good impression, and it's very possible that private school kids have a head start in that. I never cared nor asked about extras and hobbies. It was irrelevant to the jobs for which I was hiring, and would have brought in an unnecessary bias.

I wasn't fussed about accent, but I poor grammar would have caught my attention in a negative way.

LibrariesGaveUsPower · 27/06/2015 21:00

Whattodo- Some of them ask directly. Others it is more that hobbies and travel etc give you interesting answers to the questions like "when have you held a position of responsibility" etc. this is quite interesting if it's accurate on what A&O currently ask.

WhattodowithMum · 27/06/2015 21:25

Yes, I see what you mean.

I just cannot find the articles to link to, but there have been a lot of articles in the US noting that the really good jobs, the high flying roles, are impossible to get if you didn't go to one of about 12 very expensive universities (the US is a BIG place, there are more than 12 very good universities) and if you don't have certain hobbies. Expensive hobbies like golf, skiing, sailing, etc. Basically, you have to come from a well heeled family to build up the cv needed to get a look in.

A kid who went to a local school, graduated at the top of his/her class and spent every free hour stacking shelves somewhere would be passed over. Not an elite university, not a glamorous life for hobnobbing. It's very sad and discouraging.

I see on Mumsnet people talking about schools like Harvard are needsblind. Well, its a bit like the fact that Eton offers some very good scholarships. For everyboy that Eton can help there are thousands more out there with just as much potential.

LibrariesGaveUsPower · 27/06/2015 21:30

I agree with that.

Or, to put it another way. If a partner at my former firm sent her child to the local comp, and said child was clever and determined, they stand as much chance of 'making it ' as the child of another partner who goes to an expensive independent. They will have the grades, hobbies and cv.

As you said, the 10x smarter poor kid isn't going to build up that rounded profile they look for.

WannaShedthisFatSuit · 27/06/2015 21:37

what are these hobies intrigued!

LibrariesGaveUsPower · 27/06/2015 21:41

Was hobies my typo. Can't see and type on app. Sorry if so.Blush Hobbies.

LotusLight · 28/06/2015 08:33

Ah, perhaps that's the posh test - have you been on holidays where you sailed a hobie cat.....

Look top of the list for these kinds of jobs is stellar exam results including A level and a very good university. Tim nice but dim does not get a look in. Then ability at the work (not something graduates will have as they are just starting out but crucial later). The A&O link above was interesting - thanks. Ability to communicate, look people in the eye, talk about whatever that person is interested in matters in many (not all) jobs.

If you only recruit from posh bright rather than bright in general you lose good candidates just as if you only recruit from men not women for big organisations you lose out. However there are huge numbers of applicants all with all As, RG 2/1 degrees including from comps so we're talking about how companies in the better paid jobs then distinguish people.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:38

There are all sorts of ways to distinguish - which school you went to is not one of them.

LotusLight · 28/06/2015 08:42

Jim O'Neill... I am afraid I had to look him up
He seems to have done well. I don't rate very highly his communication skills however on that video link. He says "I think" too much as if he were uncertain of his views and the like. Now that does not have to be because he went to a comprehensive and clearly it has not held him back as he seems to be successful but I would still say he could do better with how he speaks and that it is fairly easy to achieve that.

Employers want someone who is competent. The other things like getting on with colleagues and clients are the gloss but that gloss might make the difference between getting a job and not. People ask those at work what they thought of the person there for that day or interview. Would that person be someone you'd like to work with? My daughter was asked that in the last month. That is a very subjective question and of course can lead to people only recruiting people like them which does not always get you the people you need for the business - although if all your customers are clever and posh you might well want clever and posh employees to keep the customers happy who want to feel they are paying a fortune for someone who sounds right. Absolutely dead easy to change how you speak of course.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:45

Private schools buy you the advantage of small classes, and possibly good facilities, but if you can get the same results without fees I can't see the point.
It has been in the news quite a lot that the type of person who traditionally sent their children to private schools are being squeezed out by price. Rather than have 2 parents work all hours to achieve it, I would find it more beneficial to have the holidays, hobbies etc and time.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:48

I'm sure that the doctors, vets, solicitors etc and those who commute to London,in Winchester would be open mouthed to be told their DCs need to learn how to speak and behave. Hmm

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:52

i can't see why someone's school has anything to do with an opinion on whether you can work with someone. Mentioning your school after about the age of 25yrs seems very odd unless you are reminiscing or having a discussion about education.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:54

The fact that employers want someone who is competent,and can get on with clients and colleagues, is the reason that school doesn't matter.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 08:57

Sorry to keep going- I keep thinking of things. The reason that my DS has had quick promotion is that he is competent ( very good actually) at what he does and gets on well with all colleagues and bosses.
He went to a comprehensive and didn't need YouTube videos to achieve this- it came from family and friends.

WhattodowithMum · 28/06/2015 08:59

To be fair, if some schools are known for doing a good job of educating children and helping them to develop socially and learn good manners, then it wouldn't be such a leap to think that they would look favourably on a school like that. In that situation, the school would matter. It would be an indication that the child has been well prepared, and that child might get an interview for a further look to test whether the "indicators" are true.

I don't think it happens though because I think:

  1. people aren't asked for their school's on applications in the first place (it avoids snobbery and reverse snobbery)

2. if a person put it on their cv, their cv might go straight in the trash because they were seen to be: naff; trying to gain advantage; snobby, etc.
Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 09:03

It might for the first job- but not after that.

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 09:05

I tend to think it works the other way and if you have excellent results and your parents haven't paid to get them, it gives you an edge.

Taz1212 · 28/06/2015 09:13

It all seems very controlled and managed to send your child to a private school to ensure they speak with the right accent and mix with the right people so they can go to the right university to get the right job. It's a bit depressing and I hope not representative of most parents. If it is, I'm clearly doing this private school thing all wrong. Grin

gwenneh · 28/06/2015 09:15

I've never seen a CV without an education history on. Is that a thing?

Mehitabel6 · 28/06/2015 09:18

Why do you need schools after a certain age? If you are 35 yrs with a degree and excellent work record it is hardly relevant! As I said I think I last gave schools in 1969.

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