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To send only one of two DC to private school?

293 replies

Anotherimaginativeusername · 24/04/2021 23:13

Quite a dilemma. Please bear with me.

As with most parents I’m sure, a fundamental principle we apply to our parenting is equal treatment of both our DCs. Christmas gifts, clubs, clothes, discipline: we are careful to treat each child equally in every respect.

And here’s the dilemma. Our two DCs are very different. Both are primary school age. DC1, academically, is profoundly gifted, sensitive, with a small circle of good friends, periodically gets bullied, and is often miserable and bored at school. DC2 is academically average, very sociable, friends with everyone, never has any hassle, loves being at school.
One of DC1’s friends left. The parents were able to put the friend into a very well regarded private school. Friend appears to be thriving in this new environment, and the parents of friend rave about this private school, saying how well suited it would be to DC1.
We can’t afford to send one child to this private school, let alone both, however it has come to be that this private school may be willing to take DC1 without fees on account of their academic abilities. We are due to meet with them soon to discuss.
We are really torn, finding it impossible to resolve the conflict between allowing DC1 the opportunity to flourish, versus maintaining equal treatment of our two DCs.
So, would it be reasonable or not to allow DC1 this opportunity; an opportunity that DC2 - barring a lottery win - will never get?
Would it be reasonable or not to deny DC1 this opportunity to thrive and better fulfil their potential ?
Would we be bad parents to send DC1 to private school, while keeping DC2 in state school.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Misaki · 24/04/2021 23:15

YABU - It's a really good way to make your DC2 feel like they're not good enough. It'll stick with them for life.


OwlinaTree · 24/04/2021 23:17

It sounds like a good opportunity for your dc1. Would the place be available until the end of y6 or y11? I think she would find it hard to transfer back into state if the scholarship came to an end.

Could you try a different state primary to see if that makes a difference?


Seashor · 24/04/2021 23:17

I would choose schools on their individual needs. I used private for one and state for the other. I’ve been extremely pleased with both schools and both children have done really well. Education really isn’t a one hat fits all.


NorthernMC · 24/04/2021 23:18

As it will be on a scholarship as such rather than you paying for only one I don’t think YABU.


Casmama · 24/04/2021 23:18

I think if you were paying for one but. It the other that would be an issue but to deprive Dd1 of the opportunity would be wrong.
You would need t be very careful about how you discuss this with your children but I think you should give your daughter the opportunity


Bopahula · 24/04/2021 23:20

So what happens with secondary school? Back into mainstream? That may be more difficult.

I think if you were paying then I'd say no, but in this case you're being offered a place without paying. Although I'd expect some contribution from you.
How long left at primary for DC1?


UnwantedOpinionBelow · 24/04/2021 23:20

I think if DC1 is being given the opportunity to go to the private school and not pay fees then it is worth DC1 going. It is not unfair treatment, it is a rare opportunity. If you were paying for DC1, my opinion would differ.


Divineswirls · 24/04/2021 23:21

Of course send DC 1 there if they are going to subsidise the fees it's a no brainer. It's more than likely that DC2 wouldn't even want to go there anyway. Don't stress too much over it and just send DC1 there.

They are different children so you cant treat them equally anyway they have different needs.


Returnoftheowl · 24/04/2021 23:22


I think if DC1 is being given the opportunity to go to the private school and not pay fees then it is worth DC1 going. It is not unfair treatment, it is a rare opportunity. If you were paying for DC1, my opinion would differ.

This was my thoughts too.

If you're paying them it's unfair to send one and not the other. If one is able to get in on an academic scholarship then that is a different matter.

AnneLovesGilbert · 24/04/2021 23:23

Won’t there be loads of costs of private even on a scholarship? Have you looked into that and can you afford it?


serin · 24/04/2021 23:23

YANBU, your children are individuals, you have to fo what is best for each of them if DC2 is happy in state school then why move them.

However, if you can't really afford it and DC2 is going to suffer economically (ie can't afford school trips in state system or afterschool activities) then I think that's really not on.

Also beware of the private school putting massive amounts of pressure on your "sensitive" DC1, as they will be expecting top grades from her.


WhipperSnapperSteve · 24/04/2021 23:24

If you want to engender a golden child/scapegoat scenario, go ahead.


An0n0n0n · 24/04/2021 23:24

If its free and based on academic abilty its fine.

What wouldn't be fine is to scrimp and save to put no1 there when it would mean no2 cant have music lessons/scouts/kayaking/whatever else to enable no1 to go to private school.

If no1 is academically gifted, do you think the end result will be significantly different at the end of school i.e. A*s in 10 subjects vs 8 B's and 2 A's in the other school?


Tinty · 24/04/2021 23:25

I think you should let DC1 take this opportunity but make sure you can pay for extra tutoring for DC2 to make sure DC2 does the very best they can.


Anotherimaginativeusername · 24/04/2021 23:26

Thanks for your reply. This is what DH thinks, but I struggle seeing DC1 unhappy at school, and feel that if they are both in an environment that suits them best, and we are not paying for private schooling, then they are both being treated equally and without favour. DC2 is so happy at school, that I don’t see DC2 feeling like they’re getting less than DC1. I could be wrong of course, very wrong, and this is why I am torn over it.

OP posts:

Branleuse · 24/04/2021 23:30

Id do it. You know even if dc2 does feel annoyed at some point, it wont traumatise him or create problems by itself if hes enjoying school anyway.
I just wouldnt discuss the private vs state aspect with them


m0therofdragons · 24/04/2021 23:30

My db and I went to different schools because he was at a boys school and I was at a girls school. We actually looked at local independent schools for dd1 as she sounds similar to your eldest. Younger 2 for us are lively and creative but average academically - socially they are fab, dd1 can be a bit awkward (especially at primary because she took a while to learn the grey areas, seeing everything black and white).

We looked at the schools and were honestly underwhelmed. We did feel that if she got a scholarship it’s okay to treat dc differently because they are such different personalities but I was concerned dtds would think we’d picked a favourite when in reality she is the one we were most worried about re her happiness. Dd1 is now 13 and stayed in state school. She’s got a small group of 3 close friends and honestly I think she’s very lucky - they’re truly lovely girls. She’s doing well at school and it’s the right place for her. I’ve been so impressed by her state school’s management through covid. One local independent sounded horrendous with online learning from 9-4 with 30 minute lunch (imo that’s not good for dc well-being) and another went bankrupt. Dd1s close friend is at a local well known independent and is happy though. Only you know your dc and what sits comfortably with you.


Porcupineintherough · 24/04/2021 23:30

A d if ds2 isnt happy in a year's time then what? Are you really going to tell them you wrote them off academically at a young age? You could also argue that it's your academically average child who most needs private school in order to fulfil their potential.


quitecontrary123 · 24/04/2021 23:30

Sounds to me like DC2 is actually the child that may benefit more from a private school setting (smaller class sizes) and DC1 would be fine wherever he went. Honestly, I think it seems like you are giving up on any aspirations for DC2 already.


AcrobaticCardigan · 24/04/2021 23:30

If you were paying I’d say absolutely not, however if he was offered a scholarship based on academic ability, it would be silly not to let him take the opportunity.


ColinSupporter · 24/04/2021 23:30

I wouldn’t pay for one not the other, unless I genuinely felt that was in the best individual interests of each child (I have one who might go private at some point and one who for SEN reasons will potentially be best served in the state sector). But in the same way I wouldn’t stop a naturally gifted child pursuing a sport to a very high level just because a sibling wasn’t going to be able to, I wouldn’t prevent one pursuing an academic scholarship.

But. What happens if child loses the scholarship- will you really pull them out? What if they don’t get a scholarship for secondary- it’s going to be quite hard for them to transfer back to state at that point. And how much will the “extras” like uniform, trips etc cost (all the way through) and how does that effect the budget for the family and opportunities for your other child?


Branleuse · 24/04/2021 23:31

Would you not allow one to go to grammar school if he got in in case it made the other feel bad?


Divineswirls · 24/04/2021 23:31

OP speak to DC2 and he will more than likely tell you that he doesnt care that DC1 goes to this School and then you wont be torn.


edwinbear · 24/04/2021 23:33

Are you quite sure you would get a 100% scholarship? They are rare as hens teeth. If that is what is on offer, of course you should take it. And spend any money it frees up on DC2


firedog · 24/04/2021 23:34

What age?!?? There's a massive difference in age 6 and YrR6

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