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All white exclusive school or mixed school ?
83

Doubtmyself · 12/09/2022 12:54

This may seem like a no-brainer but I'm torn.

We put our DC down at birth for a very exclusive prep school in central London ( the type celebs and royalty might push for- prefer not to name it, but suffice to say its seen as a Chelsea / Notting hill school) it has great academic reputation and sends pupils onto the most prestigious, selective private schools in the country. BUT its very very white, we certainly don't 'fit in' wealth wise.

Paying the fees will mean sacrifice, we have only one child so it's a case of goodbye nice holidays, nice restaurants out, luxury shopping, we've costed it all out.) They plan has always been a good prep school then a grammar or outstanding state academy ( We work in education and see the value of a mixed education like this, plus secondary private fees are much higher than prep!!)

DC has been offered a place for 4+ reception in 2023. Since putting DC name down, I've really gone off the idea. Partner is still keen and friends and family all agree its a very prestigious school and we are lucky to have a place. We'll have to sell up and move closer which given central London property prices means downsizing, losing our garden.

DC has been at a far more down to Earth private school in outer suburbs, much lower fees, no uber wealthy parents, working parents like us who may own their own but not mansions in central London. DC has been at school's pre-prep for over a year now and its an all through school till 18. It also has a good mix of black pupils. In league tables etc its not that high and does well compared to state schools across London, but certainly low compared to other private schools in London.

I'm really torn what to do and we have to make our minds up very soon, stay where we are at a school that's fine and has children that look like DC, or send DC to exclusive prep that's a gateway to premier league schools, but where DC will probably be only black child in class?

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sunshinesupermum · 12/09/2022 13:05

Stay where you are. I'd always go for mixed classes (and I am white!)

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Beees · 12/09/2022 13:10

Prestigious is pointless if the child will be unhappy.

Why fix what isn't broken. Your child is happy at the pre prep, it's a well rounded school with a god mix of children and you don't need to move house. It's honestly a no brainer.

Happiness is so important in a child succeeding and achieving their potential.

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Lndnmummy · 12/09/2022 13:17

I'd go with mixed. It will not matter to your child if the school is "prestigious" or not. It would only matter to adults who find these things important.
What matters to your child is a safe psychological space in which they feel that they belong.
And, you know - its preschool. Keep your garden

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Ccatalina · 12/09/2022 13:38

@Doubtmyself
Hiya,
As a young child I was placed predominantly in clubs and activities that were predominantly white and struggled. I am of mixed background and often found myself being the only poc.

I think it is definitely more beneficial to a child where they are able to feel represented amongst their peers and find comfort in diversity.X

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BlueThingie · 12/09/2022 13:41

Stay where you are. Moving would be a huge amount of disruption for questionable benefit.

If down the line you think DC would benefit from a more academic school, you can move them at 11/13.

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TheMousePipes · 12/09/2022 13:43

Stick with what you’ve got, the central London choice involves way too much sacrifice.

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Starseeking · 12/09/2022 20:30

I wouldn't actively choose to put my DC in an all white school knowing they would likely be the only Black DC. I spent a year in a hellhole like that when growing up, and spent most of the year crying. It felt like prison and I was so thankful when my parents business venture failed, and we got to move back home again.

While in theory it could all be fine, it could also be extremely psychologically damaging, and your DC only get one chance at this life. I'm sure there's many more mixed environments which are similarly prestigious, so I'd put them in there.

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Sniffypete · 12/09/2022 20:39

Just looking at this from a financial pov, I'd rather have a comfortable lifestyle than be downsizing and scrimping to pay for school.

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SpoonyMcFace · 12/09/2022 20:39

Not in a million years would I put my child in a school where she was the only non-white child. We live in a predominantly white area and I was acutely aware of ensuring my dc went to as a diverse school as possible.

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YellowDots · 12/09/2022 20:44

It's only exclusive because it's very expensive and you can only just afford it. I'd pay for my child to not have go to a school where she was the only black child.

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MotherOfRatios · 12/09/2022 20:47

Having grown up in a white area and faced bullying my parents then thought to put me in a high ranked boarding school it was predominantly white and the racism experience in state school was over racism whereas the racism in private school was my quite aggressive and to me more psychologically damaging as I would second guess if something was racist.

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leli · 12/09/2022 20:48

Sounds like your child is already in a happy school. Don't lose your garden and nice bits of life. I think diversity is v important and I'm white. Also your plan is only for junior school. Might be odd for him/her to be in a super elite pre prep & prep school, then go on to grammar/excellent comp.

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TheRealKatnissEverdeen · 12/09/2022 20:51

Stay.
We are edge of London and my son goes to an independent with a mix.
My husband was one of only two all the way through and I see the lasting impact of how his sense of self has developed.

A friend went to an all boys private in Westminster and felt he couldn't fit in for some of the reasons you've called out. He didn't come from wealth so couldn't keep up with the Joneses. He didn't have the best experience and puts it down to this. Although he is highly intelligent and the academic advantage has paid off.

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Dotcheck · 12/09/2022 20:53

No holidays, things tight financially, they will feel different due to ethnicity and wealth, no garden.

Nah. I would far rather educate to your means, have extra money for enrichment.

I can’t imagine the pressure that would put on a child- both in school and at home

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Gloschick · 12/09/2022 20:58

Stay where you are. They are going to feel so alienated. No one will look like them. Their friends will be chatting about their swimming pools and private yachts, and they will feel bad about inviting kids back to your humble home. If they are bright then they should be able to get into a really good secondary from their current prep (maybe you could top up with a bit of tutoring).

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ChateauMargaux · 12/09/2022 21:38

What is the point of exclusive access to top secondary schools if you don't plan on using that route anyway?

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Triffid1 · 12/09/2022 21:46

Stay. For all the reasons.mentioned but also because children from schools as exclusive as this don't go to grammar or state academy. So your dc will settle into this exclusive school (while definitely being the odd one out, not just because they look different but because they are less rich) and then they will have to start all over again somewhere else where everything will be completely different. Please don't do that.

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lunar1 · 12/09/2022 21:51

My children are Indian/white mixed. The state school we were offered would have meant they were the only non white children. We could have bought another house with what private has cost us, but I wanted them in a diverse school.

I'd make the same decision now 10 years later. School is hard enough as it is.

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debbrianna · 12/09/2022 22:51

I saw a thread about the type of school you are talking about. The discussion was about why parents thought it was a good idea in the first place. The conclusion was that most children grew up to be successful but needed therapy to deal with all the racial trauma they experienced.

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LadyKenya · 13/09/2022 08:48

Gloschick · 12/09/2022 20:58

Stay where you are. They are going to feel so alienated. No one will look like them. Their friends will be chatting about their swimming pools and private yachts, and they will feel bad about inviting kids back to your humble home. If they are bright then they should be able to get into a really good secondary from their current prep (maybe you could top up with a bit of tutoring).

This. Do not underestimate the negative impact that it could have on your child being surrounded by wealthy children, and that is before even thinking about their skin colour.

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justaladyLOL · 13/09/2022 09:19

If I were you I wouod not want to send my kids to a state school in London
You say the private school has a great reputation
You need to give your kids the best education they can get

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Doubtmyself · 13/09/2022 10:47

Thanks for the replies. Lots to think about.

Partner is the driver on this. Partner convinced any racism and wealth envy would be a lot less intense at primary level, and I think that's why we think elite secondary wouldn't work- when these things will grow more intense. (Plus we'd need generous bursary to even contemplate it ) At senior school, we think it's more important to have at least a few friends that look like you and are similar background than primary - the benefits of the prep is prep for best schools and to give us options. Current school won't help with 7+ or 11 or 13+


In fairness I should add the school does have international families, when we met the head we saw a black member of staff as we were walking around, that said hello. We DID see about two black kids and about 3 Asian kids, so its not completely non-diverse. The grammar/outstanding academy route is taken by a few of the school's leavers, most head to selective day and boarding though.

I believe there are some parents like us ( both working, modest property, not multi- millionaires) at the school and the Head told us while ideally if we could move closer, there are parents who live a fair commute away, which of course would be hard with a 4 year old!

We have until Spring really to tell the school and pull out before becoming liable for Autumn fees !

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Gloschick · 13/09/2022 13:19

I'm sorry, I'm really confused. You say the main selling point for the elite prep is a gateway to premier league private schools, and yet you plan to send your dc to grammar / outstanding academy. With an outstanding academy you need to save your pennies and move into catchment. For a grammar, the preparation for this is v different to getting into a renowned public school.

If the leavers destinations are unusually good, it is probably because:
A) Parents have connections (I doubt William & Harry got into Eton through merit alone)
B) The parents can afford the massive fees these places charge
C) The weaker kids are 'managed out' at 7+ stage.

You are right that little kids are less wealth aware, but they do still notice that little Tabitha has her own pony and they don't. Also Tabitha goes to her country pad at weekends so isn't around for playdates and also lives on the other side of London during the week.

Nevermind Tabitha, most kids in the UK get to grow up with access to a garden and local friends. You are asking your DC to give up this, family holidays etc and for all you know your DC could be very average academically, and you will wonder what all the sacrifice was for.

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MuddlerInLaw · 13/09/2022 13:43

Triffid1 · 12/09/2022 21:46

Stay. For all the reasons.mentioned but also because children from schools as exclusive as this don't go to grammar or state academy. So your dc will settle into this exclusive school (while definitely being the odd one out, not just because they look different but because they are less rich) and then they will have to start all over again somewhere else where everything will be completely different. Please don't do that.

Stay. I’ve read your update since the post quoted above but it’s not convincing.

And your plan is a bad one. Unless it’s for the madness of getting into a particular independent secondary in London - there’s no particular advantage to independent primary school. There is obviously a difference between the worst state primary in the country and a nice leafy prep - but you’re already in a ‘good’ school, so the relevant extras would be negligible. You say yourself - the biggest draw is the getting in to schools you won’t be applying to! The proposed school is simply not worth the suffering you’ll be putting yourselves through.

Forget it. Observe your child and, in a few years, if you think they need more, consider an independent school outside London.

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MotherOfRatios · 13/09/2022 14:25

Doubtmyself · 13/09/2022 10:47

Thanks for the replies. Lots to think about.

Partner is the driver on this. Partner convinced any racism and wealth envy would be a lot less intense at primary level, and I think that's why we think elite secondary wouldn't work- when these things will grow more intense. (Plus we'd need generous bursary to even contemplate it ) At senior school, we think it's more important to have at least a few friends that look like you and are similar background than primary - the benefits of the prep is prep for best schools and to give us options. Current school won't help with 7+ or 11 or 13+


In fairness I should add the school does have international families, when we met the head we saw a black member of staff as we were walking around, that said hello. We DID see about two black kids and about 3 Asian kids, so its not completely non-diverse. The grammar/outstanding academy route is taken by a few of the school's leavers, most head to selective day and boarding though.

I believe there are some parents like us ( both working, modest property, not multi- millionaires) at the school and the Head told us while ideally if we could move closer, there are parents who live a fair commute away, which of course would be hard with a 4 year old!

We have until Spring really to tell the school and pull out before becoming liable for Autumn fees !

It's not kids, you have to think about the teachers who may have unconscious bias

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