Why didn't they tell us?

(43 Posts)
NettleTea Fri 15-Nov-13 11:55:03

Just a rant really
Have another longer thread about yr 8 DD and her school refusal/ MH / physical health issues and had been looking round for alternatives, poss flexi schooling, possible home schooling, possible anything. Someone suggested a hospital school so I did a search in my area and came up with Christs Hospital school, which is not a hospital school, but a wonderful looking independent school with full bursaries available for those who pass the entrance at for yr7 or yr9.
Looked like a fantastic opportunity, and not far from us.
Except that applications closed for year 9 in sept.

So why was the option of local independent schools who offer bursaries never mentioned to us. We have no grammars in our area, and there was only one child we know who took the 11+ and travels 80 mins each way to go out of area. My DD had outstanding results in every test at primary, was put several levels above her peers. Is in the top group at secondary. If schools and government are all for social mobility, why are we not told about bursaries for secondary level? If she was in a prep school we would know all about it. I can understand why the secondary school might not want their brightest pupils absconding after yr 8, but why are the primaries not telling us. Why does the LEA not send out info about independent schools and which offer scholarships and bursaries, as standard, with the info it sends for selecting your Secondary place.

derektheladyhamster Fri 15-Nov-13 12:01:47

I have no idea, my son is at that school, do not be swayed by the accounts of full burseries, they are for people who are living solely on benefits. About 90% are on some form of bursery, but it's still very tough - do not expect any spending money or to be able to afford to commute anywhere! Definitely no holidays!

They do take quite a lot in the 6th form, although not much help at the moment sad

NettleTea Fri 15-Nov-13 12:20:21

Thanks, maybe 6th form is a possibility. It's not there specifically, but just the fact that, as an option, it was never even mentioned.

curlew Fri 15-Nov-13 12:21:56

But if she's a school refuser, why would an independent school be any different?

givemeaclue Fri 15-Nov-13 12:59:28

Schools have to really want a child to give a bursary, wouldn't they be unlikely to want to give a bursary to a school refuser? If she refused to attend then she would be taking a place from another child.

It is not the local authority's responsibility to give parents information on independent schools. Parents are expected to do their own research on all the options available.

Norudeshitrequired Fri 15-Nov-13 13:03:02

It is the parents responsibility to research private schools and the possibility of bursaries if they choose to go done that route for their child. You can't blame the current school or the local authority for not being proactive yourself and looking at all available options very early on.

Why would it be the state school's responsibility to tell you about deadlines for private schools? confused

schoolnurse Fri 15-Nov-13 14:21:36

CH is full boarding only and in my experience school refusers don't do well in a full boarding environment. They can and do board and even full board eventually but usually it's phased in over a relatively long period of time. So if I was in your shoes it wouldn't be my first choice or for that matter second third or fourth if my DC was a serious school refuser.

Floggingmolly Fri 15-Nov-13 14:27:44

Who exactly do you think should have brought you up to speed on the fact that Independant schools give bursaries?
You have to be in dire straights financially to get a full one, anyway. And your child has to be attractive to the school in some way; either academically or sports wise.
Doubt a school refuser would fit the bill.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 15-Nov-13 15:55:55

I'm with the others, I'm afraid.

Our ds has Asperger's syndrome - there is NO provision in our county for able autistic children at secondary level, but neither his primary school nor the LEA suggested the local independent school to us (which is where he is now at and which has an excellent reputation with Asperger's).

Why would they? The LEA want the funding for each child to stay within the state educational system and the primary school staff were anti-private schooling. We did our tour of all the potential state schools, didn't find a match, researched the independent school, liked it, applied and saved like billy ho (and downsized) to fund the fees.

I do hope you can find a good solution for your dd.

NettleTea Fri 15-Nov-13 17:17:41

Ok I realise I am probably being unreasonable in expecting the LEA to want to direct parents elsewhere. And I am in a very low income bracket, so there was never any possibility of even considering independent schools, so I was completely unaware of the bursaries. At primary there was never any indication that the 'outstanding' secondary would pose any problems for DD, and to be honest the school refusal isn't as straightforward as 'simple' refusal.
Perhaps I should have wondered more why the existence of bursaries doesn't seem to be so well known, especially if children are identified as outstanding, but come from a family where private education may simply not have occurred as an option because of their finances and an ignorance of financial assistance

curlew Fri 15-Nov-13 17:23:28

Why do you think she would be better off at an independent boarding school?

Generally speaking, bursaries to private schools are nothing like 100% of the fees, and there are plenty of other expenses too-so they are out of reach of very low income families, even if they knew about them.

NettleTea Fri 15-Nov-13 18:04:01

I don't know. I guess I am in a not great place and am clutching at straws, and DD saw the open page and enthused about it. I suspect though, until she sorts out the underlying problems ( which we are starting to, though she is literally in hospital now, having come out of theatre 4 hours ago) that any school would pose the same problems for her, apart from the online live lessons she is doing at the moment.
I think I've got myself into a mess on this thread tbh sad

mary21 Fri 15-Nov-13 18:06:32

Do you think a different type of school would suit your DD . A very small school or one with a completely different ethos. If she is very bright youcould research if there is an appropriate Indie with that feature in your area . Call the school explain that your DD is very bright but the current school is not working big time. You are without funding would there be any chance they would consider her and consider giving you a major bursery. They can only say yes if you ask. If you don't you will never know. Box hill and Frensham may be near you. Or if you want girls only Priors field. But think carefully about why the current school is wrong so you don't go for more of he same

curlew Fri 15-Nov-13 18:06:38

Are you getting any help and support? I have a school refusing nephew and it's been a nightmare, to be honest.

NettleTea Fri 15-Nov-13 20:54:24

Help is just beginning to come forward ~ she has a specialist psychologist connected to her unit in London, but it's far from home. We have been trying to get help for the underlying problems for some time with very little success - we felt that we were dismissed from CAMHs because I was assessed as having the capacity and ability to cope.
I do think a different school, a smaller school, would be preferable now. I am certainly going to take a good look around.

RandomMess Fri 15-Nov-13 21:00:31

Christs' Hospital does now take day pupils and does offer up to 100% bursaries dependent on income however it is a competitive environment and I can't imagine boarding would suit your dd at the moment, learning to live with other people 27/7 is hard work!

However I do agree that independent schools do not advertise their bursaries/scholarships at all and I can only think that they want to keep admissions to a certain kind of parent - one that is pushy and desperate for their child to attend that particular school?

I really hope you find a school that suits your dd.

Norudeshitrequired Fri 15-Nov-13 22:12:40

Perhaps I should have wondered more why the existence of bursaries doesn't seem to be so well known, especially if children are identified as outstanding, but come from a family where private education may simply not have occurred as an option because of their finances and an ignorance of financial assistance

Perhaps because it's perfectly possible for even the brightest children to get a decent education in most state schools. You seem to think that private = better and also more appropriate for bright children. I don't agree. I think different schools suit different children.

Floggingmolly Fri 15-Nov-13 22:24:16

Hope she's recovering well from the operation, btw, op. Good luck.

sashh Sat 16-Nov-13 05:35:54

I though scholarships/bursaries were common knowledge.

I don't think an LEA is in a position to recommend independent schools, they would have to be up to date on every boarding school in the country, possibly internationally and their local independents.

Independents do not have to follow the national curriculum or employ qualified teachers, so how can an LEA recommend them without knowing anything about the staff's qualifications, the curriculum their pastoral care.

It is up to the parent to provide the education for their own child. Most people use the local state schools but all have the option of independent schools and home ed.

In your situation an independent may well expel a child who is a school refuser, they do not have to do anything to keep your child there.

NettleTea Sat 16-Nov-13 08:49:03

Ok I guess i should have known about it. But I didn't.
I don't think that private is necessarily better, in regards to education. The school she goes to is outstanding, people move house just to live within the rapidly diminishing catchment area. It produces fantastic academic results, has a wealth of facilities and engaging and enthusiastic teachers. For the huge majority of kids they have a really happy time and do really well.
I just don't understand WHY I didn't know, because I am not stupid.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 09:09:19

I understand where you're coming from I didn't really know much about it until dd1 was faced with going to a school that was truly awful at the relevant time. A handful of students sitting subjects such as geography and french!!! I was concerned about being a very bright kid amongst a majority who just weren't interested in learning - it's hard enough being the bright kid amongst a majority who are intersted IYSWIM.

I had heard of CH as a relative had gone there but I didn't consider approaching local private schools but I wasn't aware that you could get 100% bursaries but also I live in a very mixed area with an incredible amount of wealth and had reservations about my child being the poor kid amongst all of that.

There are small and nurturing independent secondaries around though, but I guess the chance of living near one would be low!

NettleTea Sat 16-Nov-13 12:02:50

Maybe that's the question I need to ask then - for small and nurturing independents near us. And then look to see whether they offer any assistance.

But i am glad I am not the only one, I was beginning to feel really shoddy as a parent there for even wondering about this.

It's like I used fabulous cloth nappies for my younger son, but no one told me about them and I was completely unaware of their very existence.
I don't have friends with the same age kids as my eldest, I haven't had a lot of parenting support - a lot of the time my focus of attention has been my daughters health problems rather than schooling, so I feel I've very much been on my own finding any new ideas or pathways to take. And until she started at secondary I didn't think that there would be a problem, as she flew through primary with school posing no problems at all. It's only since secondary when all the different problems compounded into one that this has even been a consideration. And to be honest, only since this year as her medical problems masked the seriousness of everything else going on.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 12:07:07

I don't think the LEA will give you the info it will just be a case of googling - or perhaps there is on-line independent schools guide?

middleclassonbursary Sun 17-Nov-13 08:48:08

OP the vast majority of independent schools boarding and day are charities and are therefore meant to be widening their access. I thought this was common knowledge. There are a relatively small number out there who take this very seriously like CH (although I understand they are becoming less generous) and offer very large means tested bursaries to all who are offered a place. But most independent schools will offer significant financial assistance, up to 100% in some cases, only to those who achieve a scholarship usually an academic one. Scholarships are fiercely fought over and you can loose it and also any associated financial helps if your DC doesn't maintain their academic potential/performance. If you look at the website of any school you like the look of you will usually find information about their bursaries and who they are offered too although in my experience these can be misleading as they most schools are as generous as they say they are.
I just want to dispel for the umpteenth time the idea that you can only get a bursary into a boarding school if you're on benefits. Boarding fees are now generally just shy of £34 000, to state the obvious that's just under £2800 PCM to find after you've paid your other bills and let's face it if you can pay that you not likely to be living in social house on a low rent you will have considerable other outgoings as well. Therefore substantial bursaries into the few who offer them (I can't comment on CH who are I understand different) unattached to scholarships may be available to those on what an average person would consider a good income.
OP if your looking for specific information for a specific school/area start a thread on here you will also get the odd aggressive reply from the anti independent anti boarding school brigade but in general I think you'll find most people are very helpful.
Norude my experience is completely different from yours despite living in two areas where the schools were described as ofstead outstanding we found and in fact were advised by the schools that my super bright DS would be better off in the independent sector as they were unable to meet his needs and we are not alone in being given this kind of advise generally the needs of the 0.2% or less are not met in state ed because there are obviously do few so them. Interestingly I've noticed that this is also the views of even the most anti independent poster on MN; there is amongst them the general consensus that the "outliers" as they are often called are better in a very specialist environment that often only super selective independent schools can provide.

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