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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 8:16 pm
Posts: 57
Hi everyone,

I've typed this a few times now but each time have scrapped it thinking, "Don't be so daft," but it's bothering me now my DS has had an offer so I thought I would bite the bullet and ask away.

I'm on benefits and a single mother, husband left us almost 5 years ago, not been seen since. At the open day/exams, I felt out of place, admittedly my own insecurities coming through. You often read about grammar schools being for the middle classes only, people who can afford tutors etc, so we will of course be a minority. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of Shameless extra, I think I am decent, educated and polite person, my children are pretty cool too, but does anyone think my DS will be in for a rough ride because of this?

It fills me with dread, going to parents evening, seeing mums and dads there, being supportive, and me, on my own, scraping by. The reason I chose to do this was because it is an all boys school with lots of male teachers and I wanted him to mix with children who come from families where education matters and to show him hard work pays off. But now I am a bit nervous, wondering if I will manage financially and if he will be picked on.

Thanks, and I hope no one finds this offensive.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:11 pm 
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Which school are you talking about?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 8:16 pm
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strictlyfriends wrote:
Which school are you talking about?


I'm in Plymouth and the school is DHSB. But I guess my question is one general one, and not specific to the school itself. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:18 pm 
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I hope not. I don't think you are entirely unusual in having those worries and securities, I know personally of other people who feel exactly the same way. There are plenty of 'middle class' families with only one parent around - on Child of Our Time last week only half of the children still had their parents together. The best we can all hope for is that there are a group of parents all trying to do the best for their children and that those children themselves will be a mixed bag just like anywhere else. And I doubt they'll care what each other's family is like when they are making friends. Be confident in yourself, and don't worry if you don't have that Joules Wax Jacket :P

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 8:16 pm
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JRM wrote:
I hope not. I don't think you are entirely unusual in having those worries and securities, I know personally of other people who feel exactly the same way. There are plenty of 'middle class' families with only one parent around - on Child of Our Time last week only half of the children still had their parents together. The best we can all hope for is that there are a group of parents all trying to do the best for their children and that those children themselves will be a mixed bag just like anywhere else. And I doubt they'll care what each other's family is like when they are making friends. Be confident in yourself, and don't worry if you don't have that Joules Wax Jacket :P


Lol thanks JRM. Yes you're right, it's entirely my own insecurities and anxiousness. I think I got some cold feet when I was filling out his forms and got to the bit about free school meals. I have actually put him down for packed lunches, just in case. Shouldn't have to feel like that but I do, welfare and benefits is such a hot topic at the moment :/


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Beckii330 wrote:
Hi everyone,
It fills me with dread, going to parents evening, seeing mums and dads there, being supportive,

You sound very supportive yourself. Please don't run yourself down. There will parents who don't attend because of work commitments and the like.

Beckii330 wrote:
The reason I chose to do this was because it is an all boys school with lots of male teachers and I wanted him to mix with children who come from families where education matters and to show him hard work pays off. But now I am a bit nervous, wondering if I will manage financially and if he will be picked on.

Thanks, and I hope no one finds this offensive.


You are sending him there for all the right reasons. He is obviously bright. Please, both of you, hold your heads high.

Brings to mind a Cat in the Hat quote I read recently, Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter won't mind.

Also please look into claiming free school meals. Check how schools are paid for. The school my DD will go to have a system where they swipe their fingerprint and parents pay into an account online. Those on free school meals have the amount automatically added, so no one knows.

In addition the school will get extra money. This will continue even if you stop claiming.

(I was in a similar position myself as a child. My father left completely and my mum left to struggle. No GSs where I lived though. Didn't stop my mum wanting us to achieve and get on in life. Worked out in the end)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:31 pm
Posts: 445
Location: East Lancs
Hi, I hope I can give you a little reassurance. I'm in a similar boat to you, my hubby is still here, but I'm disabled, and he's my carer, so we live on benefits and have very little.
My DD1 got a 100% bursary to an all girls private school and I had the same worries you do. But she very quickly found which were the girls who only cared about the latest whatever, and which were the girls who were friendly and got to know her for her. She's year 9 now, and there have been a few minor bumps along the way, but probably no more than there would have been at the local comp anyway. She's getting on fine now and has a good group of friends.
DD2 has just got a place at our nearest all girls grammar school, I'm wondering about how they will sort out things like free school meals, but I know the school get extra money for every pupil on the role who can get free school meals even if you don't actually have school dinners. I'd contact the school and mention that you are entitled to claim it.

I'm sure my DD2 and your DS will soon find friends, the ones who will give them grieve for their background aren't worth being friends with anyway.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:10 pm 
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Thanks as well Tinkers, appreciate it.

I will look at the school meals then, if they can get extra money, then great.

And yes, I want my children to do the very best they can, more so now I think, perhaps a bit too much! Worrying about nothing, you're right, the boys won't care one bit and if they do, well, that's their problem.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4589
Location: Essex
Re the entitlement to FSM, if schools down your way are anything like the ones our DC attend, you may find you barely have time to think about contacting the school before they start bombarding every parent with pleas to let the school check whether thety might be and not realise it :lol: - for the school, the Pupil Premium is really worth having.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
Just go for it. If parents and children are going to be mean, they'll be mean at any school.

My children don't get invitations to play very often at all. But other kids come here often. Other people have said it might be because our house is too big relative to theirs. It's crazy. Children just want to play together and visit one another's homes whether it's a tent on the pavement or a footballer's mansion.

Good luck

Oh and I mostly do parent's evenings on my own. I'm sure you'll find a lot do. Also a high proportion of secondary age children are from divorced parents at all categories of school.


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