State till 8 should have an ASBO slapped on it


I’ve been reading with mounting horror a thread on Nappyvalleynet about schools. The thread is called ‘State till 8’, a phrase I’ve only just recently become aware of, and now find, abhorrent.

State till 8 is the practice of some parents who take up a perfectly lovely local primary school place for their child in the full knowledge that they will move them regardless to a prep school in year 3 (aged 8).

Their reasons for doing this, as far as I can tell, is to ensure they get them into a ‘decent’ private Secondary School without having to pay fees for a prep school from the moment their child officially starts school.

State till Eight is clearly about saving money on school fees, and whilst we can all applaud the concept of saving money – the direct result of this nasty little practice is the disruption of all of our children’s lives.

Despite the fact that I don’t like our current education system, I do support parents rights to choose the path that they feel is right for their kids. That said, it’s not really a fair choice because most people can’t afford to ‘choose’ anything other than their local school. If they can get in of course. But still, each to his or her own and all that.

But, State till Eight is not about choice, it’s about being anti-social and putting your child in a situation whereby they indirectly harm the chances of another child’s education.

This issue is not just about the poor kids pulled here and there for their parents irrational yet rampant fear of State education. It’s the children who lose out every year on a place in the school of choice because of these sharp elbowed Mummies and Daddies.

Of course these are also the very parents who can afford the rent or house prices in the better school catchments, so there’s a sense of cheating the system twice over.

Then, you have the children left behind in the now clearly inferior State school when Tarquin is moved on. And then, and of course all the siblings of the first lot who didn’t get a place, who now also won’t get a place because some people want to save thousands of pounds by taking a school place they have no intention of keeping.

Some schools are trying to deal with this vile little phenomenon by asking parents at the open evening that they only apply for places if they are going to stay with the school. It would be nice to think that appealing to the parents sense of morality would work, but let’s face it, with this kind of parenting there is no morality when it comes to educating their children.

We all know that the best way to support the State Education System (other than get rid of Michael Gove obv.) is to put your child, and your time into it. But for those parents who clearly have no faith in themselves, or their children, perhaps it’s time to hit them where it hurts – in their pockets?

I’d like to see an exit fee charged for parents who withdraw their children from State Schools to put them into prepatory schools. Perhaps that way they will think twice about saving themselves money whilst depriving other local families of school places?

Failing that I would love to see these ASBO parents tagged so that their winter ski trip and summer decamp to the house in France/Cornwall/Tuscany is forfeitted. Bad enough we have parents misusing religion to get into selective schools but taking places in those schools and then ditching them for private really is low.

Rant over. Let’s lobby parliament. Seriously. I hear you can catch some of them at the school gates of your nearest prep school. After eight.


11 thoughts on “State till 8 should have an ASBO slapped on it

  1. London City (Mum)

    I am aware that there is now a procedure in place whereby a child leaving a state primary has to (or rather, the parents do) submit a request to the Head Teacher to be ‘released’ and state the reasons why they are moving on. The HT then completes a form – in essence agreeing to them being granted leave – at their discretion (although I can hardly believe they would withhold such an item).
    Without this little gem of a ‘permission slip’, the admitting school will not accept the child.
    Bit like not being able to drive unless you have a licence.

    Ultimately the ‘State ’til 8′ issue has more to do with parents living vicariously through their children, and believing (although none would ever admit it, and I frequently challenge my own friends choosing this path) that their little darlings will mix with a better class of people at a private school. Not sure they realise that bastards and awful off-spring transcend all class divides?

    Anyway, my two pence worth. State school all the way for our three!

    LCM x

  2. Careering Post author

    Totally agree (of course) I’ve heard awful bullying tales and all sorts of issues about self-harming and eating disorders in girls schools in particular. This stuff happens in State Schools too obviously but the sense that they will shield their children from these social ills is misplaced at best.

      1. Careering Post author

        They will presumably hire a nanny or fixer until they marry. And they will either marry someone rich enough to hire more staff or end up marrying a sort of nanny – probably someone sensible from a State School background who can show them how to use a bus. And stuff.

  3. Jo

    The whole system should be banned. How can we operate and egalitarian society with all this going on? Children suffer enough difference in their home lives, they should all have equal access to education. However, with a daughter with a child in Year 2, I’m glad that all those parents that think the school isn’t good enough for them are planning to bugger off. The rest of us can get on with making sure our kids have a fantastic childhood protected from vile people that think they are better than the rest. Result.

      1. Chris Mosler

        I’m clapping though Jo. Passionate illiteracy is totally excusable. The selfishness of these people makes my blood boil. Pull up the ladder Tarquinius we’re alright.

  4. Careering Post author

    Really great article someone just shared with me on facebook about all of this (and more) by Peter WIlby – in particular it talks about what the practice of parental choice and selective schools has resulted in in the UK – more inequality. It talks about a balanced intake being essential to combating inequality – here’s the link it’s well worth the read.

  5. Christina

    So true. Luckily my children a very unposh primary so it doesn’t happen much though the one child (in 60) who did leave for private did so in order that her older brother would get a sibling place to the same school at 11. We used to call her donor sibling as she had to travel two hours a day at 8 in order for this to happen. He also didn’t actually get a place after all that…

    Another couple of kids in other years did leave and the parents explained that they had to because they were ‘so bright’. And did seem aware that this comes across as rude.

    Anyway, great post. I was pointed here by our mutual friend whose name sounds like somewhere you put rubbish.

    1. Careering Post author

      Thanks for your comment (and visit!). How weird though that parents know the ‘oh but my child is too bright for this school’ excuse is rude. What they need to understand to start a mind-change is how anti-social it is. They are voting for a ‘me’ society rather than a ‘we’ one. Sadly the Coalition seems to stand for the same thing especially with cuts to Health and the reverse Robin Hood policy of gifting public money to Free Schools. Sheesh as we say in ‘da hood’.


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