'We work hard to send our daughter to private school - and she's not a brat'

My family isn't rich. I feel it's important to say that upfront. My husband and I tend to get to the end of each month and find, after everything's paid, there isn't all that much left.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 3:31 pm
Hard work pays for my daughter's schooling - and she's no brat
Hard work pays for my daughter's schooling - and she's no brat

That being said, an issue in the press this last week has had a real impact on us. A few days ago, Jeremy Corbyn announced Labour's intention to integrate all private schools into the public sector.

My daughter attends a private school. She is in her second year and is absolutely thriving.

Her school is not what I thought it would be when we first attended for a visit, nor I imagine is it what a lot of people imagine when they hear the words 'private school' and instantly picture little David Camerons and Boris Johnsons running around with Eton caps on their heads.

My daughter's school is full of fun and laughter. The children are silly and happy and smiley and bright.

My daughter is in a class with just 13 other girls. They intersperse fantastic work in phonics, maths, and science with painting beautiful pictures, storytime, and baking cookies. She's already blowing our minds with her reading and writing, and her love of learning, whatever the subject. This school is a wonderful place where life's colour seems to swell as you walk through the gates. The money we spend sending her there is the best we've ever spent.

And we are not surrounded by snobbish parents raising stuck-up kids. For the most part the parents we're rubbing shoulders with over six-year-old's party cakes are like us: hard-working and down-to-earth, and invested in making their children's future the best it can be. We're grateful that we can send our daughter to a school where her class size is so small, where she has access to the best resources, and fantastic teachers. But we do so, not casually because it's her right, or because we have the money to splash around, but because we prioritise giving her the best education we can. We do so by foregoing other luxuries, like holidays to the Caribbean and trips to Disneyworld, and focusing our hard-earned money on where we feel it's best spent.

Now, I don't pretend to understand all of Corbyn's reasons for bringing this up right now, in the midst of Brexit-mania, nor to really be able to wrap my head around everything that is currently happening politically. But what has struck me most in the days since he revealed Labour's intentions on this issue has been people's reactions on social media.

I've read people's virtual cheers, as they scoff at these places where 'entitled and self-important brats' are 'segregated thanks to their parents bank balances, providing lifelong networks for the powerful and promoting a toxic sense of superiority.'

My five-year-old has no sense of superiority. She is not a brat. And our bank balance gives a little groan every time the fees are due, but what's important is that we don't judge people that spend thousands taking their children on luxury holidays, and we don't sneer when they fork out hundreds on each child's Christmas presents, so I'd hope we wouldn't be judged for wanting to spend what's left of our money at the end of the day on an education we hope will give our child the very best start.

I promise you, there's no luck, or entitlement here; only hard work.