Which is better IYO?

(22 Posts)
Schmedz Fri 08-Feb-13 18:09:41

To be a high achiever in a less academic school or a lower achiever in a very academic school? Child is confident in self and hard worker.

Interested to find out what people think as we will have this decision to make with DD in 18 months time. I think it might depend on the child.

If she goes to school W (on a sibling place) she would be in the bottom 25%.

If she goes to school R (on a distance place) she would be in the middle.

But we prefer school W in terms of its ethos.

Schmedz Fri 08-Feb-13 18:22:03

We have to decide in about a week! School where DD will start in lowest quarter (there is always a chance she will blossom and improve!) is closer to home and will 'fit' her well in so many ways (ethos, co curricular, lots of her friends going). The other school in which would begin 'at the top' is much further away, but would also really suit her. Would hate for self confidence to take a dip in those sensitive teen years but would similarly hate for her to be bored!!

Have you and your daughter had a look round both schools? When you met the students, what was your impression? Did they make eye contact and seem enthusiastic about the school and learning?

jalapeno Fri 08-Feb-13 18:34:22

This isn't just about academic achievement but where will her peers be? She needs people of similar intelligence and like-minded with interests for friendships at a young age.

Charmingbaker Fri 08-Feb-13 18:48:07

I disagree jalapeño, my 15yo was talking to some family over Christmas about his school (a very diverse London comp) and he said one of the things he really appreciates is the wide mix of abilities and interests. Some of his best friends are straight A students, others struggle academically (often for different reasons, one is very dyslexic, one has only been in the UK for a year). As for interests, at the moment it's mainly bands, girls, gaming and football which I suspect is pretty universal.

Charmingbaker Fri 08-Feb-13 18:55:20

Scmedz- meant to add, you have to go with what you feel is right for your DC. We chose the high achiever in a middle achieving school option, mainly because we liked the school, he had a good group of peers going with him, and it is very close. Other options would have involved him travelling lots and his school friends coming from a very wide area, this for us was the deal breaker.

lljkk Fri 08-Feb-13 19:09:29

Biggest fish in a small pond is nearly always best when young, older children more likely to rise to a challenge & may be better off as mid-ability in high achieving environment.

I'd go for as socially mixed as possible, otherwise.

jalapeno Fri 08-Feb-13 19:11:25

Well fair enough charmingbaker, this is obviously just my experience. I am a sociable animal and hated not being able to hold a conversation with people in my middle school. Perhaps it was a mismatched cohort or something but I remember feeling like I'd gone to heaven when I reached high school.

As an adult I can converse with everyone, am in a diverse department in the NHS and am happy in most situations but as a 10/11 year old I was happier talking to my classmates mums until I got to high school.

Perhaps just me...and v pleased your DS feels as he does!

Most secondary schools are big enough that she'll find at least a few people she has something in common with.

lljkk Fri 08-Feb-13 19:26:45

Are we sure OP is talking secondary? Because now is the time of year to be choosing primaries, I think secondaries were chosen last autumn?

Op implied that the DD would be at this school during the teen years.

It does seem a strange time of year to have to make a decision about secondary schools, but I only really know anything about secondary transfer in the British state sector.

diabolo Fri 08-Feb-13 19:37:09

I assumed the OP was talking about independent schools - it certainly is the time of year for decisions about 13+.

We are opting for DS being in the top 10% of an all-round school, rather than in the middle of a hothouse, purely based on distance from home and the huge array of extra-curricular stuff the school near us offers. I can't make him do nearly 3 hours of commuting every day.

Schmedz Fri 08-Feb-13 21:12:10

Yes..talking about a choice between 2 independent schools for Year 7 in September. Have looked around both and they are equally fantastic, so the choice will probably come down to which is closest/where most of her current school friends will be going/is less expensive!! One is almost an hour commute each way but we liked it so much, we thought we would give it a try!
I honestly don't believe she will stay 'bottom' if we choose the more academic school, or that her self belief will be damaged by comparing herself with peers academically because she is strong in other less 'academic' ways, all of which seem to be valued and supported by the school (and more importantly, admired by her mates!) She will be turning down academic and music scholarships at the school that is further away, but I don't think being known as a 'scholar' even factored in her preferences.
Thanks so much for the input above...it is really helping with the decision process grin

trinity0097 Sat 09-Feb-13 02:10:11

Some children cope well with being botto of the pile in an academic school, equally for some it would be the worst thing for them. Have you spoken to their current teachers to find out what they think?

Schmedz Sat 09-Feb-13 10:33:38

Yes...current form teacher and also previous form teachers are all in agreement that she would enjoys challenges and be more likely to lose concentration/motivation if she found the pace/work too slow. But this is at primary school level... I hear senior school is a different matter once all the teenage issues start to arise. My gut feeling is that she will be fine and I suppose we could always move her for GCSE if she isn't coping in KS3. Wish I could predict which way she will go!

racingheart Sat 09-Feb-13 18:12:49

Schmedz, I wish I knew. Similar decisions here. DS has been offered a scholarship at a lovely school v nearby where he will easily be in the top of the class in all subjects. Looks increasingly likely that he's also going to get offered a place at a very academic school, a bit further away. Whilst he'd love the geeky conversations with very academic children, he's not likely to be top of the class there. So hard to know whether he'd thrive best in an environment where he's king or where he's middle of the class.
People say it depends on the child and the school. Well that's true but I know my DS inside out and know both schools as well as you can before a child joins them, and I still don't know which is the better fit long term.

Yellowtip Sat 09-Feb-13 18:24:57

Lower achiever in a very academic school. Someone has to be at the lower end after all.

Yellowtip Sat 09-Feb-13 18:27:10

A DC who goes in at the lower end in Y7 may end up at the higher end anyhow. At the other school they've nowhere to go (academically at least).

Schmedz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:55:53

Thanks again to all who took time to post. I do believe she has a lot more potential than the entrance tests at the 'academic' school showed (apparently she achieved a standardised score of 140 on her VR test at the other..apparently not replicated on the day she sat the 'academic' school VR paper) but she still did get a place after all! Her preference is for that one (basically because it is closer to home, many if her friends are going and she is already more familiar with it than the other choice...nothing to do with academics at all! We also like it because it is less expensive!) Think we have to let her choose and am sure she will be happiest then. If she does end up struggling then we will reassess.

Schmedz Sat 09-Feb-13 19:57:45

PS ....good luck racing heart. I hope you reach a decision that you and your DS are fully comfortable with.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now