Is RGS too much of a hot house?

(32 Posts)
Lifesconfusing Wed 20-Feb-13 18:15:19

I have two sons and am thinking about RGS because they are quite bright and need stretching. It sounds like an amazing place academically. But is being the best school academically always the best thing for a kid? I know four grown men who left RGS during the last decade - one had a breakdown recently, three said they wouldn't ever send their own son there because they had been pushed too far and been miserable. The atmosphere strange because various boys asked to leave along the way because their results not good enough - would affect the league tables. Two said strangely that they hadn't realised how miserable they'd been until they left and realised what fun and hard work other boys had been having. I feel very confused. Is sending a boy to a school that is full of other very bright boys going to get them great results but mess them up - should we think about a school with a more varied academic intake?

Happymum22 Thu 21-Feb-13 22:35:58

trinity- I can understand and agree most schools should follow that ethos, but this is the case of super selectives like RGS which aren't going to be the right environment for boys struggling and achieving GCSE results way below the norm for that school.
In that type of school they can provide a large amount of support but it may be the environment and atmosphere which is not right for that child and I am glad schools like RGS who on one hand will want parents to pay fees, will also balance on the other hand, what is best for that child. They are prepared to think solely of the boy as an individual case and be realistic whether being around other very academic boys, many of which will achieve highly naturally, is right for a child self-esteem and pressure wise if they are significantly behind the norm.
RGS does provide special needs and general support for individuals- my DS did english booster classes at one point which were fantastic and there was no stigma about it. The cases we are talking about are very extreme where the boy even with significant help isn't progressing and the school realise their environment isn't right.

Happymum22 Thu 21-Feb-13 22:37:19

PS as ivy squirrel said- it is not at all common -what I am talking about is very very rare!

racingheart Fri 22-Feb-13 10:14:49

Well, I've been thinking about this overnight, because we're planning on sending DS to RGS, but have a choice of other schools.

RGS is the right school for academic boys. If their brains move fast and they love independent thought, then they'll thrive there. What would be gruelling for some boys would be fun for a very academic boy, just as my DS's best friend in the county team can happily swim a mile whereas DS would weep if asked to swim more than four lengths!

I can see how from the outside it may look like a hot house, but people who are naturally academic thrive in atmospheres that stretch their ability and shrivel in atmospheres that stifle thought. It's what they want and need. So if the OP thinks her son is naturally academic, then there's probably no need to worry.

TiffIsKool Fri 22-Feb-13 18:59:16

I've heard horror stories from past pupils at my DSs' selective here on MN. I don't recognise the school from their descriptions.

I don't doubt that they were miserable at the school but IMO they were at a school that wasn't right for them as opposed to the school being bad.

Take our school. Each sport is set so you can be in set 1 for rugby but set 3 for hockey for example. This is so kids are playing against others of similar ability. Although the school takes its sports quite seriously I am not aware of the less sporty kids being picked on. But I can imagine that in some other schools these kids can be made to feel not accepted.

So while I would listen to any war stories, I would interpret them in light of what I know about the school. Just because someone hated the school 20 years ago that shouldn't be allowed to influence your decision.

BeckAndCall Sat 23-Feb-13 09:00:31

If your son passes the entrance exam, and if he's prepared to work hard, then it's the place for him.

Every boy there does their work more or less on time - life is difficult there if you don't - mostly because that's what the boys expect from each other.

I don think you actually have to be too much of an independent thinker, tbh racy - no disrepresent to my boy's approach but he is a science graduate and I don't think he really developed his thinking skills until uni. Just listening and learning from the teachers was his approach.

It's not a hothouse I don't think - they only ask what they know is achievable from their boys. Music and sport and drama all matter hugely there too.

So far as recent leavers are concerned, are they happy - were they happy overall? I can only speak for the boys I know from my son's year (left 2009). I don't hear of anyone who was unhappy, or is unhappy now - they're still at the masters stage at uni or have just graduated six months ago so are all doing exciting things in their lives. My sons closest friends are a Group of 6 to 10 boys from RGS and they are all young men to be proud of.

I don't know what else to say, really. If you're not feeling it for RGS, then you're just not feeling it but I don't know of anyone who's ever regretted the decision (also applies to my DDs' boyfriends' years too including current sixth form)

racingheart Sat 23-Feb-13 19:42:12

Beck it's lovely to hear what they get up to after they leave. your DS's group of friends sounds happy and fulfilled. And they've stayed close by the sounds of it. Also, rather relieved to know that RGS boys have girlfriends by 6th form. Was a bit worried that it could be very segregated.

Happymum22 Sat 23-Feb-13 21:22:04

racingheart- believe me a good proportion are hooked up with a lovely GHS or tormead girl by sixth form. My DD went to the RGS leavers with her boyfriend a year and a half ago now and all the boys had female dates, mostly from the local girls' schools. No need to worry about segregation!
My DS left in 2009 as well, he is currently in his 4th year of medical school. He is working very hard but loves it and can't wait to be qualified. All his friends, like Becks (wonder if there is cross over!), are similarly successful and happy. Some doing masters or many with jobs in london or on gap years taking that last chance to have lots of fun before jobs begin!
Really can't rate RGS and the boys that come out of there enough! One of the best decisions we made was RGS.

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