Very academic son - not sure which path to take!

(9 Posts)
surreyagain Sun 30-Sep-12 23:06:32

Hi there,

I am going around and around in circles and can't think straight anymore. And so here I am turning to strangers to help me try and work out which path to take (sad but very much needed : /)

We are returning to the UK in the next few weeks with our two children, 8 and 5. We have looked all over the UK trying to decide where to go. We have been to several places and homed in on two places - the New Forest area (for its beauty) and Farnham (for its school).

We love the New Forest but felt only one school was suitable - Milford. But the waiting list is a nightmare as expected and the village just felt a little too remote, rural and claustrophobic. This would obviously not be a great start as we would need to park up on the doorstep to get a chance of admission. We also wondered if the whole area of the New Forest would be slightly too aged for us at this point in time (used to living in very busy, younger places). Nethertheless, my children loved the school, loved the area and the ponies : ) and we would be willing to wait and home-educate.

However, the biggest problem for us is my son. He is extremely academic and was put in a year above him at the private school he has been attending abroad. He gets extremely frustrated when not pushed and although I know many primary schools would be able to accommodate this to some extent, I feel he would still not flourish and would not reach his potential.

So here we turn to South Farnham School - a very academic school with a very high academic reputation, followed by a very good senior school. The waiting list is acceptable but we would have to live very close by. We are not so sure about Farnham - mainly due to the traffic congestion we see every time we visit and having lived in another part of Surrey I am worried that people will be unfriendly. My son is also keen to go to a bright and happy school having hated a previous school - South Farnham is a very old building and very focused which lessens the warm feeling you might get from other schools. I did visit the school and worried a little that it might be a bit cold and too much focused on academic performance. But that was just a vibe a got and may not have been accurate. He would certainly not be bored and they would be able to cater for him individually. The facilities do not compare one bit to those in the New Forest - they are amazing! Farnham as an area to live also ticks the boxes for being a little more vibrant and younger. But then we lose the wonders of being near the sea/forest etc. etc.

So then my head starts turning to other areas in the country - can I find a really academic school in a fantastic area that is perfect - and then there I go again. I know it is time for us to make a decision and stick with one of these choices rather than keep seeking utopia which doesn't exist : ))

So, what do I do? Go for the nice area - coast and forest - which has the less academic school which I feel sure won't accommodate him as well, and which already worries us about the ageing population (but very very friendly, I might add).

Or do we go to a busy town that lacks the wonders of the New Forest but has a great school which will certainly push him. And then although he will do better academically, will he be as happy as if he went to a more relaxed average school.

I apologise for rambling. I just don't know now which path to take. We have four weeks until we move. If anyone has any words of advice, I would be extremely grateful. I have only mentioned the names of the schools incase anyone has any direct experience and consequently some knowledgeable input to provide. Thank you so much!

lljkk Sun 30-Sep-12 23:10:02

I want to say choose where to live because you like it & it fits your work needs, & rest should fall into place.

What do you mean by "academic" child?

surreyagain Sun 30-Sep-12 23:23:37

Thanks llkjj,

Valid point. Both areas tick different boxes mind. By academic, I mean that he has a huge passion for learning and has been placed in a year above him in a private school and still getting bored. He needs to be pushed or he gets very frustrated.

lljkk Mon 01-Oct-12 07:23:48

In that case I'd look for the largest state school option or the pushiest private.

iseenodust Mon 01-Oct-12 11:25:48

I would choose the school where he is most likely to find the greater number of like-minded/academically-driven friends. Which I think is agreeing with lljkk.

GooseyLoosey Mon 01-Oct-12 11:30:53

I think I would broaden my search slightly and try and find somewhere that I wanted to live that had reasonable schools.

adeucalione Mon 01-Oct-12 21:32:13

I think you might get more traffic in 'Education' rather than 'G&T' but fwiw I would identify the area of the country that best suits your family life (and i guess it is virtually impossible for anyone else to answer that question) and then check league tables to find those schools that perform the best academically.

It actually sounds as if you did just that when you identified the New Forest area, and then Milford, and I suspect that you are just having a little wobble about this life changing decision.

Why not stick with Milford? I would be very surprised if your DS was so advanced that he could not be accommodated and challenged there.

adeucalione Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:24

I think you might get more traffic in 'Education' rather than 'G&T' but fwiw I would identify the area of the country that best suits your family life (and i guess it is virtually impossible for anyone else to answer that question) and then check league tables to find those schools that perform the best academically.

It actually sounds as if you did just that when you identified the New Forest area, and then Milford, and I suspect that you are just having a little wobble about this life changing decision.

Why not stick with Milford? I would be very surprised if your DS was so advanced that he could not be accommodated and challenged there.

adeucalione Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:50

Whoops!

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