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Sending older child to a school for a year to get younger child in as sibling?

(27 Posts)
Brie Wed 24-May-17 15:42:37

Would you do this?

Firstly it is a private prep school that has a bit of a waiting list for the year of the younger child but sure once sibling in younger one would get in.

Older child has found their forever school and hoped to go this September but it is boarding and am loathed for them to board at 11 anyway. So we are considering sending them to the prep for just one year then on to the boarding school at 12. That way the younger one can get their place too.

I am concerned on this on two counts. One that it is unfair on the older one to have to join a new school just for a year and then go through it all again a year later. Also that when they get to the boarding school they will be trying to infiltrate settled friendship groups.

My DH thinks though that it will be a good idea to let them go to the same school for a bit, get used to the UK school system and

I am also concerned about the ethics of it although have discussed that with the school and they understand and don't have concerns.

I realise it is a nice problem to have. It would be really nice if you could give any helpful views and hopefully no vitriol re boarding or private schools. I married into this type of family it has been a long and tricky road to get to where I was willing to send them to private or boarding schools but that decision has already been made, we are only stuck on this current one.

We have other reasons for that not least being that we have spent a substantial part of the last few years overseas and maybe will spend more in the future so state day schools are not really a possibility anymore for us.

GuestWW Wed 24-May-17 16:48:39

I think I would be reluctant to do anything that might later by thrown back by the DC. For example, I didn't fit in because you moved me so much, you prefer my younger sibling...

I believe the decisions need to be made in the best interest of each individual child. Clearly there will be some constraints...

grasspigeons Wed 24-May-17 16:55:16

I think it's mean on the older child, sorry. Incredibly unsettling.

EducationOpinionsRUs Wed 24-May-17 16:57:39

OMG no. TBH I'd be pretty anti the school that would contemplate you doing this, too - it's obviously not in the interests of your older child, to say nothing of the interests of the child at the head of the waiting list. When you say "a bit of a waiting list" how much? Do you realistically have to choose a different school for your youngest? I wouldn't expect waiting lists for a full year in a prep to move fast, but maybe if the population is very mobile?

Bluebeedee Wed 24-May-17 16:59:34

No way, really unfair to move after a year

AdalindSchade Wed 24-May-17 16:59:40

Forever school?
It's really not fair to make one child start a school for a year just to get the other one in. It will create resentment for sure.

BenjaminLinus Wed 24-May-17 17:00:14

It doesn't seem very fair to the older child to be honest.

QGMum Wed 24-May-17 18:05:54

I think you may be underestimating how difficult it is to settle into a new school. As pp have said seems very unfair on older dc.

Leeds2 Wed 24-May-17 18:52:45

I wouldn't do it. Your older DD will, hopefully, just have settled into her new school when you uproot her and place her into a year group where friendships have been established and she may, possibly, be the only new girl.
Are there no other preps your younger DD could go to if she doesn't get into the one you prefer?

HeyCat Wed 24-May-17 19:02:07

Sounds like you've already moved around a bit? How has your eldest dealt with that? I have one friend who moved at least every school year, and actually she's very positive about it - thinks it was great fun and she's ended up with lots of friends all over the place. Is your eldest likely to be that type?

LIZS Wed 24-May-17 21:46:43

It would be normal to do years 7 & 8 at prep school then move to secondary at 13+, by which time your ds would be more settled into UK schooling, sports and terminology. How large is the intake into y9 at the secondary?

Brie Wed 24-May-17 21:46:43

Mmmmm, interesting. My worries are regarding the child getting settled in... but then also I am less pro the boarding element as well.

I will show this to my husband.

We moved once to another country for a long stay and are moving back to UK, so will be second move for that child who would have to move again. I also do have to say that they took it the hardest moving away in the first place, even though we moved somewhere totally lovely they really missed their best friend alot.

Brie Wed 24-May-17 21:48:17

The school starts with about a hundred in the year and then take about another 50 at year 9 I think but none at year 8, which is likely when they would start.

Brie Wed 24-May-17 21:50:04

Guest WW... my thoughts too! It is a tricky one, there are advantages and disadvantages of both. Both schools are lovely and have been really amazing and super helpful and accommodating... as best they can within their own constraints obviously.

Sittinginthesun Wed 24-May-17 21:51:37

Can they start in year 9? So, two years at Prep, and move with a larger cohort at 13? Would you still have your place?

Brie Wed 24-May-17 23:01:36

Maybe year 9 but then go to go through the whole common entrance thing... and I dunno, I just feel why do more exams when you don't need to. This child is pretty bright and applied but not a natural studier, I don't really want to put her through that at 12 if I don't have to.

The 11 plus exam was pretty low key, no prep required really.

LIZS Thu 25-May-17 06:58:56

Are you sure dc1 would have to do CE? If secondary has already offered a place for y7/8 they may defer or have their own 13+ entrance test.

DarkFloodRises Thu 25-May-17 07:17:48

I think that joining at a time when no one else is joining would be tough on the older child.

AnotherNewt Thu 25-May-17 07:27:50

If you decide to put them somewhere together, then make it for the two years between 11+ entry and 13+ entry, because then at least Dd1 will be moving with a peer group and that is a more secure feeling.

Personally, I wouldn't touch this idea with a bargepole, because you found the 'forever' school for DC1 and presumably they are fully in to the idea of going there.

As things stand, one DC has to have a sub-optimal school in the short term. Why should that be DC1?

Especially as preps just don't admit over numbers if they are full. Of course they'll say they'll do what they can, but one of the things all the other parents are paying for is a nice small maximum class size, and they won't risk pissing them all off. So your DC2 could (at best) go to top of the waiting list, and you'll need to find another school for them.

That leaves you with the worst of two worlds - both DC at suboptimal schools.

Have you found any fall-back prep? Or put in state school whilst sitting on waiting list of this prep (and any others). You can supplement with tutoring to keep on track for 11+ private school exams (probably a cheaper option than paying fees!)

Brie Thu 25-May-17 12:24:35

Well the prep is not a sub optimal school it is a great school.

DH just really strongly thinks that the benefits of having another year at home as a day people strongly outweigh the negatives of not joining the school in the initial cohort. He also thinks it is nuts as we have an older child starting at a completely different boarding school in a different direction as it means we will have 3 kids at 3 different schools for at least 5 years until the 3rd child hopefully joins one of them. He also thinks she might change her mind and want to follow the eldest to that school.. which is more ... umm big name brandish.

The senior boarding school is of course more expensive, almost double and yet that is not a big part of the decision.

The plan is to do it just for a year otherwise yes she does have to go through the admission process again with common entrance.

Have gone back and forth with this so much. DH tells me his view point which is very valid and I take it on board. Then I probably stupidly bring it up with DD1 again who says 'Well I don't mind too much, but I do really want to got to 'Forever school and board straight away if I can' but I don't mind dealing with a year at the prep school if you feel that strongly about it. She is easy going and fun, and good with people she will make friends but does feel things strongly.

I make my mind up to do the prep thing and then I second guess myself and think oh, just let her go straight the one that goes ur 7 to 6th form.

Missingthepoint Thu 25-May-17 12:36:05

I am really surprised that the DC1 boarding school are happy for her to defer till year 8 when they take majority at year 7 and more at year 9. The one year does not really make any sense if she could go at 11 or 13. I can see that the school would expect her to be of the same standard as the others entering at year 9 but if the test she took for Y7 was so straightforward, the prep school should be able to get her through the CE exam.

Brie Thu 25-May-17 15:06:15

Missing the point. Yes that does make sense. I guess i am just being a scardedy cat that they may reject her... especially as we have now messed them around.

meditrina Thu 25-May-17 15:12:30

They'll be happy to defer, assuming OP pays to hold the place.

They won't leave a place ufilled if it can be filled, and contracts for next Sept will already have been signed (and timely 'notice to quit' letters received).

It's pretty normal for families with plural DC to find themselves at 3 different schools (esp if they have opted for single sex for I and II) and it's actually not difficult to deal with at secondary age as the DC should be making the journey by themselves.

minipie Thu 25-May-17 15:20:49

I'd go with the two years and 13+ entry too. Far far better for DC1 to be with a cohort when leaving and joining, rather than leaving the prep alone and then starting senior school as a lone "new girl"/"new boy". I really doubt your DC1 will fail the CE and if others at the prep are doing it it won't be a big deal. Talk to the senior school and explain - either 12+ or 13+ is messing them around and I expect 13+ is easier for them anyway.

Missingthepoint Thu 25-May-17 15:39:00

I think Minipie makes a very good point. Talk to the senior school to make sure they would be happy to take her at 12. 11 or 13 would be easier for them. As your DC would like to go now, why not let her. Then no issue of having the senior school reject her is there.

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