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Sending 2 DSs to different secondary schools

(19 Posts)
SpoonintheBin Wed 11-May-16 14:08:29

We have two DSs, ds1 just above average academically (in year 5) and ds2 is G&T in maths and very good in all subjects (year 4). We have a good regular secondary school locally, good in music, performing art, excellent community feel and I would be happy to send our kids there, but we have been talking about DS2 doing exams for scholarship in local private schools. Not sure if he could get a scholarship but if he did, I feel unsure about sending my kids to two different secondary schools. Would ds1 resent us for sending Ds2 to a 'better' school? Anyone has this dilemma? Not sure what to do...

irvineoneohone Wed 11-May-16 14:27:47

If ds1 is above average, maybe he would like to try exams for scholarship as well? Or he could just happy to go to local school with all his friends?

steppemum Wed 11-May-16 14:33:41

hmm, bright one to private and less bright one to state?

No way. setting them up for lifetime of resentment.

But 2 different schools with 2 different strengths? Yes I would.

(scholarships will only pay a proportion of the fees by the way)

SpoonintheBin Wed 11-May-16 15:48:56

Yes but full fees are 15 k a year. We couldn't afford full fees for ds1 and part fees for DS2 that would be 22k a year. Or full fees for both that would be 30k a year! Ds1 would have a good chance of getting into the school but little chance of getting a scholarship.

The opposite argument steepmum is are we ready to accept that ds2 might not achieve his full potential because of his big brother? (Who is smart, gorgeous and talented, just not academically G&T )

irvineoneohone Wed 11-May-16 16:04:52

What do they want to do? If the private school is very academic, and ds1 is better at other things, he may choose to go to state anyway.
I think it cause more trouble if their school has been decided without their input.
If you need ds1 to be on scholarship as well to send them both to private, you can give them choice, can't you? Study hard and get scholarship, or you need to go to state because we can't afford private fee X 2. Then they both work hard, if they want to go to private.

steppemum Wed 11-May-16 16:12:03

the same argument could be used the other way round op -

the brighter child had all the natural advantages and could have done well anywhere, the less bright child needed the boost/extra social help etc from private school?

(I don't necessarily agree, just pointing out that once resentment sets in, the argument can be twisted both ways)

I would be very wary doing it.

But my first step would be to see what else is on offer, eg if he travelled, or if you moved to next town etc. Are you near any grammar areas?
We had never thought about grammar and then discovered that because of a train link the grammar school over the county boundary is actually very accessible. Bright ds now goes there, but he has to travel.

SpoonintheBin Wed 11-May-16 16:25:20

Our local grammar school is not unreasonably far, but it's very, very academic and ultra competitive - both to get in and throughout. As far as I know it's 'too' academic with little time for other activities, sports etc. I have a lot of reservations about the school itself.

Neither of our children work hard at school, we are very relaxed about everything. No extra tuition, they do homework on their own and we offer little support, we spend lots of time outdoors and on fun stuff / sport, art etc. But ds 2 is 'naturally' gifted in maths, I hope that makes sense, he works at levels and understands concepts well beyond his age.

I have the same reservation as you steppemum, the same concerns. And obviously if we ask them which school they want to go to, they want the one where a majority of their friends will go, local state high school. My feeling is that's where they will both go!

irvineoneohone Wed 11-May-16 16:45:06

My ds is naturally gifted in maths, and schoolwork isn't enough for him. He said he would like to go to private secondary if he could, and do lots of extra maths work at home on his own. If your gifted ds2 is happy with just school work, then level of teaching must be quite good. Why grammar "too academic" for gifted ds? Another choice could be: ds1 private, ds2 grammar?

steppemum Wed 11-May-16 16:53:27

Don't write off your local secondary just yet either. Go and visit it, and ask about what they do with G&T maths kids.

How they respond is as important as what they actually say. You know - enthusiasm, wanting to develop skills, or just bog standard type response.

One good maths teacher who took him under their wing would be enough. Trouble is you have no guarantee they will stay.

SpoonintheBin Wed 11-May-16 17:04:13

Irvine, ds2 doesn't get bored easily - he is very good at keeping himself happy and challenged, loves climbing trees and exploring his environment, plays two instruments and plays football, golf, cricket, gymnastics. He does a lot of extra 'work' but this includes making spreadsheets of birds and insects visiting our garden and pie charts, statistics based on seasons, making maps, computer programing, etc. All children are different and he had been on G&T in maths at school since year 2. He is not 'just happy' with school work, whatever that means - do I sense a bit of scepticism there?

irvineoneohone Wed 11-May-16 17:14:00

When I replied, I didn't(mean to be sceptical), actually, since my ds had great year last year and clap year this year, so, I know school work can be enough, if teachers and school is great.

OddBoots Wed 11-May-16 17:25:06

If you can afford the £7k a year private fees you have calculated for one to go with a scholarship then I would send them both to the state and use that money to provide the out of school stuff most suited to their abilities and interests be that tuition, holiday/evening courses, hobbies or anything else.

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Wed 11-May-16 17:31:39

Good point from Oddboots

Especially as you don't seem to have allowed for school fee inflation

AprilLady Wed 11-May-16 17:48:04

OP, one option would be to at least give both DC the opportunity to sit the private school exams, on the understanding that they would only be able to go if a substantial scholarship was on offer. For both boys, then offer them all the support they need to do well in the exams - a laid back approach without sufficient preparation and/or tutoring is unlikely to be enough, even for your DS2, if you are aiming at a scholarship to a highly academically selective independent. Also, maths ability alone may not be sufficient - it is possible his English comprehension and writing will also need to be really good.

This approach would mean you could not be accused in future of favouring one over the other.

Also agree with others that you need to look closely at both schools and work out what opportunities are available for G&T kids. Not all private, supposedly selective schools will be great at challenging genuinely highly able kids; indeed, some may differentiate less in class rather than more, because the overall spread of ability is narrower.

Ilovewillow Wed 11-May-16 17:59:59

Handled properly it could be OK as long as one is not made to feel less special. I know of someone who has four children and although they could afford to send all 4 privately one two went as they felt that the other two would benefit more from the cash after education as they weren't academically minded. None of the their resent them or each other.

irvineoneohone Wed 11-May-16 18:08:01

I actually wanted to respond to OP because my dsis was a truly gifted child and I was only above average child. Luckily in my native country, everybody have to sit entrance exam for high school, and you can only go to school matched to your ability, so my parents didn't have to go through that dilemma.
I think your dcs are lucky to have choices. My ds have only one choice of secondary(with bad reputation), if we can't afford private.

WhattodoSue Wed 18-May-16 08:22:41

In life, a strong sibling relationship is probably more valuable than a few missed grades. I would think about the real value added. If your local secondary is pretty good, then is the possible family decisiveness worth the risk of one child possibly more able to reach his potential? I think you will risk setting up your boys as the bright one and the not so bright one (in their minds) in a really obvious way. That may exist anyway, but paying for what you perceive to be an advantage for one but not the other could be really risky.

RedHelenB Tue 28-Jun-16 13:41:38

like for like - my dds friend got scholarship to private school but came out with "worse" exam results (both did very well btw) DD has never done maths for fun at home ever, never asked for extension stuff and just seems to "get it."" Seriously if you cant afford for both then it shopuld be for neither - bright kids will do well at any school if they want to, especially with supportive parents.

GoldBear Tue 28-Jun-16 13:49:51

I'm in a similar position OP. My second child is very very bright but not yet showing that through school results. I know he would really benefit from a certain good local private school which would make him work and achieve without being a hothouse (fortunately we are away out of London).

But that same school would not suit his older brother at all as he needs a more nurturing environment. So even if we could afford two sets of fees (we can't!) it wouldn't be in first child's interest.

The local secondary school is very good, and is fantastic for my first child.

As someone said upthread, the idea of giving extra help to the gifted child and not to the one with greater needs is just not OK with me. I worry about a lifetime of resentment.

They will both be going to the local school.

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