Should I send DSs to the same boarding school or split them up?(24 Posts)
DS1 started at boarding school A last year and loves it; DS2 is 3 years younger and a different character; He has conditional offers from both school A and school B (both boarding) - and prefers B.
My take: I like both schools for different reasons, I can see where school B is a better fit for DS2 in many respects but somehow personally prefer school A. I should add A and B are not usually considered alternatives to each other at all, they are really very different! but don't want to enter into a discussion about the schools specifically (which would inevitably happen here ) - hence the A and B!
The point: does it ever make any sense for brothers NOT to go to the same school?
I'd love to hear from parents who have decided to split up or keep 2 DSs in the same schools - why did you decide to go one way or the other and how has it affected your boys?
I can't comment on the schools or the boarding element but what are the practicalities of having 2 DC at different schools, presumably some distance apart.
Are you likely to find yourself with 2x speech days on the same day? Picking up at the end of term from two different places? Sports days? Presentations?
Are they very close as brothers? Would they miss having the shared experiences? Equally, would the younger DC benefit from being at a school where he can be his own person rather than always being 'Fred's little brother'?
I have no personal experience so feel free to ignore....you could look at this another way: does it ever make sense for a child to go to a school that is not the best fit for them just because their sibling goes to the same school? Assuming, distance, travel, fees etc are not an issue if you have been seriously considering school B.
That's my tuppence worth!
I would chose the right school for each child as an individual - I think it would be unfair for one child to have the experience of a great education at school that is right for them and the other to have a lesser (possibly miserable time) just because they had the misfortune of not be the pfb.
Not in this position, but I know several sets of parents with boys at different schools. It often does mean having to take turns to go to big school events, but these only clash occasionally.
I would have thought it was more important to get the right school for each individual. My cousins (brothers) both went to the same schoo, and although the older one was quite happy there, the younger one had quite an unhappy time.
I can see where school B is a better fit for DS2 in many respect** there's your answer! What is the boys opinions on it? Do they want to be together or do they not care?
Can't comment on having dc in different schools, but does school A offer a sibling discount? Of course, this may not be important to you and, if not, I would most certainly send dc2 to the school of his choice, provided it won't be a logistical nightmare.
I've no personal experience, but I know of a family with three boys who sent each of them to a different boarding school. They chose the schools to fit their boys' personalities. It worked well for them, apparently.
Apart from events clashing, I don't really see that it matters if they're not at the same school if they're boarding. Can they travel alone, or will you need to be in two places at once to collect them?
Did you choose A for DS1 with also DS2 in mind?
It wouldn't seem fair to make DS2 go to DS1's school if you didn't consider him when you chose it.
otoh separate schools seems like a pain to me. (No help)
How different are th two schools? Friends sent their DS1 to a very famous boys school (dad granddad etc all went) but DS2 didn't get in and went to a small not well known boarding school. I always thought they were like fish out of water at their DS2's school, lacking the money facilities hundreds of years of tradition etc of DS1's they struggled to work out how it worked, what they were getting for their fees and what the ethos was, ultimately they found it impossible not to make comparisons they eventually moved their DS2 to a state 6th form college.
Having said this assuming logistics aren't a complete nightmare send him to the school you think will suit him best.
Thanks all for your replies.
- the practicalities of having 2 DC at different schools are not ideal, especially as there is a younger DD whose schools are not yet sorted out!
So yes - school starts and end clashes likely, ditto events; that said I am divorced but on good terms so sharing the events not necessarily a problem (work permitting!)
- they are quite close; attended the same day prep in London, and definitely the shared experience matters (also, DS1 keeps saying "you must come to school A, it's the best") yet DS2 has imho benefitted from NOT being "the little brother of"; and DS1 benefitted from NOT having a little brother showing him up in some ways (DS2 is a better sportsman and musician; DS1 intellectually has the edge but both are bright boys)
- indeed; I don't believe DS2 would be unhappy at school A; perhaps not as valued as he would be at school B? but not sure that matters hugely in the greater scheme
TeenAndTween: no, school A was definitely a DS1 obvious option (plus he didn't get in to his day options!) but in fact school B was the 2nd choice for DS1.
Happygardening - very different. Antipodean. And the logistics are not ideal - one is about an hour drive in one direction, the other about 90 minutes away in another direction...
Answering these questions makes me think - I suspect at school B they will make more of his "all-rounder" capabilities than at school A where the emphasis is more on the academic. So he could "be someone" at school B in a way that is less likely to happen at school A. Then again, does it matter?
I would imagine the logistics would truly be a nightmare. Check the term times & holidays for next year, the boys mights have several weeks holiday on their own during the year especially as Christmas & easter can cover different weeks as well as October & Feb half terms.
I can't imagine trying to get all their belongings to 2 different schools.
Is it weekly boarding? If not check the dates of exeats. They could also be different.
I don't have personal experience (only one dc!), but a good friend went to a different boarding school from her sister for similar reasons - parents thought school A a better fit for her, school B a better fit for sister. She says it gave both of them a complex for years - she thought they'd written her off as 'not academic' because they'd chosen a more all rounder school for her, sister that the DPs only valued her for her academic strengths and that she had no choice but to be 'the clever one'! Friend says it also stopped them being as close as previously, because they didn't see each other for long stretches of time.
However, if your DSs have chosen the schools they prefer themselves, I can imagine it would be a very different thing.
Just a thought but could you speak to School A about your concerns for DS2? Could they reassure you that actually there is a place for DS2 and give examples of similar children who have done well - e.g. Being sporty and musical rather than purely academic.
My 3 children went to different schools. They were very different people.
Thinking about it, if you had a girl and a boy they would likely be at different boarding schools, and loads of parents manage that, so there really is no reason why it shouldn't be fine.
I know lots of parents who have sent their children to different boarding schools because of the "best fit". As teen says, you would have no hesitation with a boy and a girl. I let my DDs have the final choice. They had a 6th sense about where they fitted in.
Correct - but I don't want to make logistics the deal-breaker.
" it also stopped them being as close as previously, because they didn't see each other for long stretches of time." - precisely!
They have chosen themselves, BUT - they are still kids, and what do they know...
School A says that of course DS2 would be happy there.
Good point - but if the choice were that easy I wouldn't have asked for input from other parents...
I hadn't looked at it that way - but it's a very good point.
You are probably right about the 6th sense. He is going to spend 5 years there so it might as well be a place he feels "right".
Thanks all. You've given me some interesting things to think about!
Since your DS2 is 3 years younger he will have 3 years at senior school without his older brother. Assuming that they are at 13+ boarding schools that will be more time than the period he would overlap with his brother. I think therefore it comes down to how strongly he feels that school B is better for him versus would 2 years together be worth it for strengthening their closeness by shared experiences. It does sound as though your DS2 wants to strike his own path. I think 'being someone' does matter especially when otherwise in school A he may feel second best to his older brother.
Again no experience..Assuming you can manage the logistics of 2 schools my thoughts are..Ultimately the reason you are paying is that you want the best education for your children and help them develop their own potential. If for DS2 is school B then it makes sense to send him there.
I would talk to DS2 how he would feel been at boarding school without his brother...
My two DD's went to very different schools at 11 - we picked the right one for each of them and explained why. Now in their early twenties and both say it was a good thing. They are unusually close for sisters.
My two DDs are at different boarding schools for a variety of reasons. Logistics is a pain. They always have different half terms, DD1 breaks up for summer this week and DD2 in mid July. But academically it's been great for both of them.
My DCs (now years 5 and 7) are at different schools and will be right through school now. After having had them in the same primary the logistics is hard (next academic year there are 20 weeks when one or both are off and we both work too far away to leave them at home all day yet, different half terms meaning we can't go away etc). There are clashes of termtime events too. But I don't think it's right to choose schools purely based on logistics.
As a second child I would send him to school B.
I arrived in secondary to find teacher and pupils alike tended to compare me to my big dsis. Sometimes obviously, other times not so obviously.
And we're very different in interests, abilities and academic choices.
A silly one was where we got our time tables in year 10. I was given mine and it wasn't my options, it was dsis' options . She's three years older! The teacher who did the timetables (who never had anything to do with me but taught dsis quite a bit) admitted he'd seen my name and automatically put me down with her options. Only two different (one being his subject he taught dsis with). Wasn't even as though we had an unusual surname-there were four of the same surname in dsis' year alone!
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