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Is it better to be
A big fish in a small pond 58%  58%  [ 11 ]
Bottom of a bright bunch 42%  42%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 19
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 Post subject: Top or Bottom?
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:26 pm 
Whilst STILL making my decision about schools :roll: I am now trying to factor my other son into our decision. Anyway not being as bright, but bright enough to pass the entrance exams (I think) should I:

a. Put him into the same school as his brother, which if it was the most academic he would be bottom of a bright group
b. Choose a different school where he was within the top group, without educational compromise.

I really want them to go to the same school as they never have done which has been so difficult logistically and for friendship groups, and also for them to have a tighter bond. I also want to give my youngest as much opportunity as my eldest so is it negative for him to be, in my opinion, a very academic school where he will do well but may never feel he has done well because most other boys are brighter than him. My eldest no longer wants to be a big fish in a small pond, so the most academic of our choices is looking likely for him. I'm confused. :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:58 am
Posts: 181
What a difficult decision!

I think it depends a lot on the personality of your son. Some children will do better where they have some academic competition, others will become demoralised. My son needs to feel that he is one of the top performers and is more motivated by this but tends to give up if he he sees other boys doing much better than him.

If your elder son is more academic I wonder how your younger son would feel being in the same school and having his older brother's achievements to live up to.

I totally understand your desire to have them in the same school logistically - mine have been at schools 12 miles from home in opposite directions for the last 3 years, which has been complicated at best, but from September will be at different schools but only half a mile apart - can't wait!

I thought one of your sons was going to St Paul's as a chorister - I assumed this was the younger son - are you having second thoughts now?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:53 pm 
Hi Sam's mum. My youngest actually has his trial day and boarding night today at St Paul's.

It is a long way off to decide for him, but not my eldest. Being the first born his educational needs have always come first because he starts each school first. I know we can't really lose with whatever school we choose but I wonder if I should prioritise my youngest or eldest when I make the choice.

The eldest hates being the brightest because he feels no one can see his other qualities and he is labelled as the "clever one". The youngest thinks he is thick, but only because he assumes to be clever you need to be as bright as my eldest. I'm so thankful he can sing and my other son can not, but I do worry about a child living in there siblings shadow.

I understand that some children need or want to be in the top sets but I also wonder if this sets them up for a fall later on. I knew a boy who was always going to get scholarships to senior schools. He always got top marks in tests, and never had to work. At one point he came second in a test and it really knocked his confidence. The next time he came third and in the end (a year on)his confidence was so low that his performance in class steadily declined and he never got a scholarship. I wonder if he had been used to not being first for years he may have strived more and also learnt to cope with not being the top.

I agree it depends on personality, but as most prep schools are non-selective its difficult to know how my youngest would fair either being top, or bottom. I think he may possibly fair better being one of the top - but is that good for him in the long-run?

Has anyone else had to decide on selective over non-selective?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:56 pm 
I've noticed tha most who have voted think it's better to be a big fish in a small pond, but as this is an 11+ site then would that not contradict peoples views of trying to get their kids into either a grammar or a selective independent where they are less likely to be one of the top? :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11934
Perhaps the views of those sending their children to Independent schools are different?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Tipsy

I think a lot depends on the particular school that your eldest is going to and whether they set within the school's forms.

You have probably mentioned this in one of your other postings but I couldn't see in this posting what school your eldest is going to and when he is going - is it this Sep't? and is it Eton?

If it is Eton then the main factor will be the change of test to the bespoke form of University of Durham GetINTU Digital Entrance Test which Eton College, Bedford School and Marlborough College are switching to in autumn 2008. I have seen the published results from the Warwickshire trials for this test and it is a different beast entirely from the normal 11+ tests.

Generally my advise would be to go for the most academic school available so long as you are confident that his ability is within the range suggested by the school for entrance and confirmed by the test. I think it's a bit of a myth that you have to be outstandingly gifted to succeed at top grammar or independent schools.

Regards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:36 pm 
Thanks for the info KenR - do you have any other info on these test results from Warwick?

My son sits the test for Eton and Winchester next year. I think my eldest should pass both and I think my youngest will pass the Eton test, but the eldest now wants to go to Winchester (like me he'll probably change his mind :roll: ), but I think my other son may not get in or at least be in the bottom groups. Should I make my decision based on wanting my youngest son to go to the same school?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Hi Tipsy

Have sent you a PM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
My sister in law uses a Spanis proverb - "It's better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
Posts: 490
Location: kent
It's a difficult choice, and I know I will agonise over senior school choices when the time comes.

When you talk about the logistics being easier if they go to the same school, is this because you will be collecting and delivering them both each week as weekly boarders?

Everyone is different, but if this is the case, and if it were me, I would go for the same school. Adjusting to being a big fish or a small fish is a one-off event at school, (but repeats itself in later life), but chopped up weekends happen every weekend, and affect you as a couple as well as your children.

I'm not sure how much siblings at boarding school bond with each other during the school week compared with those at home, but I would have thought a shared drive to and from school weekly would be both good sibling and family bonding.

Big fish, small fish ........ I'm not sure how much it matters so long as the child is happy and doing their best academically. There are pros and cons to each, my personal inclination for a child at senior school would be a small, thriving, striving fish in a big pond.


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