My daughters are also one academic year apart. DD1 failed to get into the local GS and so we have chosen to send her to an independent school rather than the local secondary modern which has just come out of special measures. The secondary modern is the only other state school available to us, as appeals to neighbouring better performing schools fail. Therefore going through the 11+ with DD2 in Sept we are faced with the same choice. Ideally she will pass the 11+ and go to the GS. I would prefer this to them both going independent (cost obviously being one factor
) as I do feel it is important for them to develop their own personalities in a good
school. however, if she doesn't pass the GS 11+ then she will take the independent exam, and they will have to put up with being at the same school. They have, after all managed perfectly well during primary school. So for me, it's desirable but not essential that they go to separate schools.