Siblings. Does one school fit all?

Written by Linda Lloyd-Jones, Claire Calder Consultancy

The pros and cons of sending siblings to the same boarding school

Choosing a senior boarding school for your children is a major decision. Ultimately, it is the platform for their future, and you are entrusting that school with your child’s academic and social development.

Families often send their siblings to the same pre-prep or prep school. When it comes to selecting the senior school, parents often default to the school selected for the elder sibling. Logistically this makes a great deal of sense – one set of term dates, same exeats, same administrative paperwork, same flights if living overseas, and economically schools often give sibling discounts. However, one
school may not suit the needs of all your children.

Girl and boy at boarding school playing conkers

Many parents choose different schools for their children for a variety of reasons including single-sex education, special educational needs, academic specialisms or extra-curricular activities. Some schools are great for academics, some are great for sport, some are great for music, and some are great for the arts. Every school is different. The same can be said of siblings. No two are the same and therefore one school does not necessarily fit all.

In my experience…

The decision process can sometimes be a result of circumstances beyond the control of parents. In my own case my younger daughter did not get a place at her sister’s highly selective all-girls school. At the time it was a shock and very stressful and not made easier as we were living overseas at the time. I had just assumed she would end up in the same school as her sister. However, being in a different school to her sister has proved a very positive experience and I look back now and think that the decision made by our eldest daughter’s school was the right choice.

My two children are very, very different. My eldest daughter is focused, analytical, self-driven, super sporty and super competitive, whereas my younger daughter is creative, artistic, loves being in all the clubs and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. She is now thriving at the school we subsequently chose for her and has really come into her own, grown in confidence and created her own world, with her own friends and no longer the shy unconfident little girl of a few years ago. She has benefitted from no longer living in her elder sister’s shadow. Whilst it is logistically challenging having them in different schools, they remain incredibly close, chat to each other often, like to compare each other’s schools; in a fun non-competitive way and just love being together in the school holidays (well, most of the time!).

In the end it’s the best school for your child

Choosing different schools for different siblings based on the needs of the child is one approach and for various reasons it might not work for every family. What is important is that as a family thought has gone into the needs of each child. The best school is the one that is right for your child, a place where they can flourish and be happy.

If you need help choosing the right UK boarding school for your child, please contact Claire Calder via the email below or use the short form on our UK boarding school placements page. Every child is unique, every match is bespoke.


British Boarding School Network approved Agent 2023 - 2024