Why Going To The BEST School Could Harm Your Kids

14/08/2014 16:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

As parents we all strive to find what we regard as the 'best' school for our children - but experts are now saying if we are basing our choice on academic achievements, we could actually be HARMING our kids.

Researchers at the London School of Economics have published a paper which claims that some children could actually do better at a worse school with less competition, and that surrounding children with 'brainbox' peers could leave them academically worse off.

They say that for weaker students of either sex, less competitive schools could be the best option, allowing pupils to be psychologically better off by being a 'bigger fish in a smaller pond'.

Dr Felix Weinhardt, a post-doctoral research fellow in economics, said his findings go against the common assumption that having better peers is always the best for children.

"Previously we thought there were no negative effects," he said. "But just making it into a better school and being at the bottom end of the ranks can have a negative effect."

Researchers looked at almost 2.3million English pupils taking National Curriculum tests in maths, English and science, and used Key Stage 2 assessments as a benchmark of ability for 11-year-olds, and Key Stage 3 tests to rate how well 14-year-olds did at secondary school.

The project also used the finding of a survey on confidence taken by 15,000 pupils.

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