That private school on TV an eye opener

(51 Posts)
GabbyLoggon Thu 23-Sep-10 11:32:34

something like Sunningdale.

after watching that I bet all teachers would wish they could teach well behaved children of the rich

A school with no punishment regime.hmmmm

fsmail Thu 23-Sep-10 12:12:28

Actually I thought it looked really nice and I would never consider a boarding school until I saw that. The Headmaster seemed to treat the kids like his own children.

smallwhitecat Thu 23-Sep-10 12:16:32

Message withdrawn

mnistooaddictive Thu 23-Sep-10 12:29:48

They have unqualified staff as well! A bloke who taught there came to visit the school where I was teaching as part of his training. He saw my 'lively' year 8 class and said that was what the class he was teaching was like.hmm think it was a reflection of his teaching.

I thought it was very sad seeing children that age being sent off to school.

chatch Thu 23-Sep-10 12:41:29

I, too, thought that if I was ever to consider boarding school (it would need to be a very cold day in Hell) then Sunningdale would be on the list.

Need to name change to Quentin, Hugo or Horatio first though.

FWIW not all kids who go to private school are rich. My parent sent me to private schools and 'did without' so they could fund it. Also many will be there on bursarships or scolarships.

End of grump

Goldberry Thu 23-Sep-10 12:46:08

Didn't see the programme, but having taught in state schools for years, followed by a lovely private girls' school, I know I won't be going back to the state sector. Sad, but true. I wouldn't teach in a boarding school though - you'd have no life!

BinkyB Thu 23-Sep-10 13:08:23

I watched this and also the 'Gareth Malone's extraordinary school for boys' and thought it was quite interesting to compare them. I am state educated, my husband boarded. We both have quite strong views on the subject of where our own twin boys will go one day - both of us want the experience we had for our own kids, basically. So this was interesting (if uncomfortable) viewing for me.

In case you didn't see it, in Gareth's state primary the boys hated reading and their ambitions began and ended with the next level of playstation nonsense.
In the boarding one obviously it was very different - they all wanted to use harrow or eton as a stepping stone to their prime ministerial ambitions, or do 'something with atoms' (cute).

I'd love to know if there were playstation addicts in sunningdale, or wannabe PMs at the state primary...

It broke my heart when Louis cried and the teacher didn't even hug him. But it also made me very sad when they boy in the other programme got upset because not being good at reading made him feel stupid...

pointissima Thu 23-Sep-10 13:25:40

I watched this with interest because I am an evil mother who sent her only son to board last year at 8 at a school very like Sunningdale and of course I worry whether it was the right thing to do. It is not a family tradition, we are not rolling in money and we did it after a lot of soul searching.

The programme rang very true. They do all get homesick but are treated with astonishing kindness (as are the mothers)and although he still gets a bit wobbly when he has to go back after a break, once he's there he loves it and they have a whale of a time. Just as the programme showed, they all help one another get through the tough bits. I haven't noticed any of the emotional stunting which people worry about- at the end of the summer holidays we had a very earnest discussion about how everyone took great care to be kind to one boy because his mother has cancer.

They're not all angels all of the time and they are generally much muddier than was allowed on television; but they do all have a healthy respect for the community of the school and understand the reasons for rules. They all really do have beautiful manners (automatically shake hands, say "please may I have", open doors for people, stand up when adults come into the room, applaud their opponents after matches etc. etc.).

The staff really do have no life during term time. They avoid many of the difficulties which must arise teaching in less privileged schools; but they are on duty all day and all night (must have been particularly fun during last year's outbreak of norovirus)

My son doesn't have a daft name; but a few of them do....

chatch Thu 23-Sep-10 13:30:46

I think one of my slight concerns would have been that whilst the child who came top confidently beamed round at his friends (great!), some other poor soul was probably shrinking into his squeaky lace up shoes having come bottom.

I know some people do have very good reasons for sending young children to boarding school, eg, the army family, but we don't so we won't.

sotiredoflife Thu 23-Sep-10 13:35:45

I have to say I was quite surprised to see such a big dorm, shared bathroom and massive dorms in the school! My son boards and I visited a lot of schools; he has a private room with a sink and even those with shared rooms only had up to three children in one room. Many schools I visited had en suite facilities and there was always enough space for a private study area and storage for their own things.

I'm guessing though that the school can well afford to provide bigger/more individual accommodation for the pupils and probably choose to do things communally for their own reasons. It's something that wouldn't have suited my son though.

I don't think all pupils at boarding schools are all rich - the military families get subsidised and also grandparents sometimes pay fees but that doesn't mean the parents themselves are well off.

Obviously I'm not against boarding per se, but DS started at age 11 and he definitely wouldn't have been ready earlier than that.

sotiredoflife Thu 23-Sep-10 13:37:57

Oops, meant to edit and say 'small rooms' instead of 'big dorm' in first line.

Rollmops Thu 23-Sep-10 13:44:14

chatch, but what is wrong about winning and being proud about it? What is wrong with coming last? There always is only one winner and the others must practice more or focus their energy on areas they are more capable/interested.
Children need to learn that to achieve something, anything, they must practice and work very, very hard; nothing worth having comes easy.
They also must learn to deal with defeat, it's not the end of the world.
If you want something, you must work hard to get it.

MollieO Thu 23-Sep-10 13:45:04

BinkyB ds is at pre-prep precisely so he can have the same education I had. I was state school educated. Both primary and grammar schools had fab facilities - massive playing fields, swimming pools etc. Unfortunately although I live in a wealthy area our local state schools cannot compete with the schools I went to as a child. Also we didn't have the National Curriculum in my day and therefore had plenty of time for sport. I feel as if I am paying for ds to have the education I had (albeit 40 yrs ago) for free.

I looked at Caldicott which had similar sized dorms to Sunningdale but more modern facilities.

chatch Thu 23-Sep-10 14:53:03

There's nothing wrong with winning and being proud of it, it's just for some, no matter how hard they work there'll always be someone else who beats them - yes, this is a lesson they have to learn, but IMO at 8 years old, it has more of a detrimental effect than positive, might be different at 14? Its also a very old fashioned idea - class order, for goodness sake! So much for the school being progressive - it might be, in an Enid Blyton novel!

irisha Thu 23-Sep-10 15:42:02

I agree, class order is a bit too harsh. They can display top 3 or top 5 (like Dean's list in US unversities), but no need to rank the whole class.

smee Thu 23-Sep-10 16:17:09

BinkyB, I don't think Gareth Malone's school was especially typical. Certainly it was nothing like our inner city state school. Just wanted to say that as it sounded a bit like you're now thinking all state schools are like that one. There really is a huge diversity. Sad but true.

chatch Thu 23-Sep-10 17:00:10

Gareth Malone's school is in Harlow. Harlow has a lot of inner city type problems and has been labelled as a very difficult area educationally for years (it may be better now?). So, no, definitely not typical of state schools!

sotiredoflife Thu 23-Sep-10 19:01:08

Gareth Malone's school has masses of proper green grass for the boys to run about in, and those woods (not sure if that was part of the school though). Definitely something you wouldn't get in an inner city school.

smee Thu 23-Sep-10 19:33:41

We've got it in ours.

MollieO Thu 23-Sep-10 20:31:47

I don't think the woods are in the school.

I went to state school and we had massive playing fields and a swimming pool.

arizonagirl Thu 23-Sep-10 22:19:57

Oh well - don't think our dc will be off to boarding school anytime soon. I cried through most of this documentary - dh laughed at me!!

sotiredoflife Thu 23-Sep-10 22:47:20

I visit schools in Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Camden as part of my job and none of them have big green playing fields or swimming pool. Often those out in the more comfortable suburbs do, but they're hardly what I'd call inner city. Of course a lot of parents in zone 2/3 consider themselves to be multicultural and cosmopolitan for being so close to the centre but would never live so close to have to force their chidren into such schools.

edam Thu 23-Sep-10 22:55:24

Harlow may not be Brixton but neither is it the leafy suburbs. You can have inner-city issues such as unemployment and decline of traditional industry even in places with green fields you know. Look at former pit villages.

chatch Fri 24-Sep-10 09:40:27

Ahem, Harlow - leafy suburbs? Definitely not! Check out house prices and then ask yourself why it's such a 'relatively' cheap place to buy. Oh and have a look at the results of the local comprehensives.

Yes, the grounds look nice because it was a post war new town and some planning went into ensuring schools have nice grounds. Obviously, this helps, but check out crime statistics too.

emptyshell Fri 24-Sep-10 15:41:26

I worked in a boarding school for a couple of years (it's what pushed me to do my PGCE in the end) and they're really really horrifically misunderstood by the general public at large. We had small boarding houses, all headed by a houseparent duo with other staff and they were really really friendly places - they'd have a barbecue on a Sat evening, a trip out to the cinema or the beach on a weekend afternoon, film and popcorn nights - lots of stuff went on, even the houseparents' kids were pretty much viewed as part of the boarding house group in a similar manner to younger siblings.

Totally different to the stereotypical view of it and one of the most special places I've ever worked. And yes, we had our resident monkeys - but even the ones who made you tear your hair out on occasion were really nice kids under it all. We also had kids who were placed there as boarders via social services to give them a break away from horrific home circumstances, children of parents in the military who wanted consistency of schooling rather than lots of changes, children of TV celebs... lots of different reasons they boarded - some were weekly and went home at weekends, some were full-time boarders, some flexi-boarded a few days of the week.

And yes, your social life during term time is pretty much none existent if you're working as boarding house staff! Great fun though - I miss lots of the kids I worked with to this day (and we're nearly a decade down the line)... I also miss the school swimming pool being pretty much at the bottom of my garden but that's another story!

Hixies Sat 02-Oct-10 21:58:34

My son has been at boarding school for a year now - he went aged eleven - to a specialist dyslexic unit within a prep school - he had a wobbly start but now loves it - he has grown into such a happy and confident child - not all parents are rich - we have had to make huge sacrifices but it is worth it knowing i now have a happy child - not sure whether we can afford for him to continue to board - but at the moment it is the best thing we could have done

thenubianqueen Thu 28-Oct-10 23:10:43

I live in Harlow and Brixton. Trust me, the only difference is the roundabouts.grin

piscesmoon Fri 29-Oct-10 07:59:50

It makes me smile to think that the DCs of the rich are well behaved! You get the same mix as everywhere.

ECLEO Mon 26-Nov-12 18:53:14

Hi Hixies
just seen your reference to a dyslexic unit within a prep school. We are looking for a prep school for our DS (10 years' old) who has moderate dyslexia and I am desperate for any recommendations. We want somewhere as mainstream as possible but with good support for his learning needs. Would you recommend your DS's school?
Many thanks

Lilymaid Mon 26-Nov-12 18:56:19

zombie thread

Gunznroses Mon 26-Nov-12 19:14:23

Ecleo - i don't know where you are but here is a very good prep school for children with dyslexia
Egerton Rothesay school

grovel Mon 26-Nov-12 19:15:07

ECLEO, where do you live?

minifingers Mon 26-Nov-12 20:04:49

Will try to watch the programme.

I would never send my own children to boarding school. (not that I could afford it). I went, as did my two siblings, and basically, despite the fact that there were nice people working there we weren't actually PARENTED in the real sense of the word. I think it was very damaging emotionally. Not that I would have recognised this at the time. Children tend to get on and make the best of things. sad

DesertHippy Tue 27-Nov-12 08:28:41

minifingers this is a zombie thread ie it's 2 years old so I think the programme is long gone now.

hardboiled Tue 27-Nov-12 16:33:04

Where was the original program shown?

grovel Tue 27-Nov-12 16:45:36


hardboiled Wed 28-Nov-12 10:05:22

Found it in Youtube. Fun to watch. It helped me confirm my decision that I would never send DS to one of these schools - Sunnigdale, Eton, Harrow, etc - because I would be very disappointed if he came home and said he wanted to become prime minister, as I've always told him I hope he will make a good living at a job that involves neither lying nor damaging the lives of lots of people.

Hamishbear Wed 28-Nov-12 10:37:09

What's it called on You Tube? Thanks

hardboiled Wed 28-Nov-12 14:59:26

Britain's youngest boarders 2010

AllTheYoungDudes Wed 28-Nov-12 15:01:16

Zombie thread.

Veritate Wed 28-Nov-12 22:44:54

I went to boarding school and can still remember uncomfortably the utter desolation of homesickness - and that was at age 11. I'd absolutely hate to do that to an 8 year old, no matter how cosy the school is.

difficultpickle Wed 28-Nov-12 22:47:43

Ds is 8 and loves boarding. He does 3 nights and wants to do more. I've said 3 is plenty at his age. I guess it depends on the child. I didn't like going away for a week with the Brownies when I was 8.

hardboiled Thu 29-Nov-12 09:34:15

In the country I was born in, if a child goes boarding, it is either:
- a punishment. For example, when my parents discovered my sister was skipping school they threatened her with boarding school.
- a force majeure (children of the military, or people working abroad...).

No one would think of it as "the best for my child" even if in some cases it turns out to be. It's very very different.

difficultpickle Thu 29-Nov-12 11:12:07

Hardboiled the other option is to enable a child to do something they absolutely love that they couldn't do if they didn't board, which is our position. No punishment or force required at all. In fact if ds is naughty at home I have said I won't allow him to board. I've never seen him behave himself so quickly once I said that!

hardboiled Thu 29-Nov-12 11:32:54

Happy to hear you son loves it, bisjo.

lisad123 Thu 29-Nov-12 11:37:41

Which channel was this on? Would like to watch it

hardboiled Thu 29-Nov-12 11:38:28

See posts above. Youtube.

hardboiled Thu 29-Nov-12 11:53:37

This one is good too, from 1991, on Eton: (part 1)

It's a fascinating subject of course, even for the parents who would not contemplate boarding.

lisad123 Thu 29-Nov-12 13:26:40

Just sat and watched it. The boys seem happy enough once settled and the school seems very lovely and family like.
I wouldn't personally send mine to boarding school, but do understand why some do, especially if they move alot.

On a separate note I really wanted to go to boarding school as a kid blush

hardboiled Fri 30-Nov-12 13:54:39

I asked DS yesterday if he would like to go boarding. He thought long and deep and then said: "No. I couldn't live without you". I better start working on getting him ready for university now!

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