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Stowe School Buckinghamshire(67 Posts)
Wondering about this school for my DS year 9. If anyone knows of the school or has attended would appreciate feedback.
My landlord went to Stowe and he's an absolutely charming person, we live in one of his estate cottages so see him around quite a lot, and he's unfailingly friendly and chatty. I did raise a slight eyebrow when I told him my DS1 was having a few problems at school and he wondered if I'd thought about Stowe
Shaleen What's their pastoral care like?
My son joins stowe this September and after a lot of speculation and mixed opinions I'm now convinced that we have made the right choice for him in terms of education ,sports and an overall pastoral care.
My DD left last summer, she and her friends are really good company, charming and confident and happy. They can get on with anyone and are well mannered and not arrogant but maybe she has just chosen her friends well. She will say there were one or two very wealthy girls who she had no time for because they considered themselves rather better than everyone else but they were hugely in the minority. A goodly number of them are rather bright but there are also top sportsmen/women, actors, musicians and artists among them. The issue of being in the country was not a problem and my DD was never bored, but then my DD is a country girl and the setting attracted her in the first place when she had to choose between Stowe and a 'townie' school. They certainly do use the grounds in their free time, and in her leavers book among the top memories for many of them were lazy summer days at the waterfalls, BBQ's or swimming in the lakes. Or 'lying in the rotunda gazing at the stars' - sounds blissful to me but then I am also a country girl.
I should add that whilst there are some children from modest backgrounds, many are from backgrounds of extreme wealth. The contrast with Bradfield is amazing, Bradfield represents a more "normal" public school intake.
My son is at Stowe and I can tell you the Head is amazing. My two elder sons went to Bradfield and we prefer Stowe. There is lots going on at Stowe for the children. There is a very full programme on offer for parents to get involved, from lectures, tours, concerts and plays. They have just built a new music and has ordered 24 Steinway pianos to compliment it. Any child who goes to tho school will come out a very nice well educated person.
It's so beautiful there, we are some of the aforementioned National Trust people that your son would be forced to share with :-)
I know a Stowe alumnus - one of my children's friend's father. My husband and I independently arrived at the conclusion that he is probably the nicest, most charming person we have ever met. After meeting him, I am favorably disposed towards Stowe.
There are two new girls boarding houses which actually won an architecture award and are modern and exactly what is required. An older girls boarding house, unattractive from the outside but lovely and light and friendly inside and a newish boys boarding house. The rest are in the old Mansion building. If new buildings are required they are obviously new. The developments have all been done to take nothing away from the beautiful mansion house from whichever side you look at it. This is a school that has changed beyond recognition in the last ten years under its excellent and inspirational Headmaster. It is certainly not for "thickies" just because it takes its pupils from a broader range of abilities, which is actually hugely in its favour as these children bring all sorts of other talents to the school. It is probably one of the few schools that really does deal with pupils as individuals. All schools say they do but the majority are all about exam results. It is interesting that all the posts from parents of children at the school are positive and all the negative posts are from people who dont really know anything about it but "have heard from someone". Go and see for yourselves.
I heard that the actual boarding houses and most of the teaching blocks where lessons are were unattractive and modern.
The bedrooms they share are small, and they don't actually do much in those grounds you see (apart from on the playing fields). For example at breaktime they go into their boarding houses, and are not hanging about on the fields as in (some) normal, even state, schools.
What the parents see might be different from the pupils' experience.
My DS started at Stowe in Sep 13. He got 75% at CE & has been placed in the B & C sets. Academic standards have risen hugely at Stowe. The grounds are Narnia like. There is absolutely nothing quite like it anywhere in the UK. The National Trust has spent £22m doing them up, meanwhile big name families have funded an equestrian centre, theatre & music school. Parent money gets spent on teachers, food & school operations. It is the very best solution. Parents seem to be entrepreneurs, business families, old money estates, media, bankers etc. My son gets 2.5 hours sport a day, fantastic teaching and gets to live in the most idyllic place I know of. I wish I was there instead of him.
My DS started last week and seems happy. Still early days but children are being kept is very busy and he has little time to speak to us. Would say that the profile of children is becoming more academic. Not extremely so and more in line with other public schools.
No denying that grounds are breath taking for a school. It is set in large grounds but the benefit to this is that the activities on offer are often matched only by the likes of Eton. Now beagling is something I know nothing about and not what I would like to do, but appreciate that it might be fun. As for the remoteness, the children do have school 6 days per week so have little time to venture out. There is a twice weekly bus into Buckingham. I believe that the older children do have access to Milton Keynes and Oxford. If you have any specific questions please post.
In the meantime, the landscape gardens were becoming unmanageable. 750 acres of landscaped ground with 40 listed temples and monuments were proving too much for the School, despite inspired enthusiasm from both pupils and masters. In 1989, the world-renowned gardens were handed over to the National Trust with a large endowment and their long term restoration programme began. The vistas were opened up, paths and temples restored, trees planted and maintained and, most important of all, the estate was made accessible to the 100,000 visitors they now receive every year.
Incorporating the wider landscape and deer park, archaeological and architectural discoveries show how the grounds have evolved over the years. As the gardens emerged from their slumber, it was clear that the house now needed much attention. Unable to find an endowment for the National Trust to take it on, the Stowe House Preservation Trust was created in 1997 to raise funds for an ambitious six phase restoration plan. The house and associated auxiliary buildings were handed over to the Trust and are now leased back to Stowe School.
Beginning the restoration in 2000, the Trust has so far completed the first two phases, with phase three currently in progress.
Today, it is the mission of Stowe House Preservation Trust to restore and present Stowe House to the public. We open the state rooms for over 230 days a year to the public, in term time and during holidays. When closed the house is kept busy with school life, weddings, filming and commercial events.
"I thought that the grounds only were maintained by the National Trust and the house was completely different?"
I also think the house is owned or at the very least maintained by the school. We went to an open day many many moons ago nd thought on closer inspection the house looked very scruffy.
At the open day a teacher gave a pretend lesson to the parents demonstrating their "wonderful IT". It just happened to be my my degree subject and I didn't understand a word of it. A friends DS went there a he complained about the poor quality of the teaching.
I think there is a saying that he Lord makes work for idle hands
Actually its 'The devil makes work for idle hands.
But I completely agree with you its in the middle of absolutely nowhere, couldn't imagine living there for 5 yrs.
My DD (6th form)turned it down on the grounds that it is too remote . I think there is a saying that he Lord makes work for idle hands and this is a bit true here as they cannot escape and grow up anywhere. It is better than 10 years ago and not everyone is dim. We also looked at Bradfield for DD 6th form. The admissions office were impossible to deal with. Senior staff say one thing and admissions do something completely different. Boarding facilities quite good but we know several girls who hated it. Too far from anything! Again! Radley?
drinkmilk, my godson is at Stowe. He loved the first 3 years but at sixteen finds it really claustrophobic "being stuck in the middle of nowhere and seeing only people connected with the school from Monday to Friday". And the towns he can reasonably access at week-ends are hardly exciting for teenagers. Just a thought.
Drinkmilk - I thought that the grounds only were maintained by the National Trust and the house was completely different?
Stowe is very high on my list of schools for my son. I have a check list of 4 things for my son: co-ed, idyllic country setting, campus based, access to everything from a literary society to polo. Stowe seems to tick all the boxes in ways other schools just don't. Nearly 900 beautiful acres & a truly gorgeous house that are maintained by the National Trust ... this means that parent money goes on education & facilities (can't say that about many other schools in historic buildings). All the top public schools will secure your child's future academic success, so you must look beyond grades & consider the environment & the community. Most Stoics I've come across are either successful entrepreneurs or bankers. That said, they're ranks are also made up of actors, tycoons, grocers & Superman too (Branson, Sainsbury, Niven, Cavill). And the Old Stoic community is very well organised & helpful ... from what I can tell ... from the outside. A difficult decision awaits me.
The old Stoics I know are not great rocket scientists, didn't get great results and generally speaking didn't go on to uni.
to a man however they have exquisite manners, are great company and have been highly entrepreneurial & successful in their businesses.
The grounds and buildings are stunning - a gorgeous environment to grow up in I imagine - & having to share with the Trust and their cows is presumably rather lovlier than having to share Eton High Street with the world and not having any discrete campus.
Hi there, My son goes to Stowe and is currently in his final year. He tells me how he has grown so much as a person, the really cater to the individual, lots of societies to go to. My son does debating, the Literary Society and play football. Its has a fairly cosmopolitan student populace with scholars from South africa and exchange students from the Dune India. Apply to Stowe it really is wonderful.
Go visit - it is a great school for bright children. My daughter is there and got 4 x As in her AS levels last August. Lots of clever boys in her year group and younger children are very bright too.
Don't agree with negative posts about Stowe. My daughter joined Sixth Form last year, her friends are NOT arrogant oiks - all friendly young people. She's just got 4 x As at AS level and not even in top sets for every subject. Her peer group are very bright and academic standards there are rising. You really should go and visit rather than listen to ill-informed gossip.
We have recently returned from a rugby match against Stowe...what a very arrogant lot they were, both the pupils and parents! They seemed to think that money made them better than anyone else. Infact they all came across and the 'lower lives'. Money doesn't mean you can treat others is a unsportsmanlike way and get away with it. But judging by everything we saw and heard they are obviously brought up to think they can and that they are superior to others. How wrong they are...they all need to live in the real world and be taught how to behave towards others.
I couldn't be more happy with Stowe - my son loves it and has settled in quickly thanks to the exceptional staff who are looking after him. He is bright and finding the work challenging academically - their recent public exams results were excellent. So forget the old stereotypes and don't miss out on a top school.
I know about 10-15 children a year that go to Stowe. The vast majority of them are extremely happy there. They are of a wide range of ability (from 3 or 4 who won academic scholarships to 3 or 4 who didn't really reach the CE standard required but Stowe let them in anyway on sporting or monetary grounds). They are also not all very rich. Some of the parents have jobs that pay the fees, some get large bursaries etc.
I don't think Stowe if for the 'rich but thick' any more at all, it's very diverse and caters for all.
Having said that, it isn't a school I'd be prepared to pay £30000 a year for. The classroom behaviour is quite poor from what I've seen and the children (especially the girls) seem far too forward and look ridiculous (orange faces, hugely 'pouffed up' hair dos etc). I know you'd get this in most schools but I wouldn't expect to be paying for it!
Day children get very tired too.
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