Eton/Harrow - Girls' equivalent?

(76 Posts)
receiverofopiniongiver Sun 27-Feb-11 09:25:28

My teenage daughter asked me yesterday - what is the equivalent girls school to Eton/Harrow?

i.e. what is the school that anywhere in the world you said x people would know of it, and know what the education gave.

I struggled with the answer.

Elibean Tue 16-Aug-11 15:24:07

My neices went to Downe House. I wouldn't equate it with Eton or Harrow, wouldn't have thought of it...except perhaps in terms of fees!

messalina Tue 16-Aug-11 16:21:06

CLC and Wycombe Abbey would be Eton equivalents (boarding and academic). Benenden more on a par with Harrow, I'd say.

CMOTdibbler Tue 16-Aug-11 16:36:54

Wycombe Abbey, really ? I remember playing them in the schools quiz league back in the day, and they were nowhere near as good as any of the boys schools we played (I was at a bog standard comp and for some reason in both leagues it was all independants otherwise).

Colleger Tue 16-Aug-11 17:11:41

St Swithuns is more of a local school and most have not heard of it. Downe House is a good school too but unheard of outside of the English middle-upper classes.

beanlet Tue 16-Aug-11 17:16:28

I grew up overseas, so if you're looking for instant international name recognition, I'd heard of only three before I moved to the UK:

Cheltenham Ladies College (where my great-grandmother went c.1900)
Roedean
Benenden

and that's it.

I would add Marlborough and Downe House to beanlet's list but otherwise agree with it.

carpetlover Wed 17-Aug-11 21:27:34

I agree with Beanlet's list too though if talking co-ed, I'd add Marlborough esp now with both KM and SC having gone there.

Yet, academically, it's the day schools which seem to flourish such as St Pauls and NLCS but also Withington in Manchester which isn't widely known yet gives the London day schools a run for their money every year in the league tables.

Lizcat Thu 18-Aug-11 09:14:39

Cheltenham Ladies College would be my choice, my great great grandfather was a huge advocate of female education and sent my great grandmother and all 10 of her sisters there between 1880 and 1905. It was a very radical school in it's day which believed that being female should not stop you achieving. I have pictures of GGGM playing cricket in 1900.
I think that girls schools are not as well known because as yet we have not had 100 years of women being able to vote let alone that they should be considered equals to men. Most people thought my GGGF was crazy to spend his money educating his girls, though actually his girls and their descendants have achieved way more than his sons and their descendants.

beanlet Thu 18-Aug-11 22:31:41

Lizcat, our GGMs must have been at school together! How cool is that? Her father was also really into women's education, as was my family on the other side- I have my Granny's UCL degree certificate from 1934 hanging on my office wall; she got a Third because she spent all her time partying grin

peteneras Fri 19-Aug-11 01:30:40

To all intents and purposes (and I think someone had said it already) there is no girls’ equivalent school to Eton/Harrow - especially with reference to your question, ‘what is the school that anywhere in the world you said x people would know of it . . .’

Personally I would say the girls’ version of Eton/Harrow would be The Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Wycombe Abbey.

muddyangels123nomoreHPforme Fri 19-Aug-11 01:40:10

I wouldn't send my DD to Red Maids.
In my day (20+ years), the yr 11/6th form spent too much time drinking & chasing boys. grin

However,Badminton, is good.

radoxme Fri 30-Nov-12 22:40:28

I know of Benendan. Had a girlfriend at university of Bristol who went there. Really posh. Half French and anti Semitic. The real deal... She went out with her 40 year old tutor before me. Lol.
Also Cheltenham ladies college had meets with us at Shrewsbury and were liked.
Shrewsbury now has girls. Darwin,palin, Heseltine, Hutton, shute attended to name a few as well as a head of mi6.
Up the Midlands!

Honestyisbest Fri 30-Nov-12 23:02:15

I would say Wycombe Abbey. They do their socials with Eton and Harrow too.

steppemum Fri 30-Nov-12 23:26:36

I went to one of these grin

Cheltenham Ladies overall
Rodean for class status (less academis, more social standing)
St Pauls is for the intelligent middle classes (I mean how I think it is perceived) has the academic standing among those who know, but doesn't have the International cache.

I have never heard of Benendan shock

steppemum Fri 30-Nov-12 23:27:31

woops typo - not a good advert!

TalkinPeace2 Sat 01-Dec-12 13:43:11

Benenden was certainly high profile when Princess Anne was there

when I was sitting scholarship exams in the 70's the top boarding schools were
Roedean
Wycombe Abbey
Benenden
Cheltenham
top day (in London) were
St Pauls
Frances Holland
NLCS

RancerDoo Sat 01-Dec-12 13:46:46

Completely agree with Steppemum (and I went to one of those too- I wonder if the same one!)

I know nothing about Benenden either.

EvilTwins Sat 01-Dec-12 13:55:58

radoxme - you wouldn't recommend Adcote then wink (Shropshire girl) I had a friend at primary school who left to prep school and then to CLC. Even at 10 I'd heard of it - but then I did think it was similar to Mallory Towers. grin

Hamishbear Sat 01-Dec-12 14:11:42

Benenden don't advertise or aggressively market, they don't need to.

Looking at the Sutton Trust league table Benenden get more into the best universities than other more academic girls' schools.

I am beginning to think that boarding schools that try to drum up lots of applications abroad etc should perhaps be regarded with suspicion?

TalkinPeace2 Sat 01-Dec-12 14:15:45

a bit like Spanish restaurants - the ones with the people outside handing out menus NEED to - the good ones do not .....

StillSquiffy Sat 01-Dec-12 14:23:35

As an aside, OP, you explained to your DD that the schools can be bucketed into selective, outstanding, average, etc. That's not quite the case for the top public schools (of either/mixed gender); they tend to be classified according to 'characteristics' of the school and it's pupils

EG:
Academic
Sporting
Quirky
Pastoral
Competitive
All-round

And of course any combination of these.

kookeethecutey Mon 14-Jan-13 10:46:53

Easy on Lady Eleanor Holles which was established in 1711!!!!

ponydilemma Mon 14-Jan-13 12:08:35

I've just googled St Swithuns and discovered that I went to primary school with the headmistress smile Wonder if I could pull a bit of 'old girl's networking' wink

wandymum Tue 22-Jan-13 14:02:36

Interesting question although it's really 2 questions as, apart from international recognition, Eton and Harrow aren't really that similar academically.

I agree that Wycombe Abbey/Cheltenham Ladies are probably the closest girls' equivalent of Eton/Winchester while Benenden and Downe House more like Harrow (i.e. posh but slightly less academic).

OhDearConfused Tue 22-Jan-13 16:03:55

To be honest: I have heard of Eton/Harrow (and known of them since I was a child), but until I started obsessing about my DS's education and come onto Mumsnet, I had not really heard of any of the girls schools (except an Aunt was a cleaner at Roedean many, many years ago).

I may have had a blinkered upbringing, but then most people in the world have in terms of UK public schools.

In short, there are no equivalents.

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