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Hello there anabelleee, We were in your situation a year ago and went to the independent show in London. This was a great experience and met the schools you mention.
I am an expat, but do come over frequently and like to support my DS x 2 at matches etc. The advice others are giving is very good. If you want to still be part of your children's life, limit your search to about an hour. There still are lots of good schools around who offer boarding.
My DH and I went to see Sandroyd. Loved the setting, as we did with Port Regis. But there was something niggling us about being so far away from base. In the end we opted for a school that gets mentioned on here all the time...Windlesham House in West Sussex. The pastoral care is excellent. Staff have an amazing rapport with the children. Academics are good with children winning scholarships all over the place.
I hope this helps and good luck with your search. Oh, my DS are 8 & 10...and never want to come out with us...prefer to stay in school and do all the activities.
I think you should separate the "getting the pupils into the best senior school" from other opportunities at a school outside London. I assume your DCs are at a prep in London? My experience is that a half decent London prep will send many to top London day schools (which IMO are harder to get into than top boarding schools, if only due to weight of numbers applying) and many others to a broad range of boarding schools. So I don't think a country prep will give you anything academically that a London day school won't give you.
If you want your DCs to board, to have more space etc that is a different decision. 133 miles is a long way. A regular poster, happygardening, is very experienced at boarding at all ages, and advises no more than a 1.5hr drive one way. Otherwise you just can't go and watch a match, watch a concert, pop down for the afternoon etc without spending several hours in the car. There must be many closer boarding preps that would give you what you want but be more accessible. The other option is to look at some of the prep schools which offer daily bus services from West London (Caldicott, Papplewick) - they require your DC to board full time in years 7/8.
FWIW, my DCs are at London day schools and will move to boarding schools at 13. They have had the choice of schools they wanted and have been taught to a high level, given a number of their classmates are off to St Pauls, Westminster, Kings Wimbledon etc
Thank you all for your feedback. I went to have a look and felt it was a really lovely school. The grounds and the views are just amazing. My only concern was the teachers seemed a bit serious and there did not seem to be a rapport btw teachers and students. 656565 do you live in the surrounding areas? i work in london and although moving closer is an option i don't foresee moving anytime soon. So the 133 miles journey to pick DS up is a major consideration. i understand pupils can me escorted to waterloo but the cost is carried by the parents.. taxi to school and back to station cost £100 plus train ticket of about £27 seems steep for exeats journeys But the reputation of getting pupils into the best senior school must be worth paying for. Only other quip have to pay to learn music instruments.
Hi there, this will sound biased as I currently have my son at the school (who is 8). He started in Sept and weekly boards as my husband works abroad and I work up in London. He absolutely loves it and often asks to stay at weekends - which I guess is a good sign! The opportunities there are endless because of its location and seems the approach they take there works. I am always hearing new stories of going on the go karts, matches against other schools or even den building. We choose the school for its location (getting away from the big smoke) and its reputation of excellent pastoral care and getting children into the best public schools as we are hoping to aim for Eton or Radley (have a few more years to wait - dont worry we really arent pushy parents!) Dont just listen to me, as I guess I am a highly over enthusiastic new parent at the moment - I would highly recommend going to visit and I am sure you will fall in love with the moment you arrive (by the way prepare yourself for the long driveway!)
I don't have any personal first hand experience of the school but I know some children have left our school and are now at Sandroyd and another lady I was talking to the other day said her son was there and very happy. It seems popular for those families in the area who are wanting boarding which suggests good pastoral care. It does seem to be a preference for the country set.
Hi all, please does anyone have any thoughts or first hand experience of Sandroyd school? I need a very good co-ed prep for my DD (8) and DS (11) with a few must haves - Excellent pastoral care, sports, music and of course academics. I wam wondering if in real terms if there is value in sending them to a school further afield to get the country prep education and all its benefits and to ensure the senior school choice.