Abingdon v Radley

(57 Posts)
1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:00:44

can anyone give me reasons to favour one school over the other? The choice would be Ab day v Radley boarding (obviously). I'm going to look round them both shortly to try to get a general feeling.
Also if you can suggest any areas/issues I need to question at either school??

DS is sporty, musical, and academic. Happy to go to either school. Knows boys going to both schools.

Thank you.

Please don't turn this thread into a private/state slanging match. I just want peoples views on these two schools. We won't be considering any others. Thank you.

happygardening Wed 27-Mar-13 16:10:25

I take it you're already registered for Radley as registration is very early. Radley is notoriously boyish rugby is very very serious most of the parents are very traditional twin set and pearl county set, Abingdon is generally more "new money" professionals etc. Radley really is full boarding with all its implications; do you want that? Radley is tradition personified. I'm a total non conformist but if I had to choose between them it would be Radley all the way.

happygardening Wed 27-Mar-13 16:11:45

Also I believe Radeye does AS/A2 at the same time I personally think this is better.

1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:22:07

Happy - thanks. Yes we are sorted for entry to both. If you are non-conformist, can I quiz you further on why you would go for Radley?
Also, can you spell out to me the implications of full boarding, just to make sure I understand. SOrry to be so picky, but I'm sure you can understand why.
DS is currently at Ab prep.

grovel Wed 27-Mar-13 16:44:30

Radley is getting a new Warden in Sept 2014 (John Moule from Bedford School).

The advantage of full boarding is that a sporty, musical boy will have more time to take advantage of what Radley offers.

happygardening Wed 27-Mar-13 16:52:03

"Can i spell out the implications of full boarding"?
I've lots of experience of full boarding both professionally and my DS's have/are full boarding.
You need to look at yourself as a parent. Not all parents are slack parents like us but it is definitely not suitable for those who feel they have to be in control of their DC's very waking moment. If you feel this need rightly or wrongly then if you decided to full board your DS you will drive him yourself the school and the HM and matron up the wall!! At a recent mum's lunch I listened opened mouths to perfectly pleasant mums telling me how they ring their DC's at uni every night (I hadn't spoken to my DS aged 14 for over a fortnight at that point) they were fretting about their meals were they getting their five portions of fruit and veg, were they working hard enough, participating in uni activities changing their socks/underpants every day, taking their inhalers you name it. They were also deeply involved in their other DC's lives (those who'd not gone to uni yet) ferrying them around to God know what, they were on the committee of their DS's cricket club (wince), raising money for a orchestra trip abroad next year (no I didn't want to buy a raffle ticket) the PTA (over my dead body) and eye wateringly competitive. I'm not really criticising this its great if it makes you happy but don't consider full boarding. Full boarding is just not like this you hand over the education of your child to a significantly more competent person/teacher/matron who will be residential at Radley/chef/laundry person and let them worry about underpants extra curricular activities and inhalers. I step back and let them manage it better them certainly i ever can. Full boarding means' your DS can only come home on Sundays for the day and probably after chapel the rest of the time they are in school doing school things. I doubt Radley let them out on Saturdays even for a special occasion. Do check my DS's school doesn't.
Those who thrive on boarding are not over sensitive it is inevitable that teasing will take place, they mustn't be need or want lots of privacy, they don't at my DS's school have to be team players (I'm less sure about Radley) but they do have to be good mixers. I personally think you need to be quite organised and a self starter remember they will never have the same level of supervision as they would have at home, I don't think you can be a fussy eater, your DS needs to be quite mature for his age and take things in his stride. IMO for the right child full boarding is a positive life changing experience.
I would never choose Radley becasue as I said I'm a hopeless non conformist and cant bear meaningless ritual but it is without a doubt a fab school. Ita a proper traditional boarding school pastoral care may have been a bit dodgy at one time but its improving all the time. I know Abingdon the gossip on the block (its my part of the UK in a sort of global way) is that some are not happy (staff wise) and its becoming very much a pushy hothouse. I knew the old head charming but a complete stuffed shirt those in the know will tell you he turned Abingdon into a school that reflects this ethos. There's mixed views about the current head mistress then you probably know this as your at the prep.

1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 17:29:56

Oh happy thanks so much for all that info. flowers

Radley is DS number one choice at the moment. But full boarding is such a big leap into the unknown......

I actually think both ds and me would be fine with it. Dh favours Abingdon as it is the 'known' environment and worries that ds would be labeled posh for the rest of his life if he went to Radley.

I'm going to take ds for a look round both schools away from the open day and go from there I think.

Any more views gratefully received.....

1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 17:31:02

John Moule is younger than me!!!!!!!

happygardening Wed 27-Mar-13 18:11:22

Its a "posh" school. My DH went to one but frankly once you've been working for a few years most people don't ask or care where you've been to school.
I had a reputation for taking thick posh boys but they have now very much moved away from that.

mrsshackleton Thu 28-Mar-13 20:17:27

Radley is posh, Abingdon far less so. Your son will mix with a VERY narrow strata of society if he goes to Radley. If I had to choose between them it would be Abingdon all the way.

1805 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:33:07

can any bording parents enlighten me on the amount of spare time their dc get? The thing that is attracting ds to Radley is the idea of having more time to make use of clubs/facilities. I want ds to have a very clear picture of what life would be like to board there. I'm hoping I can find this out when I visit.

soda1234 Fri 29-Mar-13 00:21:19

My son is at Abingdon, his best friend from prep school went to Radley, they only see each other in the holidays now, and have drifted apart a bit.

I am a big Abingdon fan, my son has had every opportunity to persue his sporting interests, and has been encouraged and supported in drama and music.

His friends, the boys who come to our house, are just lovely, they are funny, polite, considerate and charming, and they come from a very wide background in terms of "money". They are not "posh" at all, just all round nice boys who are learning how to make their way in the world,and being taught how to do it,very well, which is exactly what I want for my son

Mutteroo Fri 29-Mar-13 01:50:44

DS went to a boarding school that had a very strong activity program. It was the big attraction for him & boarding meant he had extra use of the pool & leisure facilities. Mind you, there wasn't always much time after supper, prep & watching Top Gear on Dave! Boarding was better for DS because he didn't have the two hours plus travelling a day.

DD was a day girl at a predominately boarding school. She stayed on in the evenings to complete prep & to make use of the activities on offer. This was the best option for her & she didn't feel she missed out by being a day pupil.

I don't know Abingdon or Radley except for reputation so cannot soeak about them, but to be a boarding parent, you need to have a certain mentality. You'll need to embrace it or it'll feel alien & uncomfortable. I never embraced it & DS found the rigidity of boarding to much like a straight jacket & now attends Oir local outstanding sixth form college. DD went there also. I guess what I'm explaining is that each child is different & you need to do what is right for your child. What would Radley give that Abingdon doesn't? Reputations can be wrong & you'll know what your gut instincts are telling you. DS 2nd choice school was originally his 1st choice where we knew DS would get a brilliant education, but the school he eventually chose was absolutely the best fit for him & us. We paid deposits on both schools & so he had flexibility of choice up until shortly before CE.

Good luck with your decision OP.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 09:59:18

"can any bording parents enlighten me on the amount of spare time their dc get?"
As a general principle most boarding schools with a high % of full boarders have a half day Tues Wed and Sat this is when games etc take place. At my DS's school they don't have to do games they can do cultural extra curricular activities instead this is very unusual if not unique. But at Radely it will be compulsory rugby sport. If you talk to any other schools in the area they will tell you rugby is big at Radley these are the one's to beat. They play hard, future matches are talked about well in advance with either relish or fear depending on your point of view and paramedics doctors etc are always on the side of the pitch! Friends who work at Radley tell me drama is big and music fairly strong. Most boarders also have time between the end of lessons and dinner to participate in more activities prep is usually at a designated time in the evening for younger children (in my DS's case 2 hours a night 6 nights a week this is pretty standard ) and extra curricular activities can take place again after prep. IMO boarders have lots of spare time everyday but are expected to fill it with school activities obviously some don't but this is their choice rather than lack of things to do. At my DS's school there are 60+ activities on offer both sporting and cultural, the art room, DT dept and gym are open most day including Sunday afternoon, on top of this there are at least weekly lectures usually by visiting university lectures/expert in their field etc, 30+ concerts a term and 5-6 plays again all are open to boarders either to be in or watch and finally most houses at boarding school are also involved in regular inter house competitions be it singing or art and there are often house plays etc.
Life for full boarders is pretty full on and without a doubt not for everyone.

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 11:03:41

Thanks for all this everyone. My mind is a bit spinning with all the info I need to find out at the moment. I feel it's a big decision we have to get right. Will speak to current HT too......

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 11:41:49

It's a big decision and expensive (to full board) try and visit Radley as many times as you can before you have to make it. Look at a couple of houses talk to HM's chat to the parents there Mutteroo is right "You'll need to embrace it or it'll feel alien & uncomfortable."
Its worth looking at other ful boarding schools not becasue you thinking of sending your DS there but to get a eel for how others are run to get some sort of comparison Radley is uber traditional look at St Edward's (liberal) Marlborough (not liberal but very "smart"parents rather than county tweed types) its the day to day nuts and bolts that make them all different and IME what makes it a success or failure for you and your DS.

Xenia Fri 29-Mar-13 11:53:42

Radley 14th
Abindon 64th

FT A level league tables.

Radley seems to win out and is more likely to have been heard of by people too.

grovel Fri 29-Mar-13 15:33:33

OP, just remember you are choosing between two very, very good schools. It's a nice problem to have.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 16:06:07

Frankly unless your DS is a genius you know IQ 150+ I wouldn't worry about the difference in position of the two schools in the league tables if he is you should be looking at really super selectives other as well. They're different schools you and your DS just need to decide which one you feel more comfortable at and which one will suit you both and most importantly do you want proper full boarding?

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 16:07:06

Oh and lets not forget is he mad about rugby?

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:32:39

Yes, I know it's a very nice decision to have to make. There are other factors involved regarding bursaries, but we've been in discussions with both schools and this is the choice we have. Unusually, Radley would work out with cheaper fee's, but he would need to win a scholarship for the bursary to kick in. Ab would offer a bursary without an award.
We have been advised that a scholarship is a perfectly reasonable expectation for ds at both schools (smug, proud, parent moment there!!!blush)

Rugby however is his least favourite major sport! Cricket is number one sport, so he could redeem himself in the summer!

I don't think I need to consider genius options!!! No idea what his IQ score is though, so maybe........hmm grin

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:33:01

Aah those league tables:

Oxbridge entrance figures:

Radley 17%
Abingdon 20%

Source Tatler 2013 Schools Guide

Not sure R wins out after all when you compare this and great difference in fees...but not apples not apples, really ...A has weekly boarding but only minority board, as mostly a day school. Whereas R is full on boarding I imagine.

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:33:24

not apples to apples ...sorry

grovel Fri 29-Mar-13 16:37:04

Andrew Strauss and Ted Dexter went to Radley. Sorted.

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:42:19

The Andrew Strauss thing may be influencing ds slightly!!

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