weekly boarding 13+ experience and advice

(7 Posts)
timeforsomethingnew Mon 28-Mar-16 15:42:01

DS currently in year 6 at a boys day prep. Outgoing, sporty, good at and likes art, moderate to severely dyslexic. Loves his rugby. Now reads at age level. Last set of exams had reader and scribe.

Started looking at schools for 13+. Looking at non selectives, with good SEN support and want a full range of activities available - sport for all (not just A team), other extra curricular and if poss CCF. Schools with pre tests all out as he was not just not ready for these at the time... So St John's, Epsom and Reeds not on list. But that's the kind of school we would like. Current Head suggested Box Hill, Ewell Castle, King Edwards Witley, Shiplake College, Haliford in Shepperton and Seaford College.

We liked King Edwards - but no rugby from year 9 ... And we would still need to explore SEN support in more detail. So far Shiplake is best fit. Will be visiting Haliford and Seaford in next few weeks. Shiplake and Seaford would only be poss as weekly boarding. We live about 75 mins from each.

DS says he might like to board when he is 13 but until now we hadn't seriously considered. DD is a day pupil at another school - by time he starts at 13 she will only have 1 year until she leaves school and hopefully heads for uni. So things will be quiet at home in any case.

Would really appreciate any experiences of weekly boarding - what should we consider, discuss and ask as we decide whether this is an option for our family. And if you happen to have experience of either Shiplake or Seaford, would welcome that also.

happygardening Mon 28-Mar-16 18:13:40

I looked at Shiplake years ago for DS1 (now nearly 20) he has processing problems dyslexia etc, at the time I thought it was a bit "wet" it lacked what I call "wellie" and frankly I wasn't impressed enough to pay for it. I know a boy who went there recently (boarding) he only lasted it a short time his parents would be the first to admit he's no rocket scientist by any stretch of the imagination but they felt it wasn't academic enough for him, they also felt it was rather "wet" it lacked the robustness of most boarding schools.
Having said this I did think that the 6th boarding house looked good, the kids were expected to shift for themselves a bit, do their washing, ?cook their own breakfast good preparation for uni especially for those with organisational problems but as I said that was a long time ago things might have changed. Mind you DS1 is now at uni and despite having significant problems organising himself he seems to be managing very well, much better than I ever dreamed he would when we looked at Shiplake probably 8 years ago.

Sistersweet Mon 28-Mar-16 20:55:07

Depending on his needs would Aldenham be an option?

timeforsomethingnew Tue 29-Mar-16 20:14:30

Thanks Happygardening - good to have that input. Think they have s new head since then. I really appreciate your insights though - something for us to consider. I think it's hard to judge whether schools continue to set high standards and expectations ... Don't want "wet" - want "rigorous"! So needs to be a school where every child is supported to achieve their best. Of course that's what they all say !

timeforsomethingnew Tue 29-Mar-16 20:26:38

Thanks sistersweet - will take a look

Anyone with experiences of weekly boarding? At any school. TIA

happygardening Wed 30-Mar-16 10:19:24

Weekly boarding is fine if majority are weekly boarding (generally schools who offer both weekly and full boarding it's the full boarders who will be very much in the minority). All the advantages of boarding but you get to see them more often and they get time at home to game have some privacy peace quiet and see friends at home. Its major downfall is that you'll have to get him home usually on Saturday after games and take him back Sunday night/Monday morning so my advise is either don't live to far way or have very good public transport links (in my dreams).
New heads generally don't change things quickly five years someone told me the other day before anyone really notices it. Shiplake isn't selective or not very selective, most people know this, and has a reputation for taking children with significant dyslexia etc so this will impact on its ethos.

FatFrillyFilly Wed 30-Mar-16 23:53:52

DS weekly boarded at his senior school. A fellow pupil left after 6 weeks because he couldn't get used to boarding. Funnily enough this boy moved to Seaford College as a day pupil. We considered Seaford ourselves but discounted it at the brochure stage. It wasn't that it was a bad school, it was because DS's chosen senior school was a better fit for him. Also it was about 75-90 minutes drive away which was a big decision breaker.

As HappyGardening said, you don't want to be too far away. Our DS came home Saturday lunchtime to Monday morning; except when a trip to Thorpe park was arranged. About 70% of boarders were in school over the weekend so when DS stayed he always had someone to chat with. I'm not going to lie & say it was always easy for him or us. DS struggled with the concept of being a boarder. Learning to live with so many different people is a skill you don't normally learn until you're much older - or sometimes never! Having a good housemaster is vital. You need to make sure you feel confident in the person who is overseeing your son while he's at school. We knew our son was well looked after & when homesickness kicked in, his housemaster spotted this early & gave DS a role normally reserved for a prefect. DS didn't have time to call me constantly after this & it really helped him to embrace boarding.

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