Papplewick, Dragon, Sunningdale or Cothill?

(70 Posts)
tallmermaid Mon 06-Feb-12 10:13:41

Dear all, considering sending DS to one of these schools. Would appreciate opinions on which one's best. In particular, would appreciate in-depth opinion on Papplewick (not seen much on this school on the discussion boards). Would prefer boarding school that does not empy out at weekends. Objective is to aim for place in E, W or H. Thanks.

Colleger Mon 06-Feb-12 10:36:30

Wouldn't choose any of those for your criteria. Papplewick a great choice for E and W but empties at weekends and has a high number of day pupils. Cothill is fantastic and does not empty but not the most academic, fine for H though. In saying that the new Head is excellent and the term in France is fantastic. Dragon is more of a day school too.

Schools that dont empty at weekends: For Winchester I'd suggest Horris Hill, for Eton I'd suggest Summerfields. It's not that a bright boy won't get into Eton from the other schools but it is so difficult nowadays and there are only a small proportion of schools that send a large number to Eton, the rest send about 2 a year.

All the schools mentioned would get your son into Harrow.

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 11:02:55

?Wyndalsham sort of in the south east. Seems to send children to a wide variety of schools and I understand not only has a lovely atmosphere but has lots of full boarders.

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 11:05:18

Sorry cant spell: Windlesham its in Sussex near Worthing I believe.

Myrtille Mon 06-Feb-12 13:50:22

We looked at Dragon 10 years ago and really liked it. It has more boarders than Summerfields so is still a bona fide boarding school. In the end my son went to another prep school and we kind of regretted it.
Beautiful surroundings and fantastic facilities.

TheMead Mon 06-Feb-12 14:00:33

DS's prep also send 2-4 boys to E and more to W annually. We've recently considered DS moving school to one of those schools above, for Y7 & 8. There are one or two pupils who changes feeder schools at Y7 once they get a conditional offer from E, W or H. I wonder if schools like Summerfields, Caldicot, or Papplewick work like that for this reason.

goinggetstough Mon 06-Feb-12 14:33:34

HG it is Windlesham House and it is in West It has been commented on previously on mumsnet so tall if you are interested I'd do a search on mumsnet . Windlesham definitely has lost going on at weekends and I would definitely recommend it.
Don't though get confused with Woodcote House a boys prep boarding which is in Windlesham in Berkshire.

Colleger Mon 06-Feb-12 15:09:24

Dragon does not have more boarders percentage-wise so it's run in the same way as Summerfields.

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 15:57:59

My DS at W certainly has friends who were at Windlesham and I see on their web site that the top Eton scholar last years came from their too and he was only 12 quite an achievement.

tallmermaid Mon 06-Feb-12 22:49:42

Dear All, thanks for your suggestions.

Dear Colleger - We tried but could not get place (Year 5) for DS at Summer Fields for Sep 2012. As such, we are looking at next best alternative with a strong E and W placement record. What are your suggestions in this regard?

EBDteacher Tue 07-Feb-12 08:04:44

We live round the corner from Caldicott and have been on open day and really rated it. Great 'let boys be boys' sort of atmosphere but obviously quite rigorous too. However, I think it probably does empty out at weekends.

We are definitely considering it although I can't get my head around the compulsory boarding atm (DS only 17mo) so have the rather 'gentler' Lambrook on our list as well.

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 08:49:30

Many years ago we went on the W open day there were quite a few parents there from Ashdowne House and Brambletye. Friends looked at the former and said it had a very nice atmosphere but chose Windalsham. The other big feeder into Eton is Ludgrove I know nothing about it except that I think one family at my DS's prep sent their DS there because it has a golf course! For W there is of course Pilgrims which I know little about but colleger does and I believe is not keen but we know families there who seem happy as usual you will always hear mixed things about every school and Horris Hill.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 09:35:44

Pilgrims is not good for boarding. I'd second Ashdown House and they also send children to France for a term as well to the same place that the Cothill boys go to. After Ashdown I'd suggest Horris Hill because they have very strong links with Winchester and your son would also get into Harrow from there. Eton is a lottery but they can easily prepare for common entrance to Eton but whether a child passes the Pre-test may be less to do with the school.

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 10:08:23

I think colleger is right the passing the pre test has little to do with what prep you are at. Although I note on Ludgroves website they sent 16 to Eton last year and its always double figures although of course it doesn't say when they joined the school. Once you been offered a place to E or H then your son is highly likely to pass CE out of any decent prep. W write their own exam which is different to CE so if you go down that road then you do need to be in a school with recent and yearly experience of preparing children for it. If your hoping for a scholarship into either W or E then you do ned to be in a school which regularly get scholarships into them and starts preparation for the scholarship in yr 7. Pilgrims I believe have a separate class for potential W scholars although again colleger would know more.

vixsatis Tue 07-Feb-12 11:20:03

Another tick for Ashdown- we opted for all boys and more convenient geography (Summer Fields) but Ashdown is a really lovely and excellent school. Likewise Horris Hill. HH would have been our second choice and Ashdown third

My godson is at the dragon- it's only about 35% boarding. Lots of the day children have huge amounts of extra tuition, so I think it's a rotten place to be a boarder.

Ludgrove has good statistics and is resolutely all boarding- one hears complaints that they're not allowed home enough. Caldicott is a great school but has a large day contingent bused in from London

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 11:44:29

Ludgrove stats are mixed. I think a few years ago only three boys got into Eton and percentage-wise that is small as Ludgroves is quite large. Tons went off to Radley because they failed to get into Eton.

I really wouldn't choose Pilgrims from a boarding point of view. I've known a lot of parents move their kids to HH from there because of the boarding. The links are so strong to W from HH that they felt it was the best place to move them to.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 11:47:59

Must have got that wrong about Ludgrove adjust checked their stats.

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 12:38:42

Ludgroves website definitely states the numbers they send to Eton all double figures for a long time.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 13:04:16

I think it can be quite a harsh environment from what parents have told me but all this is hearsay as was the stat where I was told only three went to Eton a few years ago. They are not known for many academic scholarships however.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 13:36:01

What is Papplewick's record of sending boys to E or W?

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 13:56:42

40 to Eton, 25 to Harrow and 10 to Winchester in 5 years.

EBDteacher Tue 07-Feb-12 14:00:04

I don't get why Papplewick starts in Y2. If you're going to have KS1 why not start in YR? Seems random to go somewhere else just for 2 years. Where do boys go before Papplewick?

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 14:06:57

Its common for many preps especially those which have a high number of full boarders to start in yr2/3 probably considered the youngest age you can start full boarding at. At my DS's old prep when he started children used to start in yr three but in this day and age of of the need for bums on seats etc they dropped the age to year 2 and even taking yr 1 if they weren't full boarding often to take siblings. Many of course don't bother with yr 2 sats exams.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 14:07:42

Lots of London preps start in Year 3 so I assume it's to poach a few before they look at other schools. The school isn't big enough to have two more year groups either.

EBDteacher Tue 07-Feb-12 14:15:15

Oh yes, both sensible reasons from the school's point of view I suppose. I've never come across anywhere else that takes from Y2.

I've never fancied Papplewick- no grounding for that whatsoever and can't put my finger on why. Just doesn't tick my boxes like Caldicott does.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 14:17:05

I thought the teachers at Papplewick were inspirational and oodles of extra-curric. Not much land though.

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 14:30:26

IME its worth remembering that behind these schools leavers destination lists 50 acres of rolling fields swimming pools extra curricular activities beautiful websites and prospectuses that many parents are paying for extra coaching to get the CE/scholarship marks they want.
Caveat emptor!

EBDteacher Tue 07-Feb-12 14:33:45

Not ever got close enough to the place to have an opinion on the teaching! Told you it was a totally unfounded viewpoint!

Want to hear my reasons for wanting to get DS into Eton not his dad's alma mater (WinCol)?? Because it's round the corner so I can take him out for tea (and for the rowing). In the face of a small child I have lost all objectivity. grin

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 14:36:54

Don't make me even more depressed HG. I wonder if I have the only son not being privately coached for the KS! sad

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 15:19:22

Probably think of all those Chinese parents frantically coaching their DS's morning noon and night!

NatashaBee Tue 07-Feb-12 15:22:16

I thought this was going to be a baby names thread.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 17:07:19

Colleger, Would you pick Horris Hill over Papplewick? I just learnt that each year, Papplewick sends an average of 8 boys to Eton and 3 - 4 to Winchester out of a class of 40. Seems quite balanced, when compared to HH which is quite skewed towards Winchester and only 1 or 2 annually to Eton. Your thoughts please. I also thought that Cothill was a key feeder school to Eton. Any additional insights on this would be great

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 17:34:23

It depends on what you want. If its a proper boarding school then Horris Hill wins hands down to Papplewick. If you want a school more likely to get your child into Eton then maybe Papplewick. It is worth remembering though that most parents who send their kids to Papplewick send to Eton, Wellingotn and Harrow and this is down to location. It's the same with most schools - Pilgrims/HH feed more to Win - apart from maybe Cothill and Summerfields. I know of a London day school who sent 36 boys for the Eton test and 18 got in. Horris Hill probably has the same stats of 50% of applicants getting in, but fewer apply so numbers look small.

If your son is a strong all-rounder and is bright he'll get into Eton. If he is a one trick pony then he won't and it doesn't matter what school he goes to.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 18:54:59

Colleger, The entire exercise is based on a boy being bright and some-what an 'all rounder'. The different schools are there to provide the enabling environment that enhances this raw potential. If this is not the case, what then, makes the schools relevant.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 19:43:48

Sorry, I dont understand your post.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 20:26:01

My post was in response to your comment: "If your son is a strong all-rounder and is bright he'll get into Eton. If he is a one trick pony then he won't and it doesn't matter what school he goes to".

Most of us have bright children, so I think it goes a little beyond that.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 20:34:47

Most of us perceive that we have bright kids but assuming we do, not every child will be super sporty or super musical and the competition for Eton is fierce. Eton tend to take boys that are:

Very bright and very, very musical.
Very bright and mainly in the A teams at sport.
Very bright and pupils with leadership qualities - so pupils who will end up being deputy/head boy at their prep schools.

There are boys who happen to be all of the above.

Also, you can lead a horse to water...One of my sons would take part in everything and I've got another who won't, or at least wouldn't when he did the Pre-test. It doesn't matter how great the prep is in that respect.

happygardening Wed 08-Feb-12 08:20:06

"Eton tend to take boys that are:
Very bright and very, very musical.
Very bright and mainly in the A teams at sport.
Very bright and pupils with leadership qualities - so pupils who will end up being deputy/head boy at their prep schools."
What needs to be understood is the process of selection favours these boys. There are 5+ applicants for every place this means that well over a 1000+ are registered and all who are interested are interviewed (this is a very commendable many don't) and you can register surprisingly late relatively speaking and the cut off date is not when they list of full but related to a child's birthday. But with an 8- 10 minute interview Eton is only able to look/see the obvious. On the other hand Winchester restricts the number of applicants and housemasters close their lists when they're "full" at about 30 I understand (therefore 2 1/2 applicants for every 1 place) thus popular housemasters close their lists earlier than less popular one but this enables each housemaster to interview a boy for 1 1/2 - 2 hours thus he is able to see beyond the obvious to potential.

Tearaway Sat 13-Oct-12 12:40:18

Very late post - you've probably made your choice by now but in case any other prospective parents are looking, I can say that we have a boy at Papplewick and could not be happier. It is an incredibly friendly school, with all the teachers taking time to get to know the parents as well as the children. We were rather lazy in our choice and went for it because it is local. I assumed that all boys schools in the area were this good but now that I have met a few more parents (many of whom devoted considerable time and energy to researching which school to choose) it seems that we are very lucky to have this school just around the corner. Most children come from considerably further away (they run two buses in from London for a start). I am surprised by the post suggesting that this school empties out at weekends. A quick flick through the names in our school diary indicates that over 100 board - they can't all go home at weekends, certainly not the boys whose parents are abroad. Then there is the fact that for all boys the school is in session on Saturday morning, with sports fixtures afterwards. And the post suggesting not much land, well I guess it depends on perspective. I think the school has 15 acres. That seems like a lot to me; certainly plenty for all the sports DS needs to play but less than some schools I guess.
For the record, my godson & his brother are at Caldicott and I only hear good things about that place too. In my mind I think of Papplewick/Caldicott being very similar in outlook and achievement.

diamondsinthesand Fri 09-Nov-12 23:34:53

This is a late add too, but looking for a happy country Prep for my DS that will challenge academically, musically and lots of sport - totally bewildered by all the talk of exit schools.
We just want to get our DS out of the traffic jams into some green space and country air. Does this mean he won't get scholarship if we not bothered about a future school?
So far we like the look of Horris Hill and Summmerfields. Dragon looks too big and city-ish. Any others we should look into?
Is the GoodSchoolGuide worth joining?

milkshake3 Sat 10-Nov-12 08:15:29

Diamonds- Don't worry! You need to consider exit school because some prep schools will basically feed 2-3 schools and then send the tail of kids here and there. You are obviously ok with boarding from year 3 if you are looking at the schools you mention but if you want to enter the day school system at 13, the country prep schools may not be best placed given their feeder links. However I doubt from your post you want that. Otherwise it's personal choice. Full or flexi boarding, single sex or coed, how far from where you live etc etc. you have to go and look at them I'm afraid!

BlueElephant90 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:50:54

I wouldn't recommand Papplewick if you have caring or a sensitive ds.

difficultpickle Sat 10-Nov-12 16:06:49

What's wrong with Papplewick? Ds's school played them recently and thought they seemed nice although he didn't think the boarding house was as nice as his.

nightrider Sat 10-Nov-12 16:52:51

I was driving back into London the other day with DS2. We had been to look round a secondary school. It was 5.45pm. We were alongside the Papplewick bus as it crawled back into London along the DS said 'look how sad those boys look'.....I said so would you if you weren't going to get home for another hour and then you had to get up in the morning and get back on that bus at 7.00 ish and do it all again'. I think I would pick boarding over commuting....!! FYI, the boarders we know there all come home after sport on saturday and go back on the bus on monday morning. It is close enough to London that the mums can go and have tea with them if they are not involved in matches on wednesday.....unless you have DCs at other schools.

Copthallresident Sat 10-Nov-12 18:42:36

If considering that term in France for your son, beware, not something I want to put online but bear in mind that the school your DS's carefully chosen Prep shares the place with may not have the same values and culture, and types of DSs you signed up to at your own Prep. Your own Prep may be limited in the way that they can respond to the situation.....

BlueElephant90 Sun 11-Nov-12 11:50:32

''Your own Prep may be limited in the way that they can respond to the situation.....'' that's how Papplewick operates, they avoid dealing with issues.

difficultpickle Sun 11-Nov-12 15:54:58

I know someone who visited last year and thought the teachers were wonderfully enthusiatic and it seemed like a fab place. What sort of issues hasn't Papplewick dealt with? Doesn't it always get loads of boys into Eton, Harrow etc, so academically at least it must be strong?

Copthallresident Sun 11-Nov-12 17:09:14

It wasn't actually Papplewick, but I am guessing that any Prep would have had problems picking up that something repugnant was going on, not knowing the perpetrators who were clearly deeply disturbed, but from another school, and would then be limited, once they realised the situation, in responding appropriately given they have to deal with another school.

difficultpickle Sun 11-Nov-12 17:17:44

No idea what you are talking about Copthall but I would expect any decent prep to remove themselves from the situation you are describing. If they are somewhere where another school was causing trouble and didn't address it then you would vote with your feet (and your wallet).

Copthallresident Sun 11-Nov-12 19:08:45

bisjo That is exactly what the parents concerned did, though it involved driving through the night to get their DS out of a horrible situation. I just wanted to alert parents to the fact that this sojourn in France that sounds so great can go horribly wrong.

BlueElephant90 Sun 11-Nov-12 19:17:21

Not only in France but inside the school as well.
bisjo Do you really believe that they get them to those school without any parents input? Private tuition is thriving as well at that school with their own teachers....
As I've said if you have a sensitive and a caring ds don't touch it.

difficultpickle Sun 11-Nov-12 20:27:55

Interesting. It isn't a school I considered for ds but it does have a good reputation locally.

BlueElephant90 Sun 11-Nov-12 22:15:55

I wonder why because most of the children are not local!

difficultpickle Mon 12-Nov-12 08:21:47

I know friends of friends with day pupils there although I agree that they don't have as many local pupils as Lambrook or St George's.

MrsMarmot Thu 15-Nov-12 15:12:11

Sunningdale- lovely, cosy prep big on letting boys be boys. Small. Increasingly a bigger feeder into Harrow.

Dragon - big, coed, confident, polite, happy & busy children, great pastoral & boarding. Not a country setting.

grovel Thu 15-Nov-12 16:55:26

Lambrook. How nice it has dropped the Haileybury bit.

Best fireworks on the circuit at Lambrook and 5 or so boys into Eton last year.

Mumindoha Fri 16-Nov-12 08:44:20

As expats we need a boarding prep that doesn't empty at weekends. DS is Year 5. We've visited 6 schools and can't decide between Cothill, Windlesham, Ashdown. DS loves spor and playing outdoors. Main priority is a happy home-from-home at a school that will get him through CE and into Radley, Harrow or possibly Eton. Any advice or opinions much appreciated.

difficultpickle Fri 16-Nov-12 09:22:32

Mumindoha I would start your own thread as only one of the schools you are interested in is listed in the title abd this thread is quite old.

grovel Fri 16-Nov-12 10:44:23

Take a look at Woodcote House. Lovely school.

happygardening Fri 16-Nov-12 11:07:17

Windlesham we've friends who've DCs have been there and loved it Ive heard on the grape vine not much good for scholarships into Eton and Winchester etc but fine for CE Winchester entrance exam.

Mumindoha Fri 16-Nov-12 14:10:30

Thanks all. I have heard only good things about Windlesham. Not too bothered about scholarships TBH just want a happy boy! grovel we looked at Woodcote but not sure about weekends there. on bisjo advice I'll start a new thread

diamondsinthesand Sat 22-Dec-12 01:34:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 12:17:43

Why would you expect to see the Head when discussing a bursary? Surely that is the job of the Bursar? What made the process so horrible?

Ds has a large scholarship for his prep school and we will need an equally large scholarship or bursary for senior school. The one senior school we have spoken to so far were very keen to stress how many bursaries are available.

wheresthegin Sat 22-Dec-12 14:51:54

Diamonds - we applied for the Dragon scheme as well. We never met the head or bursar, but were interviewed by a deputy senior something. She took notes of things my dh said, and smiled rather patronisingly (I thought) whenever I spoke. DC did not get a bursary, and I can say i am rather glad actually.
On the plus side, it made us approach another school, who were lovely, and DC is very happy there (with a bursary).

diamondsinthesand Sun 30-Dec-12 16:54:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BestYearsofYourLife Tue 26-Mar-13 13:30:16

Listening to your threads can't understand if you've considered Lambrook. Its a Co-educational Prep School in Ascot which sends boys to Eton (amazing scholarships), Winchester, Harrow, Marlborough, Wellington and all the "top" girls schools. Its got huge diversity and believes in matching the child to a senior school and prepares them well. If you just want your child to get into the "right school" then look away! Children should be happy at school. Lambrook is wonderful. I can honestly say it offers fantastic sport, music and academics. They are running a bus from Chiswick and Brook Green from September so get your sons AND daughters on it!

bluescissors Tue 26-Mar-13 13:39:26

Hi BestYearsofYourLife - thanks for the heads up on the Lambrook minibus. Just did the AA route finder from the start to the destination. 30miles (will take 1hr 2 min apparently) - don't want to consign my children to 60miles of commuting each day. I'm sure its a great school if you board or live close by, but I cannot fathom why people would put their DC through that travelling 6 days a week (as they have saturday school from year 5). Each to their own though.

Surreymumtotwoboys Sun 02-Jun-13 16:24:46

Papplewick 40 boys? I thought they had two classes of max 12 boys???

Surreymumtotwoboys Sun 02-Jun-13 16:41:08

Just read your post. I am researching Papplewick at the moment... Would love to chat to you. Can we message each other on this mums net????

Mummyk1ns Thu 11-Jul-13 18:42:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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