Boarding school for sixth former

(113 Posts)
ALong151 Mon 11-Mar-13 04:45:42

We're expatriates and looking to place DD at a good boarding school that would allow her to stay over exeat weekends or have no exeat weekends. As DD is rather academic, we"re looking or some place that would be able to nurture her and explore her potential to the fullest while encouraging her to do her best.She is also an all rounder with music and sport so would want to look for someplace that has facilities and opportunities over the weekends to keep her occupied. Since we are away , we would prefer a school which has mostly full boarders so she would not feel that the school is empty during weekends.

The problem is we are looking for her to start in sept, 2013 and it is rather late in the day applying now but news of our continued posting overseas just came in.Originally, she had been with us but we feel that we would want her to get back into the uk education system to get her ready for university. With no pressure from us at all, DD is aiming to enter oxbridge. Have written to many schools, but the reputed top schools have already allocated their places and do not accept anymore.

Great if we can get any feedback here.

scaevola Mon 11-Mar-13 06:46:54

Yes, it is after the applications/allocations round and most schools will be full. Schools generally stick to their admissions round (or it all descends rapidly into chaos).

Are there any parts of the country you prefer (near family/friends?) and do you want single sex/co-ed/either?

Bonsoir Mon 11-Mar-13 07:04:18

Ask Gabbitas for help. I know families who have required urgent boarding school solutions for sixth-formers later in the year than you and Gabbitas helped to identify the DCs' key strengths and market them to the right school.

forevergreek Mon 11-Mar-13 07:05:28

Kings school in Canterbury is good

Bonsoir Mon 11-Mar-13 07:05:52

Schools are more lenient than you might imagine when there are extenuating circumstances for clever DC coming from abroad.

scaevola Mon 11-Mar-13 09:23:11

There is wiggle room, but more commonly found in day schools: if the beds are full, it's just not possible to fit in an extra boarder.

If the extension to your posting has been so late in the day, presumably you had a day school lined up for her. Any chance the head/admissions team there could give you some advice?

happygardening Mon 11-Mar-13 09:36:15

I would have thought it is defintely worth contacting a few schools you like the look of. If your looking for a super selctive and are prepared to sit it out to the last minute you might be lucky and find that another child already in the school does unexpectedly badly in their GCSE's as is asked to leave.
Also from my experience lots of girls leave single sex for the 6th form and go co ed so you might find it easier to get a place at a girls school.
Schools with a mix of full boarders weekly flexi and day might be more likely to have a spare bed than an all full boaridng school.
As a last resort it is highly likely that within a few weeks or in my friends DD's case a few days of starting at a new boarding school in the 6th form someone will hate it and leave again if you make you enthusiasm for a school known to the admssions ofice you might be lucky.
Hope this helps.

ALong151 Mon 11-Mar-13 10:37:44

Thanks to all for responding.

We are looking for full boarding facilities and we are not particular about co-ed or all girls; DD had experiences in both and coped well.

We tried King's , Canterbury but they have closed admissions. We have applied to many but many have not reverted yet, probably because most of them are still on half term break. When they do revert, would probably need further advice here before the final decision. We have somehow lost touch with the schools in UK having been away for more than 10 years so would really appreciate your feedback here.

forevergreek Mon 11-Mar-13 11:53:12

Kings often opens up admissions I think. I know my sister attended for a year when parents worked abroad and only applied July time for sept start

Bonsoir Mon 11-Mar-13 12:02:44

If you want full boarding with good weekend provision, try Benenden.

Bonsoir Mon 11-Mar-13 12:04:26

Less academic but nevertheless sound and prone to losing pupils to the grammar schools and Sevenoaks for sixth-form - Kent College Pembury.

derektheladyhamster Mon 11-Mar-13 14:49:45

Christ's Hospital takes applications throughout the year if you aren't after a bursery or scholarship.

Pyrrah Mon 11-Mar-13 14:54:18

Have you looked at Cranbrook - the boarders there tend to stay at weekends (not sure about exeats though).

There are only 2 girls boarding houses, but worth asking.

Dustylaw Mon 11-Mar-13 23:48:37

Two schools that would fit your criteria are Roedean and Uppingham - Roedean has a lot of overseas and expat boarders and doesn't close at exeat weekends and Uppingham doesn't have fixed exeat weekends and is very much for full boarders. You could also consider The Leys - some locals leave after GCSE to the excellent local sixth form colleges so there are quite a few new sixth formers and dedicated sixth form boarding houses for them so they are not on their own - also excellent having Cambridge on the doorstep. FYI, Christ's Hospital does empty on exeat weekends (every 3 weeks) so that's probably not a good fit. But don't write - do get on the phone and try and talk to the person in charge of admissions. Good luck.

steppemum Tue 12-Mar-13 00:13:12

Cheltenham Ladies College is good academically and is mostly full boarders. No idea about admissions now for sept though

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 02:56:07

We tried all the above but DD is looking towards some form of scholarship to help ease the burden as she has 3 other siblings who would need schooling soon enough.CLC ,the Leys ,and King's are full. The rest have yet to revert. Does anyone know anything about King William's in the Isle of Man, Royal High School of Bath and Adcote school in Shropshire?
On another note, how reliable are the league tables? A search online reveals several from BBC, the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Independent. They all seem to have varying data so it's rather confusing.
Hope some of you could enlighten me here.

soapnuts Tue 12-Mar-13 03:38:52

I (and more recently my sister) went to Badminton in Bristol (well westbury on trym) they have a lovely caring atmosphere and v good academics. It's not huge but might just have space - we both had a wonderful time there. Re Exeats - you could always stay if you needed to - my parents were abroad and I did stat once or twice for the peace and quiet! I remember being invited to go home with other girls more often than not. Just another one to have a look at.

ripsishere Tue 12-Mar-13 03:47:32

have you looked at Concorde college? it's in deepest darkest Shropshire but is a phenomenal place.

gruber Tue 12-Mar-13 04:23:44

I had friends at (Russell Group) university who came from King William's & RHS Bath. Both could well have gone to Oxbridge academically. Both loved their time at school. I've visted RHS Bath & very impressed. Don't know anything about their admissions though, sorry!!

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 07:25:59

The only one I know where you can definitely stay in on exeats because lots do is Gordonstoun. Results on paper don't look that great but we know someone with a DS there who is exceptionally able and doing exceedingly well. The last I heard they have an excellent gifted and talented stream the very bright are identified early and given lots of support extended work etc and very much aimed at Oxbridge the Ivy League etc.
I doubt over subscribed might be worth a look.

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 07:26:38

The only one I know where you can definitely stay in on exeats because lots do is Gordonstoun. Results on paper don't look that great but we know someone with a DS there who is exceptionally able and doing exceedingly well. The last I heard they have an excellent gifted and talented stream the very bright are identified early and given lots of support extended work etc and very much aimed at Oxbridge the Ivy League etc.
I doubt over subscribed might be worth a look.

Dustylaw Tue 12-Mar-13 09:52:03

An alternative approach is to look at state-run boarding schools (just google them). The big difference is you only pay for the boarding element so half the price of an independent boarding school. RE league tables, they are only quite useful ie they will often simply be a reflection of intake. Pay more attention to the individual stats for the school - do the exam results and the leaver destinations look good given what the school is saying about its intake?

scaevola Tue 12-Mar-13 10:06:11

I think you'll probably have to abandon the idea of a scholarship. These will certainly have been offered and accepted by now.

If cost is a constraint, and you are UK passport holders, you might want to extend your search to include state boarding schools.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 10:13:31

You don't have to hold a UK passport to access state boarding schools - any EU passport suffices.

derektheladyhamster Tue 12-Mar-13 14:04:50

Christ's hospital does stay open on exeats, they keep a couple of houses open for overseas students and for those who can't stay.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:06:26

Well it seems we're down to a list of those which have responded. Problem is all want us to register and which means making some sort of payment but for obvious reasons, we probably need to narrow down the list. Just to re-cap, the ideal school for DD are :
(1) Academic emphasis , particularly towards Maths , Further Maths , Economics and Physics at A levels.
(2)Good number of boarders to keep her occupied over weekends
(3)possibility of being able to stay in at exeats or better with no exeats at all.
(4) Good facilities, music and sports , so she does not need to wander.
(5) Good Pastoral care

The contenders are (in no specific order):-

(1) Ruthin School
(2)St Michael's Senior School, Llanelli,
(3) Chase Academy
(4)Royal High School of Bath
(5) Adcote School
(6) Kimbolton School
(7)Haberdashers Girls at Monmouth
(8) Godolphin Salisbury
(9) Bruton School for Girls
(10)Truro School
(11) Gresham's
(12) Prior's Fields School

Great to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thanks heaps.

Bowlersarm Tue 12-Mar-13 18:10:45

OP have you looked at Eastbourne? Very hot on no exeats and think academic?

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:21:11

"Good number of boarders to keep her occupied over weekends"
I've got boys and don't really know any of the above well enough to comment but IME schools are very cagey about the actual number of full boarders. ISI reports state number of "full boarders" but this does not mean the number of full boarders ie the numbers who actually don't go home Sat and come back Sun/Mon it means something else Im not sure what.
Once you've narrowed down a few when you look at them put the head into a headlock and beat her till she coughs up the actual numbers firmly ask the head exactly how many (numbers not % e.;g 3 20 100) are full boarders in the true sense of the word ie staying in all weekend or at least only going home on Sunday for a few hours during the day. If the head is cagey or gives you crap like "well it varies week on week year on year" I can't give you the exact numbers" "it depends what activity is offered" take it from me my DC's have been full boarding for nearly 9 yrs that means there are hardly any.
I have heard on the boarding grapevine that both Bath High and Priors Field have hardly any full boarders.

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:23:33

I've just read Eastbourne's website seems to me to be regular "leave weekends"?!
Nearly all will have exeats in fact the more full boarders the more exeats.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:31:41

Sevenoaks has true full boarders because of its 80-pupil international intake in the sixth form.

I went to Malvern College at very short notice because my school closed. Co-ed, full boarding, very good for all-rounders. Big focus on IB though does A-levels as well.
I enjoyed it. Fees are higher for 6th form only entrants though.

I would take chase academy off your list unless you've been to visit it. It's a funny place!

Have you thought about Malvern st James?

Bowlersarm Tue 12-Mar-13 18:36:36

Oh blush I have various friends with DC's at Eastbourne and they all complain about how they are never allowed home!

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:44:58

But Eastbourne isn't very academic, I was told.Malvern St James is very expensive!Tried SevenOaks but they're full.About Chase- what do you mean by "funny"???

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:45:25

I understand from quite a few friends with DC's there who are either day children or weekly boarders Sevenoaks has a big exit at the weekend which is odd because I also thought it had a big international community. I think there's no Saturday school at Sevenoaks but could be talking rubbish.
I also suspect that the OP has missed the boat for Sevenoaks and others with similar academic reputations.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:48

There is Saturday school at Sevenoaks two weekends out of three.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:59

By the way, I should qualify that these are the schools which have reverted that are either more affordable or have agreed to provide some form of scholarship of sorts.

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:50:11

"I was told.Malvern St James is very expensive"
At just over £11 000 per term it is only marginally more expensive than many of the big names e.g. Marlborough Kings Canterbury Wickham Abbey etc. God know why they charge more for direct entry into the 6th form.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:50:40

The big international community is only in the sixth form and there are separate international boarding houses so that the boarders are together at weekends.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:58:15

And yes, happygardening, you are quite right about moi missing the boat......I am trying to swim frantically across the bloody Channel now.....grin

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:58:57

What about one thats recently gone co ed for the 6th form? They might be struggling to fill vacancies f they only just done it. Shrewsbury?
Or St Edward's Oxford is opening a girls boarding house this September so there will be plenty of room because it wont be full for another three years thats all full barding or day but over 80% full board pastoral care is considered by most prep heads to be in a league of its own again on paper academic results don't look that great but are improving with the new head and a lot of very bright children come in from abroad for the 6th form. Or how about Marlborough College in Malaysia opening this September? Not a franchise senior staff from Marlborough are actually running it.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 19:06:27

Both Shrewsbury and St Edwards beyond budget.... Forget about the one in Malaysia as it is ridiculously priced and DD is adamant that if she wanted coal, she would go to Newcastle and not settle for coal brought back to Singapore from Newcastle.....grin

Is budget a big concern? I only ask because full boarding in the sixth form is very expensive and in terms of your list of wants you are (rightly) looking for a lot for your child but that comes at a cost.

If you are wiping out a section of schools based on cost then you will have to compromise on what you're looking for. Have you been to visit any schools?

goinggetstough Tue 12-Mar-13 23:02:34

None of the schools on your list have a great number of full boarders.
Academically The Royal High School of Bath is probably the most academic. They do both A levels and IB and get high IB results. I have had friends whose 2 DDs were full boarders, they were both very happy with the school and obtained excellent results.It is located near to the town centre of Bath so definitely things to do at the weekend. On the downside I believe there is no Saturday morning school. There is a good train connection to London and then the Heathrow Express for travelling home. It would be worth asking the school exactly how many full boarders will be in the lower sixth in September, but as HG has explained that number doesn't even then mean there will be that number in at the weekend.
With regard to exeats as an overseas boarder your DD would have to have a guardian. If she wasn't invited home by a friend then could she not go home with the guardian?

A previous poster mentioned Eastbourne College. Two friends have had sons that have just left. Academically it was good but they were not very flexible for overseas boarders. For example school only opened for the start of term at a particular time but there was no flexibility for those DCs arriving on flights earlier in the day to go to school. Whereas at the 2 schools we used a nominated person looked after the early arrivals.

Good luck with your choice.

Roseformeplease Tue 12-Mar-13 23:05:23

Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth?

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST Wed 13-Mar-13 01:44:11

How is your teenager feeling about going to a boarding school?
I was wondering that, because I couldn't find that in your story.

It's quite something leaving someone so close behind when you're going to be working and living very far away.

Not a young child anymore, but not yet an adult.
It's a special time in yours and their lives. Do you want to miss that?

Even when someone successfully has finished university. That still doesn't give any guarantee on a good and steady job.
There are many people around these days with some very good papers. Even they struggle to find a good and permanent job.

Some of them even end up behind the counter of a super market. They either are over qualified for a job, to old or have to much experience.
In the end they are to expensive and therefore they can't find the job they've studied for, for all those years.
Or there are more qualified for a specific job then that there are available.

Making sure that a child follows and finishes a good education doesn't always give them a good start in life or a good job.

Think well about this.
If everyone, and in mine opinion most importantly your teenager, wants to go to boarding school.
It'll be a good decision.
When everyone is truly happy with it and if things don't turn out so well. Then no one will feel any regret about the decisions made on this moment.

He/she will be an adult soon and will stay that way for the rest of their and your life.
This moment is only now and never will come back again.

Good luck with everything in this difficult time,


ALong151 Wed 13-Mar-13 04:37:16

PotteringAlong-yes, cost is a concern as she still has 3 other siblings so we have to be careful not to burn a hole in the pocket .We will be making a visit but as I mentioned, we are very late applying now and not left with much choices in the first place, so we do need to cut down the list to visit at the end of the day. The problem is that they want us to register her and pay up some before the visit- is that usual?

It is not necessary that she goes to the best as obviously some compromise has to be made but we will be happy if we knew that given the circumstances, this is the best we could do.

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST-this is DD's idea originally. DD is a high achiever and is extremely focused so it would be a shame not to let her go. She is also very independent and has been away from us studying and living away from us since she was 14 but we have a very close relationship communicating by skype almost every night and coming back intermittently during the year for holidays. So living away is not alien to her and it was her decision to apply to all the schools herself. We told her our concerns financially and she suggested she would look for scholarships to reduce the burden and which she managed to get at a couple of them.

goinggetstough-RHSbath looks promising and she is inclined to it.

We have written to Royal Masonic School but they do not have any scholarships left.

Does anyone know anything about Prior's Field? Heard so far that they may not be very academic but has excellent pastoral care.

Thank you all for responding and being such fantastic moral support through this.

goinggetstough Wed 13-Mar-13 07:33:18

Priorsfield has been discussed recently on Mumsnet. It was commented on that there were only 3 or 4 full boarders in year 7, pastoral care was good but there was a wide cross section of ability. I am not sure of the numbers in the sixth form although normally there are more sixth form boarders than year 7 boarders.. Looking at your requirements you list I think the Royal High fulfils more of them.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 08:11:54

According ti the ISI Priors Fields gas 35 "full" boarders" and RHS Bath 78 remember this does have to mean full boarders in the true sense of the word. Have you thought about Westonbirt its very tiny but certainly has more "full" boarders that those two although nearly are are Chinese Im not knocking this but some would not be happy.
"The problem is that they want us to register her and pay up some before the visit- is that usual?"
I've never been asked to pay a registration fee up front but then have never applied late to a sixth form. The norm is for you to visit a school to see if you like it then pay the registration fee. I suppose if your coming to look at a school from abroad and you wont be visiting for a month then a school might ask you too or if your intending on putting your daughter in for a scholarship or going to apply for a bursary before visiting it then a school would ask you for a deposit.
OUt of curiosity and apologies if I've got the wrong end of the stick here but you imply above that your DD is already boarding as she's is "a high achiever and is extremely focused" then can you not talk to her current school to see whether or not they will provide a bursary as many schools don't want to loose these kind of children in the 6th form. Finally your hoping for a scholarship/ bursary but often scholarships are not overly generous and bursaries are not really aimed at those who don't wish to "burn a hole in the pocket' but for those who don't have a pocket to burn the hole into. There are some quite knowledgable people on MN about bursaries and the general advise seems to be speak in considerable detail to the bursar before proceeding to far with your application otherwise you risk considerable disappointment as a few on here have found out.
Have you looked at State boarding grammars? You need an EU passport much cheaper there are two in Kent Cranbrook and Roger Manwoods the academic standards/results is likely to be significantly higher than almost all of those on your short list.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 08:17:03

Just a thought there's Peter Symmonds 6th form college in Winchester people go into raptures over it on MN and apparently results are good. It offers full boarding.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 08:33:10

You've missed the deadline for Peter Symmonds according to their website but there is a reserve list boarding fees a very cheap.

INeverSaidThat Wed 13-Mar-13 08:36:37

If your DD is very driven/ bright you may not need to worry about league tables/academic reputation etc. It may also be easier for your DD to get a scholarship at a less academic school.
Is your DD doing GCSE's? Are you looking at her doing A'levels or IB.
We came back from a 16 years overseas and my DD1 went to a sixth form college to do IB as she had no GCSE's (or any other qualification)
Will your DD be eligible for home fees status when she applies for UK University?
I think it will be hard to get a scholarship this late in the day sad ( but I don't know this for a fact)
Some of the Schools you are thinking of are a long way from Heathrow/Gatwick. Will this be a problem.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 10:43:53

Shiplake? Good for Heathrow/Gatwick nice separate accommodation for 6th formers and not as expensive as many.

ALong151 Wed 13-Mar-13 14:54:46

INeverSaidThat- As I mentioned, it's been years since we have been back to UK so we are ignorant of the education scene, and the only news we are relying on are the league tables and recently, now this forum.I am not too keen on league tables, either and I agree nothing beats visiting the schools. But it gives me a semblance of the academic performance of each school which is as good a starting point as any.

I also agree that I might be unduly worried about her underachieving in a school which is quite low on the league table but I do believe that obviously to keep the standards up for a particular school especially for those in the upper league, they would go out of their way to ensure that they get the better teachers( correct me if I am wrong here) and being so far away, it would be worrying too if she were influenced by peer pressure of those who may not be so academic.At least in an academic environment, she would be spurred on by the competition and it would be looked upon as normal to do well.

The schools I mentioned are either giving a scholarship or are within our budget.DD has completed her GCSE's and obtained 9As.She does not mind either the IB or A levels as she's pretty much an all-rounder but has a preference for the sciences.It is also ideal if the school is nearer an international airport.

happygardening-she is not boarding at present, just living with relatives in another town, and she feels that the current school she is at is just totally academic and nothing else.We think that she will do better in a more holistic environment and that will prepare her for entry into a good university.

BTW, what is the difference between a Sixth Form college and a public boarding school?

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 16:03:08

6 th form colleges like Peter Symmonds are the equivilant to state schools they usually offer A levels Btecs and voccational courses. As far as I'm aware Peter Symmonds is unusual because it offers boarding.
I can understand you desire to send your DD to a very academic school my very bright DS is at a super selective it's not just the teaching there's no limit you can take something as far as you like if your interested, you're also with other like minded boys/girls, and so many of the extra curricular activities are also academic. The whole over all pace is so much quicker my DS was bored stiff in maths at his prep he had no interest in science now at 14 he's practicing on A level maths papers (easy apparently) and he loves science. Frankly I wouldn't pay for a less academic environment as we've good states on our doorstep.

ALong151 Wed 13-Mar-13 16:27:29

There seems to be differing statistics and reports among the league tables:- I am looking at the BBC, the Independent , the Guardian , the Telegraph and the FT. Which would be the most reliable?
eg, Ruthin seems to be rated quite high up by the Telegraph but it's nowhere to be seen on the FT or The Independent.
Surely the tabloids would have some statistics to go by before they start rating and one would expect some consistency there. I'm puzzled...... confused

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 17:45:21

League tables are complex some won't submit there results other measure points which of course penalises those who like my DS's school only do thre Pre Us and no AS levels. If it matters to you look at the results published on the schools website. Look at the actual breakdown of results the A's and A*'s forget the B grades, (this is only my opinion) where do they go to university if I took my DS school over 50% got A*s nearly 90% A's 42% a year got to Oxbridge/Ivy League.0 St Paul's Westminster are better look on their websites at their results these results really do put you in the top 10 nationally. These are the sort of results that super selectives are getting. Now look at a not very selective well known and well regarded school 44% A's and A*'s 4% Oxbridge. But this doesn't mean they are failing their very bright children or the teaching is necessarily not as good. In another life I used to compete on my horse as one instructor said to me "of course it's fantastic to take a wonderfully talented rider and horse and with your help and coaching they represent GB but its as wonderful and at least as clever to take an average horse and rider and watch them not represent GB but still compete at beyond their wildest dreams."
League tables don't tell us everything remember these schools with top results attract the very able are good at teaching the very able and those I've mentioned above are providing world class facilities small classrooms teachers with Phd's links with top universities the best of everything, they know how to teach the super bright they are also good at screening out the less able and if necessary asking them to leave if they're not going to perform.

INeverSaidThat Wed 13-Mar-13 18:44:24

Did your DD do international GCSE's? (IGCSE') Did she get any A*'s?

I understand (but dont know) that a lot of Oxbridge applicants have lots of A*'s at GCSE.

ALong151 Wed 13-Mar-13 19:02:48

Yes, all A*. but dont think that is going to help to get her any scholarships at the top schools at this late stage .... sad

Coconutty Wed 13-Mar-13 19:11:38

You are going to be too late for September's scholarships, surely? They are usually all awarded and accepted by now.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 19:14:50

Can she be on a reserve list for a couple of super selectives that you like the look of. Children drop out all the time, dont get the predicted grades and even don't turn up on the first day of term with no explanation. If you would be prepared to move at the last minute it would definately be worth thinking about.

INeverSaidThat Wed 13-Mar-13 19:28:25

If your DD is interested in science and maths she may find that even in a non selective school that she will end up in classes with very bright DC's. My DS is at a non selective state school (oxsted rated 'good') but because he does sciences, maths and further maths he has ended up in classes with bright and driven DC's. They are mostly off to great Uni's including Oxbridge.
I really think you should be able to find a school further down the league tables that will still provide an excellent education and environment for your DD.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 20:15:40

Ineversaidthat is correct even in relatively non selective schools the gifted are often put into "scholarship" streams with like minded individuals. When you visit schools ask exactly what provision is a available for the very bright clas size how bright are the others etc. Many in these groups are given extra support with Oxbridge applications etc.

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 04:29:12

Coconutty-yes, ure right;its too late for the top selective schools. Thats why she has only been offered at those "not super popular" or non- selective schools which we have absolutely no idea of being so far away.we will need to make a visit to those schools ourselves but as i mentioned, i dont think its possible to make a visit to each and every one. At least this forum gives us an idea which to shortlist.

happygardening-the super selectives replies were that we are too late and all entries have closed and the waiting list is too long...etc. So not much hope there.But a few did revert to say we are on wait - list. However, much as i want to hope, I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine why a place once accepted would a kid drop out from such a school or not turn up for school!

Both happygardening & INeverSaidThat-that sounds promising; but would the schools like being questioned about their students in that way? We would be sounding like academic snobs and that may not auger well for DD if she does decide to take up at that particular school!

Another question :- is it true that the IB programme is looked upon more favourably than the "A" levels for entry into oxbridge? DD is pretty rounded but she has preference for maths and sciences.

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 07:17:19

"but would the schools like being questioned about their students in that way"
There are parents out there who never question anything and then moan and complain when things are not done in the way that thought it was going to be done. My advise is if it matters ask. As I've already said schools can be cagey about the actual number of full boarders but with regard to things like provision for thier most able are usually falling over themselves to tell you all about it and show you their fantastic results. But dont forget caveat emptor.
"I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine why a place once accepted would a kid drop out from such a school or not turn up for school!"
You'd be surprised.
"is it true that the IB programme is looked upon more favourably than the "A" levels for entry into oxbridge? DD is pretty rounded but she has preference for maths and sciences."
Westminster sends over 50% of its pupils to Oxbridge all doing A levels/Pre U's I'll leave you decide for yourself the answer to that question.

INeverSaidThat Thu 14-Mar-13 08:47:13

I had a DC do the IB and I have had a DC do A'levels. The IB is a lot more work and the results are less predictable than A'levels. Universities do like the IB but they seem to ask for comparatively higher IB grades than A'level grades. IYSWIM

Your DD will, if she starts her A levels this year, be doing modules for her A'levels. These are great for strong students as they are able to ensure that they get excellent results by resitting any less than stellar modules and will be able to target their University applications sensibly.

My DC that did the IB did not regret doing it as she got a decent grade and she enjoyed doing a wide variety of subjects. She only did it because we had been living abroad and she didn't have any GCSE's. She thinks it prepared her well for University.

Bronwen38 Thu 14-Mar-13 09:34:04

I notice you have a few welsh schools on your list. Have you considered Christ College in Brecon?? I have heard nothing but very good things. Really like the look of it and are going back for another visit soon to tick off lots of questions we have since we have looked a few other schools now and have a better idea of what we are looking for etc.

Another academic school locally(ish) to us is Haberdashers Monmouth - They have healthy growing boarding numbers, so much so this year they opened a brand new 6th form boarding house. We have looked at it for our DD a few times now and hope to maybe send her in a couple of years time (into year 9). By which time we may be looking a full boarding too (as we may well be abroad).

What we like about the school is it does not have any exeats (ideal if we are abroad). However, they do I beleieve have an open door weekend policy. I know a few people who have daughters at the school and they all say a "healthy number" of boarders stay in most weekends although there are 2 weekends a term where alot of the girls who have brothers at the boys school down the road do go home because the boys school does have set exeat weekends, however I have been told it is far from empty and a full weekend programme still runs.

From what I recall from our visit is that they are able to offer a very wide range of subjects in the 6th Form because although they are an all girls school they do mix with the boys school in 6th form in order to offer a wider range.

The school also deal with all the airport runs at the start and end of term.

I would suggest if you are coming to Wales or this side of the UK that Habs Monmouth may be worth a visit.

One other we hope to visit soon is Moreton Hall in Shropshire but cannot offer any feedback on that one yet.

We are quite new to looking at boarding schools etc and are learning alot as we are looking and finding we often have more questions after a visit and different schools tend to have such different feels and do things so differently. One or two we have looked at seemed just the ticket on paper (and website) but once we visited, knew it was not for us, nothing bad or wrong with the schools, but we just didnt get the vibe. I would strongly suggest you put by as much time as you can to come to the UK and spend lots of time looking around several schools. Perhaps aim to do your favourite contenders first with a view to a 2nd visit before you leave the UK.

Good luck.

Dustylaw Thu 14-Mar-13 10:01:32

Could you be more specific - was it all As or all A* that your daughter got? It does make quite difference! If it's all As then that would place her in the top 30% at many schools not in the top 100 of the league tables but would be nothing special at a school in the top 20 of the league tables. Different story if it's all A*. Also, if you've been offered places but you don't know anything about the schools it would probably be useful to mention them here or start a separate thread.

Honestyisbest Thu 14-Mar-13 10:47:22

I agree with Dustylaw. My son's inde selective wants a minimum of 6 A* at GCSE plus very, very strong extracurric achievement in music, sport, drama etc. Its all a bit scary!

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 11:36:46

All A* and strong in extra curricular so I am not worried about that. The problem we have is that we are late for applying for any scholarship because the top league schools have already dished out their scholarships and students have accepted even if their grades may not be better than DD's.So we are really left with scholarships from non selective schools.

Bronwen38-thanks for the feedback and recommendations in those schools. I guess nothing beats a visit or 2 to check out with DD.

sonalir Thu 14-Mar-13 11:49:46

i live abroad. My daughter has the choice of seven oaks and haileybury for gcse. She is an ace squash player. Both schools are offering county level training for her. during visits, haileybury seemed very nice. what should i do?

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 11:56:57

Have you contacted Christ's Hospital? This is an extract from their website:
"Late applications from those achieving particularly GCSE results at this level will be considered if places are available"
it has a very strong commitment to bursaries.
"One or two we have looked at seemed just the ticket on paper (and website) but once we visited, knew it was not for us, nothing bad or wrong with the schools, but we just didnt get the vibe."
Couldn't agree more you really need to visit a school preferably not on an open day and ideally at least twice so that you can get a proper feel for it. So many look promising on paper and when you visit them are just not the right place for you or your DC. What works for one person isn't necessarily right for the next.

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 12:03:17

That last post was aimed at OP.
sonalir I believe Sevenoaks has a more academic reputation and reputation for being international. Friends there have day children and weekly boarders there they like it. I heard lots go home at weekends which obviously doesn't tie in with the international thing. Sevenoaks is a very nice town surrounded by lovely country good for Gatwick and good train links into London.
I dont know Haileybury at all or know of anyone there.

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 12:35:36

happygardening-Yes, I have tried Christ Hospital but I am afraid we may not qualify for bursary and all scholarships have been awarded.also tried Sevenoaks too and was told they are all full!

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 12:39:16

If we were to visit the schools, do we need to make an appointment or could we just make impromptu visits? I mean what happens if we were ( by the way) dropping by to check out a school. Would they entertain such visits?

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 13:12:25

OP Im a little baffled you frankly seem clueless about the independent sector/league tables/university requirements etc no criticism just unusual. Also how old is your daughter as she already has her GCSE results you might need to consider this if older than most and she's boarding. Remember boarding school children are often not very streetwise they've learnt to live away from home often from am early age so in in a way are mature. Its often hard IME for non boarders to start at 16 they have very much their own identity and are not used to taking into account the views of 60 others, privacy is also often at a premium and the inevitable spats that occur can have repercussions though out a house which those not used to boarding might find tedious. Living with all girls can be difficult you cant be overly sensitive, must be able to mix with all but ideally not be overly drawn in be able to walk away if necessary, its a huge contrast from your average family.
You will need to book an appointment if you're serious about a school you need someone to take time to talk to you show you round and hopefully meet the head housemistresses matron current pupils bursar other staff because your are leaving your DD in these peoples care and going abroad so you obviously want to get this right. Its highly unlikely that any school will just be able to do this at the drop of a hat.

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 14:21:17

I am intending to spend about a fortnight just visiting the schools. How much time do you think one would need to look around and ask the relevant questions? Would half a day in each suffice?

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 14:55:04

Half a day would definitely be enough but try to narrow down your choices to a few you really like the look of. Remember choice is not necessarily freedom. Sadly schools have become on the surface very samish and many talk the same talk because they are heavily regulated it is often in the small details that significant differences emerge. I personally think they're should be a resident matron attached to each boarding house, there should be a registered nurse available 24 hours a day and it should be open access for health care advise, house mistresses are very important people you wan to meet your DD's, if she has a certain interest be it it sporting or whatever 1,.do the school do it and 2. do they offer it at a time that she would be free to do it, if she not sporty do find out how often she will be expected to stand on a hockey pitch in the freezing cold/peeing rain in some boarding schools it could be 5 times a week! Your chosen school may be in a lovely town but some schools heavily restrict if where and when even 6th formers can go into it, some insist uniform is always worn outside of school all the time some don't, watch travelling arrangements some will let your DD fly home a few days before then end of term if its more convenient others wont. I could go on and on but IME its these little details that make a difference between a positive boarding experience and a negative one.

I know lots of people who went to RHS Bath and loved it. Have you thought about the Quaker schools? The Mount in York is academic and also good for all rounders.

Dustylaw Thu 14-Mar-13 23:48:25

Sonalir, Haileybury is a nice school, a good school and great for sports. In academic terms it gets good marks across the board and enough of the highest marks in GCSEs, A levels and IBs for parent to be confident that their child will achieve maximum potential. Both Sevenoaks (don't know it personally though) and Haileybury are excellent choices - you won't go wrong so just choose whichever fits you better.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 03:01:19

Incidentally, when does first term of of university commence ?

happygardening-thanks for the tips, will definitely bear those in mind when doing the walkabouts.

AntoinetteCosway-looking at both.Tq.

goinggetstough Fri 15-Mar-13 06:33:08

"OP" The University terms in England start between the middle of September to the beginning of October. It depends on the University.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 15:48:41

When are the A level exams held ? The ones where we are, are held in October so I'm just wondering how would it be possible for students who have been overseas to join the universities in Uk in Sept/ Oct unless its for the following year. Correct me if i am wrong here, pls.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 16:06:15

I can't remember if you have mentioned it OP but do you know if you will be a home fee payer or an overseas fee payer for University? It sounds to me as though your DD will be treated as an overseas student. Have you considered this? UK universities are great but it is expensive if you have to pay tuition (usually £9K) plus housing and living expenses, plus flights home etc.
The fact that it has been years since you visited the UK would indicate that you would be treated as an overseas fee payer.
I am guessing you are in the Southern Hemisphere and not Euroupe.

Another thing you could do is enlist the services of an educational specialist. I normally like to sort things like this out myself but you don't seem at all familiar with the UK system and you have left it very late and it is an important decision. MumsNetters are vey helpful mostly but this might be the type of situation that merits paying someone.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 16:39:11

An oversea fee payer.yes i'm aware of the expenses.
I have my reasons why i would not want to engage an education specialist in this part of the world but it would not be convenient to disclose the reasons.
In the meanwhile, i would just have to depend on kind mumsnetters like yourself for general advice.

AuntieStella Fri 15-Mar-13 16:41:23

You would need a UK based one, I think. Gabbitas is the name that springs to mind, but there are others.

happygardening Fri 15-Mar-13 17:51:51

A levels in the UK are held in May/June and results come out about the second/third week of August. Im not sure how the IB works but I guess must be similiar timings.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:21:07

IB results come out a lot sooner than A'levels, (early July, think)which is great as they have a heads up on their results. This means they can relax and really enjoy their summer or,if they haven't done as well as expected, have time to look at alternatives to their intended plans.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:22:41

If you did employ an educational specialist you would employ one based in the UK.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 15-Mar-13 18:36:42

Have a look at Marymount International School if you are interested in IB. They get good results, and as they are an international school, keep places back for people in your situation.

Roisin Sat 16-Mar-13 18:06:36

Sedbergh school has great academic reputation and an emphasis on boarding. (Sat am school for all, and after school activities for all including day scholars as standard). They've just done a merge with Casterton: the primary and prep students wll all be on the Casterton site and all the Casterton girls are moving to Sedbergh.

So there will be lots of new students around, and also a more flexible approach to numbers/admissions may be around this year that you might not normally find at this stage for a school with a great academic reputation.

ALong151 Mon 18-Mar-13 17:18:07

Thank you, Roisin. I read about it but there seems to be some controversy over the merger with the parents. Is there any cause for concern as a prospective student in respect of this?

iclaudius Mon 18-Mar-13 17:27:25

Is sedbergh good enough academically for an Oxbridge type I'm not sure

Half a day to look round a school and boarding is REALLY pushing it. Getting a 'feel' of a place plus having a chat and looking at facilities is a good few hours and we found it exhausting

If I were you I'd be parting with a few deposits and asking to go on as many reserve lists as possible at this late stage

Sorry I missed whether or not you were discounting state boarding?

ALong151 Mon 18-Mar-13 17:53:29

iclaudius-State boarding is out.From the looks of it, we will probably spend at least a day at one school. Have to schedule leave from work for at least a fortnight to do this, I reckon.Thanks.

Any other feedback for Casterton and Sedbergh would be most welcomed.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 11:38:32

I haven't read this full thread, so sorry if it's been suggested, but have you tried St. Mary's Calne?

Our friends recently sent their eldest daughter there (for 6th form) and it's a lovely school. I think they are often successfully with Oxbridge acceptances. Their website does not state that they have closed 2013 applications so you may be in luck. Although they are traditionally the type of school that would have a waitlist several years in advance, it seems that is these economic times they have less prospective pupils, but don't let that spook you- they are financially and academically sound. Our friends' daughter is an overseas boarder but her father is British. There are definitely a lot of girls in the same boat so weekends are full. About 100 girls in the sixth form, to the best of my knowledge.

Other schools that (might) be able to accommodate: Stonar School, St. George's School and St. Leonards Mayfield. I don't have any experience at all with any of these schools so I can't give advice on them.

Hope all goes well for you with this search.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 11:46:12

I just saw that you don't want an educational specialist, and I'm sure there's a very good reason, but a UK one can probably give you a list of schools with spaces for a reasonable fee without you having to disclose information about your daughter or working with them to choose a school. Just pay and get the list. This is quite a late reply, so I hope everything has worked out now.

CHoward Mon 01-Apr-13 21:43:37

Have you thought about the Scottish school system? Sixth formers can do Highers or Advanced Highers in schools that follow the Scottish system, or even A levels at Independent schools that follow an English curriculum. Lomond School in Helensburgh takes in quite a number of overseas pupils in S5 and S6 who would be in a similar situation to your daughter. It has a modern co-ed boarding house with en-suite shared bedrooms and as it is in a small town the pupils have more freedom than in many traditional boarding schools. There are no exeats and as it is also a day school boarding pupils often stay with day pupils during the half term holidays etc. Worth checking out!

EsmeCalebsMummy Tue 09-Apr-13 20:45:59

One that hasn't been mentioned yet as far as I know is Rochester Independent College ( . Known as "Kent's greatest educational secret" and "a university for children", the college has excellent results; a long history of getting students into Oxbridge; offers boarding in the sixth form only; has a wide range of both international and UK students; a very active and lively social scene; friendly, "home from home" atmosphere; excellent student: staff relationships and student: staff ratio (max class size of 8). Plus they are often able to find a space for students at the last minute.

happygardening Wed 10-Apr-13 08:12:58

Rochester Independent College rather helpfully clearly publish their results and individual university destinations clearly on their website. It's always useful when school do this as you can get a feel for where really children go rather than where people think lots of children go. They also state where they've come from again useful if you interested in how many international children go to the school which us important if you're considering full boarding and are worried that your DC will be alone all weekend.

handcream Mon 15-Apr-13 11:07:41

I 100% agree with Happy. You really need some urgent help with this. You state you want one day for each school. Most schools will not spend a whole day on a potential parent. A few hours maximum.

Could I suggest that you cut down the number of schools you are looking at and really really think about employing a consultant to help you.

Glowworm3 Sat 04-May-13 18:26:38

Do check out Leighton Park in Reading; my DD did brilliantly here, top results and now at a top uni. DS taking IB now. Great pastoral care and lovely ethos being a Quaker school. I love it as it is a balance of good academic, really really good pastoral care, loads of opportunities and extra curricular stuff, and amazing food too.
Think the new Head has got rid of most exeat weekends!
I think they still have some 6th form places still this year (I was talking to DS's housemaster...).
Good luck!

musu Sat 04-May-13 19:12:33

I can't see how you can spend the day at a school as a parent or do you mean your dc spending the day? If you are visiting then most visits are no more than 2-3 hours at most for an open day and 2 hours max for a private tour. If you were organised you could see at least two schools in a day if not more (depending on location).

StrangeGlue Sat 04-May-13 19:18:04

Have you considered the state boarding schools? Some are excellent particularly hockerill. You can contact the sbsa for info.

You don't pay for the education but do pay for boarding c. £10k/yr

musu Sat 04-May-13 21:24:21

The OP said that 'state boarding is out'. No idea why as there are some excellent state boarding schools. We have Reading Boys near us and it has an excellent reputation (no good for the OP's DD though!).

happygardening Sun 05-May-13 15:05:13

musu I think you'll find the OP says state boarding is out not because she doesn't think it's any good but because she's outside of the EU!

poppydoppy Sun 05-May-13 15:57:59

Im just wondering how you know your DDs gained all A* in her exams when they've not even started yet?

mummytime Sun 05-May-13 16:11:51

Have you factored in the cost of going to Oxbridge if you are living outside the EU?

Cerisier Sun 05-May-13 16:36:59

It sounds like you are in Singapore OP. is DD in Y11 or in Y12 or on a gap year between the two? Is she staying with relatives and at school in the UK or at school in Singapore?

I am a bit confused as you say she has done her GCSEs, but you are talking about a sixth form place- presumably for a two year course, or do you just need a place for Y13? In which case matching up the courses/exam boards will be hard.

happygardening Sun 05-May-13 17:59:05

I understand the OP's DD has done her IGCSE's (achieving all A*'s) outside of the EU and was looking for somewhere to do her A levels and thought coming to the UK would be a very good experience for. I believe she's found a suitable boarding school.

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 07:45:23

I am in the same boat, ALong151, only difference is you started this in march, I am starting this in July

Looking for places in boarding schools for highly able academic kids, with Oxbridge potential - previously been at top London schools with top grades

So would be great to comapre notes with all you - on your reserach and decisions - if you ares still active on this forum - please drop a line, and we can engage

thanks a lot, Flashy

Lizzzar Wed 21-Aug-13 02:14:15

Boarding schools with the best Oxbridge record are Westminster (probably best record overall) Eton, Harrow, Winchester, St. Paul's boys (but very small boarding I've heard) Wycombe Abbey and Cheltenham Ladies College. But people do get in from all kinds of schools and the above schools won't suit everyone.

Lizzzar Wed 21-Aug-13 02:22:17

I believe Sevenoaks also has pretty good Oxbridge entry, but it is IB only in the Sixth form, and has more international emphasis than most boarding schools.

Lizzzar Sun 01-Sep-13 12:41:55

It may be a bit late to comment again, but Along151, who started the thread, is going to struggle to get into most well regarded a British schools, simply because she started applying so late. If she is OK with the IB - I believe it doesn't suit all children so well, no matter how bright - then Marymount and TASIS can sometimes squeeze children in at the last minute, and have gained Oxbridge places. Boarding schools with a reasonable reputation that might possibly have last minute places also include Sherborne girls, St Mary's Calne and Roedean.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now