If Winchester College don't accept DS1 what about Charterhouse?

(222 Posts)
yotty Mon 14-Mar-11 19:36:17

Probably going to apply to Winchester for DS1. If he does not get offered a place would Charterhouse be an alternative? He is bright, quirky and likes drama and music, but not good at sport or art. He would have to be a full boarder as we live a short plane ride away. I'm worried that the boys will all be busy playing sport or going home at the weekend. Should I be concerned or am I just being neurotic?

Colleger Sat 08-Oct-11 20:34:32

I think Winchester is only right for a certain boy and potentially terrible for another type of equally bright and quirky boy. I had decided to send DS1 to Winchester and went back on an open with DS2 just to cement the decision in my mind. But unfortunately I was really put off because the boy that showed us round was cripplingly shy and could barely answer the basic questions about the school. Five years at Public School should not produce a boy that continues to be cripplingly shy. I don't expect them to turn out uber-confident men but I was shocked. The Head boys speech basically ridiculed two well-known schools stating that he didn't want to be at a boys boarding school that was akin to a tourist attraction (Eton) or a school removed from reality in it's inclosed campus (Radley). He couldn't understand why boys would want to be in single rooms (Eton) and the comments went on. It's not the first time speeches like this have been made to groups of parents and I felt it was very poor form. If the school is that self-assured then it wouldn't need to talk in such a fashion, especially in front of prospective parents. The open day changed my mind completely and we decided against it mainly because of the speeches/attitudes toward other schools but also because the boys (men) told me that sport was not compulsory after the first year and if a boy didn't want to debate or do public speaking of any sort then he didn't have to. I know that DS1 would have stopped sport and not had the confidence to take the risk and take part in difficult things such as public speaking. He would have developed into a very narrow man with few skills. Some boys need nudged out of their comfort zone.

As for DS2, he would sieze every opportunity at Winchester and I think it would be great for him although he may be bottom of a bright bunch. He's never going to be shy but he is very quirky and could rub less intellectual boys up the wrong way at schools like Eton or Harrow.

I have also recommended Winchester to a number of parents so I am not anti-Winchester, but it's not quite as mannerly as they make out!

happygardening Sun 09-Oct-11 04:38:50

Of course it nots right for every boy no where is. Every boy I have ever met has been polite although not affraid to speak his mind. I think there is a very strong loyalty to Win Coll by the boys but I'm sure you will find the same thing at Eton Radley or anywhere you look.
Sport is compulsory for the first two years.

Angelscakes42 Fri 06-Jan-12 11:49:12

Hope this helps! My son has done his first term at Winchester College. Academically, we are so impressed with WC and the housemaster approach, support for settling my DS . I am hoping WC will take my youngest son in 2014!. Winchester College is not for the light hearted, many very intellectual and naturally bright boys, which come from abroad. Music is excellent. There is roughly about 2 and half hours off Toy Time (Prep), every night. We I think IGCSE is the way forward and Cambridge Pre U. Over all my son is very happy and hopefully he will go onto Harvard from here. Winchester Scholarship, majority off these papers are written by the master of WC and these boarder line beyond AS papers, preparation is a minimum of 2/3 years. My youngest son personnel tutor (old Etonian - Scholar) mentioned that you should reach 90% on common entrance by the time your son is eleven,(2/3 years before entrance) before even preparing for scholarship.

Whoever mentioned Leighton Park - I know nothing of it recently (DB1 went there), but if the Quaker ethos persists (and I can't see why it wouldn't) then the pastoral care and valuing every child as an individual is (IMHO) second to none.

paddock Sun 05-Feb-12 15:33:03

Can I urge everyone on schools' discussion threads that there are really only two ways to get ACCURATE info on schools...... That's speak to your child's Head, and visit the schools themselves, and ask well-prepared questions. These threads are staggeringly ignorant, for example there's a comment earliere here about Bryanston pre-tests. In actual fact Bryanston has never had pre-tests ..... So believe 'happygardening' at your peril ......

happygardening Sun 05-Feb-12 15:41:56

A friend whose son started at Bryanston this September told me her son was definitely pre tested!

blue2 Sun 05-Feb-12 15:44:10

I think it's horses for courses; all the schools have a very different appeal. Its a bit like looking for a 3 bedroomed house. All the ones you look at have 3 bedrooms, but some you feel comfortable with, and some you don't.

I would strongly suggest you go and look at both (and more!) schools with your ds, and get a feel for them. There is no substitute.

We nearly went for Charterhouse, but felt pastoral care a bit.... lax. My ds at Cranleigh School, and just loving it. Not heard good reports from Charterhouse; I know 2 boys who have left - just couldn't cope. Against that, hundreds of children obviously love it.

Happy children learn....!

Just go and check them out.

paddock Sun 05-Feb-12 20:04:25

As a prep school Head I can promise you that I have never had any child pre-tested for Bryanston. The only reason that a child would have some degree of pre-assessment (but largely informal, and arranged on an ad hoc basis, to coincide with a family's trip to visit the school, not some official deadline) is if the child has recognised SEN, or if the child comes from a state school, and therefore is not being prepared for the standard ISEB 13+. Ring Admissions at Bryanston if you want to check yourself.

yotty Sun 05-Feb-12 20:31:46

Paddock. Out of interest, as a prep school head have you ever recommended Bryanston for a bright quirky/geeky boy? my DS gets on well with his peers but is not interested in playing football/rugby with them. Will he feel left out, especially at the weekends?

patienceneeded Sun 05-Feb-12 21:36:47

Have you considered Reed's, can't offer any up to date information however i had a very unsporty close relative who attended.

paddock Sun 05-Feb-12 22:44:37

Dear Yotty - Bryanston certainly suits all sorts of children with many different interests, and a child who's not into football or rugby would definitely not feel left out. There are some really great DT / Audio Visual / stage crew type of activities that can really keep a child interested and busy at weekends. I would say that as long as a child is content with / enjoys boarding, Bryanston would suit any 'type'. Obviously geography plays a considerable part in any decision, and all families have their own feelings about how far away they want their child to be, but if you feel that Bryanston is within your range, I'd certainly take a look at it. Best wishes.

happygardening Sun 05-Feb-12 22:54:14

Spoke to friend she remains adamant that her DC was Pre tested for Bryanston!? As a prep school head I agree that you probably know more than but I'm only pasing on what I was told.
They are delighted with Bryanston.

happygardening Sun 05-Feb-12 22:57:07

She tells me that it also runs coaches regularly into London at exeats half/end of terms etc.

Colleger Sun 05-Feb-12 23:18:20

I've known a number of prep school heads to be staggering ignorant about many schools and staggeringly biased towards/against many schools. One headmaster was against any Public School that was based in a city, for example. hmm Of course one must go and visit a school but one will never really know if a school is the right fit until a child goes there. I suspect for an average or bright round-pegged child, they would do well at any school.

paddock Sun 05-Feb-12 23:35:43

Dear happygardening. So pleased your friends are so pleased with their choice. It's always good to hear positive things about any school.
However, the Bryanston website says this (if you look on the Admissions page, and then click on Junior Admissions Process): "The order in which the list for any given year fills up is chronological and Bryanston does not operate a pre-testing process." I can only assume that in the case of your friend there was a reason (as I gave in my previous posting) for any pre-assessment. Best wishes.

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 06:58:28

paddock I personally believe so many post on MN about schools because schools are now slick marketing machines with clever websites and glossy prospectus. Most make similar claims high standard of pastoral care 100's of extra curricular activities etc nearly all have fantastic results in relation to their intake and jaw dropping facilities when compared to the state sector. This leaves parents confused. Over five years of boarding you will pay £170 000 that is a lot of money so you want to be dam sure your child is happy. Parents also worry about making a mistake "traumatising" their child. By posting on MN people are hoping to discover something else lying underneath the soft sell; the real ethos or perhaps a better way of putting it the reality about a particilar school. The problem is that one person feelings about a scifferencesignificant different to another. My friends feels Bryanston is a suprisingly structures environment and not particularly liberal some one on another posting felt differently the opposite.

Colleger Mon 06-Feb-12 10:11:54

Public School Headmasters are often governors of prep schools or wine and dine with prep Headmasters and therefroe the prep Head's view is equally blinkered. The parents' know the reality of a school, for their child at least. Unless a prep Head has recently sent their own child there then they don't really know a school. Yes they may know the process of entry and what child the school likes to accept but they have no idea if the child thrives there.

I agree with HG regarding the marketing machine and glossy brochure. Apart from a few alternative schools all these prospecti are identical, as are the tours!

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 10:57:04

I sometimes wonder if many schools use the same website designer designs and just changes the name/photographs ditto prospectuses. I recently heard from some mums from DS's prep one of the first questions we all ask; what's ..... like then? You only have to read the other postings in the senior ed, section of MN: Whitgift versus Dulwich College, Alleyns, Milfield, Cranford versus Bryanston and I could go on to get an idea about how worried parents are that they make the "wrong decision." We compared to the vast majority of course have the luxury of being able to make decisions about our children's education but choice is not always freedom.
As a rough estimate 10% the leavers at my DS prep school will change senior schools within a year starting because they've made the wrong choice.
So paddock is it surprising that people post on MN asking specific questions about a school? So called guides The Good Schools Guide etc. are bland and predictable. In my experience heads are reluctant to criticise any particular school. Lets face it you say to Mrs X that you think St Y is rubbish and she goes straight out onto the playing field and tells Mrs Z whose sending her DC to St Y on your recommendation that you think its a rubbish school; I think not. So instead parents post on places like MN and get an interesting array of responses. Those with DC's at the school or or have friends with DC's at the school will be happy to tell you either how its the best school in the world and lets face it in many cases your paying £33000 + PA so you want to believe it or alternatively be happy to regale everyone with horror stories. Then there are those who visited a school however briefly and even those who've never visited it but know of a cousin 20 times removed who went to the school in question 35 years ago and were bullied every day for the five years they were there and have turned into a sociopath. They too will be keen to share their experiences.
But what are the alternatives? Or maybe in the vast majority of cases it doesn't matter. Schools like so much in life now are so corporate, so carefully regulated, inspected and league table obsessed (even if they don't admit it) that the reason why so many seem the same is that they are the same. I know from personal experience that there a small group out their which clearly are different but that doesn't make them everyone cup of tea what fantastic for my DC is not necessarily right for someone else's. Perhaps parents would be better to chose a school after considering more tangible factors: distance from home, specific facilities e.g. equestrian facilities, full/flexi boarding etc.

grovel Mon 06-Feb-12 13:09:03

I understand why people come on here and fret/ferociously defend their own choices etc. A choice of school is a huge decision in lots of ways.
The saddest part of it all is that parents just cannot control (at boarding schools) how the group of boys or girls joining a house with their DC will gel. Housemasters don't know until the boys/girls arrive. The "year dynamics" within a house will enormously affect a child's experience at school.

happygardening Mon 06-Feb-12 14:06:49

I'm not sure i agree my DS hated his prep although he had lots of friends its the day to day running of the school he didn't like. Now he friends with most of the boys in his house/yr but theres always one or two who he's not so keen on but it does't bother him he loves it. In my work I see children who are sometimes struggling at school when asked all have friends this is not the issue.

Asterisk Wed 08-Feb-12 14:45:37

Caterham? Close to Gatwick and v nice school.

mrsmagee Sat 21-Jul-12 00:56:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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