English curriculum v Scottish curriculum, Strathallan v Dollar

(10 Posts)
aileecath Fri 12-Feb-16 10:07:01

Im a mum of three, all of whom benefited from going to Strathallan. My daughter left last year and is now at Uni in England and I have two boys still there - one in the junior House and one in lower VIth. They all attended Strath from age 9 and I cant recommend it highly enough. The junior House (age 9 to 12) gives them fabulous freedom to run around and be kids, whilst still benefitting from the shared campus (and some teachers) in the senior School. Strath follows the English GSCE route but also offer Scottish Highers and A levels. I think the English system definitely allows greater flexibility if you think you may have to move back to England at some point and may also be a slight advantage in applying to certain English universities, although Im sure Scottish Advanced Highers would be equally acceptable. I definitely loved the ability for all kids to be educated together from age 9 onwards and the shared experiences and 'chat' they have about School are wonderful. I have also found the experience of attending a boarding school to be a unique one. My kids all attended as day pupils until Lower VIth when they chose to board, but the way Strath is set up there is no marked difference between day and boarders that I have heard about in other similar Schools. They have quite long days (their choice!) but when they come home on the bus at night (again their choice as I could pick them up early) they have done their prep (not so much in later years) and all their different activities, had dinner and can just chill out. They have House tutors on hand every evening to help with prep or anything else that is bothering them and a real strong support network. I have also particularly noticed now that my daughter has left, they have incredibly strong friendships - not only in their own year but across year groups - I think this is due to the Boarding House set up which encourages this. This has helped her in her transition to uni life as she has met up with quite a few who have moved to the same city as her and they all look out for one another. All in all, we have been delighted with Strath and the confident (not arrogant), well rounded young adults my children have turned out to be. Good luck with your choice of School, always fraught with worry but I think if you visit the Schools and meet some of their pupils you will get a gut feel which is right for you.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 22:19:36

I would try and go for a school that offers a levels as opposed to the Scottish system. My daughter is at the sister school to Merchiston and many parents I know have children at both. You could live in South Queensferry and easily commute to Rosyth and into Edinburgh.

amck5700 Sun 10-Feb-13 20:05:40

Unless you really really want the English system, why not save your money and move to Dunblane or Bridge of Allan and access the state school? - travel time to Rosyth would be just over your 30 minutes. Dunblane High was the 4th best performing in Scotland. The 3 above it are not really within your travel criteria.

crazycarol Sat 09-Feb-13 20:40:42

I know of at least one Edinburgh school (Stewarts Melville) that runs a daily bus service from Fife. It is an all-through school.

My personal view on the English v Scottish is that the scottish curriculum appears to be broader than its English counterpart in terms of the norm is for 5 Highers at age 17 whereas the English norm is 3 A levels (or possibly 4) with the Scottish Advanced Higher (taken at age 18 in 6th year) counting for more UCAS points than the A levels. i have personal experience of both. The Scottish curriculum has recently changed to the curriculum for excellence and I don't think that anyone quite knows how that will work out.

Edinburgh has a much higher percentage of children educated in private schools than anywhere else in the country. There is in my opinion very little to choose academically between most of the schools. Although some schools are considered very good for sport, others for music, others for extra curricular activities. Most are co-ed but a couple of single sex too.

kingaelfred Sat 09-Feb-13 15:27:36

We will choose where to live based around finding the right school. We are planning to rent so as long as Rosyth is within 30mins drive it doesn't matter where we live really. Does anyone have any views on the scottish curriculum v english?

motherstongue Sat 09-Feb-13 09:03:35

It really depends on where you decide to live, will you live on the Fife side of the bridge or commute from Edinburgh (quite easy as you would be going against the traffic each day) or the centre belt (also a commute) or even into Perthshire (again a commute). If you want private education your location will matter as very few private day schools outwith the cities so you would need to look at boarding realistically. For both boys to start at a private school together I would look at Merchiston boys school in Edinburgh because it is just off the bypass, takes boys from 8 to 18 and is a good school and would be easy from most locations I have mentioned

FannyFifer Sat 09-Feb-13 00:10:20

Would you not just send them to the local school?

kingaelfred Sat 09-Feb-13 00:06:26

Hi thanks for your suggestion. I had read up on Cargilfield and thought it looked lovely. However, my eldest would only be able to spend a year there. Unfortunately he has only just started at his current school as now year 7 so i am keen to find a school he can stay in for the next few years. If i can find a school that both boys can attend at the same time that would make life easier whilst providing a bit of moral support for each other. If they were a bit younger i think Cargilfield would be a perfect choice! Out of interest which Edinburgh Independents do you favour (can't afford Fettes though!)?

motherstongue Fri 08-Feb-13 15:47:28

Hi there, my advice if you are moving to Rosyth and your 2 kids are currently at English prep would be to go and have a look at Cargilfield prep school which is in Barnton in Edinburgh. It is very easy to get to from Rosyth and in fact they do a bus service from that side of the Forth Bridge. They have the advantage of feeding to all the major English public schools as well as the scottish ones. Your eldest would then still be able To do common entrance. In Scotland they would follow the curriculum for excellence which is completely different at most other schools. The difference in cost for Dollar and Strathallan is that Dollar is really a day school and Strathallan a boarding school. If you want info on Cargilfield feel free to pm me

kingaelfred Thu 07-Feb-13 21:50:27

Hi, We have to relocate to Rosyth area for hubby's work and i need help finding a suitable school for my 9yr and 12yr old boys. Currently at prep and senior independents in Southampton. Not mad on city living so thinking of somewhere north of the Forth within 30mins of work. My dilemma is how much of an upset would it be if i put them at a school that follows the Scottish curriculum and what problems would they have if they were to move back to English system at some stage. Does anyone have any feedback on either Dollar Academy or Strathallan? Big variation in fees, is this due to the different curriculums? Any help greatly appreciated. I am viewing both schools in half term week.

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