Worried mother looking for a suitable school for daughter- please help!(78 Posts)
I live in India, and my 14 year old daughter is having a hard time in the schooling system here. She is a bright and talented girl but the schools here are very rigid and hierarchial whereas she is creative and independant-minded. She is determined to come to a boarding school in the UK, but I'm worried that she has been far too protected at home and will not enjoy the experience unless we find her a school that is a 'perfect fit' for her.
To give you an idea of what my daughter is like: her grades are consistently at the top of her class for the subjects she likes (English, Maths, Economics) and below average for those that she doesn't enjoy (Science, History). She's an enthusiastic debator, she writes and directs drama and she has created her own online comic strip that is very popular with her school students. She attends after-school classes in graphic design, photography and animation.
She is very extroverted and a little rebellious and contrarian. She is not at all the 'posh' type and is happiest in a friendly and casual atmosphere. She enjoys a bit of recreational rowing, riding and trekking but is not at all interested in competitive sport.
I've been considering Bradsfield College, St. Edwards School Oxford, Moreton Hall and Westonbirt School. Do these sound like a good fit for her? Which would you say is the best of the lot?
I'm looking for boarding schools (either co-ed or all-girls) in Southern or Middle England for entry in Sixth Form in September 2014. I would very much appreciate reccomendations of boarding schools with cosy, close-knit community atmosphere and top-notch art and drama opportunites. Ideally, a school that is not too pressurizing academically, but that is still intellectually challenging enough for a smart teenager.
And I should add that my daught
Be careful interesting towns maybe on a schools doorstep but pupils aren't always allowed to visit them even at weekends. I know at last 2 mentioned above where you are very restricted as always if it's important to your DC or you ask don't assume.
I'd second CLC, but would also strongly recommend looking at Sevenoaks School, which I know well. It has a good balance of day and boarders, a good international feel, teaches IB in the sixth form (and has done for decades, so is extremely experienced) and is also a school with plenty of opportunities beyond academic. You don't have to fit a particular mould and they encouraged individualism when I was there. Good luck!
Shrewsbury School is taking girls at 13+ from 2014, so are keen to recruit. They have had 6th form girls for about 3 years
Hi Manicmother. I just read your post and would be keen on connecting with you regarding the research you began for your daughter. We are from India and presently in the UK. Looking at schools for my daughter as well..
King Edwards at Witley. Very normal boarding school, co-ed diverse school dealing with average to bright. Don't know the numbers for boarding but do have overseas boarders.
I'm seconding Roedean. Incredibly friendly girls & fantastic teachers. DD's previous girls school seemed to have a glut of obnoxious brats in her year whereas Roedean was a breath of fresh air. The school is easy to reach from London/airports. Great music/drama/art facilities & the boarding houses are currently being upgraded. lots of girls from abroad so always lots to do at weekends. DD was a day girl & often went up to the school on Saturdays to hang out with her boarding buddies.
Have you thought about Queen Anne's in Caversham, Reading? 50/50 boarders to day, lots of variety, lots going on. Well rounded.
I can only speak to my experience, and I would strongly advise against Bedales overall. Sadly, my daughter was badly bullied by a teacher at Dunhurst and we left after being there since she was three.
I think the senior school (Bedales) may be a good choice for the right child, if you can afford the fees and are fine with a general lack of supervision and the junior school (Dunannie) was a lovely, although educationally lightweight introduction to life.
With both, you need to understand that the gloss and a lovely ethos form a beautiful veneer it won't come close to delivering on.
Dunhurst is different. It talks a good game about independence when, to me and others, the students went beyond that...I spoke to a headmaster of another school about my daughter's experience and he said that children who came to his school from Dunhurst were "feral."
If your child is super bright, super creative, super independent, don't really need to be taught and you have endless reserves of cash, Bedales (senior school) may be the place for you. If you want an easy, colourful and educationally lightweight primary education, Dunannie is a good option. The middle school, Dunhurst, was a disaster for us, and we weren't the only ones...several have removed their children after thinking they were going to go all the way through to Bedales. Giving your child "complete independence" over their educational journey is another word for "not really teaching them" in our experience. Dunhurst is an expensive con, and was the biggest mistake my husband I have made with our children, and we regret it so much.
Sherborne Girls has the option of the IB, quite a few international students, lots of art, music and drama and is not too pressured academically. You could look at it if you are also looking at Bryanston - they are quite close. It is a girls school that cooperates with the boys school, not co-ed, though so the atmosphere would probably be a bit more like Cheltenham. It might also be worth seeing if any applicants to Cheltenham change their mind at the last minute - that can happen, although it it also true that many schools are unfortunately definitely overscribed.
Whoops - I meant oversubscribed.
Is it ok to throw in Old Swinford Hospital at this stage? Sounds like the perfect fit from the initial post IMVHO (although I ought to add, it is a state boarding school).
Second looking at Sevenoaks - my sister was there (both as day pupil and as a boarder) and enjoyed it. They had everyone from kids on full bursaries from humble backgrounds to European Royalty and everyone seemed to get on and certainly my sister wasn't demanding designer dresses or expensive holidays and neither were her friends.
On Wikipedia, it says that Old Swinford Hospital only admits girls as day pupils, so I doubt that would be a suitable choice. Sevenoaks however does have a good reputation and is probably worth a look if she might prefer co-ed. I believe it is IB only in the sixth form, not choice of IB or A levels, but if you are happy with that, it could fit what you are looking for. Bryanston also appears to be doing well, but definitely has a very liberal reputation and possibly some pretty sophisticated pupils. Academically it is not as strong as Sevenoaks, although a bright and hardworking pupil could probably still do well.
Ah Lizzzar, you're absolutely right, and I hadn't even considered that. I had DS there and the girls in sixth form did wonderfully and I thought it a good fit but hadn't considered the fact that the girls couldn't board. Apologies.
Thanks for the response - it sounds like it could have been a good option if girls could board. Maybe could be considered by someone reading this thread looking for a boys boarding school. It is good to remember that state boarding schools also do well.
OP i would definitely add Rugby school to your list. Very good trafitional public school, co-ed, very down to earth, good academics, takes a broad range of children and not overly selective.
Is your dd going to finish at her current school or are you thinking of transferring?
Just to add, some people complain that Rugby town is not pretty enough or lacks things to do, its horses for courses! please remember you are sending your child to the school not the town, we've visited it and the town seems fine.
I second Rugby as an excellent choice - co-ed, fantastic art/photography/graphic design/drama, good spread of academic and less academic children, doesn't empty out at weekends.
I would say no to Marlborough probably - doesn't sound like what you are looking for. St Edwards is not really a great school although nice to be in Oxford. Headington a better choice in Oxford but only girls and not truly a boarding school.
How about Oundle? Its on a high, unpretentious, co-ed, in v good heart at the moment...
Wouldn't touch Bedales with a bargepole esp for girls
Headington might be a definite possible. I don't know that much about it in detail, but the academic reputation is definitely pretty good, and it is not an ultra fashionable school, so probably relatively down to earth socially. I understand it is mainly weekly boarding, so probably not a huge amount going on at the weekends, but I think this matters less for older children, and it is right on the Oxford Tube bus line into London, so it would be easy for her to visit London on the weekends, as you mention you have relatives she could stay with.
ZOMBIE (fully expecting to be snided at for daring to point out such a thing)
What do you mean? I find your comment completely incomprehensible.
Lizzzar The OP was looking for a school in February; this is a zombie thread (back from the dead).
Right - I didn't undterstand that. I also didn't know if she had found a school or not, and if she had maybe she would say. Even if she had decided on a school, maybe CLC, surely there is some point in discussing the issue further if it may be of interest to other people. I won't comment any more, as clearly it's not wanted, but I personally think the above comment is rude and pointless, and I don't understand why people should be criticized for commenting on an older thread if it is clearly well intentioned.
Right - I didn't understand that. I also didn't know if she had found a school or not, and if she had maybe she would say. Even if she had decided on a school, maybe CLC, surely there is some point in discussing the issue further if it may be of interest to other people. I won't comment any more, as clearly it's not wanted, but I personally think the above comment is rude and pointless, and I don't understand why people should be criticized for commenting on an older thread if it is clearly well intentioned. Additionally, a lot of people do take more than six months to decide on a school, so calling this thread completely dead and a zombie if it is revived just seems odd. I could almost understand if it was from two or three years ago, but surely there are circumstances where late comers still have relevant comments.
It is in fact snide to criticize well intentioned comments.
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