Need a good "football school" - advice please

(67 Posts)
scattycow Fri 22-Feb-13 13:56:50

Hi readers, we are looking to return to the UK after 8 years in Asia, so we are not currently in the UK independent schooling system; so my only resource has been the GSG.

DS would love a day school that is big on football; although is is very good at other sports too. So far we have identified these as suitable options for Y9 2014 ;
Whitgift, Hampton, Bradfield and Ardingly.

As long at the school is competent at results then we are happy. Aside form the sports stuff, I would really like a school that will bring out the best in him; he is a "good boy" who is more than capable and very consciencous but will try and get away with the minimum.

Given the above criteria, can anyone share any views on if we are headed in the right direction ? We are hoping to visit said schools shortly. I'm also conscious that some of these schools are boarding - as a non-border, would he be "left out " ??

Are we barking up the wrong trees ?
PS We are not restricted to location, as long as there is a route into London for work - then its fine.

Needmoresleep Fri 22-Feb-13 14:15:37

Whitgift and Hampton both great schools and sporty. However, as with other London day schools, places are based on competitive entry and it is worth trying to determine whether your son has a realistic chance of gaining a place.

Bradfield regularly beat my son's school convincingly and I dont think his team are ever up against the firsts or seconds. We know some lovely straighforward boys who went there, and I would expect academics to more than meet your desire for "competence".

Frank Lampard went to Brentwood - apparently a sound student and very good at Latin - who still seem to field a good side.

You could also look at the schools which feature in the English Schools Football Association (ESFA) competitions

propatria Fri 22-Feb-13 15:46:22

You need to check out the ISFA and look through results in the Boodles cup,and if you want to see what schools have decent OB teams check out the Arthur Dunn cup.

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Fri 22-Feb-13 16:11:10

Hampton has very competitive academic entry, probably harder to get into than Whitgift. Don't know about the other two. Hampton also pretests in yr 6 which you would have missed for yr6 entry, but it is worth asking them if they do any testing later. Whitgift test in January of yr 8 I think, with registration closing the previous November, so you need to register this November for 2014 entry.

Both are definitely very strong in football.

Ladymuck Fri 22-Feb-13 17:06:41

Football isn't the main sport at any of the indie schools really - it is more of a state school sport with some of the grammar schools having strong teams. Don't get me wrong, all the boys will play football, many daily at lunchtime etc, but in terms of inter school fixtures, these are low key in comparison with rugby, hockey, cricket and even swimming.

I suspect GSG may have picked up on the fact that these schools may have links with local football clubs, and some of their pupils play for professional clubs academies. IMO, if you have a very keen and good footballer then look at moving near a club with an academy. But if you look at the detail of the games curriculum at your listed schools I suspect that there won't be much football.

beafrog Fri 22-Feb-13 17:38:45

Alleyn's is meant to be good for football... Doesn't do rugby and if the website is to be believed, it is very hot on football...

happygardening Fri 22-Feb-13 17:55:14

"Football isn't the main sport at any of the indie schools really - it is more of a state school sport with some of the grammar schools having strong teams. Don't get me wrong, all the boys will play football, many daily at lunchtime etc, but in terms of inter school fixtures, these are low key in comparison with rugby, hockey, cricket and even swimming."
Ladymuck what utter rot! This is a taken directly from Etons website:
"Football retains its popularity at Eton. Up to 24 teams from all age groups represent the school on a regular basis throughout the Michaelmas Half. Long-standing fixtures include Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, Bradfield and Shrewsbury. The ‘Association’ (1st XI) compete in the prestigious annual Boodles Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) Cup and the U15As in the Rensburg Sheppards ISFA Cup. These are both national competitions and Eton regularly reach the last sixteen....
Many players, coaches and managers from the professional game have also visited Eton, either to speak at society meetings, or to coach on the famous playing fields. Visitors over the years have included John Barnes, Gianfranco Zola, Frank Leboeuf, Ron Atkinson, Vinnie Jones, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Sir Bobby Robson and John Madejski. Presently our coaching links are with Reading FC and Coerver Coaching. This association is now four years old and is proving to be a real success for our school teams.
Alongside school football teams, large numbers of boys compete in Senior and Junior House League matches, usually twice a week. Towards the end of the Michaelmas Half, the Senior and Junior knockout competitions form the climax of the internal season. Boys not making their House League side can also play competitively in the North American (senior) or Patagonian (junior) Leagues. So there are plenty of opportunities for boys of all ages and abilities to enjoy football, either competitively or just for fun."

Talkinpeace Fri 22-Feb-13 20:58:26

OP
a slightly sideways look at your situation .....
Southampton FC have a youth programme second to none - they finance the team through it - and they send scouts to all of the local schools (state and private) - so if your DS is truly gifted and you take him to one of the weekly tryouts, Saints will sort the logistics with the school to arrange the training.
A lad in DS year is well into the programme that Theo Walcott and others have trodden before ...

Ladymuck Fri 22-Feb-13 22:38:12

Happy gardening, how many matches did the Eton College U15A football team have this year against other schools? Or the U14A or U16A for that matter.

I can only find record of 2.

Eton really isn't a football school. I'm not sure that it has produced a professional footballer in the last three decades. But it has at least 3 times the number of rugby and hockey fixtures than it does football.

As I said, all boys schools have boys who play football, and many schools have teams who play occasional matches. That is very different from saying that the school is a football school.

yotty Sat 23-Feb-13 08:35:06

Try Charterhouse. Definately, a football school and a good commute to London.

Needmoresleep Sat 23-Feb-13 08:52:08

Ladymuck,

My son's school, one of the list provided by HappyGardening, certainly played at Eton this year. This would not have been their only fixture. I had planned to go and watch, as I liked the idea of trying out their tea and seeing their grounds, but unfortunately could not make it.

Some private schools are known for their rugby, others are seen as football schools. I was very happy for my son to go to a school that played football not rugby. Princess Diana famously did not want her sons to play rugby...they ended up at Eton.

goinggetstough Sat 23-Feb-13 10:35:07

ladymuck Have just checked the Eton sports results online as I was surprised by your comment about only finding 2 matches.
14A had 13 matches in the autumn term
15A had 14 matches
Equally interesting was the fact that the 14E team had 10, 14F had 7 and the 14G had 5 matches.
Possibly you looked at the matches this term? I believe they play hockey this term hence the lack of football fixtures.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 10:48:06

All of the league football teams have scouts that go to local clubs to talent spot. Children are then signed up for that team's academy and progress (or not) according to their ability. Being at a sporty independent school really won't give any advantage as pretty much all state schools play football (unlike rugby). If your ds is very talented in football then he can play for a local team and be scouted for a league team and county and progress that way. My dn was spotted from an early age for cricket and rugby but is at state school. He has chosen to progress with cricket and had a number of teams wanting to sign him. The fact that he wasn't at an independent school made no difference, although had he wanted to he would have easily got a sports scholarship (my db is against selective and private education).

The other thing to be aware of is how competitive it is. A friend's ds was signed by a league team at 7 but dropped at 14 as he hadn't grown enough (even though he was still a very good footballer). It can be hard to deal with that. Fortunately he is also a fab cricketer so is pursuing that instead.

grovel Sat 23-Feb-13 12:34:38

Eton field at least 5 teams at each year group at both rugby and football. And 3 VIIIs on the river. It's a big school.

grovel Sat 23-Feb-13 12:43:45

In the 19th century football became popular in English public schools, and Eton was instrumental in its development. The Football Association was founded in 1863, basing its rules on those developed in the public schools. The FA Cup was first competed for in 1872, and the Old Etonians (OEs) won it twice, in 1879 and 1882, and were six times runners-up before the professional game developed. They were the last amateur team to win it, and the last public school to reach the final. Lord Kinnaird was captain of the OEs in 1882, and later became President of the FA. Arthur Dunn was another famous OE and international footballer.

Football retains its popularity at Eton. Up to 24 teams from all age groups represent the school on a regular basis throughout the Michaelmas Half. Long-standing fixtures include Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, Bradfield and Shrewsbury. The ‘Association’ (1st XI) compete in the prestigious annual Boodles Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) Cup and the U15As in the Rensburg Sheppards ISFA Cup. These are both national competitions and Eton regularly reach the last sixteen

Since the 1950s the senior players have gone on pre-season tours almost every year and recent venues have included Monaco & Italy, China, Spain, USA & Canada and Japan. Visiting teams from all over the world also come to Eton to play against our teams, and recent visitors have included teams from Australia, Japan, USA, the Channel Islands and Holland.

After leaving Eton, many boys continue with their football, playing for the OEs or representing their university. Indeed, in 2008 three old boys won Football Blues playing for Oxford in the Varsity Match at Craven Cottage.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 12:47:41

ladymuck ardingly is definitely a football school. It barely plays rugby. Same with Bradfield, both of which are mentioned in the op

happygardening Sat 23-Feb-13 15:03:09

ladymuck in your original posting you said "football isn't really a main sport at any indie schools really". You did not say "Eton has never produced a professional football player!" If you knew anything about any of the "big name" senior independent schools you would know that it's mainly ruby in the autumn term (not all schools do rugby of course) and football in the Michelmas term and that nearly all schools will have a football team(s) at every year with regular fixtures along regular interhouse fixtures as well.

surreygoldfish Sat 23-Feb-13 16:01:57

If you're looking for day schools - yes, Hampton big on both football and rugby, Alleyn's co-ed very much a football school (don't think it plays rugby)....under current news is an article on an ISFA final between Eton and Alley's in fact. Sadly - we're in Surrey, so all rugby schools where we are now!

happygardening Sat 23-Feb-13 17:39:48

Charterhouse is definitely in Surrey!!! Cranleigh is also definitely in Surrey know to be very sporty I'll eat my lap top if they don't play football can't access their website!

Ladymuck Sat 23-Feb-13 18:09:57

I didn't say that these schools don't play football, but that inter school football in the UK is low key. Many senior rugby professionals come through on the back of school rugby, similarly hockey, and school tournaments get reported in the main sports press. Football professionals tend to come through via academies, not public schools. If the OPs son is keen on football and is generally sporty then I don't think she should limit herself to such a handful of schools.

I am familiar with the pattern of boys sports, and even know that Michaelmas is usually the autumn term wink and therefore the rugby/football term. But state schools (and some private) play inter school football year round, hence I wouldn't think of schools, big name or not, who just play football for one term as being "big on football".

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 18:14:42

Yes but the OP hasn't said she wants her son to be a professional footballer has she? Just that she wants her son to go to a school which is primarily thought of as a football school so that he can play football to a high level?

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 18:54:52

No school will play football at as high a level as an academy linked to a Premiership football team, hence my suggestion up thread. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by going to a 'good football school' if it is the OP's intention for her ds to play football to a high level. Ds's old school is very sporty but the boys who got picked up by Chelsea did so via their local clubs not school.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 18:59:51

Disagree bisjo. My DS plays football to a high level, although despite not because, he was at one of those schools. However, I know of one boy at his school who was looked at by a club because it was instigated by the school and went on to have a contract with them at 18.

Ladymuck Sat 23-Feb-13 19:01:03

Precisely. Which is why there is no reason for the op to limit her school choices to the 4 named in her op just because the GSG list them as being good for football.

Choosing a school from overseas is a difficult task. What strikes me is that the OP has named 2 boys only day schools with main admissions at 11+, a co-ed boarding school, and a 50:50 mixed day and boarding co-ed school. I would suggest that for any child the choice of single-sex v co-ed, or day v boarding is far more important than the prominence given to football (to say nothing of the suburban v more rural locations), and I would start with those aspects, include consideration of what size of school might suit (Whitgift is twice the size of Ardingly for example), and only look at football fixtures as a tie-break. I really wouldn't view football performance as a big thing, as any sporty school will have boys playing football - ds plays football daily at his "rugby" school even though it is now the hockey term!

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:03:20

There are always exceptions but I'd be surprised if that is more usual than going via local clubs. I know several boys contracted at different clubs and all did it through their local clubs (different areas of the country too) rather than their state/private schools.

If your ds plays football at a high level what have you said to the school about them failing to contact league clubs to see him?

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