Marlborough College or Rugby School?

(41 Posts)
juliandickgeorgeandann Fri 22-Nov-13 04:22:35

Opinions and experiences of these two schools welcome. Which is more academic? Sportier? Which is better at preparing pupils for the real world? At which are the pupils happier? Think I want co-ed for DS but not a school where the girls "take over" and dominate lessons. I suspect Marlborough may be for v v posh?

happygardening Fri 22-Nov-13 07:43:04

Marlborough has a reputation and probably justified in having "smart" parents. Results are broadly similar it would appear from their websites. I know nothing about Rugby but Marlborough is generally considered quite sporty; from all I've seen they seem to take sport seriously. It's definitely coed in fact I think slightly more boys than girls.
At which school are the children happier? I don't think it's possible to answer that. At every school there will be very happy children and unhappy children. The unhappy ones may not "fit" the school for a variety of reasons this does not mean there's anything wrong with the school or the child they are just not a good match or they may be unhappy because they have problems outside of school and these problems are impacting on their school life.
I personally wouldn't chose Marlborough because contrary to what many think it's not very liberal and thus not compatible with my outlook on life but I know quite a few there and they seem happy with it.

happygardening Fri 22-Nov-13 07:59:44

"Which is better at preparing pupils for the real world."
A really difficult question! IMO boarding in general is good preparation for the real world being able to live and work along side 60 others some of whom you may not even like is a very useful life skill. Boarders are significantly more independent because they are expected to shift for themselves. They have no parents nagging encouraging them so are often much more self sufficient when it comes to prep, extra curricular activities etc. and IME they are happy to try something new. Also many boarding schools will have children from round the world my DS2's boarding school is significantly more ethnically diverse than DS1 comp which was 98% white MC parents. But boarders are living in there own micro world as well, my DS has never travelled on a bus; we don't have any where we live, and he has no need to when at school, his cooking skills are limited to say the least, most of the children will be from wealthy back grounds so they are unlikely to understand what poverty really means.
Having said all of this I personally doubt one school is better than the other at preparing children for the big wide world.

juliandickgeorgeandann Fri 22-Nov-13 09:20:58

Thanks happy. DS is already at boarding prep, so boarding is not so much the issue; the "real world" question was I suppose more to get a handle on which school (and pupils) is/are more grounded in reality. I don't want DS to develop a superiority complex

Dancingdreamer Fri 22-Nov-13 21:36:08

Recently went on visit to Rugby. Found lovely, grounded children and kind, enthusiastic staff. School very much part of a very ordinary town so def sense of real world. I liked this but some might prefer more glamorous surroundings! School really gone up our list after visit. Marlborough also on our visit list. Wasn't keen when read prospectus but went to Independent Schools Show and they really switched on my DD.

juliandickgeorgeandann Sat 23-Nov-13 07:15:01

Thanks Dancing, I want DS to be lovely and I want staff to be kind! Glamour not on the list (we prefer scruffiness). wink

grovel Sat 23-Nov-13 12:13:37

If you wanted to cast your net wider I would also look at Oundle and Canford. Two very good schools which are definitely not too "up themselves".

rabbitstew Sat 23-Nov-13 12:28:59

My dh went to boarding school and I have to say, I agree with happygardening that it is no preparation whatsoever for cooking, cleaning, DIY or other day-to-day practical skills... grin

celestialsquirrels Sat 23-Nov-13 12:42:45

Marlborough is IMO a boys school with girls. Keeps the girls in a minority as a policy decision (40%). Pastoral care for girls is not top priority and there are quite a few issues re girls being treated as sex objects/entertainment for the boys. Not a school I would send a girl IMO. It is also v London/euro and the kids spend a lot of time clogging up pizza express etc in town. There seems to be v few limits to their ability to go out for meals. Consequently allowances are enormous for the majority. V sporty. I have a niece and nephew who left last year and year before. Nephew did alright, niece is a seething mass of insecurities partly brought on by her peers circulating photos of her giving a bj to a boy at a party (aged 14 shock). Perhaps this has coloured my views.
Rugby a completely different school. 50/50 coed and pastoral care fantastic for both sexes. Lots of emphasis on healthy relationships, bullying non existent and jumped on. Arnold foundation means that fully 10% of the school are on free places and come from (in some cases) really deprived backgrounds. Nonetheless pupils can't name half of them because they just integrate. Different type of parents because of this and because of geography (not so accessible from London). Also pupils are in school much more - not out every weekend and not sitting in pizza express. Much less to spend ones money on so allowances less of an issue. I know the head personally and am sending him my daughter next year (although actually he is moving to Westminster). I wouldn't even consider sending her to Marlborough. Sons - I would also choose Rugby over Marlborough because it is more like real life and I am pretty certain he would come out with a less entitled and arrogant outlook and a much healthier and less misogynistic attitude to women.
Sport - they are both the same. Strong.
I am posh as you like, if that makes any difference.

happygardening Sat 23-Nov-13 15:05:59

A few incorrect statements about Marlborough by celestial It is actually full boarding or day (no weekly/flexi boarders) so the children are not "out every weekend" they go to school on Sat morning and have games etc on Sat PM all are in school Sat night unless it's an Exeat weekend. Bullying is also stamped on very hard anyone caught bullying is suspended at the very least. Finally Marlborough does have children of the clergy on assisted places I'm not sue how many but they are quite a few.
As I've said it wouldn't be my choice but I feel misinformation about it should be corrected.

goinggetstough Sat 23-Nov-13 15:51:20

celest many coed schools have a 40/60 girl/boy split eg Canford too. We were told when we visited Canford a few years ago that this was because if they increased the numbers of girls they took over! In fact according to the ISC figures Rugby has 56% boys and 44% girls.

I am sorry your Dniece is not currently happy but the situation you describe surely can't be blamed on the school? My DCs have had a number of friends who have been at Marlborough and Rugby and the ones i have met have been polite and interesting people to talk to. As the fees are similiar at both schools I am sure the majority of DCs mostly have large allowances and come from rich families. I actually feel sorry for these schools as parents have much to answer for. If they have brought their DCs up to expect everything and that they can do no wrong then the schools have an uphill battle!

juliandickgeorgeandann Sun 24-Nov-13 15:33:17

Thank you for all the input. Having 2 DS and 2 DD I agree that girls take over when numbers are even smile

juliandickgeorgeandann Sun 24-Nov-13 15:34:35

Looked at Oundle too but believe it's not Full boarding?

happygardening Sun 24-Nov-13 17:13:36

Oundle is a big school I think over a 1000 children, although Marlborough isn't much smaller, but unlike Marlborough as far as I am aware it has a mixture of day/weekly/flexi/full boarders.

Gigimama Mon 25-Nov-13 01:53:06

King's School Canterbury is another one worth looking at.

happygardening Mon 25-Nov-13 09:07:23

We know lots at Kings all different personalities, some seriously clever nearly all seem very happy, sport is taken seriously too and lots of children from abroad as well. Canterbury is a lovely city.

juliandickgeorgeandann Mon 25-Nov-13 17:46:29

Thanks. Kings was another recommended one from DS prep HM and I really liked the look of it but I believe it has lots of day pupils and isn't really full boarding. As we are living overseas we prefer full boarding don't want a school that is empty at weekends. May go and see it though, as happygardening mentions lots of children from overseas (do you know whether they are expats or a mix of nationalities?)

mikulkin Mon 25-Nov-13 19:46:37

Oundle is a combination of day and full boarding with no exeat weekends - perfect for families living overseas.

happygardening Tue 26-Nov-13 00:37:36

Kings Canterbury is as far as Im aware mainly full boarding, no weekly
/flexi boarding with a smallish number of day children least it was a few years ago (I'm talking three years max so I can't imagine it's changed that quickly) if you like the look of it ring admissions and ask what the numbers are.

happygardening Tue 26-Nov-13 00:40:49

According to the Kings Canterbury website approx 600 of the approx 800 children board.
Did you look at Kings Rochester by mistake that is primarily day with a few boarders.

Ehhn Tue 26-Nov-13 00:48:23

I know a couple of fairly recent Marlborough grads. One is the biggest shagger I know; the other can only have sex when he is drunk. Definitely major issues with women, which go much further than sex/intimacy, although basically pleasant blokes. One is thick as a plank but has evidently received that kind of level of education that masked the daftness until a decent proportion of time isspent in his company (my dp lived with the bloke and gradually realised how nice but dim the chap was beneath the education). However, as a tutor, I have picked up 3 or 4 students from Marlborough for politics so maybe avoid taking that A Level...

juliandickgeorgeandann Tue 26-Nov-13 18:42:31

Thanks mumsnetters. I definitely don't want DS to turn into a weird woman-hater; feel that Marlborough isn't for DS. I had written off KC too soon methinks, will call them. The full list of recommendations from prep HM in case anyone has knowledge or recommendations...Rugby, Oundle, Kings Canterbury, Uppingham, Repton, Marlborough. And boys' schools Harrow, Radley. I wanted Eton to be on that list but it wasn't sad, HM obv thinks DS has no chance getting in. Oh well.

onebananatwobanana Tue 26-Nov-13 19:30:31

Do you have a place at Radley or would you be doing warden's list? Did you see the Sky1 series on Harrow which recently finished?

juliandickgeorgeandann Tue 26-Nov-13 19:56:43

Yes he has a place at Radley, DH put his name down years ago. Saw the Harrow series and I really liked the school, but DS is adamant he wants co-ed. Otherwise I would definitely try for Harrow.

vivatregina Tue 26-Nov-13 21:01:21

My twins sons are at Rugby and love it. It is really not a snobby school - lots of Arnold Scholars and they really fit in without even thinking about it and are appreciated for what they bring to the school. Rugby not an attractive town but quick to get out of. Had 3 children at King's Canterbury - far prefer Rugby. 1 at Bedales - perfect for that daughter and 1 at St Edward's - so so at the time. Actually think Rugby best so far. They came from Dragon and quite a few exDragons there - we are also overseas.

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