If Winchester College don't accept DS1 what about Charterhouse?(222 Posts)
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?
If he doesn't get into Winchester it will probably only be down to academic intellect and if it was a borderline case then he should get into Charterhouse. Have you thought of applying to a little school called Eton, or Harrow?
If I were you. I'd worry about that short plane ride. You do know it is going to be shot down by exocets fired by Mumsnetters?
You are only allowed to use public schools if you (a) have children with special needs (b) have special needs yourself (c) are a single parent valiantly trying to hold down a job or (d) all the local state schools are in special measures.
If option (d) applies to you, you will still get some condemnatory comments about your lack of parental involvement for not trying single-handedly to pull that school out of special measures.
Just warning you like
The ones who criticise are the most insecure!
DN is at Winchester. He doesn't go home at w/ends. He does play sport though, but lots don't. They only take full boarders there anyway, a handful of day places but day fees are practically the same as boarding as they encourage full boarding.
Plane ride is necessary due to body of water between us and UK. Have thought of those other schools, but DH can't be doing with the percieved poshness and the silly uniforms. I think, he thinks they are too stuffy.
I'm confident that DS1 would get into Charterhouse, I was just wondering if he would feel left out if everybody was obsessed with sport. Also I am under the impression that the school empties out on Saturday afternoon, which would leave DS alone or with the odd overseas boys. I suppose his Russian or Manderin might improve considerably!
Plane ride? Dahlink, have you never heard of helicopters?
< fans oneself with £50 notes >
and it's Mandarin sweetie, MandArin
(apologies if this is a serious thread btw)
Helicopters are also susceptible to exocets, I think you'll find
Charterhouse is fine, if you really have to go second-rate.
E and H have got to be the most unstuffy schools I have ever come across. I have close connections with Winchester and although the school has good qualities it is very stuffy in comparison to the other two. On the whole I would say that a boy who is right for Winchester would not be right for Charterhouse.
Sorry OP, I've just had a look at your other posts and this is a serious thread. Apologies, it was the plane ride that had me thinking it was a wind up
Have no experience of either school so I'll just sidle out this way >>>>>>>>>
Quattro: I am very about these threads because I just think there must be a better forum for discussing very specific details about particular public schools?
Why do they all pop up on Mumsnet?
I know we are all frightfully middle class on here but, yet, I'd hazard a guess that 75% of us don't send our dc to public schools and 99% of us don't send them to the really really really expensive ones like Winchester.
So who does the op think she is talking to? A handful of people at most. Why not try and find this very specific sort of information elsewhere?
How old is ds1 and which sports has he tried and been found to be not good at? Boys change a lot between 9 and 13, and whilst your ds may not be the keenest football player, he may find rowing, golf, fencing, shooting or something else does appeal.
My friends had places at both Winchester and Charterhouse for both their sons - and chose Charterhouse both times. Neither boy is sport mad, both are clever and one is musical. No idea if this is helpful but I think one of the deciding factors for them was the house and housemaster.
Bibbity- I'm sorry if this thread makes you cross but if I knew of another forum I can assure you I would like to be using it.
For the record Winchester college and other similar public schools are only marginally more expensive than the less well known ones. If you are going to invest your hard earned cash in your children's education and spend £28000+ a year, you want to make sure you get it right and most importantly that your child will thrive in the environment and be happy if they are going to board. We do not live in the UK and therefore it is quite difficult find out what it is really like in some of these schools compared to people who live more locally, that will know a larger cohort of children at these boarding schools.
Mrs wobble- thank you for your helpful comments
Ladymuck- he is in year 5. I agree with you. Keep hoping that he will find something he can feel he is ok at and most importantly enjoy. In the meantime he plays an instrument and loves drama so hopefully he can get stuck in to those things and just do sport to keep fit and hopefully have fun at the sane time.
My bro was bullied hideously at Winchester. This was a long time ago (20 yrs) so of course things may have changed but as a result I'd never send any child of mine there.
Yotty, you've every right to pose your questions here. The Mumsnet mods see no problems in your posting (neither do I) and I don't see why the greeneyes have it in them that this site is their own private playground.
Back to your OP, I consider Winchester to be very academic, perhaps the most academic amongst the major public schools barring Westminister. A good friend of mine used to be a senior master at Winchester but left a few years ago to teach at another famous public school where he is leaving again later this year to take up a post of Head of (Subject) Dept at Westminster.
I can assure you at most full-time boarding schools there are loads of pupils from abroad as far as Thailand, Korea, China and Japan. They have full programmes even at weekends, perhaps half-day Sundays, and most of the time they are being supervised. And no, they are not left to themselves if they are not sporty. There's always some other things that they can do and enjoy.
Have you considered FloreatEtonia's suggestion above?
If Winchester was my first choice because I believed it best suited my child then Charterhouse would not be on my list at all. Chalk and cheese IME.
Apparently the school I suggested is viewed as being too stuffy!
Floreat. Matbe she just knows that it is always wet on 4th June?
Hey Quattro! I fit three of the four excuses !
And this si the ideal place to ask about specific schools - don't have to read the thread if you don't know about them or anren't interested - no reason why anyone can't post about the relative merits of St Chav Community School v Staballey Comp, or ebtween St Cakes and Snoot Hall - there will doubless be people on here who have or know children that go there and can give useful advice.
It was not my intention to start a slanging match. I was just wondering if Charterhouse would suit my son if he didn't get into Winchester. My DH feels very strongly that as we are not in the country it would be sensible that the school is close to our family. That therefore, limits our choices to west Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Dorset. Charterhouse seemed to tick the boxes as it is in the right location, is pretty academic and high ratio of boarders to day pupils. Open to any other suggestions.
Wellington is the right end of Berkshire - might not be too far?
I know it's not in the same league but given your geographical bounds I'd just urge you not to consider Cranleigh. My unsporty DH went there and hated it with a passion. That was 30-odd years ago but the OC magazine still majors on sporting achievements even now.
He was musical (not in a conventional sense) and his first proper band were mostly from Charterhouse (and no, it wasn't Genesis )
I used to work for a Wykehamist who is just the loveliest person and still a close friend.
Your DS is very fortunate that you are able to give him this opportunity and I hope a) that he does get in to Winchester and b) that if he doesn't, you can find somewhere that is just as good for him.
I'm a comprehensive-educated oik myself and DD (Y6)will be the same, though we've been lucky enough to be offered one of the good ones. I'd still send her private in a heartbeat (assuming we found a good school that would take her ) if we had the extra money to play with.
BTW, 'bright' and 'quirky' would probably be the first two adjectives I'd apply to my Wykehamist friend.
If you'll consider Dorset look at Canford. Or Bryanston.
From your description of your DS I think he would be ideal for Eton. They have fantastic music and drama facilities, and they are not hung up on sport at all.
Don't write it off before seeing it, it is the most amazing place. I had a lot of negative preconceptions about it, all of which were completely dispelled when I visited it.
For what it's worth we were warned off Winchester by DSs head, he felt that it had slightly lost it's way under the current head.
JeffVadar, I agree. Eton "do" sport well but there is no hero worship of sportsmen as there is at some schools. A good musician, actor, artist, theatre lighting expert or academic is just as likely to be respected by his peers as a centre forward. A very civilised atmosphere.
I love the sound of Eton. Adore it. All that civilised excellence sounds great.
Marsha, I assume you are being tongue in cheek but I'll reply anyway. The "civilised excellence" is only relative. Eton is made up of 1,300 teenage boys whose instincts are the same as any other teenage boys.
No I'm not! Really, I love all that stuff. We had Latin grace and academic gowns at dinner at university. I'm a sucker for tradition. I should really check it out because it may be it is larger in my mind than in reality.
Fair enough. Sorry to have made an assumption.
Must be my posting name! I've had this too long to change it now.
I would be curious to go and see Eton to compare it to the other schools we are considering, unfortunately my DH will not even consider it so there is little point. I think Winchester appeals to him because he thinks DS would really enjoy the curriculum and the location is perfect for our family in the UK. I don't know anybody who has gone to visit Eton and Winchester recently so it is difficult to judge. DS's headmaster is definitely steering us towards Winchester and yet he is steering others towards Eton so I feel we are on the right track. Just looking for a back up.
My son got into both Eton and Winchester. In the end we opted for Eton because DS would have been allowed to become even more of a boffin at Winchester and we felt he needed broader horizons. Charterhouse is a roughty toughty boys school.
Both tours at Eton and Winchester are crap. The problem is that everyone wants to go on a tour - even if they don't have a son - so it is fairly impersonal and a whirlwind tour. However we were very fortunate to have a close friend with a son at Eton and we were able to see what it was really like and what the boys were like. Undoubtedly it is the best school in the country and to not even consider it would be a diservice to your son. I have come across many people who say, "We're not Eton parents" and they have never stepped foot in the place. There is no such thing as an Eton parent!
How does your husband think the curriculum at Winchester differs in any real sense from that at Eton or other, similar schools which have the resources to go beyond the exam curriculum? I'd respectfully suggest that he isn't talking from an informed postion re curriculum if that opinion is anything to go by.
While you might well visit both and decide you prefer Winchester, it seems illogical simply to refuse to visit Eton.
A good school suits a wide variety of children, not just a certain "type".
Heads of prep schools keep their senior schools "sweet" by sending a proportion to each, though I am not suggesting you should ignore advice as they know your child. Make your own minds up.
Unless your family are really near (within 20 mins or so) the distance is not going to make the difference you think - he will be so busy that he is not going to see them as much as you might think - even less if you are really just a short plane ride away and will be able to attend parents' evenings, get home for exeats etc.
Floreats'a final sentence is correct.
Yes I suppose it could be a bit of a touristy tour.
The other thing is I went to a school that adored sport. And it got so much more interesting for me in the higher years; when it was seen to be good to be the top in the top set of physics or advanced maths. (rather than everyone focussing on the fastest runner etc)
Of course my children might be different. Ds1 is not sporty at all, not sure about ds2.
This is probably completely irrelevant but
back in the mists of time I went out with a lad from another boys boarding school, one which hasn't been mentioned already. He was an arse. Took the piss out of my personal stereo because it was some obscure, cheap brand, laughed at my record player - that kind of thing.
His friend however - who was at Eton - was horrified by this twattish behaviour. Maybe it was noblesse oblige or something, but it made a profound impact on me. Didn't hook up with the Eton boy though, which is a shame. He was nice. We could have married. And I bet he's loaded these days...
Floreat and Jeff are spot on.
I used to work with a load of public school boys-the ones from Eton were without exception the most charming and (relatively) normal.
We are in danger of being unfair to the OP. She and her DH have chosen Winchester as their academic school of choice - and it's a very good school. Her question is about a fallback if Winchester don't make an offer. I don't think Eton fits the bill in that regard. I would look at Canford, Marlborough etc ahead of the Home Counties schools (Charterhouse, Wellington etc). But that's highly subjective on my part.
Boys get into Eton and not Winchester and vice versa so it can be a fall back.
We looked at both Eton and Winchester for my younger son who is very very academic a little eccentric and does not follow the crowd. He got offered a place at St Pauls and Win Col and we choose Winchester. The head sold it to us in the end my son is not very pushy and as the head said not a "trampler". He is a alrounder, he likes sport but doesn't particularly excell at any one sport loves art and has strong views and opinions and is very articulate but is also a deep thinker. We were told by everyone we met that he is perfect for the school. The open day is hopeless, go and meet the house masters and if possible have lunch in one of the houses and talk to the boys then you know if it feels right.
yotty what is your dh's reason for not even considering Eton? Did he go there himself and dislike it?
I (maybe wrongly) sensed that the OP wants the fallback to be marginally less academically selective.
Some schools mentioned that I really dont see as suitable for a child that is aiming for Winchester,well at least Bedales hasnt been mentioned...
I always like the sound of Bedales. Do you think it isn't academic or structured enough?
I don't even have a son so I don't know what I am even doing on this thread.... why is bedales so awful, tell me, I like the sound of it...
It's tricky, propatria. Our DS went to Eton and loved it (left in 2009) but we were not sure until he was almost 13 - after he had taken the test at 11 - that it was going to be right for him. Our fallback was Canford - country campus, gentler approach to life, more cocoa with the housemaster's wife etc but still quite capable of preparing pupils for Oxbridge.
Well your son won't spend all weekend by himself at school as most boarding schools have Saturday morning school and games in the afternoon (which he would have to do sporty or not, but obviously that is only an hour or so and matches against other schools would take the whole afternoon). This was the set up at my school anyway.
There were quite a few boarders who had parents living abroad and some who chose to stay for weekends anyway. Your son could also go and stay with another boy for the weekend, assuming, like my school that is allowed with the relevant parental permissions etc (God, making sure both sets of parents phoned up my housemistress was one of the stresses of my youth!).
Anyway, I am sure they won't all be playing sport all weekend so your son won't be left alone! And there will be drama and music at the weekend too (plays to rehearse, concerts etc).
My school was mixed but the boys played both Winchester and Charterhouse and I have lots of friends who went to Winchester. They are fairly different schools I think and all the ones who went to Winchester are extremely bright. (and often slightly eccentric but great fun!). I would also say consider Eaton/Harrow. Assuming you don't want mixed? (Have just properly read the thread and most of this has been said but too late as have typed it all!)
PS ZZZen - I know someone who went to Bedales and I thought it was all fairly wishy washy hippy call your masters by their first names, let's talk about how being caught smoking makes you feeeeel, and kids make the rules/punishments etc? Although not 100% as to how far it actually goes!
I said Bedales as it seems to be the default post whatever school is mentioned,Winchester is actually Ithink the trickiest to come up with an either or,but Idont really see for example Wellington or Bryanston as viable alternatives(based on the child being right for Winchester) its horses for courses and some people it seems just fire off the first name that comes into the head.
Canford is an odd one,Ireally dont get why people get so excited about it, fine but not really that diff than several other schools
bedales is fine for a very specific type of child and parents its just not us or I would say a sutable alternative to Winchester.
Now dont get me onto Ma...no sorry cant even say it..
propatria, do we know how old OP's DS is? It's fine to aim for Winchester or Eton when a child is 8 or 9 but a lot can happen before he hits 13 (academically and in terms of character development). So if a son at 12 turns out not to "right for Winchester" it seems sensible not to have a Winchester "lookalike" as fallback.
"I used to work for a Wykehamist who is just the loveliest person and still a close friend. "
I used to have a Wykamist working with me and while on the surface very pleasant, he was actually the most two faced individual I have ever met. But then one mustn't generalise...
For years I thought DS was a Wykemist through and through and so did his Headmaster who tried to dissuade us from applying to Eton. We did apply and he got in so although we still weren't sure we had to assume that Eton knew how our child would develop at 13 based on what they saw at 11. Well, they were right. One year before entry he developed his character and I can now see that he would have bored of Winchester - not academically but in terms of the spark and buzz (or lack of) of the place. No bright child could ever be bored at Eton, there is just far too much on offer.
I am also of the opinion that if one is going to pay these shocking fees then it may as well be at the best schools, assumming the school is right for the child.
I would be curious to go and see Eton to compare it to the other schools we are considering, unfortunately my DH will not even consider it so there is little point. I think Winchester appeals to him because he thinks DS would really enjoy the curriculum and the location is perfect for our family in the UK. I don't know anybody who has gone to visit Eton and Winchester recently so it is difficult to judge. DS's headmaster is definitely steering us towards Winchester and yet he is steering others towards Eton so I feel we are on the right track. Just looking for a back up.
Many points here. Disregarding distance as I dont know where your family live, why will your DH not consider Eton? Im quite comfortable in saying he must have a very badly misguided concept of the school. Please remember Eton today is a far cry from Eton since the 2nd World War never mind about Gladstones Eton of the Victorian era. Another pointer how this great school moves
ahead with the time.
Next, it may be inconvenient for you to visit the school but let somebody who knows something about British education who had recently visited for the first time relate to you her story.
But I would still strongly advise you go look for yourselves and take DS along. If you can afford the time, visit the other two schools too. There are parents about who know of nothing but only one School and they dont need to look anywhere else. What makes parents pack their sons off to Eton?
Although I agree that Winchester is very academic, Im not for one instance suggesting that Eton is not. The Windsor School have more than enough praises bestowed upon it in all avenues and it would be courteous to let Winchester take the academic front. But should push comes to shove, then this Financial Times 2010 Top 1000 Schools (pg 4 - ranking 9/10) would suggest Winchester would not be holding that academic crown much longer.
But hey, let's not dilly-dally here; your son is in Yr 5 and there is an absolutely firm date to beat should you decide Eton. No boys over 10 years & 6 months will ever be registered unless through scholarships. Final point to remember is that there's no guarantee of acceptance - there are more than 800 boys chasing after 250 odd places! Good luck!
I think that Winchester is a priority for my DH because geographically it is perfect, both in terms of distance from both sets of grandparents and other family members and for our DS to travel to school by himself. He can fly into Southampton airport, jump on the train and be in his boarding house after a 10 minute journey. Also DH likes the concept of 'Div' which he thinks DS would love. DH went to a liberal public school with no school uniform and struggles with the Eton uniform and quite likes the fact that when we looked round Winchester the boys clearly looked suitably dishevelled for teenage boys. DH will avoid wearing a suit at all costs now!
Although it may sound ridiculous, I think it can sometimes be a disadvantage coming from such a well known public school. The old Etonians I know definitely keep it under their hat until they know you well. Unfortunately, others will pigeon hole you as posh if you went to Eton, whereas you are pigeon holed as clever and quirky if you went to Winchester assuming people have heard of it. If my DS has to be pigeon holed I would rather my son was in the later category.
Yotty, as I said above, I think Winchester is a great choice if you, your DH, your DS and his headmaster all think so. Both of my brothers were there and were happy (and are now successful).
A couple of points about your post above. My DS and his friends would have preferred to have had no uniform but if they had to wear one "it might as well be distinctive and wind people up. We don't want to look like old people in blazers or tweed jackets".
Eton have "divs" as well.
You're right that some recent Etonians (most?) play down where they went to school. On the other hand people seem to find them (irrationally) fascinating when they find out.
Thanks for all your input, but I think we are going slightly off the point. I can't get DH interested in Eton, so you can all tell me how marvellous it is, but he is not budging. I have already gone to look at King's Canterbury against his wishes, which incidentally I thought ticked all the boxes but he thinks is too far into Kent to be sensible (ie. 3 hour drive between Granny and school). So that leaves me with Charterhouse or Canford. Have visited canford which I thought was a really nice, safe choice, but one could say a bit too safe and possibly boring, although when you consider their intake they get very good results so I would like to think the kids must have a pretty good work ethic. However, I know the school empties out at the weekend which seems a shame. Not sure where to go from here.
Based on entry procedures you will have the outcome of Win Coll before you even need to register with any others. Wouldn't touch Canford with a barge pole. Sherborne would be a better option.
I'm another person who has found that old Etonians have always been unfailingly pleasant, interesting and charming (and seemingly class-blind), and that most of their peers from other schools have been twats in comparison.
There's something about Eton that seems to turn out rounded adults, not adolescents.
<Except current cabinet members from Eton of course. They're still twats>
OK, my "problem" with Charterhouse is that our friends (a sample of just one couple with a DS there) think it is full of people with more money than manners. And, as Winchester says, Manners Makyth Man.
etonians are taught to behave like that, it's disingenuous and kind of creepy
If you are willing to consider Canford (ie mixed), have you thought of Sevenoaks? That is in Kent but not deepest Kent like Canterbury - not sure where you are based though...
Yes, I have considered Canford. I like it. It seems a lovely rounded and safe place to send a child to school. However, I would say that my DS is a bit quirky and therefore, I worry that I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. He loves having conversations with people (preferably adults) about things he has read or current affairs. Would any of his peers be interested at Canford, sevenoaks, or Charterhouse?
I visited Sevenoaks last summer on a Friday afternoon. An enormous cavalcade of cars was leaving the campus at 4pm. It made me feel like it was more of a day school with boarders, than the other way around, which is an issue in our circumstances. Otherwise I like the IB and the internationalism. You are certainly buying into something different there, which we like.
One my my best friends went there - she is lovely, v clever, funny, outgoing etc. I do think it may be slightly more trad than some. I actually went to Sevenoaks. It is 1/3 boarding 2/3 day - well, it was when I went there. But the boarders are rather like the hub of the school - for some reason the day pupils always wanted to hang around til supper or even til prep at 7. Lots of after school stuff too so lots of pupils around. It is highly selective and has become even more competitive since I went there (left 10 years ago). The current headmistress has really put a lot of effort into re vamping the school and the sports centre and performing arts centres are fab (as you probably will have seen). There were lots of musical and drama people as well as the sporty ones and some rather eccentric ones too. I would have thought your son, if you think he is suited to Winchester, would be more suited to somewhere like Sevenoaks than Canford. But of course this is just my opinion and I don't know your son!
It is also pretty international (although less so until 6th form), and lots of my boarder friends also had parents living abroad like me. Therefore lots of us were around at weekends and we could also go to stay with day pupils if we wanted. So although only approx 1/3 boarders they often have parents living abroad so most hang around at weekends - perhaps more so than the more English schools. And of course the IB is very good.
(I only looked to begin with as I thought it would be a fun thread. I did know someone who went to Stowe... That aside, I was always led to believe that names were put down at birth for all 'these' schools - so if a child doesn't get a place at one school, is there a hope of finding one elsewhere?
Its all down to personal preference we looked at Eton and I wouldn't send the dog there but we've got plenty of friends with children there and in fairness I've never heard a bad word about it. The general consensus from thoses in the know at my sons prep school is that Winchester is for the more intellectual child not just an academic child. Plenty of parents I spoke to felt that their son who are now at Eton and academic would not have been happy at Winchester - parents often say - "not that clever". We had no viable alternative if my DS has not got a place at Winchester or St Pauls. But as someone has already pointed out if you dont get Winchster you've got another two years to find an alternative and thats how we veiwed it. I looked at Tonbridge head came from St Paul's (where my husband was) and really liked it. Its very similar to St Pauls but I admit there are not that many full boarders and we were too far for my son to come home at weekends but there are good train links if you happen to live in the right place. The other schools that boys who dont make it into Winchester/Eton go to at my sons prep school are Oundle and Marlborough.
Absolutely hate Eton with a passion. My two observations (admittedly from 20+ years ago).
Went to play them at tennis when I was at school (academic London private day school). Our tea: orange juice and dry cheap biscuits, served at one end of the room. Their tea: full on cream tea. Great hospitality!
About 5 years later at Cambridge Uni. Everyone mixes regardless of money and background excepy Old Etonians. They drank together and brayed and laughed together.
There were plenty of Wykehamists, Westminster boys and even a member of royalty at college, none of whom joined in with their blatant snobbery. I am not alone in making this observation re Eton. Many people whom I have spoken to since have concurred.
If it has changed 180 degrees, it might be worth considering. Otherwise, seriously, leave Eton well alone if you want your child to be able to interact with anyone not from Eton.
I sometimes go to Winchester College (lunch in boarding houses) at the weekends and there are plenty of boys there - albeit in their pyjamas at midday!
The boys are very nice - very chatty. I particularly know chess boys - so perhaps that makes a difference!
My friend's son went there, and although lives ten-minute drive away didn't see him much at weekends because of Saturday school and son's musical commitments.
The reason Etonians stick together is because of the prejudice they are shown.
I think saying you wouldn't send a dog to Eton is really rather silly.
Anyway, I don't need to defend the place, the fact that the thread mentions Eton more than Winchester speaks volumes!
Back to the OP, again I would say a definite not to Canford and Charterhouse but Sherborne would be good for a boy with a Wykemist personality that couldn't get into Winchester.
Thats interesting, could you give some reasoning beyond the Sherborne thumbs up.
Its all down to personal preference we looked at Eton and I wouldn't send the dog there but we've got plenty of friends with children there and in fairness I've never heard a bad word about it.
Not even your DOG???
But you have plenty of friends who have CHILDREN there???
Seems to me your dog is more precious than your friends' Etonian children. Wonder how on earth you could claim their parents as your 'friends'???
Just didn't like Eton too organised, too perfect didn't suit my ethos on life. Every Etonian I've met old and young has been charming but still not for me.
Happy gardening - interesting that you say Eton was too organised for you. That makes me feel happy about sticking with Winchester as DS hates too much structure. At the moment he loves playing with his friends outside, making up imaginary games or making a movie with a digital camera. He hates being told you are going to a structured activity at certain time and will have to listen to an instructor whilst half the other kids are not even listening.
you'll find that neither planes nor helicopters are susceptible to exocet because it is an anti-SHIP missile. If you're wanting a good quality surface to air missile, I would recommend you try one of these -
I dunno, I thought mumsnetters would be fully genned up on their missile techonology
I very much got the impression at Eton that there is lots of structure offered for the boys at Winchester I felt you have to be a self starter no one is going support you in your every decision. We felt from talking to the boys at Winchester that they are free thinkers who are not being organised all the time.
Glad to hear that Happygardening, I would say my DS is a free thinker. His headmaster has noticed he is not a child who just follows the crowd. Let's just hope he gets offered a place this time next year, then we won't have to think of an alternative.
Eton is not a highly structured school and I really don't know where these ideas come from. I think it probably is a sink or swim school and this is why we chose it. Winchester is nice but definitely mollycoddles its boys and Eton is more edgy and far better preparation for the real world. I know that comment must seem ridiculous but it is true.
The number 1 bus from Town Quay goes past Winchester college so if you happened to sail in...
That's really good to know.
What manner of use are these exocet thingys then? No use at all.
So you think you know everything about the world's most famous school ? That only the rich go there and boys are taught in ancient, buildings without modern facilities ? Think again. This book takes you round the REAL Eton. By Old Etonian, Adam Nicolson, author of Sissinghurst and many other books, and Eric Anderson, a former Headmaster and former Provost of Eton.
For only a tenner and including free shipping, cast that old stereotype monster off your head once and for all.
Just to say I know Bedales fairly well. It's an excellent school, I've seen many different types of children flourish there over the years.
To generalise the children seem friendly, approachable, down to earth and very varied. I've seen v academic children go on to do very well and those with different strengths and weaknesses.
I'm so aghast, I can't bring myself to comment, but I've read many a post!
I think that Charterhouse becomes mixed in the sixth form. I fear that this is the worst possible time for boys to start having day to day involvement with the opposite sex: terrible distraction at a really important time academically. My first choice would always be single sex throughout; but second choice would be mixed from 13.
Wellington really isn't that far from Charterhouse and may be worth a look
I used to feel this way too about mixed sixth forms but apparently it enhances the boys education. Debating is more balanced and the boys knuckle down as they can't bear the thought of a girl beating them academically!
As far as I understand you are right, Pointissima. The girls sleep in a separate house but are part of one of the boys boarding houses at Charterhouse. So they study and eat with the boys. So at 13 the boys are around the girls but the 6th form girls will probably think the junior boys are either cute or annoying! A bit like an elder sister. When they reach the 6th form I think the boys still outnumber the girls 2/1. So most of the boys will be able to 'look' lustfully at the girls but won't get a lookin! From my point of view as a niave mother of 10 and 7 year old boys I think that is quite a good set up. However, not sure I would send a daughter there if I had one!
Reading your posts I wonder if you a Channel Islander?
Would rather not say. Not trying to be unhelpful, just enjoy the annominity (?sp) of this sight.
My brother and I both went to Charterhouse (though not at the same time). It was quite a long time ago now but if you PM me, I can answer any questions about it.
We had a very good headmaster, and an excellent housemaster which I think had a very big impact on our experience of the school.
The co-ed sixth form worked well for me (I was previously at an all girls school which I hated) and I'd say for the majority of boys/girls.
I would totally suggest Bedales - especially if OP's son not particularly sporty but loves drama. If there is anyone less cool than an Old Etonian I have yet to meet them.
People that say "cool" are generally very uncool! :p Rather be uncool and loaded!
Eton is the Daylesford Organic of public schools - you might as well have an illuminated arrow flashing over your head saying 'smug middle class'
Well, we did the Charterhouse tour. Very slick organisation! Their marketing person has definitely done their homework. Should we use Charterhouse as a back up? It's very tempting. Or should we settle for Canford as a back up? From my point of view, Charterhouse is more well known than Canford, but Canford has better transport links for us. Otherwise it's hard to choose between the two.
Charterhouse certainly is a great school. A few others :
Canford - Dorset
Bryanston - Dorset
Sherborne - Dorset
Lancing College - West Sussex
Caterham - Surrey
Epsom College - Surrey
I dont know of any comparable school to Winchester like Eton its not everyone cup of tea but I would have thought if you like Winchester you wouldn't be happy with Charterhouse. Why dont you see if your son gets offered a place and then go from there.
Happygardening, could you please expand a little on that comment. I'm not looking at Winchester or Charterhouse (looking for daughter not son) but I think there is something in the difference that could shed a lot of light on my visits to different schools where it is sometimes quite difficult to assess what the school is really like eg I visited a top girl's boarding school which had many strong points but somewhere along the tour it emerged by chance that the common rooms in the boarding houses had labelled seating areas for different years ie only the senior girls were allowed on the sofas.
I do find these type of threads rather odd,people just seem to throw in names of any private school theyve heard of.
If someone asks for advice on say a single sex ,non academic rural school,people will say have you tried...and these schools will often be totally different,dual sex ,city,academic or whatever,so someone asks about Eton they get recommened Bedales,,bizzare..
Dusty,what are you looking for,you need to narrow your search,academic,single sex,rural,sport, full boarding,flexi,day,what type of exams etc etc,give a few pointers and then hopefully people who actually know something will be able to help...
I agree propatria. Once you pick a school like Winchester you have probably done a fair amount of research and discounted the rural, non-selective, co-ed school in the highlands!
No we hadn't discounted the rural, co-ed school in the Highlands although we knew we wanted academically selective. Within a few weeks of my son arriving at his prep (six years ago how time flies) Winchester was suggested and the school hadn't sent a boy to Winchester for nearly 20 years; the bright and able go to Eton and our plan had been St Paul's (my husbands school). The then head suggested it and he was widely acknowledged to be brilliant at fitting the right child to the right school. But when we went to look at it on the open day I was disappointed. It was only on subsequent visits including lunch in one of the boarding houses and after being offered a place a meeting with the head that I was finally able to see what it was all about and why it was different although not necessarily better than others but better for us.
I think you have to decide what you want and perhaps more importantly what sort of person your child and your family are. Are you pushy, interested in results, universities, music, sport fussy uniforms (a big no for me). Do you and your child want co-ed single rooms, designer bathrooms or are all these things of no importance. One mum on a visit to Winchester insisted on seeing the showers, the house master was flabbergasted "madam you dont choose whether or not to send your child to Winchester because of the bathrooms!" Try, and I know its difficult, to meet the pupils when there not on show. As the housemaster at Winchester said its not the building that matters come and meet the boys and see how boys from this house turn out. Talk to everyone you can, keep asking the same questions - the ones that matter to you ask the pupils, masters, matrons, admin staff, other parents. We looked at Stowe for my older son and were as usual late and were shown round a house by a matron she gave us the most honest appraisal of it - she loved it but we hated it because of what she said. It wasn't for us but plenty of people dont feel that way. Dont be influenced by other parents unless they are looking for exactly the same thing you are but its always worth listening to their views because from what they say you might get a feel for the school.
In this day and age of corporate imagery and clever marketing it is virtually impossible to separate one school from the other as one father said to me "for £30,000 PA they've all got Olympic size swimming pools, 200 acres of playing fields and books going back to the 13th century but what I want to know is what is the ethos that underpins these places". Let face it theyve all got good teachers and bad teachers hundreds of clubs/activities and nearly all have pretty good results now a days.
We recently attended a New Mens lunch and I came away feeling very positive about our choice; we agonised over it for months - my DS was also offered St Pauls. I hope that in Winchester weve found an ethos that fits with ours, I have manage do see what makes it different but only after looking very long and hard. Good luck with your search
Happygardening, there must be something about the open day because after very many years of trying to choose between Eton and Winchester I had decided on Winchester and thought I would cement my decision by taking younger son to the open day. I was very disappointed and pretty cross by some of the things said by the Head boy in his speech, and quite a number of the boys were cripplingly shy which really shocked me. So I withdrew our acceptance.
propatria - it sounds a bit like the baby name threads. "please help me choose between Mark and Paul. Answer: well I think Beelzebub is the best name ever."
The odd thing is that you can do all the due diligence you like but you can't test one of the fundamental determinants of your child's happiness - the mix of boys/girls who will enter your child's house in the same year group.
I agree with happygardening, you actually have to spend some time in these schools to really get under their skin. Your opinion can also get swayed by who you meet on the day. I have now met 4 housemaster at Winchester. Ironically the first one was a completely arrogant arse (ex public schoolboy), the others were delightful(not ex public schoolboys). I grilled one of them for an hour and came away thinking, that man would really care about my son's development, both intellectually and pastorally. My husband and son had lunch at a house recently and my husband enjoyed chatting to the 14 year old boys who were all very eager to chat to him.
Unfortunately, none of us have time to spend hours at a school and I am sure most schools have not got endless time to spend with hundreds of prospective parents either, so we all have to go with elements of:does it tick most of the boxes; do we get the right vibes from the atmosphere/ethos; does our child want to go there.
Yotty I'm curious which house did you choose? Maybe you dont want to say! We met one who was an unbelievable arse.
I would recommend Dr Cullerne. We met him and then the "arse" and I couldn't be annoyed looking at any more because Cullerne was so great.
Is Cullerne housemaster of Trant's?
I dont agree grovel my son is unhappy at his current boarding prep not because of the children in his year group but because of the ethos that underpins the school. There's nothing wrong with it and many thrive and enjoy it but its just not right for him and a handful of others like him.
happygardening, I'm sure you are right. My post was not aimed at anyone - I was just musing on one of the uncertainties for parents in the school selection process.
Both of my brothers were at Winchester (a longish time ago). They loved it. Both were useless at sport.
I know it as Bramstons but they have about five different names - all very confusing!
Happygardening, lots of very able children are never very happy at their preps because a prep tends to have more of a one-size approach and I particularly find boys preps to be quite harsh.
I feel very fortunate that my DS who is quirky, has never had any problems with his peer group at prep school. He has a wacky sense of humor, so I think the kids think he is somewhere between mad and funny. However, it does worry me how he will get on at a boarding school. Which is why I stress about finding the right school for him if he doesn't get into Winchester. Today, I am thinking about Bryanston, which is academically at the other end of the spectrum to Winchester, but does have a liberal, arty ethos, which appeals.
Colleger, will probably be horrified! My concern about Bryanston is, will my DS have enough bright kids around him to stimulate him? Also, I wonder if it attracts the kids who have been trouble in other schools? Also, do the kids disappear to London at the weekends to go night clubbing and do drugs?
I genuinely know quite a bit about Bryanston but won't go into it here. It would not be right for a quirky, very bright boy - Eton would be better! I think your son will get into Winchester by the sounds of it but if not he needs to be in an environment that is not too liberal.I know I said Winchester is liberal but not in the same way Bryanston is! If I were you I would consider a school with a very strong musical ethos as a back up as musicians are often quirky and genteel in the same way Wykemists are. King's Canterbury would be a good choice and in that area is Sevenoaks too. Sherborne is also known for it's music and a far nicer school (in terms of cohort) than Bryanston.
I wouldn't touch Bryanston with a barge pole there is no provision for the super bright and they all go home at the weekend. Sit it out and see if you get a place at Winchester if you dont you've still got another two years to make a decision. My son does not fit the box to quote Kipling he is the "cat that walks by himself" but he's full boarded for six years and I dont worry about him boarding for another five. I don't think its boarding that has made him unhappy at school just not fitting the schools box, he is his own man with very strong opinions and unwilling to make any changes to try and fit it.
P.S. Not an insomniac just working nights.
Thanks for your comments. You are probably right. I should sit tight and hope he gets in. I was just trying to make sure I don't miss out on any other alternatives that also pre test or registrations close early.
Colleger, I totally agree that Kings Canterbury would be a suitable alternative. Unfortunately, can't get husband interested as it is too far east and they don't have any exeat weekends between beginning/end of term and half term without Saturday school. Therefore, DS could only come home for holidays and half term because we live too far away. Could you possibly PM me re your knowledge of Bryanston.
Kings Canterbury is our prep schools local school and my DS friend is going onto Bryanston. You can register at both after you hear about Winchester. Bryanston pre test is I believe is done the academic year before entry (does that makes sense). Anyway if he's really suitable for Winchester then he should walk that infact if he's suitable for Winchester then he should be going for a scholarship to either of those two therefore you dont need to register early!
Also Winchester is not that oversubscribed 2-3 applicants for every 1 place becasue the house masters only allow a certain number to registered.
"The odd thing is that you can do all the due diligence you like but you can't test one of the fundamental determinants of your child's happiness - the mix of boys/girls who will enter your child's house in the same year group."
grovel's point is well made. I know 3 boys who were very happy in their prep schools, were really looking forward to boarding, at Eton and Westminster. It was precisely the mix of boys in their respective houses and year group that made all three leave, one to another house and two to different schools. It would have been impossible for their parents and the rest of us who knew them well to have foreseen this. They too chose their school/house with due diligence.
Happily they all settled into their new schools/house, but with hindsight, that year must have been very unhappy for them. Most children fit well into their school/house, and schools at that level do much to make things work, but you can't choose the other boys and they spoiled things badly for those three.
Have been fascinated to read the comments. I have a slightly dyslexic ds who is quirky, sporty (athletics) and witty plus reasonably bright. He chose to go to St Bedes because (a) he can be a day boy and wanted more friends nearer to home and (b) it was louder than the other school he was originally keen on. I am happy for him to go there because they are very good at dealing with those who progress at different rates in the various subjects and they produce very confident young people with a sense of proportion. In the end I think one has to go with the gut instinct - does the place feel right to you? And, just as importantly to your child?
I think its hard for children to know if the place "feels right"; God knows its hard enough for adults to know and we should hopefully be less swayed by clever marketing, huge swimming pools and gyms. I'm not saying we should ignore what our children think obvioulsy they have to be fully on board when it comes to choosing a school but I just dont think 8 - 10 year olds are necessarily able to seperate the wood from the trees.
Colleger many thanks for your comment about clever children in prep chools I feel much better having read it. I agree with you his school is harsh and although my DS appears happy (he is a closed book) he finds the environment very difficult.
We've only two weeks to go before they break up and he can now clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Happygardening, thanks for answering my question so usefully and loved your story about inspecting the showers at Winchester.
happygardening thanks for that tip.... and where the showers clean ?
I dont know I dont think I've ever looked at a shower!
I would be rather annoyed if a Housemaster recounted any story about a parent looking round. It says more about the Housemaster than the visiting parent.
The fact is if I am spending a minimum of £150k on my child's education I want to make sure that the facilities are not substandard, and quite frankly there are a lot of shawdy boarding houses in every Public School. As it is I have never asked to look in a shower but we wouldn't buy a car (that costs less) without examining every aspect. Houses and boarding school are close to the two most expensive purchases and yet how long do we spend looking round a house, checking everything works, turning on the taps etc? Not long enough and it is the same with schools! I really wanted to see a class at work when looking round Eton but that was not available to see except for in the DT and Art departments.
Hi colleger this was not a housemaster recounting a story about a parent. It happened when I was on a tour of one of the boarding houses at the open day.
Interesting history of comments here. We're looking at Winchester because they have dropped A-Levels; any school who's gutsy enough to hold two fingers up to government education policy must be doing something right. At the moment son is in a supposedly 'academic' independent day school for boys: turns out they're only box-tickers like all the others. We visited Winchester in June, had a great tour, and were invited on the spot to lunch with the Master and boys. Next week son is going back to spend Sun/Mon/Tues boarding and seeing what the classes are like. Up to now all our dealings with the school have been very positive--we shall see if the boy likes it. Incidentally, he's 12. This is a last minute attempt, as we had no idea we wanted to send him to boarding school when we were supposed to get the ball rolling. So now it's down to about 15 places left for Scholars. Please, nobody tell me how difficult this is going to be!
Good luck there OldBroom! would like to the prep as we are trying to move DS to a supposedly academic boys prep to help him get into Winchester and don't want to end up at the same box-ticking school!
Would like to know the prep!!!
Honestly? Its notoriously difficult probably the hardest in the country. To get it you not only have to be incredably bright but your child has to be really industrious and hard working prepared to give their all to it. My nephew went to a London day school where they started preparing for it in year 7 and I think this is standard stuff. Their standard entry papers are GCSE level and beyond; I know that parts of the Latin paper are AS level and the same for the maths. I was told that the Eton scholarship is A level standard so God knows what level the Win Coll scholarship papers are. You need to be in a prep school which is familiar with its requirements and has the infra structure to provide lessons at the required level not just a normal bog standard scholarship level. Having said this my son who sat the standard entrance test was telling me that he has scholars in all his classes (they are streamed) including French and maths. The school will send you copies of the standard entrence papers why don't you look at these and see if your son is working even at this level.
On a more positive note its a wonderful school with a wonderful caring ethos.
Let's be clear, their standard scholarship papers are more like A'level!
the boys still look darned scruffy when they wander around town at lunchtimes though
not a tucked in shirt between them
OldBroom, how about Rugby? Moved to Cambridge Pre-U to replace A levels in most traditional subjects.
Nice to know they're producing normal boys then. What a dumb comment TalkinPeace2
I couldn't care less what my son dresses like if that sort of thing bothered me there's a well known school off the M4 I could have sent him too. As the head master said the other day have chosen to send your son to the "best school in the world" how they dress is immaterial.
Now let's not fall out HappyGardening!
Sorry collager hope you're ok any news
As a teenager it was easy to spot a Wykemist walking up the High Street. Shirt always hanging out but always with a turned up collar for some reason. Very neat hair, lambswool jumper always hanging over the shoulders and more often than not very very dishy!
I have friends who have dcs at Canford and are very happy with it. I also have a dh who went there and so I can endorse the Canford product!
Is Winchester reasonably generous with bursaries? Are are they only for scholars or can also-rans apply?
Not sure how generous they are, but as I understand it, you sit the scholarship and if you are successful they will offer a means tested bursary. So if you can afford it you get no financial award but if you need financial help they will help you out accordingly. Can't say I have looked into it for my son as he is not in the Winchester scholarship league. However, he is more likely to be offered a scholarship at a less academically prestigious school (according to his headmaster). So if he gets into Winchester we will have to pay the full wack or we apply elsewhere and get a fee reduction if he gets offered a scholarship. Tough choice!
Winchester are very very generous with their bursaries and you don't have to be a scholar to get one.
Yotty, don't know where you got to on this, but we considered Winchester for our DS as well as him remaining where he is. The final choice was his and he decided to stay; he'd thought it through. He has cousins there and the overall education is absolutely fantastic. Personally I'm not fussed about the showers if the teaching is good. But, and it is a but, his cousins say that in general people come from London, Winchester, or a long plane ride away and Sundays after chapel can be a bit lonely when people disappear so it might be good to get a few friends for him to visit until he settles in.
Thanks DottyT, I suspected that was the case. One housemaster told me that about half the house disappeared on a Sunday afternoon. Part of the reason Winchester suits us is that we do have friends and family within an hour of the school, so I console myself with the thought that hopefully there will be somebody we can call on to take him out for lunch if he feels lonely. Personally, I would love to be seeing him every weekend, so I can understand why it is allowed. It's just tough when you live too far away to make it viable.
Sometimes I wonder if somewhere like Marlborough, which is that bit further from London has more kids around at the weekends. Does anybody have any views?
I'm sure the co-ed factor makes both boys and girls want to stay in at the weekend!
once he settles down there won't be a problem. and it is a fantastic school - would have been thrilled if DS had decided to go. (NB - the latin and french papers at the standard non scholarship level are testing and one friend says that at her DS's prep school - well known, academic - the Pauls, Westminster and Winchester applicants are all advised to have separate tutoring on top of their ordinary schooling in those two subjects. But once you're there it's fine and at this age it's not hard to catch up; boys come from a variety of backgrounds and schools. )
dottyT is right the Latin and French papers for non scholars are difficult and extra tuition maybe required, Winchester are aware that both are often poorly taught in prep schools so I understand are less worried about "poor" marks in those subjects than in Maths (not an easy paper either) or English. If your child is at a boarding prep. school you do need to keep a particular eye on whats going on and check regularly that your DS is getting appropriate level of teaching. They should at the very least be in the scholarship stream because the exams require detailed discursive answers rather than descriptive answers or just regurgitating facts onto paper as required for CE. The best thing you can do is be at a prep that has recent experience of the exams.
With regard to weekends yes lots of boys do go home or shall we say out on Sunday but this also happens at Eton and I suspect Marlborough as well its just how things are but there are activities all day on Saturday right up until bed time and my DS says as the boys get older they seem less inclined to go home.
good to hear that from happygardening. we didn't think the maths was especially difficult; for the english you need to familiarise yourself with the format of the papers but thereafter quite fun and ditto history -but you need to point out to ds that one needs to back up opinion with facts or examples, not just factoid. it's all about getting dss to think. the interview with the headmaster emphasises that too. btw, school ds is at is just as scruffy in terms of attire.
Maybe I'm just a slob and I am very opposed to outdated ridiculous uniforms, no names no pack drill, but I don't think the boys look that scruffy! I thought the boys at St Paul's looked scruffy not that it bothered me.
I am considering Leighton Park for my 2 sons, any advice? I love the school, the new head and the feel of the school but I am not sure. My sons are both highly able.
I wouldn't chose or discount a school based on uniform. If it was the best school then I would send a child there, regardless if the uniform appeared absurd!
I know nothing Leighton Park but in my experience and opinion very bright children are much happier in very selective schools like Winchester and St Pauls. I'm sure lots will disagree!
I think boys would be happier at Winchester than St Paul's!
St Pauls is a wonderful school but I suspect that if you like leighton park which I've discovered is a Quaker school then I suspect it's not for you a bigger contrast would be harder to imagine. I was just using it as an example of a very selective school. Winchester is much gentler.
Ooh Happygardening, you make me feel very confident we made the right decision to register our DS1 for Winchester. Let's hope he gets in. Will have to wait until June to find out whether we need a plan 'B'. Realised 2 boys at DS's school are applying to Charterhouse. Will be interested to see if they get in. Both of them are quite bright but, neither of them as far as I know are interested in books or academic work! If they get offered places it would put me off Charterhouse as a plan 'B' for our DS. Not because I don't want my son to be with them, more to do with the fact that my DS is so different from them.
We never had a plan b we were just fortunate and got both wincheste and St pails before I knew I spent agonis
Sending off iPhone so keep pressing wrong button! I spent hours agonising over a Plan b but could never come up with a viable alternative to either one suspect we would have looked at the state sector as we have an excellent comp where we live I don't think I would have been prepared to pay for any of the others!
Thinking about it (its seems so long ago now) the only other school I looked at was Tonbridge; head at one time sir master (deputy head) at St Paul's and it has a very similar feel to it. But only a handful of full boarders mostly weekly boarders and 40% day so you have to either live locally or London (good train links) and I don't do either any more. I think you were interviewed in year 6 like Winchester. A good academic school maybe not Win Coll or St Pauls but definitely pretty selective but the downside is its very sporty, fab sporting facilities (well it might be a downside depending on your child) but it has a similar 21st century feel to it that you find at St Pauls. My DH would also say full of Kent people who he thinks are not exactly cosmopolitan and broad minded!!
Yotty, I would not be put off a school based on whether they took two boys that you deem (where is your evidence) are not interested in academics. Schools take a wide range of pupils so that the school will be balanced. I know Winchester has even admitted a handful of slightly below par boys who have siblings at the school or are exceptional at music.
Magdalen College School and Abingdon are also very good schools. A small number leave Winchester to go to MCS each year and the boys are very similar. It has no boarding but Abingdon has and I know a number of exceptionally able boys there with the majority being very bright.
For me, theres no substitute for a premier school with ultra modern facilities coupled with a traditional classy uniform that most people only ever wear it once in a lifetime on their wedding day. But eight hours later the uniform soon morph into patched jeans and tracksuits and whatever else ultra modern teenagers wear. Floreat Etona!
Abingdon is highly regarded I live fairly near to it and I know the last head he's very nice and charming but conservative with a small c. The school has significantly improved under his leadership but the general opinion locally is that it is very conservative. Lots have no problems with this but it is a bit of a contrast to Win Coll. There are also not that many boarders and I would have thought unsuitable if you want full boarding.
Colleger, you are right about a school taking a range of boys. It just alarmed me slightly that the parents of those boys thought that Charterhouse was the right place for them, which made me question my choice of Charterhouse as a back up if my DS doesn't get into Winchester.
I am inclined to agree with Happygardening when she says she would have considered local school as no viable alternative to Winchester worth paying for. Don't believe in sending DS to boarding school just for the sake of boarding at £30000 a year when there is an OK grammar down the road.
We have the best perfoming comp in the county on our doorstep DS1 attends. It frequently out performs some of our less selective local private schools. I suspect that if DS2 hadn't got Win Coll/St Pauls we would have sent him there till 16 and then reviewed the situation again.
Have you thought about Westminster? I found it to have a feel of Win and Eton combined. Uber academic and very quirky. It was my preference but DS wanted to go to Eton.
Westminster is fab. but boarders are in the minority I think if my memeory serves me correct yotty doesn't live on the main land. I always think when it comes to choosing a boarding or day school with boarders you dont want to be in a minority especially if you parents aren't close by.
Yes you're right Happygardening, really need full boarding. I want him to settle in and feel comfortable in his environment, so he is happy at the weekends as he will not be able to go home every weekend.
I asked about Marlborough because I could see from their website that there seemed to be plenty going on at the weekends. Maybe other schools do do stuff on Sundays, but just don't mention it.
yotty do remember that if the schools you are choosing do Saturday school in the morning and sport on Saturday afternoon then Sunday is their only downtime. At prep school IMO it is vital that they are kept busy but at senior school it is less important. We too lived/live overseas and needed full boarding. Our DD (who is now at university) used Sunday to catch up on work and just relax. There were some trips but she seemed happy to chill out! Our DS is at a different school and the same is true. They seemed to be busy on Sundays when he first joined at 13/14 but since then and now in the sixth form he is happy to watch a DVD, walk to the nearby town to buy food or complete his prep. That is if he is not away doing an outdoor activity with the school.
It is of course important to have a core of full boarders regardless of the weekend activity programme.
The only activities at Win Coll on Sunday afternoon are the DT and art rooms are open and i think the gym. But the boys are so busy the rest of the week this is the only time they have to do nothing so I don't think it's a bad thing. They can of course go into Winchester many houses have their own areas for football and games etc and their own libraries.
Yotty, it has just occurred to me that you should consider Oundle. Fantastic academics and although there are day pupils the boarding is very strong and children do not leave at the weekend. In fact the school has no Exeats so you would not need to worry about pick-ups until half term and end of term. I know a number of prep Headmasters who have chosen the school based on it's boarding routine because they could not get away from school to pick up their children quite so regularly. It would definitely be my co-ed school of choice based on academics, music, extra-curric and nice environment.
Nearest airport would be Luton with Birmingham and Heathrow the next nearest.
A couple of boys on my DS old prep went to Oundle I understand it has an excellent science dept. The boys who went are very happy although one found it very difficult initially. There are lots of London children there. Win coll head came from Oundle. Buy still wound not have sent my DS there if he had not got win coll or St Pauls. We sacrifice a lot to pay th school fee and will only do it if it is exactly what we want.
Interesting view HappyGardening and in some ways I agree and disagree! Of course it is a lot of money but I do wonder if there really is a huge difference between all of these schools. I do think Winchester is unique, fantastic and a real gem, I think St Pauls is awful (sorry) and miles apart in every way from Winchester. When it became apparent that DS2 wouldn't get into Eton or Win we decided that Purcell was worth the money over any other school but if he wasn't going there then I wouldn't choose the local comp over Oundle or Harrow or Marlborough for example.
These "other" public schools must be doing something right and given that they are very oversubscribed plenty people must think they are worth the money.
yotty, only you know your DS. if he is intellectually curious and has enough self confidence to deal with the range of the seriously able around him, Wincoll is great, although convincing non UK universities about the pre U might be interesting if one were going down that route.
But for plan b, think about how important the life of the mind is to him because if it is, you don't want to send him somewhere where he will be despised for being intellectual if he isn't in the scholar's house or whatever. Having to pretend to be stupid or incurious and being unable to find people of a similar mindset is a recipe for misery especially in a boarding school. That's more important than the Sunday question, I feel (and much more important than uniform!). Also think about whether you want co-ed or not.
Finally, we looked at both the exit destinations of schools, not just Oxbridge which can feel like a lottery these days, but the Russell group over all, and also - important then for our DS - how many boys pursued not only maths but further maths at A level or equivalent (and their results). Difficult to tell of course at pre U or IB, but you'd be surprised at how many schools failed those two hurdles and how many Heads failed to know their data. Including some of those mentioned above.
Dotty T, you have hit the nail on the head re plan B. DS1 is a bit of a Rowan Atkinson type character, ie. bit geeky, but really great sense of humour, so people seem to find him amusing and is at the moment quite popular at school. But if he didn't make it into Winchester I wonder if he would be happier at a day school where he can at least walk out the school gates at 4pm, rather than deal with the rough and tumble of a boys boarding house 24/7.
Win coll sent nearly 40% to oxbridge this year more than Eton or St pauls the only other boys school to beat it was Westminster and they have a mixed 6 th form so the pre u is not causing them problems.
There is much more to a school than exam results. If that was the only focus I would have sent DS to Westminster. These results are also obtained from being super selective. Many boys that get into Eton are in the top 40% whereas Winchesters are the top 5%. in theory a school like Eton has better teaching if statistics are viewed accurately. I think the year before or a couple of years before 37% went to Oxbridge from Eton and 30% from Winchester - results fluctuate, and not everyone chooses Oxbridge, I hope my sons don't!
Yotty, I think you should have another look at other schools in case Winchester is not an option. It's a great school but in all seriousness it cannot possibly be the only genteel, academic school that has a high number of quirky boys. Plinking for the local independent could be a big mistake as could discounting every other Public school in the country. Your son should be the priority, not perceived value for money! I do think you should have a look at Oundle, if it's location is doable, over Charterhouse.
Plumping not plinking - darn spell checker!!!
I was not trying to discuss exam results just picking up on the point that dottyT made about the Pre U; "Wincoll is great, although convincing non UK universities about the pre U might be interesting if one were going down that route."
A boy at my DS prep went to Oundle he was certainly quirky although not exactly a rocket scientist. I'm unsure about Marlborough I hear mixed things about it (its one of our local independent schools). We have some friends who looked at it for their daughter and felt they weren't posh enough or smart enough which was ironic as they were hereditary peers who owned half the county, lived in a 35 bedroomed pile and their sons were Eton. They were very down to earth people and they felt it was full of rich Londoners. I've heard similar things from other people. But I'm sure others will disagree.
Happy gardening, would love to know more about what you hear about Marlborough. I too have heard that wearing the 'right' clothes, going to the 'right' ski resort and being seen in the 'right' London nightclub are high on the agenda at Marlborough. This has mainly come from parents of children who are at less academic schools and one wonders how much of these stories are 'sour grapes'. That being said, the above things are definately NOT high on our agenda and if my sons where interested in those things I would very disappointed. The thing that actually appeals to me about our local school is that the social mix of boys would be greater, which in my boys cosy prep school world would be no bad thing.
The other negative I have heard about Marlborough is that you need to be a roughty-toughty boy to survive. My son is not a wimp and is pretty resilient, but he is not confrontational and does not have an aggressive bone in his body. I would hate his gentle nature to be taken advantage of. Maybe you need to be a roughty-toughty at any boarding school!
I'd say Charterhous may be more roughty toughty than Marlborough. All of these schools have a large London contingent but the girls tend to come from all over and there is a massive West Country/West Berkshire contingent. I suspect more social climbers will be trying to get in but as they've upped their academic selection then I'm sure there will be an increase in quirky kids. Remember that a lot of parents are dead against single sex and would rather send their quirky child to Marlborough than Winchester.
I think collegers point about not wanting single sex is very valid this makes Marlborough popular especially if they are uping the academic criteria. it also obviously has excellent road links with London so another plus with London parents. The friends who looked at it did so before anyone had even heard of Kate Middleton and yet she came away with the impression that it was very smart even then. The comments you make yotty about the right skiing holiday etc it exactly what I and my DH who works only a stone throw away from it also hears all the time. I never know how true these rumours are I think people do over exaggerate but I was very surprised how strongly our friends felt about it.
How roughty toughty do you need to be at a boarding school? Thats a very good question. My DS at 13 is now entering his 7th year of full boarding I wonder what he would say? I think you have to be resilient. Boys tease each other, push and shove a bit and roll on each other. A deputy head friend of mine once said that boys can easily step over the line from friendly banter to unkindness without always realising it. The art is to let them banter, push and shove etc. because thats what boys do and its part of growing up but gently intervene when that line is accidentally crossed.
Colleger, You may well have a point re the coed/single sex thing. Ironically, the thing I liked about both Charterhouse and some of the Marlborough houses was that they have 6th form girls in them. I was rather hoping this would take the rough edges of the testosterone element. He probably won't get a look in with the girls when he is a 6th former, but when he is 13 the 6th form girls will probably think he is sweet!
Yotty, I think you just need to do all you can to make sure DS will go to Winchester. How old is he? Time to take up the bassoon methinks!
He is 10. Pre test next term. Doing grade 3 clarinet next month. Ironically, more macho younger brother is learning the mini bassoon!
Yotty, how I feel for you - such a hard time for parent and child.
- I was making the point about the preU for non-UK universities -I missed out the hyphen - not UK ones. Just that should you want to consider eg the Ivy League/West Coast, you'll probably need to make more of the running. That's not a strong argument against the preU, it's just a factor to take into account;
-In your shoes I'd be scrutinising the Times lists of A level/IB results for the other options and looking at the number of A* in your DS's current strengths but bearing in mind his preferences can change. Where the Times doesn't give them, the Headmaster's office will (DS's school doesn't give them out to the exam table crew). I also did a bit of analysis around gender differentials - having girls can boost results. If looking at co-ed it's perfectly reasonable to ask for the gender breakdown by subject. One co-ed school we looked at produced large numbers of high flying girls, and high flying arts students of both genders; they were much weaker on the sciences and for boys more generally. That was not immediately apparent from their data nor prospectus;
- And, wherever he ends up it sounds as though he'll do well. What's his opinion? Taking the long view, at 40 probably few people will care. He'll have made his networks for himself, through school or otherwise.
Or so I used to tell myself and at that point I headed for the glass of Sancerre. I still regret our DS not going to Winchester on some levels but he'll be fine where he is. So will your DS, wherever he goes. Try not to worry overmuch, get him some extra tuition if you can, in the hols or whenever, and good luck.
Thanks for your thoughts DottyT. I feel very lucky that DS is doing well at school and seems very happy at his prep school. He really wants to go to Winchester so let's hope he gets in!
I do try to analyse the results, both in the newspapers and on school websites. That is why I was thinking about Marlborough, as it seems to do well in terms of results and is full boarding and is geographically in almost in the right area. Oundle is just not a good location for us. I have visited King's canturbery, which I liked but DH says too far away from family. Winchester is the perfect location for us, so no pressure on DS!
In terms of results, Canford seem to do really well considering broad intake of children and location is good too. It just doesn't seem to have the kudos of Marlborough and empties out at the weekends.
Sorry, yotty,didn't mean to teach MNs to suck eggs... Are the west country schools (further west than canford) suitable re distance? but also, the a34 is quite a fast road, as is the M3 going against the traffic, if you take a car up to the Thames based schools. Radley? I think the problem is that correspondents know nice young men coming from these and a number of others.
Sherborne is a lovely genteel school.
Mmm,genteel is not a word I would use for Sherborne,I know three sets of parents that removed children in the last couple of years due to pastoral issues,
I've heard the same thing about Sherborne lots of promises but all failed to materialise especially re:pastoral care a friend son left very disappointed but he did say the teaching was of a good standard.
Been asking locals about Marlborough it is considered to be very smart most people with kids at local prep schools who I've spoken to view it as place for the social climbers. As a general principle local prep ed. children go to schools in Cheltenham, Bath or Abingdon or Dauntsey. Non Yotty of these are going to do what you want I suspect.
Don't even touch the Cheltenham schools. They're as unselective as it gets!
Thanks for asking around Happygardening. I suspect all the schools you mentioned will get the thumbs down from DH due to distance, but thank you for giving it some thought. I think we are just going to have to sit tight and wait until the summer, when we find out whether he has a place at Winchester or not. In the meantime I will just have to keep myself so busy that I don't have time to think about it.
Colleger is right about Cheltenham and apart from Abingdon none of the others are particularly selective and as I've already said none are a viable alternative to Win Coll. But be optimistic yotty unlike St Pauls Harrow and Eton there are only about 3 applicants for each place. From talking to housemasters they seem to offer out more than 12 places because they know some will drop out so your DS stands a good chance.
Winchester Scholarship or Election exams are much easier than Eton's because they are looking for something else apart from the academic prowess of a boy. There must be an additional spark. Eton simply has to go on the 'marks' route just because of the number of boys that try for scholarship. Believe me, I know :-)
oops, sorry but I'm new to this...thought my comment above about the scholarship exams would come right after the previous comment asking about how they are!
IMHO Winchester best school in the country*. Not mollycoddled as someone said & in fact all boys encouraged to be "doers" and take own resposibility so all from there I know are scarily self sufficient and confident but school ethos is to be modest. It is a relatively small school (670) compared to eg Eton and we have been really pleased at how from the start DS knew boys (or as they say - men) from all through the school and they him. It is a real community.
When DS applied we did not have a plan B. DS had visited Westminster , Eton, Harrow , Marlborough - Wincoll only one he really really wanted to go to - so if your DS , his school and you want it and think it is right for him - just do it .
Plenty of Wincoll boys go to US universities. Pre U not an inhibitor.
* Other opinions are available - please no-one take offence
I obviously agree with MsTownmouse "Winchester is best school in the country" and if -you persevere beyond the open day- you will find it is entirely unique which is why she and yotty couldn't/cant find an acceptable alternative; when you look at others they are just not the same this is not a criticism of them just how it is. Some people of course don't like it as a friend said "I cant see what I'm buying in too" her son is now very happy at another well know school.
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!
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.
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.
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 ......
A friend whose son started at Bryanston this September told me her son was definitely pre tested!
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.
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.
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?
Have you considered Reed's, can't offer any up to date information however i had a very unsporty close relative who attended.
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.
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.
She tells me that it also runs coaches regularly into London at exeats half/end of terms etc.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Caterham? Close to Gatwick and v nice school.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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