Girls or Mixed Boarding Schools for Sixth Form

(84 Posts)
SRGR Thu 09-Aug-12 09:59:07

My d is not very academically inclined but very interested in music, drama and sports. Any suggestions for a good boarding school for girls or a coed with a balance of this

goinggetstough Thu 09-Aug-12 11:30:54

Hi, what area of the country are you looking at and are you looking for full boarding or weekly boarding?

SRGR Fri 10-Aug-12 04:57:13

Full boarding and as close to London.

SRGR Fri 10-Aug-12 05:11:56

Any views on Clifton College and Badminton? What about Benenden and CLC?

nooka Fri 10-Aug-12 05:46:31

Is Canterbury too far? I went to Kings for sixth form which at the time was very strong on music, and had lots of drama stuff too (I wasn't so interested in the sports, although I believe they have very nice facilities). It was 20 odd years ago though!

teacherwith2kids Fri 10-Aug-12 09:20:09

I believe CLC to be fiercely academic - also has good music, drama, sports, but possibly better for an academic child who ALSO has an interest in these things rather than a less academic child for whom they are the main draw.

(Shuld emphasise that my position is as an observer not a parent)

goinggetstough Fri 10-Aug-12 10:31:08

Would agree with CLC being academic and Kings Canterbury too.
Have you considered St Edwards Oxford - coed?
A bit further out but on a direct line from Paddington.. King College Taunton (would tick all your boxes)

Do ask how many extra boarders they take in the sixth form as it can be difficult to join a year group if there are only 5/6 new sixth formers who are joining a year group who have been together since age 11 or 13.

sue52 Fri 10-Aug-12 10:41:36

There aren't many additional places at Benenden and it's very academic as is Kings Canterbury. Kent College Pembury (girls) is lovely and great for drama and I've haeard good things about Kings Rochester (mixed). A bit further out, Bedales would tick a few of your boxes but it is a "marmite" type of school

crazymum53 Fri 10-Aug-12 10:55:10

Badminton has a very high emphasis on academic results but also quite sporty.
Clifton College has very good drama and music facilities and also sport - not really an academic hot-house although many students do get great results.

IndridCold Fri 10-Aug-12 11:10:28

Have you looked at Bryanston? Lots of DS's sporty/musical friends are going there this September. I know nothing else about it personally, apart from the fact that it looks lovely.

SRGR Fri 10-Aug-12 19:21:15

Any views on Shrewsbury? Some friends were talking of Malvern too. Haven't visited any of these schools so not much insight on any. Saw the boarding houses for girls in Charterhouse. Facilities looked great. But tough to make a choice.

goinggetstough Fri 10-Aug-12 19:43:07

Have heard varying reports about Shrewsbury but only have friends with boys there.
Also have friends with both DSs and DDs at Malvern and they are very happy - DCs are of varying academic ability, lots of sport.
Charterhouse again is quite academic and does a number of pre-u courses.

michaelaB Fri 10-Aug-12 19:53:01

Have a look at Ashford School: 35 min from St Pancras with good music etc.

SRGR Sat 11-Aug-12 03:42:34

Will do some more reading today. Wonder how accurate are the league tables and the school guides on this. Being overseas its tough though it's clear she wants to take up A levels and not IB.

Saritabean Sat 11-Aug-12 03:59:57

Hi there,

Have a look at Queen Anne's caversham (Reading).

Really fantastic all round school with brilliant music, drama and sport facilities... Even though an all girls school, has events with local boys sixth forms too. Great for boarding in sixth form and a really friendly and happy environment! I know cos I used to go there! smile

kerrygrey Sat 11-Aug-12 06:51:32

Shrewsbury and Charterhouse have the advantage that all the 6th girls will be new and therefore keen to make friends. Haven't visited Shrewsbury School but know the town and surroundings, and it's lovely. Less 'metropolitan' than schools nearer London with the problems that can bring.
We did visit Charterhouse with DD, and whilst the facilities were 4* I was put off by boys hanging over the bannisters giving girls marks out of 10 for looks. And it's very focused on academic achievement.

conorsrockers Sat 11-Aug-12 07:28:08

sue52 - Kings Rochester doesn't have boarding for girls (not when I was there anyway), and very few students board.
I wouldn't send my children there - and def. wouldn't recommend it! grin

Benenden and Kings Canterbury are good, but as said before, very academic.

Eastbourne College?

happygardening Sat 11-Aug-12 08:02:54

I would second goinggetstough suggestion St Edwards it is either full boarding or day over 600 out of approx 750 children board but the school is more flexible about coming home for the odd weekend than others, exeats every three weeks, a broad range of abilities, it has a reputation for being very sporty but also fab drama art etc. The standard of pastoral care is becoming legendary and many are trying to copy it. It is more liberal than others and IME less formal which may or may not suit you. Oxford is lovely and many children come from London.
Kent College/King Rochester doesn't have many boarders relatively speaking but we've friends at both with day children and they're happy. Friends at Bryanston are delighted with it although primarily weekly boarders but good links into London, I've recently heard worrying things about Bedales. We know children at Cranleigh it's very sporty mainly weekly boarders and they're very happy, Milfield is of course very sporty lots of negative postings on MN but a friend who has four children there is pleased with it, another friend with 3 DC's at Kings Taunton is pleased. But I would start with St Edwards if I was you.

happygardening Sat 11-Aug-12 08:15:58

Meant to say St Edwards also has a good mix of overseas and UK studentts, Having full boarded my DS's now for over 7 years if your child is not able to come home at weekends for what ever reason only consider a school where the majority full board because whatever the individual schools websites will tell you it's much harder and lonelier to be "in" at the weekend when everyone else has gone home.

oshgosh Sat 11-Aug-12 08:53:35

Have you considered State Boarding Schools?

happygardening Sat 11-Aug-12 09:40:28

The problem is that many state boarding schools only have a relative small number of proper full boarders and I am going to keep saying this because we've been in this position if your child is going to full board then full boarders need to be in the vast majority. If there are mainly full boarders the whole school is geared up to children being there 7 days a week. Also without turning this into a state versus private debate although state boarding is cheaper the facilities at a school like St Edwards et al re going to be vastly superior.

goinggetstough Sat 11-Aug-12 09:41:16

Following on from what HG said about Millfield I too know people who are very happy with it. They said not to be worried about the size of it 1200 as it is broken down into small groups. The houses are the same size as other schools as are the classes. Yes it is excellent for sports but there are numerous activities that pupils take part in that aren't sports orientated.Music and drama are taken seriously too. I believe there is also a large intake at sixth form (100 approx) and a solely sixth form girls house that takes all the new girls. The sixth form is 600 strong I think but you'd need to check.
Agree too about Cranleigh. Great school but full of weekly boarders.
Good luck with your search.

goinggetstough Sat 11-Aug-12 09:43:14

Plus state schools don't often have Saturday school which IMO is important as it pupils have to stay at school and there isn't a mass exodus on Friday evening. Great if you live nearby maybe but potentially disastrous if you are the full boarder left behind.

EdithWeston Sat 11-Aug-12 09:56:48

It's about 125 miles north of London, but worth having a look at Oakham. Coed, offering both A levels and IB, it's very good all round. It's about half and half boy/girl and about half full boarding, but with Saturday activities and a lot of flex boarders too it is a proper community.

happygardening Sat 11-Aug-12 10:38:55

I forgot Oakham it's got a very good reputation but am unsure how many real full boarders IME schools are rather vague about actual numbers. If this matters to you ask specific questions "how many in this boarding house were actually in all weekend? And what year groups were they in? One friend actually walked around a house and at every bed said "was this boy in all weekend?" the so called 50% dwindled to 15%!

SRGR Sat 11-Aug-12 12:39:04

Getting some great views on St Edwards. Will give it a serious thought. Yes, being lonely on weekends can be a challenge. So that's a good point you've made.

grovel Sat 11-Aug-12 13:37:20

Anywhere but Wellington.

kerrygrey Sat 11-Aug-12 17:48:34

I'd second (third?) Oakham too. It's the one we chose over Charterhouse, Oundle and Rugby for 6th form girl

SRGR Sun 12-Aug-12 04:51:39

Kerrygrey is ur DD still at Oakham? Did u consider Malvern or St Edwards at all?

kerrygrey Sun 12-Aug-12 06:36:28

SRGR - No, she's left now and will be going into her final year at Uni in September - so not so long ago. She loved Oakham, made friends quickly, and is still in contact with them though they're widely scattered. She was/is a laid back (lazy?) sort of girl but still did reasonable well and got into an RG university by the skin of her teeth. Have to say she seems to have found a work ethic since going to uni. She tried lots of new things at Oakham and discovered a talent for rifle-shooting and fives!

kerrygrey Sun 12-Aug-12 06:37:20

SRGR - no, we didn't look at Malvern or St Edwards

GettingAMedalSoon Sun 12-Aug-12 07:52:11

Take a look at Frensham Heights in Surrey - music and drama are their strengths. Mixed boarding, liberal attitude, happy kids. Won't suit everyone but may be for you.

outtolunchagain Sun 12-Aug-12 08:49:47

I was also going to suggest Oakham , we know some great children there , very unaffected positive all rounders , good sport , good music and good drama plus IB and A levels

SRGR Sun 12-Aug-12 11:43:33

Grovel - why anywhere but Wellington? Could u throw some more light please?

conorsrockers Sun 12-Aug-12 14:11:20

Don't know if it's too far - but Bethany also a very good school.
I'd second state boarding schools. I have first hand experience, and unless it's your only option and you are only considering weekly I wouldn't personally go down that route. There is a huge difference.

Dustylaw Tue 14-Aug-12 08:51:04

I suggest The Leys. Outstanding facilities, loads of activities, excellent pastoral care and excellent academic attention for a range of ability up to the highest. Also, a number of the day children leave after GCSEs (to go to the local excellent 6th form colleges) and there is a regular intake of new pupils to the sixth form. Dedicated sixth form boarding houses cater for the new ones so they don't feel they are on their own. A short walk into the heart of Cambridge which is great for the pupils.

happygardening Tue 14-Aug-12 09:55:47

Bethanys I know has hardly any full boarders the OP is abroad lots of flexi boarders as well and I think no school on Saturday. We learnt the hard way my DS started in yr 3 at a mainly "full boarding" school but we were full weekly boarding at the time but by the time he got to yr 6 we needed full boarding but by then everyone but a tiny handful weekly boarded and being in with only a handful and skeleton staff was miserable. If you want/need full boarding find school where the over whelming majority full board.
I personally wouldn't touch Wellington with a barge pole because I cant stand the head but we've friends there and they like him (someone has too I suppose!) and they love the school.

grovel Tue 14-Aug-12 10:15:19

Wellington? More money than manners. A PR triumph.

gwenniebee Tue 14-Aug-12 10:18:25

Clifton College better than Badminton if you want more "all-round" education - Badminton is more academic though both good schools. Malvern College (the one that used to be boys only) also very good "all round" and I think they still offer IB or A-levels.

happygardening Tue 14-Aug-12 10:42:36

I thought the words Anthony Seldon and PR were synonymous!

SRGR Tue 14-Aug-12 15:50:09

Thanks for all valuable opinions. Even the website of Clifton seemed to speak a lot of the school. Malvern also looked impressive. Yes, now the rounds of entrance tests. Any tips??

happygardening Tue 14-Aug-12 16:33:39

Most schools will state on their websites the minimum requirements for entry into the 6 th form but in the case of the very selective with jaw dropping results minimum is the operative word! At the very selective your likely to be competing with the super able Chinese. Also schools that are less selective at 13 are more selective at 6 th form they want bright children to improve their overall results and or position in the league tables. The best thing is to ring the admissions dept of a few schools you like the look of before even visiting and get an idea of what they're looking for, how many places, how competitive etc I believe most places are offered out (obviously dependant on GCSE results) by just before/ after Xmas so you need to get move on as I suspect many are over subscribed at 6 th form.

Needmoresleep Tue 14-Aug-12 20:59:08

I am not sure it is just the schools importing "super able Chinese". British Universities have always taken a large number of overseas students, and increasingly moving to Britain for sixth form is seen as a good way to earn a coveted place at a prestigious University, possibly in the States rather than Britain. There are also advantages for many in having at least part of your education in English.

Two nephews who were brought up and educated in Hong Kong and Italy respectively are now at sixth form in Britain.

One way of gauging likely competition is to look at relevant threads on The Student Room website. The Westminster threads are scary, but there are other mixed sixth forms (Sevenoaks, Rugby etc) which also seem to come up as schools that very bright international students will try for.

That said most schools will be aiming to retain some sort of balance. Its not all about results...is it?

goinggetstough Wed 15-Aug-12 02:38:52

needmoresleep I think HG's point about the number of very able overseas students who arrive at sixth form is very valid. The numbers of new sixth formers in most boarding schools is minimal and therefore they choose the best performing. Whereas at age 13 the school can take a risk with a child and help them develop, at 16 they need to hit the ground running. This was certainly the case at my DD's selective all girls school.
The OP stated that her DD was not academically inclined so it is even more important to see the standard/type of student that has been recruited to the sixth form previously. It was often said that Gordonstoun gave amazing scholarships to local students for 6th form as this improved their A level results. I am not sure this is true today.
If you were in charge of a school and had 6 places for new sixth formers how would you decide on allocating them. I have to admit that I would probably choose the super-able to fulfil those places.

BeckAndCall Wed 15-Aug-12 07:26:25

oP did you look at the website for Frensham Heights mentioned above? (by me, name change)

They are full boarding, lots of OS students, weekend activities....

happygardening Wed 15-Aug-12 07:30:41

"That said most schools will be aiming to retain some sort of balance. Its not all about results...is it?"
I think the jury is still out on that one.

wordfactory Wed 15-Aug-12 09:23:29

Rugby? Uppingham?

SRGR Thu 16-Aug-12 08:58:44

Thanks for mentioning that to me. Overseas one only hears of selective names. This gives me a wider spectrum for my DD and am sure one visit to these schools might be a good idea so DD can state her preference too.

SRGR Thu 16-Aug-12 09:05:29

Uppingham boasts of a good music faculty. So yes this one is under consideration.

BobbiFleckman Thu 16-Aug-12 09:08:56

what about Bradfield or Marlborough? both an easy run from London, not overly academic but in lovely settings & with great facilities

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 09:14:28

I think Marlborough would be a little disappointed to be considered "not overly academic" and it is very over subscribed at both yr 9 and 11.

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 09:20:21

I was actually up near Uppingham yesterday it seemed a bloody long way from London but lovely countryside, not sure how good the public transport links are!

EdithWeston Thu 16-Aug-12 13:26:52

Uppingham (unlike Oakham) does not have a train station, so you'd probably be driving - straight up A1, turn left onto A47 at Peterborough.

Oakham is similar length drive (turn left off A1 at Stamford), but you can also get the train - main east coast line, change at Peterborough.

They're both quite easy journeys, but on straight logistics Oakham has the edge because of the trains.

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 13:33:00

I passed a village nr Iakham which apprared to be called Edith Weston!!

kerrygrey Thu 16-Aug-12 13:47:54

Oakham also gets a number of 6th formers from Europe, especially Germany, because of direct trains from Stansted. And of course I.B is useful for those not aiming for British Universiries

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 13:49:49

Uppingham I believe is one of the few remaing only full boarding schools.

EdithWeston Thu 16-Aug-12 14:03:36

Yup, I'm a village! No I don't live in it, but do belong to the general area.

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 14:11:41

What a fab name for a village who was Edith Weston. Sorry OP for hyjacking the thread just genuinely curious!

EdithWeston Thu 16-Aug-12 14:19:05

It was named for Edith of Wessex, wife of Edward the Confessor. QueenEdith was my Jubilee name change.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Thu 16-Aug-12 14:19:12

What about King Edwards in Witley near Godalming. It is co-ed but much more relaxed than the others with a big emphasis on drama etc. At least it used to be. Near London too.

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 14:24:13

As I said lovely area and some very pretty villages we thought Stamford looked rather civilised.

rezzle Thu 16-Aug-12 14:33:30

How close do you want to be from London? It's worth remembering that most of the county (at least up to Yorkshire) is within about 2 hours of London. If you're looking for less academic/selective schools then IMO you're more likely to find them further north, although I could be completely wrong.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Thu 16-Aug-12 14:33:47

the drama link for King Edwards is here

rezzle Thu 16-Aug-12 14:33:52

Sorry, how close do you want to be to London.

SRGR Thu 16-Aug-12 18:05:39

Any place within a 3 hour reach and not beyond

rezzle Thu 16-Aug-12 20:38:39

Realistically, within three hours you can get as far north as York, and most places in between there and London (dependent on travel links).

happygardening Thu 16-Aug-12 22:46:49

We found from bitter experience that you don't want your DC to be at a boarding school more than 1 1/2 hours (one way) from your home/guardian/significant family. For two years our DS's boarding school was over three and a half away hours (if you were lucky with the traffic) by the time he left every journey was a chore we never attended any functions at the school including plays concerts and parent teacher meetings and any short exeat was just a nightmare. If we had to get them due to illness we were reluctant to take them back if a holiday/exeat was coming up. You feel very detached from their lives at school.
We are now about 1 and 1/4 hours away and regularly attend plays etc.
Also do look carefully into public transport links especially on Sundays we are only the next county from my DS's current school but the journey by train takes 2 1/2 hours involves at least two changes and us driving for 30 mins to the station to pick him up!
Ask yourself can you fairly comfortably get to the school to watch a play in a evening? Or can they get home for a few hours on Sunday for Mother's day or a significant birthday.

Mutteroo Fri 17-Aug-12 02:45:34

Ditto what HG said. We were 40mins (on a good day) to 1 hour away from DS school which made it easier to attend all events & also was easy to bring home of Saturdays. Find a school which offers excellent weekend activities. These encourage the weekly boarders to stay with the full boarders thus giving your Dc more friends to hang out with.

Have you thought about Roedean? Large cohort of overseas boarders in sixth form. It's in Brighton which always has a lot going on & just an hour from London. As most schools it becomes more academic in the latter years but may be worth taking a look?

SRGR Fri 16-Nov-12 19:03:15

DD cleared the entrance test for Malvern. Results from other schools yet to come. Anyone with any DC at Malvern? Should one consider this seriously. DD is not very adventurous and would need a very safe environment. Any comments?

goinggetstough Fri 16-Nov-12 19:40:40

I have friends with DCs of various abilities who are at Malvern. Their parents are very pleased with the school. The pastoral care is good so definitely keep in on your list as a serious contender. Whereas did you apply for in the end?

goinggetstough Fri 16-Nov-12 19:41:47

That was meant to say....Where else did you apply?

SRGR Sat 17-Nov-12 05:22:27

Charterhouse and Shrewsbury and we'll know results by Dec. if one has to go by league tables, Malvern shows a dip in results over the last three years. Is it got to do with the whole negative buzz of students being expelled in 2010. I wonder.

Ginandtonicandamassageplease Tue 20-Nov-12 17:11:56

What about Millfield if she's sporty? Or Priorsfield is a lovely school and straight down the A3?

Very interested in grovel's views on Wellington. I'm an OW but I'm sadly inclined to agree. I was there in the "good-old-days" under a different master. Now it's co-ed and it's packed out with Ferraris rather than fourth generation Land Rovers!

SRGR Tue 20-Nov-12 17:28:19

Guess must be late for registrations now. Its not an easy job to pick the right school for DC even if the school picks you...can only think of a two day break to just put away all confusion or think in peace...or not think at all

SRGR Mon 03-Dec-12 07:37:00

DD got into Charterhouse. Tempted to take it being close to London and a good international community!

MrsWobble Mon 03-Dec-12 18:05:53

I have two daughters at charterhouse and am pleased with it. My girls have very different temperaments and I was concerned it might not suit the second but so far she seems to have settled quicker than her older sister. It has been a big change from their previous school - both of them have found that the boys have covered much more ground at gcse and they had to catch up. But the school recognises this as an issue and gives them time. The boarding/social side has been excellent and fits well with our family approach of benign neglect. My girls tend to stay in most weekends - I get the impression about half do.

Let me know if you have any specific questions I can help with. Which house has your daughter been offered?

SRGR Fri 14-Dec-12 18:20:00

Dear Wobble, re assuring to hear that u re happy with the school. Do you live locally or are you from overseas. Well, we are overseas and DD has been brought up in a protected sort of environment though we are not the conservative types but there are limits defined well within the Dcs minds. She is anxious if the school has a healthy safe feel with good pastoral care. How's the house mistress with the girls and which is a good house to choose from. Is there lot of peer pressure to handle?

wildirishrose Fri 14-Dec-12 18:46:01

Try Royal Masonic School for Girls, my niece had a amazing time there and came out with 11 A*

expatgal Fri 14-Dec-12 21:13:17

Its not just all the super bright chinese who get the sixth form places. Some kids joining sixth forms from overseas are actually children of expats, like my dc. There are quite a few like this who joined the school in september. Dc had offers, with healthy bursaries, from many schools but we chose one close to family which has turned out a blessing for all concerned as living in England rather than the annual visit is all very new to dc. Dc all settled and loves it.

Moominmammacat Sat 15-Dec-12 09:02:53

Queenswood in Hertofrdshire ... good for sport.

Ginandtonicandamassageplease Sat 15-Dec-12 09:09:49

Wellington College would be worth a look. It used to be fiercely competitive for girls to get in but now that it's co-ed it is much more inclusive.

MrsWobble Sun 16-Dec-12 20:37:28

Hi srgr. We are neither local nor from overseas but I get the impression that it's not far off 1/3 in each category in the 6th form. I think the pastoral care is good - I've no complaints. My girls are happy and I think there's the right balance between leaving them to sort their own friendship issues out - they are teenagers after all - and keeping an eye on them. I've always been impressed by the staff's detailed knowledge of my children's activities/interests/friendships.

I suggest you talk to the school if you have detailed questions about pastoral care - it's important you are happy and what I think is ok might not work for you. But as I said earlier, my girls are very different and the school has accommodated both with ease and made them both feel that they fit in.

NessaYork Tue 18-Dec-12 23:01:07

This won't help because I'm biased, but have you considered York? It's only 2 hours by train from London, boarding rates are much less expensive than London, it's a VERY safe community - certainly compared with London. And we have outstanding schools. As I said, I'm biased. I hope this helps.

ChiswickLu Fri 25-Jan-13 21:36:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now