Downe House/Tudor Hall/Stowe/St Edwards or..?

(37 Posts)
PeriPathetic Tue 04-Jun-13 14:51:25

Need full boarding for DD from 13+
Still unsure whether to go SS or Co-Ed, so advice gratefully received there!
Any opinions on the 4 listed above? Or alternatives. Between Bucks & Hants. Not too far west or south east. Or north!
Needs to have good connections to Heathrow (overseas parents) and outstanding pastoral care.
Favourite subjects include languages, sciences & art/textiles. She's not massively sporty.
DD, DH & myself have our favourites - but none are the same as each other so would love to get some more info.
Thanks!

happygardening Tue 04-Jun-13 14:59:33

St Edwards would be my choice all the way 80% full boarders not going home on Saturday either although it is quite sporty although I understand the art dept (?textiles) is very strong. I personally wouldn't touch Stowe with a barge pole I never hear good things about it and a friend could tell a complete horror story from sending her DC there.
Cant comment on the other two.

Picturepuncture Tue 04-Jun-13 15:01:13

Wouldn't touch Downe House.

Stowe for the right child (by that I mean, male and sporty)

St Edwards, lovely CoED school.

Tudor Hall gorgeous school, and if you want full boarding, single sex, I don't think you'd do better anywhere.

Hth grin

PeriPathetic Tue 04-Jun-13 15:46:18

Helps a lot, thank you!
I'm visiting 3 out of the 4 in a couple of weeks so hoping get a feel for the places then.

Any thoughts on ss vs co-ed? I'm so undecided.

Xpatmama88 Tue 04-Jun-13 16:12:47

If your DD is academic, should also check out Wycombe Abbey.

PeriPathetic Tue 04-Jun-13 16:17:29

No, she's not academic. But thanks for the suggestion.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 04-Jun-13 16:25:00

Have only heard good things about St Edwards, but that is from friends with boys.

Picturepuncture Tue 04-Jun-13 16:30:59

Statistically girls achieve better results at SS.

Tudor hall is fantastic pastorally and is a really small, quirky, family atmosphere type place where she would get loads of individual attention.

It has an unusually high % of UK based (as in almost all of them) full boarders meaning culturally it is quite homogenous (although caters well for sporty or arty or academic girls).

St. Edwards I believe is a little more diverse, greater access to the city and as a result pupils a little more 'streetwise'. Also excellent pastorally but more geared up for boys than girls so I'm told.

I would go SS, but I'm quite biased!

happygardening Tue 04-Jun-13 17:06:31

"Also excellent pastorally but more geared up for boys than girls so I'm told."
Not true at St Eds all are treated the same and pastoral care is legendary.
"Statistically girls achieve better results at SS."
I might be wrong but I think this only applies to state ed.
We've got one in SS and one in coed I personally wouldn't make this my number one priority look at other things first and if all things are equal then think about this.

DeafLeopard Tue 04-Jun-13 17:12:55

Bloxham also very good for pastoral support.

Picturepuncture Tue 04-Jun-13 17:51:12

Prepared to be corrected on St. Edwards my knowledge is not as up to date as it could be on that one.

I agree Bloxham also a good option, but not as many full boarders?

PeriPathetic Tue 04-Jun-13 17:58:04

Thank you again. Bloxham didn't have enough going on at weekends for our situation. Really needs to be full boarding.

I'll tell you our preferences:
DH likes Tudor Hall (no boys wink )
DD wants Stowe (friends are going there)
I prefer St Edwards.

happygardening Tue 04-Jun-13 18:03:38

Bloxham is pretty third rate to be honest.

Picturepuncture Tue 04-Jun-13 18:03:47

The thing about boys at Tudor hall is that there are socials to be looked forward to, and boys in school plays, and boys to beat at MUN etc... So while they aren't there every day they are still a feature!

Have you visited?

diabolo Tue 04-Jun-13 18:05:59

I know two families with children at Tudor Hall, both parents and daughters are very happy with the school.

50shades1 Tue 04-Jun-13 19:11:52

My dd joined Stowe in year 9 last September, it has surpassed our expectations and she has never been happier. She moved from a girls day school , in our experience, this was full of many undynamic old hags teaching, I'm sure not all girls schools are like this but I do think that in a co-ed school you may get get a more diverse range of teachers which I think is positive.
Stowe's pastoral support has been excellent. Academically , I know far more about her progress than I ever did at her girls school.
It is a busy, vibrant environment where she works hard, plays hard and also has tremendous fun, from discos to cinema trips etc.
Stowe is a breathtaking environment to live in. The girls boarding facilities are fantastic. As a parent I could not be happier with the choice of school that we have made for our dd .

Callofthefishwife Tue 04-Jun-13 19:19:22

Only 2 stand out to me from your list and they are Tudor Hall and St Edwards.

Have only visited Tudor Hall. Loved it. Not too sporty. Good lot of weekend boarders. Socials with several boys schools.

St Edwards - have friends with DC there. Sounds a wonderful place. Keep hearing very good things. All friends DC very sporty indeed. Not sure if thats just a coincidence across a section of our friends all with very sporty DC or if thats a St Eds thing.

Stowe - never appealed enough to me to bother making the journey to visit.

Downe House - no personal experience of it at all but like the sound of their French Term/School thing they do.

PeriPathetic Wed 05-Jun-13 10:04:23

Thank you all.

Callofthefishwife Yes, agree the French term at DH sounds wonderful but sadly it only happens in one year group - DD will miss it.

Tudor Hall - hmm, I'd prefer a more multicultural population, but it does sound like a lovely school.

Stowe - can't get to view and think the list is closed now for the year we're looking at.

St Ed's - still top of the list but may be a bit too sporty for DD. Again, I'll reserve judgement until I've been.

Found another possibility last night - Heathfield. Any opinions on that one?

PostBellumBugsy Wed 05-Jun-13 10:08:50

Heathfield would definitely tick your multicultural / international box as it is within 30 mins of Heathrow and has a high international intake.

susiewong123 Tue 11-Jun-13 09:51:17

Any more views on Bloxham?!

Myrtille Tue 11-Jun-13 23:53:31

Son went to St Edward's (everyone calls it Teddies) and had a great time. I'm sure they got the best out of him. The girls all seem very confident and I get the impression that they achieve well. The art and technology facilities are fantastic (as they are at many schools). Ceramics, jewellery, DT and art output is very good.

Given the selection of schools you have suggested, is there any reason for avoiding Headington as a SS option? My very unscientific experience of hockey and athletic matches between Headington, Oxford High and Tudor Hall gave the impression that the Headington girls seemed a very happy and sociable lot. Academic results there appear to be good.

JugglingChaotically Sun 16-Jun-13 17:24:32

If you are looking at SS and Headington, have a look at Godolphin Salisbury. DD1 loves it.

PeriPathetic Sun 16-Jun-13 17:27:41

Thank you. Headington isn't full boarding enough for our needs.
Like the sound of the arts options at Teddies.

nennypops Mon 17-Jun-13 21:40:08

I'd strongly recommend St George's Ascot. Very good in pastoral terms, better educationally than Heathfield, and also very convenient for Heathrow Airport.

Pythonesque Wed 19-Jun-13 15:44:59

I heard the master at St Edwards speaking at an open day just before he started - he seems to have high aspirations for lifting the school academically without losing it's other positives. And I understand that they are about to open an additional girls' boarding house. I still think it's unlikely to be right for my daughter but have it on my personal "watch list"!

Mutteroo Thu 20-Jun-13 23:30:54

Ask yourself where DD will be happiest in two years time. Is she a girly girl? Will it be beneficial or a hinderance to know have friends attending the same school? What are the full boarding numbers at your chosen schools? Once visited, where does DD feel most comfortable? Then there's the pastoral aspect of each school. You need to be comfortable with whichever choice is made too.

From year 9, DD was a day pupil at all girls school while DS boarded at a co-ed school. The schools were best suited to their personality & worked for them.

Lizzzar Thu 17-Oct-13 04:12:01

I've heard a lot about the pastoral care at St Edwards, but academically it could be better, and if the comments on Little Gossip are anything to go by, the pastoral care is not ideal too. A lot of them are explicit and unpleasant. Maybe the school will improve, but I'd think carefully.

claraschu Thu 17-Oct-13 04:34:28

I have two friends who teach part time at St Edward's. Neither of them would send her children there, I think because they feel the students tend to be rich and entitled in their attitude.

I am sure there are many many lovely children at the school, but that is my friends' opinion.

middleclassonbursary Thu 17-Oct-13 07:55:29

I hear lots about St Edwards; we've got friends with DC"s there. Two have had lots of emotional problems in the past, one moved from another full boarding school because he was unhappy. They were frankly stunned by the standard of pastoral care, the school literally bent over backwards to accommodate their DC and help them to settle. They wished they moved earlier. All did well one, into Oxbridge and one very much exceeded their parents expectations.
They are obviously wealthy and but it's inevitable if you can afford £66000 pa in school fees your going to be wealthy in comparison to a teacher but they certainly don't lead flash lives and don't like those who do. I've never heard them comment on the entitled attitudes of the other children they always talk highly about the other children.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 17-Oct-13 08:11:02

Did you exclude CLC on the grounds of distance from Heathrow? I have been UK Guardian to a few expat DDs there, the choice of expat teachers, and there are full buses going to Heathrow. I am very impressed with the school, open and very good at communicating with parents (not all the schools understand the needs of parents overseas but CLC has actually spoken to parents about what they need and followed through. Also strong on strategies to integrate overseas expat and Brit students, can be tribal at other schools. ) School is separate from Boarding Houses which keeps it more normal. All the DDs I know have thrived.

Downe for some reason seems to switch off expats when they visit.

goinggetstough Thu 17-Oct-13 09:01:13

St Edwards: We have a number of friends who have DCs here and they have always had good pastoral care.

Downe : Many expats send their DCs here. Good communication with parents. DDs allowed to arrive back at school at various times through day depending on flights etc ( not all schools allow this) Interested to know shooting what you think turns off expat parents as it is not our experience.

At the end of the day visits to schools are vital so that you know whether you DC fits into a particular school.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 17-Oct-13 12:02:22

I just know of a lot of expats who went to see it attracted by the reputation for being more humane and supportive than say Wycombe, and came away feeling underwhelmed. I think CLC comes over as more down to earth, more focused on providing a good academic education in a supportive environment.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 17-Oct-13 12:03:59

Obviously if you want the less down to earth school then that will be your choice.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 17-Oct-13 16:04:06

Shooting, as an expat I was going to visit Downe House a few years ago. It sounded lovely. But there was a paragraph on its website (not there now) which said that approximately 5 % of its students were from overseas, and 'most of those were from European countries'

My own interpretation of why they felt they needed to say that meant that I cancelled my visit.

PeriPathetic Sat 19-Oct-13 17:58:04

This just popped up on my active convos so thought I'd update.

We've registered her for Teddies, had an amazing couple of visits and they pulled out all the stops for us at an incredibly busy time for them. Loved everything about it. Fingers crossed for acceptance and DD passing the exam!

Stowe just haven't been able to accommodate even a visit and are very off putting during phone calls, so although I'd love the chance of a backup school, it won't be Stowe.

DH: I just can't put my finger on it but I really didn't like it. Just a gut instinct. Found out afterwards there was a 'happening' earlier in the year which made the national press. Not a good happening, either. Someone has since mentioned that they're not sure how long the current head will stay.

TH: very nice, but no 'fizz' and they don't allow kids into the art rooms outside of lessons. A major negative for my DD. besides, I think she'd be better off at a co-ed school.

CLC: too far away from family.

LittleSiouxieSue Mon 21-Oct-13 23:42:34

Heathfield does not have a high international intake in comparison to some schools! However there are international girls in each year group but the impression I got is that they blend seamlessly. It is pastorally strong and lots going on. It is traditional boarding with no day girls at all. Close to London so trips there are easily possible and you are not stuck in the middle of nowhere. Art is very strong and they used to have a fashion designer in residence so fashion design and textiles are well catered for. I would definitely take a look.

Elibean Tue 22-Oct-13 09:28:01

Peri good choice.

I grew up in Oxford and spent far too much time at Teddies blush when it was purely a boys' school. All my friends there were very happy, and I remember the atmosphere - I hope your dd will be equally happy!

And I had nieces at DH until recently. They were not happy, and took a couple of years to recover their confidence.

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