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Papplewick, Dragon, Sunningdale or Cothill?

(70 Posts)
tallmermaid Mon 06-Feb-12 10:13:41

Dear all, considering sending DS to one of these schools. Would appreciate opinions on which one's best. In particular, would appreciate in-depth opinion on Papplewick (not seen much on this school on the discussion boards). Would prefer boarding school that does not empy out at weekends. Objective is to aim for place in E, W or H. Thanks.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 14:17:05

I thought the teachers at Papplewick were inspirational and oodles of extra-curric. Not much land though.

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 14:30:26

IME its worth remembering that behind these schools leavers destination lists 50 acres of rolling fields swimming pools extra curricular activities beautiful websites and prospectuses that many parents are paying for extra coaching to get the CE/scholarship marks they want.
Caveat emptor!

EBDteacher Tue 07-Feb-12 14:33:45

Not ever got close enough to the place to have an opinion on the teaching! Told you it was a totally unfounded viewpoint!

Want to hear my reasons for wanting to get DS into Eton not his dad's alma mater (WinCol)?? Because it's round the corner so I can take him out for tea (and for the rowing). In the face of a small child I have lost all objectivity. grin

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 14:36:54

Don't make me even more depressed HG. I wonder if I have the only son not being privately coached for the KS! sad

happygardening Tue 07-Feb-12 15:19:22

Probably think of all those Chinese parents frantically coaching their DS's morning noon and night!

NatashaBee Tue 07-Feb-12 15:22:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 17:07:19

Colleger, Would you pick Horris Hill over Papplewick? I just learnt that each year, Papplewick sends an average of 8 boys to Eton and 3 - 4 to Winchester out of a class of 40. Seems quite balanced, when compared to HH which is quite skewed towards Winchester and only 1 or 2 annually to Eton. Your thoughts please. I also thought that Cothill was a key feeder school to Eton. Any additional insights on this would be great

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 17:34:23

It depends on what you want. If its a proper boarding school then Horris Hill wins hands down to Papplewick. If you want a school more likely to get your child into Eton then maybe Papplewick. It is worth remembering though that most parents who send their kids to Papplewick send to Eton, Wellingotn and Harrow and this is down to location. It's the same with most schools - Pilgrims/HH feed more to Win - apart from maybe Cothill and Summerfields. I know of a London day school who sent 36 boys for the Eton test and 18 got in. Horris Hill probably has the same stats of 50% of applicants getting in, but fewer apply so numbers look small.

If your son is a strong all-rounder and is bright he'll get into Eton. If he is a one trick pony then he won't and it doesn't matter what school he goes to.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 18:54:59

Colleger, The entire exercise is based on a boy being bright and some-what an 'all rounder'. The different schools are there to provide the enabling environment that enhances this raw potential. If this is not the case, what then, makes the schools relevant.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 19:43:48

Sorry, I dont understand your post.

tallmermaid Tue 07-Feb-12 20:26:01

My post was in response to your comment: "If your son is a strong all-rounder and is bright he'll get into Eton. If he is a one trick pony then he won't and it doesn't matter what school he goes to".

Most of us have bright children, so I think it goes a little beyond that.

Colleger Tue 07-Feb-12 20:34:47

Most of us perceive that we have bright kids but assuming we do, not every child will be super sporty or super musical and the competition for Eton is fierce. Eton tend to take boys that are:

Very bright and very, very musical.
Very bright and mainly in the A teams at sport.
Very bright and pupils with leadership qualities - so pupils who will end up being deputy/head boy at their prep schools.

There are boys who happen to be all of the above.

Also, you can lead a horse to water...One of my sons would take part in everything and I've got another who won't, or at least wouldn't when he did the Pre-test. It doesn't matter how great the prep is in that respect.

happygardening Wed 08-Feb-12 08:20:06

"Eton tend to take boys that are:
Very bright and very, very musical.
Very bright and mainly in the A teams at sport.
Very bright and pupils with leadership qualities - so pupils who will end up being deputy/head boy at their prep schools."
What needs to be understood is the process of selection favours these boys. There are 5+ applicants for every place this means that well over a 1000+ are registered and all who are interested are interviewed (this is a very commendable many don't) and you can register surprisingly late relatively speaking and the cut off date is not when they list of full but related to a child's birthday. But with an 8- 10 minute interview Eton is only able to look/see the obvious. On the other hand Winchester restricts the number of applicants and housemasters close their lists when they're "full" at about 30 I understand (therefore 2 1/2 applicants for every 1 place) thus popular housemasters close their lists earlier than less popular one but this enables each housemaster to interview a boy for 1 1/2 - 2 hours thus he is able to see beyond the obvious to potential.

Tearaway Sat 13-Oct-12 12:40:18

Very late post - you've probably made your choice by now but in case any other prospective parents are looking, I can say that we have a boy at Papplewick and could not be happier. It is an incredibly friendly school, with all the teachers taking time to get to know the parents as well as the children. We were rather lazy in our choice and went for it because it is local. I assumed that all boys schools in the area were this good but now that I have met a few more parents (many of whom devoted considerable time and energy to researching which school to choose) it seems that we are very lucky to have this school just around the corner. Most children come from considerably further away (they run two buses in from London for a start). I am surprised by the post suggesting that this school empties out at weekends. A quick flick through the names in our school diary indicates that over 100 board - they can't all go home at weekends, certainly not the boys whose parents are abroad. Then there is the fact that for all boys the school is in session on Saturday morning, with sports fixtures afterwards. And the post suggesting not much land, well I guess it depends on perspective. I think the school has 15 acres. That seems like a lot to me; certainly plenty for all the sports DS needs to play but less than some schools I guess.
For the record, my godson & his brother are at Caldicott and I only hear good things about that place too. In my mind I think of Papplewick/Caldicott being very similar in outlook and achievement.

diamondsinthesand Fri 09-Nov-12 23:34:53

This is a late add too, but looking for a happy country Prep for my DS that will challenge academically, musically and lots of sport - totally bewildered by all the talk of exit schools.
We just want to get our DS out of the traffic jams into some green space and country air. Does this mean he won't get scholarship if we not bothered about a future school?
So far we like the look of Horris Hill and Summmerfields. Dragon looks too big and city-ish. Any others we should look into?
Is the GoodSchoolGuide worth joining?

milkshake3 Sat 10-Nov-12 08:15:29

Diamonds- Don't worry! You need to consider exit school because some prep schools will basically feed 2-3 schools and then send the tail of kids here and there. You are obviously ok with boarding from year 3 if you are looking at the schools you mention but if you want to enter the day school system at 13, the country prep schools may not be best placed given their feeder links. However I doubt from your post you want that. Otherwise it's personal choice. Full or flexi boarding, single sex or coed, how far from where you live etc etc. you have to go and look at them I'm afraid!

BlueElephant90 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:50:54

I wouldn't recommand Papplewick if you have caring or a sensitive ds.

difficultpickle Sat 10-Nov-12 16:06:49

What's wrong with Papplewick? Ds's school played them recently and thought they seemed nice although he didn't think the boarding house was as nice as his.

nightrider Sat 10-Nov-12 16:52:51

I was driving back into London the other day with DS2. We had been to look round a secondary school. It was 5.45pm. We were alongside the Papplewick bus as it crawled back into London along the DS said 'look how sad those boys look'.....I said so would you if you weren't going to get home for another hour and then you had to get up in the morning and get back on that bus at 7.00 ish and do it all again'. I think I would pick boarding over commuting....!! FYI, the boarders we know there all come home after sport on saturday and go back on the bus on monday morning. It is close enough to London that the mums can go and have tea with them if they are not involved in matches on wednesday.....unless you have DCs at other schools.

Copthallresident Sat 10-Nov-12 18:42:36

If considering that term in France for your son, beware, not something I want to put online but bear in mind that the school your DS's carefully chosen Prep shares the place with may not have the same values and culture, and types of DSs you signed up to at your own Prep. Your own Prep may be limited in the way that they can respond to the situation.....

BlueElephant90 Sun 11-Nov-12 11:50:32

''Your own Prep may be limited in the way that they can respond to the situation.....'' that's how Papplewick operates, they avoid dealing with issues.

difficultpickle Sun 11-Nov-12 15:54:58

I know someone who visited last year and thought the teachers were wonderfully enthusiatic and it seemed like a fab place. What sort of issues hasn't Papplewick dealt with? Doesn't it always get loads of boys into Eton, Harrow etc, so academically at least it must be strong?

Copthallresident Sun 11-Nov-12 17:09:14

It wasn't actually Papplewick, but I am guessing that any Prep would have had problems picking up that something repugnant was going on, not knowing the perpetrators who were clearly deeply disturbed, but from another school, and would then be limited, once they realised the situation, in responding appropriately given they have to deal with another school.

difficultpickle Sun 11-Nov-12 17:17:44

No idea what you are talking about Copthall but I would expect any decent prep to remove themselves from the situation you are describing. If they are somewhere where another school was causing trouble and didn't address it then you would vote with your feet (and your wallet).

Copthallresident Sun 11-Nov-12 19:08:45

bisjo That is exactly what the parents concerned did, though it involved driving through the night to get their DS out of a horrible situation. I just wanted to alert parents to the fact that this sojourn in France that sounds so great can go horribly wrong.

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