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Good indy school for average boy

(90 Posts)
bulletpoint Thu 15-Nov-12 21:02:24

Colleague of mine is looking for a very good independent school for his academically average boy. Child has flashes of brilliance from time to time but rather lazy so dad looking for school that will stretch him/keep him on his toes. So basically not Eton, but not Shiplake either. Colleague leans more towards traditional type boarding schools.

I was going to suggest Oundle but looked on gsg and now not so sure, does Oundle do well by average boys ?

maxmillie Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:12

sorry - sorry - I meant "What to wear when?"

singersgirl Sun 18-Nov-12 21:24:44

And of course if that table excludes overseas universities (eg US universities, which are very popular destinations from some schools) it will be distort results accordingly. The 2011 Sutton Trust table is perhaps more recent

Copthallresident Sun 18-Nov-12 21:03:17

joanbyers But then I know a family with two very bright dyslexic children for which Bradfield was a happy confidence building choice....and the one who has left went on to a ST30.

joanbyers Sun 18-Nov-12 20:55:30

That was my point really, copthall. I wouldn't say that Harrogate High is necessarily awful, but clearly Harrogate Grammar School selects, through its so-called comprehensive admissions policy around five times more of the brightest children.

I would say in terms of choosing a school that if your DC is very intelligent, and you were shopping for an independent school then you wouldn't go for Bradfield College as an example, because clearly the numbers of the brightest children is low.

middleclassonbursary Sun 18-Nov-12 20:32:52

Hamish interesting comment about Marlborough not friends of ours experience!!

Copthallresident Sun 18-Nov-12 20:04:26

joanbyers Not a good example. Harrogate Grammar, school with a long proud reputation in the leafiest part of town, many parents themselves went to university, and indeed Harrogate Grammar School. Rossett slightly less leafy, and Harrogate High in the worst bit of Harrogate, which admittedly isn't that bad, but is on the list of schools that will get money from the Priority Building Scheme. We are talking beyond buildings not fit for purpose. And also St Aidens and John Fisher for those willing to take the route of goodness to a good school. My grandmother complained about all the do gooders trying to earn points by helping what passes for needy in Harrogate (not that I am not well aware that some families in Harrogate are very needy indeed but somehow I don't think the do gooders would dare go near.....) However those stats don't mean that Rossett and Harrogate High might not be doing a good job given their intake and that Harrogate Grammar might not be a bit complacent with it's intake? I am not saying that is the case but it could be.

These are interesting stats in terms of exploring social mobility but not for choosing a school (and Xenia I speak from having DDs in one of those top schools, not that I think that is relevant to anything but that it was the right school for one of them, the other followed out of sibling rivalry and has since shipped out at sixth form to a school further down these tables with an ethos that suits her better). What about the artistic and the musical? I notice Eton does not score highly in comparison to the ultimate success of OEs.

I have yet to meet this mythical average child and surely it is about narrowing down a shortlist from websites, reputation etc. and then visiting a school and deciding what fits according to the interests, personality and wishes of the child (paramount) and the family. You could put up as a straw horse the name of just about every school in the country and someone will weigh in against it on these threads.

joanbyers Sun 18-Nov-12 17:29:26

Maxmillie as I understand it these data are compiled a few years in arrears because of things like gap years.

The figures do highlight very well the differences e.g. between 'comprehensives' in the same town.

E.g., in Harrogate Harrogate Grammar School, the sought-after secular comp has 72% to Uni, 38% to ST30, Rossett, the second-choice secular comp, 68% to Uni, and only 20% to ST30, and Harrogate High, the last choice secular comp, 60% to Uni, and only 7% to ST30.

Just shows how selective the so-called comprehensive education system really is.

maxmillie Sun 18-Nov-12 17:20:00

What to where when? You do realise it's 2012?

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 17:14:55

Good table,. Daughter's school is number 1, daughter 2 number 4... Better than I would have thought. Son's 8th.

joanbyers Sun 18-Nov-12 17:10:40

Uni stats here (slightly old):

Take a look at ST30 relative to overall Uni %.

Most of the public schools are pretty similar, around 90% of uni entrants to ST30 unis. Some, such as Bradfield, seem pretty duff - only around 60% of the uni entrants to ST30 unis.

Hamishbear Sun 18-Nov-12 13:45:37

Some schools are good at nurturing the whole pupil Marlborough is one.

happygardening Sun 18-Nov-12 11:13:21

What worries me about all these value added scores is at what cost to the child have you managed to get an “average student” get way above average grades? Xenia bangs on about psychological damage caused by boarding but what about the psychological damage created by being under huge pressure to perform at the maximum of your ability all the time? Increasingly it seems to me that even these relatively non selective schools are expecting top grades across the board where is there room for weaknesses? A few years ago I looked at one of the fairly non selective schools mentioned above I asked the boys (a 6th former) about what extra curricular activities he participated in and he admitted due to the pressure of exams etc he now didn't do any. At another similar school a sports scholar admitted that he was being discouraged from spending too much time on sport because it was affecting his grades. We have become obsessed about exam results league table etc etc but surely school and especially boarding schools should not just be about exam results.

Mutteroo Sun 18-Nov-12 00:46:11

Dannie, Bedes is very sporty! When my DS was interviewed by the old HT, he said that there's a sport for every pupil no matter what their ability. While there's a new HT, (3 years new so not that new), it's still incredibly sporty.

I would add though that its also an arty, academic & quirky school which is perfect for a high flyer or average child. Not sure if it fits OP's 'traditional' approach as we found it a very modern thinking school & I'm happy to sing its praises.

RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 22:20:44

Yes I remember the article in the press now. It is the whole tragic flaw with using league tables for state schools, that you have little idea about the underlying quality of the A levels being taken. Thanks for re-posting.

claraschu Sat 17-Nov-12 22:10:04

Shiplake is great.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 22:07:54


From memory - I opened it the other day - it was on about page 29 that they listed schools and how many children went to good universities. It certainly gives a good picture because you might get a comp with great A levels but all in needlework and media studies where people go to ex polys (or a private school for that matter) and where children are told Oxford is not for the likes of you and the raw A level results in a sense do not give such a good picture as whether people go to the few universities from which the best employers recruit.

RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 22:03:16

Xenia, where can I find the Sutton Trust report which you have posted?

PS. Good point on "true" value added.

joanbyers Sat 17-Nov-12 21:29:37

On that measure, yes.

Although most schools, including independent, cannot be highly selective.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 21:00:34

Added value can be connections, confidence, a posh accent, learning the kind of code of what to wear when and a range of middle class hobbies which probably you get a bit more of in fee paying than state schools.

Yellowtip Sat 17-Nov-12 20:53:55

Obviously there's a problem using added value for schools which are highly selective Joan.

joanbyers Sat 17-Nov-12 15:38:26

Added value is published for state secondary schools, middleclassbursary, essentially children sit SATs (in English, Maths and Science) at age 11 in state primary schools, and basically the 'expected' level is Level 4, Level 5 or above is therefore above average, Level 3 or below is below average.

This is then compared with the GCSE results at 16. A child entering at 11 with Level 3 who gets a C at GCSE, will a positive value-added (compared with the average achievement of all children entering secondary school with level 3), whereas one who enters at 11 with a Level 5 would have a negative value-added if he gets a C.

There are lots of weights and adjustments, e.g., if the child is in care, and 'equivalent' qualifications, e.g., a Merit in a GNVQ versus a GCSE B grade, so it's possible for two schools to arguably add the same value but school B gets a better v-a score because they understand what works and what doesn't.

But mixing with cricket nuts would count for nothing.....

middleclassonbursary Sat 17-Nov-12 15:06:04

Lectures from those eminent in their fields the opportunity to mix with other like minded people whether those like minded by cricket nuts musicians or even the terribly clever. Who measure this how can a government ISI or any other organisation truely measure added value because these things are not measurable. Ive read this term added value before and don't know what it means.

middleclassonbursary Sat 17-Nov-12 15:01:01

What the hell is added value? My definition would be the opportunities available to a child that he wouldn't have if he didn't attend school. Astronomy club at the schools observatory, rackets, lectures fr

joanbyers Sat 17-Nov-12 14:47:39

The government v-a scores are based on SATs taken at 7 and 11.

Few prep schools subject children to SATs, and for this reason the senior schools don't compile stats on this because the sample would obviously be very skewed if they compiled it for the children who did have SAT scores.

difficultpickle Sat 17-Nov-12 14:43:28

I didn't know that joan. Shame if you are correct as even leavers destinations doesn't say much about whether the pupils have fulfilled their potential. I'm planning to send ds to Winchester so he can play golf and sing grin. No idea about added value there but ds would love to go somewhere that takes golf seriously!

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