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Winchester for girls?

(72 Posts)
SchtenGraby Tue 27-Nov-12 16:09:32

My daughter is wilful, clever, arty, sporty (more in the 'tries hard, but enjoys it' side of things), not a massive self-starter (at this stage at least), eccentric (views the world through different glasses), a strong personality, kind and sensitive. She is also an only child.

We are not minted, so £30Kpa will be a big stretch. My wife and I are professional people who are Directors in our respective organisations, but we're socially liberal, libertarian types with friends in the media who think we're the most right-wing people they know because we send our daughter to a fee-paying school.

We're looking for a school South of London (we'll move) in the box bordered by Weymouth, Bath, Guildford and Brighton. We're possibly thinking of Bedales, Canford, Bryanston or a good state school that people can recommend. We definitely want a school that offers a day option rather than 100% boarding. Relaxed about co-ed (though she will definitely be distracted by boys!) or single-sex (though eating disorders are a fear!). We like a liberal ethos (uniform, teachers' names etc.), but worry about drugs, fashionable cliques, under-performing etc.. I'm sure this is all classic stuff :-)

Given her personality, our background (and therefore the hope that she doesn't fall too far from the tree) and the financial side of things which schools would people recommend?

Given her personality (self-starting aside, which I think will pass), I was bemoaning the - seeming - lack of a girls/co-ed version of Winchester or Westminster. Perhaps others know better - maybe such a thing exists? Or wouldn't suit anyway?

It's a mine-field - please help!

joanbyers Tue 27-Nov-12 16:28:54

Winchester is an (almost) all-boarding school, so not sure that's what you're looking for.

Are you erring on the side of liberal/wilful or academic?

It tends to be that the most liberal places will be less academic, so not quite clear whether you are looking for somewhere where 25-50% go to Oxbridge, or just one or two per year?

Had a look at Leighton Park, it's definitely liberal, first names for teachers, Quaker, co-ed, the older girls seemed slightly more indie (in the music sense) than more traditional schools. Lots of drama, Mandarin, a long and flexible school day (it's primarily a day school, but the day pupils who want to use the boarding facilities seem to get the best deal) - you can stay till around 8pm. Uniform is 'office wear' I believe. A*s are a minority here however.

If she's wilfully high-achieving IYSWIM, you might be better off with one of the top selective schools... Day schools tend to be around £13k/year, so you needn't find £30k/year, though the aforementioned Leighton Park is more expensive being also boarding.

grovel Tue 27-Nov-12 16:42:57

Would you want her to move at 11 or 13?

SchtenGraby Tue 27-Nov-12 16:45:37

We can do either as current place goes all the way through, but think would prefer 11.

grovel Tue 27-Nov-12 16:48:47

Doesn't 11 rule out Canford, Bedales, Bryanston etc? Bedales has got a prep but generally the co-eds with boarding are 13+.

mrsshackleton Tue 27-Nov-12 16:59:29

Westminster has girls in the sixth form, if you can hold out until then

SchtenGraby Tue 27-Nov-12 17:07:32

@grovel - we could move to go to the junior/prep school associated with the senior school (e.g. Dunhurst for Bedales etc.) which in a number of cases makes entry easier. As I said, we're relaxed about 11 or 13. It's more about the school than the entry age TBH.

@joanbyers - thanks hadn't heard of Leighton Park - would prefer something out of a major town ideally - but will def check it out

TalkinPeace2 Tue 27-Nov-12 17:53:27

St Swithuns in Winchester is great for some but there is a bit of an eating disorders problem with some
Godolphin probably not academic enough?

State wise, if you can afford to move into Winchester, both Westgate and Kings do pretty well, or Thornden just down the road, or the grammars in Salisbury

Inclusionist Tue 27-Nov-12 19:42:16

Is Wycombe Abbey too far out of your box?

Inclusionist Tue 27-Nov-12 20:51:20

Or how about Roedean?

Nonnus Wed 28-Nov-12 06:39:37

Guildford High School is a very academic day school. Also in Guildford, the George Abbott is an excellent state school but you have to live in a fairly tight catchment in Merrow to get in there.

London has lots of good day schools - JAGS in Dulwich, St Paul's, etc.

St Swithun's starts at 11 or 13 as you prefer and is day more than boarding these days. A friend has a DD there and is very happy.

There are lots of choices so I would choose where you want to live first and start from there.

Nonnus Wed 28-Nov-12 06:40:58

For co-ed and academic, look at Sevenoaks.

grovel Wed 28-Nov-12 09:45:08

You might want to look at Kingswood in Bath.

Seems to cover your bases. The website is a bit overkeen on the school's Wesleyan origins. Its home page has a link to the Good Schools Guide which gives the school a rave review.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Wed 28-Nov-12 09:49:51

A second for Wycombe Abbey. Top school, fabulous art and drama departments, no uniform in the top years. Very supportive of being yourself and encouraging of whatever holds your interest. Fantastic academic results (number two in league tables this year I think) and good relationship with other boys schools, not just Eton and Winchester but RGS etc.

Definitely worth a look!

grovel Wed 28-Nov-12 09:56:46

Wycombe is definitely great but does it offer a day option as OP wants?

Inclusionist Wed 28-Nov-12 12:05:25

You can 'day board' at Wycombe- I don't think it's felxi-boarding though, looks like either/or.

SchtenGraby Wed 28-Nov-12 13:17:05

Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys. Think Wycombe Abbey might be too far out of our box unfortunately.

Does anyone therefore have any thoughts on the pros/cons of the following - both individually and in comparison with each other:
Leighton Park
St Swithuns
Alton Convent
Frensham Heights

beachyhead Wed 28-Nov-12 13:19:41

Brighton College? Boarding or Day or Weekly Boarding...

sailorsgal Wed 28-Nov-12 13:45:17

Thats interesting regarding St Swinthun's been more day than boarding now. I knew some girls that went there and got the impression it was very much " how many acres does your daddy have." Affluent families but old money. Beautiful school though. I went to a grotty comp in the North East. grin

joanbyers Wed 28-Nov-12 14:00:23

There are a couple more schools in Guildford besides Guildford High - St Catherine's, and Tormead. Slightly less academic, slightly different atmospheres.

Inclusionist Wed 28-Nov-12 14:22:39

If you will consider Leighton Park for location what about The Abbey in Reading? That might fit the bill.

I don't think anywhere on your list is exactly Winchester TBH.

Inclusionist Wed 28-Nov-12 14:25:33

The Abbey has a bus from as far south as Sherfield which might get you into your box!

SchtenGraby Wed 28-Nov-12 16:35:59

@Inclusionist - agree that none are like Winchester. Other than possibly St. Paul's Girls' School (which isn't on the list for geographical reasons) - is there a girls'/co-ed equivalent?

Perhaps there isn't, but perhaps there should be!

Inclusionist Wed 28-Nov-12 17:05:32

I think the reason there isn't is purely historical- educating women formally is a relatively new-fangled thing. grin

Without offending anyone in the area, I think your box is actually a bit of a dead zone for schools. Are you moving for the school or for a commuter village?

grovel Wed 28-Nov-12 17:11:10

Oxford High would work perhaps - but it's not in your box.

Sensational results. Sophisticated parents (dons!).

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