Wellington vs Abingdon vs Charterhouse(31 Posts)
Any insight from those in the know? Good vs not so good by way of comparison eg pastoral, academics, type of DC?
Still assessing the boarding vs day options but I know they all have weekly boarding, while A is predominantly day, W is predominantly boarding and C is really just weekly boarding.
We have visited two so far, but trying to look behind the gloss to aseess what suits DS. Is it true W is becoming more academic or shoud you forget it if DS is not an A in sports teams?
Would love to send DS to Winchester - he is smart and academic in his way but not always self driven- but given a choice of what to do in his spare time, I think he could build Lego for hours on end! ...left to his own devices. I am not sure he would work hard enough on his own, but then again his quite competitive about rankings etc. so a ranking system could kick him into shape ...I admire you for being so hands off !
I also know people who are happy with DCs at Wellington, but I do question how you can charge 30k a year and not give more precise statistics on Oxbridge/Ivy League success etc. I couldn't find a chart other than a pie chart, of precisely how many leavers went where - bit ot is quite easy to find for many other schools. It is niche marketing par excellence I agree. I went for a tour last year with DS and am still unsure what to make of the place (and so was DS).
Thanks for all the advice. Need to take it all in.
maisiejoe is absolutely right but firstly you need to decide of you want; weekly boarding coming home most Saturday back Sunday night or even Monday morning or full boarding only allowed out Sunday and usually compulsory chapel attendance some time on Sunday restricting when you come out/go back. Which ever one you want it will only work if the vast majority are in the same boat. From many years of personal experience (we soon enter our ninth year of full boarding) 1 1/2 hours (one way) is the maximum viable distance if you want to have anything to do with activities in the school.
Could I give one tip. If you are looking for full boarding - go for a full boarding school. Dont go to a school that tries to be everything to everyone. Abingdon really only has overseas boys staying at the weekend but fab day school!
Seldon is window dressing,nothing has changed,Rugby is still worshipped as is the 1st XV,Abingdon is really a day school,the two children that I know that do go to it love it but seem rather obsessed with Radley(inferiority complex?)
"were very and rater artificial"
Meant to say were very over rated and rather artificial in fact having swallowed the Seldon hype hook line and sinker they were very disappointed with the school in general. .
"the whole happiness lessons, harness table and 8 aptitudes thing"
I've never considered Wellington but we know someone who looked at it thought the happiness lessons etc on closer examination were very and rater artificial and shallow again part of the Seldon publicity giff. Having said that another friends DD loves it there.
Have you considered Cranleigh? We know quite a few there parents are very pleased with it not pretentious although I think most parents are nice but a little conservative with a small c definitely very weekly boarding and sporty.
You sound south east so others to perhaps consider are Bradfiled or Lancing (although is high church) Brighton very much weekly boarding and no lessons on Saturday and Sevenoaks again very much weekly boarding Tonbridge ditto.
OP we've always been slack parents I'm not sure if you change that much as your children get older because although you wont feel a need to hover over the same things with children as they do get older what ever age they are there will always be something to hover over if you feel a need too!! By the sound of things weekly boarding would better for you and you are definitely right not to choose a school where boarders are in the minority. In fact its easier to find weekly boarding than full.
I think that should rule A out for your ds, lovely school, but not for UK weekly boarders
I meant to convey ...W seems to provoke quite differing responses...mostly because of views of Seldon it seems ...does seem to be niche marketing the whole happiness lessons, harness table and 8 aptitudes thing very well though given its popularity and over subscription. Hear it's tough to get into, which may also add to its allure for some.
Wish I could be as hands off as you, but I do have slight hovering tendencies...it' s a sickness I know...not sure I could cope with full boarding along Winchester lines..but i may feel different when DS is 13 !
Indeed, I have only heard good things about A from a few quarters, whereas interestingly, W seems to provoke quite different responses. I also feel DS would fit in at A and do well. Only issue is A would have to be weekly boarding or I'd have to move as it is too far by bus. (and we are not even near the bus route. My problem is with boarding at A, as you say, it is the very much the minority -so I don't think it will be a real boarding experience and I feel DS would envy the day boys going home - most of the boarders seems to be overseas boys. If A were as close as W is, it would be my first choice. But it might well be a school worth moving for.
Abittoofat (laughing as I type that)
Too late for Radley I suspect ..and not sure it will suit DS...
Your original thread asked about Abingdon, but this seems to have turned into a CH v W type of thread.
I have a son at A, he is a day boy, as are most of his friends. I don't think I would consider Abingdon for boarding if I lived in the UK. It really is a day school.
But I wanted to say, if you live or can live, within the, very extensive bus network, do consider A. It has completely lived up to our expectations in every way.
My son (yr 11 now) says if ever he has a son, he would love to be able to send him to A, that must be the ultimate accolade.
My view may be biased, my son is bright and v sporty, and the school def suits those boys.
Pm me if you would like more info
With regard to the weekly boarding element for CH. Its a bit complex but basically the first weekend back at term is 'closed'. Some chapel services are at 1000 on Sunday's so unless you live 30 mins or less sometimes its not worth going all that way on a Sat and also - you know teenage boys. Once they come home, on the BBM and then off to bed until about midday Sunday!
As they get older they seem to stay in more. Approx 5 boys per house stay in (each house is 70 approx) and you will make friends in other houses of course so there is always someone to hang around with should you not be going home. Also allowed out to Godalming and dont forgot the endless holidays!
The little I know about CH is that it's more boyish than others and I think as said above primarily weekly boarders. Those we know there are in general sporty bright and enjoy boys type activities I'm not sure that makes sense I have been accused of promoting a stereotype in the past do I'm trying to be not to do this probably with little success.
Re Wellington I can't stand Seldon hes Iften on the radio he is just so smug.
I have missed the "CH in comparison" before "its got a much broader intake, there is still no pre-test just report and CE result" these comments obviously were about Charterhouse I changed something and ruined the sense of that sentence, although I can still see what I'm saying but its easier to read it the wrong way! I would never call the intake of Winchester broad! I think when Happyg says the right boy she means a complete genius - so not my DS.
Interested to read your comments maisiejoe because we went on a couple of tours and could never really get a feel for how many boys were around at the weekend. One minute we were told lots of weekly boarders, another we were told that they tried to keep the boys at weekends as much as possible, we just didn't know how it worked in reality.
DS is very shy and I am not sure how well he would have coped boarding, being sporty he would be outside doing something not in his room alone, but I think it would take him a fair while to settle and make friends.
Hovering mothers must be a HM's worse nightmare! We too work on the basis no news is good news we get one quick phone call a week and the occassional txt. My DS knows he can contact us day or night if he really needed too. Our HM says he worries more about the ones always calling home all the time.
I agree boarding doesn't suit all but from my extensive experience of working with boarding school children many would settle more if their parents
stopped interfering at every turn stepped back and let them try and settle and work it out for themselves.
Eton is big (and I'm not it's biggest fan although I know it's a good school) but each boarding house in no more than 60 and in quite a few you eat in house so I suspect that the reality is that it does not feel big.
Happy - we are like you. A bit hands off as we both work. For the right boy boarding school is a fabulous experience and the networking and confidence they gain is great. However the down sides if you are a hovering mother is they do become more distant.
One wise HM said if you dont hear from them it is almost always because they are having such a great time and they forget to call. Our DS always forgets to call....
Boarding is not for everyone and OP remember that Eton is getting bigger and bigger - one of the biggest boarding schools in the country and that size of school is not for everyone.
Ann Winchester does pre test at the interview with your chosen HM which lasts at least an hour and a half various tests are done although not all HM's do the same test. No CE either Winchester writes its own entrance exam which we were reliably informed by someone in the know equivilant to the Harrow scholarship exam, I would also say that the intake IMO is not likely to be broader than CH infact significantly narrower because it is a more academic school. You don't have to be very sporty at Winchester because although there are lots of choices sport is not the be all and end all unlike many boys schools and there are many alternatives to sport for the very non sporty. Winchester also suits the quirky and they are allowed to be themselves and we find it in comparison with many liberal and not too petty. It is full boarding only home on Sundays and less exeats and no coming home early at the end of term or attending a family party on a Saturday night. Parents are not encouraged to be overly involved the boys are expected to seek help from their HMs it's suits us because we're slack parents but some might not like the hands off approach. We've found the standard of pastoral care to be excellent although as we've luckily had few problems I am only speaking from limited experience but our HM seems very caring and approachable and we have complete faith that he would tackle any problem appropriately. Not for all but for the right boy/parents in a league of its own.
I have a DS at CH. It really is full boarding tbh. Important to choose the right house and get in early. Boys can come home Sat afternoon - back Sun evening. If you live more than 30 mins away it can be a bit of a bother especially on snowy days like this. DS loves it. But I do think to board you need to have some confidence. Sadly there are a few boys who after lessons just go and sit in their rooms. One in particuar I would have pulled out months ago. Always walks around with his head down and goes bright red if anyone speaks to him. I have asked DS to keep an eye on him but teenage boys are more interested in themselves than anyone else but some of the 6th formers are keeping an eye on things as the chap is in their house and they wont stand for others picking on him. Aww!
I didnt like Wellington because of Dr Seldon. However many others do. becoming very academic with a pre-test... Abingdon very good but day school with few boarders.
And yes at Ch there is plenty of time for sport and all CH pupils get access to the onsite health club
Never looked at Abingdon, didn't like Wellington for DS, I think running a school is a full time job, and the I think Mr Seldon must get distracted by the huge amount of time he spends writing for the media etc. W is definitely the school with the biggest PR budget and entry has become very competitive.
DS loved Charterhouse, the feel of it the sports facilities, the grounds, everything. He is a really keen footballer, sport is very important to him and CH have a very strong football and cricket team. CH was his back up as he only really liked one day school, which fortunately he got into as he wasn't sure about boarding at the time - but he's year 8 now and slightly regrets not being bit braver as he would love to be able to play sport with friends every evening. We would never have looked at Winchester for DS he just isn't that scholarly, its got a much broader intake, there is still no pre-test just report and CE result. But the clever boys do very well - their Uni destinations list was very impressive when I visited. The only thing I didn't like was that the common rooms in the old building were all wood panelled war memorials, and the rooms were consequently quite dark and miserable, but the new blocks were really nice. CH would have been perfect for my DS, but it might not suit yours.
Abingdon, then Charterhouse, then Wellington...
But if you're willing to pay for boarding schools such as Charterhouse, why not just go for Winchester?
Don't know about Abingdon at all. Wellington has a reputation for being very impersonal (good for future military high flyers). Boy from ds school won scholarship to Charterhouse last year so assume its still fairly well regarded as his brother also there.
I have heard good things about A all round though based on its tour alone, it seems be to somewhat understated in its opinion of itself compared to W and W seems to have its die hard fans and detractors...mostly because of views of Seldon rather than the school i think..he certainly gets enough airplay in the media...very very competitive to get into i hear and the open day tours are full to the brim with eager parents
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