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Boarding School required for mid year move year 9 -

(40 Posts)
GurtrudesBosom Thu 31-Jan-13 11:40:42

Have decided to move DD after a nightmare 1st term at her senior school(last term). Lots of issues including bullying by exclusion and her total loss of self confidence due to these issues. There is lots of other stuff too, but irrelevant to this thread.

She previously boarded - with no issues extremely content,successful and happy for several years at her prep school. Its just all gone horribly wrong since she started at her new school. We have reached the point where moving her seems the better option.

I would love some recommendations of some schools. Our criteria:

Must be boarding with *LOTS of boarders, especially at weekends.

*Must have excellent Pastoral care and generally caring attitude and committed staff to this cause.

*Fairly academic

*Would prefer Co-Ed (but will consider a caring non bitchy all girls)

* Not too expensive - we are stretching ourselves financially on top of and despite employers allowance towards fees.

*Ideally within 2 hours of Bristol (will consider further afield for the right school though).

I would love to hear of any experiences of moving DC due to similar circumstances and personal experience of caring schools.

Many thanks in advance.

FelicityWasCold Thu 31-Jan-13 11:55:28

Hmm might be too expensive but have you considered Bloxham School?

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 12:05:51

St Marys Calne, 80% boarders, Marlborough College at least 80% full boarders St Edward Oxford ditto (fab pastoral care as well and would be my first choice in your situation) Dauntsey just over 50% boarders but mainly weekly ie going home Sat. Bryanston lots of boarders but apart from set weekends again going home Sat night, Canford ditto. All are going to come in at £31 000+ PA this is unfortunately standard now. You don't say how old your DS and assuming she's yr 9 as some if these are 13-18yrs old.
Some will say they don't have vacancies but even at the most over subscribed schools vacancies crop up as pupils leave for a variety of reason.
Children do move and often put behind them their bad experiences and as she's had positive experiences in the past hopefully in the right place she'll settle and out the past behind her.

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 12:10:05

A couple of people I work with have children at Bloxham known for being very gentle and caring they're really pleased with it. 50% boarders but I understand lots from abroad so might suit you. Fees under £10 000 per term as well

goinggetstough Thu 31-Jan-13 12:22:15

Kings College Taunton. Sporty and musical school. It is a Woodard School, has certain discounts ( I believe from a previous post that you would qualify for). Good train links to London and airports. We have a number of friends with children here and they are very happy with it.
Sadly, I agree with HG about full boarding schools being in the £31000+ range. Some schools such as Millfield give an automatic reduction for parents in certain jobs and then can top up with a bursary. I don't think any of the schools that HG listed above offer automatic reductions related to parents' jobs.
I did PM you after one of your previous posts. So do PM me if I can be of any help, having been through what you have been through with your DD but come out the other side.
Good luck!

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 12:34:28

I too remember you previous post and I think your occupation Marlborough might it certainly does to DC's of the clergy Bristols not a million miles away.

zipzap Thu 31-Jan-13 13:30:06

I went to Kingswood in Bath for the 6th form - many years ago now but it was great then, and was co-ed even then. Was very strong on the pastoral side, and very much geared up for a high percentage of boarders, very few of whom were even weekly day boarders. The day pupils were known as day boarders, expected to stay for supper and prep, and come in for lessons on saturday mornings and play in school teams (if sporty) on saturday afternoons. Not sure about lower down the school if they were expected to take part in the saturday afternoon activities - once you were in the 5th and 6th form you were allowed to venture down into Bath. Would be very convenient for Bristol too.

Prior to that I went to Headington which is in Oxford so probably just in your zone. It was very academic and very sporty. I got on fine with the academic stuff (although then they didn't do much science which is what I loved rather than the classics which is what the then head teacher specialised in - think it is better now) but hated the sporty side of things. In hindsight the pastoral side was severely lacking - it was very much a day school run for the day pupils and the boarding was tacked on as an afterthought, even though about half the school were boarders. I went back for an old girls day a few years ago and it had certainly changed since I went there (even though I was there in the 80s my housemistress had been there for 30+ years so was still running it like it was in the 50s) but I'm not sure I would ever send a dd there (currently immaterial as I have ds!) whereas I would certainly consider Kingswood if I was in a position to need a private school for my children.

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 14:02:40

I too thought of Kingswood its supposed to be very caring we know an old teacher and friends lives very close by and sends her DS but now only about 40% full boarders and it always looks very quiet on a Sunday on the few occasions we drive past it. If you want to know more I can easily find out.
What about Christ's hospital? Outside of your area but lots and lots of full boarders and financial assistance meant to be very caring but very over subscribed because of its generosity with its bursaries but might be worth talking too.

ohnoherewego Thu 31-Jan-13 19:43:46

Bromsgrove if she's sporty

jo164 Thu 31-Jan-13 20:29:13

I was also going to suggest Kingswood in Bath or Monkton Combe also in Bath. Both schools have great reputations locally and have a reasonable percentage of boarders. I know Monkton particularly seems to pride itself on its pastoral care. It is run on a C of E ethos, but families I have known with children there have not felt it overly pushy in this area. Looks like it comes in several thousand under the £30, 000 mark too.

DeafLeopard Thu 31-Jan-13 20:32:52

Another vote for Bloxham.

Within the wider family there are boarders at Bloxham and St Edwards - both really happy, but Bloxham seems much more gentle than St Edwards

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 20:37:33

You can check the number of boarders at a school on the independent schools inspectorate website these are the figures at the time of the inspection. so here for example is Monkton Combes:
"there were 351 pupils on roll, with 130 boys and 77 girls in Years 7-11, and 94 boys and 50 girls in the sixth form. There were 128 boy and 76 girl boarders. Pupil numbers were similar to those when the previous inspection took place."
You can also read about the rest of the school but in my experience not worth the paper its written on my DS's prep was unrecognisable in their inspection report so needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt but I would hope the numbers are accurate. Ditto GSG although I know they're going to deny this!

goinggetstough Thu 31-Jan-13 21:37:43

HG is as always, correct, when she says that the ISC are the only provider of boarding stats. It a shame though that they have changed the ISC website as before they split the boarders up into weekly and full boarders, which was often very revealing.

So OP do check out the actual numbers and not what the school want their stats to show you.
EG. Using the Monkton stats as an example it would appear that there were 76 girl boarders over 7 years. (the Bloxham stats are similiar) So maybe 11 per year. Of those 4 or 5 could be/ might not be weekly boarders. Monkton does different fees for 3 /4 / 5 nights or full boarders. Plus of course the boarders may not be spread equally throughout the school. Parents often encourage their DC to board in the sixth form in preparation for university. The fact that they have so many different types of boarders means that possibly they have been trying to encourage boarding numbers and that full boarders are in the minority. I could be completely wrong and that the majority of the Monkton boarders are full boarders but I am just trying to highlight 2 different scenarios that the same stats might show.

The sad thing is that the end result of one scenario is that you have a full boarder who is in at the weekend with only a few friends or a full boarder who has 11 friends all who full board or of course somewhere in between. So it is vitally important to ask the individual schools how many full boarders they have in each year group. Or how many girl boarders in year 9 were in for the last 2 weekends.

I expect an expert on Monkton Combe will be along shortly to prove my theories incorrect. We have friends who are day children at Monkton and they are always very complementary about the school and its pastoral care.

Good luck OP in your search for a new school for your DD.

GurtrudesBosom Fri 01-Feb-13 11:26:28

Lots of useful info there. Thank you all so much.

DD is 14 and currently in year 9 for those that asked.

I have lots to research there.

I do like the look of St Edwards but financially its out of our league, we considered it before we committed to the current school and one of the main reasons we didn't go for it was that we were too late then to apply for a bursary or financial help. I think they like you to apply at end of yr6/beginnging of yr 7 for Yr9 entry. One of DDs friends from prep school went there on a scholarship and seems very happy.

I like the location of Kingswood school as its half an hour from grandparents (ideal for backup) and if we go to look there then imagine we will look at Monkton as well.

One of the many factors DD is struggling with (she is having such a rough time she is being negative on so much right now) is the lack of weekend boarders. Some weekends there are 10 year 9 in. Last weekend there were 4 thats stayed in. Luckily we currently live 1 hour from the school so she is currently coming home every weekend.

DD is adament she does not want to leave her current school but I think thats her fear of starting new elsewhere and appearing/feeling a failiure because the things that go on and how unhappy she is is awful. Its really a very tough decision but at her request we gave this term a go and already I am not liking what I am seeing. Sometimes as a parent you need to be the adult and just make the decisions and take action, no matter how hard it is.

Anyway - thank you so much for the advice, info and support. Sometimes on here BS threads just turn so abusive, so it is really lovely to have these kind of replies. They are really helping me/us.

happygardening Fri 01-Feb-13 18:20:41

I feel for you OP obviously you don't want to jump from the frying pan to the fire and find that at the next school your DD also has no friends at the weekend especially as she doesn't want to move. I can find out about Kingswood but according to the ISI in 2011 there are only 149 full boarders at Kingswood out of a total 671 so ultimately not very many thats why it looks so quiet when we drive past on Sundays. Schools can be cagey when asked about number actually full boarding ie in all weekend remember they want your money. One school we looked at for DS1 said "quite a few were in every weekend" but when I pushed saying "So how many were actually in last weekend?' Quite a few turned out to be 2 out of 20! Another friend on a tour of a boarding house actually stood at the end of every bed and said "so was this one in this weekend?" again the quite a lot turned out to be 2 and 3 on a good weekend.
Unfortunately or not depending on your point of view true old fashioned full boarding does not really exist even at my DS2 full boarding school with only 3-4 day children in the whole school the boys can go home on Sunday for a few hours and those who live too far away find themselves in with a handful of friends but of course this is significantly worse of this happens from after games on Saturday and in some cases through to monday morning.
Good luck I do hope you can find somewhere suitable.

mumtolawyer Fri 01-Feb-13 18:40:29

It may be a bit far, but have a look at Moreton Hall, Oswestry. It was our second choice (but only by a very short head) secondary school. Very nurturing and comfortable feel, and we were looking for a mostly full time boarding school.

FelicityWasCold Fri 01-Feb-13 22:31:35

Tudor hall is all full boarding as well. Loads of them in at the weekends I think.

grovel Fri 01-Feb-13 22:54:39


Supposed to be lovely. Not co-ed though.

outtolunchagain Fri 01-Feb-13 23:08:42

Oakham has a high percentage of boarders, what about Royal Hospital School, a long way from Bristol but lots of forces and lots of activity at the weekend ( even day pupils have to be in on Saturday).

What about the Cheltenham schools or
Malvern, not sure where you are at the moment , possible at either of these already.

happygardening Sat 02-Feb-13 11:30:31

Westonbirt is very tiny but very caring but I know because I'm friends with a member of staff virtually all boarders are Chinese.

happygardening Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:04

I personally think you should approach Christ's Hospital apparently full boarders in the overwhelming majority although they can come home on Sundays. Also offer extensive financial assistance the only issue I can see is that you say "fairly academic" I believe its on a par with entry into a good grammar.
You could search it on MN its often mentioned in threads there is a father (I think) whose nick name might be Derekthehamster whose children go there.

outtolunchagain Sat 02-Feb-13 13:45:40

Was thinking about this again today, what about Dauntseys school , Wiltshire I think and certainly has a lot of boarding houses which would imply they have a good complement of boarders .

Monkton Combe and Bloxham are nice but not exactly academic if that is what you are looking for ,likewise Kingham Hill.

outtolunchagain Sat 02-Feb-13 13:47:36

There was a thread about Dauntseys quite recently I think , search thread titles, a number of mumsnetters have children there I think

derekthehamster Sat 02-Feb-13 15:12:31

I'm a mother grin and yes my son goes there.

There are 16 day pupils at the school (just had it's inspection, and I remembered this part), and although it's flexible enough if you need to take them out for family weddings etc, nearly everyone is there all weekend.

Give them a ring and see if there are any vacancies, because children do leave for various reasons.

derekthehamster Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:28

I think I might have to change my name, unfortunately all my hamsters are male!!

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