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Boarding school for sixth former

(113 Posts)
ALong151 Mon 11-Mar-13 04:45:42

We're expatriates and looking to place DD at a good boarding school that would allow her to stay over exeat weekends or have no exeat weekends. As DD is rather academic, we"re looking or some place that would be able to nurture her and explore her potential to the fullest while encouraging her to do her best.She is also an all rounder with music and sport so would want to look for someplace that has facilities and opportunities over the weekends to keep her occupied. Since we are away , we would prefer a school which has mostly full boarders so she would not feel that the school is empty during weekends.

The problem is we are looking for her to start in sept, 2013 and it is rather late in the day applying now but news of our continued posting overseas just came in.Originally, she had been with us but we feel that we would want her to get back into the uk education system to get her ready for university. With no pressure from us at all, DD is aiming to enter oxbridge. Have written to many schools, but the reputed top schools have already allocated their places and do not accept anymore.

Great if we can get any feedback here.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:06:26

Well it seems we're down to a list of those which have responded. Problem is all want us to register and which means making some sort of payment but for obvious reasons, we probably need to narrow down the list. Just to re-cap, the ideal school for DD are :
(1) Academic emphasis , particularly towards Maths , Further Maths , Economics and Physics at A levels.
(2)Good number of boarders to keep her occupied over weekends
(3)possibility of being able to stay in at exeats or better with no exeats at all.
(4) Good facilities, music and sports , so she does not need to wander.
(5) Good Pastoral care

The contenders are (in no specific order):-

(1) Ruthin School
(2)St Michael's Senior School, Llanelli,
(3) Chase Academy
(4)Royal High School of Bath
(5) Adcote School
(6) Kimbolton School
(7)Haberdashers Girls at Monmouth
(8) Godolphin Salisbury
(9) Bruton School for Girls
(10)Truro School
(11) Gresham's
(12) Prior's Fields School

Great to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thanks heaps.

Bowlersarm Tue 12-Mar-13 18:10:45

OP have you looked at Eastbourne? Very hot on no exeats and think academic?

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:21:11

"Good number of boarders to keep her occupied over weekends"
I've got boys and don't really know any of the above well enough to comment but IME schools are very cagey about the actual number of full boarders. ISI reports state number of "full boarders" but this does not mean the number of full boarders ie the numbers who actually don't go home Sat and come back Sun/Mon it means something else Im not sure what.
Once you've narrowed down a few when you look at them put the head into a headlock and beat her till she coughs up the actual numbers firmly ask the head exactly how many (numbers not % e.;g 3 20 100) are full boarders in the true sense of the word ie staying in all weekend or at least only going home on Sunday for a few hours during the day. If the head is cagey or gives you crap like "well it varies week on week year on year" I can't give you the exact numbers" "it depends what activity is offered" take it from me my DC's have been full boarding for nearly 9 yrs that means there are hardly any.
I have heard on the boarding grapevine that both Bath High and Priors Field have hardly any full boarders.

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:23:33

I've just read Eastbourne's website seems to me to be regular "leave weekends"?!
Nearly all will have exeats in fact the more full boarders the more exeats.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:31:41

Sevenoaks has true full boarders because of its 80-pupil international intake in the sixth form.

TravelinColour Tue 12-Mar-13 18:35:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PotteringAlong Tue 12-Mar-13 18:35:30

I would take chase academy off your list unless you've been to visit it. It's a funny place!

Have you thought about Malvern st James?

Bowlersarm Tue 12-Mar-13 18:36:36

Oh blush I have various friends with DC's at Eastbourne and they all complain about how they are never allowed home!

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:44:58

But Eastbourne isn't very academic, I was told.Malvern St James is very expensive!Tried SevenOaks but they're full.About Chase- what do you mean by "funny"???

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:45:25

I understand from quite a few friends with DC's there who are either day children or weekly boarders Sevenoaks has a big exit at the weekend which is odd because I also thought it had a big international community. I think there's no Saturday school at Sevenoaks but could be talking rubbish.
I also suspect that the OP has missed the boat for Sevenoaks and others with similar academic reputations.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:48

There is Saturday school at Sevenoaks two weekends out of three.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:59

By the way, I should qualify that these are the schools which have reverted that are either more affordable or have agreed to provide some form of scholarship of sorts.

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:50:11

"I was told.Malvern St James is very expensive"
At just over £11 000 per term it is only marginally more expensive than many of the big names e.g. Marlborough Kings Canterbury Wickham Abbey etc. God know why they charge more for direct entry into the 6th form.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 18:50:40

The big international community is only in the sixth form and there are separate international boarding houses so that the boarders are together at weekends.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:58:15

And yes, happygardening, you are quite right about moi missing the boat......I am trying to swim frantically across the bloody Channel now.....grin

happygardening Tue 12-Mar-13 18:58:57

What about one thats recently gone co ed for the 6th form? They might be struggling to fill vacancies f they only just done it. Shrewsbury?
Or St Edward's Oxford is opening a girls boarding house this September so there will be plenty of room because it wont be full for another three years thats all full barding or day but over 80% full board pastoral care is considered by most prep heads to be in a league of its own again on paper academic results don't look that great but are improving with the new head and a lot of very bright children come in from abroad for the 6th form. Or how about Marlborough College in Malaysia opening this September? Not a franchise senior staff from Marlborough are actually running it.

ALong151 Tue 12-Mar-13 19:06:27

Both Shrewsbury and St Edwards beyond budget.... Forget about the one in Malaysia as it is ridiculously priced and DD is adamant that if she wanted coal, she would go to Newcastle and not settle for coal brought back to Singapore from Newcastle.....grin

PotteringAlong Tue 12-Mar-13 19:24:42

Is budget a big concern? I only ask because full boarding in the sixth form is very expensive and in terms of your list of wants you are (rightly) looking for a lot for your child but that comes at a cost.

If you are wiping out a section of schools based on cost then you will have to compromise on what you're looking for. Have you been to visit any schools?

goinggetstough Tue 12-Mar-13 23:02:34

None of the schools on your list have a great number of full boarders.
Academically The Royal High School of Bath is probably the most academic. They do both A levels and IB and get high IB results. I have had friends whose 2 DDs were full boarders, they were both very happy with the school and obtained excellent results.It is located near to the town centre of Bath so definitely things to do at the weekend. On the downside I believe there is no Saturday morning school. There is a good train connection to London and then the Heathrow Express for travelling home. It would be worth asking the school exactly how many full boarders will be in the lower sixth in September, but as HG has explained that number doesn't even then mean there will be that number in at the weekend.
With regard to exeats as an overseas boarder your DD would have to have a guardian. If she wasn't invited home by a friend then could she not go home with the guardian?

A previous poster mentioned Eastbourne College. Two friends have had sons that have just left. Academically it was good but they were not very flexible for overseas boarders. For example school only opened for the start of term at a particular time but there was no flexibility for those DCs arriving on flights earlier in the day to go to school. Whereas at the 2 schools we used a nominated person looked after the early arrivals.

Good luck with your choice.

Roseformeplease Tue 12-Mar-13 23:05:23

Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth?

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST Wed 13-Mar-13 01:44:11

How is your teenager feeling about going to a boarding school?
I was wondering that, because I couldn't find that in your story.

It's quite something leaving someone so close behind when you're going to be working and living very far away.

Not a young child anymore, but not yet an adult.
It's a special time in yours and their lives. Do you want to miss that?

Even when someone successfully has finished university. That still doesn't give any guarantee on a good and steady job.
There are many people around these days with some very good papers. Even they struggle to find a good and permanent job.

Some of them even end up behind the counter of a super market. They either are over qualified for a job, to old or have to much experience.
In the end they are to expensive and therefore they can't find the job they've studied for, for all those years.
Or there are more qualified for a specific job then that there are available.

Making sure that a child follows and finishes a good education doesn't always give them a good start in life or a good job.

Think well about this.
If everyone, and in mine opinion most importantly your teenager, wants to go to boarding school.
It'll be a good decision.
When everyone is truly happy with it and if things don't turn out so well. Then no one will feel any regret about the decisions made on this moment.

He/she will be an adult soon and will stay that way for the rest of their and your life.
This moment is only now and never will come back again.

Good luck with everything in this difficult time,


ALong151 Wed 13-Mar-13 04:37:16

PotteringAlong-yes, cost is a concern as she still has 3 other siblings so we have to be careful not to burn a hole in the pocket .We will be making a visit but as I mentioned, we are very late applying now and not left with much choices in the first place, so we do need to cut down the list to visit at the end of the day. The problem is that they want us to register her and pay up some before the visit- is that usual?

It is not necessary that she goes to the best as obviously some compromise has to be made but we will be happy if we knew that given the circumstances, this is the best we could do.

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST-this is DD's idea originally. DD is a high achiever and is extremely focused so it would be a shame not to let her go. She is also very independent and has been away from us studying and living away from us since she was 14 but we have a very close relationship communicating by skype almost every night and coming back intermittently during the year for holidays. So living away is not alien to her and it was her decision to apply to all the schools herself. We told her our concerns financially and she suggested she would look for scholarships to reduce the burden and which she managed to get at a couple of them.

goinggetstough-RHSbath looks promising and she is inclined to it.

We have written to Royal Masonic School but they do not have any scholarships left.

Does anyone know anything about Prior's Field? Heard so far that they may not be very academic but has excellent pastoral care.

Thank you all for responding and being such fantastic moral support through this.

goinggetstough Wed 13-Mar-13 07:33:18

Priorsfield has been discussed recently on Mumsnet. It was commented on that there were only 3 or 4 full boarders in year 7, pastoral care was good but there was a wide cross section of ability. I am not sure of the numbers in the sixth form although normally there are more sixth form boarders than year 7 boarders.. Looking at your requirements you list I think the Royal High fulfils more of them.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 08:11:54

According ti the ISI Priors Fields gas 35 "full" boarders" and RHS Bath 78 remember this does have to mean full boarders in the true sense of the word. Have you thought about Westonbirt its very tiny but certainly has more "full" boarders that those two although nearly are are Chinese Im not knocking this but some would not be happy.
"The problem is that they want us to register her and pay up some before the visit- is that usual?"
I've never been asked to pay a registration fee up front but then have never applied late to a sixth form. The norm is for you to visit a school to see if you like it then pay the registration fee. I suppose if your coming to look at a school from abroad and you wont be visiting for a month then a school might ask you too or if your intending on putting your daughter in for a scholarship or going to apply for a bursary before visiting it then a school would ask you for a deposit.
OUt of curiosity and apologies if I've got the wrong end of the stick here but you imply above that your DD is already boarding as she's is "a high achiever and is extremely focused" then can you not talk to her current school to see whether or not they will provide a bursary as many schools don't want to loose these kind of children in the 6th form. Finally your hoping for a scholarship/ bursary but often scholarships are not overly generous and bursaries are not really aimed at those who don't wish to "burn a hole in the pocket' but for those who don't have a pocket to burn the hole into. There are some quite knowledgable people on MN about bursaries and the general advise seems to be speak in considerable detail to the bursar before proceeding to far with your application otherwise you risk considerable disappointment as a few on here have found out.
Have you looked at State boarding grammars? You need an EU passport much cheaper there are two in Kent Cranbrook and Roger Manwoods the academic standards/results is likely to be significantly higher than almost all of those on your short list.

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 08:17:03

Just a thought there's Peter Symmonds 6th form college in Winchester people go into raptures over it on MN and apparently results are good. It offers full boarding.

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