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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.

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 13:12:25

OP Im a little baffled you frankly seem clueless about the independent sector/league tables/university requirements etc no criticism just unusual. Also how old is your daughter as she already has her GCSE results you might need to consider this if older than most and she's boarding. Remember boarding school children are often not very streetwise they've learnt to live away from home often from am early age so in in a way are mature. Its often hard IME for non boarders to start at 16 they have very much their own identity and are not used to taking into account the views of 60 others, privacy is also often at a premium and the inevitable spats that occur can have repercussions though out a house which those not used to boarding might find tedious. Living with all girls can be difficult you cant be overly sensitive, must be able to mix with all but ideally not be overly drawn in be able to walk away if necessary, its a huge contrast from your average family.
You will need to book an appointment if you're serious about a school you need someone to take time to talk to you show you round and hopefully meet the head housemistresses matron current pupils bursar other staff because your are leaving your DD in these peoples care and going abroad so you obviously want to get this right. Its highly unlikely that any school will just be able to do this at the drop of a hat.

ALong151 Thu 14-Mar-13 14:21:17

I am intending to spend about a fortnight just visiting the schools. How much time do you think one would need to look around and ask the relevant questions? Would half a day in each suffice?

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 14:55:04

Half a day would definitely be enough but try to narrow down your choices to a few you really like the look of. Remember choice is not necessarily freedom. Sadly schools have become on the surface very samish and many talk the same talk because they are heavily regulated it is often in the small details that significant differences emerge. I personally think they're should be a resident matron attached to each boarding house, there should be a registered nurse available 24 hours a day and it should be open access for health care advise, house mistresses are very important people you wan to meet your DD's, if she has a certain interest be it it sporting or whatever 1,.do the school do it and 2. do they offer it at a time that she would be free to do it, if she not sporty do find out how often she will be expected to stand on a hockey pitch in the freezing cold/peeing rain in some boarding schools it could be 5 times a week! Your chosen school may be in a lovely town but some schools heavily restrict if where and when even 6th formers can go into it, some insist uniform is always worn outside of school all the time some don't, watch travelling arrangements some will let your DD fly home a few days before then end of term if its more convenient others wont. I could go on and on but IME its these little details that make a difference between a positive boarding experience and a negative one.

AntoinetteCosway Thu 14-Mar-13 16:28:04

I know lots of people who went to RHS Bath and loved it. Have you thought about the Quaker schools? The Mount in York is academic and also good for all rounders.

Dustylaw Thu 14-Mar-13 23:48:25

Sonalir, Haileybury is a nice school, a good school and great for sports. In academic terms it gets good marks across the board and enough of the highest marks in GCSEs, A levels and IBs for parent to be confident that their child will achieve maximum potential. Both Sevenoaks (don't know it personally though) and Haileybury are excellent choices - you won't go wrong so just choose whichever fits you better.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 03:01:19

Incidentally, when does first term of of university commence ?

happygardening-thanks for the tips, will definitely bear those in mind when doing the walkabouts.

AntoinetteCosway-looking at both.Tq.

goinggetstough Fri 15-Mar-13 06:33:08

"OP" The University terms in England start between the middle of September to the beginning of October. It depends on the University.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 15:48:41

When are the A level exams held ? The ones where we are, are held in October so I'm just wondering how would it be possible for students who have been overseas to join the universities in Uk in Sept/ Oct unless its for the following year. Correct me if i am wrong here, pls.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 16:06:15

I can't remember if you have mentioned it OP but do you know if you will be a home fee payer or an overseas fee payer for University? It sounds to me as though your DD will be treated as an overseas student. Have you considered this? UK universities are great but it is expensive if you have to pay tuition (usually £9K) plus housing and living expenses, plus flights home etc.
The fact that it has been years since you visited the UK would indicate that you would be treated as an overseas fee payer.
I am guessing you are in the Southern Hemisphere and not Euroupe.

Another thing you could do is enlist the services of an educational specialist. I normally like to sort things like this out myself but you don't seem at all familiar with the UK system and you have left it very late and it is an important decision. MumsNetters are vey helpful mostly but this might be the type of situation that merits paying someone.

ALong151 Fri 15-Mar-13 16:39:11

An oversea fee payer.yes i'm aware of the expenses.
I have my reasons why i would not want to engage an education specialist in this part of the world but it would not be convenient to disclose the reasons.
In the meanwhile, i would just have to depend on kind mumsnetters like yourself for general advice.

AuntieStella Fri 15-Mar-13 16:41:23

You would need a UK based one, I think. Gabbitas is the name that springs to mind, but there are others.

happygardening Fri 15-Mar-13 17:51:51

A levels in the UK are held in May/June and results come out about the second/third week of August. Im not sure how the IB works but I guess must be similiar timings.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:21:07

IB results come out a lot sooner than A'levels, (early July, think)which is great as they have a heads up on their results. This means they can relax and really enjoy their summer or,if they haven't done as well as expected, have time to look at alternatives to their intended plans.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:22:41

If you did employ an educational specialist you would employ one based in the UK.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 15-Mar-13 18:36:42

Have a look at Marymount International School if you are interested in IB. They get good results, and as they are an international school, keep places back for people in your situation.

Roisin Sat 16-Mar-13 18:06:36

Sedbergh school has great academic reputation and an emphasis on boarding. (Sat am school for all, and after school activities for all including day scholars as standard). They've just done a merge with Casterton: the primary and prep students wll all be on the Casterton site and all the Casterton girls are moving to Sedbergh.

So there will be lots of new students around, and also a more flexible approach to numbers/admissions may be around this year that you might not normally find at this stage for a school with a great academic reputation.

ALong151 Mon 18-Mar-13 17:18:07

Thank you, Roisin. I read about it but there seems to be some controversy over the merger with the parents. Is there any cause for concern as a prospective student in respect of this?

iclaudius Mon 18-Mar-13 17:27:25

Is sedbergh good enough academically for an Oxbridge type I'm not sure

Half a day to look round a school and boarding is REALLY pushing it. Getting a 'feel' of a place plus having a chat and looking at facilities is a good few hours and we found it exhausting

If I were you I'd be parting with a few deposits and asking to go on as many reserve lists as possible at this late stage

Sorry I missed whether or not you were discounting state boarding?

ALong151 Mon 18-Mar-13 17:53:29

iclaudius-State boarding is out.From the looks of it, we will probably spend at least a day at one school. Have to schedule leave from work for at least a fortnight to do this, I reckon.Thanks.

Any other feedback for Casterton and Sedbergh would be most welcomed.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 11:38:32

I haven't read this full thread, so sorry if it's been suggested, but have you tried St. Mary's Calne?

Our friends recently sent their eldest daughter there (for 6th form) and it's a lovely school. I think they are often successfully with Oxbridge acceptances. Their website does not state that they have closed 2013 applications so you may be in luck. Although they are traditionally the type of school that would have a waitlist several years in advance, it seems that is these economic times they have less prospective pupils, but don't let that spook you- they are financially and academically sound. Our friends' daughter is an overseas boarder but her father is British. There are definitely a lot of girls in the same boat so weekends are full. About 100 girls in the sixth form, to the best of my knowledge.

Other schools that (might) be able to accommodate: Stonar School, St. George's School and St. Leonards Mayfield. I don't have any experience at all with any of these schools so I can't give advice on them.

Hope all goes well for you with this search.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 11:46:12

I just saw that you don't want an educational specialist, and I'm sure there's a very good reason, but a UK one can probably give you a list of schools with spaces for a reasonable fee without you having to disclose information about your daughter or working with them to choose a school. Just pay and get the list. This is quite a late reply, so I hope everything has worked out now.

CHoward Mon 01-Apr-13 21:43:37

Have you thought about the Scottish school system? Sixth formers can do Highers or Advanced Highers in schools that follow the Scottish system, or even A levels at Independent schools that follow an English curriculum. Lomond School in Helensburgh takes in quite a number of overseas pupils in S5 and S6 who would be in a similar situation to your daughter. It has a modern co-ed boarding house with en-suite shared bedrooms and as it is in a small town the pupils have more freedom than in many traditional boarding schools. There are no exeats and as it is also a day school boarding pupils often stay with day pupils during the half term holidays etc. Worth checking out!

EsmeCalebsMummy Tue 09-Apr-13 20:45:59

One that hasn't been mentioned yet as far as I know is Rochester Independent College ( . Known as "Kent's greatest educational secret" and "a university for children", the college has excellent results; a long history of getting students into Oxbridge; offers boarding in the sixth form only; has a wide range of both international and UK students; a very active and lively social scene; friendly, "home from home" atmosphere; excellent student: staff relationships and student: staff ratio (max class size of 8). Plus they are often able to find a space for students at the last minute.

happygardening Wed 10-Apr-13 08:12:58

Rochester Independent College rather helpfully clearly publish their results and individual university destinations clearly on their website. It's always useful when school do this as you can get a feel for where really children go rather than where people think lots of children go. They also state where they've come from again useful if you interested in how many international children go to the school which us important if you're considering full boarding and are worried that your DC will be alone all weekend.

handcream Mon 15-Apr-13 11:07:41

I 100% agree with Happy. You really need some urgent help with this. You state you want one day for each school. Most schools will not spend a whole day on a potential parent. A few hours maximum.

Could I suggest that you cut down the number of schools you are looking at and really really think about employing a consultant to help you.

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