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Abingdon v Radley

(59 Posts)
1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:00:44

can anyone give me reasons to favour one school over the other? The choice would be Ab day v Radley boarding (obviously). I'm going to look round them both shortly to try to get a general feeling.
Also if you can suggest any areas/issues I need to question at either school??

DS is sporty, musical, and academic. Happy to go to either school. Knows boys going to both schools.

Thank you.

Please don't turn this thread into a private/state slanging match. I just want peoples views on these two schools. We won't be considering any others. Thank you.

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:44:48

In my view, league tables skew so much..I look at somewhere like Hampton which got 32 into Oxbridge last year, which I think is a record for the school, and while selective is not on a scale of super-selective like Winchester ...but Hampton's brochure makes it clear they don't try to shift anyone out in 6th form whereas W make it very clear you need 6 As at GCSE to stay on to sixth form...when you analyse this, you see how league tables can be "managed",and it is so difficult to see where value has been added vs where a school has given generous bursaries to new sixth form entrants to boost Oxbridge/A level figures and managed out those who may bring those figures down. What I would like to know is how many percentage wise they get into Oxbridge from original set at 13+, who were also not superselected by Kings Scholarship or Election or as sixth form entrants- to me that would better indicate the add value. Wellington is also very selective, though not necessarily all on academics, but it has a (surprisingly) relatively low success of Oxbridge entrance.

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:48:15


If you are looking at day schools around there, are you also looking at MCS? Very academic though.

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 16:51:11

Amber - no, only considering Ab and Rad due to bursary limitations. Have friends with boys at MCS and they're not too happy. Imo Ab beats MCS for an all round experience. Also too late to apply for MCS now anyway. Thanks though.

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:00:48

yes I heard of a parent moving from MCS to A because MCS was too much pressure, I guess it'a all subjective based on the child..A seems to achieve very good Oxbridge without being such a hot house and seems to be more all rounded

Amber2 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:03:04

Am curious about comments on MCS...did the parents of boys who are not too happy feel that because it's too much of a hot house? I have wondered that about MCS but really liked it on a visit

grovel Fri 29-Mar-13 17:17:31

Radley's wicket is famous for being a batsman's paradise. If your DS is a bowler he might prefer Abingdon? Not that I know anything about Abingdon cricket (but their rowing is very strong).

maisiejoe123 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:17:54

There is a great deal of difference between being a day boy and full boarding adn only you will know your son but I 100% agree with what Happy has said. You almost have to take a back seat if they are full boarding tbh and your DS will need to have a thick skin, there is lots of ribbing and teasing. If you have the sort of son (and it doesnt sound like you do!) who likes some peace and to read in his room he will last 5 mins at boarding school.

My DS does weekly boarding but tbh - there are a number of closed weekends and also picking up after a match at 1800 on a Sat and dropping back at 1800 on Sun is barely 24 hours.

Could I ask - Radley requires registration from almost birth. How did you know to register if you are going to be reliant on a busary. Its excellent planning but most registrations to Radley are done by people who already have the fees sorted and know exactly where they want their DS to go....

grovel Fri 29-Mar-13 17:19:20

I'd bet the DS is on the Warden's List.

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:27:19

Yes - the Wardens List it is! Well, will be shortly. If you'd told me when ds was 1yr old we'd be considering Radley, frankly I would have died laughing, but things work out in funny ways........

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:43:04

If he's accepted onto the Wardens list.......It might actually all come to nothing still yet.

grovel Fri 29-Mar-13 18:11:26

I think the Warden's List is safe:

From the Radley website:

A small number of places (around 25) will be reserved for the Warden’s List. This is a method of entry for boys who are not offered a place from our waiting lists or who are too late to register at all.

Boys need to be nominated by their headmaster or headmistress two years prior to entry to Radley.

Places are allocated by the Warden after the formal interview and consideration of the Head’s report. Further details are available from the Registrar.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 18:52:40

If rugby is his least favourite sport don't touch Radley with a barge pole. Rugby haters get really miserable being made to stand on the rugby pitch 4-5 days a week come hell or high water/snow/wind/rain/frost. They've got 7 teams for each year and even their 7ths are scary.

1805 Fri 29-Mar-13 19:53:50

Happy - rugby will be ok - he likes rugby, just not as much as football/hockey or cricket. At prep they throw them out in all weather too, so I'm not too concerned with the rugby ethos. I'm worrying about the Wardens List now. I'd forgotten about that. It opens for nominations in June, so plenty of time to discuss with HT. I would like to be certain that boarding is the right option for ds before we make the final plunge into applications though. DS still very much up for Radley.

difficultpickle Fri 29-Mar-13 22:41:26

If your prep offers boarding I would get your ds to try a night or too.

Committing to full boarding is a huge commitment for you and your ds. I would have hated to board. Ds does flexi boarding at his prep and will do weekly boarding (5 nights) from later this year. He loves it and has settled very well indeed. He has started talking about senior schools and has an expectation that he will do full boarding. We're registered for Radley but I'm not sure he will go there.

happygardening Sat 30-Mar-13 10:16:43

Amber I suspect all the super selectives are managing out those who are not going to perform. Dont be under sny illusions the significantly less selective are doing the same thing. I know of one London day school importing Chinese children and putting them into the homes of other pupils to boost results and another pretty unselective boarding school importing very Russian children into their 6th form to boost results. While parents like Xenia continue to make a schools position in the league table a major influencing factor when choosing a school schools will do everything they can to boost their position.
OP what are you concerns about full boarding?

1805 Sat 30-Mar-13 11:32:14

Happy - well, it's mainly that it's an unknown lifestyle.
I want ds to understand what full boarding will be like with regard to personal space, free time, computer games, work load, etc.
I think he'll love it tbh. He likes structure and boundaries. He loves all sport, music, art, and likes to achieve good results in his work. From my point of view, he will only be a 20min drive away, so it won't feel like I've sent him to Scotland. I think I am enough of a 'slummy mummy' to be able to let go and let him get on with it! Less washing to do after all!!!

Really, this offer from Radley has just landed on the doormat, and now I have to consider it as a viable option. Radley did tell us verbally he did not have to apply to the wardens list, even though he's not registered, but I'm not sure about this. All this can be cleared up after Easter I know, but at the moment it appears he has a place as long as he wins a scholarship.

happygardening Sat 30-Mar-13 13:03:52

Am I correct on thinking your offer and bursary are dependent on a scholarship?

1805 Sat 30-Mar-13 13:41:55

yep. No pressure then. As I said, we have been advised he is on course for 3 possible scholarship options.

happygardening Sat 30-Mar-13 15:05:29

Will you have had to have turned down a place at Abbingdon before your DS sits the Radley scholarship?
How old is your DS?

1805 Sat 30-Mar-13 15:20:55

he's currently y6. I'm thinking we register for both this summer, and go from there. At some point we will have to nominate a first choice school, and I'm presuming the second choice may well retract/not offer a bursary. If we go down the Warden's list route, then they state that they expect all Wardens List pupils to put radley as choice number one. So we may have to make a decision by the end of 2013.

happygardening Sun 31-Mar-13 13:16:11

So am I correct in thinking you would have to turn down a place at Abbingdon with a bursary unrelated to a scholarship and hope that your DS will get a scholarship and then a bursary at Radley in Feb (or around about there) 2014?

1805 Sun 31-Mar-13 13:27:26

It sounds ludicrous when it's put like that. Scouring through the Radley info we have, I've come to the conclusion ds does not need to be on the Wardens List, but apply for a scholarship in feb (ish) 2015. I'm hoping we can keep the two schools running side by side until 2015. The Radley offer is A LOT more affordable than Abingdon at the moment.

What I am trying to get my head around is whether we pursue the Radley thing in light of the boarding issue. I think we can. I need to talk to current HT and scholarship co-ordinator after Easter.

I know a scholarship is no easy deal, (11 1/2 hrs exams for Radley academic) but everyone keeps telling us he should be able to get at least one.

happygardening Sun 31-Mar-13 13:37:17

There is not a prep school out there even Summefield which has an extraordinary success with scholarships who will guarantee your DS or anyones DS for that matter will get a scholarship into an selective school like Radley. Many who are bright enough for the normal entrance into Win Coll St Pauls etc will look at scholarships into places like Radely often becasue there hoping for financial support. As bursaries become harder to get more will go down this road. Competition is fierce and you cannot guarantee the calibre of the applicants on the day. Also more and more able children are coming from abroad looking for scholarships/burarsies. I quickly looked at the Abbingdon prep website when did they last get a scholarship into Radley (lots too Abbingdon).

1805 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:12:44

2 scholarships definitely, maybe 3 this year to Radley. I can't remember.
I would imagine Abingdon would want to see a scholarship from him too for a bursary?

happygardening Sun 31-Mar-13 15:39:13

You need to find this out because otherwise you're taking IMO to much of a risk. Some schools do offer bursaries to non scholars. Scholarships are not just about how clever you are its about how hard your DS is prepared to work. When my DS was a prep there were always surprises mainly those who failed to get one who were extraordinarily talented.

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