Oundle? ....(22 Posts)
Is it hugely academic or will an average child who is sporty be OK?
Have ypu seen the rather disturbing thread about Oundle in the secondary education bit?
I have to say I read that thread. When we were researching schools for ds1 Oundle was on our list, but upon mentioning it to our HM he made a face and simply said " all the kids we've sent, none of them settled" i thought he was barmy and dismissed his advise. However after reading up on GSG i sensed an undertone of 'its survival of the fittest here'. We eventually decided not to apply and forgot all about it. Then last month was speaking to an old friend whose son happened to be at Oundle and said it was great etc, however also said ds2 went there but 'didn't settle' so transferred elsewhere. There clearly seems to be something not quite right with their pastoral care, it can't be sheer coincidence that random people are all saying the same thing. I believe if you have a very robust, confident, all rounder child then it could be the perfect environment but otherwise i'd approach with caution.
If there is a sniff of poor pastoral care and not dealing with bullying then I would n't consider it for any DC who was going to be a boarder however robust they were. They might end up having to side with the bullies to survive. As far as I am concerned establishing kindness and mutual tolerance has to come before a child's potential success in academic or other areas. The new head will have an uphill struggle to change that sort of culture.
We know a boy who went there a few years ago he too took a long time time to settle despite having full boarded from Yr 2 I just assumed it was him because the school seems well regarded.
As you probably know HG the headmaster of Winchester College was head at Oundle before the present one. I imagine just as it takes some time to build a school up it also takes some time before the legacy of a good reputation fades because pastoral care has been neglected.
summerends that's avery good point you made about the legacy of a good reputation and it is so true.
Gosh, we send 5 or 6 children to Oundle every year and I have never heard of any of them being unhappy or failing to settle.
As far as I know it's a wonderful school. Certainly one that we recommend highly, especially to parents of all rounders.
This year we have one very academically average child going, one who is good at most subjects but struggles with one core subject and 4 who are very able. There were concerns about the average child initially but they took a pre test (new this year I think) to give an indication of whether or not they would cope and did okay. We've sent broadly average children before without a problem.
Just been chatting about this "failure to settle" rubbish. In our extended family, we've got experience of Kings Canterbury, Christ's Hospital, Eton, Bryanston and Marlborough. (plus some boarding preps). No-one we know of "failed to settle" and left. There was some bullying and it was dealt with in various ways, but always dealt with.
Petrasmumma I don't know if you've read the thread Horleys started on senior education but his DS appears to have been very badly treated by Oundle so I think you are wrong to say "failure to settle rubbish."
Using our own personal experience to back up your views is often the only thing we can do on these types of forums but whatever school we're talking about just because we thinks it's the best school in the world and can produce a whole gang of others who feel the same doesn't mean that this will apply to all.
Horley's DS has been treated badly, his DS was bullied and the school closed ranks, they didn't seem to want to address the problem so he removed him, the registrar may label this as "failure to settle" if he was asked but to anyone reading Horley's thread it comes across as a failure to address the bulling and a couldn't care less attitude by Oundle.
I have spoken to a number of families with DC at Oundle now and they are all very happy. Only one mother told me that one of her DS found the first year a bit tough but both her DS love it. It is important to keep things in perspective, Horley's case is very traumatic and naturally there are going to be many resulting issues,I know from experience that a trauma for a child creates many different and individual issues that need careful help.
I hope for Horley's sons sake he has now found a school which suits him and he is happier and can begin to re-build his life. For Oundle anew head is arriving and it wil be a new chapter, maybe we should look to the future!
Happy, that's not what I wrote.
I was making the point that no other school we've got experience of has passed the pastoral buck in such an appalling manner.
Scottiemum a school that does n't deal with bullying that crops up in a house is a poor school pastorally. That does n't prevent many children being happy because they are luckier with their peer group or housemaster. A slightly more disquieting thought is that some of those happy children have actually condoned the bullying in order to fit in.
I agree with Madrigals that the fact this is a recently bereaved child makes the lack of care even more stark.
You are right that a new headteacher may be able to change things but that will need several new appointments in the rest of the boarding staff for it to happen so is not going to happen or a little while.
I live in the oundle , Uppingham Oakham school triangle where both my children attended a prep school with weekly boarding facilities.
Local parents seem to choose Oundle for their academic and sporting strength, Oakham for the choice of three day a week boarding
, sport and IB . Oakham offers A levels and IB. Parents also choose Oakham if they want their child to board but may struggle to get into Uppingham or Oundle . Uppingham for a child who has a strong interest in music and perhaps more of a general all rounder.
Oakham and Uppingham used to be easier than oundle to get into as oundle is still perceived to be better academically however both these schools are raising their game particularly Uppingham.
Uppingham is leading the way for facilities and has an amazing music department. It seems some children have a harder time settling into Uppingham possibly because it is solely termly boarding with little or no day school pupils. It does seem to suit the all rounder very well but choose your boarding house carefully. Saying that they have a new housemaster and money to develop the school doesn't seem to be in short supply. The facilities are superb.
Oundle school, where my children are, have been, needs more money invested into it but academically I can't fail it. There is a lot of pressure to do well but I think that comes more from the children themselves and not pressure from the school. A child who is ambitious should do very well there. I have had no problem with pastoral care. The child who was outgoing and loved boarding struggled there over the years and eventually changed schools but the guidance we received and care we and she was given couldn't have been better.
The child I was more concerned about is flying there in every sense.
I would say be realistic about your child's abilities, you don't want to find they've managed to get into your choice of school only to see them get the red letter home before GCSEs ! This is hardly ideal especially as A levels are a huge step up. It's also worth looking at the percentage of overseas children at the school. Some schools are well known to bump themselves up in the league tables by taking in a high percentage of foreign children for sixth form. It might sound trivial but it is worth looking at.
Hope this has helped
TheWildBanshee I am intrigued to see where you think Oundle needs more financial investment? (And open to all views) The new SciTec is outstanding; the Language department is excellent; music provision consists of a complete Music school, Learning Support is fantastic and the plans for the new Sports facility which are already underway plus all the new staff is very exciting. It is certainly a school that is 'up there' with the very best (IMO)..and I have looked at lots of them!! Really interested to hear a different perspective..am I missing something???
My DC is at Rugby and I am happy they chose it because the pastoral care and house system is truly amazing. I might think some of the "systems" and academic stuff is a little lacking, and they could really do with an actual proper theatre in term of facilities.
But the house system and the pastoral care is first class. Eating in the boarding houses three times a day has a LOT to do with that imo.
Everything else I can let go and shrug about as I know my DC is happy, settled and is being properly looked after. Any sniff of bullying would be dealt with properly. All schools have bullying/alcohol/eating disorders/unhappy children but it's how they deal with it that matters to me.
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