SIL wants schools advice!(26 Posts)
So my SIL is living overseas (in Germany) with her DH and two DS's. Her DS's are eleven and nine, and her and her DH have decided they want both boys to be educated at British schools after being unimpressed with the German system. They will send them to boarding schools as they can't make the move back over here due to their work. She's emailed me yesterday evening asking me to get the heads up on some British boarding schools! She wants a mixed prep for the younger DS, and and boarding senior schools for the elder DS. Nowhere like Eton or Harrow (not sure why, but SIL isn't keen), somewhere with full boarding, good academics and very sporty. I only see the boys at Christmas and in the summer each year so don't know them all that well, but the younger DS is very musical and likes reading, and the older DS is a bit if an all rounder, but seems to have a particular aptitude for sport. So, any ideas? Recommendations much appreciated, SIL is aiming for the DS's to be in British schools for September 2015.
Oh forgot to add, SIL wants schools with great airport links, so I'd say schools in the southeast or in the northwest only please! Also meant to say that SIL's DS's are both in a (not very good apparently) bilingual international school so are at British level!
Tonbridge, Charterhouse, are good academic boarding school for sporty boys.
Charterhouse, Oundle and Stowe safe options that tick the boxes.
Lambrook and Wellington.
Close to Heathrow and both great.
She should contact someone like Gabbitas Education who will help find a suitable place.
Charles have heard amazing things about Lambrook, am going to send SIL the links to the schools website! If I could send my DC's to prep school all over again I send them there (alas we live too faraway!) Xpat am considering Tonbridge and Charterhouse for DS2 so am already biased in that department but thanks, will definitely send their links to SIL too, just reminded me! Dont Oundle is out near Northampton isn't it? Don't know anything about Stowe other than it's in Buckinghamshire and Henry Cavill went there! Regardless will also be sending their links along! Any more prep school recommendations anyone?
I know your SIL has said mixed prep but Caldicott is worth a look. Boarding is compulsory in Y7 and 8 so DS would not be one of only a few full boarders. We were very impressed with it when we went to visit. It is also very close to Heathrow.
Similarly maybe Papplewick (also compulsory boarding in 7&8)? I've never been to Papplewick but have heard good things.
CharlesRyder those three schools are all brilliant in my books (DS1's three best friends at school are from those three schools respectively) but SIL is very anti single-sex education at primary level, so have to rule those three out annoyingly! Don't think she'd even look at the websites! She's quite... um... stubborn! Do you know anything about Wellington, SIL's husband was wondering if it was "still standing" as he used to attend a rivalling school. Only thing I've ever heard about it on MN is either amazing things (happiness lessons I believe?) or horrendous things about that Dr Seldon and bullying! Only gossip mind you but I'd love to learn more about the school, do you have any experience?
DH used to work there and we lived in a boarding house so I know it quite well.
Both things are true. It provides an amazing education. I would happily have sent my own child there. However, the amazing standards (in terms of breadth of opportunity and quality of teaching) were being achieved by Seldon driving the staff like slaves and turnover was high.
The happiness stuff did have a point. Seldon took on a school that had a bad historical reputation for bullying. He set his stall out to change that culture and did. He was also very hot on keeping the school 'clean'. In our time there we had a no notice visit from a sniffer dog to go over the house for drugs. I have never known this in any other boarding school we've lived in.
The children in the school really gave the impression that they were living their lives to the full and achieving their potential.
Of course Dr Seldon has now announced retirement so the future remains to be seen!
Rishworth near Halifax.
Good links to both Leeds and Manchester Airport. Good sports and music facilities and excellent pastoral care. The Head is determined to help every single child achieve no matter what their ability.
Much cheaper than. The South too!!
Does she want proper full boarding? In all week/weekend or is she happy to look at somewhere where the majority are weekly boarders come home on Sat and go back on Sun PM. I suspect it's the former Charterhouse and Tonbridge are basically weekly boarding schools as is Wellington. Full boarding schools which are within a sensible distance of An airport are Marlborough academic but good for sport and music etc and St Edwards, more of an all round school sport very strong, Kings Canterbury (similar to Marlborough) is also full boarding, Gatwick is 1 1/2 hours away assuming the M25 is ok.
Preps everyone talks very very highly about Windlesham House (in/nr Worthing there another prep with a similar name that only goes to 11), I also know lots who've been at Summer Fields in Oxford they all talk very highly of it.
Kirkham Grammar School is in the North West between Preston and Blackpool. They have about 1/4 boarding from various places, some forces families but by no means the majority, there's a fair number of pupils from Europe.
They do go all through from 4yo to 18yo, although i'm not sure what age they take boarders from. It's a nice size (3 form entry, I think) and have quite a good track record of sport, especially rugby for the boys. Music was also strong.
Apologies for late replies! Have been busy with work and school runs! happy she's after either full boarding or a school where the vast majority of students board. I've heard good things about Marlborough. Looking at the website though it says it starts at 13, so the older DS would probably do two years of prep school before entry. The school would probably be the entry process by now I think, if it's like other public schools. It does look like somewhere SIL would love and the boys too, has lots of good music as a academics too (and they beat Millfield at a lot of matches so they must be sporty!) Anyhow, does Marlborough have a main feeder prep?
I expect a lot of kids move from Cheam to Malborough as they are in the same geographical ball park.
Cheam looks lovely.
Most reputable preps will feed into Marlborough it's a big school nearly 1000 so doesn't have a feeder. If you want a school where the vast majority full board then you choices are limited all state boarding schools won't suit, Oakham is popular on here but you need to clarify exactly how many full board, schools are notoriously economical with the actual numbers, a couple of friends have just moved their DC's from a some big name boarding schools because they basically lied about the actual number of proper full boarders. The ISI reports also seem to include weekly boarders in the numbers. The well known to be true full boarding only schools are Eton Win Coll Harrow Radley and I understand from friends Uppingham (which always receives bad reviews on here), all will literally have a handful of day pupils often DC's of teachers or those with very significant issues at home. Schools like Marlborough, St Eds and Kings Canterbury will have 80+% of full boarders.
Full boarding preps really are difficult to find, Dragon will feed into Marlborough and is worth looking at I know a few with DC's there they talk very highly of it although there are less and less full boarders. Summer Field Windlesham, Caldicott.
I personally have no time for Seldon the man is a spectacular self publicist, full of meaningless sound bites, as for happiness lessons I've met children from Wellington they don't seem any happier or well adjusted than any other children I've met. All tosh if you ask me.
Another vote for Oakham. There are a fair number of German kids there because of direct rail links to Stansted - they travel together. It's half full boarding, half day, but as it's a large school that still means about 400 full boarders.Takes children at 11 as well as the main intake at 13.
Very sporty and excellent music and drama. Excellent pastoral care and academic results too, and situated in a safe small town where the older ones are allowed to go to coffee bars etc.
Highly recommend Junior Kings and then Kings Canterbury. Wonderful schools catering for both sporty and musical. School organises taxis to and from London airports at start and end of each term. Full boarding (unlike some of those mentioned above) so students not left in small groups at weekend. Good train access from London City if visiting from Europe. Heathrow a bit more of a trek by public transport. We usually hire a car.
Does she realise that she will need to appoint a guardian in the UK and that will add to the cost?
Looks like Kings Canterbury is very popular! Am personally very fond of the place! SIL loves the look of the school after I sent her the links last night! Green yes, she's officially appointed her sister who lives in Berkshire, and then DH and I as unofficial "backups". Badger I also sent SIL the links for Oakham and she liked it but was unsure about the IB and fact it seems to empty at weekends as it has a lot of weekly and flexi boarders according to the online prospectus. She wants me to find out if this is true?
I've heard good things about Culford in Suffolk- great for sport and music. Also good is Ipswich School but not sure how many boarders they have now.
Ipswich has only about 45 boarders ,mostly non UK .Culford OK but not in the same league as Kings
Have to put a good word in for Uppingham. Is full boarding - my DC go there and both are very happy (very different personalities ). Full boarding, house system .
Realise my post about Uppingham was rather brief ! Not sure why Uppingham gets such bad reviews ( often from people who have not been there or were at nearby schools 20 years ago etc). It is a good school, great music, sport, drama as well as fantastic staff who really do know their pupils. I have 2 DC there, very different academically and both catered for. Uppingham is very rural, has 15 boarding houses , 9 boys, 6 girls. Parents are friendly and down to earth . As I said, my DC are very different but both very happy there.
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