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Girls boarding schools. What are the top level schools?

(37 Posts)
smilesandsun Thu 21-Apr-16 13:59:49

Hi All researching for my daughter, a couple of years off the 11+. Loves the idea of boarding and I don't know where to start looking at the schools.

Advice most appreciated

bluecarpet Thu 21-Apr-16 14:26:51

If my daughter had to choose she would go to Malory Towers unhelpful
good luck with your search

smilesandsun Thu 21-Apr-16 17:08:34

Ha bluecarpet I expected someone to say something completely negative, that was actually funny ...... there are other reasons as well halo

Anyway any useful suggestions most welcome!

LIZS Thu 21-Apr-16 17:11:31

Do you mean likes of CLC, Wycombe Abbey and Roedean? What is it you want from a school and do you have the advice of a prep school t guide you?

Vaara Thu 21-Apr-16 17:11:48

What's your budget?

The sky's the limit.... Does it have to be in the uk?

selly24 Thu 21-Apr-16 21:49:39

A top level school as you say is only 'top' if it is best for YOUR child.

I would suggest building a mind map to create a reflective picture of your daughter. Start with noting her strengths and interests, the new things she might like to try, her personality traits, areas where she will need more support. It is helpful to reflect on who she really is before you try and find where she will be happiest, really thrive and fulfil her potential. It may or may not be at one of the 'big name' schools....

With boarding I think the pastoral side of things is so important. Early on ask about the pace/structure of a typical school day, directly ask the pupils 'Who would you go to if you were worried about something'
It helps also to choose a school not to far away (so collection for exeat, visiting for sports, concerts etc is possible on a regular basis)
Are you sold on girls only or could co-ed be an option..

Dancingqueen17 Thu 21-Apr-16 22:34:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dancingqueen17 Thu 21-Apr-16 22:35:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

smilesandsun Fri 22-Apr-16 14:33:29


Yes I am looking for girls only at 11+ stage
We are in London, though anywhere that has a bus service home for the long weekends is ok. It would be nice to be localish
I'd prefer weekly but will look at full
Definitely only in the UK, I want the UK system and approach
She is creative and very much one to give everything a go. She loves drama and art and english (despite being dyslexic).
I asked for top schools to see what they are and go from there, not necessarily that she will go to one.
I don't want a "finishing school" and neither does my daughter, she has very high aspirations for her adult life.

I do have a prep school now but really they are focused on London so I would like to get a broader idea of where I should look.

thank you all for the help

Newme2016 Fri 22-Apr-16 14:37:27

Headington in Oxford? Boarding and all round school. Easy to reach from London.

redhotfire123 Fri 22-Apr-16 15:57:01

Benenden, Wycombe Abbey (v academic), Cheltenham Ladies, Downe House, St Marys Calne, St Swithuns, Tudor Hall.......

MissAnneElliot Fri 22-Apr-16 18:23:39

Dds are at Queenswood - both fairly happy there. Lots of sport & drama. There is a learning support department though I don't know how good it is. Dds flexi board if that helps!

Michaelahpurple Fri 22-Apr-16 19:14:43

St Catherine's Bramley is one I would add. Not sure what learning support is like there though. Good and handy from London.

Downe House is reputed to have particularly good pastoral , I believe

AlbusPercival Fri 22-Apr-16 19:16:52

Beneden sprang to mind for me too, have friends who went there

selly24 Fri 22-Apr-16 19:29:07

Downe House girls seem to be pleasant, down to earth and kind in my experience...

NotCitrus Fri 22-Apr-16 19:38:59

Roedean has lots of weekly boarding, some full boarders, and has had an academic renaissance in the last few years. And easy to get to from London by bus or train. Cheltenham and Benenden are a git to get to. Rumour has it WA is very pushy academically but could be out of date or exaggerated.

helenwilson Fri 22-Apr-16 21:29:56

I used to work at Heathfield School in Ascot, it's a lovely school. Art and Drama are particular strengths, it is less good for sporty girls. The school is very small, about 200 pupils although I think they've just started taking day girls, but only a small number. It's size makes it very small and inclusive, it has a lovely community feel and every girl gets individual attention and is able to participate in everything without it being ultra-competitive. It's not highly selective although definitely not a finishing school, I think the girls sit an entrance exam but they do take a range of abilities - some girls get straight A*s and go to Oxbridge, others focus on Arts type subjects at A level. I think all the girls work hard though and the headmistress is a very positive role models for girls in the world of work and beyond, she has young daughters herself and is very nurturing. The facilities are good for a relatively small school and there's a bus service into London. I would say there are between twenty and thirty girls in each year group.

I just used to work evenings there when the children were small and it helped me spend more time during the day with them - I've since returned to the corporate world (boo hiss). I would've chosen it for my eldest daughter (now in year 5) if money were no object (it is and I have four children !), but not for my second daughter who is much more sporty and competitive.

redhotfire123 Sat 23-Apr-16 09:27:07

Not many boarders at Roedean in younger years. CLC, Benenden, DH, St Marys Calne all have buses to London. Go and look round as you will get a feel for what suits your DD.

Make sure you find out exactly how many boarders there are in the younger years and how many stay at the weekends.

I personally wouldn't send a girl who needs support to WA - only one who is sure to get all A*s. It is close to London though. Quite a high octane place - we didn't like it.

dotdotdotmustdash Sat 23-Apr-16 21:05:58

St George's in Edinburgh! The highest-achieving school in Scotland. Only 20 mins tram ride to the airport for 1hr flights back to London.

smilesandsun Sun 24-Apr-16 10:39:12

thank you for all your views.

I like the look of Roedean and Downes House, Heathfield looks lovely too and Tudor Hall.

Does anyone know more about any of these? Especially learning support, though she doesn't need to much help I want to know it is there when needed as she is dyslexic (mildly)

I've requested prospectus and noted open days and will visit each to see.

bojorojo Mon 25-Apr-16 10:54:04

Queenswood does help with dyslexics and has had a few with mild dysjexia. Heathfield is great too. I would put these two at the top of any list .

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Apr-16 10:56:15

I don't have daughters, but I think W.A. is considered the top spot by the uber-competitive London types.

Needmoresleep Mon 25-Apr-16 11:45:45

WA is definately considered the "top" school in the same way that people who rank things consider St Pauls Girls School to be the "top" London Day School.

Whether it is the "right" school is not normally a consideration for those seeking the "top" school.

Justletthemeatcake Mon 25-Apr-16 11:56:09

I was impressed by St Francis College in Letchworth, Herts
Lovely Art department, very good teachers.

I have heard really good things about New Hall school in Chelmsford.
see video of Head Girl here

There is a brilliant school called Bishop's Stortford College as well, in Herts.
I have met a many of the staff and they were all very lovely people and all the kids I've met are very unpretentious and unsnooty.

I think you need to go and see the places. A lot of them however, I hear, are hard to get in and some are more academic than others.

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Apr-16 11:58:26

True, needsmoresleep - I'm just answering the question. wink

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