Good boarding school with strong music dept for musical DC?(39 Posts)
Must be co-ed and full boarding. DC top end of class academically (not top top, but well above middle). Sociable, not terribly sporty, loves reading, loves music, loves keeping busy. Looking for somewhere where it's not looked down upon to enjoy school. We live in SE. No further north than Peterborough or Rugby. Any recommendations?
Also, DC not at prep - does this matter - would I need to get tutor? Can anyone talk to me about the CE process as I'm new to all this - should I post separately about this?
Thanks very much.
The King's School, Canterbury.
Amazing opportunities for musically and dramatically gifted children. Also fantastic sport, but it doesn't dominate over other extracurricular pursuits in the way it does at some schools. Look on their website and find the information about music and King's Week.
Predominantly full boarding.
On a direct train line from London or a straightforward drive.
King's also oppose pre-testing in Y6 so if you have issued the boat on that front your child will not be disadvantaged. While CE is the usual route in they take children who haven't been prepared for it (either from international schools or from the state sector). Ask the school.
I am no expert on this, but I think some families entering Y9 get CE past papers and study them at home, others get tutors and others transfer their child to a Prep in Y7. These days there may be an alternative test. Either way, the school won't want a different academic background to be a barrier to entry for a child who will thrive there.
The best of luck with your search. Make sure you visit a few places before you decide.
Would definitely endorse King'sCanterbury. Full boarding, fantastic music department and definitely cool to be hard working and clever.
There is a non CE route for those not at preps. Or you can start at the Junior School in Y7/Y8
You do t say how old your DC is?
The other two which immediately spring to mind are Christs Hospital two entry points yr 7 usually from the state sector so no CE and yr 9 entry, it will be competitive entry,. It's not everyone's cup of tea academic (grammar school level not super s lectins) excellent music but lots of ridiculous outdated uniform and meaningless ritual (I admit my prejudices). Or Marlborough again over subscribed, and pre tests at yr 6 for yr 9 entry, music is known to be very strong. A very large virtually all full hoarding school, with good academic I results but a reputation for having very smart parents. I personally think you need to be quite a robust personality to be happy there.
Bloody auto correct super selective not super s lectins! What the hell are lectins?
Proteins that bind carbohydrates
King's Canterbury, Marlborough and Rugby all have very strong music departments.
If your DC is a a good school I wouldn't have thought they would be miles off CE especially for Kings who maybe almost be on an academic par with Marlborough but I suspect would be more forgiving at CE.
Canterbury is a great city (my old stamping ground) there are thingsto do useful for full boarders and it does have good train links and lots of musical children from DS's prep went there but it could be a bit of a pain to get too if you lived in North or West London.
Marlborough on the other hand has no station, it's market town so othing to do on Sunday's but it's a very very easy drive down the M4.
You location might effect your choice.
Thank you send I'll add lectins to my list of useless info.
Thanks, everyone , really useful information. I think that given that we are not very "smart" parents at all, and DC is outgoing but quite sensitive, perhaps Marlborough might not be a good fit.
Kings sounds quite promising. Any comments about Rugby? Also a couple of people have mentioned Uppingham and Bryanston - I think the latter would be too far away for us but I'm told there is a coach service that drops off not too far from us. If anyone knows anything about these schools please let me know!
Also, any views on Oundle? Good for music?
Next step is to organise some visits. Any thoughts on what questions I should be asking ?
Oundle is one of our (two) options right now. It definitely ticks the boxes on full boarding, busy-ness, cool to work hard/enjoy school (the last is my single biggest requirement, so I have been looking hard on all our visits, and every child we have talked to has been proud to be working hard and doing well (but not afraid to admit to struggling and getting support, either)).
The music department seems impressive to me. Lots of lessons, lots of ensembles, general positive vibes. DS was more than satisfied with the selection of percussion available. However, if your DC is very musical then I would imagine you would want to look at the provision for their specific instruments.
Thanks, Stealth - that's good to know - I have heard that Oundle is quite academic. What did you think of the pastoral care?
What is your other option?
Other option is a day school
It is academic (one of the reasons we like it for very academic DC1) , but I wouldn't say it was London-style super-selective at all.
Happy - thanks - Ok - their website says different - but if you have personal knowledge then that's interesting - do you know, however, anything about their music provision?
A friends DC was there up until two years ago they removed him because it wasn't full boarding, I think she said all children had to learn an instrument in their first year..
Frankly I'll think you'll find that most boarding schools have good music depts it's all part of the package, if you have children in school 24/7 then you will offer good music provision because for 36k pa parents expect it and standards are likely to be high.
If your DC isn't playing a popular instrument then it might be worth checking out the provision or if say they're an avid jazz player check if there's a jazz band but I think you'll find all boarding schools will have orchestras etc to give you an idea about what can be offered this is the music provision at DS's school it has a reputation for having a very strong music dept, I'm reliably informed that music scholars will be at least grade 8 in uncommon instruments higher diploma level in common ones like the piano. Hope this helps.
Wow that looks amazing, HG ! I'm not sure though that the standard of music offered at all boarding schools is of the same calibre. Your Ds's school is clearly very strong. I'm not saying DC is musical genius by any stretch, but do want them to be in a stimulating environment rather than one where there is provision but maybe not a significant enough uptake.
The only school I can't seem to get a clear enough handle on is Rugby - I know that the town is unattractive (esp in comparison to the school buildings) but although the name comes up often no one can actually tell me anything about it.
I know I will have to visit and ultimately form my own opinions, but was just hoping for some insights from current parents or people who have friends with DC at these schools who could tell me a little about what they feel these schools are like beyond the blurb of the prospectus.
Not sure how far South you want, but Seaford College near Petworth, West Sussex is very musical and artistic Tom Odell was educated there.
We very seriously considered Rugby, OP. The only thing that put us off (and it was very marginal) was that DC1 is such a country mouse that we thought that Oundle, where the school dominates the town, might work better that Rugby, where is it the opposite. We really liked the school (and DC's prep school sends a few there every year and I have heard nothing but good stuff).
Marlborough, Stowe and Millfield all have excellent music facilities
I have heard that Uppingham is good for music.
Maybe start a thread with Rugby in the title. No current experience I'm afraid but friends who enjoyed it 30 odd years ago.
Thanks everyone for your recommendations - Avebury I think a new thread would be a good idea.
Will look up Wells Cathedral - I know nothing about it.
Have heard lots of positive things about Uppingham and I am keen to visit - the only potential drawback to me is that there is no town to speak of. Admissions were so helpful - I was sent a prospectus pack within 24 hours of enquiring and it is full of useful information rather than just a glossy brochure with pretty pictures. A significant section of the DVD (sent with the prospectus) concerns music provision which is a positive indication to me that they take it seriously there.
I do have another question - on the value of changing schools at Y7 to a boarding prep for 2 years rather than continuing through to senior school where DC already is - but again this might be better addressed on another thread.
Thanks again for all your help.
Another vote for Oundle.
The music department is quite exceptional, to the extent that they take the whole school to the Birmingham Symphony Concert Hall to perform! - see their website "news".
My DC starts in September and we know families with children there and all really happy. The town setting was very important for us as was the pastoral care which we have fully scrutinised and are very happy with. Our DC has a very rural life so learning to be independent in a nice town was important. Oundle is very down to earth and not 'smart' all very grounded kids who want to achieve well in everything they do. My DC is not super smart but a real worker who is looking forward to the varied opportunities on offer.
TeddyBear Uppingham have summer residential courses including some music ones. That might be a good way to get a feel for the place and the music department.
I don't know how strong or serious a musician your DS is but if he is very strong one of the main considerations would be whether there is the right sort of teacher for his needs for his instrument.
... on the value of changing schools at Y7 to a boarding prep for 2 years rather than continuing through to senior school where DC already is ...
This is the only part of your question I can comment on (as no experience of co-ed independent schools).
It's complicated and rather depends on where you are now and where you expect the child to be in yr9.
If you are aiming for high marks at CE or a scholarship exam I would, in general, say that it's much easier to begin at a relevant boarding prep (ie, one that really knows what it's doing) in yr6 rather than yr7. So the child has a year to acclimatise before the hard work starts in yr7. (However I have known instances where a late joining child does better than all their classmates in the yr8 exams.)
I certainly feel there are advantages to gaining some boarding experience before boarding at senior school - others may disagree - but it isn't necessary. The significant benefit comes where the prep regularly sends a relatively substantial number of children to particular schools - it makes for a very cohesive and enjoyable yr7/8 experience for groups of pupils who can prepare together. You wouldn't get the same effect at a random school with boarding where only one or two children are working towards a particular end point.
From what I've seen (very recently!) only a tiny, tiny percentage of children find, in yr9, that they really can't stand boarding - and the cause is likely to be either a home life that is inimical to the rigours of community living or insuperable homesickness despite the best intentions.
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