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Independent schools with strong swimming and caring atmosphere

(43 Posts)
1busybee Sun 14-May-17 20:13:20

Hi. I have a child with a really keen interest in sport, swimming in particular and he seems pretty good. I find it hard to fit training in around everything else so have started to consider an independent where he can do his training around school. I would hope to send his sibling there too who isn't as sporty. I would like somewhere that is pastoral but gets good grades. Historically I know Millfield has always been a winner but wondered if anyone could suggest alternatives? Thanks

Ladymuck Mon 15-May-17 03:28:39

Plymouth College

Mytholmroyd Mon 15-May-17 04:34:11

Kelly College

1busybee Mon 15-May-17 09:28:28

Thanks, do you have personal experience of these schools @Ladymuck, @mytholmroyd.

2014newme Mon 15-May-17 12:00:12

Millfield or Plymouth surely

OCSockOrphanage Mon 15-May-17 13:52:26

Kelly College is now Mount Kelly.

PettsWoodParadise Mon 15-May-17 18:09:50

Sevenoaks has amazing sports facilities. Also academic. They do the IB rather than A Levels. No direct experience but if money had been no object we'd have sent DD there. It was the hardest email I sent turning down her place.

1busybee Mon 15-May-17 21:17:33

Thanks @pettswoodparadise are they strong on swimming do you know? He does do other sports but loves his swimming!!

4448daybreak Mon 15-May-17 21:41:10

You probably need to look at the fees for Sevenoaks, the swimming is top level, it's an outstanding school.

Mytholmroyd Tue 16-May-17 00:18:41

No - sorry busybee - only for summer swimming camps but DS always enjoyed them and would have happily gone if it had been an option. Same with Millfield - fab facilities.

Tom Daley didn't dive at Plymouth College tho - he continued to train at the city pool with his coach until he moved to London if i remember right

PettsWoodParadise Tue 16-May-17 06:31:43

Yes, Sevenoaks is very strong on swimming. They have a dedicated swimming coach which is rare. As said, fees are eye watering.

Needmoresleep Tue 16-May-17 09:33:18

"They have a dedicated swimming coach which is rare." Really!?

The level of swimming at the school will depend on who the coach is and the amount of time timetabled in. Without a clear swimming specialisation, which Plymouth, Millfield and Mount Kelly all have, you are unlikely to get to the standard needed.

If you re serious about the doing the 14-18 hours a week training that a competitive swimmer will need to do, you probably need to identify a school whose facilities are used before and after school by a good club, with good coaches. The swimmer then has the advantage of being on site so, say, able to get homework done before evening training. Such schools will probably have strong swim teams, so I would be tempted to look at which schools have consistently done well in ESSA competitions and work back.

In terms of the "big three" I am not sure any are seen as particularly academic. Anecdotally I have heard of several Millfield swimmers being quite unhappy, but this was girls not boys. I have also heard that you probably need to be very very good at Plymouth (which is linked with Plymouth Leander swim club) to get full coach attention and priority for pool time.

I have not heard of Sevenoaks being particularly strong, though accept PettsWoods word that they are. Whitgift, which now offers boarding, would be worth a look. They, like Sevenoaks, are also very good at hockey.

AnotherNewt Tue 16-May-17 09:51:12

Are there areas where you would consider a day school? (I've no idea where the strong clubs and elite training programmes are located)

Dulwich is also one to consider

Needmoresleep Tue 16-May-17 10:46:16

Newt, Latymer would be better, or maybe Harrow. Or for girls perhaps Notting Hill and Ealing High or one of the other schools whose pool Ealing SC use. However the problem is that parents still need to get them to training for 5.30-6.00am and the best swimmers will be going to elite programme at either Crystal Palace or the Olympic Park a couple of mornings a week.

For elite swimming, as with any other elite sport, you probably need to find the club./coach and then work back.

PettsWoodParadise Tue 16-May-17 13:16:15

Needmoresleep I was just going what we were told on the open day and this is backed up on their website (link as above) . I don't have experience of what is required for a one to one or a student is so clearly very dedicated as DD has never been at that level.

millifiori Tue 16-May-17 13:17:34

Reeds school in Oxshott, Surrey? Day, weekly and full boarding. Full on site pool. First rate pastoral care.

Needmoresleep Tue 16-May-17 14:19:53

PettsWood, five training sessions a week is far less than would be expected at Plymouth/Millfield/Kelly etc. And less than are available at some London day schools. Not enough for any DC who has ambitions to make it all the way. If that is what OP's son wants to do.

2014newme Tue 16-May-17 15:33:56

I used to swim 11 times per week. And that was at an ordinary comprehensive school although it did have a pool and swimming coach.
5 times per week surely is insufficient for a serious swimmer and also would there not be gym sessions on top?

Dancingdreamer Tue 16-May-17 22:52:53

Adam Peaty trained at the pool at Repton although he didn!t attend the school. Repton does have a good name for other sports but not sure how strong it is for swimming.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Wed 17-May-17 17:17:15

My 6 year old swims 4 times a week, so I don't think 5 sessions a week counts as a strong programme.

explodingkittens Wed 17-May-17 17:31:58


Stunning facilities, excellent academics (IB etc) and despite stereotypes a very warm and caring school with excellent pastoral care. Also weekly/flexi-boarding.

You don't say where in the country you are, OP?

mateysmum Wed 17-May-17 17:36:36

Taunton School. Really nice atmosphere, not "posh", Own pool and good, competitively without being focused on sport like Millfield. Just got a brilliant Good Schools Guide report.

Wisteriainwhite Wed 17-May-17 17:41:30

I think that Sevenoaks might fit the bill too.

Wisteriainwhite Wed 17-May-17 17:42:44

Is the sibling a boy or girl? That makes a difference too.

2014newme Wed 17-May-17 21:11:58

@wisteriaianwhite the op said it's a he in the op 🙄

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