not know how to choose - Shrewsbury, Charterhouse, Bromsgrove and Lancing(17 Posts)
hi, I am now doing research for my DS going to stuy sixth form AL. my DS has the potential but need some discipline I think. he like tennis lately and travelling.
Our first choice is Charterhouse, but did not find lmuch positive comments in MN, that makes us hesitate. any positive sides? especially there was saying it's weekend only a few left because most are weekly boarders.
Then we also consider Shrewsbury and Bromsgrove and find them both are good, but not sure which better, and how they compare with Charterhouse.
Then an agent suggest Lancing to us, the campus looks nice and AL result seems also good.
But besides the AL result of these schools, we would like to know more about the caring, peer culture, how the teachers treat students, will they only focus on bright students, etc. all cannot be found in websites
Pls hope can have your help.
Usually location makes a difference, is your child going to be traveling alone from an airport or are you based in the UK?
Is it impossible to go and visit, and see for yourself?
no, we are not basein UK, and he will have to travel himself to UK. and we plan to visit next Jan, but will not be able to visit all, hence want to focus on 1or 2 schools only if possible.
I know several boys and girls at Charterhouse and a couple of boys at Lancing. I can’t speak for the other schools. Lancing has decent AL results but slightly less academic than CH, particularly if you look at university destinations. Remember also that CH doesn’t offer many ALs, they run Pre-U mainly with some IB and some AL options. They both have excellent teaching staff, but the culture is indeed different, CH having higher expectations of conformity, more strict, but I would not agree with some comments about it being draconian. Lancing has more opportunities for performing arts, if that applies to your DS? CH will be fully coed but not for another couple of years, also a new headmaster starts in January so that could alter some aspects of what is currently an ingrained culture. Pastoral care is good at both. I’d say about 80% of boarders leave at weekends. Many are more or less local, and will often invite 7 day boarders to stay with them on weekends (starting Saturday evening) assuming they’ve befriended them.
If your DS is quirky or loves acting I would focus on lancing. Similarly if he has any SEN beyond mild dyslexia or mild ADD I would avoid CH, mainly because i have heard from parents that they manage these things well but only up to a point.
Thanks for the sharing, for CH, if 80% boarders will leave school at weekend, does it mean those stayed will be lonely boys or still have lot activities. In fact, what CH rep told us earlier is they will have lot activities during weekend.
Also, if CH has a compulsory Saturday school ? My son is active and maybe quirky, but very sociable. He does not SEN issues but just spend a lot of time in cell phone game, that is why I think disciplined boarding life may make him more discipline.
As you know those Charterhouse and Lancing students, did they ever mention any bullying inside, especially for those sixth formers, or the student culture so warm ? Sorry a lot of question, one more is , I read old thread talked about drug issues , heard anything like this ?
Btw, yes I know Charterhouse adopts Pre-U instead AL, I also wonder they want to adopt a more difficult exam rather then an already-popular AL.
I am thinking if Pre-U is so good, then why other top schools not adopt it.
Of course they tell you there are lots of activities. But there are not. Weekends do have some activities but I can’t honestly say there are enough for 7 day boarders, particularly compared to prep schools where leaving younger children to their own devices seldom happens. Boys need to seek out activities and risk becoming bored if they don’t. If your ds would seek them out he’ll be fine. The school seem to adopt an approach that as soon as pupils start they need to manage their own lives. So I would look at the houses very carefully because each year group in each house will obviously have different boys, getting a sense that your DS would get along with them will make a big difference to him.
Cell phone use is during lessons (called ‘hash’ @ CH) will result in trouble. They don’t take electronics away from pupils at night - some schools do, Eton have recently started to - instead there are rules about not using them after bed time & if they’re caught they’d get ticked off, frequent use after hours will probably mean it’s taken away at night for a while. School WiFi is switched off at night, and 3/4g signal is patchy.
Yes, Saturday school is compulsory. Pupils leave either at about 2pm or if they are playing sport more like 5pm. Return on Sunday evening.
I doubt there are any more bullying or drugs issues at CH than other similar schools. They both exist, sadly. Any hint of drug use including rumours will result in a drugs test. Suspension if guilty, expulsion if they’ve sold any. Seems fair to me. Schools like this have to be seen to have a zero tolerance policy, as you’d expect. There was a recent episode actually. The school dealt with it well.
I’ve not heard anything worrying about bullying at Lancing or CH. My DS is one year older than yours and says they deal with bullying swiftly, and have frequent lectures on such subjects.
Ultimately you and your DS need to visit. Ask detailed questions about all these matters and ask, for example, what activities they have for the coming 4 weekends. Challenge any school ‘sales patter’ by asking for details and examples. With the exception of 4 schools in the U.K. they all like to say they are oversubscribed, they are not! Only Eton, Harrow, Tonbridge and Winchester are meaningfully oversubscribed.
Happy to PM with more...
Btw, may I also ask if any other mums know anything, good or bad, about Shrewsbury and Bromsgrove, please help to let me.
I really want to focus down to 1 or 2 so that I may plan a visit afterward easier.
I think that you need to be clear what you want: you can't ask for a school with great academic results but then also worry about them not catering for your maybe-not-so-great son.
If he is to be abroad for two years then your ultimate concern has to be about happiness and welfare. Everything else flows from that.
I only know a bit, vaguely, about Bromsgrove. They only do lessons from Monday to Friday. There is no official school on Saturdays although I think they may run some remedial classes for those that need it. However, they have quite a large proportion of full-boarding / overseas students so there is a programme of activities.
I think most pupils are happy at Bromsgrove although I only knew locals so I have their view of it, not an overseas view. They work them hard. The site is in the middle of town so pupils can get out to shops etc - they are not located in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.
PS. Mumsnet as a whole is very heavily populated by people from London/South East. You will get lots of responses about schools in those locations but not so much about schools in other areas. Be aware of this bias.
Re the Pre U it is harder and more rigourous than A levels the equivelant grade carries more UCAS points. I think it was originally brought in because it was a 2 year linear exam with minimal course work and you say all exams at the end. Further math and physics is notoriously difficult. Only the most academic schools have adopted it, usually only in certain subjects, as far as I’m aware only 1 school only offers the Pre U. It’s apparently more joined up and interesting to teach and learn the only thing is ii is that it’s very similar to the first if not second year at uni and could cause some to be bored at uni. My DS is currently doing the stuff he did in yr 12 in his first year at uni, on the other hand it does mean that you can spend less time studying and more time having fun or in my DS’s case study a totally new subject at the same time.
Now A levels are a two year linear course it’s days may be over.
Re bullying there will always be some bullying in all schools it’s how it’s dealt with that counts.
"but just spend a lot of time in cell phone game, that is why I think disciplined boarding life may make him more discipline."
You are looking for a school not a boot camp. 6th formers generally have unlimited access to their phones and will not be overly supervised so activities or not your DS will still find time to game on his phone. Its also unlikely that extra circular activities i.e. anything thats not lessons will be compulsory for 6th former.
Having said this and from briefly looking at the websites of Shrewsbury and Bromsgrove (having read a lot of these things over the years I'm very good at reading between the lines) and from what I know from friends and colleagues and Lancing and CH I would have thought if you want a disciplined school then I think I would look ar Bromsgrove. I need to say I am hopelessly liberal, and loathe being over organised, as do me DS;s, the Bromsgrove website does not read in a way as a school that would suit someone who is hopelessly liberal and hates being over organised! I'm not criticising it as a school but I suspect its ethos would not be my ethos but it could ideal for someone looking for a disciplined environment.
I replied on your other post also about Bromsgrove. I have friends with day DCs there. They are very happy with the school. It has an improving reputation locally. I considered the school for my DCs as day pupils and would have been happy to send them there. My DS plays them at sport and says the food after is very good.
I would be interested in any information on Bromsgrove (but as a day pupil) please.
Bromsgrove definitely has plenty going on at weekends. No formal classes on Saturdays but lots of options for extra curricular activities and academic support. Optional for day pupils but boarders have to attend at least some Saturday sessions.
Sundays there are trips or activities most weekends, and there are enough full boarders that the school doesn't empty at weekends.
DEFINITELY check how many boarders genuinely stay at school for the weekend. Most schools that are not full boarding rely heavily on the weekly market and that means there might be just a handful of bored kids hanging around at the weekend. They will try to hide this from you!!
As a PP said, being based in the town means pupils can go shopping (not that there's much there) or have a takeaway at the weekend. They can also take the train or a taxi to Birmingham.
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