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Smaller boarding schools?

(38 Posts)
duckplate Mon 15-Oct-18 00:26:57


My dd is finishing y11 and wants to board for sixth form, but is currently at a really tiny (like 6 in her year group) school. Obviously this isn't going to be replicated in a boarding school, but are there are smaller, more nurturing schools?

I think going into a really big school + the change to boarding would be a lot. Maybe not in a big city, but that's not really an issue, it's more the actual school!!

Currently have fyling hall, and that's really itblush We had lathallan in Scotland (dds father works there so would be vaguely convenient) but dd wants to do a levels so that was out.

Thank you!! smile

lifeinthecotswolds Mon 15-Oct-18 09:40:47

Hi Duckplate! What locations are you considering?

motherstongue Mon 15-Oct-18 10:02:19

Glenalmond in Scotland does A levels and is quite a small nurturing school. It has fabulous grounds too.

whatatod0 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:07:47

wychwood in oxford.

duckplate Mon 15-Oct-18 16:16:50

We've applied for Glenalmond actually!! But we'd need a scholarship to afford the fees so I'm not counting on it. It looks like a lovely school though.

Wychwood looks exactly like dds current school but single sex!! She's always been in co ed, is it hard switching to ss for sixth form? Other than that though it seems to fit all the criteria, thank you grin

Ideally north/midlands, and Scotland as dds dad works there. I wouldn't be able to get her easily if it wasn't above London, so that would be good! But I feel like I'm looking for a lot as most sixth forms are really big, so the right school is more important than location.

CherryPavlova Mon 15-Oct-18 16:19:41

Would not a bigger school with a house system make the transition to university somewhat easier? I’d have thought most children would find somewhere quite that small a bit stifling.

duckplate Mon 15-Oct-18 16:27:44

CherryPavlova - I think that's why she wants to move for sixth form, it's been the same few kids since y7!

I wouldn't want a school with that few pupils, and those don't exist within boarding anyway! But also think a school with 600 pupils in sixth form would be really overwhelming, and after having so much individual attention she might struggle.

Probably somewhere in the middle, with some good pastoral care and attention, but also more freedom and more people. I think boarding will be a good preparation for uni, but I don't want her to be thrown into the deep end.

I didn't really think about the house system though, she'd be known within her house at probably any school.

lifeinthecotswolds Mon 15-Oct-18 16:42:26

Have you had a look at Rendcomb College? It's in the Cotswolds (Glos) - beautiful setting and less than 400 students. It's known for having a family/nurturing ethos. It's both day and boarding and it's co-ed.

They have just announced some 100% scholarships for sixth form for 2019 - day fees only I think but still! Might be worth a look.

CherryPavlova Mon 15-Oct-18 17:12:44

Yes when ours transferred to boarding they certainly didn’t ‘get lost’ and had very good pastoral care from their tutors and house staff. So much so,they felt settled within a fortnight despite having to almost learn a new school language. Their school had about 1, 500 from year 9 but divided into 18 houses of different sizes. Ours had houses of about 50 pupils of all ages and 80 in the other house. The sixth form pupils in each house year group were only about a dozen or so.

folduptheocean Mon 15-Oct-18 17:39:16

Monmouthshire school for girls looks lovely and very welcoming. Not as elite as Glenalmond

Dancingdreamer Mon 15-Oct-18 17:41:00

What about Reston or Ellesmere College. Both have about 600 pupils I think so not overly large. My DD also transferred from a very small school to board at 6th form. She deliberately chose a larger school where there would be much wider opportunities and bigger friendship groups. As Cherry said, the house system meant that she did not get lost and my DD thrived there.

2BorNot2Bvocal Tue 16-Oct-18 11:04:21

Take a look at the York independents. Bootham, St Peters, St Margarets (girls) they all have a different feel. Good train links to Scotland.

whatatod0 Wed 17-Oct-18 10:11:15

Can't recommend Wychwood enough. For the right type of girl it is really excellent.
Can't comment on the coed/single sex thing as my dd is younger. SHe's been at both though, and changing has not been an issue. (She boards at WW.)
please pm me if you'd like to ask anything.

jellycat1 Wed 17-Oct-18 11:04:29


LostSoul69 Thu 18-Oct-18 23:13:03

Another vote for Glenalmond but also look at Queen Margarets, York (girls) & Ampleforth - great for girls 6th form, both these options are within easy reach of Edinburgh and London on the east coast train line!

Spinterest Sat 20-Oct-18 16:43:34

Another vote for Monmouth School for Girls. They've just gone coed sixth form. Beautiful setting loads of amazing facilities and value for money. My dd LOVES it there

folduptheocean Sat 20-Oct-18 20:57:13

@LostSoul69 I do think anpleforth is beautiful but isn't it quite big and also quite catholic.

LostSoul69 Sat 20-Oct-18 21:22:22

@folduptheocean Ampleforth is not that big just a large campus eg huge grounds and loads of amazing space. Yes, it is a Catholic school but you do not need to be Catholic to be a pupil there. I have lots of friends with very happy DCs at Ampleforth.

2BorNot2Bvocal Sat 20-Oct-18 21:39:42

folduptheocean Sat 20-Oct-18 21:49:09

True. The OP mentions Fyling hall. The fees there are a lot less that Ampleforth which is high end price wise.

folduptheocean Sat 20-Oct-18 21:51:25

I think ampleforth is hot on safeguarding now so wouldn't be worried. The monks don't teach any more as far as I know. A lot has changed.

It's a beautiful school. I love it, but not sure if it fits the bill for OP

duckplate Sat 20-Oct-18 23:19:59

Thank you everyone for the replies, they're so helpful!

I really should've said in the OP sorry but our budget is about £31k so it rules out a lot of schools immediately! Dd is going for scholarships at some schools but we're trying to find safer options currently too.

We've enquired about Wychwood, which looks really promising smile I also got a pm about Ackworth, that looks amazing! I've talked to the head and there's a big emphasis on pastoral care, it's got quite a small sixth form (50 in each year).

Most of the schools on this thread look like they fit the bill (we did visit Ampleforth for ds a while ago and loved it!) but aren't affordable.

Newme2016 Sun 21-Oct-18 11:58:26

You will not go wrong with Wychwood, it really is a small gem.
My daughter has flourished here. I can’t think of anywhere else I would have her.
If you think I could help answer any questions please let me know.

Witchend Sun 21-Oct-18 13:13:51

What about one that is only partially boarding. Kirkham Grammar School near Preston is about 25% boarding and I know some people who were really happy there.

whatatod0 Sun 21-Oct-18 18:08:00

OP - how small do you want? I've just looked up Ackworth and it looks pretty big.

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