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Habsboy vs Tonbridge

(7 Posts)
Alisaalisa Fri 22-Feb-13 04:59:04

DS has an offer by Habsboy (day school) for Y7 entry this Sept and a conditional offer by Tonbridge (boarding place) for Y9 entry in 2015. We are new to UK and hence not really sure which school would be better for DS. Would love to hear your view on these two schools.

timmytoes Fri 22-Feb-13 12:20:04

Most UK based boys who board at Tonbridge return home post matches on Saturday afternoon and then return Sunday evening. I presume you are North London based if you have a place at Habs so the weekly commute may not suit. Tonbridge is very sporty , Habs probably slightly less so, both academic schools although Habs probably slightly more so just because it is a day school and the competition for places at day schools as opposed to day/boarding schools more intense. As a boarder you can stay all weekend at Tonbridge and indeed the many overseas boys will but as I said most London based boys will go home so I think this is probably your main consideration.

Alisaalisa Fri 22-Feb-13 16:19:14

Thank you, timmytoes, for the info. We are currently staying in central London and will probably move to the northern part of the city if DS finally goes to Habsboy. Our worry is the high possibility that DH will be moving back to Asia in 3 years time. If if happens, Tonbridge will offer a flexibility for DS as he can stay in UK as a boarder there. So, one option is to get DS into a prep school to prepare him for Tonbridge while the other option is DS still goes to Habs and moves to Tonbridge if we need to return to Asia then. In the case of latter, I am not sure if he can pass the common entrance. Wanna how difficult is the common entrance exam ? Is Habs much stronger academically than Tonbridge ?

timmytoes Fri 22-Feb-13 21:31:16

The common Entrance exam for boys at UK prep schools entails an exam in every subject, ie all sciences, Latin, religious studies, maths, history, a modern language etc . Tonbridge usually says that it requires boys to get an average of at least 62% which is high but not outstandingly high. Other boarding schools vary from about 50% to 70% average but I have heard that Tonbridge unlike other schools is quite rigid and that no exceptions are made for boys who say miss the mark by a few percent. As your son has a place at Habs he should be more than capable of the 62% as long as he is at a decent prep school. Thus its not so much a case of difficulty just that it will involve quite a lot of work over the next 2 years . Tonbridge certainly offers more flexibility if your husband may be posted back to Hong Kong , the alternative is to move then but this will be more disruptive. Your choices of boarding school will be curtailed and limited to almost certainly below the top tier. Thankfully Tonbridge itself has good transport links particularly trains to central London so you should be ok as long as you are not too North. Habs is not significantly more academic than Tonbridge just a little I would say , they both have about the same percentage of boys going to Oxbridge if that is one criteria you want to use. I don't think that should be your overiding factor as your son will thrive at both. Both have some outstanding pupils although of course Tonbridge is more international whereas Habs attracts a more North London crowd which in itself is very mixed , Asian, Jewish etc. Just to add if my son's prep school is anything to go by Tonbridge becoming very popular ! We are the wrong side of the river to send any to Habs but I have a nephew North of the River !

Alisaalisa Sat 23-Feb-13 01:45:23

IC. Any tips on the possible prep school ? DS has been offered a place at the Westminster Cathedral Choir and also likely to get a place at the Sussex House. Any views on these two schools ? For the boarding schools, other than Eton, Westminster, Winchester, are there any others you would consider to be on the top tier ? Thanks again.

timmytoes Sat 23-Feb-13 12:01:51

Westminster is strictly weekly only so that may not suit if you are in Hong Kong. Otherwise top tier boarding schools as you mention Eton and Winchester followed by Tonbridge, Radley, Harrow and Charterhouse with Kings Canterbury, Wellington following close behind. However depending upon your son's age you may be too late to register/pre-test with some of these schools. Many pretest in year 6 , some in year 7 and thus it is hard if not impossible after this point to get a place except via very very competitive/hard scholarship papers in year 8. As to prep schools both Sussex House and Westminster Cathedral School have very good reputations so either would suit and prepare adequately for Common Entrance at the top schools. A place at Tonbridge at 13 via pretest at age 11 is of course based on the presumption the boy passes Common Entrance at the required standard, ie 62% but as I said earlier given the schools your son has a place at eg Habs this should not be a huge issue.

Alisaalisa Mon 25-Feb-13 14:43:38

Thanks. DH is already in UK and we plan to move this summer when DS finishes his school year. DS is also on the waiting list of Westminster Under School (11+) but the school only has 28 places. Would you know any similar cases before, i.e. on waiting list and get admitted ? We haven't registered for Westminster School and I am not sure if we still can register even if DS is offered a place at the end.

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