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co-ed boarding prep schools

(38 Posts)
abowley Sun 23-Aug-20 20:34:07

Dear all,
We're looking for a good co-ed prep boarding school for our DS. He's a bright and sporty boy and loves playing outdoors. We're thinking in Eton for secondary. Otherwise, I have to say that he doesn't fulfil his potential in a very competitive environment so we'd appreciate so much any advice for a boarding prep that may suit him.

Thank you very much.

OP’s posts: |
abowley Sun 23-Aug-20 20:46:03

We have heard that Windlesham House, Cottesmore and Dragon are fantastic for a bright child, but also quite competitive.

Other ones are Vinehall, Port Regis or Abberley Hall.

Also, we've seen that The Elms school in Colwall, despite not being a top academic school provides an environment that we think that he'll enjoy.

Any experiences with these or other schools?

OP’s posts: |
abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 18:21:53

The list of co-ed schools that feed Eton is this one:
Swanbourne House School
Foremarke Hall
Port Regis
Belhaven Hill
Vinehall
Ashdown House
Cheltenham College Junior School
Farleigh Schoo
Highfield School
Hordle Walhampton School
Holmewood House
Northbourne Park
Wellesley House
Beeston Hall School
Maidwell Hall
Dragon School
Ardvreck
Packwood Haugh
King's Hall School
Perrott Hill
Old Buckenham Hall School
Orwell Park
Eagle House
Bilton Grange
Brambletye
Cottesmore School
Westbourne House
Windlesham House School
Sandroyd School
Abberley Hall
The Elms
Trully all of them seem incredibly good with their own peculiarities. If anyone knows something that can help us, we'd appreciate it a lot.

OP’s posts: |
Fleabagster Mon 24-Aug-20 19:09:00

Do you want rural or town? Where in the country? How big? I know quite a few of those schools and they’re very different in lots of ways - the Dragon and Sandroyd vary massively in size, location etc.

I will say I’ve never heard anything negative about Windlesham House, but I don’t know it personally. There’s a new head starting this term.

DPotter Mon 24-Aug-20 19:11:53

Oratory prep in south oxfordshire. smallish school, beautiful rural setting. good local reputation. mostly day pupils

Fleabagster Mon 24-Aug-20 19:15:52

@DPotter I think the OP is looking for boarding though? I wouldn’t want my prep age kid to board but if they did I’d want them to be in a school with a majority of boarders.

DPotter Mon 24-Aug-20 19:31:42

Just offering another option

ParisianLady Mon 24-Aug-20 19:34:50

My cousins went to Bilton Grange and had a fantastic time. They were sporty, social, not incredibly academic but ended up doing well. Lots of freedom to explore, excellent sports, strong pastoral.

They had Eton as an option but went elsewhere.

I'd send my son there if we were looking at boarding at that age.

abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 20:15:20

@Fleabagster Thanks, yes we would prefare an school where at least a considereble number of pupils are boarders.

OP’s posts: |
abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 20:20:08

@DPotter Thanks for sharing another option, but yes, we'd prepared one with more boarders. Even so we appreciate very much your comment.

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minipie Mon 24-Aug-20 20:22:18

Where are you based in the country?

I have family at Orwell Park and they love it, it’s an all rounder school I’d say. But I believe most flexi board rather than full board. I would have thought that’s the case for most boarding preps these days. So best to choose somewhere fairly near to you so your child can flexi board if that’s what most do or if that’s what they prefer?

abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 20:29:00

@ParisianLady Thanks for sharing your experience, it's very useful! We were already considering it, but we were afraid that it wasn't very "academic".

OP’s posts: |
abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 20:37:48

@minipie Thanks for the comment! No, we aren't currently based in the UK. For that reason we were very interested in full boarding. Even though it's great to know that the vast majority of pupils are Flexi-boarders.

OP’s posts: |
abowley Mon 24-Aug-20 20:44:50

@Fleabagster We'd prepared rural but this aspect doesn't bother us too much really. Our main priorities are good academics and a nurturing environment as well as a considerable number of boarders.

OP’s posts: |
minipie Mon 24-Aug-20 20:47:03

Ah I see. Ok so in that case I would think you would want to find out which of these schools has a high % of full boarders as otherwise your DS could be left on his own at weekends. That’s going to narrow the list considerably.

May I ask why you are thinking of Eton?

Fleabagster Mon 24-Aug-20 20:48:44

Perhaps think about transport links then - which schools are near-ish the airport you’d be flying to? I promise I’m not linked to them in any way but again, Windlesham House isn’t too far from Gatwick or London whereas Old Buckenhall Hall would be handier from Stansted. Good luck with your search!

reefedsail Mon 24-Aug-20 21:37:11

I think if you are remaining abroad it would be best to look at the schools that are 100% boarding and do not have day pupils at all.

Ludgrove and Cothill House. Both are all boys, but if your prefered destination is Eton, presumably you are looking for boys?

Beachcomber74 Tue 25-Aug-20 11:38:32

Eton can cross Ashdown off it’s list as with or without sending pupils there it’s sadly now shut.

abowley Tue 25-Aug-20 16:24:54

@reefedsail Thanks for the message.
Yes, our problem is that we also have girls so it will be better a co-ed where we can take all of them. But we hadn't found any co-ed completely full boarding...

OP’s posts: |
mamaoffourdc Tue 25-Aug-20 16:26:50

Junior kings then kings in Canterbury

reefedsail Tue 25-Aug-20 16:39:13

Then will you not also want to keep them together for Senior?

Maybe look for a really good co-ed with Prep and Senior closely associated. Eagle House/ Wellington maybe?

abowley Tue 25-Aug-20 16:41:42

@minipie Thanks for the message.
Yes, that's the main reason we are looking for full boarding. About Eton, is because it's a school with very good academics and also some kind of family tradition. I don't want to be misinterpreted, we are not obsessed with that, and if at the end he doesn't want or maybe we see that it won't fit him, we absolutely won't push him to go. We just want a school that prepares him for it if it's the right place for him.

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abowley Tue 25-Aug-20 17:31:10

@reefedsail Thanks.
As well as what I've said to minipie, the fact is that we also consider that for preparatory co-ed is better than single. Otherwise, our belief that we have to chose the right secondary for each child necessities and abilities, and maybe we won't send all them to the same one.

OP’s posts: |
Singingrain1223 Tue 25-Aug-20 17:39:47

@abowley , you are probably aware there are very few full boarding options for girls because girls historically moved to secondary school aged 11 and didn't need to be full boarders to prepare for this step. You would do better to send all your dc to the same mixed prep school with links to a mixed senior school as other Mumsnetters have suggested (also with easy airport access).

minipie Tue 25-Aug-20 18:34:22

Since you are (rightly) open minded about secondary and will choose what’s best for each child according to their needs - so not wedded to Eton - why the fairly drastic step of full boarding prep school? Unless there are no good schools where you are? Appreciate there may be a family history of full boarding prep but it’s much rarer these days and generally only done by those with no choice...

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