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Academic, full boarding, south of England- Marlborough ?

(31 Posts)
yotty Thu 02-Jun-11 14:46:37

I am genuinely interested in peoples opinions of Marborough College. I have visited Canford which I like, but was wondering if Marlborough was worth a visit. Previous MN threads seem to make guarded negative comments about the school which I am not sure I quite understand. My son is not sporty, so how would he fair at Marlborough ?

100lilgreen Fri 03-Jun-11 00:26:32

heard it is a fantastic school not as pushy as canford

yotty Fri 03-Jun-11 17:56:38

Thanks 101lil, interesting that you thought Canford more pushy. I had always assumed that Canford would be less academic than Marlborough until I looked at last years A level grades. The percentage of pupils getting A*s As and Bs seemed to me, to be almost the same. Admittedly I haven't done the maths on the previous years, but I was pleasantly surprised by Canfords results. If it's tougher to get into Marlborough than Canford, I would say the teaching at Canford must be superior or they must be doing something different.
I was wondering what the difference between them would be on the pastoral, boarding and social side. I know Marlborough have far more boarders, but does that equate to plenty of stuff going on at a weekend or not. Also would a non sporty boy hate it?

beanlet Fri 03-Jun-11 18:00:31

Have you cOnsidered Winchester? DH is Oxbridge ex-Senior Tutor and says he's always been most impressed by their boys at interview. (We'd send DS if we could afford it...)

100lilgreen Fri 03-Jun-11 18:27:26

I would say that even though Marlborough is more academic, one gets a more all round education because they focus alot on sports. Canford are very keen on getting A* only and As even though it is a beautful school in wonderful settings. Why not consider St Edward's in Oxford?

yotty Fri 03-Jun-11 19:46:37

Beanlet, yes have considered Winchester. DS is keen on Winchester, we are slightly concerned he might not make the grade.
101lil, Although I like the concept of an all round education, my concern is, if you are a full boarder at a school that puts lots of emphasis on sport, my DS may be miserable. If no one ever passes you the ball because you are rubbish, eventually you get fed up and would rather do something else. He does enjoy music and drama. We do not live in the UK, so he will have to be there most weekends.
I thought St Edwards was not so academic, perhaps I am misinformed!

Colleger Fri 03-Jun-11 21:10:35

Nooooo, not Canford! wink Marlborough a far better choice and although Teddies is a good school I wouldn't put it in the same league as Marlborough.

As for sport, these schools start at 13 and any not passing the ball is primary school behaviour. Children grow up, find their strengths and are setted accordingly so do not base your decision on whether a school is sporty - all these schools are sporty!

yotty Fri 03-Jun-11 21:20:38

Colleger, can you tell me why Marlborough is better than Canford?

Colleger Fri 03-Jun-11 21:25:15

Canford is just rubbish, that's all!

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 03-Jun-11 21:34:05

Last I heard you needed 55% in CE to get into Marlborough. That doesn't seem to indicate a highly academic environment.

100lilgreen Fri 03-Jun-11 21:40:49

Yes St Edward's is less academic, but i know so many people who have been happy with it. What about Harrow? Radley, Rugby are also choices. What about Oundle? In my opinion, go with Marlborough, produces wonderful kids . Canford seems to be intent on just getting the best grades. When my son went for interview there, the headmaster said to him, " What is going on in that little head of yours?". I just thought that seemed so patronizing!

Colleger Fri 03-Jun-11 21:56:31

Canford is all talk and no substance. Marlborough is a very academic school and is becoming more selective. Many schools have a 55% pass rate but that does not mean most of the students only achieve 55% and it is not an indication of whether a school is good or not. hmm

yotty Fri 03-Jun-11 22:13:18

If all these schools are sporty maybe we should just send him to the selective day school here and save £30k a year. After all, how much of that money is spent on the upkeep of acres of sports fields which my son will have little interest in. Can anyone tell me what a non sporty boy would get out of a boarding school.

100lilgreen Fri 03-Jun-11 22:33:22

Well if your son is non-sporty, schools like Eton and Harrow, there are so many other activities, other than sport which can entertain your son. What are the Selective day schools in your area?

yotty Fri 03-Jun-11 22:53:18

Not in UK. The selective boys school is a fairly traditional in effect grammar school. Not particularly selective with some uninspiring results. Only 1 boy offered Oxbridge place this year. To be fair the best results do tend to be in the academic subjects, with plenty of lower grades in media studies and environmental studies etc. Which to me indicates the bright boys take the academic subjects and the others tend not to! Would just like my DS to be in an academically inspiring school and to associate with some other bright kids.

Colleger Fri 03-Jun-11 22:58:41

Oh for goodness ake Yotty! I wonder if all the OE's, OH's and OW's who were non-sporty got nothing out of boarding! hmm

100lilgreen Fri 03-Jun-11 23:21:14

Just because he isn't sporty, does not mean he would not benfit from boarding!!

yotty Sat 04-Jun-11 09:03:04

Fair enough. I understand there is more to boarding than sport. I just want to make sure he will be happy, particularly over the weekends. It would be different if we lived close by and we could go a pick him up on a Saturday afternoon, but we don't. So picking the right boarding school is crucial. It worries me slightly, that particularly in the first few years the younger children's activities over the weekend tend to be sports orientated. Unfortunately, my son would not want to join in a casual football kick about. He would enjoy making a film or being involved in a debate or play or contributing to a school magazine. However, I suspect that in most boarding schools those sort of activities are available to the slightly older children. If you can tell me I am misinformed,I would be delighted. Even better, if you know of schools where those activities are available to the younger children, please give me some school names.

Colleger Sat 04-Jun-11 09:53:19

If your son is a drama queen or musician then he could fill his whole weekend in rehearsals. There is CCF and DofE which takes place mainly at the weekend. Harrow has a farm that he could get involved in, the art and DT departments are open all weekend for those inclined to create anything their hearts desire!

I haven't heard of many schools that devote the weekends to sport, that tends to happen during the week. Of course if he is that unsporty then he probably won't be picked for a match on Saturday so problem solved there, but don't write off sport - boys change!

So you are totally misinformed wink and if you took him out at the weekend then you would be taking him away from the best part of boarding life. Pick a boarding school with a house system and that way a younger boy can get involved in older boys activities but most schools also have junior reporting clubs, junior film-making etc.

Here is a small list of what goes on at Eton:

100lilgreen Sat 04-Jun-11 10:43:14

Go for a large school with lots of etra-curricular activities on offer. Radley, Rugby, Eton, Harrow, Canford, Marlorough College, Sherborne of such.

grovel Wed 08-Jun-11 12:42:50

Yotti, if your son is non-sporty I would seriously consider a rowing school (Eton, Radley, Winchester, Teddies, Canford from the list above). Amazing numbers of non-sporty boys infinitely prefer mucking about on the water to the more violent sports. And some turn out to be very good oarsmen.

grovel Wed 08-Jun-11 12:53:07

Most good public schools are sporty in the sense that keen sportsmen/women get fabulous opportunities to participate. I think what is important is that a school does not allow good sportsmen to somehow become first-class citizens and to be lionised at the expense of the less sporty. My sense is that Marlborough is not overly sporty in the wrong sense but that, say, Radley might be.

yotty Wed 08-Jun-11 13:58:56

Grovel, thanks for your comments. I think my DS has the the perfect body shape for rowing, as long as he is the cox! Ie. He is tiny. I have taken onboard what you have said in your last post and feel more encouraged to go and visit Marlborough.

grovel Wed 08-Jun-11 14:57:49

Yotty, some of the most confident men I've met were coxes at school or university. At, say, 13 you get control of £20,000 worth of kit and the actions of 8 oarsmen. Got to be a blast I'd have thought.

MrsWobble Wed 08-Jun-11 15:07:09

the other thing to consider is that in a school with a house system the majority of the team sports will be interhouse and not 1st 15 level. this means that everyone takes part in practically everything at some level and no sport is only for the best. i like this as it means that sport becomes something you can do for fun - not just as a competition.

and at a boarding school there will be access to far more sporting facilities that I expect your ds is used to so it may well be there is something he's not yet tried that he takes to and enjoys.

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