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state boarding schools

(12 Posts)
rappent Thu 16-Jun-11 10:10:58

Hi was wondering if anyone had their kids at a state boarding school and if there was a comparison with a regular private school in terms of standards etc... Thinking of sending my two kids to duke of york military academy and any feedback would be appreciated. thanks.

oshgosh Thu 16-Jun-11 10:42:45

I don't think that "is there any comparison" is a valid question because if you take any category of school you will get the same: some good, some bad, some average.

However, as a crass generalisation, SBS are comparable to Independents in that they tend to be 'old skool' and traditional.
If you have children on site 24/7 then you have to have order or there would be mayhem so SBS (and any boarding school, I suppose) tend to be very hot on behaviour. Since behaviour is a non-issue it leaves teachers to concentrate on teaching instead of crowd control.

goinggetstough Thu 16-Jun-11 10:46:28

I have friends who are pleased with the Duke of Yorks - lots of extra curricula activities I believe. This school is slightly different as it was made an academy in Sept 2010 and still has a number of DC from military families. This means that there will be lots of full boarders. Their GCSE are very good but their A levels not so good.
Different state boarding schools have different strengths and weaknesses. So standards do vary eg Gordons and Cranbrook

4merlyknownasSHD Thu 16-Jun-11 12:48:09

OSHGOSH, are you an OSH parent? Old Swinford Hospital (in Stourbridge) is a State Boarding School. Turns out delightful young men, including my two sons (one still a work-in-progress). They are comprehensive entry except for the small number of day-boarders, so have a good cross-section of academic abilities, but have one big thing in common - they live together. Consequently, there is a terrific school spirit which means that there is great delight when any one excells at anything ("He is one of us"). We think it is wonderful that they grow up appreciating other people for what they bring to the table.

As OSHGOSH says, crowd control is not an issue as the self discipline is there.

rappent Fri 17-Jun-11 00:27:26

thanks so much for the feedback. I understand i wasn't really comparing apples for apples. :-). what I really wanted to know was the discipline and the academics as well as the balance for the kids. Thanks for taking the time to respond. much appreciated.

Colleger Fri 17-Jun-11 07:39:43

We went to look like RAA for 7+ having had two children in prep schools. What disappointed us the most was the lack of confidence of the children showing us around. Facilities were great but the teachers were not impressive and there was no "substance" to the school in comparison to the independent schools. I certainly wouldn't spend the same fees on boarding if it's not necessary as they cost the same amount as some very good independent day schools.

I cannot comment on your school, I have heard that some are very impressive.

oshgosh Fri 17-Jun-11 09:28:29

<waves> to formerly. Yes, an OSH parent here. Pleased with the school so far but was made aware on another thread that not all SBS are equally good.

Don't know your school OP but I should imagine that, with their connections to the military, they are red hot on discipline and self-discipline.

It is always so difficult to really know what is going on at any school. We produce excellent GCSE results but not so brilliant A Level results, like goinggetstough mentioned for Duke of York. This could either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your POV. Some schools will hot-house, spoon-feed and generally push to get the best possible results. The children get good results (nice for them) but they can be over-inflated and not representative so the students end up on University courses that they are not really suited for and they crash & burn (not so good). Our school tends to take the attitude that they provide the opportunities and it is up to the student to take advantage of them (back to the self-discipline ethic). So their results are more realisitc and representative of their true abilities.
Whether you think this is good or bad depends on your POV.

goinggetstough Fri 17-Jun-11 09:46:28

Sad to hear that you didn't rate RAA as I know there is another Mother on Mumsnet who rates it highly and has a daughter there.
Schools have a difficult time with child guides. If you use the very confident ones all the time then they miss many lessons. If you use the slightly less confident ones then they may as in your case not present the school in its best light. As a parent I always liked to be taken round by a pupil as I found I could get so much relevant information from them. At my DSs school it is the prefects that usually show parents round whereas at my DDs school it was a junior teacher (not a gap student). As they always say "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression," so schools need to get it right!

mountaingirl Fri 17-Jun-11 10:39:38

My ds goes to RAAS. He joined the school in yr 10. If there is one thing he doesn't lack is confidence!!

I'm afraid colleger I have to disagree about your impressions of the school. The teachers that we have had the pleasure of meeting are really nice, take a real interest in their pupils and their work and I suppose in August we will find out how well they teach when the GCSE results are published.

Ds has loved his time there and we are delighted that there is now a 6th form so he can continue there. Maybe he won't come out with the results that his friends who go to Eton might achieve, maybe he will.

When we were shown around the school a lovely boy took us around for 2 hours! Administration thought we had gone home or got lost! The facilities are fantastic there although it would be nice if they hurried up and built the new tennis courts!

The children at the school are from all walks of life, come from many different countries and I feel that this gives the children a true picture of the world.

mumoverseas Fri 17-Jun-11 13:57:05

<puts on tin hat and stands behind mountaingirl>
RAAS is simply marvellous. DD has been there for 3 years and I know at least 3 other MNers with DC there <waves at mountaingirl> and I know two other who will be starting in September.

Also don't agree with colleger I really don't think a brief tour by a student can give a realistic picture of the school. My DD's confidence has increased significantly since she started there and she loves the school.

I have a DS at a 'prestigious' private school with fees over double those of RAAS and I have to say RAAS compares very well.

HKgal Fri 01-Jul-11 11:25:02

My ds1 is at Cranbrook in Kent, as a boarder. Very good academic standard, but they are selective, taking the top 25 per cent of ability range. Accommodation for the first year for boarders is a bit cramped, but my son loved sharing a room with lots of boys. He also sat a couple of gcse's a year early and got a stars. Now waiting for the rest of the grades but he is predicted to get straight a's. Sorry, don't know anything about the school you mention.

mummytime Fri 01-Jul-11 13:00:29

Collager isn't your son at Eton?

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