Girls Boarding Schools(23 Posts)
My sister lives abroad and plans to send her daughter to a UK boarding school when she is 13 years old. They are thinking of Benedon and Cheltenham Ladies College in particular. She wonders what the views are of these schools - the good the bad and the ugly (obviously you don't get that fromt the brochures!)
We would love to hear any thoughts or experiences of any girls boarding schools.
My best friend went to cheltenem ladies college she said it was full of snobs who wouldn't talk to her because her dad wasn't rich enough and junkies. lol.
I have a friend who went to CLC and she is ridiculously paranoid about what others think. Her children can barely move without them worrying about whether she is being judged. However, as we're both quite old I'm sure this won't help you.
I have a friend who's daughter goes to the Mount school in York. It is quite a small school as there are a couple of co-ed boarding schools in York but she is very happy and settled there. As it is also a quaker school (although there are very few quaker families) the school community is very close. It is also very good academically with strong music and art. I would highly recommend it.
Roedean has about 1/3 day girls now which helps make it a bit more down to earth than Cheltenham, which has a spread-out campus. Benenden is in the middle of nowhere and a git to get to if you don't start in London.
Wycombe Abbey is the other academic girls boarding school but there's a lot more chapel-going unless it's changed recently.
Not sure what you're looking for but I visited Queen Margaret's in York and Moreton Hall in Shropshire and really liked them both, although we chose co-ed in the end.
Just wondering if there is a particular reason she wants girls only and not co-ed?
I looked around Benenden and Roedean and disliked the all-girls vibe. Its really important to look only for your particular child.
If she is an overseas student and not used to British cuture I would opt for the safer environment of Benenden. I live in Cheltenham and the CLC girls alway get abuse hurled at them when they are walking through town.
As for all the ridiculous comments about paranoid parenting etc, then that is down to family not schools!
That's interesting Colleger - I live in Cheltenham and have never seen a CLC girl 'out' in town at all! Perhaps I live at slightly the wrong end of town for it (nearer Cheltenham College) but as I see children from all the other private schools very regularly I had always assumed that they just lead an extrremely cloistered existence!
(I have a DD who is 8 and am ALMOST tempted to visit CLC for a good nose around! Having attended a similar school many years ago myself I would love to see the modern face of an all-girls' boarding school...)
teacher - unless the layout of CheltenhamLC has changed since I was dragged round it, which is likely, some of the boarding houses are quite a walk from the main school campus in residential areas, so girls in uniform would have to walk down town streets. I imagine they'd be in home clothes if going into the actual town.
I went with a much younger friend back to my old school recently, having also now become a parent, and it was a fascinating experience, looking through parental eyes instead of somewhat-older-child ones.
DD goes to Queen Margaret's near York having previously attended a Co-Ed.
She is having a fantastic time and seems to be getting an excellent education as well!
Both my girls are going to Queen Margaret's in York. We did seriously consider Benenden, but have discounted that and CLC and Wycombe Abbey.
QM really is going places in my opinion - an upwards trend! Modern way of boarding with both traditional values and independent learning.
But I think your sister ought to visit a few as the decision is such a personal one.
Lots of girls from my DS prep go to Benenden its considered very "girlie" but they are very happy and the parents talk very highly of it. Those who are less girlie one don't go there they generally go to a co.ed. school.
One of my best friends is a housemistress at Downe House; says the girls love it and thrive there.
Thanks for all your idea. My sister now not keen on CLC, but interested to hear about Queen's Margaret as she didn't know about this (Many overseas there, good international links?). Also does anyone know of a boarding school that is all boarding (ie no day pupils)? My sister is worried that otherwise all the day pupils will go home and leave her daughter at school staring at the walls. It difficult as they live far from UK? Benedon sounds promising as daughter so girly girly. Thanks. Any thoughts anyone? It very helpful to us.
Your sister is right to be worried about the % of girls that will be day and she also needs to remember that many will also go home at the weekend; going home Saturday coming back on Sunday evening. My DS spent six years at a boarding prep and as the years went by there were more and more weekly boarders, as parents find this more acceptable than true full boarding, by the time he left there were often only 10 children in the school on Sunday. When I looked for his next boarding school we chose one that is only full boarding. Benenden is only full boarding although I know little more than that about it. If she looks at other schools who offer more flexi boarding she should specifically ask; how many were actually in last weekend and also how many in her daughters year were in? Schools want full boarders and are often reluctant to divulge this information unless really pushed!
Double check on what full boarding actually means at Benenden and actually at all schools that say they only have full boarding. We had friends whose DDs left there 2 years ago and they commented how many girls went up to London each weekend. It is very hard to find a truly full boarding school and no day or very few day pupils doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't empty out at the weekends. It helps if there is Saturday school and sport as it delays the departure.
There is a lot of rubbish on here about CLC and I'd like to correct it. The boarding houses are at most 5 minutes walk from college which is not a campus school at all. Tt's advantage over somewhere like Benenden and Downe is that it is part of the town. The girls occasionally get some comments when out in uniform from the green eyed mob but you would get that anywhere. It's not an issue. We don't have money and my daughter has found it far less snobby than her small unknown prep school, as have we. The most important thing to know about CLC is that it is highly academic which brings its own pressures. If she isn't bright - forget it.
I also have/have had daughters at CLC and am delighted with both academics and pastoral care. Opportunities for girls to find and develop their interests and talents are considerable and plenty of encouragement is given. We also do not have a large income and our daughters, who admittedly are not particularly materialistic in the first place, have never felt it an issue.
Being a fair way from London, it doesn't suffer from the huge exodus to London on Saturday afternoon/Sunday which is something to consider with schools closer to London (we are expat and I looked into this carefully). In schools where girls like to go home, in practice, girls from London will often invite friends left behind to accompany them. I was not sure about how I would feel about this from overseas, not knowing those families and what the girls would actually be doing and I didn't want to be the mother who always said no to invitations, especially as they grew older.
I went to CLC and there are some houses that are >10 mins walk to school (Glenlee, St Mags, F Lodge). That having been said, I really enjoyed my time there. I don't recall any negative comments from the locals when we were out and about, which was quite a lot because of going back to houses from school to change, eat, go to games, walk to church on Sundays etc. Would I send my DD there? Yes, but only if she was confident, intelligent and good at something, with an outgoing personality....oh, and if we could afford it!! The happiest girls in my time had something other than academics to hold onto. I agree with Mendip that (1) being part of a town is an advantage - the girls have to interact with the outside world, and represent themselves and the school to the public, rather than live in isolation, coming out every 2 weeks or so for an exeat and (2) it is an academic school. However, as always, it is personal choice and good luck with the decision.
Join the discussion
Please login first.