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Cheltenham Ladies College or Wycombe Abbey?

(62 Posts)
glenmore Fri 02-Mar-12 17:22:55

Anyone out there with current experience of these schools and what sort of girl would best fit either school?

lardasss Thu 15-Mar-12 23:15:36

don't know much about CLT - but my D is at Wycombe. v academic, v.sporty - great drama, facilities, teaching etc. house system works very well. good head. suits girls with brains who have a lot of energy. not great for shy or timid girls.

nokissymum Fri 16-Mar-12 07:53:45

Out of interest, is there actually a school on par with WA or Habs for brainy but shy and perhaps timid girls ? We cant all be bolshy,gregarious, firecrackers, it sounds like these top schools are discriminating against something that is not a negative and occurs naturally, its like saying we dont want short girls, just tall ones! No brown eyed girls just blue ones cos they sparkle more! surely every school needs a balance of personalities.

A school full of bolshy in your face girls sounds rather frightful or perhaps their personalities have been overhyped on MN a bit ?

vixsatis Fri 16-Mar-12 07:59:12

One of my close friends has a brainy but very shy daughter: CLC seems to be doing very well for her.

orientexpress Fri 16-Mar-12 09:38:38

I visited both schools on appointment with my DD, last year. CLC looked somewhat sad, the boarding house definitely needed improvements, dirty carpets, peeled off wall painting, dust and so on. The sports facilities could be better for that tuition level. The Head was nice but she left.

WA's Head was so high-hat and arrogant to laugh at my D's answer on what was her ambition (to become a writer). Among the 5 boarding schools that we visited coming from abroad, WA was the only one that did't even offer us a glass of water.

I can't judge the shools for their 'essence', but the atmosphere was a little shabby and a scruffy in CLC an really really really snob in WA.

My D disliked both the schools and opted for a coed; she has been accepted at Sevenoaks School.

I hope this helps a little.

grovel Fri 16-Mar-12 10:20:34

I'd go with WA over CLC. WA has, I think, a higher proportion of English girls - this is only an issue in the holidays when it can be a pain if your best friends live in Hong Kong, Moscow and Singapore.

Needmoresleep Fri 16-Mar-12 10:24:59


In London there are quite a lot. Godolphin and Latymer has a strong nurturing reputation, as do many GDST schools. Amongst boarding schools St Mary's Ascot enjoys a good reputation for nurturing quieter but bright girls though you need to be Catholic. DD has friends at Beneden who have done very well. Also the co-eds.

Schools like these may not have the absolutely stellar across the board results of the WAs but do pretty well, and allow scope for the quieter kids or late developers to develop in their own time.

lardasss Fri 16-Mar-12 12:05:46

hmmm... haven't felt 'snob' factor at WA at all - sorry orientexpress you didn't get a glass of water! it's not that WA isn't nurturing - it's just that outgoing girls seem v. happy there - but maybe they are just more noticeable. the head is generally a v articulate woman - can't believe she would laugh at a girls aspiration to be the noblest of things - a writer!

my D has a quite shy but funny and quirky friend who also has slight learning difficulties - she has done brilliantly at WA with loads of A*s at GCSE - so there must be some nurturing - and certainly the teaching is superb across the board.

better place for shy girls might be benenden? i know a shy girl who is very happy there - bit gentler too. also st george's ascot?

sevenoaks is a super dooper school - esp if you like the IB.

nokissymum Fri 16-Mar-12 19:18:57

Needmoresleep - (love the nickname by the way!) problem is, these schools mentioned arent all single sex are they (except benenden, dont know about the others) ? Why is it all the single sex girl schools have to have this
"in your face" intimidating confident personality requirement, i went to an all girl school, though not in this country, and we were all a mixture of different peronalities. I remember reading a thread about Habs and someone said "they dont take any shrinking violets!" the thread was about a poster trying to get her 5yr old in!

Why cant you be very clever but shy or timid ? Surely its part of the schools role to nuture its girls into confident young women.

nokissymum Fri 16-Mar-12 19:21:18

Anyway i accept that's just the way it is, and if you have a bright/shy child you'll just have to look elsewhere, its a shame though.

Thereitis Sat 17-Mar-12 09:39:05

I'm not sure the presumption about needing to be an overly confident personality at Wycombe (or CLC) - my DD went to Wycombe Abbey - we looked at both . I thought there was a good and healthy mix of personality types. Yes, there was a level of confidence that comes from being bright - and academic confidence is obviously important but there were plenty of girls that were quietly confident and generally very normal!! The hothouse reputation is overdone. More important is the sort of pastoral care and academic guidance they will get so that they can arrive at decisions they feel confident about from within. I personally think the present Head is poor - many others rate her highly. I wasn't thrilled with the advice and support transitioning from Wycombe to University. Teaching was excellent as evinced by results and teachers are committed and dedicated to the girls. There are many members of staff that have that hard to define quality that makes them naturally outstanding educators. The community, generally, is a good and supportive one. I think my DD received a first rate education and it has certainly served her well in Uni. She is confident...and insecure...and hopeful...and kind... and I think pretty normal...

lardasss Sun 18-Mar-12 14:57:03

yes nokissymum i worked hard at my nickname! he he. like yours too - though does make you sound just the teensiest bit like a 'professional woman' thai bar style!

i kind of agree with you about why can't there be single sex schools that are specifically known as places where shy introverted types thrive - but i think they do actually thrive at WA - it's just they aren't the ones you notice immediately on a one hour tour. i think thereitis is spot on about the teachers too. (though i like the current head - i know the last one was more popular with the girls) interesting your comments about transitioning to university? in what way? (my d is in the lower sixth)

lardasss Sun 18-Mar-12 16:02:12

oops - sorry - just realized you liked needmoresleep.

Thereitis Sun 18-Mar-12 20:39:56

I suspect they have resolved the problem by now but when my DD was in Clarence they lost the head, the head of sixth form, the university application advisor and a few other senior teachers which meant that the girls went into their Universitiy applications dealing with people that had no idea who they were. It was irresponsible of the school - they knew it and tried their best I guess to try and make it work - the Board of Governors and new Head planned very poorly. I suspect my disapproval of the new Head was because of the very poor way she handled a very cross parent population. (Almost everyone was cross so I wasn't lonely on this issue) She was aloof and didn't particularly want to engage or help the girls - possibly because she didn't know them. The previous head was a tough act to follow. Be prepared to stay across the University admissions in the late spring and autumn and don't take anything you are told for granted!! (I should add that my DD received offers from 3 of the 4 medical schools she applied to - so the outcome wasn't too bad just the chaos and anxiety getting there!)

lardasss Mon 19-Mar-12 00:26:59

oooh. my daughter is also interested in medicine - and from what i hear 3 out of 4 medical school offers is pretty supremely successful - despite any lack of direction from the school - your daughter must have been a very impressive applicant. all i know is the work experience folks have been more or less useless - and the US expert has been too busy to meet with her. 'chaos and anxiety' sounds like not a lot of fun to look forward to! hope it has improved!

Needmoresleep Mon 19-Mar-12 14:07:57


GDST are normally all girls, but day rather than boarding (think South Hampstead High, Notting Hill and Ealing High, Putney High, Wimbledon High, and and and.) It is the Girls Day School Trust, and tend to have slightly lower fees and a more down to earth nature than some of their more swanky competitors. I hope I dont get flamed for a huge generalisation!

St Mary's Ascot, like Beneden, is very much a girls boarding school.

I think that it is important to look at the child first and then the school, rather than simply at a league table. I have at least a couple of perfectly intelligent friends who, because of having gone to schools filled with the brightest of the bright, have never really believed they were bright enough. (Even a subsequent degree from Cambridge was not enough for one.) In our case it has taken DD a while to fully enjoy and engage in education and I am not sure if she would have got there had she been in a more hot house environment where this engagement had been assumed from the start and where she might have started towards the bottom of her age group. Quite a pushy prep had left convinced she was not academic, and it has been fun to see her gain in confidence since then.

The girls we know who went to WA were very bright, perfectly nice, quite self contained and focussed. Girls who would thrive anywhere. I dont know enough about the school to know whether it would suit the less confident or less accomplished, but I think it is fair to say that different schools have different cultures, and different cultures suit different girls.

lardasss Mon 19-Mar-12 15:25:47

agree with needmorezzz - decisions like these are girl driven. if you have a D who thrives on competition then hot house-y schools will suit them - as long as they are fairly tough mentally and emotionally. some girls like that sort of atmosphere some don't (god i would have hated it myself - but then i went to a hippy mixed boarding school where dope smoking was an olympic sport - and probably would have done much better if my parents had done what was 'best' for me rather than what i 'wanted'). i think you are also right that WA girls by and large are very focussed - that may be the defining characteristic in all the top pushy schools really. league tables are useful though - in america they don't have them and it virtually impossible to distinguish academic achievement between schools - makes choosing confusing. however, i wish there was also an 'alternative' league table for non selective schools only that published their results separate from the selective ones. then you would really see a difference that would real reflect teaching ability - and give you a 'value added' score. it's easy to do well with naturally talented learners - not so easy if you have to work harder to achieve.

crapteacher Mon 19-Mar-12 16:28:40

I see the local comp isn't on the options list then? Look at the advantages: it's near! It's free! Your kids can get the drugs more cheaply! AND there's a healthy cross-section of society to be dragged down by!

smile crapteacher

lardasss Mon 19-Mar-12 21:45:57

ha ha- crapteacher you are funny! cheaper drugs - hadn't thought of that. not to mention they will be savvier about potential rip-offs - something the public school rubes will not have! well -tbh - with the way 'social engineering' is going - they're prob all better off in the worst comp. but let's face facts - we've all got our snobby inner cores and plenty will pay to avoid having their child speak like the average premier league footballer.

thinkingofthefuture Thu 26-Apr-12 20:43:53

Our D is at WA and having a really terrible time with the bullying. School says it happens and gets better in sixth form. We are just starting out, so not sure D will get to the end. Girls allowed to have house birthday parties and exclude just one person..does that happen in all schools? Great academics but terrible bullying. We want our D to learn social skills - she is learning how to be left out. D is smart, athletic and outgoing and still gets bullied at WA!

Abra1d Thu 26-Apr-12 20:48:29

' Amongst boarding schools St Mary's Ascot enjoys a good reputation for nurturing quieter but bright girls though you need to be Catholic'

Not necessarily always the case.

Abra1d Thu 26-Apr-12 20:49:10

The Catholic requirement, I meant.

goinggetstough Fri 27-Apr-12 09:02:02

Downe House as another option? My quiet, sporty academic DD had a great time here.

didofido Fri 27-Apr-12 15:40:34

thinkingof - why on earth haven't you moved her!?

Thereitis Fri 27-Apr-12 20:45:47

Thinking of the Future - Bullying is the one thing we had no experience of at Wycombe! Whoever told you it gets better in sixth form should be fired!! This is all wrong! Have you gone to the House Mistress? If that isn't working find out who her favorite teacher is and go to them. Go in person. The place is competitive enough without bullying on top of it! Raise every alarm you can! Don't wait -

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