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Girls' Boarding Schools for Sixth Form

(67 Posts)
jadeyang66 Fri 14-Jun-13 14:32:20

Hi. I'm looking for a suitable all-girls boarding school in the UK for my daughter for her A-Levels. We're from Malaysia, however, my daughter speaks English fluently and we use it as our first language. It would not be too hard for her to adapt to the academic system in the UK as she already studies the British syllabus at an international school here in Malaysia and will be taking her IGCSE's when she's in Year 11. I would say that she is academically inclined. She also enjoys singing, and plays piano and guitar but not to a high level. She is not a very sporty person although she swims and plays tennis. Her favourite subjects are mathematics and science. I also do not want to send her to a school that is too pressuring. Any thoughts or suggestions?

mooseisabunny Fri 14-Jun-13 14:33:30


Chocchip88 Fri 14-Jun-13 14:37:48

Haberdashers in Monmouth? They e just built a new sixth form boarding house so all the facilities are brand new.

Needmoresleep Fri 14-Jun-13 14:39:29

I replied to your other thread......

jadeyang66 Fri 14-Jun-13 15:00:23

Needmoresleep thank you for the suggestion! grin was very much appreciated. any views on CLC, Roedean or Downe House?

Copthallresident Fri 14-Jun-13 16:00:10

I am a returned expat from Asia and have done the rounds of the Boarding Schools with several families moving from International Schools, both Chinese and Brit expats, though at 11 rather than 16. CLC seems most often to tick the boxes, especially for International School teachers, and I have been UK Guardian to a few pupils there who have thrived and done well. They have taken a great deal of care to develop strategies for integrating international and home students. Vicky Tuck, the last Head, made a point of really tapping the brains and experience of International School teachers. They therefore tread the line between sensitivity to and valuing different cultures without allowing pupils to form country cliques or use their culture to excuse bad behaviour. It is also a very grounded school whilst being academic. It functions like an academic day school with Boarding Houses as homes they walk back to in the real world.

All of these schools have excellent provision for sport and creative arts.

With the possible exception of Roedean, who do seem to have a similar approach to CLC, I found there was a slight tendency for other schools to treat their overseas pupils as the exotic "other", and allow them to stick with each other and their own language, particularly difficult for overseas pupils who have been in International Schools and may not even speak their own language well. Wycombe Abbey in particular seemed to just want to send one of my DDs friends off with a native speaking group when she didn't actually understand a word!! In some cases it felt that Asian pupils were mostly valued for their results.

Roedean is a lovely school but that clifftop building is forbidding and it doesn't seem as tight a ship as CLC either academically or in terms of ethos. A feeling that it hasn't quite redefined itself having ceased to be the jolly hockey sticks destination of upper class gals IYSWIM.

Benenden is very English, felt like somewhere you tuck away your Princess from the cruel hard world. Downe also very English.

However there really is no substitute for going, visiting and getting your own feel for the schools. IME girls just know when they are in the right place for them. I hope that helps

jadeyang66 Fri 14-Jun-13 16:55:30

Copthallresident thanks for the advice! was very useful. Any other information you have on Downe House? smile

jadeyang66 Fri 14-Jun-13 17:06:33

and also does anyone know if CLC pressures their students? If anyone could share anything they know, it would be a big help! grin

goinggetstough Fri 14-Jun-13 17:58:50

I would agree withcopthall that Downe House is very English. There are a number of girls from all round the world. They integrated well and IMO weren't viewed as exotic or different, they were just part of the school. The school were very flexible if overseas students arrived early in the day for the start of term which not all schools are.
There is 25m pool and girls can swim on the team or just for fitness. The main school sport is lacrosse although netball and hockey have succesful teams too. Tennis is a very popular. There are choirs and a number of musical groups. Other girls just have lessons and play for pleasure.
As for academics, it is a selective school. So standards are high. IME girls expect to work hard and achieve rather than being forceably pushed!
There are not too many new girls arriving in the sixth form. The numbers depend on the size of the current year group and how many are leaving after GCSE. In the sixth form there are two houses. One for the lower sixth and one for the upper sixth. So although some of the girls will have known each other since they were 11, it may be the first time they have been in the same house.
Definitely go and visit the schools as only you will know which is the right one for your DD.
Good luck!

jadeyang66 Sat 15-Jun-13 09:25:05

goinggetstough thanks for the pointers! Yes, we are thinking of visiting this summer smile

jadeyang66 Sat 15-Jun-13 09:25:27

Just wondering if there are any other schools that have not been mentioned yet?

booface Sat 15-Jun-13 09:29:31

My niece is at Haileybury (Hertfordshire) and moved there just for sixth form. She loves it as is doing really well. But I think it is mixed so may not suit your needs.

jadeyang66 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:12:44

I am also looking for a school where the boarding houses are in the school's compound. I've heard that CLC's isn't? How about Roedean and Downe House?

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 11:16:44

op the family I went around Downe with were a bit underwhelmed, a more humane version of Wycombe Abbey as in very much a traditional English boarding school, but they ended up at Haileybury, which was a successful choice. Personally I and DD would choose CLC of all the schools we have seen because it has more of a buzz, we like that it is more down to earth and it has been such a successful choice for so many expats we know but as I say it is really about going and seeing.

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 11:28:34

* jade* CLCs boarding houses are a short walk away through town, though some are more or less opposite. I thought that was an advantage in that pupils have to interact with real life. There aren't any downsides that I have heard about. We found some of the schools felt very cloistered but Roedean and Downe are on one site. Roedean wasn't one of the ones that felt otherworldly though, something about being so exposed! And close to Brighton. Somehow Wycombe for instance, though right in town felt very walled off from the real world.

williaminajetfighter Sat 15-Jun-13 11:29:45

Headington in Oxford. Dd very happy there.

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 11:30:40

Also at CLC school and boarding house feel very separate, more like school and home rather than living over the shop IYSWIM

lardasss Sat 15-Jun-13 11:36:47

we loved Wycombe. DH is miles away from anything (taxi to Newbury nearest town) when you want to buy a pair of tights or see a movie or trawl thru topshop you'll be out of luck - which means extended london trips. WAS is very convenient for Heathrow - and they make the Asian overseas girls very comfortable. superb academically and knocks socks off all the other girls schools for sport - with England team coaches etc. also brilliant for music and we found the pastoral care to be just right.

jadeyang66 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:49:34

Copthallresident Is it a good thing by Roedean not being otherworldly? Your advice has been really helpful. Thanks! smile and do you have any other school suggestions? would love to hear them.

jadeyang66 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:54:35

williaminajetfighter Thanks! How are the boarding houses at Headington? And, are they quite internationally integrated?

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 12:28:40

I'm afraid lardass that Wycombe treated my DDs friend with appalling cultural insensitivity. They are very wedded to some hothouse schools in Asia and seemed to have a one size fits all attitude to Asian candidates, they really could not relate to a very westernised English speaking pupil who had been in a British International. School. She was corralled with girls who lapsed into their native tongue (which she barely understands let alone speaks) as soon as out of earshot of teachers, and were, as she put it, "overachievers". I witnessed all this and the attitude of the head of first year, who looked straight out of Bunty magazine, was like something out of the last days of the raj. I know Wycombe is a happy choice for some of my DDs English friends but I would not recommend it to anyone coming from a British International School which tend to produce pupils who are very adept at interacting with all cultures. Frankly I was disgusted with them.

jade yes I did mean not being otherworldly would be a positive for me. It was also possibly the friendliest school. It just felt that they don't seem to have found their market niche IYSWIM, and try a bit to be all things to all pupils/ parents. At other Boarding Schools you get a much clearer sense of what they aim to be and do. This sounds washy washy but I think with schools actually going there and experiencing the intangible is important. Having said that there are plenty of happy Roedean parents who have posted on other threads.

Quite a few of the schools I have seen/ been a guardian to pupils at, are mixed but the girls schools I have seen are Woldingham (very otherworldly, you can't even get a phone signal!), Downe, Wycombe, Benenden and CLC and of those I would only recommend Roedean and CLC and would chose CLC as head and shoulders above the rest but again this is a personal perspective. Another positive of CLC is their openness and good communication with parents. They positively embrace you as a member of their community and I have never experienced problems with arrangements etc. whereas other schools seem to find having to communicate with parents/guardians a chore. I think that is especially important if you are overseas, it can be very frustrating if you are getting the brush off when trying to make arrangements from afar. To be fair the main problems I have experienced are with a mixed school that is predominantly a day school.

BTW where we lived there is a Boarding School networking group for parents and pupils at overseas Boarding Schools, so they can share knowledge, meet up etc. are you in KL? I am sure there must be similar there?

Hamishbear Sat 15-Jun-13 12:31:12

CLC sixth form very selective, only for very able. They'll only admit those that will thrive - v thorough & sensible criteria used to select.

lardasss Sat 15-Jun-13 12:36:45

well copthal i only have my daughter's 6 years there with all her asian westernized and non westernized friends to go by - whereas you had an entire 2 hour's tour worth of experience!

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 12:36:49

To give you a further perspective my DDs are at a traditional selective independent girls' day school, one that is near the top of the league tables, so I am probably influenced by the fact the CLC feels most alike to that.

Copthallresident Sat 15-Jun-13 12:39:06

lardass I am sorry but a school that could give someone that 4 hour experience isn't one I am going to recommend. They lost a good candidate too, now doing Law at Cambridge.

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