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Marlborough college - could this be a place for securing top academic grades?

(27 Posts)
Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 07:32:16

I am sending my daughter and son to Marlborough from this Sep, both joining at same time: both are verry bright academcially, but also do very well in extra-curriculars (but that is a secondary benefit we see). I saw the schools' results, which places them well (eg 55%As in A levels), but not at the top of league tables. Does anyone have any experience or advice, if Marlborough would provide the teaching as well as the environment, as my kids have potential to reach the real top. I am slightly concerned about how 'pushy' the school is, and if the average stuident evnironment would be right. We do have places at top day schools too (eg St Pauls), but unfortinately, have to move out of UK, and hence had to look at boarding options at last minute

I am also concerned abpout discipline at school, particularly to do with relationships, prevalence (if any at all) of smoking/drinking/drugs. I read some previous threads about some lack of discipline, but also read and felt re-assured that the new head seems to be driving better discipline strongly (eg expelled two students a coupel of years ago for sex). Is there a more recent update on how things are in last one year, around this subject?

poppydoppy Sat 20-Jul-13 13:21:06

A bit late in the day for these sorts of questions, dont you think?

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 14:15:44

I agree - had no choice due to very late relocation- so still asking, I guess smile

LadyMilfordHaven Sat 20-Jul-13 14:18:49

all schools have drugs and smoking. Particularly boarding ones
you are fighting a losing battle iMO

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 14:30:57

I guess you are right - just wanting a perspective specifically on Marlborough - how it compares

bulletpoint Sat 20-Jul-13 14:32:27

I'm glad someone has started this thread as i've always wondered what's so special about Marlborough, judging by its results its seems pretty average to me, but when ive checked leavers destinations for Colet Court and Westminster Under its seems to pop up (although just the odd one, but still) alongside St Pauls, Westminster, Winchester, Eton.

OP i can only say ive read similar to what you've read i get the feeling the students are a bit too "affected" for my liking and wasn't terribly impressed with some comment in the Good Schools guide. However you won't be able to do anything about schools for now, so you're definitely bound for Marlborough, you may well end up really liking it.

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 14:42:06

This is the thing. Seem we do have little choice - yet I am keen to know from anyone who knows Marlborough

bulletpoint Sat 20-Jul-13 15:08:02

Are you currently at a prep school in the U.k? Perhaps if your prep sends dc there regularly then you can speak to some of the existing parents there, that will be your best bet. If you don't know any of them personally then ask the headmaster who will be able to put you in touch with someone.

samuelwhiskers Sat 20-Jul-13 15:23:40

I know a few who left over the past few years, they did just OK in their A levels, one was led astray a bit, but both were happy there. Another left 4 years ago and did well academically. The Good Schools Guide did put me off tbh like Bulletpoint said. I think there was a comment that implied that joining in the 6th form from another school might be tricky as it would be "difficult" to be accepted. That put me off sending my DC there from abroad. Personally, I just think that it is currently popular for not the right reasons. I have always thought it wasn't terribly academic but somebody else might know more.

bulletpoint Sat 20-Jul-13 15:35:19

I'm still in the hope that parents surely can't be so fickle as to be choosing it for the more obvious reason (Kate Middleton) hmm surely....

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:22

Thank you both. The issue is the day schools have closed, and we are not able to access people like HM/parents now; we were late but could not help it! The comment about sixth form is helpful as that's where DC is headed

dapplegrey Sat 20-Jul-13 19:07:14

My daughter has just left Marlborough but obviously we won't know her A level results until August.
She isn't very academic and didn't do brilliantly in GCSEs and ASs but she was extremely happy and made loads of friends. She had an inspiring piano teacher and made very good progress in that subject.
There seemed to be plenty of clever children who did well academically.
I hope your children have a wonderful time there - I'm sure they will.

middleclassonbursary Sat 20-Jul-13 20:53:48

I actually know quite a bit about it I've friend's with DC's there and also know a couple of people who did or are working there.
Don't be under any illusion although many think it's liberal it's far from this in fact in my view it's rather petty. Last year it came in for a lot of publicity and criticism including from the Duke of Beaufort who has DC's there for expelling two lower 6th who were caught having sex, children are very restricted in the activities at weekend and uniform has to be worn when off the campus. Of all schools Marlborough is unlikely to have a drugs problem as any child above yr 10 can be screened in the twice weekly screening programe they run expulsion results from two positives.
Having g said this friend's there like it and those with able DC's have done well.

Fashy Sat 20-Jul-13 20:56:09

Thank you dapplegrey - it is good to know; any insights about a) discipline in last year or so, and b) what these 'clever' children you think may have done to do well academically,

middleclassonbursary Sun 21-Jul-13 08:16:22

Marlborough has high expectations of the children they consider themselves to be pretty academic and children are expected to work hard. They are one of a relative handful that are over subscribed so they can afford to be choosy.
High standards of discipline are also expected, Lady Kaley the deputy head knows all the children and is excellent, bullying is not tolerated and the perpetrators are punished.
With regard to your DC entering the 6th form they have quite a large intake especially girls who join boys houses so I don't think it's a problem what ever the GSG says and a friend's DC joined in the 6 th form and enjoyed it and did very well.
It's not for me I personally don't find it liberal enough rather stifling and petty but that doesn't mean it's not a good school.

Myrtille Sun 21-Jul-13 12:01:42

If I were you I would be very happy to be sending my children to board at Marlborough rather than a day school like St Paul's.
I'm sure they will have a fantastic time in that environment and that if they are very academic they will be able to achieve as much there as at a "pushy" school.
I have seen at close hand what happens when children who have been hothoused at a very selective schools get to university and it all unravels.
Dreamy Wiltshire vs urban Hammersmith = would be no contest for me.

Copthallresident Sun 21-Jul-13 17:57:06

The school used to have an admissions process that was heavily reliant on getting your name down in time, the current Lower sixth were the first year where new arrangements were put in place to allow the school to select later applicants on ability. So existing A level results probably reflect less able cohorts, whereas the St Pauls' results reflect a very selective intake.

LadybirdsEverywhere Sun 21-Jul-13 21:36:11

Your children will be in a very privileged environment and taught by teachers who are under great pressure to provide the tools to achieve the highest grades. By the time you get to A levels it is up to your children whether they make the most if what they are offered. From your description, your DCs sound as if they would do very well with this sort of input.

loveinthemist Mon 22-Jul-13 22:13:23

The only experience I have of Marlborough is of a young colleague whom I worked with a few years ago at a very well known media corporation. He was a nice enough guy; a bit foppish and naive, fairly clever and very heavily into dope. It seems that he started smoking it at Marlborough and by his early 20's he considered it the 'norm' and was reliant on quite a few tokes just to get through the day. Each to their own I guess.

Alongside his habit he had an elevated sense of his own self-importance which was slightly irritating to his work colleagues because he certainly wasn't anything special. In fact there were many colleagues who were much brighter than him despite not having had the 'benefit' of a very expensive education. To be honest he seemed a bit like a fish out of water in the 'real world' of work where he had to mix with people from all different backgrounds. Obviously I'm not sure how well he represented his Marlborough peer group but if you're worried about dope then he wasn't a great vanguard for that school!

cory Tue 23-Jul-13 09:57:10

loveinthemist, I knew a very similar product of Marlborough. Actually a lovely man, but the things that stood out where his superior manner, a tendency to drift and that slight sense of being disconnected from the rest of the world. He was, as I said, a lovely person: he just couldn't help patronising people.

But this was many years ago: things could well be totally changed.

Copthallresident Tue 23-Jul-13 11:19:02

I know people like that from Ampleforth and Eton and other public schools. A sense of entitlement, and lack of motivation to succeed, isn't exactly uncommon in the children of wealthy parents.

Marlborough, because of its admissions arrangements did have a bit of a reputation of being for the offspring who were not going to make it into schools that relied on selection alone. Getting their name down early enough mattered more than being clever and If they were not going to be clever at least they could be posh, but I know the last Head was desperate to change that. It is now harder to get in.

HenrydeAven Tue 23-Jul-13 18:18:36

Well my view on Marlborough,and I have a personal tie with the school,is that if your child goes to Marlborough with the right frame of mine to work and have fun they will flourish in this school. Yes its had problems with drugs, my own sister included, but the new Head as tightened up and these incidents,sex drugs smoking etc, are becoming less. If you are prepared to work hard at Marlborough then it can be as good as any school for grades. If anyone needs advice on Public schools then don't hesitate to tweet me I have a wealth on knowledge on them.

designmum Sun 09-Feb-14 06:26:26

I think you will find Marlborough has become considerably more academic in the past few years
Much tighter intake but not just looking for top academics although the standard across all sets is high and challenging

Very strict policy on smoking( which was rife until a couple of years ago ) & drugs
Very enlightened and compassionate new head has made a huge effort to get to know pupils as well as staff, shows much more engagement with pupils and parents than previous Master
My experience as a current parent is it has changed hugely for the better

The in house tutor system works well, there is a lot to bring out the potential of each person and all are really encouraged to do so.

Hope this helps !

user1476102424 Mon 10-Oct-16 13:46:01

My children are there and its definitely NOT Rockn'Roll and drugs ! Its surprisingly well run and the results are very good. The children are super happy and yes they are very public is a public school....I don't understand why people think it is helpful to talk about some idiot they work with who went there years ago !! It is a million times nicer than a London Day School. I was a GP at one and all the kids were having point getting A stars if you have been destroyed.The school doesn't sell itself at all well...perhaps it doesn't have to..Wellington is much more slickly presented and tells you what its add on bonus is...whereas at Marlborough the Head rambles on about the Fallen in the first world war and the admissions tutor has a massive thing about it not being kids first choice. All a bit bizarre one really tells you what you are going to get for your 40k !!!.Or what the schools future is or its advantages over any other school... BUT the experience of having children there has been excellent. Only complaint was one rubbish maths teacher ..hopefully they will get rid of him soon..! the children have flown, work is definitely a big part of the culture and socially the boys are great and the girls are not bitches...for a big school its great. the added advantage for the boys is the chilled out normal girls with brains and for all is also the accessibility to a sweet town...its very pleasant being a pupil there !

Dancingdreamer Wed 12-Oct-16 18:58:31

Just to add to the previous post, our experience has been very positive. We looked at lots of schools for our DD at 6th form. She found some of the more academic schools (day and boarding) just too one dimensional - the focus being only on academic achievements or associated activities eg music. What she liked at Marlborough was that they wanted a rounded person who could demonstrate more than just exam results. They were the only school who said that their first priority was that the children were happy and then secondly reaching their academic potential.

Having said that the intake at 16 seems to be very academic (with some she describes as Oxbridge ready now). She thinks there is plenty of intellectual stretch for those who want it but less of the intense pressure on academics than she saw in other schools. More than anything, she seems to really be having fun there as well.

We have been very impressed so far.

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