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Any ideas for a schools which would suit a gentler kind of boy?

(32 Posts)
GaribaldiGirl Mon 28-Oct-13 21:56:04

One of my DC has always been lacking in confidence and has a tendency to be slightly anxious. Definitely not a macho/alpha male. He doesn't particularly enjoy conventional school sports - or ball sports in general, although he is active and loves being outside and physical (loves off road cycling, shooting, climbing). He's fairly average (or lazy) academically. We live in Oxfordshire but would consider weekly boarding.
Most his peers seem to be going to Abingdon or Radley, definitely not right for my boy. Liked The Oratory, but need to get a broader view.
Any ideas appreciated!

soda1234 Mon 28-Oct-13 22:54:28

Have you thought about OLA, obviously as a day boy, I have a dd there, now in 6th form, but have always been very impressed with the teaching and pastoral care, they are non-selective but seem to manage to get the best out of the kids. It is a Catholic school, but most students are of other/no faith.

Others that spring to mind are Bloxham or Bradfield, or Teddies.

Have you ruled out Abingdon purely because of its "sporty" reputation? If so, I would reconsider. My son is at the school and has plenty of friends who don't play Rugby, Cricket, hockey or football. The school really encourages boys to find a sport they can enjoy and excel at, examples include, golf, fencing, shooting, swimming, and climbing (they have a climbing wall!).
Has he done the Abingdon pre-test? The academic pace is quite fast.

I would not rule out Abingdon for a non-team sport boy, but I probably would for one who is "average" academically

GaribaldiGirl Tue 29-Oct-13 08:22:56

Thanks. Had never even heard of OLA or think I assumed it was just girls. I have two DDs at St Helen's in Abingdon so that would be very handy! Will definitely have a look at that. Just looked at the website and it looks lovely. My son is not clever enough for Abingdon, or at least with a lot of pushing he might just scrape in but I think he would be at the bottom, which would not work for his confidence. Don't know anything about Bloxham, will look at that. I get impression Teddies is for quite robust all rounders, but could be wrong.

AvengingGerbil Tue 29-Oct-13 08:29:31

Leighton Park.

FriendlyLadybird Tue 29-Oct-13 09:38:14

Have you looked at Cokethorpe? My friend has a son there who is doing very well, after having a terrible time in a state school. He's gentle, artistic, not at all hearty, and dyslexic. It's not selective academically, but they do get the best out of all students, and it has a lovely atmosphere.
I wouldn't get hugely hung up on team sports. Lots of boys aren't into them at all and most schools try to provide opportunities for all students to find their niche and shine.

BackforGood Tue 29-Oct-13 15:14:04

You might catch a few more peopl with knowledge of your locality if you re-post with 'Oxfordshire schools' in the title.

difficultpickle Tue 29-Oct-13 18:09:11

Shiplake? Definitely a very nurturing school and small. Not academic but seems to be very supportive.

jokebook Tue 29-Oct-13 18:21:44

Was going to say Bloxham or Cokethorpe too. Shiplake another good suggestion. Maybe Pangbourne (but don't know much about it)?? Bradfield College could be another option? Go and look at Teddies but it is "sporty" but has very strong pastoral care and sounds like geographically it would work for you. I know its a long way away, but have you thought about Millfield? They cater for any sport at any level (not just future olympians), but it is full boarding.

Good luck

soda1234 Tue 29-Oct-13 19:55:47

Sorry, I forgot to say Cokethorpe, have friends with dc there who are v happy. Are you wanting 11+ or 13+ entry, is your ds at a prep school? If so, what does his current head teacher suggest?
Main point of entry for OLA is 11+, although some enter at 13+, it has been co-ed for about 4 years now, but I think it is still a bit "girl heavy", I would check how many boys are in current yr 7, if this is important to you. Hope this helps.

1805 Tue 29-Oct-13 23:49:47

I was just discussing The Oratory this weekend, and the general thought was that it suits confident sporty boys. Good for macho types, and a teacher there actually actually said it wouldn't suit my ds. They said it had quite a boisterous atmosphere. You might want to have a good look round and see what you think. We haven't actually been round there yet so this info is all hearsay - even if it is partly from a current teacher!

I have also heard good things about Cokethorpe and know it is very popular with non-abingdon boys. Check out the 6th form though - not great results lately. No idea why.

I know a boy who got in at Abingdon for y7 but chose OLA, so it must have a lot going for it.

Good luck!

GaribaldiGirl Wed 30-Oct-13 16:53:53

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
Had never heard of Cokethorpe but have just googled and it looks lovely but only day pupils - and too far from us. Going to see Bloxham, that looks very suitable and small, which I think is a good thing for the less confident child.
My son is at Bruern Abbey, a wonderful dyslexic/dyspraxic prep school. He is moderately dyspraxic but will be fine a regular school by 13. He is so very happy there it is going to be a difficult next step. Before that he was drowning at a very alpha prep school for a few years.
Interested to hear that comment about The Oratory - I thought maybe because it has a strong Christian ethos that it might be kinder/ gentler than elsewhere. We looked round it and loved the head, the only one I've encountered who talked so much about caring for the boys' emotional intelligence.
His current head also suggested Bryanston - anyone know anything about that school?

difficultpickle Wed 30-Oct-13 17:18:14

I know of someone who is sending her dc with ADHD to Bryanston having looked at a large number of schools.

It maybe a bit of a slog from Oxford to do weekly boarding though. We've dismissed it as a possibility on the basis that it is 2 hours drive, which I think is too far to have any real involvement with the school.

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 17:32:25

What about Bredon as they would be able to continue the same kind of support Bruern has provided?

GaribaldiGirl Wed 30-Oct-13 18:05:11

Bisjo - Bryanston is hours from us too. Not sure if I could cope with all that driving. If you dismissed Bryanston where did you look instead?
However have been told it's relaxed, liberal and a bit alternative, which I think might suit DS.
Had never heard of Bredon either.

difficultpickle Wed 30-Oct-13 18:21:59

We are just doing the rounds now and trying to work out where may be suitable.

School suggested Eton and Harrow but said they may be a bit ambitious for ds and have suggested Uppingham, Oakham, Stowe, Cranleigh and St Edwards. However all of these suggestions were made before ds saw the Ed Psych this term.

Her report assessed ds with various issues and said he is on the 98th centile so very bright indeed but significantly underachieving at school. We have looked at various schools and I'm not sure how we will decide on a short list.

Ds is a quirky child and not NT so he will need to go to a school that can bring out the best in him and I'm not yet sure where that is. He is young in his year so we have until next year to register for pre-tests. I'm hoping by then to be in a better position to know what will be a suitable school. It has been helpful visiting a range of schools as there were some we loved and some we would never want to revisit.

Out of all the schools we visited my absolute favourite was Uppingham but it is as far away from us as Bryanston and too far to consider unfortunately and we aren't in a position to move (elderly parents live nearby).

outtolunchagain Wed 30-Oct-13 18:30:52

What about Kingham Hill or Bootham in York.

happygardening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:41:32

OP are you aware that St Edwards (Teddies) is full boarding or day, no weekly boarders. Pastoral care is legendary a boy from my DS's prep who sounds very similar to your DS went there and apparently is happy. If you want climbing cycling etc I'd ask I think it's compulsory team sports; rugby, cricket, football, rowing etc etc.
Where does your head suggest?

indieakka Wed 30-Oct-13 22:18:45

Leighton Park could be a good option

soda1234 Wed 30-Oct-13 22:58:44

Just to note that day pupils at Teddies still do prep and supper at school, so the day ends at about 9pm!

happygardening Thu 31-Oct-13 05:58:21

Bisjo and Garibaldi re Bryanston it does seem to have a very good transport system friends DC is there and they rely on it heavily. I have to say th

happygardening Thu 31-Oct-13 06:02:24

I have to say the impression I get from from my friend and her DC is that although it had/has a reputation for being "alternative" I think the current head has really pushed to move away from that image. Definitely no full boarding either some compulsory weekends in but otherwise very empty at the weekends.

umbrellahead Thu 31-Oct-13 12:34:44

A couple of people have already suggested Leighton Park and Bootham, but there's also Sibford in Oxfordshire and the Friends School in Saffron Walden that have a similar quaker ethos.

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 19:55:55

We visited Radley today and were bowled over. We went because I registered ds years ago (albeit not early enough to avoid the waiting list). We went thinking it would be a useful contrast to some of the schools we have visited rather than thinking it would be a real contender.

It's reputation is very full on and sporty but that isn't the impression we came away with at all. Ds is okay with summer sports and very average at rugby and definitely more art-biased. The art was the best that I've seen anywhere (ds disagreed with this and said it was equal with Eton). I really liked the dorm set up (individual cubicles but open at the top, a bit hard to describe). It means the boys have privacy but aren't isolated.

1805 Thu 31-Oct-13 22:18:20

Radley is ds's first choice! I agree with bisjo about the art - amazing. I preferred the cubicles to dorms or shared rooms too. Music is pretty good as well. I didn't see any classes in action when we went though, did you?
I got the impression there was plenty to do other than the main sports as well.
You can go for a Wardens list place if you didn't register at birth.

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 22:24:17

No we didn't see classed in action either but we were shown around by two boys and met teachers during our tour (who stopped and introduced themselves to us, which I thought was lovely).

It is our first choice, provided we can get a Warden's list place. We had a meeting with the Academic Director who said that ds was just the sort of boy that would get an offer off the Warden's List. He asked ds one question and ds spent the next 10 minutes talking and asking his own questions. I managed about one. It is the first school we have visited where I've seen a genuine spark of interest in ds.

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