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What school harrow or radley?

(29 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Darleyton Sat 02-Nov-13 23:21:31

Our sporty DS (year8) has been offered a place at both schools. He is at a day prep school (non London). He is reasonably bright, and certainly works hard. All he wants to do is play sport (mainly rugby), but can be persuaded to do his work if it can be linked to more time to do sport!

Does anyone have a view on which of these schools might suit him better?

IsabellaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Dec-13 10:56:39

Talk to Local parents about schools in Harrow by visiting our Local site for Harrow, here:

Butkin Sat 09-Nov-13 22:28:13

Oops sorry Yesbut - didn't read your post until after I'd typed mine!

Butkin Sat 09-Nov-13 22:27:41

123 Flower - there has just been an excellent 6 part documentary on "Harrow - A Very British School" on Sky 1. It finished last week and featured a year in the life of West Acre. See if you can watch the series, will give them a great insight..

yesbutnobut Thu 07-Nov-13 19:34:32

Benedict Cumberbatch and Lawrence Fox both old-Harrovians.

1805 - according to Harrow's website its GCSE results this year were 89.7% A* or A; Radley's results in 2012 (they haven't published 2013 yet) were 90.5% A* or A. So not much in it at all academically.

If you're considering Harrow you will get a very good idea of the school by watching the Sky series on the school which finished last week - I'd have thought it's on youtube or can be seen somehow.

peteneras Thu 07-Nov-13 14:27:41


And here's wine

Cheers! grin

grovel Thu 07-Nov-13 14:15:55

I was being ironic. And couldn't be bothered to Google Old Harrovians. Couldn't think of anyone else since Churchill.

peteneras Thu 07-Nov-13 13:57:59

You can't be serious, grovel.

Mark Thatcher famous? confused

For what?

meditrina Thu 07-Nov-13 13:10:27

I think it is possible to worry too much about relative academic standards when you are comparing any schools who are always in the Top 100 nationally.

It really comes down to which the parents and the prospective pupil want to go to, in terms of ethos, pastoral care and extra-curricular strengths.

grovel Thu 07-Nov-13 13:03:39

Yes, you're right about BC.

Didn't Benedict Cumberbatch go to Harrow?

propatria Thu 07-Nov-13 12:16:29

Not sure that Thatcher and Motion are that recent.they are both over 60...

grovel Thu 07-Nov-13 11:30:51

Recent famous Old Radleians : Andrew Motion (Poet Laureate) and Andrew Strauss (England Cricket captain).

Recent famous Old Harrovians : James Blunt (singer) and Mark Thatcher.

LittleSiouxieSue Thu 07-Nov-13 10:48:47

We know lots of boys who are ex Harrow. They are all well mannered and lovely boys. The school is fantastic and has so many wonderful opportunities on offer. It caters for all boys extremely well be they musical, sporty or academic. As you would expect, lots go to the top universities. Choosing the right house is key and some houses are more "desirable" than others. There is a distinct social hierarchy in the school but boys settle into that and I don't think it is different elsewhere to be honest. It is extremely traditional and this does not suit everyone but it is part if the system the binds the boys together. I know some boys are on the receiving end of sharp wit so you have to be a lad that can take it! I personally don't think Harrow is for shrinking delicate types. As a rugby player I am assuming this is not the case with your DS. Harrow take all sport seriously, by the way.
I don't agree it takes boys who would rather be at Eton. Lots of the boys we know had family at Harrow and it is the school of choice, not second choice. Radley was always seen as being for Eton rejects, but Harrow tends to attract families who really want Harrow. Being near to London is a big bonus as boys are pretty social when they get a bit older and have more free time at weekends. I would go for Harrow personally .

Eastpoint Wed 06-Nov-13 18:29:18

From my friend's son's experience they now need to be really careful to choose a good housemaster. He was in a house with mainly international students and found they didn't blend as well as some of the other houses. He is/was fairly sporty but not a rugby player, he did karate, played a lot of tennis, ran. He got 10a*s and 1a at GCSE having not got into the top London day schools at 8 or 13.

123flower Wed 06-Nov-13 09:37:39

Our friends now favour Harrow over Radley (they have visited both schools at least twice and their son has received offers from both). Though Radley gets better results, Harrow is conveniently close central London and has a more "international"feel. My only concern, knowing him as I do, is that he'll feel pretty homesick - but his parents feel this is a fantastic opportunity for him. Harrow seems to have a reputation of being a pretty boisterous school where you need to be sporty or one of the lads to flourish. Is this pretty much the case? The parents are definitely expecting me to keep an eye on him - though they've yet to ask me to be his guardian...

Eastpoint Wed 06-Nov-13 07:09:23

I don't know many boys who board & those who do are mainly at Eton or Winchester but I know boys who have been very unhappy at both schools & left. One worked incredibly hard & went to a selective London day school for A levels. The other went to a different boarding school. Sorry to be negative.

onebananatwobanana Tue 05-Nov-13 13:32:03

OP - does your DS have a preference? Do you prefer the campus or the Hill? Which housemaster do you prefer (I assume you have a house at each school)? Do you want a more international school or a school where the majority (not all) will have come from boarding preps in the UK? He will play lots of sport at either - they are both good schools for sport so don't let that be a deciding factor (IMO!). I would argue Radley has the edge academically being largely non selective compared to Harrow.

Good luck

happygardening Sun 03-Nov-13 23:33:59

Not trying to disagree with you grovel your right academically little to choose between them and so choice does come down to things like location, HM or whether ones DS"s choice sport, musical instrument etc is being catered for.

grovel Sun 03-Nov-13 18:58:58

Happy, I'm just saying I don't think there's much in it academically.

My DH was at Radley. He felt "stir crazy" in his last two years (one of the reasons DS went to Eton). Oxford is 5 miles away. You can't stroll into the city. Your DS can stroll into Winchester. My DS could stroll into Windsor. It can make a difference to some boys knowing that the real world is going on around them. I can bet your DS will never say he was cut off from the real world - some Radleians will.

happygardening Sun 03-Nov-13 18:48:03

Sorry Radley I think has better results if you want a crude measurement. There's little to choose between them on paper apart from location Radley isn't a million miles from Oxford and the campus is very impressive. Your friend ideally needs to visit them both meet prospective housemasters/matrons etc. If their DS likes a specific sport it might be worth asking about for example I don't think Radley does much fencing can't comment on Harrow.

grovel Sun 03-Nov-13 18:32:16

Academically I'd rate both schools as very similar. They can both get their brightest boys (and there are plenty of them) into Oxbridge and "get the best out of the rest".

Radley is a country "campus" school in the middle of nowhere (as boys would see it). Harrow is a city school where boys can see the real world daily. Both work but some boys will prefer one "style" over the other.

Both schools still rate sporting prowess too highly for the taste of their teachers. It's a boy thing where, say, elite rugby players are overly lionised. Yes, they should be as good as sport as they can but the boys should keep it in proportion.

Lottiedoubtie Sun 03-Nov-13 17:47:26

I'd pick Radley- but it's based on a feeling. And the 'kind' of boy I'd want my son to grow into. not that I am actually sending a DC to either but if I was ifyswim

1805 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:35:44

I have just done a quick GCSE results search and Radley got 100% A-C grades opposed to 88% for Harrow. Depends how much you want to rely on statistics though……
I would think you would have to research the sports on offer at both schools and go from there.

123flower Sun 03-Nov-13 17:08:16

Happy Gardening: Do you mean there's little difference academically between Harrow and Dulwich or Harrow and Radley? Our friends would like to know about the latter...

difficultpickle Sun 03-Nov-13 16:51:09

Harrow does have a very generous bursary scheme but unlike Eton it is linked to getting a scholarship first.

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