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UK public school for 13 year old Canadian Chinese

(37 Posts)
fatimash Mon 17-Feb-14 23:21:30

Hello we are moving from Toronto and have been looking at information of Alleyn's, Merchant Taylor Northwood, Albingdon and Sevenoaks. You could probably tell we aren't fussed about geography too much (as long as reasonably close to London) as we haven't found a house yet. However we are Canadian Chinese and would like son to be reasonably exposed to Chinese/Asian culture so that he doesn't lose his roots. We need school to be academically strong but not hothouse and promotes sporting virtues and espouses support for new students (son is not the most sociable kid). Any views on the above schools and any other names you would like to add ? Thanks.

UKsounding Tue 18-Feb-14 03:14:41

That's a range of quite different schools. Where would he go if you were staying in Toronto?

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Tue 18-Feb-14 05:26:52

I fAlleyns is a pssibility, then I'd add Dulwich College to your list because of the Chinese (Mandarin). Or do you definitely want coed?

The snag is that 13+ offers for most schools for this September have just been made. Or is he already 13, and you need an ad hoc place before September?

birdybear Tue 18-Feb-14 05:56:54

Have you considered tonbridge school? Lots of Asian boys there? And a very good school.

NeedHoliday Tue 18-Feb-14 06:10:19

Arriving after the place allocations have been made for September shouldn't be too much of a problem as I know of at least one boy at my sons school who moved from Hong Kong and sat an entrance exam in the June prior to arrival.

Also add Whitgift to your list - they seem keen at the moment to attract from an international market and have a very strong language dept that offers mandarin. I believe Sevenoaks no longer offer mandarin as an option but I could be wrong about this.

Both Sevenoaks and Whitgift offer the IB, I'm not sure about the others, which may influence your decision depending on whether you will be looking at international universities.

As mentioned below Tonbridge is another great school which good train links into London.

Good luck with your search.

meditrina Tue 18-Feb-14 06:46:31

If a school has an ad hoc vacancy, then they will be happy to fill it with a good candidate. But as offers are being sent our right now, they won't know right now if they have any spaces for year 9 in September.

But if OP's DS is already 13, then it'll be current year 9 place (year 10 in September) that's needed. Parents leaving schools need to give one full term's notice to avoid fees in lieu. Vacancies for September will be better known by start of next term in April.

Lovealotofshopping Tue 18-Feb-14 09:44:53

Merchant Taylors will have plenty of Chinese boys. It's very multi cultural worth lots of British born Indian boys too.I would add Habs boys and City of London to your list too, they are v academic and very multi cultural with plenty of British Chinese boys.

fatimash Tue 18-Feb-14 16:32:12

Thanks for the very useful info. He is turning 12+ in August so depending on school admission requirements we will work on it for 2015 13+ admission. We are moving there in June 15.

He is currently at Upper Canada College in Toronto, a private boys school. I don't think co-ed will faze him though we have slight preference for him to go to Boys' only.

Could I ask how important are sports and music in UK schools especially for the names you mentioned? In North America schools are very fixated on how boys could contribute in sports at schools. I understand no university in UK will look at sports performance as admission criterea but as he is good both counts (tennis, swimming, cello) over and above the stuff I mentioned above a good school sporting culture would be ideal. Please help. Thanks so much

GinAndIt Tue 18-Feb-14 16:41:27

Another vote here to take a look at Whitgift School.

Academically selective, single-sex, boys come from wide variety of cultural backgrounds, strong on Mandarin, very strong indeed on sports. 20 mins on the train from Victoria.

Ifyoubuildit Tue 18-Feb-14 16:44:27

Tonbridge is very sporty. The sports facilities are fantastic.

UKsounding Wed 19-Feb-14 05:36:11

So, a pretty large, busy all-rounder boys school. (My DD is currently at the nearby girls school. I have done the reverse relocate. I only know the boys school by reputation though.)

UCC uses an IB curriculum doesn't it? Is that important to you? My guess is that Sevenoaks might be a very decent fit but coed. Don't know Whitgift.

fatimash Wed 19-Feb-14 07:12:11

Hello yes UCC is IB. We are not too hung up about that though because there is more than 50% chance he will do Uni in UK so A levels also ok. All of you have been very helpful so I'll give it another go. Are kids in the private schools you mentioned level headed kids? I know parents also mold children's characters from young. However given these beautiful school facilities do kids understand it is hard to make a living these days? I hope this is not too tough an indictment for good schools

basildonbond Wed 19-Feb-14 07:26:39

Lots of Chinese boys at Whitgift, plus they do the IB, are v strong in pretty much all sports inc swimming, v good and ambitious music provision, easy transport from London

The boys there are a bit more down to earth than somewhere like Tonbridge as many are on bursaries and there is a much wider social mix than at some private schools

GinAndIt Wed 19-Feb-14 07:54:24

Agree with basildonbond. Whitgift is part of a foundation that has one of the most generous bursary funds in the country, so there is a larger proportion of boys for whom a public school education wouldn't usually be possible.

Also, it's in Croydon - can't get much more down to earth than that grin

UKsounding Wed 19-Feb-14 22:48:42

Croydon is definitely not Forest Hill! grin

Fatimash - In general the proportion of kids in the UK who go to private schools is higher than Canada, and therefore a higher proportion of 'middle-class struggling to make the fees' families than there would be at private schools here. I am shocked at the level of obvious wealth and consumption of some of the girls my DD is at school with. (Not to mention some of the attitudes held by parents...) it is not really 'done' to flash cash about like I witness here. Obviously there are many families like that in London and the SE of England too (and probably the really rich are actually much richer) but generally you are not going to get the unadulterated concentration as there are more 'normal' families at most schools too.
A school like Whitgift cares about academics on entry (as well as a basic ability to pay as obviously no-one is starving and in rags) and that produces a different atmosphere I think.

1805 Thu 20-Feb-14 00:18:33

Abingdon is big on sports and music and academics.
No idea on culture though. I have been told that Oxford has a v large Chinese community, but no idea if that spills into Abingdon School.

celestialsquirrelnuts Thu 20-Feb-14 00:36:53

I have a son at Abingdon. It's an excellent school with a good sized Chinese community - mostly boarding from HK, sing and china but also day boys living locally. Academics v good, sport strong, music and drama excellent, pastoral care very good. We are very happy with it. Produces very nice, level headed boys noticeably lacking in arrogance. Lots of working mothers amongst the parents (which makes me feel at home) and parents in my sons year range from a postman (presumably on free bursary - who cares) and an actual Nobel prizewinner (from oxford uni) but include lots of entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, academics, etc. The odd banker but no oligarchs that I've noticed.
Do PM me if you'd like any info.

celestialsquirrelnuts Thu 20-Feb-14 00:40:49

Ps as a born and bred ontarian I'd guess that UCC to Abingdon would be a pretty painless transition. Abingdon less urban of course - based in small market town. Oxford a fantastic city to live near and easily commutable to London if needed. But probably a pretty similar ethos.

celestialsquirrelnuts Thu 20-Feb-14 00:47:16

Ok finally (and then I will stop!) if he is keen on the cello you should know that the Oxford Cello School is based in Abingdon (www.oxfordcelloschool.org). Not connected to the school but a great resource locally and some shared teachers I understand.
Sigh. I used to go to the RCM in Toronto for my cello lessons every Wednesday afternoon as a kid...!

fatimash Thu 20-Feb-14 06:31:29

Dear all, almost not an school related question. But would anybody be silly enough to live in London and have DS day school to either Kent or Oxford? Or completely out of question practically? I know London geography as I used to live there as student but London has become 10x more croweded since my time. Advice please? Last question re which parts of England immediately inside or outside of London have the types of flauting familes that UKsounding was refering to? We want to try to have DS avoid too many of their DS or DD. Sorry again no provocation intended. We are low key that's all.

fatimash Thu 20-Feb-14 06:43:05

Dear all, re thread above and re Oxford and Merchant Taylors there has been little mention of Radley and Haberdashers' Aske's Boys. Perhaps not relevant given the criterea that I gave in the beginning? Thanks ahead.

basildonbond Thu 20-Feb-14 06:47:20

I read uksounding's post as there would be fewer children like that in the uk than in Toronto but I may be wrong! There's no way you could live in London and have your ds commute to Oxford every day - it may not look far on the map but distances/feasibility of journeys are completely different in the uk than places like Canada (I'm married to an Australian and it took ages to train him out of "it's not that far on the map"!)

Very few children going to Whitgift would actually live in croydon - there are very good transport links from south London and lots of families live in the commuter belt the other side of Croydon to London

meditrina Thu 20-Feb-14 06:56:45

You cannot predict which school is going to attract an ill-mannered pupil (or indeed crowd) in any particular year.

London has some uber-rich families, but also has (probably!) the most diverse population in private schools (many international families, some with fees paid by employer so less personal wealth; many 'struggling middle' families). Even if you do not require a bursary yourself, looking for schools which have a generous bursary policy would also be another indicator of the presence of less affluent pupils.

RalphRecklessCardew Thu 20-Feb-14 07:05:44

Have you considered state schools?

Lovealotofshopping Thu 20-Feb-14 07:54:40

I mentioned Haberdashers in my first post to you but I don't think that it has been mentioned as most of the posters on here seem to be South Londoners and Habs is a North London school.

Based on your comments I think it would be an ideal school for your son. It's academically superb, extremely strong in sport and music, multi cultural including plenty of Chinese boys although the dominant cultures are Indian and Jewish. They have an extensive coach system shared with the adjoining girls school which brings children from right across N London and Herts and it's as economically diverse as a private school can be. Lots of well off families along with a generous bursary system and plenty of families scrimping and saving to pay the fees. It has a very low turnover of students and not many international families. It's a tough and demanding environment but if your son is competitive and hard working he will love it.

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