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Best co-ed boarding school for DD?

(32 Posts)
Alexis705 Tue 11-Mar-14 19:58:14

We're considering sending DD to boarding school for sixth form and were previously considering Canford and Culford however apparently neither are overly academic.
DD is very bright but also enjoys art, music and sport (mostly water sports). We really aren't sure where to send her but location isn't very important as we live overseas already so anywhere would be far away. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

happygardening Tue 11-Mar-14 20:58:30

Assuming you not looking for entry for this September I would consider Kings Canterbury, the majority full board which is important if your abroad, Canterbury is a very nice city, it's got a good solid academic reputation and it's very close to the sea so good for those who like water sports. We know lots who are or have been there, all different types clever sporty musical arty quirky all bar one were very happy the very bright ones did/are doing very well.

almapudden Tue 11-Mar-14 21:08:28

I was about to say King's too. Good school - academic enough to challenge the bright pupils but lots going on in extra-curricular terms too.

Alexis705 Wed 12-Mar-14 04:49:36

Thanks for the suggestion of kings! It looks lovely (although DD was very cross that girls weren't allowed the same sports as boys) but it's so important that we get the right school, especially since we will be so far away, so we'll probably make a list of ten or so and go from there.

We would be applying for September 2015, I think most schools take applications from half way through this year.

propatria Wed 12-Mar-14 08:53:23

For a variety of reasons the two you have mentioned would not be on my list,not least because Idont think they are either full boarding schools,and as you are abroad you need to know that a good number of children are going to be around at the weekend,try looking at places like Rugby,Oundle,both good boarding schools,decent/excellent academics and really good sport,others could be Uppingham,flavour of the month-Oakham,theres a few to be going on with

schoolchoicesdrivingmecrazy Wed 12-Mar-14 09:20:50

Rugby is considered by many to be the best coed boarding school for girls.

happygardening Wed 12-Mar-14 13:27:54

I don't know a Rugby particularly well but I suspect many could come on here and makes comments like schoolchoice. It's all about finding a school that suits you and your DD. If she likes water sports fairly obviously, although I'm always amazed at those who don't, look into the provision for her interest and as importantly how frequently she can do it and to what level. At my DS's school rather unusually there is no major sport each term So he is able to peruse his slightly niche sport at least 3 afternoons during "games" lessons instead of standing miserable on a rugby/football/cricket pitch three afternoons a week and doing it as an extra curricular activity. This is not always the case at all schools. Ditto if she wants to do a particular A level, a mother last year on MN criticised the Pre U choices offered by my DS's school but the choices are clearly listed in their website for all to view why let your DS spend two years at the school and then start moaning about no computer science/media studies Pre U. Also as you're abroad it's worth finding out if your DD can leave a day early at the end of term or arrive a day late most schools are flexible but some won't be this could annoy some I suspect! Finally be careful about the term "full boarding" my definition; sleeping at school 7 days a week is not everyones, remember these schools want you're money bar a few very big names they are struggling to fill every vacancy, they'll almost say anything if they think it's what you want to hear, if necessary get the head/house mistress in a head lock to squeeze the actual number of full boarders out of them, ask more than one person see how much variation you get. Do you research carefully, don't assume it will be there because you're stumping up 34K a year, as I always say if it matters ask.

mary21 Wed 12-Mar-14 16:55:32

What about Gordonstoun or Atlantic College.
I be live Royal Hospital School like their water sports too. Part of their naval Heritage!

AuntieStella Wed 12-Mar-14 17:02:26

Oakham? They have Rutland Water only a couple of miles away, so lots of opportunities for water sports. Strong reputation for sport, but good all round. It's about 50% boarders, but a proportion of those do not stay for weekends, but it's a big enough school that there's still enough of a community left. It offers both IB and A levels.

MortaIWombat Wed 12-Mar-14 19:53:47

Bryanston used to be lovely, but this was a few years ago.

Roseformeplease Wed 12-Mar-14 19:55:43

Bradfield is wonderful and only a couple of junctions from Heathrow. Lots of sport and a lovely swimming pool. Drama was very strong there and The Head of Music is amazing.

Roseformeplease Wed 12-Mar-14 19:56:08

Also close to places for water skiing, sailing etc.

ivykaty44 Wed 12-Mar-14 19:56:20

i would have thought the facilities at mill field were better for water sports than rugby

happygardening Wed 12-Mar-14 21:33:41

Both Bryanston and Bradfield are weekly boarding not full boarding so not really suitable for the OP.

Roseformeplease Wed 12-Mar-14 22:31:08

Unless Bradfield has changed a lot since I worked there (admittedly a few years ago) it was very much full boarding. In fact, we hardly had a moment and pupils were there at weekends.

happygardening Wed 12-Mar-14 23:00:48

I only know it's weekly boarding because I was having lunch a few months ago with a friend who has sent her DS to Bradfield, their only gripe is that it's weekly boarding otherwise they're really pleased with it. This was not made clear to them before he started they were looking for full boarding and now they have to drive there every Saturday to pick him up. There are very few true full boarding schools left.

goinggetstough Thu 13-Mar-14 07:36:54

I would agree with HG about Bradfield. There are full boarders but the majority often go home at the weekends. We loved the school when we looked at it but actually got to email some current parents via the school and they said it had changed from when their eldest boys had started. so we had to cross the school off the list as we were overseas and needed full boarding.

Alexis705 Thu 13-Mar-14 11:13:24

Thanks for all the brilliant suggestions. I do get the impression that some of those schools aren't overly academic although I've only looked at school websites and things so I could be completely wrong.
According to IQ test (which aren't always totally accurate, I know) DD is in the top 1% so an academic school is quite important.
She's been very unhappy in the wrong school before, partially because it was all girls and she hated the bitchy environment (she's a bit of a tomboy) and partially because the school she'd previously been at was a top ranking selective school so the work was well below her level.

propatria Thu 13-Mar-14 11:31:47

You are not wrong,some of the schools mentioned are not very selective,it sounds to me like Oundle should be top of your list.

Alexis705 Thu 13-Mar-14 11:45:30

We will definitely consider Oundle but there doesn't seem to be all that much information about boarding on their website. Does anyone have a dc there or know what it's like? We also had a look at Marlborough, Uppingham and Shrewsbury so opinions on these schools would be helpful too. Thanks!

propatria Thu 13-Mar-14 11:53:46

Oundle is def full boarding,the parents we know from the school have all been very happy,you should also as you say have a look at Uppingham,marlborough,I prob wouldnt,not as academic and although the head is trying to broaden its intake its london centric and wouldnt be first choice for an academic child and Im not convinced about it as a choice for girls,Shrewsbury dont know much but havent heard anything bad,know a couple that have gone and they were happy.

Alexis705 Thu 13-Mar-14 12:04:38

propatria, Just checked exam results and you're right about Marlborough and Uppingham being less academic. They still get quite good results though, only about 5% - 10% fewer a*/a grades than Oundle and Shrewsbury is about the same as Oundle results wise.

I'd be very interested to know about the quality of the boarding experience (extra curricular, weekend activities, food, pastoral care, what the rooms are like...) in any of these schools from anyone who knows.
Thanks again.

propatria Thu 13-Mar-14 12:09:49

You might do better starting a new thread with the names of the schools you are interested in.

mary21 Thu 13-Mar-14 16:45:06

If she is very bright have you considered Westminster. Might not be water sports central as its central London. Water sports may not be so appealing in UK anyway.
Its a boys school with girls though not a coed school.

propatria Thu 13-Mar-14 17:40:21

Westminster is a day school with some boarders and very few of them are in over the weekend

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