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St Edwards or Bradfield ?

(12 Posts)
Zem49100 Thu 13-Nov-14 22:35:19

Having visited Bradfield and St Edwards several times, my daughter and I are struggling to make a decision. She is moderately academic and moderately sporty but very musical and social. Any advise most welcome to help us make up our mind !

happygardening Fri 14-Nov-14 08:06:45

The biggest difference is that St Edwards is full boarding Bradfield is weekly boarding, which do you prefer/want? Or perhaps your looking for day, at St Edwrads day children stay till 9 PM I don't know about Bradfield.
All the shells (1st years) at Bradfield are in a boarding house together which I think is great for a shy immature child who might need lots of help to settle into senior school and boarding but I suspect a mature child whose boarded before might find it rather tedious. Also lots of very homesick children together can have a massive impact on others, in a mixed age boarding house younger children are influenced by older happier children. A friends DC did the same thing at another school and was very annoyed when he was spit up from two good friends when they were moved into their proper boarding houses. Also older children often act as mentors and are ultimately the best role models to new children.
Sport is becoming increasingly serious at St Edwards more and more of the countries top coaches are being employed.
I think when my DS went to a match at Bradfield (he doesn't ever go to St Edwards) he said the food was good and the children were very friendly.
Results are broadly similar St Eds has better IB results Bradfield better A level results.
Is one better for you in terms of location that the other? What about public transport links to home (in my dreams). As someone who drives regularly to my DS's boarding school but who attends school plays and concerts etc less than I would like if all other things are equal I would definitely let travelling time between home and school seriously influence my decision.

happygardening Fri 14-Nov-14 08:08:28

Can you attend concerts at either to get a feel for the standard of music? I understand there are some very musical children at St Edwards can't comment on Bradfield.

Vintage68 Sat 15-Nov-14 21:35:57

Hi there, we have chosen Bradfield for our daughter to start September 2015, she sounds like your DD, is bright enough, sporty enough, but loves music and art. Both of those seemed better at Bradfield than Teddies, the art department is stunning. Have also heard it said that children at Teddies are keen to spend all their free time in Oxford, whereas at Bradfield there isn't anywhere much to go during free time, so they tend to be more social within the School. We feel that we might move her to Teddies for sixth form if she wants a bit more of an urban setting, but Bradfield will suit her for GCSE's. When are you thinking of starting, I know some girls houses are already full for 2015.

happygardening Sun 16-Nov-14 08:15:52

It's a interesting debate; rural boarding schools versus more urban ones. We're rural and have been since my DS was very little, he definitely wanted to be in a more urban environment. Socialising with friends is defiantly not a problem. A friends DD is horse mad obviously a more rural boarding school (with horses) suits her. Public transport links are usually better at boarding schools in towns or cities and IMO makes a huge difference.
The children at St Edwards can go into Oxford with their friends but not the actually main city they are restricted to one part of Summertown High Street only and can only go at certain times of the day.

GraceFox Sun 16-Nov-14 13:03:29

We're thinking about St Edwards or Kings Canterbury at 13+ for 10yo ds who's in y6. Atm he's middle of the road academically - rather immature in his approach to school work eg dashing things off quickly/not trying too hard and not always checking work esp in maths (where his scores are as a result rather poor). We hope he will mature over the next year or two! Does anyone know at what point these schools would ask for a prep head's reference? If it's during y7 when places are confirmed subject to CE there's hope that ds will be on an upward trajectory towards that target, but say we were to visit the schools soon - as is recommended before lists close - would his HM be approached this year? If so I fear for ds's prospects.

Btw have gone through CE before with older sons for London schools so know the system;just not familiar with these schools. Any personal info v welcome please.

waterhorse123 Sun 16-Nov-14 15:14:56

St Edwards has fantastic pastoral care, if that would sway your decision. As regards going into Oxford, they can go into Summertown during the week, and into Oxford itself at weekends, ostensibly in pairs or groups, but my own offspring has been in on his own, as he was the only one who wanted to go to the museums, not KFC.
It is a fantastic city to be in, and although he is a country loving boy, he loves being there. Would highly recommend it.

GraceFox Sun 16-Nov-14 15:29:26

Thanks Waterhorse that's good to hear. The pastoral aspect is of course v important. And I like that with either school, there would be an interesting city on the doorstep. Can you recall much about the admissions process? How strict is St E's if CE scores are patchy?

waterhorse123 Fri 21-Nov-14 18:05:15

Hi GraceFox,
mine has an Academic Exhibition so I don't know about the normal CE process really, but I think they are quite mixed ability outside of the scholarships and exhibitions, but get the most out of their pupils with excellent teaching. We are really happy with everything about the school - the boarding, the staff, the care, the education, the help for Exhibitioners and Scholars, the extra stuff. Mine has signed up for Adventure Training in the christmas hols, and a history trip to the WWI battlefields at Easter, and is always straining at the leash to get back there!
The uniform is a bit pricey - apparently the most expensive the stockists have, but it looks good quality so it doesn't matter really. He isn't sporty but there are plenty of alternatives to regular sport, and he has played in lower level teams in both home and away matches which is good for him. So no exclusions for not being sporty, which we think is brilliant. It puts him in a team with similarly non sporty boys!
He loves being allowed into Summertown, and the museums etc in Oxford. He seems to get on fine with the work expected, the boarding houses are modern and well set up. There are lots of extra curricular things to do so he doesn't get bored at all.
In short, he loves it.

GraceFox Sun 23-Nov-14 18:54:17

Sounds lovely Waterhorse. I think we'll go and visit. My ds isn't sporty either, so a comfortable place on one of those lower teams would suit him fine! And he's a boy best kept busy, so it's good to hear there's lots going on. How much does the place empty at weekends?

waterhorse123 Mon 24-Nov-14 10:18:07

There are two leave weekends a term, either side of half term, and apparently you can have two extra weekends. The leave weekends start on a Friday lunchtime till Sunday 9pm, but the extras are much shorter. You have to collect them after sport and matches on a Saturday (much more like 4pm or later) and have them back Sunday by 9 again. We've only done that once, and probably won't use the other weekend. I know the weekend we did use, all but two of the shells were out, so it must have been quite empty. Probably just chance that the others all chose the same weekend.
I think Saturdays are pretty much taken up with sport, then Sundays they can go into Oxford and have lunch out etc, which they all seem to like. They've just had the school play this week, which sounded good (His Dark Materials, for which the players had a visit from Philip Pullman himself!) and next weekend is the carol service, so we'll see him then I hope. There seem to be quite a lot of trips, which is nice. Looks like a House Christmas Dinner and a school one, which will please him no end as he loves his food. But the best thing about it, for us, is the outstanding pastoral care. You couldn't ask for better, and if a school cares about that, then you can be fairly sure they care about everything else. They won't just have good pastoral, they'll be good in other ways too, which they are. I think if the pastoral care is excellent, you get happy children who rarely get homesick (ours virtually never corresponds and loves it already after less than a term) and who are settled enough to work hard and get the most out of their time at a school. The warden seems very approachable and so do the other top level management staff. There is even a lovely school cat that goes in and out of the admin buildings! In fact, matron has two cats as well in our son's house. Just lovely.

GraceFox Mon 24-Nov-14 11:40:11

Thank you! It's tricky to glean that sort of detail from the prospectus but it's so important. The more I hear, the more I like the sound of St Edward's.

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