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Charterhouse or Cardiff sixth form college

(17 Posts)
mamino1 Mon 17-Nov-14 14:04:47

My DD is going to apply for these two school and starts studying Y12 in 2015, would anyone comment on these schools? We are from Asia and my DD would go for full boarding. She is planning if for Charterhouse, she will study the Cambridge Pre-U curriculum whereas for Cardiff sixth form will be studying A Level. Would anyone please give us some commments.

homebythesea Mon 17-Nov-14 15:49:25

Charterhouse is better known as a long standing top public school. It is set in lovely countryside far closer to airports for journeys home. I've never heard of Cardiff 6th form before (do Universities or employers??) and having looked at the website it seems to me it is set up with overseas students in mind. If you are looking for a truly "English" experience then Charterhouse will deliver that in spades.
The academic requirement for entry into Cardiff looks very high. Pre-U is very well thought of and the A level syllabus will be changing and so subject to some uncertainty over the next couple of years so going for a system that is working well and will not (as far as I am aware) be changing might be an advantage.
Both are fantastically expensive of course. I would think that Charterhouse has better established infrastructure for pastoral care, sports, Arts, music etc. But check how many students are full boarders at Charterhouse. It may be that most will go home at weekends thus making the weekends a bit lonely. That is where Cardiff may have the advantage.

Needmoresleep Mon 17-Nov-14 16:31:33

Grades should be about the same, however the big difference I assume is that in Cardiff the other boarders will be almost entirely from Asia. Whereas Charterhouse will give you the full public school experience with scope to develop other interests, leadership, a diversity of friendships etc.

Unless you are absolutely grade focussed I would go with Charterhouse. I have come across a few recent graduates from China, who have been through British sixth forms and then good Universities gaining good degrees, but who have barely touched the sides when it comes to picking up cultural understanding or indeed fluency in English. They are perfectly pleasant but, at least compared to some of their British contemporaries, can come across as slightly one dimensional and materialistic.

xing Mon 17-Nov-14 17:21:20

They are both private. But as name suggested Cardiff is a six-form college. while Charterhouse is a "school" in traditional sense where you will get the "authentic" British Education.

mamino1 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:23:18

Thanks for all your comments and Advice. By the way, My DD hadn't take GCSE or iGCSE and is planning to take the A Level exam directly. Do you think this may affect her university application or will the universities doubt her performance and would not consider to give conditional offer to her??

TalkinPeace Tue 18-Nov-14 11:43:07

Are you meaning Atlantic College?
In which case its no ordinary 6th form college and well respected on the international circuit
www.atlanticcollege.org/

Needmoresleep Tue 18-Nov-14 11:51:01

No, she will be referring to Cardiff College as in:

www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cardiff-sixth-form-college-ranked-7661438

In terms of University applications, it will depend slightly on which subjects she is studying and where she is applying. If maths, it should not matter much. The best Universities will be looking for the best mathematicians. When it comes to other sciences, I suspect strong English and the ability to write essays would be an advantage at Oxbridge, because of the tutorial teaching style. This will be less important in London (Imperial, LSE etc) and elsewhere where teaching with lectures and seminars of perhaps 10-20.

Humanities, and you would almost certainly be better off at a more trad British school.

BadgerB Wed 19-Nov-14 05:58:10

Have you looked at Concord College, Shrewsbury? It could be a combination of the best features of both.
www.concordcollegeuk.com/

happygardening Wed 19-Nov-14 07:13:07

"My DD has not taken GCSE or IGCSE and is planning to take the A level directly"
Charterhouse offers the Pre U which is significantily harder than A levels. We've recently done a direct comparison of one subject and the difference is vast, both the pupil taking the A level and the one doing the Pre U were very shocked and surprised at the difference. I'm not commenting on which one is better. If your DD hasn't done IGCSE/GCSE what qualifications has she sat? Do look at past exam papers for both A level and Pre U there are many threads on here about the children struggling with the jump from GCSE (having achieved an A or A*) to A level especially for math and further math for Pre U the jump is even larger. Will yoir DD be happy making this jump especially when she's also at a new school in an unfamiliar country?
Secondly Charterhouse is primarily a weekly boarding school. A friend works there and her job requires her to live on site because she is available for the children 24/7 she has Sunday as a day off. There will be more full boarders in the 6 th form but if it's proper full boarding your looking for there are other schools offering all that Charterhouse offers (maybe not the Pre U) and are full boarding as well.

BeckAndCall Wed 19-Nov-14 07:43:06

But happy, weekly boarding at Charterhouse really means students go home at Saturday lunchtime (after matches) and return on Sunday for supper - at least thats what my Dcs fre\iends there seem to do.... so its only a day and a bit away from school - so for those staying, its much less time than 'weekly' might suggest

happygardening Wed 19-Nov-14 08:15:02

Beck I know exactly what weekly boarding means,(my DS's have weekly boarded in the past as do many of our friends DC's). I also know exactly what it means to be a full boarder Ina primarily weekly boarding school as my DS's have been in this position and we have friends with DC's in this position now, frankly it's not great, full boarders who are in a small minority in school are on their own on Saturday night/Sunday day and time off R and R and fun for most and boarding school, any activities organised by the school are often cancelled at the last minute due to "lack of interest" and staff often see Sunday as their day off. It simply creates a completely different feeling to a school, weekly boarders are also more likely to live reasonably close to the school so maintain greater links with friends who are not at school with them, of course there's nothing wrong with this but they may be less inclined to invite full boarding friends back to their homes at the weekend as they have other plans, parents of weekly boarders knowing they can come home every weekend may also organise family events and things during term time something parents of full boarders are less likely to do, so again reducing the likelihood of inviting your full boarding friends home with you for a weekend.
Most friends who've sent their DC's to schools like CH wanting full boarding often talk very highly of the individual school apart from the weekly boarding school aspect. Three friends have recently moved their DC's from their boarding schools because they were not full boarding (which they wanted) but weekly. This is even harder for a child from abroad who may be less to keen to go guardians on Saturday night however nice they might be or those guardians may be a significant distance away and thus it's not possible to go there for one night.
If you want need full boarding for whatever reason to get the most out of the experience choose a full boarding school.

Needmoresleep Wed 19-Nov-14 09:04:46

HG, the choice is between Cardiff and Charterhouse. Are you really suggesting that Charterhouse offers a less good boarding/educational experience?

One of the Chinese girls I came across recently had been to Concord in Shrewsbury, which as Badget B suggests is an alternative for Cardiff. Despite this, a degree (maths) from a top class University and then a Masters she still struggles with conversational English. In her case it will not matter as she is part of a growing group of super-rich London based Chinese who apart from in their well paid City jobs, won't need to speak much English. (Who is to criticise? The same will apply to British expats in Beijing.)

OP's child will get good grades at either school. The choice is how much exposure to Britain and its culture and language, Op wants for her child.

I am also not convinced by the " weekly boarding" argument. Sixth forms of schools with big intakes can change radically. Even though a day boy, our son started spending so much time at school he only seemed to come home to sleep. By sixth form there is plenty of homework, so the 30 hours or so at school when the day pupils/weekly boarders are not there, is a useful chance for downtime and homework. Indeed because of homework, weekly boarders increasingly can't be bothered to waste time travelling home, whilst the new intake will can be expected to have a disproportionate number of overseas and distance boarders.

happygardening Wed 19-Nov-14 09:28:00

No I'm not criticising CH's boarding experience or for that matter any other UK weekly boarding school of similar ilk but it is a completely different type of boarding experience to the one the OP's DD would get at a full boarding school and the OP does clearly states her DD will full board. I've listened to friends who wanted full boarding but who have their DC's at good weekly boarding school discuss the problems that arise, and as I've already stated some move their DC's because of it and I too have been in this situation. If the OP is able to perhaps consider a full boarding school as well as CH and Cardiff Sixth form college then in my now very extensive experience she should.

happygardening Wed 19-Nov-14 09:33:32

Your experience is obviously different to mine Needmoresleep all 6th formers I know at weekly boarding schools come home at the earliest possible moment, none seem to view a weekend in school as a chance for downtime and prep they seem to view it as a chance to step of the treadmill, meet friends and have some peace and privacy in their own homes perhaps to do prep etc hmm.

Needmoresleep Wed 19-Nov-14 09:48:22

I still disagree. I don't know what your extensive experience of girls in boarding schools is, but it is hard to think of a single girl amongst DD's cohort who wanted to remain full boarding school for sixth form. A couple of boys too. There was quite a scramble for places with at least a couple ending up in tutorial colleges. A couple more were unable to get back into schools they had left at 13, despite very solid GCSE predictions. Even a top school like Wycombe Abbey will lose up to 20% of the year group, with still more applying elsewhere. Sixth form is different. Schools based in towns, or those with good sixth form intakes can work well, especially for girls who have not boarded before, or those who have no desire to discover where the hockey pitch is.

Anecdotal, but as part of my conversation with the Concord educated girl and her equally lovely friend (who struggled even more with English despite 7 years in the UK) I mentioned that DS was an Undergraduate at the University where she had done her Masters. She, slightly tactlessly though admirably honestly, expressed surprise. She did not know English people could do maths.

happygardening Wed 19-Nov-14 10:48:53

Needmoresleep so if I understand you correctly (I'm happy to accept that I don't) you hardly know a single girl who wanted to remain at her full boarding school, why is that? Is it because they didn't want to stay in school all weekend? I have absolutely no doubt that that is true. Many full boarders by the time they reach the sixth form want what they perceive to be more freedom, in particular to enjoy activities unrelated to school life. But the OP clearly states she wants full boarding with I'm assuming all the benefits this brings including friends in school with her all weekend.
With regard yo your comment in Wykeham Abbey I am actually very aware that they loose many of their 6th form to other schools I used to work at a school that took many from there into their 6th form you may be interested to know it was another independent full boarding school. On asking the girls why they were leaving they all gave the same two answers they wanted coed or the IB.
Not once have I suggested that Cardiff 6th form college or any school similar to this is better than CH, frankly I know nothing about it so feel unable to comment I've just suggested that she considers a proper full boarding school if she wants full boarding.
I agree that boarding schools based in large towns/cities offer a wider variety of non school based activities than those which are rural, my DS would not ever consider a rural boarding school. But you do have to be careful we know a couple of boarding schools based in big towns/cities who impose even on 6 th formers very strict rules about when and where you are allowed to go and even what your allowed to wear, as is always the case when choosing a school if these things matter to you or your DC ask dont just assume.

Pepperpot69 Wed 19-Nov-14 15:04:27

happy did you get my message?
OP, I used to live in Godalming where CH is, and the kids were often about own on the w/e so hopefully there will be enough to do and enough people to do it with but HG is quite right if your child can't go home for any reason then schools emptying out at the w/e is a nightmare. On a recent senior school tour a Headmaster told us outright that the school was full at w/e and even the day children came back in so as not to miss out. 2 seconds later the boy showing us around told us that most people go home as nearly everyone lives under an hour away and there is nothing to do at w/e, the only ones left are the foreigners!!!! I know who I believed!

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