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(11 Posts)
hanjam23 Fri 16-Jan-15 14:34:36

We are currently living abroad and have chosen Bryanston in Dorset for our daughter at 13. We love its ethos and the valuing of the whole child. My daughter is very creative and we (plus her prep school head) believe it is a perfect school for her. both academically and creatively. However we may be moving back to the UK now, Tunbridge Wells. This is obviously nearer than abroad!! but it is still slightly too far a journey for us to see her every/other weekend. Do people believe it too far a journey for the right school or know of others living this far away?! She loves boarding and is keen to continue and is set on Bryanston!...many thanks for any advice.

happygardening Fri 16-Jan-15 18:28:09

I have a 11/2.hour max one way driving rule. I learnt the hard way for two years we did a very similar journey to the one yours will be but the other way round. Frankly it was hell. We never attended anything the school organised all things we had to attend carol concerts, parent teacher meetings were a complete pain in the arse with me constantly looking at my watch wanting to on and then off the M25 before the the road to hell became hell.
Friends have just pulled their Dc's from Bryanston because it's not full boarding apparently the majority live locally and go home Friday and come back Monday morning they were closer than you will be but their DC came home nearly every weekend he could. We are now just over an hour away it's still a pain bit of a pain frankly, if my DS comes home on Sunday we spend 5 hours driving around. You might have more spare time than we do, or own a helicopter or list driving as your main hobby we don't do any of these things we work long hours and drive a lot for work if you are like us get your DC as near to you as possible even better if you can utilise public transport links do.

hanjam23 Sat 17-Jan-15 10:50:50

Thank you - very helpful advice to take on board.

Fivechildrenandamenagarie Mon 19-Jan-15 22:32:18

How about Bedales? Much closer to tunbridge wells.

happygardening Tue 20-Jan-15 07:48:24

Friends sent their DS to Bedales because it's primarily a weekly boarding school and if you live in Tunbridge Wells still a bit of a hike and I would have thought easily exceeding the 1 1/2 hour driving rule especially if the traffic isn't flowing smoothly.
What about Kings Canterbury at least it's in the same county? I personally have an extreme aversion to the the M25 you'd be able to avoid that as well. It's easy when you first start looking at schools to be blasé about travelling back and forth to it but we are now in our 10 th year of boarding, we lived 20 mins from schools and over 3 hours away. As we are coming to the end of my DS's school career the one thing I'll be glad to see the back of is the driving. The other week I was quickly calculating how many more times I will have to make the journey with only 18 months to go we are obviously still not in single figures in fact when you add it up it's still a lots of times but there is a light a the end of the tunnel.

abear Tue 20-Jan-15 07:59:38

I live near TW and know people with children at Bryanston and am pretty sure there is a bus they can get so that you don't always have to pick up and drop off. Maybe worth asking the school. I also think it their children are full boarding so they aren't expected / able to see them every or every other weekend anyway but hopefully someone with first hand experience will come along.

hanjam23 Tue 20-Jan-15 08:14:34

Happy gardening - wow Kings canterbury is our other choice! but much more academic so worried she may not or may just scrape in and confidence may be knocked. One of the reasons for liking kings is the music as she has a very strong voice and I will enquire as to a choral scholarship which may also help her get in. She is also being put forward for an art one so I hope these will aid her application?? Fingers crossed! Bryanston v much appeals too for these same reasons but I'm worried about the journey. Abear - there is a bus to lewes from Bryanston so that's a possible. Interesting there are other kids at b from TW. Great advice, thank you both

LAtoLondon Tue 20-Jan-15 16:11:09

We are sending our daughter there in 2016. It is a fabulous school from everything that I've read and seen. I'm not sure why everyone says it is weekly boarding. The headmistress makes it clear that this is not the case. I have friends there, and yes, there are children who come home every other weekend but not until Saturday night, and then they have to return back on Sunday, so even for us whom live closer than you (Bath), it is unlikely that this would be routine. Hope that helps.

happygardening Tue 20-Jan-15 18:45:35

LatoLondon friends removed their DC last summer they had been reassured by the head and other staff that it was full boarding which is why they sent their DC there. Three years down the road they' discovered it wasn't full boarding and that lots were "flexi" boarders they went home Friday night and came back Monday morning.
They were every disappointed with the school feeling that had basically been misinformed about the situation. Apart from this issue they had no other gripes, the felt the teaching was of good standard and many of the staff were exceedingly committed but they wanted and indeed were paying for full boarding and weren't getting what they wanted.

hanjam23 Wed 21-Jan-15 07:36:24

Thank you LatotoLondon. We think it's a wonderful school so may meet you there as my daughter would potentially start then too.

Poisonwoodlife Wed 21-Jan-15 13:37:02

I was Guardian to an overseas pupil there and as I have discussed with Happy it seems there may be some differences in the policies of different house mistresses but this pupil did find a group to spend weekends with, and was in any case extremely busy with Extra curricular choirs, plays etc. However they were not part of the "cool crowd" and so a Saturday night rehearsing madrigals was just fine grin though some drinking was done in the bar and I think there must be some sharing of allowances because that was one incident unique to Bryanston hmm , not that there were not consequences.

There is indeed a bus that stops at Richmond, not far from the station and in Central London, for exeats and term dates arriving around 7 so I suppose a meet up in London and train back to Tonbridge would be doable. Some events ie an annual music concert are actually in London

However the vast majority of pupils are local, Dorset plus a sprinkling of London refugees, not many overseas.

The opportunities to persue the arts are excellent, and it seems a happy supportive school, but I think the making of it into an academic school is a bit work in progress. A bit slapdash on the processes in place in the London Day schools I have experience of to manage inconsistency in external exam marking etc. presumably reflecting an emphasis on other things.

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