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Move from Independent day school to boarding for sixth form

(19 Posts)
harlowcar Mon 23-Nov-15 11:38:31

I'm thinking of moving my son from a private day school in London to boarding in his sixth form. This is mainly due to the fact that although he's likely to pass all his GCSEs, he won't get the stellar results needed to stay on at his school. I'm looking at Marlborough, Charterhouse and Wellington at the moment, but need advice on how it's been for your child, was it the right thing to do, will he even get in. He's likely to want to do music and history amongst his A levels. Not particularly sporty, but very popular amongst his peers and into music of all sorts.

MsMargaretHale Mon 23-Nov-15 12:52:36

Hi. I think the schools you mention here will be expecting a high proportion of A and A* grades at GCSE for sixth form entrants. Competition for these places is hot and they are looking for candidates who will boost their A level results tables. I imagine their attitude will be very similar to that of the school he is already at.
You could look at less competitive schools, but you have to then ask what you are getting for you money.
Have you thought about state 6 th form college? Free, great results and take many from the private sector.
I get really angry at stories of fee paying selective schools who turf students out at 16 because they are likely to get Bs and Cs at GCSE. These schools selected the students at 11/13 and happily took your money for five years. So unless there are special factors such as the student refusing to work, they should IMO stand by them to the end of theor school careers.

harlowcar Mon 23-Nov-15 13:49:07

We have thought of state sixth form too - the only problem we have is finding somewhere which can offer him a great A level music teacher. At the moment we're looking at all options. BTW I agree with you re private schools sixth form policy, but many of them live or die by the league tables.

Temporaryusername8 Mon 23-Nov-15 14:14:23

I would also consider St Edwards in Oxford (strong music) and possible Bradfields for weekly boarding. Both those schools would be looking at the other contributions he would make and would take a wider range of academic ability.

maryso Mon 23-Nov-15 14:21:22

Any respectable independent will have sound views on where he can transfer that will bring out the best in him. They really should know him very well, and have pointed this out in the termly reports which tend to show exactly where he is in his year, for each subject. What do his house master and tutors say? Many of them will be parents themselves, and will have views, which may help you choose. London schools with strong A level music are not difficult to track down.

halvedfees Mon 23-Nov-15 15:10:15

The music at Wellington is outstanding - all sorts of ensembles etc. However it does have high academic aspirations, although if your DS is genuinely outstanding at music then that will trump any academic weakness. I know people who got in because their musical/sporting/acting ability alone.

harlowcar Mon 23-Nov-15 16:06:58

There is indeed no shortage of good London schools with excellent music departments, but the problem is that for sixth form entry they are looking for mainly A*/A at GCS, which I don't think my son will achieve. If he does well, he will be able to stay on at his current school which will solve all problems. I am looking round for alternatives at the moment to cover the worst case scenario. Temporary - thanks for the tips, I'll look into them. Halved fees - good to hear about Wellington.

RalphSteadmansEye Mon 23-Nov-15 17:10:56

Hmm, I bet you can find an excellent music and History dept within any one of a number of decent independent schools (state schools likely to have great history teaching too but less good offer for a musician). Ds's non-selective (but nowhere near full boarding) has an amazing music dept and a record of all A/A* at A level history - and it's non-selective (they just need 6 Cs incl a B in their chosen subject at GCSE).

It's a school you won't have heard of so I'm sure there are plenty of others.

Needmoresleep Mon 23-Nov-15 18:15:43

harlowcar, DD is in Yr 13. Two years ago her school rattled a number of parents by making clear that progress to sixth form would be dependent on grades, and that they should ensure they had other options should things go wrong.

There was a lot of panic and a lot of extra tutoring, but almost all were able to stay on. I assume to some extent the school wanted to produce a sense of urgency.

harlowcar Mon 23-Nov-15 18:16:42

Ralphsteadmanseye I seem to have inadvertently pissed you off. I suspect your point is that you think I'm only after "big name" schools. Not true. I have no experience of boarding schools and the three I mentioned were recommended to me by current parents. Would you like to recommend your school to me?

cathyandclaire Mon 23-Nov-15 18:28:49

DD2 has moved from a private independent outside London to Rugby for sixth form
<disclaimer, we're up north>
So far, so good, she has settled in really well, academically and socially, is loving the whole boarding life and the arts (drama in her case but she's involved with musical stuff as well) seem pretty impressive.
Not brilliantly relevant for you but I just thought it would be nice to hear that the move from day to boarding at 16 can be OK, I stressed like mad about it!

LIZS Mon 23-Nov-15 18:34:36

Cranleigh or Bedes ?

RalphSteadmansEye Mon 23-Nov-15 18:59:27

Gosh, no you haven't pissed me off at all. I was just commenting after other posters were saying your ds might not get into any of the schools mentioned with his grades so I was just saying that there are loads of other good schools that you might not have heard of, especially if you are considering boarding, so there should be lots of options, particularly as you just need good teaching in 3-4 subject areas at sixth form...

Sorry if I offended.

harlowcar Mon 23-Nov-15 19:05:09

RalpSteadmanseye - glad to hear I've not offended you! This is a trawling exercise at the moment. I'm looking to get some suggestions and then whittle them down.

Cathyandclaire - I recognise that name from my Jackie days. Thanks for the reassurance. Boarding is not my first choice but I suspect my very independent son would love it!

Noteventhebestdrummer Tue 24-Nov-15 02:04:34

Look at Uppingham?

Kez100 Tue 24-Nov-15 05:50:15

If these schools offer only A levels then he might be best moving to a state college if he is likely to score Bs and Cs (unless his particular choices - music etc are very high scoring). I say this to protect him from failure at that level. My son was not even allowed to do A levels with a B/C profile and no A+ in chosen subjects and his mates with marginally better GCSE grades failed AS level. Again, they didn't have high grades in their chosen subject. All this at very good state college.

harlowcar Tue 24-Nov-15 06:54:35

Hi Kez, I think I may have given the impression he's less academic than he is. He's fantastic at the subjects he wants to do at A Level but that may not be enough to get past the points barrier at his current school. I am not particularly hung up on independent schooling, but thought it may be a good chance for him to experience a different kind of school at sixth form.

RachelZoe Tue 24-Nov-15 09:34:53

What is he looking at GCSE result wise? Different schools have different entry requirements, we could make more recommendations if we knew what he is roughly likely to get.

MsMargaretHale Tue 24-Nov-15 10:11:26

Just a couple of additional thoughts.
Is he in Y10 or Y11? If you are looking for a place in Y12 for September 2016 you may need to get your skates on as many allocate places in January if not before. Though I imagine there is movement after the GCSE results emerge.
Where are you? An idea would help for state A level music recommendations.
Peter Symonds in Winchester is state, offers boarding and has a fantastic music department. I know a couple of families who moved there for 6th form after private/international schools and loved it.

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