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Haileybury / Kings / Bryanston - info please

(15 Posts)
glorybe Fri 08-Jan-16 10:57:49

Which do you think we suit my daughter best? She's bright, conscientious and enthusiastic and likes drama, science and English. She's also not particularly interested in fashion etc, so a school with lovely girls and not too many cliques. She really does not like sports (last in all races / never picked for teams etc). We want a relaxed school that has really interesting and motivating teachers, lots of extra-curricular activities (including academic extra-curriular activities), and great pastoral care. We'd also like to be able to take her out for quite a few week-ends. My favourite was Kings as the children just seemed so happy and friendly - but she prefers Haileybury and Bryanston. Also - having looked at the kids time-tables are the children at any of these schools given ANY downtime? It does seem as if every minute of their day is organised.
ANy advice from parents with kids at these schools, or anybody who has friends with kids at these schools gratefully received!

Jeelba Fri 08-Jan-16 12:16:35

Haileybury has a reputation for being 'sporty' but also offers many active alternatives, including various forms of community service and volunteering. The drama provision looks excellent: an inspirational Head of Drama. I understand that children are encouraged to spend time with family after school and activities on Saturday, returning for chapel on Sunday evening. For those who stay over the weekend, there are trips and activities, but clearly opportunities to relax in the beautiful surroundings. A girl from my grandson's prep school, lovely and quite 'down-to-earth', has just achieved very highly in the IB. I have met mainly boys from the school, as we have been looking for my grandson (who is somewhat sporty but also rather quirky and bookish), but the girls we have come across have seemed very natural and open. An interesting trio of schools you are considering...

happygardening Fri 08-Jan-16 21:54:14

As far as I'm aware Kings is full boarding or day, therefore you won't be able to take your DD out for "quite a few weekends" there's no weekly flexi boarding. In contrast friends pulled their DC's from Bryanston after three years because it's not full boarding.
All boarding schools are likely to make their pupils do sport at least three afternoons a week, find out exactly what's on offer, what your DD can choose from. Also most provide lots of extra curricular activities and little down time, the day is long, lots of extra curricular activities are offered particularly in the first few years.
DS's prep sends loads to Kings, all types, clever, just above average, very musical, the talented actors, the bloody odd, the pretty normal, the very sporty and the arty all bar one were/are happy. I've never heard anything bad about pastoral care but on the other hand it's not been a school that those who need lots of TLC choose either.

Calamara Sat 09-Jan-16 11:27:36

These schools are quite far away from each other, so presumably she would be full boarding, with you making a special weekend trip.

It is important that she gets a say in where she goes, but if she is into Drama, King's is the obvious option. The King's Week festival permeate the whole school year.

If she is not that sporty, she is likely to have time to mooch about with her friends in Canterbury on a Saturday afternoon, because she won't always have matches. Not every week, because she is likely to get involved in other things, but sometimes. Also, I bet some parents come to matins on a Sunday morning and take their children out for lunch afterwards. Ask and see what the school says. Perhaps take her on another visit and get her to ask some current girls. This is not the dark ages; schools recognise that children have families and that there are ways to accommodate their needs while also maintaining a full boarding ethos.

MsMargaretHale Sat 09-Jan-16 14:09:22

Assuming you mean Kings Canterbury, it is, as HG states, either full boarding or day. They have recently introduced one fixed exeat in the Autumn and Spring terms and you can take your DC out for one additional exeat each side of half term if you so wish. You can also take them out for supper on Sauturday and meals on Sunday if you want. But you are likely to find they are not that interested in spending time with you as there is so much going on at school. We have certainly spent weekends down in Canterbury waiting to see if/when our DC can fit us in....
Academics, Drama, music etc are great. Quite sporty, but space for those who are happy in the fourth team. In our experience pastoral care is excellent.
DCs grow up surprisingly quickly in the teenage years - so often the concerns you have when they are 12 become irrelevant once they actually start school.

glorybe Mon 11-Jan-16 13:13:14

Thank you so much for all your advice - I truly appreciate it. My daughter really likes Bryanston, but as she is good at Science and enjoys quite "nerdy" extra-curricular activities I wonder if this school will suit her - as most of the extra-currucilar activites appear to be either sporty or arty.

Anybody with kids at Bryanston out there? Or the other schools.

Thanks again -

BlueSmarties76 Mon 11-Jan-16 13:29:35

I think lots to do each day (structured), lots of extra curricular, lots of sports are a given for public boarding schools. If you want to take her out often at weekends I'd look at the exeat policies and read the OFSTED / other reports to see how many actually stay in on weekends - if all her friends are staying she may decide she doesn't want to see you every weekend!

Regarding Hayleybury, I did wonder how 'military' it's was in culture? It has that sort of heritage doesn't it?

A close friend of mine went to Bryanston many years ago and hated it, but she was only there a week! More recent reports have been positive.

I have heard on the grapevine that Kings can be quite pressured, but not sure how true that is?

Jeelba Mon 11-Jan-16 13:59:15

Haileybury doesn't come across as 'militaristic'(though has CCF - not compulsory - and yard upon yard of plaques commemorating those who died in conflict). Its heritage seems rather to be celebrated today through the concept of service (its most famous old boy is Clement Attlee), international relations, and giving of your best in whatever sphere you choose to make your own... I found the atmosphere (on several visits) quite uplifting.

BlueSmarties76 Mon 11-Jan-16 14:17:13

That's good to know Jeelba I was considering it but I avoid anything military like the plague.... So no to Pangbourne!

Jeelba Mon 11-Jan-16 14:18:46

Ah - yes!

Han23 Tue 12-Jan-16 04:50:21

I have heard very positive things about all 3 schools. They seem to meet the academic, pastoral and extra curricular very well. Our daughter is likely to go to Bryanston in September - it caters for every child and I like the whole ethos of the school. The drama/music/art is very strong there, hence our decision. We will hope to see her every 3 weeks.

cressetmama Tue 12-Jan-16 12:26:24

Bryanston was one of the main destinations for DS's peers, boys and girls. Four years on, it turns out that it didn't suit everyone. Two girls left after 12-18 months, and I know another parent who has reservations about the effect it has had on her DC. However, others have been delighted from the same group. It just underlines the importance of picking the right fit.

BlueSmarties76 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:19:38

What were their issues with Bryanston specifically?

cressetmama Thu 14-Jan-16 11:26:43

There can be a quite pervasive "too cool for school" attitude, or so I have been told.

glorybe Wed 20-Jan-16 13:00:16

I am interested in the girls that didn't enjoy Bryanston. Do you know where they went to? My daughter is not sporty and super enthusiastic about going to plays / reading / museums so if that's not cool then...... not sure it would suit her.

Anybody out there who have kids at Haileybury or Kings Canterbury? Kings Canterbury was absolutely my favourite (and I've been to visit a few times). Children all smiled as you walked past and they were treated as adults (ie going into town in their free period etc). Sadly, it's third on my daughter's list

So we're looking for somewhere with excellent teachers and great pastoral care!

More info really gratefully received.


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