13+ Boarding Place Year 9 intake September 2016 for DD(19 Posts)
My DD is currently in year 8 at an independant day school. DH's job will involve several overseas moves in the next few years so we are looking at providing security and continuity for her by moving to a boarding school.
This has come about with fairly short notice and we realise that we may be up against it time wise.
DD's school does not prepare for CE so we would be looking at entrance examinations. She is a good all rounder, stronger in English than Maths, really enjoys Art, Design and Drama. She is not a sporty girl.
We are based in Hampshire so ideally are looking in the south/ south west towards London for the airports.
No preference whether SS or Co-ed, however strong pastoral care is important.
i understand that most schools are at wait list stage and we would be adding our applications to that list.
I would appreciate any Mumsnet experience and thoughts on schools as I begin a long internet trawl.......
Both Roedean and Brighton College have 13+ entrance - are they too far away?
Might be a good idea to expand the net to increase your chances so do look at places such as Oxfordshire too as its only 50-60 miles away from Hampshire. I only know of St Swithuns in Hampshire but you have Headington school in Oxford (very strong in drama) as well as Tudor Hall & Bloxham a bit further up in Banbury.
You could try Woldingham - it is close to junction 6 of the M25 so convenient for the airports.
While some schools are at a wait list stage, often it's all talk tbh and you'll find with a good applicant, places suddenly magic themselves up even though the school claim their lists have been "full" for the last 18 months 😏 Believe me, my DH was head of a top full boarding school.
For drama, I'd look at Tudor Hall. It's very small but the pastoral care really is good.
Also Woldingham, although check the numbers in at the weekend there.
Mayfield is another one which really are good at the performing arts.
Don't beg to the registrars. Just phone them up and explain change of circumstance and book to see them ASAP.
And don't worry your DD hasn't done CE.
Aside from finding a suitable school with a vacancy you will need to factor in the (enormous) amount of time she will spend out of school.
Do you have family (or a caring and supportive guardian) who will have her to stay for all compulsory weekends out and half term as well as optional weekends, turning up for sports (she'll have to do some) concerts, plays or whatever she's involved with? It's important that they are prepared to deal with any academic or pastoral difficulties that might arise as well.
(Apologies if this is more than obvious - I've read some strange things on MN over the years.)
^^ I don't know about the OP, but my Dd is coming back to us every holiday and half term and even some long weekends.
It's a long flight for us, but perfectly doable, unless you are in Australia!
And I will fly and attend parents evenings.
The daughter of friends went to Headington Hall. This was a great choice as it is an excellent school plus it is very convenient for Heathrow Airport, making travelling easier. However I think you will find offers have been made for this September so you may have left it late for the more popular schools.
I think for strong pastoral care for an overseas boarder I would focus on schools with a sizeable contingent of younger full boarders even if you are looking for last minute places. I also agree about thinking of the locality of who you would want to be her UK guardian, family or friends.
I would consider St Edwards i(co-ed) n Oxford as the boarders are full boarders. Headington is a very good school but mainly has weekly boarders especially before the sixth form. Downe House (full boarding) is strong for music and drama. These schools like Wellington College and Marlborough will have allocated their places but as others have said it is still worth enquiring and I agree making appointments is the best way.
Really look into claims that any school is " full boarding". DSs school made much of its full boarding claim, but actually about 80% of the school lived within an hours drive and pupils were allowed out after chapel on Sunday so the vast majority were out of school from 12.00 til 8.00 on a Sunday so the place could often be quite empty. Conversely DDs school had 40 % from overseas and only about 20% local, so it was even open during leave out weekends where a full programme of entertainment and activity was laid on. Both schools did have excellent provision and arrangements for travelling home overseas etc and were used to dealing with overseas students- that's very useful.
Marlborough have the 'Master's List' as a mechanism for applying late in the process - I remember seeing details on the school's website.
Mayfield? Both day and boarding, but the boarders come from a good mix of countries. If not too far from you you could have the flexibility of weekly boarding when you are at home.
Tudor Hall is on the cards for us for sixth form. Lovely small school with what seemed like very strong bonds formed between the girls. A great balance and at times emphasis put on things outside academia. The only other school we liked was Moreton Hall but that is miles away up in Oswestry so we discounted it.
Another vote for St Edwards in Oxford . My dd loved it. Brilliant drama and music and strong pastoral care .
Many schools have alternative entrance processes for non CE and overseas candidates. Certainly Brighton is one. Benenden might be worth considering alongside Woldingham, St Catherine's Bramley or Priors Field, Wycombe Abbey for single sex. How academic is she? What sports are her preference? Which airport is the better gateway?
Wycombe Abbey and Benenden really are over subscribed. I'm not saying a place wouldn't become available at the last moment, as things happen and families move/change/let their place go. But I wouldn't start your look there OP unless your DD is at the top of the very top set in everything plus can offer more.
I know St Edwards well. It's a good coed school.
And you'd think all these schools would recognise that not all children have studied for CE, but the one my DC is going to originally wanted her to sit the French and Latin paper (she has never studied either 😂).
My checklist would be.
1) Does the school fit in with your DD characteristics. Academic , Sporty or Arty. Is the school competitive or nurturing.
2) How many boarders are actually at the school over the weekend?
3) Does the school lay on activities for them over the weekend.
4) Does the school have good pastoral care.
5) Do you have realtives that live nearby the school? Parents evening and the such can be dealt with by boarding staff. Early morning pick up from the airport can not.
6) proximity to airport. Invariably your DD will fly back alone. Although most will share a taxi to the airport.
7) The last and most important factor. Will your DD be happy there?
Heathfield at Ascot would probably have places. Small school and good airport links. Boarding is full boarding but less so as they get into 6th form. Plenty of things organised over the weekends. Academic enough if you are good enough. Brilliant at art. Plenty of sport and drama. Pastoral care is good because the school is small and they know everyone. It is a very personal school.
Lots of schools arrange pick up from airports. If several pupils are coming back at roughly the same time, they either appoint a company to do it or a member of staff will use the school minibus.
Many towns have direct coach services to Heathrow and Gatwick. Young relatives of mine who were at boarding school used to travel that way independently when flying overseas for holidays.
(That was the Leys School in Cambridge. What I heard of it (some years ago now) was that it wasn't an academic hothouse, and there was plenty of sport and other activities on offer.)
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