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Millfield school for my equestrian mad daughter for GSCE & A levels?

(47 Posts)
SnowSki888 Fri 18-Mar-16 05:05:16

My 14 year daughter is flying in this week to see Mill field school and take their exam. We all live in Asia.

I am now a bit panicked having seen all the negative comments from parents about being overlooked, drugs, left on the sidelines, arrogant teachers who don't want to deal with parents, and kids who are not very intelligent. I was told that a new headmaster had turned things around both academically and culturally. My daughter wants to really improve her riding and ride daily and keep her horse on livery. However; she needs top A*/A's only to get to vet school.

Does anyone know if Millfield is able to combine these 2 things well - equestrian and high academics? Anyone suggest anywhere else please? I have gone round in circles, and all other schools I find apart from Stonar or Sidcot, don't allow the daily riding or have their horses on site? Thanks so much.

KateInKorea Fri 18-Mar-16 05:18:04

I don't think a 14 year old would be able to
Make a good assessment. Can you go too before fees become due?

SnowSki888 Fri 18-Mar-16 05:38:44

She is going with her dad. I have to stay and support my other daughter doing grade 11 exams. Just worried about all this negative talk. Or is there the same for every school? Would be good to know other Millfield parents.

Ladyflip Fri 18-Mar-16 05:52:18

I have no personal experience of the school but have 3 good friends who have sent their children. I'm afraid their experience is that Millfield is not strong enough on academics. All have intelligent children; one is too busy snorting drugs to achieve much, the second had to retake year 12 after ploughing his AS but has managed to get a place at Uni and the third has had to have a private maths tutor to increase her grade from a U.

I think your daughter needs to find somewhere with a stronger academic focus if she wants the grades needed for vet science.

HildaFlorence Fri 18-Mar-16 06:53:17

If you want uk boarding and uk vet school then I think the horse thing is a misnomer.She will need stella grades and stacks of work experience,most people do not get in on their first attempt , it is more competitive than medicine .Its possible of course to by a top level rider and also do get medicine , just nit at boarding school.

Most uk boarding schools which do riding etc will be at the lower end of the academic scale .

HildaFlorence Fri 18-Mar-16 06:54:11

Sorry veto art science not medicine obviously

NisekoWhistler Fri 18-Mar-16 07:07:36

I've had the same experience as LadyFlip. Don't want to go into detail as could out myself.

kippersyllabub Fri 18-Mar-16 07:12:58

Cheltenham ladies college offer riding I think. Very academic

AnotherNewt Fri 18-Mar-16 07:16:20

I'm not sure how useful this will be - of if there is time to make a switch of schools at this point anyhow - but here's a list of schools which are members of SUPA

That does not necessarily mean that own horses can be on site, but they may well be able to advise on nearby livery yards and how often your DD would be able to leave the school to go there.

I'm sure you'll have been considering more than one school - were any of the SUPA members on your list and can you arrange visits whilst she is over?

sendsummer Fri 18-Mar-16 07:17:30

Mayfield school is another possibility with better academics. Perhaps even St Mary's Calne.
I agree with Hilda, as well as the academic grades she will require a very significant amount of work experience for a plausible vetinary application and since you are abroad this will be harder so the school would have to be able to help.

LIZS Fri 18-Mar-16 07:18:19

A girl left my school to go to Benenden with her horse, was 30 odd years ago though. Ask Millfield about their leaver destinations. Not sure they would have many going onto vet school or medicine degrees.

sendsummer Fri 18-Mar-16 07:19:44

kipper CLC offer riding but not close livery yards with the flexibility for a full time boarder to ride daily.

Bluesuedeshoesx Fri 18-Mar-16 07:52:14

I think you need to weigh up how important having her horse at school is versus concentrating on the academics and associated work necessary to get a place at uni? If she is serious about being a vet then surely she needs to be realistic about possibly not riding every day nor finding a school where she can keep her horse at school. You might have to prioritise and be a little more realistic. Sadly we don't live in an Enid Blyton world anymore!

MsMargaretHale Fri 18-Mar-16 07:53:38

King's Canterbury offer Equestrianism. Students can stable their own horses at a nearby rding centre. Full boarding so good for international students and in a different league to Millfield academically. She may be horse mad now, but it will be her exam results which determine her future.

happygardening Fri 18-Mar-16 09:04:14

The stables Kings uses are according to my sat nav a 40+ minute drive away on top of that transport would have to be provided by the school making daily riding I would have thought completely impossible.Secondly are you aware of the cost of full livery in the UK at least £150 per week plus and that probably won't include exercising the horse where I ride they want £200 per week for that plus extras. Thirdly what will happen in the holidays? Surely due to quarantine restrictions you can't keep taking the horse back to Asia? That would mean for 20+ weeks of the year your DD would be in Asia and the horse here.
Having said all of this a work collegue's DD who had a horse at Millfield got A/A*s and is now doing medicine this is before the "new head had turned things round" so it's not impossible. Your DD (like all riders) would have to reduce the amount she rides during busy times whether it be studying or getting other experience for her vetinary application. Is she thinking of a competitive equstrian career if she doesn't be one a vet? Millfield of course used to be the leading school for producing top eventers etc I don't know if it still is. But plenty have boarded and not had their horses at school and still been successful William Fox Pitt being the most obvious example I can think of but he obviously had his horses at home being trained and overseen by the right people.
There will always be some drugs at indepenent boarding school because drugs and money go together more importantly is how your DD responds to their availability.

happygardening Fri 18-Mar-16 09:25:32

I've just looked at Stonar Sidcot and Millfields websites (I used to be a very serious rider) if your DD has serious equestrian ambitions I don't think Sidcot would be suitable. I then looked at the exam results for both initially Stonars looked better (although hard to find) but I think if I was you I'd be asking for a break down of subject grades, Millfield for the whole cohort (which is very large) don't look great but the for the top 100 they're pretty good, again I would be asking for a breakdown of subject grades. Finally I would also be checking the number of full boarders by this I mean sleeping in school 7 days a week only going home for pre arranged weekends, I think Millfield will have a lot more, I know a few day children at Stonar so I suspect there are quite a lot of day pupils. Hope this helps.

Needmoresleep Fri 18-Mar-16 09:50:03

Have a look at Mayfield. Catholic, but not very. A fair number of overseas students but not an overwhelming proportion and then a good mix, including Mexicans, Poles and Nigerians as well as Asians. All girls, and a nice straightforward culture, not cool or uber rich.

Results are very good given it is not a selective school, and particuarly good at maths and science. The right child will get to Oxbridge. Also known for its pottery and singing.

And lots of horses.

FWIW DD was sporty and we knew 7 children who went there. None of the five boarders lasted the course, indeed were either deeply unhappy (some of the elite sports kids were very competitive and tough on those who were better) or took partying too seriously. The two day kids did better but neither were academic and so were very happy to take up sports scholarships in reasonably obscure American colleges.

Needmoresleep Fri 18-Mar-16 09:51:19

Sorry, my FWIW referred to Millfield.

Needmoresleep Fri 18-Mar-16 09:53:33


SnowSki888 Fri 18-Mar-16 09:56:06

You ladies are totally amazing. When I next get to England, and I am in your neighbourhood, lunch is on me as a thank you. Thanks and I will get cracking on talking to some of these others you have mentioned. Yes I know about livery prices, we have one on livery here so am prepared.

I have a very determined child, so yes you are all right, that academics come first if you want to be a vet. I also did at 14 and true to form changed my mind before university. This site is incredible and I have only just found it. I had never heard of it before, until my father who is 80 and lives in Washington DC told me about it, so you ladies are world famous and so helpful. Thank you so much.

opioneers Fri 18-Mar-16 10:00:35

It's worth checking how well Stonar is doing. We live in the area and there have been rumours about low numbers for a while now.

Duckdeamon Fri 18-Mar-16 10:02:09

Those academic ambitions are really high, and as PPs say vetinary science also requires work experience etc. Won't be much time left for a demanding thing like equestrian stuff! If studies are your/her top priority that should steer the school choice.

Zodlebud Fri 18-Mar-16 11:47:45

Bryanston School offers a daily equestrian programme with on site livery. Sorry, I know nothing about the school other than I interviewed a girl who had been there. She was on a gap year before heading to do medicine at Oxford (deferred entry). She was a cracking candidate!!!!!

marialuisa Fri 18-Mar-16 12:27:11

As an ex-Millfield pupil who kept my pony there and got into Oxford....

Millfield is a very expensive comp. Pupils are setted for everything and the academically able can do exceptionally well. In my year 8/16 top set pupils got into Oxbridge including someone who was competing in athletics at international level. 8 out of the whole cohort looks unimpressive but the cohort included pupils that had very severe learning differences.
The drugs/drink/partying scene is no different to any other major boarding school.

I wouldnt discount it for a bright, focused girl who wants to ride. My own DD (who rides at a high level) would love to go there and we would seriously consider it but it's just too far away from where we're based.

sparechange Fri 18-Mar-16 12:29:30

I went to Millfield and had a horse at livery.
The academic side was very strong then but other than the alumni network, I don't have many links to the current set up. Generally the new headmaster seems very well liked.

PM me if you want but the only current parents I know are at the prep.

Stonar, Badminton and Queen Ethelbergas were the other strong equestrian schools when I was there but they were limited on other sports sides

One thing that was great about Millfield was the space to concentrate on the main sport but also to try things like modern penthalon

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