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6th forms in private sector, not traditional public schools

(47 Posts)
GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 07:01:38

Thinking about moving DS from his good local independent school after GCSEs.

Trying to think outside the box, don't like traditional public schools, wondered if there are any brilliant and inspiring schools we may not have thought of.

He is bright (scholar), a bit lazy, outgoing personality and quite sporty. Looking for somewhere that's going to challenge and push him a bit harder than his current school does, which is perfectly 'nice' but a bit too laid back.

Is there somewhere like that? It will need to be boarding as there's no-where near us that fits the bill. Could also be overseas. Grateful for any suggestions. Thanks

SignoraStronza Wed 17-Aug-16 07:09:27

I know someone who went to Atlantic College in Wales. Says it was a fantastic experience.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 07:13:10

Thanks Stronza, I have also heard good things about it.

SignoraStronza Wed 17-Aug-16 07:19:16

They're not from the traditional private sector background. Think they found out about it, applied and then announced to parents (this would be back in the 80s). Their FB is often talking about all the weird and wonderful (and very inspiring) things that ex student friends are doing now. I really like the look of the place.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 17-Aug-16 07:26:54

If he has the grades, many of the state superselectives have boarding for 6th Form, they may be worth considering.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 08:05:22

Donna, don't know anything about state superselectives which offer Boarding. Are they mainly in London? Please tell me more, sounds really interesting.

Really like the idea of state but just wasn't aware there were any that provided the sort of challenging all-round experience I'm hoping for - not purely academic. (Hope that doesn't make me sound blinkered.)

mummytime Wed 17-Aug-16 10:07:04

More pushy is not what young people need at sixth form, as if they get it they tend to fail at University. Most places tend to try to provide some sort of transition between "school" and University styles of learning.

What does your son want?

You could look at the Round Square schools which are also based on the ideas of Kurt Khan (who was also involves in UWC). Its easier to get into them than UWC (which takes about 20 British students and you can't buy your way in). Schools include Box Hill and Gordonston.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 11:05:50

Mummytime I am not looking for a pushy school either.

More the sort of environment that encourages children to be independent thinkers, open-minded, tolerant and ambitious. Where that is part of the ethos and culture at the school - which seems to be lacking at his current school, which I am very happy with in most other regards.

But ds is coasting both academically & in sport, both of which he is good at, because I don't think it's seen to be cool to try at his school. And he really cares about being cool. And he's been at the same school since he was 11 (and was with many of his peers at primary school too) and wants a change and a challenge.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 11:11:52

Also not sure what you mean about "buying your way in". That's one of the (many) reasons I'm anti traditional public schools. But we are fortunate that we can afford to pay for private if that's the best option. Or was that comment not aimed at me?

RiverTam Wed 17-Aug-16 11:17:27

You don't necessarily fail at uni. I was at private all the way through, did prep at school so all very handed in a plate. Uni was a shock right enough and I found the first term very tough indeed. But I knuckled down and came out with a 2:1 from a very good RG uni.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 17-Aug-16 13:29:49

The boys grammars in Essex and Reading School certainly do this others may as well (trying not to out myself too much here).

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 13:37:42

Thanks Donna.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 17-Aug-16 13:54:07

I think you are thinking of somewhere like CCSS in Cambridge that is more tutorial college style, but has offered standard two year A-Level courses for a long time ( I attended over 25 years ago). Really suits pupils for whom 'traditional school style' isn't working.
I left school at 16 having had a shit time at GCSE emerged two years later with three As and a place on one of the hardest to get into uni courses. Set me on an excellent future course - my colleagues are the same. Best thing that ever happened to me.

mummytime Wed 17-Aug-16 14:30:20

UWC is not a traditional school in any way. It offers places to those who are most deemed to match the ethos of the UWC movement, and offers funding to those who need it as far as they can. So its not somewhere you decide will suit your child and then you have a good chance of a place; it is more that they will decide how much you fit the ethos, and which school in the world they think will best suit you. Then they offer places, along side this they offer "financial support" at the level they judge needed to those candidates they can until the money for that year is run out. Go to an open day and it will be explained more clearly - but basically it is as if all candidates are bursary ones, and unless your son really wants to go himself (and is what they are looking for) he won't get in.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 15:14:26

Yes, I get that Mummytime. We know someone else at one of their schools & my son understands that as much as a 14 year old who has only ever experienced 'conventional' schooling can.

I was wondering if there are other schools with a similar ethos which we should also be looking at?

2016Blyton Wed 17-Aug-16 16:06:07

If you want him pushed more then obviously somewhere like Eton and the other boarding schools which get high grades. If you want something laid back where he may well not get into such a good university etc etc then you go more alternative like Gordonstoun, Stowe perhaps or I suppose the tutorial colleges in London with him finding somewhere to stay (not boarding) but that would not be the best choice in my view as you want more than just the tuition.

I actually think a lot of children do best staying where they are to get to the top of their school unless it's not very academic and will not help them get to a good university in which case switch to a more academic one.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 16:38:25

I am not keen on the ethos at public schools Blyton (although Eton is probably - ironically - less bad than many).

feralcat19 Wed 17-Aug-16 16:45:50

What about Peter Symonds College in Winchester which is State Boarding?

Gruach Wed 17-Aug-16 16:52:38

Oh come on! You can't be for private schools but against those that can be described as public schools.

You want *the sort of environment that encourages children to be independent thinkers, open minded, tolerant and ambitious."

All of that is exactly what the most famous public school in the country is doing right now - as you almost acknowledge. grin

GrumpyOldBag Wed 17-Aug-16 18:00:14

Yes I can Gruach - based on my own direct experience.

That's why I was looking for alternatives. I've got nothing against people who choose a Public School education for their family but it's not what I want for mine.

Not all private schools are the same. Each to his own, etc.

SaltyMyDear Thu 18-Aug-16 06:19:48

Royal grammar high Wycombe is also a boarding school.

SaltyMyDear Thu 18-Aug-16 06:22:35

I thought bedales was the school that always got quoted in these threads. But I may have remembered wrong.

SaltyMyDear Thu 18-Aug-16 06:22:59


Needmoresleep Thu 18-Aug-16 13:33:18

In part it depends what the issue is with public schools. If you have a bright child who is willing to engage, Westminster sixth form is really worth a look. It is competitive to get into, but it is a fantastic opportunity to be in the centre of a world city, in an academically challenging and international environment, with lots going on and with super-talented and interesting peers. Girls start in the sixth form so the school has a very different feel at that point.

MN seems to have a thing about the need for "full boarding" but honestly at sixteen having London on your doorstep is great, and a reasonable proportion of the new entrants will be full boarding.

GrumpyOldBag Thu 18-Aug-16 13:53:48

Thanks all for various suggestions.

Musts are co-ed, and socially inclusive.

Always though of Westminster as a day school, so worth looking at.

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