Opinions please - Clifton College, Dauntseys, Seaford College(10 Posts)
Considering secondary options for my eldest son, and for his two brothers for later. Want an independant, co-ed day school with possible flexi-boarding option for later. Currently considering Clifton College in Bristol, Dauntsey's in North Wiltshire, and Seaford College in W Sussex. Living abroad and coming back for secondary, hence not all schools in same area. School will lead where we end up living.
Any opinions on all three of these schools much appreciated!
We are considering Seaford college for our DS. Liked the head who has been there a few years and seems like has increased the academic expectations of the students.
It is not academically selective - so a broad range of abilities. We really liked the concept of the challenge grades where each student is encouraged to aim for their personal best. (We have friends with a DD there who did well at GCSE and the DD recommended it highly for the teaching)
V good learning support (relevant for us), good art and DT. Our DS not into music but they seemed to have great drama and music provision too. Sport good . Loads of extracurricular stuff.
Beautiful grounds - with their own woodland etc.
Would be a lovely part of world to live. If DS goes, he'd weekly board as we don't live close enough for him to be day boy but he's totally sold on it. We are still looking at a couple of other schools but as far as DS concerned, he's decided!
I have 2 DDs at Dauntsey's and they have both thrived there. Newish headmaster is excellent and is really working to improve all areas of the school with lots of new buildings, subjects and teachers in recent years. Teaching is excellent- it is not a hugely selective school, although there is an exam, but the results are really good across the board and all abilities are catered for with lots of enrichment options (lectures, trips etc.)
There is a large focus on sport, particularly rugby, which I think is too much at times but everyone gets a chance to be in a team in Y7+8 and there are also lots of other things going on. It is known nationally for dance and drama, has an outward-bound focus (like Gordonstoun) with a head of adventure and a school yacht, which is my daughter's favourite thing about the school.
All in all, it's a very happy school with great pastoral support and a real sense of community: the head knows everyone and the teachers send their children there. The Devizes area is also a great place to live (recommend Urchfont- I would live there if we moved). The downside is that there is no opportunity to flexi-board really as there is only one fee and they don't have enough beds to keep them for those who only come for a few nights a week. Lots of weekly and full boarders though- I can't recommend enough!
Thanks guys! Nice to hear that both places are happy schools - I have three boys, two more suited to conventional education but one who is more leftfield and probably needs something which caters for the 'whole child' rather than purely academia.
Much appreciated! Good luck with everything.
Dauntseys is a lovely school. I had a place for DC there but for various complicated reasons we didn't send them in the end, but I would have loved them to go there. I'm still a bit gutted that they didn't go.
I have a friend who has DC at Seafords and they are happy and have done well there but i don't know it personally.
Dont know if you have already made your choice, but I am on mumsnet surfing! I doubt you will find anyone that has opinions on all 3 schools since they are in completely different parts of the country.
However I can say that Bristol is a great place to live if you choose Clifton College. Clifton College is also a beautiful school and when my kids were babies I always used to think (on my way to the zoo that is nearby) that I would love for my kids to go there. However as the most expensive school in Bristol it has always been out of our price range.
and choosing a school based on how it looks is probably not the best idea, but it does look amazing!
We short listed Dauntsey's for our son. My only concern was it is in a rural location near Devises and we live in a very small village in Wiltshire so we chose Kingswood in Bath as Bath is a small but lively city so a good contrast ( he was a boarder ). Kingswood used to play against Dauntsey's for cricket, rugby etc so over the years l saw alot of it and it was always lovely, welcoming and had very good facilities. A lame reason for not sending him at that time was the uniform. It used to be oatmeal and brown. It was truely awful and l am glad to say it soon changed to blue. Locally Dauntseys is well thought of
Clifton college is a boarding as well as day school so no need to live nearby
Oops put this on the wrong thread. Re-posting below.
I know three people with children there. One mutters under xxx breath about clubs not running despite the puff on the website, one mutters about some problem teachers not being as dyslexia/spLd aware (of dc's needs) as they should be and the other raves about the school.
I can tell you that the Admissions dept. was shockingly unprofessional (and very nearly useless despite being pleasant) to a friend of mine although that friend was advised not to take too much notice of them as they don't necessarily reflect the school in general... although maybe they do in some quarters. A big black mark for a school charging around £30K a year.
The special needs coordinator, the same friend said, was very good though. Just not sure it filters its way around the school to 'all' teachers the way it should.
The challenge grade system is a good innovation and worth looking at.
There are other better schools out there that don't necessarily promote their learning needs support as a USP but are nevetheless much better imo.
My overall impression is that Seaford sits on its laurels a bit in terms of what it's known for (and given how desperate parents can get for their dcs to get support if needed). Undoubtedly, it has some great departments, DT for instance, but beyond that, it really is a case of looking through the puff and considering other schools who don't promote that side of their work but may in fact do it better.
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