Secondary schools in Ealing/W London or weekly boarding in London/home counties(20 Posts)
I'm brand new here so I need all the forgiveness if I'm doing anything wrong.
It's a very long, complicated story, but my 13 y.o. nephew is completely disengaged from his state school in Edinburgh. He refuses to go for days at a time and spends all his time on his goddamned Xbox. He lives with his mother in Edinburgh - his father (my brother) lives in Ealing and comes up to Edinburgh at the weekend.
Again, it's complicated but my sister-in-law has absolutely no authority over him. She has very poor mental health and my nephew had something of a dysfunctional early childhood. Various departments of social work and NHS/CAMHS have been involved at one time or another. The kindest thing I can say about my brother is that he's the absent-minded professor type. If I were feeling less kind, I'd say he's a bloody ineffectual waste of space who needs to get his arse into gear and take responsibility for his son's education. Yeah, like I said, it's complicated.
Anyway, the current plan is for him to go and live with his father and go to school in Ealing. My brother has a pretty good salary and could afford a private day school, and maybe weekly boarding in London or the home counties. I've done a bit of research and see that there are five 'outstanding' comprehensive schools in Ealing. (I think the little horror needs to go to Dotheboys Hall, myself.)
He's perfectly intelligent but just does no bloody work. He's capable of passing an entrance exam, but I think he'd refuse to take it or deliberately screw it up. Although, I don't think he's learned anything much recently, so I doubt he'd pass it even if he tried - he might.
So we're all flailing around. I'd be so grateful for any advice or information about schools in Ealing. I know absolutely nothing about private education but I gather that all private schools will require kids to take an exam - is that right? Please excuse my utter ignorance.
I imagine the 'outstanding' comprehensives are difficult to get into too?
Everybody in the family and also the social worker and psychologist think weekly boarding would be the best solution, but I suppose we'd be stuck with the same entrance exam issue?
I ought to add that my nephew has been comprehensively tested and there are no issues around dyslexia, learning disabilities, autism or anything else. His problems are pretty firmly rooted in the family dynamic.
It's all such a mess and I'd be grateful for any guidance.
Would he currently be in yr 8 or yr 9 in the English system?
This makes a difference as the year 9 entry rounds (for current year 8s) are underway and that has a pretty big impact on the availability of ad hoc places.
If he goes to an outstanding comp in the Ealing area he will probably still spend his days on the Xbox!
Might be worth checking out schools with a longer day so independents
Kew House or St Benedicts come to mind in that area . Weekly boarding what about Leighton Park in Reading. It's supposed to have good pastoral care.
Really left wing. If where they live is within 5 miles of Wembley. It might be worth seeing if Michaela have an occasional place.
Independent schools offering weekly boarding often expect their pupils to attend school Saturday morning for lessons and be in matches etc Saturday afternoon, they also can insist pupils return Sunday night. How would that work out with going home to Edinburgh every weekend unless you were looking at a school in Scotland?
Secondly boarding schools arent always great places for those who do "no bloody work" although most have fixed time for prep they are not as supervised as they would be in a private home, and plenty game in their "spare" time.
Also does he actually want to board it's definitely not for all.
Having said all this many boarding schools struggle to fill their vacancies, have vacancies in all year groups and will accept pupils joining at different times in the academic year, might except a child who doesn't perform well in extrance exams and from what you've said the routine associated with boarding might suit him. I personally would choose a more traditional boarding school which might have a more structured day and not stand for any nonsense (I'm not sure Leighton Park ticks those boxes of course I could be wrong but it has a reputation for being a little alternative I believe some say it's a marmite school) also look for a school that prides itself on high standards of pastoral care, maybe Bradfield which definitely weekly boarding and friends say pastoral care is good, or Cranleigh lots of sport if he likes that sort of thing it or how about Pangbourne that has military overtones lots of CCF etc.
In Ealing or the vicinity for boys you have St Benedicts which has a meh reputation, is trying to become more academic with new head and I think has a good pastoral care, then Kew House which is new and has lots to prove, Latymer Upper which is very difficult to get into, and does not even have a formal 13+ entry anymore. I think that from what you describe a boarding school might provide structure and activities away from the Xbox, I don't know them though. More likely to have places too.
I have a son in St Bens and it doesn't have a meh reputation in the area, its just not as academically selective as the other nearby options like St P. It does have a good reputation of getting the best results from a child. St Ben's is quite strict and likely to stay that way under the new HM. Children have a progress card and can be marked down in any lesson on that card. It is a big rugby school so it would help if your DN was interested in that.
One slightly alternative choice if your DN is disengaged with schooling would be St James's
There is a bus from Ealing.
Personally, based on what you say I would think about weekly boarding.
I think the trick might be to fairly honest with each school and listen to their response. What you really want is a school who seems to understand the issues and has a coherent strategy.
St Bens having a "meh" reputation is a new one to me too. I've met plenty of happy parents. Indeed if they felt they could do something for this boy, they should be towards the top of any list.
I have definitely heard of St Bens having a bit of a "meh" reputation though equally know people who are very happy there.
What is the aversion to the state options? Which part of Ealing? I know Brentside is seem as very good at leaving no child behind / having very individualised plans.
You dont need to go private in Ealing as there are fantastic state schools - Cardinal Wiseman is really amazing and as good as St Bens. Brentside, Drayton Manor, Greenford High. Twyford. There is a brilliant choice all over Ealing.
TBH I suggested private as this dc spent all his free time on the Xbox and private was to have a longer school day so less time for diversion all activities
Unless he is Catholic he stands little or no chance of Cardinal Wiseman. Brentside has a bad reputation locally and I know parents who have actively avoided it in this years application round. Twyford also selects on religion and is very popular. I would assume that he wouldn't stand much chance of getting into T or CW unless he is a practicing Catholic/ Christian.
Leighton Park, as mentioned by PP, does weekly boarding and doesn't have many Saturday games. Maybe 3 or 4 times as year. They also have a taxi service for boys and girls to go back home on Friday afternoons. I am a parent there and I can answer questions via PM if you wish
In your position I would be tempted to use one of the well established educational consultancies. The Good Schools Guide offer this service and there are others.
I think, given his issues, and the family situation, if his father can afford it, I would go for a private school. He will likely get more attention and support, and you never know he may flourish.
St Paul's and Westminister do weekly boarding, but they don't sound appropriate.
Ibstock doesn't do boarding but it's a good co-ed in West London - not too academic.
In terms of boarding schools:
Have you considered Christ's Hospital? It's means-tested and specialises in children with difficult family situations. He could board weekly I think.
Cranbrook in Kent is a state boarding school (technically a grammar).
And Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe is another state selective that does boarding.
I think Christs is full boarding it says on its website it's a "7 day a week school". There's a poster on here callled "derekthehamster" her DC is there she's knows all about it. You can search user names I think.
The OPs DS is too old for admission into SPS or Westminster both ore test in yr 6 and are very ver subscribed and even if in the unlikely event they had a spare place frankly I doubt either would think he's a stunning candidate.
Thank you all so much for replying. I'm very grateful to you all for taking the time.
Actually we are Catholic, so the Catholic schools you've mentioned are definitely an option.
We're not particularly fixated on private education (our late Dad was a comprehensive school headteacher and we all went to his school). It's more that weekly boarding would be the answer. They're having a hellish weekend as we speak. My nephew needs a little time away from his mother - sad and unusual I know, but true - and my sister-in-law needs a little time as an in-patient if she's ever going to be happy again.
My nephew is also a natural athlete and used to be sports-mad... until he got addicted to the bloody Xbox. I swear I'm going to take a hammer to the damned thing one of these days. That's if I can't find a flame-thrower. Just another reason for reason for boarding school - all those activities in the evenings.
DragonRojo, my opinion is that Leighton Park would be wonderful. Thank you so much for the offer of PMing - I will be in touch!
Yes I know how SPS works, I went to SPGS myself. They do take 1 or 2 children per year after the first year. Not that it's relevant to the OP - although her nephew may be clever and just really, really bored at his current school.
Sevenoaks is another school that does weekly boarding. The headmistress is my old English teacher and she is lovely.
St Benedict's is a very good school from what I know, the only reason for anyone saying it isn't is probably because lots of boys from Ealing go to schools like St Paul's Boys and Latymer a little further afield.
Manon I have a few friends at SPGS and go to G&L myself, I was jealous of the no-uniform thing until I reached Year 12 in September
Oh and on another note Ealing is generally great.
I found no uniform a headache as you had to think about what to wear when you were already late for school.
And I think you end up spending much more on clothes.
There is that...I don't put a huge amount of thought into it now I have the choice mind you late for school on the other hand is something I find myself being reasonably often!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.