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Brighton College Boarding(15 Posts)
My DD seems very able and getting v high CAT scores, so I feel Brighton College might be a good school for her. She says she wants to be with bright children and be stretched but I'm a little concerned about how she'll react to being surrounded by equally bright kids. We have no option of day school so she would have to board but it looks like quite a minority that do. Furthermore there are fewer girls than boys. Does anyone have experience of boarding there, how they mingle with the day pupils, how many girls board, whether they're rather left out or have few friends to really choose between and what the pastoral care is like? Any reflections or anecdotes gratefully received.
I can't answer specific questions about Brighton but in general schools select pupils who they think will thrive and be academically suitable. I would not worry about that. Lots of boarding schools let students home for the weekends so check what Brighton expect. They will have lessons with day pupils but sometimes meals are taken in a boarding house and not all together in school. If you are worried about too few boarders, why do you not look at schools with a much higher proportion of boarders? Does it have to be Brighton?
No, it doesn't have to be Brighton. I have a few other schools on my list but those were my only worries about the school so just searching for data to get more of a sense of the place. Others on the list are Wellington, Wycombe Abbey and Benenden, which is my other favourite but possibly not as academic.
I think Brighton in Mon to Frid only which could be great if your able to pick your DD up on Frid evening and return Sun night Mon morning or if you've got good public transport links.
Al, will claim to have good pastoral care and at every school they be lots who agree and a handful who tell a different story. Intergrating/friendliness will very much depend on your DS's cohort, the staff, and let's not forget your DD herself. My DS did 11+ years of full boarding my advise is that if you want a boarding school with it offers choose one where boarders are in the majority. If you need/want full boarding choose a school where full boarders are in the majority (there are increasingly rare).
Lots of bright capable girls from DS's prep went to Benenden all did really well there, all say it's very "girly" but a really great school for those who would suit this ethos.
Benenden not as academic? Really? Until girls arrived at Wellington, plenty of people would have siad Wellington was not remotely academic and was populated by badly behaved boys. Schools change.
Sometimes choosing a school where your child fits in is far more important than the academic achievement of others. No school on your list will be unable to get the best out of your child but the co-ed schools will be different from the all girls' schools. With boys around, they just are! Small schools tend to have variable cohorts. Sometimes the odd genius turns up and sometimes they do not. Sometimes a group will get into Oxbridge, sometimes no-one. There are many very bright girls at Wycombe Abbey and this is a different environment from Benenden. I think rather than look at academic results, look at the ethos of the school, will your child fit in, what do they do at weekends, what activities would your DD enjoy and how would it fit into your life.
You are SO right bojorojo. Having looked at the latest Parent Power results they're all offering a high standard so it should be ONLY about what environment my DD would most flourish in.
The majority of boarders at Brighton weekly board, so they can go home Friday (or Saturday, if they have a match and prefer to go from school) and return on Sunday evening or Monday morning. About 30% of boarders full board. There are similar numbers of male and female boarders, but slightly more boy day pupils because of Brighton and hove high school.
Pastoral care is excellent
Old thread but I can give some insight as we have a DD who started at Brighton College last summer and weekly boards.
About thirty girls board per year (from a total of 80ish girls in the year) - dont know the precise figures. Girls seem to be about 40-45% of the total (my guess); presume there are other attractive girls schools around (seem to be quite a few on the hockey / netball circuit).
As you can probably tell, we don't know the area at all well as we are one of the London contingent (sizeable number) who have gone down the weekly boarding route. Other boarders are from the Sussex region and a small (1-2) number of Chinese etc (who fully board).
Our DD travels independently from central London (often meeting friends on the train either on a Monday am or a Sunday pm). Sport matches on a Saturday can involve staying over on the Friday or travelling down on the Saturday.
Boarding is well-organised with a rotation system in the choice of room-mates, and the house system works well (big fan of younger girls mixing with older ones in joint ventures etc).
DIscipline is based on mutual respect but there have been a surprising number of expulsions in older years (not something we have experienced in London day-schools).
Overall, our experience is good. The pupils seem well-balanced, polite and 'ordinary' (within a mono-cultural home counties population). The Headmaster is smooth, proactive, ambitious and fastidiously on-message. Quality of teaching seems to be good and the prep workload not especially onerous as compared to a couple of academic London day schools I could mention.
Communication and marketing is much superior to other schools we have gone through with weekly news letters running to 10-15 pages and the IT is impressive. Sport at the higher levels is impressive and can be nationally competitive. Music and drama are, I think, also satisfactory but TBH i have really got a feel for them yet.
One issue I would raise is that teacher recruitment may be problematic. If a gap arises mid-term, significant delays in identifying a replacement has arisen (? geographical limitations). Provisional GCSE choices were also requested remarkably early to allow planning for teacher numbers.
Academically, the standard is high and improving and notably the school is attracting better pupils (apparently this year has the highest CAT scores / MIDYIS).
Perhaps my most favoured impression is the sheer breadth of activities and events for the children. The opportunities are immense and day-pupils often stay well into the evenings from what I can gather.
Hope that helps
We have an offer from Brighton College and Wellington College for our son. We are trying to decide between the two (for him
And his identical Twin sister who are a year younger) and would love to get some feedback about how your experience is going. My main concern is that boarders aren’t the majority so do they end up feeling like they’ve been ‘forgotten’ by their parents when everyone else goes home?! How do the evenings look for the boarders therefore? What sort of events and activities are there in the evenings? How pushy is it really academically? They obviously achieve amazing academic results but are the children hot housed and overworked so they achieve these? Last one is about pastoral care. Do the kids seem happy? Any bullying that you’ve been aware of and if so has it been dealt with it well? Thank you so much for any info that you can share.
My DS was a weekly boarder at BC. He left in 2014 so a few years ago now. However I just wanted to say he had a great time and has good memories. He was very happy there and did well academically. Pastoral care was excellent and we experienced no issues with bullying - unlike his previous South London independent boys school! Nice kids and BC prides itself on tolerance and feeling good about being you as well as celebrating excellence. BC has a reputation for being pressurised but I would say it never felt too much and in fact where my DS needed help it was there and teaching was extremely good. Week nights were fun and he occasionally stayed over at the weekend and always felt at ease. Lots going on and also space and time to chill out which the kids need.
Have you considered Kent College. Good location for a weekly boarder from London
My DS is a day pupil, but the boarders seem to have an excellent time with evening activities and social events especially for them! I would say in a way it's the day pupils who miss out more than the boarders - I would let my DS weekly board if we could afford it & it would keep him away from the Xbox which would be an added bonus! It's a very friendly relaxed school imo - always lots going on for all tastes. I know nothing about Wellington so can't compare although I'm sure it is a slightly different experience. Because BC is right in town it does feel more connected to the outside world than perhaps a more rural campus- and Brighton is a very eclectic, mostly tolerant and vibrant place. Children do go off campus quite a bit for various things curricular & co-curricular - training on the beach, seafront runs, community service days (make a difference day) or bowling nights. Check out their twitter feed which I think is a fairly accurate representation of what's on offer, although it doesn't cover it all naturally.
Oh and to answer the other questions:
Any form of bullying (that is reported or discovered obviously) is swiftly dealt with. The school definitely take all areas of safeguarding and pupil welfare very seriously. There are tough sanctions. See the anti-bullying policy - it is implemented.
The children do seem extremely happy on the whole. Normally I see a lot of smiling, relaxed faces. Of course - there are issues from time to time, it would be ludicrous to suggest there is never a falling out, or that everyone is extremely happy 100% of the time or that all 1000 pupils never put a foot wrong - but I would say it is normal teenage stuff and ime the school are quick to help / offer counselling / offer guidance / take action etc. The staff do seem to know the pupils as individuals & be very concerned for their welfare not just their academic or other achievements. They also teach resilience alongside kindness and respect - so when things aren't going someone's way they are hopefully more equipped to deal with it. I trust them, but I also know if DS does the wrong thing he's going to know about it.
While Wellington has day children - the majority are boarders. There is no differentiation between weekly and full - attendance is required until after sport on Saturday with return on Sunday evening. There is a very small proportion that stay in on the Saturday night other than occasional closed weekends. Children go home for a night - heavily encouraged. There aren't evening "activities" per se - it's senior school! The students have dinner and preps to complete and their free time is their free time outside of that - they mainly socialise with those in their House. Sometimes there are compulsory events - House Competitions - otherwise they amuse themselves - house staff are there - but they aren't organising them into activities! Academically - it is cool to be clever - they are not hot housed. It isn't prep school - they are not overly supervised and if they need pushing and supervision - it's the wrong school. I would go so far as to say if they are average - it's hard to keep them positive with their grades! It is hard to keep anyone who is "average" buoyant about their grades as those around them excel. A couple of A*s, 4 As and 5 Bs at GCSE was considered very mediocre.
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