Late Boarding School app DD (yr8) for Sep 17(44 Posts)
My DD is in year 8 at a London independent day school. She's had some serious friendship issues in year 7 and year 8. She has asked us to consider boarding schools as an option for year 9 (so in September of this yr)
Aside from the whole issue as to whether boarding school / changing schools at all is an answer to her issues - how likely would any school be to consider her when their lists were closed months / years ago? The entrance exams are either over or incredibly soon.
By way of background, she is at a large academically selective school and is in the top 5% I would say in that school. So we would want her to go to a school that was suitable in that regard I guess (but they would be very sought after).
She's quite sporty, mature for her age, academically high-flying across the board, arty but entirely without musical ability. Any schools (either single sex or co-ed that spring to mind) within a couple of hours of north london - that spring to mind - all ideas gratefully accepted ...
I know little about it, but Bruton School for Girls has a good reputation.
Thanks Freddie. Probably a bit far away for us I think.
The problem is that if she's having problems with bullies now, when she can get away from them at home time, what would it be like if there were bullies in boarding school?
Sorry, don't know why I was reading that as bullying, but the issue's the same, isn't it?
Phone Roedean. They are trying to attract London girls, have a chaperoned service to London vice on a Friday and are very understanding as to why you might need a place at short notice. Admissions head is lovely and the head is trying to increase the level of academic achievement so an existing Londay day pupil might be up their street. The exam is this weekend though so phone tomorrow!
No harm in asking and having a look at some boarding schools at the same time as trying to tackle the underlying reasons for her friendship problems. Sometimes it can be being unlucky with the cohort. Does her school have a largish year 9 entry that might change the dynamic?
If exploring boarding I would advise weekly boarding in view of her history and therefore a school without lots of full boarders or again she might be excluded from cliques. Headington school in Oxford? Always worth ringing admissions for very competitive co-eds like Sevenoaks or Brighton as she is clearly very bright and last minute places are n't impossible. At the very least by ringing and asking these places your DD will feel listened to and that there are other options. Visiting some boarding schools may help her perspective on what is going wrong at her present day school.
Queenswood School in Brookmans Park near Potters Bar fills the bill. Enough academic pupils but not pushy academic. Sure to have places and you could look round anytime. Lots of girls from North London. Weekly boarding the norm. This would be my top pick.
Also, Headington, St Edwards, Oxford, Wycombe Abbey (more difficult to get into of course), Haileybury, Rugby and possibly Stowe spring to mind. All decent schools will have academic children, but some have more than others. Finding the right ethos and superb teaching is more important than vast numbers of academic children. How well you fit in is vital.
Queen Anne's School in Caversham would be worth a look too.
Dear all. Thank you for all the thoughtful replies and detailed suggestions. Really appreciated.
She seems to have just been unlucky in her current school in terms of cohort and how certain friendship issues have panned out. It is so hard to know if she should stay put - that things will impress be. As someone mentioned upthread - I would hate for her to move and be unhappy / surrounded by cliques.
I guess that's why we think at move at year 9 might be best. She started at her current school out of sync - in year 4 and that wasn't the best for her. So I would hate to find that she is no better off next year - and then we would be looking at a move in year 10.
Looking further at all the schools suggested by both PM and on the thread.
Have a look also at Cheltenham Ladies College. I'm a former pupil and what I loved about CLC is that it was academic but not over-pressured and I have the impression that is still the case. They are also very strong in lots of non academic areas (my contemporaries are architects, designers, musicians etc as well as the usual load of doctors and lawyers).
Someone suggested Rodean up thread which is also worth a look. All of the old girls I know seem to be hugely enthusiastic about the place and the girl I know who is there now loves it (her family is based in London and she gets delivered to Victoria most weekends).
My experience of boarding was that we grew out of the bitchy clique phase somewhat earlier than seemed to be the case at girls day schools, so I hope the move will be a positive one for your DD.
Polly - thank you - someone else suggested CLC to me and I have heard good things about both it and Roedean. That's what I'd love to find for my DD - a place where she finds a really good group of girls. Uuuugh it's truly horrible being 13 sometimes.
I know lots of girls gone through or going through CLC. The school has many good points but would be full boarding which means that for your DD she would n't have the reassurance of weekends at home as for weekly boarding. CLC has also had some pretty bad cohort years with all sorts of issues including with the girls that come from London so I am afraid it would be the luck of the draw for your DD. I don't think boarding makes certain girls grow out of the nasty or problem phase sooner. Things do usually improve by year 11 and the sixth form though.
Since your DD is very bright and you live in London nothing stops a return to London for somewhere like Westminster for the sixth form if she does move. A lot of girls do want to change for sixth form from all girls' schools in any case.
Have a look at Oundle, nr Peterborough, really easy from North London and perfect for an academic child with amazing sports facilities.
Not a direct answer but DS was unlucky with the. cohort at his prep school. After much angst we moved him to another prep - transformational within half a term. Our move was at a terrible time in terms of the normal timetable but there were a surprising number of short notice places at reputable schools. You need to work the phones/ visit and butter up the head and admissions person and have positive reasons about why boarding will benefit DD, the move is the right thing for her to develop academically and emotionally, all that she can offer the school in terms of art, drama, sport, music, whatever. Don't dwell on the negatives at the current school. Good luck!
Try Wychwood school Oxford , small flexible boarding very supportive and very lovely girls
Try the Leys in Cambridge, it's co-ed, fairly academic and sporty and my brother was very happy there.
St Catherine's Bramley - near Guildford?
Very nice school, academic and sporty with lots of lovely girls.
I work at a private day school and despite being after our usual testing dates we are still getting the odd application. If there are spaces the school will want to fill them.
Queen Anne's in Caversham? (Only 15 mins from Reading station, so very easy journey to London). Lots of the girls there are from London, and the majority are weekly/flexi boarders. It's not the most prestigious/famous but it's a happy, friendly school (I used to work there). There's a lot of emphasis on pastoral care, and on finding the best path for every child - academic girls will succeed and get high grades etc, but the ones who are more into music / sport / art etc are encouraged to follow that path. Because it isn't a particularly high profile school, they can be very flexible re: admissions; might be worth a look for your DD?
Or, as PPs have said, Headington in Oxford is wonderful. (Larger and more academically rigorous than Queen Anne's).
Make some enquiries OP, then take your DD to look at some likely candidates. Sometimes moving school just is the quickest way to solve a problem; also, she would be one of lots of new starters at a boarding school in year 9, so would be unlikely to be isolated as a "new girl."
Look also at St Swithun's (girls) and maybe Marlborough (co-ed).
I suspect it might be easier to get a late boarding place in many of the day/boarding schools named, than it would be to get a late day place, as almost all of them are keen to increase their boarding numbers.
Unfortunately in many boarding schools there are cliques and bitchiness amongst the girls. You can't guarantee that this won't happen but the better schools are much more adept at dealing with it. Definitely something to discuss when you tour the schools.
I'm going to suggest a Cheltenham school but it's not CLC. There is an excellent Co Ed boarding school called Dean Close, have a look at their website.
These are a long way from London for weekly boarding though. Cheltenham especially. Girls from Queenswood can just get the quick train or underground back into London when they are older. For many parents it is a quick drive out from north London. I know you said 2 hours op, but if you factor in all the events you could attend at school, do you want a 4 hour round trip? Honestly, if you want to meet other parents, go to House events and get to know the school,then stay fairly local. If your DD needs support, you are handy. She may, as a first time boarder.
I cannot imagine Marlborough having places going begging for Y9 in September and probably not CLC either. I would be realistic. You need a school that is not oversubscribed and that does not have very rigid CE entry at 13.
At my DDs prep, Wychwood took the strugglers - you should be pitching higher.
I agree that CLC, Marlborough are less likely to have places - but nothing to lose by calling to ask.
For several other schools mentioned, high academic ability may well be enough to make them open to considering the case. This was the case for my DC's late applications.
I also agree about distance, but OP does not say where in London they are. Cambridge is less than an hour from London King's Cross, while Winchester (St Swithuns) is less than an hour from London Waterloo and Brighton (Roedean) is an hour from London Victoria. It depends where OP lives which would be more convenient.
North London she says. So going West or South is time consuming. Lots of good reasons for going North of London. I think when you look round a school, especially as a 12/13 year old, you do tend to know if you will fit in. My children absolutely knew. With a child that has had friendship problems, it is far better to be available if needed and be able to go to school events. You keep a tighter grip on any issues and can see staff when you drop them back. You can see how they are welcomed back by their friends. Being nearer, you can go to Mum's lunches, the charity sales, music events, house drama, sports matches etc. If your child is going on a coach, you just will not have the opportunity to see how they settle into school and speak to staff.
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