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Independent girls' schools

(17 Posts)
prettydaffodil Fri 03-Feb-17 10:32:16

Our daughter is in year 4 and we're starting to research schools for her to go to in year 7, although we might consider entry in year 9, and I would welcome advice as to good schools.

She is a quiet girl, confident and strong (mentally and physically) but just naturally quiet. She is very sociable and very popular because of her natural inclination to be peace-loving but fun. She is very good and well-behaved and diligent and hard-working. She naturally has a very sunny disposition and can see the positive in everything.

However, her teachers say that her quietness is to her detriment because they find it hard to be aware of how well she understands because of her quietness and disinclination to put her hand up in class, or shout out answers. It is only when the exam results come in that they see she clearly does understand. Her favourite subjects at school are history, maths and french, she claims not to have any least favourite subjects but her science reports tend to be her weakest and we are conscious of problems with her spelling although her reading is phenomenal. She loves netball and excels at cross country running.

We are open to boarding or day school, though we all feel the benefits of boarding outweigh the negatives. We live in Worcestershire and are prepared, for boarding, to travel for a few hours (our favourite school at present is 2hrs away). We are catholic but not restricted to only catholic schools.

We are only contemplating girls schools and not mixed sex.

Which schools would you suggest I look at? What are their fortes? Their weaknesses? Which schools would you avoid? We have a favourite that we'd love her to go to but I must compare with other schools, both to clarify our choice and to line up reserve schools if she doesn't get in.

With many thanks in advance, Kate

semideponent Fri 03-Feb-17 10:34:52

Mayfield in East Sussex (in my limited experience) is good with quiet girls…DD's confidence and class contributions have both increased in the term and a half she's been there. The boarding and pastoral care are good too.

Needmoresleep Fri 03-Feb-17 10:51:19

Mayfield is lovely.

Along with many other Catholic schools it takes a good range academically, but does very well by the brighter girls, especially in maths and science. The overseas students are an interesting mix, often drawn from catholic communities overseas, so Mexico, Poland and Nigeria as well as East Asia. It has a number of surprising strengths including pottery, singing and riding, which gives gives good opportunity for girls, whether academic or not, to find their talent. Others on MN will talk about the need for full boarding, but for a UK based student this should not matter and day girls add to the mix. (I have never been convinced it matters, but then DC went to a school with boarders, and their boarder friends seems to like the chance to mix with others with local connections.) Most of all it is a kind school.

I understand that the school is doing well, as an increasing number of, especially London, parents are wanting a school with a gentler culture away from the competition and pressure that is prevalent in too many London day schools.

prettydaffodil Fri 03-Feb-17 11:11:58

Thank you both, my cousins went to Mayfield but at 3hrs 30 from us it is pushing it a bit as we'd like to come and watch matches as much as possible, whilst fitting around drop off/collection of our son. Though what you both say about it is LOVELY to hear.

I would add, that although quiet, she's very gutsy and strong. Her character is a complete contrast - quiet but opinionated, mild but strong, waif-like yet physically strong, quiet but sociable and very popular. It's this contrast that makes her almost harder to choose for.

Similarly, we are in no way restricting to Catholic only, I only mentioned it so as not to write off Catholic schools.

Thank you SO much for your suggestions x

bojorojo Fri 03-Feb-17 12:19:16

I would have thought a journey down the M5 corridor would open up possibilities. I do not know many of the schools personally so you would need to do your homework, but they are all fairly small.

You could consider: Badminton, Sherbourne Girls, St. Mary's Calne, Westonbirt, Godolphin and Moreton Hall.

Tudor Hall is nearish to Banbury (M40) in Oxfordshire and Badminton would be really handy near Bristol. I think these would be my top picks. It is important to be able to visit a school without a huge long journey.

Zodlebud Fri 03-Feb-17 13:27:23

I fell in love with Moreton Hall but it really is too far away for us to even consider. I think it fits the bill for everything you have described.

Dancingdreamer Fri 03-Feb-17 22:00:27

Cheltenham Ladies is your obvious choice if you live in Worcestershire - a short drive down the M5. They seem to have lots of quieter but bright girls.

crazycrofter Sat 04-Feb-17 10:38:33

Would you consider King Edward VI High School for Girls? It's easily accessible on the train from Bromsgrove or Droitwich, depending on where you are. My daughter is there - fantastic school, lots of sport, music, dance, art, something for everyone really and lots of quiet girls. And it's not too big - around 80-90 in a year.

41coffeeslater Sat 04-Feb-17 10:50:07

You could be describing my daughter! She is in Year 8 now. Bear in mind that in the next couple of years your daughter will probably become more confident. Talk to her teachers about asking her more questions in class so that she gets used to it.
My DD is leaving her prep school after year 8 to go to a co-ed senior school. I think that the last two years have helped her enormously.
A friend's daughter has just been given a year 9 place at CLC even though they had missed various deadlines earlier. Her daughter is average to bright, not the loudest nor the quietest. I would recommend you hold on but with a plan in mind.
Ampleforth is fantastic, quite far but doable with trains to Birmingham. I know quite a few there. You may discount it for distance but it is so nurturing and the children are doing very well there and it's catholic.
Sherborne girls runs buses, if that helps, for exeats etc.
Westonbirt is very nice but may not be academic enough and most British girls there are day or flexi-board.
Badminton and Calne are really worth a look too.
Good luck.smile

Mary21 Sat 04-Feb-17 11:16:28

Don't particularly know them but, Malvern st James, Monmouth school for girls, pipers corner and queen Annes Caversham are probibly within 1.5 hours from Worcester and all girls

bojorojo Sat 04-Feb-17 15:34:31

Pipers Corner no longer has boarders. Not sure St Anne's has many either and is deserted at weekends. They would be quite a drive for sports matches! CLC tends to suit more confident types I think.

prettydaffodil Mon 06-Feb-17 12:20:39

Thank you all and forgive me, I thought I'd set up to get notifications and, not having had any, I wrongly presumed I'd not had any responses!

You have given some fabulous recommendations, thank you. Some of your recommendations are ones that we have thought of, some we haven't. I would love further knowledge on Cheltenham Ladies, St Mary's Calne, St Mary's Ascot, Malvern St James' in particular but welcome all other thoughts - just because I haven't yet thought of it doesn't mean it's not the best school for her!

To those of you that suggested CLC, what worries me is their reputation for mental health problems. Our daughter is robust and mentally strong but, as it would any parent, particularly of a daughter, anorexia and self-harm terrifies me. Also is it quite a towny school? Ours is quite a country girl, more at home with dogs and chickens and mud than designer labels. Re confidence, she's absolutely confident, but just quiet. She often gets mistaken for being shy or lacking in confidence because of her quietness.

Ampleforth is a no-no, I'm afraid. DH is an ex Amplefordian and would rather have his testicles kicked and punched than have any child go there!

SpikeStoker Tue 07-Feb-17 20:55:41

My DD is at CLC and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. There is no 'typical' CLC girl and my DD loves it. The pastoral care is excellent, girls are also from a very wide variety of backgrounds with a good number of day girls, UK and rest of the world boarders. There are so many activities that Whatever your DD enjoys she will find it at CLC I'm sure.

prettydaffodil Wed 08-Feb-17 13:06:16

Thank you SpikeStoker, I had a message from another mum and she's really opened my eyes to it. The prospectus has arrived and I'm going to go and visit it. Many thanks

HappyHoppyFrog Tue 14-Feb-17 08:02:40

hello pretty daffodil. Having read your description of your dd you could have been describing my dd. She started at Westonbirt Prep in year 5 and is now in Westonbirt Senior School which she is loving. She is (was) a very quiet girl, also not great at spelling, and was also getting overlooked in her last school. She has really flourished here and is supported as well as stretched which, from what I gather is a really hard find in schools as they tend to favour one or the other! The school is one of tops for value added but also academic, which was important for me. I'm being told by teachers that her confidence and participation are coming on in spades, which is a huge relief. My dd does flexi boarding and she absolutely loves it. From what I gather they look after them really well and they settled in immediately. Hope you find the right school for her - I'm sure you will. Good luck smile

sushimaniac Tue 21-Feb-17 10:55:28

I'd agree that Westonbirt sounds like a good fit for your dd - change of head, now v. academic/good results but still known for it's way with bringing each girl to their full potential, and has highest value added or something...check out the Good Schools Guide as can't remember. Think it said something about quiet girls being brought out of themselves really well...

sushimaniac Tue 21-Feb-17 11:04:16

ps - should clarify detail as typed really quickly from phone - doh: change of head was in prep - both were lovely and effective but new one even better imo. Senior head topped a list of 'turbo-charged headmistresses' in a recent education-magazine feature.

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