Sixth form boarding school for anxious expat?(95 Posts)
Any suggestions for a nurturing, supportive – and probably co-ed – boarding school for sixth form? DD is a study in contrasts -- intellectually curious and strong academically but in need of support (anxiety); shy but strong-minded and not easily led; musical and athletic, but plagued by self-doubt. If she were feeling more confident, I think Atlantic College would be a good fit.
I think she needs someplace where the emphasis is on the development of the whole student, that isn't packed with the hyper-confident or a particular "type" of person; where school is supposed to be stimulating and the students are interested in learning but where individual student goals are wider than Oxbridge entrance. Does such a school exist? There isn't much choice where we live, and she doesn't want to continue where she is.
She would be a full boarder, but has grandparents and sister in London, so could do weekly boarding if not too far.
My current list (assuming at least a few still have room for next year) is:
- Bedales ( "head, hand and heart" is perfect, but is it too North London trendy?)
- Bede's (same question)
- King's Canterbury
- Malvern College
- St Christopher's Letchworth (but is it too unstructured?)
Am I missing anything? Should I take any of these off the list?
Sevenoaks is a bit of an academic hothouse, probably not for the fainthearted! There is a group of affiliated schools called something like the Round Square which take a more holistic approach. Do you have a preference for IB or A levels?
Thanks LIZS. Good to know about Sevenoaks. I had wondered. Will see if I can find out more about the Round Square. No preference between IB and A Levels.
Don't get the idea Bedes is north London trendy!
People we know there say pastoral care is excellent. They feel Bedes really gets their child. And they get lots of feedbackThey also offer the option of btec'
The Quaker schools are often touted on mumsnet as having good pastoral care e.g. Leighton park
Moreton Hall would be perfect but it's a ridiculously long way from London (and is all girls).
If your daughter is ok with single sex then I would have a look at Tudor Hall too. Small school and lovely nurturing atmosphere.
St Edward's, Oxford might well suit. Co-ed . Easy access to London. My dd thrived there. But get your skates on to apply!
St Edwards Oxford? Very caring happy school offering an all round education lots of extra curricular stuff bright children do very well and lots of different personalities. With the added bonus of being in Oxford so lots to do out of school as well. It's also mainly full boardibg.
Over the years loads of friends have sent their DC's to Kings Canterbury clever sporty very musical, arty keen thespians not so clever and bloody odd all bar 1 loved it. It's also mainly full boarding Canterbury is a nice safe city although perhaps not quite as interesting as Oxford for s teenager.
Not sure I would put Kings, Sevenoaks and Rugby on that list. Tend to suit confident types in my view. Ditto Uppingham and St Edwards - having looked round both and know people with DC there. (Uppingham especially - miles from anywhere and the boys can be very judgemental of the girls' looks from what I heard!). I am not sure self-doubt goes well with a co-ed 6th form personally. I think you need to hold your own in a new 6th form, especially with big egos about. (And that is boys and girls!). I also know people who have left St Christophers because it is too laid back.
Add Queenswood in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Girls only but not overly selective and a new Head. Definitely achieves a rounded education with lots on offer and encouragement to join in. Lots of music and sport and drama which can help immensely with confidence.
Please search for another recent expat thread about boarding which covered Uppingham and Oakham amongst others, to which I contributed. I think if you are considering full boarding you have to be very careful about schools which are not full boarding, as automatically your daughter will feel left out, particularly at sixth form level.
I think all well known public schools will have very confident pupils and new pupils will find it a bit challenging to start with until they have found like minded pupils with similar focus and extracurricular activities.
Some schools may be more academic results focussed/ selective entry but that doesn't preclude high achievement at any of the schools. Oakham does not have many full boarders, (possibly Sevenoaks too). Bedales is a completely different type of school, which is great if you want that kind of approach. ACS different again - not really like a traditional public school.
I was speaking to the headmaster of one of the top prep schools recently and he raved about Uppingham - wishing there were more full boarding schools like it, because of it being fully rounded/ not so pushy but very encouraging to all. (I was surprised as I expected him to rave about another well known school.) Uppingham is very near Oakham and Oundle, so you could easily visit them all together, and Rugby not too far.
With the full boarding schools building a relationship and support system with the housemaster/mistress is probably more important than anything. If they can motivate your child, and guide them towards suitable activities/match them with similar friends/ encourage academically then your child will flourish.
After speaking to Registrars (as you will be restricted with which schools have space) I would focus on visiting houses which have spaces, I bet this will be the key for your decision/settling your child - she will soon recognise like minded pupils in a community and teachers with whom she wants to engage.
malvern st James? Single sex but easy access to London (I saw Malvern college on your list)
Totally sideways from the above mix, you might be able to apply to
and lots of the boarders only go home in the summer (as they are from the Falklands) so its never quiet at weekends
As you say weekly boarding is possible I would also consider Bradfield and for full boarding joining at sixth form don't discount Marlborough. I know of one shy girl there who joined at sixth form and who is enjoying it.
Finally, also full boarding, Sherborne Girls (nearly a co-ed due to Sherborne Boys) has a good reputation for combining nurturing and stimulation.
Definitely check out Westonbirt as great school which ticks all those boxes and many of the students from London. Think they have an open day coming up.
Thanks everyone, and yes, I do need to move fast! Just went onto the St Edwards website and it looks great, but they also have entrance exams. DD would refuse. Needs to be someplace that will take her on the basis of recommendations, reports, writing samples and maybe a Skype interview.
Will sound her out about all girls, but she's used to co-ed and tends to find the girl teen scene overly intense. Her sister ended up on a university hall with a 6 boys and only 1 other girl and loves the lack of pressure -- another reason why I thought co-ed might be best; but boys making judgmental comments about the girls' looks doesn't sound good (and how dare they, in this day and age!).
If your DS won't sit an entrance exam I would have thought that rules out quite a few anything oversubscribed I can't believe Marlborough doesn't have one.
Are you looking for next academic year or 2018?
You have very limited options if your dd won't sit an entrance exam frankly . Perhaps you should consult one of the specialist education brokers/advisers who may be able to guide you given these circumstances.
Why would she refuse if it is something she wants to do? They might allow her to take it wherever you are. Tbh if she won't take entrance tests are you sure she could cope with the workload independently?
Take a look at Farringtons School. They have a small proportion of pupils as boarders, lovely caring ethos and cater for a good range of academic ability. They also enjoy their sport and music so ticks a lot of the boxes you have mentioned.
shocking as it may be, if your DD will not cope with exams, the mix of PSC might work if you are eligible
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