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urgent decision Wells Cathedral vs King's School Canterbury

(34 Posts)
shs69 Sun 13-May-18 00:08:44

Hello, I have been very pleased with all the help this community of parents has given me in the last few weeks.
I am late with the decision, children have been successful in the last minute entrance test.
Staff and registrar of the 2 schools have been absolutely helpful and so open to tailor and inform us about the special provisions for our talented children, unlike the previous school from where we are running from. I have a "penchant" for King's and if it was for me I will go to Canterbury; my heart is at Wells Cathedral for personal reasons that you can't even imagine; my only aim is to chose the right place for my all rounded multilingual musical, arty children...the one that is mlusical is not arty but the one that is arty is not musical (bit she sings); bot stunning in drama and very good at dance.
Both do dance but I can't understand which school will offer better in this field.... this is the only point still uncertain for me; anyone having info about this? Anyone experiencing dance at Wells Cathedral or King's?
And more important: very curious to hear about Music at King's vs music at Wells...
Many many thanks!

OP’s posts: |
happygardening Sun 13-May-18 08:04:26

Kings Canterbury is a proper full boarding school (in school all weekend) with a small number of day pupils, at Wells Catherdral School only 1/3 board, and although the ISI report says the vast majority full board this is unlikely to mean that they have to stay in all weekend because ISI definition of full boarding doesn't mean this. Assuming you're looking for boarding what sort of boarding do you want?
Lots from DS's prep went to Kings all types academic musical budding thespians sporty arty weird, all bar one were very happy there. Most of the very musical children (usually on scholarships) went in seemed a popular choice for them.

sendsummer Sun 13-May-18 08:22:14

shs Wells as you know has a specialist music professional performer programme for very serious musicians who wish to focus on music King's Canterbury is also a very musical school though so loads of opportunities and good instrument teachers.
Academically Wells is more similar to Millfield, King's Canterbury is much better.
I don't know enough about the dance and art to comment although I suspect King's may be better for art. You could check A level art results to see how many do it and A* /A percentages.

shs69 Sun 13-May-18 09:53:47

Thank you very much. They will be day pupils. No Wells has proved to be more tailored to the needs of our girls for their tri lingual gift and other special gift requirements than our current school. Also kings is very open to help and they allowed us for tasting day and 2 last minute visits. Very impressed about their kindness and availability to discuss despite being such a large and busy school.

OP’s posts: |
Sunshine5050 Sun 13-May-18 12:09:26

Are your dc currently at Millfield? If so do the reasons you are leaving help you make your choice?

shs69 Sun 13-May-18 13:34:13

We are trying to understand if, moving to King's Canterbury, it will possible to continue Ballet at top level and how many hours per week we can fit in. My daughter needs a certain number of hours during the week and King's is a busy school; they dance but I will be very happy to listen if someone has a direct experience.
Are there any top ballet schools in Canterbury or nearby, but easily reachable after a full day at school?
We visited Wirehouse but having 2
pillar in the dance class is not a nice solution for doing serious training....
many thanks!

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Sun 13-May-18 13:42:16

I would not rely on your dd going out from boarding school to do her dance training. There will be so many conflicts of activity and restrictions on her going out unaccompanied. Better to do a day school and continue at a good local dance school, if that is your goal.

shs69 Sun 13-May-18 15:57:02

My children will not be boarders!

OP’s posts: |
bookgirl1982 Sun 13-May-18 16:06:32

The new theatre at kings will be amazing and has dance studios going in. However it is a mainly boarding school.

Have you looked at Bedes for their dance programme?

LIZS Sun 13-May-18 17:05:52

Didn't realise you planned to move. Do both have Saturday school?

shs69 Sun 13-May-18 17:33:58

So if at King's they have a brand new dance studio why they don't have a proper dance program? I don't understand... If we chose a private school at that price is for a good tailored education that look after the talents of my children and not to be obliged to do games where they don't excell and they often get hurts...

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Sun 13-May-18 17:39:05

Dc school has a new dance studio and studio theatre. Dance is very much a leisure activity though, in later years as a fitness option in games and extra curricular clubs. Technique and exam based classes are out of school.

Zodlebud Sun 13-May-18 18:53:08

I don’t know a single school that lets you opt out of games / PE lessons because you don’t excel at them. Is that your expectation?

No school can tailor their curriculum to the specifics of a child. I would guess that the additional tuition you require would be provided outside normal school hours and your children will be doing exactly the same as everyone else during the regular school day.

Unless I am missing something or not understanding what you have written?

tvfriendagain Sun 13-May-18 19:06:46

I would imagine it would be very hard for a school to be able to offer top notch ballet during a normal school day and agree with poster above that I can't imagine they will be able to get out of normal PE and games. Surely it would be chaos if everyone was just doing what they 'excel' at- and what about the ones who don't excel at anything?
Dance at Ibstock place in London is always being mentioned. Have no idea to what level though.
I think you may find it hard to find what you want to be honest. If they are that good at ballet should you know be looking at The Royal Ballet School etc?

Judashascomeintosomemoney Sun 13-May-18 19:32:05

So if at King's they have a brand new dance studio why they don't have a proper dance program? I don't understand
Because they have lots of money and it looks good? I don’t know a single person, who knows both schools and who is actually being honest, who would say King’s music and performing arts is better than St Edmunds. A lot of the King’s year 10 cohort went to the latest St Ed’s performance because it’s so spectacularly good. St Ed’s probably wouldn’t stack up for your expectations on the academic side though, not that you’re looking at them of course, but my point being there’s a school in the same city that is better than King’s for music and perf arts. Also, there is immense peer pressure to board. DSD was miserable and bullied and it only changed when she boarded because until then she just wasn’t one of ‘them’. Four current close friends with DDs, all within a few miles from school (one a five minute walk) ALL have decided to board (much to their parents consternation). Sorry if that’s disappointing, just trying to offer honest information.

Xenia Sun 13-May-18 19:38:25

King's is academically the better school. I don't think your children will necessarily want to continue their dance or music etc as they get into teenager years and that can be a really good thing so they get a broader spread of education and can make informed choices about careers,

If they are very keen just to do dance or music probably something like the royal ballet school or for the musical one Chetham's etc would be the better route or if you wanmt them as day pupils only then do the activities to a very high level out of school. 3 of my children won music scholarships (although because I'm English I would never say they are "gifted") but it was never their plan to do it professionally as careers so they had enough with what the school provided. Other children do a lot of music outside school too.

Sunshine5050 Sun 13-May-18 20:35:50

The irony is that Millfield where the dc currently study does have an amazing dance programme and will allow dc to specialise in their sporting talents, it is a school use to tailoring for exceptional talent and with all the parental anxiety that comes with it. OP are you sure that Millfield can't help reach your expectations or have your given notice?

OpheliaLeghorn Sun 13-May-18 20:48:08

Agree with Xenia. One of mine had a place at Chetham's, but was also offered a massive music scholarship to a school which offered spectacular music facilities, but everything else too. We went for the latter, on the grounds that it would keep his options open (he is also an academic high-flyer, and there's no guarantee that he would either want to or be able to have a musical career later on, however talented he is).

happygardening Sun 13-May-18 22:42:32

"My children will not be boarders!"
Have you ascertained what hours day pupils are expected to do? In sone mainly full boarding schools like Kings days pupils stay till 9 pm every night.
"So if at King's they have a brand new dance studio why they don't have a proper dance program? I don't understand... If we chose a private school at that price is for a good tailored education that look after the talents of my children and not to be obliged to do games where they don't excell and they often get hurts..."
I only know of one school where games/PE is not compulsory and pupils can choose something else they excel at whether that be math or music unfortunately its boys only. Most boarding schools want their pupils to do some sort of games at least three times a week and in most cases as others have said unless its a specialised school ballet etc will always be a minority activity however amazing the facilities might be. But to really get correct and up to date answers to your questions surely you need to speak to the individual schools.

Xenia Mon 14-May-18 10:15:54

(OL, my children's father is a musician and he wished his parents had directed him to better paid work I suspect all in all and I was glad I kept my music as a hobby as my career worked out well so I suppose our view was however good the children were/are at music it is not the best long term career. Now for some it's wonderful but to rent a flat or buy one and keep a family it's not so good a choice in most cases unelss you become a high paid pop star and even then it's quite a difficult life, travel, long hours; eg we had no Christmas or Easter as a family not until after those days because their father was working).

OpheliaLeghorn Mon 14-May-18 16:36:40

Xenia, was your DC's father involved with choristers? (No need to answer if you'd rather not). Otherwise, completely agree. It's all very well being stupidly talented, but that's very different from making a living.

Xenia Mon 14-May-18 16:41:01

Yes. In fact when I met he was already looking for a full time job as head of music in a school as even the cathedral organists are very badly paid (he has a degree and PGCE anyway) We got so many really good musicians year after year who set off from the various schools so brilliant and full of promise and so many ended up knocking back on the door wanting to reach children the piano for a pittance. it's like acting and indeed professional sport - very hard indeed to make a living.

OpheliaLeghorn Mon 14-May-18 17:24:50

Thank you, Xenia. I have had choristers, so thought that was what you might be referring to. I think my DS could in fact have a career as a professional musician - if (big if) he could be bothered to do the necessary practice, and if (second big if) he weren't bothered about earning shedloads of money (which he is: currently has career ambitions which involve said shedloads of money). I'd feel sorry for any children he taught, as he would never "get" the fact that not everyone is born to find music easy. I am listening to him play Rach 3 on Youtube as I type!!

Xenia Mon 14-May-18 18:36:54

Actually yes. I met him at the cathedral where he originally worked. You son sounds very good.

Chakri Wed 16-May-18 03:45:53

St Edmund's is a good almost non-selective school currently with outstanding leadership and I wouldn't wish to compare it unfavorably to King's since it is so different.It is however strange - and I know all three Canterbury independent secondary schools well - to suggest St Eds is "better" for music and the performing arts.KIng's Canterbury's musical reputation places it among the country's leading independent musical schools.Other performing arts are also quite outstanding.

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