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Radley College rebellion

(24 Posts)
sandwichmaker1 Wed 25-Jul-18 20:50:21

Just wondering if there are any other worried Radley parents who can throw any light on the boys rebellion against the Headmaster. I am hearing from many sources that he is really unpopular with boys and parents. I would hate for my son to be unsettled by any changes there. He is due to start next year.

OP’s posts: |
Zodlebud Thu 26-Jul-18 01:11:53

The head (Warden) has been in place since 2014 and is known as a moderniser. He did great things at Bedford School and I am sure was hired on this basis.

I assume you have met him and liked what you heard otherwise you wouldn’t be sending your son?

My friend’s son is there. Her husband went to Radley as did his father. Her son was registered at birth. She likes the changes. Her father in law is up in arms. Some people are ok with change, others not. There are a lot of boys there with fathers and grandfathers who went there. You would be naive to think they have no influence on what’s going on there.

My friend’s son thought the whole plane thing was a bit of a giggle but really didn’t care one way or the other about a new logo. He is having an amazing time at school and totally non plussed by the whole thing.

roguedad Thu 26-Jul-18 09:55:36

Seems to me that changing the logo is a non issue and it beggars belief what a fuss was made. I think the head should have more important priorities, such as ending compulsory rugby. Kids need to be allowed to make an informed choice as to whether they wish to participate in something that puts them at risk of concussion and other head and spinal injuries. Abingdon down the road gives boys a choice and routinely fields A to D/E squads.

sandwichmaker1 Thu 26-Jul-18 21:26:05

Thanks - I heard he was not popular at Bedford either and first impressions were not great at R when we met him. But sounds like an interesting clash of the trad and the moderniser - just odd to change something that was going so well??

OP’s posts: |
Zodlebud Thu 26-Jul-18 22:26:01

He is trying to shake off the “old boys club” elitist image and make it feel more inclusive and forward thinking. Making a Radley education more accessible and appealing to a wider range of families is surely no bad thing?

Not meaning to be confrontational, more a genuine understanding point, but why would you chose a school with a head it doesn’t sound as if you actually like? This is the captain of the ship on which your son will be a passenger. If you don’t like where it’s going then why get on it?

The true ethos and traditions of the school have remained unchanged I am led to believe. A Radley education will always be a fine one I am sure.

Coroico97 Fri 27-Jul-18 08:05:54

My DS also totally non-plussed by end of term stunt. We were there and saw it. No one took that much notice. I think proposed changes are good and like the Warden. Agree logo change not really a thing. In terms of compulsory rugby we nearly didn’t send our son because of that but again, it’s fine. Only compulsory for a term. They have 7 teams. He was in 7th and absolutely loved it. Non competitive, with a brilliant master. He made some great friends in the team and ended up with it being his best part of the week! And when it comes to it, no one is ‘forced’ to do anything!! It’s just not like that!!

BubblesBuddy Fri 27-Jul-18 12:33:57

Zodlebud: I think in some areas of society, making a school like Radley more accessible is not what some parents or pupils will want. Some will have chosen Radley precisely to be exclusive and because of its traditions.

Heads often do not realise the strength of feeling parents and pupils have for the "way of doing things". At my DDs school, a change was made so the Y11 had a specified lunch time. In the past they could get their lunch when they wished to fit in with study and house duties and extra curricular activities and because it was a tradition for Y11! The girls looked forward to the priviledge. It was taken away. Younger girls complained that they did ot have the same priviledge. The tradition was lost and the Y11s were not happy. A few years on, of course no-one remembers the tradition or the feelings the change engendered at the time. However, if you lose everything a school stands for, it becomes an empty vessel.

However, changes can be made if you can get the majority to go along with it and not show open dissent. A few people disagreeing is not going to cause a big rethink. I would not send my child to a school where I did not find the Warden or Principal or Head inspiring!

Witchend Fri 27-Jul-18 12:37:50

School children don't really like change. I remember back in the 90s we got a new head after the previous one had been there 20/30, possibly more, years.
Boy, did we moan about every change he made for the first year. grin Looking back a number of the changes were excellent, and some he was definitely ahead of his time (banning junk food/sweets/fizzy drinks etc most of the week in the canteen (allowed them on Fridays) went down like a lead balloon now, but now what are schools doing?).

Zodlebud Fri 27-Jul-18 21:07:45

Bubbles. I have spoken in depth with my friend about this and she has taken me through several very comprehensive communications from the school and shown me numerous opportunities to engage face to face with the senior team with regards to the changes. She really can’t get her head around why her father in law is so upset about the changes.

To be honest, maybe it’s because we are female that the changes seem more “normal”. Radley wants to increase the size of each school year by a nominal amount to enable more children to attend on scholarships and bursaries. This brings the school much more into line with the opportunities available at Harrow and Eton for those from lower income backgrounds. We are not talking about introducing compulsory dance classes for all for two hours a day, making it co-Ed or even anything that remotely goes against what Radley is all about.

I honestly don’t understand why anyone would choose to send their child to a school where they don’t like the head. If you honestly only want a school because it is an elitist and exclusive club where gifted children are excluded because they are poor or not from the right echelons of society then you really are not preparing your child for the world it is today.

The reality is that (thankfully) the boys there think that being more inclusive is an amazing opportunity. It would seem that they have more sense than their parents.......

My friend believes that Radley was a great school, continues to be a great school, and will be even greater in the future. Her son is unbelievably happy and doing incredibly well. Ignore the politics and just the boys get on with their education.

Zodlebud Fri 27-Jul-18 21:09:00

To clarify - it is the old boys (parents and grandparents) who are more against the changes than the boys who are there right now.

mumwah Fri 27-Jul-18 21:28:49

Wow so you can only be considered if you are poor but gifted or in some way talented. Isn't this also being exclusive. What about those children who aren't rich or gifted or talented. To be fully inclusive shouldn't everyone have a chance ???? Why such parameters.

Zodlebud Sat 28-Jul-18 09:09:36

No, not at all. What I am saying is that previously unless you can afford the circa £40k a year fees then your son basically couldn’t go.

The changes make the school more accessible to a wider range of boys - the middle classes who perhaps might have otherwise chosen more affordable day schools and yes, children from families who come from homes where a private education couldn’t even be considered let alone one at a place like Radley.

I really don’t see it’s any different to the financial support packages and scholarships available at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Westminster etc.

mumwah Sat 28-Jul-18 12:15:01

Ok because there are so many middle of the road / average children who are amazing individuals who just tend to get overlooked in every way. Positive personal attributes on their own just never seem good enough anymore which is a shame. You have to be special in some way other than being just so. In the schools I've worked in its these children who get little validation. it would be great for them to get an opportunity to thrive in their way at one of these schools.

BubblesBuddy Sun 29-Jul-18 17:19:26

I’m not disagreeing with you Zodlebud, but it might depend where the money is coming from for the bursaries. If the old boys think it’s their money, and they don’t like the idea, then they might be negative. I tend to agree that it seems reasonable in this day and age and certainly Harrow and Eton do it. However people can be very set in their ways and traditions. My DDs old school gave bursaries to many but largely out of fee income which meant huge fee rises. Not that anyone was consulted! Would this be a concern if they are not known as a bursary school with huge resources?

Most bursary children are academic or very sporty so the school gets noticed. Look at our champion diver, sprinter, cricketer, rugby player etc. That’s why many elite sports people are privately educated. They go on bursaries. Lots of schools quite like the kudos!

1805 Sun 29-Jul-18 18:23:15

RougueDad - Ha Ha! Concusion in the 7th team of Rugby!! I don't think so! Have you seen them play? No you wouldn't have because they don't play matches. And they "train" for 1 term only. Then you can give it up and choose pretty much any sport you fancy. Hardly a matter to keep going on about. I've noticed you've mentioned this before.
Re the plane stunt - I thought it was quite good actually! The banner was funny without being offensive. The Warden handled it well and then everyone ignored it. Not bad for £5 per boy!
Re The Warden - yes he's making changes, but everything needs to progress. If you don't like the direction, then think about a different school I guess.
We are happy there, and my ds thinks the teaching is excellent.
I would not say there is anything remotely resembling a rebellion.

delshwragon Thu 09-Aug-18 21:35:34

This from a relative.... You can tell mumsnet from me that it’s not just the dads and grandpas that are against the changes. All 3 of mine were dead set against the changes and thought that it undermined what Radley is all about. If it was just the dads then why did every boy in 6.2 give £5 to have the banner made to be flown behind the plane on Gaudy that read “Make Radley Great Again”! They were (I believe) all wanting to make a statement that the changes weren’t necessary. Why change something that isn’t broken?

BubblesBuddy Thu 09-Aug-18 22:20:14

So do they already offer loads of bursaries or is it about far more than that, Delsh?

delshwragon Thu 09-Aug-18 22:51:38

More than that I think - Apparently the number of bursaries hasn't really changed. This is more info from a relative "He changed the logo, took the crest and the Latin out. Put in a pre test so thicky sons of Old Radleians couldn’t get in. Just set about updating and modernising. I liked him to talk to but I don’t think Radley needed modernising. The lists were full for years in advance and although they don’t compete academically with Eton and Harrow that was sort of the point - they take the ones who didn’t get into Eton and give them something which is more than just academia. He’s going to ruin all that. IMHO! 😊

goodbyestranger Fri 10-Aug-18 22:15:17

I thought Eton was supposed to give its students 'something more than just academia' confused. I'm struggling with the idea that Harrow is the pinnacle of academia too.

Basically, people don't like change and the old boys don't like funding bursaries they want halls and things named after them and the old boys with not very clever DC are pissed off about testing because now those DC will have to be shunted off to places which are even less illustrious but cost broadly the same in extortionate fees.

All very difficult.

goodbyestranger Fri 10-Aug-18 22:17:18

NB My dad went to Radley (as a refugee in wartime - didn't pay fees but I think that still makes him an old boy although not actually sure).

BubblesBuddy Sat 11-Aug-18 11:22:53

I think some old boys are very attached to their schools! Eton and Harrow cancertainly get excellent results for many boys (certainy the ones we know). Obviously there are few who are not so good. They also have wonderful extra curricular, inspirational speakers and add a great deal to an academic education. DD's friends from Harrow have had a truly fantastic all round education.

Radley has been seen as suitable for boys who do not go to Harrow or Eton, for whatever reason. I think it may well be tradition (with the crest and motto) but the pre test is the real issue.

Certainly Harrow has a very generous bursary system and a bursary boy was Head Boy fairly recently. They all know who these boys are within school. It is no secret but they are truly welcomed. It is shame Radley old boys do not see the benefits of this. It widens participation and makes for a bouyant and more diverse community without reducing academic standards.

WellySocksBox Sun 12-Aug-18 06:56:31

My son's friend was badly concussed at Prep School playing rugby. You don't have to be A team to be accidentally kicked in the head.

I've also seen a D team player stretchered off into an ambulance. He was from Rugby, ironically.

Misses point of the thread.

12345a Wed 20-Mar-19 23:50:45

This may be an out of date thread now, neverthless I would like to comment just in case future parents are considering Radley.

My son entered Radley half way through the first term purely by chance in that someone had dropped out and the previous Warden saw something special in my then 13 year old. We had a small bursary, it was enough with help from family to send my son to the fantastic school, something a single mum working in the public sector could never have dreamt of.

Despite coming from a state school and arriving later than the rest, he was immediately made welcome by the boys, dons and all the Social team. That saying, I do think he had to work that extra harder to fit in.

His experience there was first class, he lapped up all the opportunities thrown at him, as well as initiating his own. He was presented with the 6.2 award for endeavour and I (and the rest of the Social team) could not have been more proud. We left on a high.

What happened next completely changed my view of the Leadership at Radley. Radley submitted the wrong A level exams to UCAS, we had to endure the same experience as those going through clearing and did not have our place confirmed till 24 hours later, losing out on accommodation choices at University. It was the most stressful experience for everyone and tainted the whole A level celebration experience.

We all make mistakes, a good leader will accept they have made them, apologise where appropriate, and learn from them. After some heated telephone calls (from me), the Warden finally wrote a hand written apology to my son. It seems a distant memory now.

So with regards to this thread, I celebrate the fact that the school is ‘reaching wider’ giving opportunities and looking to the future. I would hope that their leader recognises he needs to bring people with him on this journey, I am sure the plane incident will have done this.

What is important are the friends and experiences the boys make at Radley. A logo alone cannot create these memories.

BoxofFrogsribbit Mon 30-Sep-19 16:51:28

As I wade into the challenge of where to next for DS after Prep school? (he is 10)

Now the new head isn't as new anymore and his changes have had a bit more time to bed in, I am looking for current thoughts as to what Radley College is like as a community and what sort of things would it offer a sporty but non - rugby playing boy who wants to sing.

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