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Boarding for sixth form- which school

(34 Posts)
Brian9600 Thu 29-Aug-19 11:27:20

My daughter is interested in boarding for sixth form. She's currently at a very academic day school and enjoying it.

This is all a few years off so we have time to look around but I wondered if MNers had any suggestions. We are looking for the following:

- academic
- mixed
- boarding/weekly boarding
- good sporting facilities
- a lovely setting is a bonus
- decent sized sixth form intake

Where would you look?

OP’s posts: |
cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 29-Aug-19 11:33:32

My top choices for DD were Wellington and Hurtwood House. She had no interest in either as she refused to board for 6th form. I cried over Hurtwood, it's just lovely and would have been an amazing experience. You should probably look at Brighton College as well, I didn't as the HT winds me up, he's a bit rent a quote for the papers.

I do envy you. I boarded and I would have loved DD to have the same experience.

VanCleefArpels Thu 29-Aug-19 12:06:57

Hurtwood is amazing but it doesn’t satisfy the “great sporting facilities” criteria. Art, Drama film and music are it’s strengths with great academics on the side

Zodlebud Thu 29-Aug-19 12:14:08

Haileybury, Rugby and St Edwards (Teddies).

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 29-Aug-19 12:15:20

Point taken VanCleef, my DD isn't sporty so I wouldn't have given sport more than a cursory glance. I would still have loved her to go for the experience. A few friend's DCs have been and loved it.

LIZS Thu 29-Aug-19 12:21:47

Girls or mixed, day/boarding or full/weekly boarding only, budget, location for visits/weekend exeats

Mixed - Brighton, Wellington, Marlborough, Kings Canterbury
Girls - Roedean, St Catherine's Bramley, Wycombe Abbey

Rockylady Thu 29-Aug-19 14:20:59

Westminster 6th form is mixed and boarding , Wellington I also heard good things of. Can also look at Rugby depending on which location (north/south etc) you prefer.

VanCleefArpels Thu 29-Aug-19 14:31:34

@cakeisalwaystheanswer my DD just left, wanted to stay forever ☺️. They squeezed A level results out of her that nobody would have predicted based on her GCSE. Just amazing

PaxtonsCrown Thu 29-Aug-19 15:51:41

Rugby has a big sixth form intake and a house for new sixth form girls. It's a large school so lots of choice of extra curricular activities and social activity. Fantastic sports facilities. It has a separate sixth form centre and a good choice of subjects.
It's also handily placed for north and south of the UK. If it's her first time boarding I would try not to be more than and hour and a half's drive away. The only thing is that Rugby is full not weekly boarding, I think that's an advantage but you might not.

PaxtonsCrown Thu 29-Aug-19 15:53:14

Forgot to say, Rugby town leaves a lot bit to be desired, but the school itself is beautiful.

Peony99 Thu 29-Aug-19 15:55:00

Bryanston? Amazing sports, reasonably academic (bright kids tend to do very well, but those who struggle to motivate themselves can be left to doss a bit), and in a beautiful place.

Arewedone Thu 29-Aug-19 16:05:48

Westminster, St. Mary’s, Wycombe Abbey, Benenden, Sevenoaks

Arewedone Thu 29-Aug-19 16:11:07

Sorry missed mixed- remove Benenden, St Mary’s, Wycombe!
Maybe add Eton, Harrow.
SevenOaks for iB
Number of friends just left Ampleforth and loved it.
Cheltenham College great sporting and location ( not Ladies)

Arewedone Thu 29-Aug-19 16:12:18

Oh forgot to add St Paul’s boys will start admitting girls to the sixth form in 2 years time which would definitely be worth looking at!

BubblesBuddy Thu 29-Aug-19 16:43:50

Arewedone: Eton and Harrow are not mixed. Definitely boys only!

I would look at Rugby. Charterhouse takes girls in the 6th form. Marlborough is highly competitive for 6th form entry.

I’m never sure separate boarding for newbies is best. It just keeps them separate and hinders integration. The existing pupils can just ignore the new pupils if they wish.

Most schools offer what you have listed but I do agree that you should stick to 90 mins from home. In fact 1 hour is better. You want to support her at school when required.

TheletterZ Thu 29-Aug-19 18:39:26

My kids are at Lord Wandsworth College, which is in Hampshire. Not a big name so is often over looked. Fantastic location and lovely boarding setting and staff.

Arewedone Thu 29-Aug-19 18:55:05

@BubblesBuddy yes sorry I was thinking Charterhouse not Eton! I didn’t realise Harrow UK only accepted boys. my DS attended Harrow overseas and it was mixed. So I assumed would be the same here!! Sorry for not checkingblush

Lara53 Thu 29-Aug-19 22:24:14

Charterhouse will be going fully co-Ed in September 2020

Dancingdreamer Thu 29-Aug-19 23:53:34

We were in the same position a few years back. We narrowed the choice to Westminster, Rugby, Wellington and Marlborough. In the end DD chose Marlborough and had a fantastic time.

I think Westminster was the most academically selective. DD loved it but didn’t get a place. However, like Wellington, it is mainly a weekly boarding school and with hindsight, there were huge benefits of a full boarding school. Socially at Marlborough there was a lot going on at the weekend which helped to create firmer friendships. There are lots of 6th form events and parties organised. The town is also lovely to pop into on a Saturday or Sunday for coffee or lunch.

My DD didn’t like the idea of joining a new 6th form house as she felt it would be ostracising from the main school cohorts so discounted Rugby. Marlborough has a large intake of girls who mainly join one of four boys houses which take girls in 6th form. This has the benefit of being part of a new intake but also quickly integrating with existing pupils. Wellington was also eventually discounted as it was mainly weekly boarding in 6th form and just didn’t offer the weekend activities that Marlborough did.

Academically Marlborough is very competitive for 6th form. DCs do well if they want to but they have to be self motivated. The school prides itself on developing well rounded DCs and it certainly broadened my DD. There is loads of sport as well as amazing music and drama.

It can be a tough environment so DCs will need to be robust but for the right DD it’s an amazing school. Do take a look.

Staffynic Fri 30-Aug-19 04:11:57

I am a house parent in a boarding house in lincolnshire. Our boarders are amazing. The experience they get ie meeting and living along side people from different countries and cultures is so worth while. They move forward to college or university with more life skills than my son did . it's a great transition kind of half way from living at home with parents to moving on in life

Needmoresleep Fri 30-Aug-19 14:56:46

Dancingdreamer, your information is wrong. Westminster is weekly boarding up to sixth form, but offers full boarding for sixth form. They have Saturday morning school and plenty of Saturday afternoon fixtures and activities, plus allow day pupils to join evening and weekend meals, indeed even breakfast. There tends not to be much of a social separation between boarders and day pupils. My DD often went on to do homework with boarder friends on Sundays, and both DC regularly had boarders to stay.

My impression was that the school was keen on girls being full boarders. It is a wonderful school and one worth looking at. I would hate for false information to put op off.

Bo44 Fri 30-Aug-19 16:08:46

If you don't mind the north, then I would say definitely come and have a look at Sedbergh. It is very much a full boarding school meaning there is lots going on outside the normal school day, and weekends, in a beautiful setting. My SS have attended all the way through, fantastic opportunities.

Dancingdreamer Fri 30-Aug-19 19:32:45

Sorry I didn’t mean to mislead. Yes Westminster and Wellington offer full boarding however many seems to leave on Saturday evening. I agree Westminster is a fantastic school but it is a different experience. It was obvious when we visited that at both these schools the majority of DCs went home at the weekend. Westminster particularly seemed to attract a large number of girls from the London super selectives so it was easy to pop home on Saturday evening for parties with London friends etc. It certainly didn’t offer the range of activities that other full boarding schools offered. Quiet was how the house master at Westminster described the weekends to us. I certainly wouldn’t say that about Marlborough.

My DD knows people who went to a range of boarding schools and they all enjoyed them but the experience was different where they didn’t have the school organised 6th form activities. Rugby has similar 6th form weekend activities to Marlborough but there seems to be less freedom to leave the house in the evenings and the town isn’t so nice to wander around at weekends. Marlborough just offered a great all round experience rather then just an education. That may not be what some are looking for but my DD loved it.

Brian9600 Fri 30-Aug-19 20:20:25

Thank you so much, everyone, for these ideas. I will read up on all the schools suggested. I really appreciate all these responses.

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Fri 30-Aug-19 20:48:09

Sorry Dancing. We seem to have experience of different schools. None of DDs boarder friends came from London.

Being in Central London means that many activities happen outside school. Art history students have any number of galleries to visit. Drama and music are really strong and involve practice and rehersals. DS regularly went to public lectures at the LSE with friends and scientists did similar at the Royal Societies. Sunday evening supper was not provided, but DD used to join Asian friends for noodles in Chinatown.

No not exactly jolly japes in the dormitory. But for the right engaged and interested student, living in central London is a huge opportunity.

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