Honest rundown request for Radley College in 2019(6 Posts)
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.
My DS is there, also a non rugby player and loves to sing. There are ample opportunities for singing both formal and non formal events and it is well regarded.
Not being a rugby player has not had any impact whatsoever.
Is he already registered for Radley, OP? By my observation it makes a difference whether a boy is there by virtue of early registration or Master's list (academic merit). The former have traditionally been the dominant group and although the school is attempting to shift the balance I personally would think twice about jumping into that particular psychodrama unless my DS was already in the 'in' group. I'm sure lots of loyal Radleians would deny there's any differentiation between the two but you only have to look at how each group chooses a Social (registered boys take first pick, Master's list have what's left) to see there's a way to go. Incidentally, at my DS's prep school, which sends more boys to Radley than anywhere else, I can't think of a single boy in the top class who is headed there- with early registration it's our back-up of choice if Eton, Harrow or Winchester don't come good. If you are not in the already-registered cohort and your DS loves singing, how about Sherborne? It has much in common with the good aspects of Radley but perhaps fewer of the downsides, the Head is outstanding, and music/singing are much prized. The location and proximity to Sherborne Girls are positives, too- lots of adolescent boys don't particularly enjoy the rural campus at Radley. I'm posting this with a degree of trepidation, conscious that people who love Radley, including a lot of my friends, REALLY love Radley, and of course that as any school goes through big changes opinions and observations can quickly become out of date- so don't just take my word for it!
My DS has been at Radley for few years now and is very happy there. As previous poster commented the compulsory rugby is fine. It's only compulsory for a year and my DS wasn't keen although is very sporty. He ended up quite enjoying it in the end, in one of the lower teams where it is much less competitive and the masters make it fun! Don't give that a thought. In terms of other sports, there's pretty much everything you could think of, and a golf course.
I sort of agree with the poster above, although the the intake is changing each year now there is a pre-test and an increase in bursary places offered. Not sure how Socials will be chosen going forward but glad we got some inside info. I would say the Socials you want to avoid are the ones crammed full of the first-come-first-served prep school feeder school boys. Even though we were on 'The List' we went for one of the others and are very very pleased we did. My DS has a sprinkling of every type of boy in his year in Social which makes for a great mix and a happy atmosphere. This is not always the case.
Agree with poster above that not all boys like the very rural setting of Radley. That is obviously a personal thing. I would say though that there are plenty of 'Social events' with local girls' schools. My DS certainly hasn't suffered for lack of opportunity to meet girls! And he doesn't sing but there's plenty of it and is of a high standard (as it will be in all schools mentioned!).
Ds took a while to settle into boarding, but now is very happy there. Likes the family type of feeling there, and that the Dons live on site and hold impromptu pizza/ social / discussions evenings etc.
Singing is big and cool. Plenty of opportunities from school musical, to a cappella, to rock groups.
If I remember rightly, all boys take a singing trial and a rugby trial on day one so your ds will be spotted by the music dept then. Like others have said, rugby is not an issue. Team 7 I think play tag rugby and hardly any matches. Then after term 1 he never has to play rugby again!
Boys can get a bus into Oxford at weekends if they want, though my ds has never bothered and stays on campus.
My ds experienced some low level bullying at the beginning, and we were impressed with how it was dealt with.
I think Radley has had its day and the Head is SO unpopular. Its expanding too which is odd as it seems a lot less popular than it was post all the changes. I’ve heard Lots of the staff have left who made it a special place 10 years ago or so. It’s meant to be well known for its sport but that’s gone down hill too. Rumour has it local school Abingdon thrashed the top rugby team this year. But each to his own, it suits some.
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