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Private school recommendations for son with CAT scores approx 109-116 - Shiplake/Teddies/oth
I'm hoping to get some school recommendations as struggling a bit with not being able to get tours since lockdown and son is going into Year 6 in September. DS has CAT scores ranging from 109-116 but struggles with maths and has slower processing (working memory) so can need extra time and support with work at times. He is sociable and enthusiastic and enjoys drama and sports and he generally enjoys a bustling environment. He is quite keen to board although we are open to the option of either day or boarding and both single-sex and co-ed. We live in Amersham.
I guess what I am essentially looking for is a very good, action-packed school that has good pastoral care and will allow him to fulfil his full potential, mindful that he does have some processing difficulties. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
Lord Wandsworth is a name I hear again and again . I also have 2 friends with kids there and they rave about it for academic and pastoral
Thank you both. I will take a look at Lord Wordsworth, sounds super. I had been considering Bloxham but got slightly worried about some threads I had read on it so any more insight of those with children or friend's children there would be really helpful.
Don't be worried about Bloxham from rumours. It is a decent, small, pastorally astute, friendly school. Drama is now excellent again as the Head of Drama has returned from Downe House. Thankfully.Previous intermin drama pair were truely awful.
Main sports are punching above their weight as a school and they do actually field lower squads for the boys.
Academics not on a par with Teddies, but if child is happy and thriving, they will succeed to best of their abilities.
Thank you @Takeittothebossakeit
Please don’t send him to Berkhamsted If he needs a little extra support. They regularly cull children who can’t keep up and this is something they don’t deny. It means a lot of children are tutored outside school just to keep up. One boy who went there from our prep at 11+ was booted out after just one term and was back to complete Y7 and 8 at our prep.
He went to Bloxham at 13 and has truly flown. People put Bloxham down as results wise it is one of the “worst” performing schools in a highly competitive area full of amazing schools. It takes such a wide range of abilities that actually their results are awesome - they just need to be taken in context of the cohort.
Extra curricular is great. Sport is great. It’s just not a school those with high flying academic ambition would necessarily choose. You really shouldn’t discount it though unless you have visited or found out more. It’s a great school, just not right for everyone.
Teddies is a league above Shiplake if he can get in (it’s becoming a touch more selective). Also well above Bloxham. In the same area you could also consider Pangbourne College
@NeedingCoffee thanks for the reply. I think we will have to register him for a few and see what happens with offers. Where does Pangbourne sit with the ones we’ve mentioned? Rowing is definitely of interest to him although I can see Bloxham doesn’t do it. Another school mentioned to us is Bradfield which I guess again may be trickier to get into.
Pangbourne is a bit above Shiplake but well below Teddies in terms of exam results. But friends with children there absolutely love it and it seems to attract very down to earth, friendly and relaxed families. It’s a bit tatty round the edges and the drama won’t be as good as Teddies, but has flexi boarding I think, really lovely grounds and the bands and parades that go with the military connection are a unique aspect.
A friend with a son with a similar profile is very pleased with Claires Court too.
V helpful thread as I am looking in the same area for ds. Not being able to visit anywhere is really tricky.
Few people have said Teddies is full of more socially confident, well off social climber types. No idea if that is reality or not.
Worth co side ting Sibford on the pastoral side too?
@Zodlebud Thanks for the heads up on Berkhamsted. Location would be amazing for us as have another child at Tring Park but tbh he preferred Shiplake over Claires Court and Berkhamsted so those 2 are out of the running for us.
@FedUpWithCovid It's a bit of a nightmare isn't it?! I actually don't know anyone at Teddies so I'm sure about the profile of kids/families. Love confidence but definitely not arrogance, and kindness is v important to us so wouldn't appreciate being around bullish people (either teachers or kids!!).
@Meer1 Yes total nightmare. My ds has aspergers' and dyslexia and we were hoping to see quite a few schools, narrow it down and then take him to see a couple. At the moment I can see us having to spend a fortune on registering him at multiple schools just in case we like them when we can visit.
We want somewhere with accepting ethos, good pastoral care, reasonable range of subjects/activities/options, high achievement for the individual in terms of helping people achieve their potential, but without the hot-house pressure. Similarly somewhere which can provide some extra support, but we don't need a special school.
Everywhere SAYS they do all these things/are that school - except the hot houses - but I really wanted to go to each, visit, meet some of the staff etc to get a feel myself.
@Zodlebud Sounds like you are looking for a very similar to school to us! I've also resigned myself to registering for a variety to keep options open until we can visit them. Are you looking at Year 7 or Year 9 entry?
I have two daughters so not quite the same - the eldest will do well wherever she goes. The youngest is extremely bright but needs some extra support due to a hearing problem. Nothing that should make schools “scared” to take her on, but I am amazed at the negativity around even a hint of needing extra support.
One school in particular blew us away with their knowledge of the issues she faces and even fed back further after the open day (we left our email address). What’s even more brilliant is it’s also the school we feel is 100% right for our eldest too. It’s not a school that traditionally our prep has sent many girls too. Some poo pooed it. I knew from the moment we walked in the door that it was just “right”. It takes guts to break from the norm though.
Schools that treat students as individuals, support their weaknesses and nourish their strengths are, IMO worth far more than a top 20 place in the academic league tables. If a child is happy then I think they will 100% do their best.
I'm sorry I put the wrong name in the above reply! @FedUpWithCovid I meant to send to you!
@Zodlebud it's very true you have to look outside the box and go with your own belief and instincts ultimately. Which school is it?
@Meer1 year 9 entry - although I have wondered that if it were a school were the entry is only at year 7, with no significant year 9 entry, if it would be better to move ds at that point to help socially. Hard to say though as I don't want to rock the boat earlier than necessary.
The only places I have managed to visit so far are Kingham Hill and Sibford (we did those on the same day about a week before Covid hit), plus Abingdon which ds got a place at for the pre-prep but then we ended up choosing a house which meant a different school was a better logistical choice. Abingdon is now going to be way too hot housy for consideration. Kingham Hill we found a bit strange and too religious and ruled it out, Sibford is a lovely little school but didn't seem to have many British boarders and ds would need to at least flexiboard to go there. Not ruled out though.
At the moment I'm thinking the list will include D'overbroecks (only day so probably not an option for you), Bloxham, maybe Teddies, maybe Bradfield, need to further investigate Shiplake/Pangbourne (put off latter by Naval stuff) plus anywhere else that crops up. It is probably going to depend a bit on what ds' performance/ anxiety/general coping is like going back to school this coming term as I'm finding it hard to judge what level of school he might actually have a hope of getting in to!
Sending out good luck to all who are looking for schools for dc who do not seem to be high flying in all regards...feels here like everyone else we know is sure to get their dc into academic Oxford based schools, so no one else is looking beyond that.
@Zodlebud can you PM your school too?
@FedUpWithCovid We are also thinking Year 9 but will make the final decision once we are clearer on which school. D'overbroecks looks very nice as well - you are lucky location wise. My son really loved Shiplake and is down for a taster day in November. I would definitely say it's worth visiting and I thought the head was super. I know quite a few people at Bradfield including a few kids that struggled to settle at Harrow but are very happy now. What I don't know though is if they have kids there with any learning difficulties.
Since you live in Amersham and would consider day school, have you thought about John Lyon in Harrow ? Easy to reach in the Chiltern Line, there are always boys coming from your way. There's always a lot going on there, plenty of drama and sport. Learning support is good, my own son has not needed it, but I know several boys who do. Your son's needs ought to be well-catered for from what I have heard....
Also look at Aldenham given where you are
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