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Millfield - any thoughts?

(56 Posts)
MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 07:38:20

We are considering Millfield School for our daughter, who would join Sep 2011 as a boarder. Haven't yet visited. Does anyone have any experience of the school?

snorkle Sun 30-Nov-08 13:56:42

We have visited there for swimming galas about three times. The sports facilities are jaw droppingly amazing. What struck me about the place was it's very big - there must be a lot of students (good in some ways, might not suit everyone though). I have also heard that sometimes kids that go there who are very good at sport & would be stars anywhere else sometimes don't even make the A team & can feel a bit third rate - that could just be gossip though.

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 16:47:53

Thanks, snorkle. All very good points. I am trying to weigh up the disadvantages of the size with the advantages of the facilities and the variety of activities on offer. DD2 is very sporty and would certainly benefit from all Millfield has to offer but would she be better somewhere smaller, where she would be more of a star? It's a tricky call.

mimsum Sun 30-Nov-08 20:25:31

like snorkle only been for swimming galas - it has a reputation for being not particularly academic but obviously very good at sport - a boy from ds1's school went into the 6th form there on a swimming scholarship because it would be easier for him to combine A-levels and training as there would be no travelling time involved

have also heard quite a few reports of sex and drugs but I suspect most boarding schools would be similar ...

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 21:22:48

Thanks, mimsum. Interesting to hear about the sex and drugs rumours, although you are probably right about most boarding schools having those stories. DD2 is very bright but not strong academically IYSWIM and so I like the idea of her not being surrounded by A* students. I hope lots of kids at Millfield might be more interested in getting outside and 'doing stuff', like she is.

kitsmummy Sun 30-Nov-08 21:40:11

Absolutely excellent for sports but also quite druggy. Any school these days is going to have drugs but I do think it's a bit more of a problem at Millfield than at others. Where do you live? I did A Levels at King Edwards in Bath and loved it (but that was 15 years ago blush

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 21:52:33

We are a forces family, kitsmummy, which is why boarding works for us. Currently in Surrey but will move this summer and then move again the summer before DD starts senior school. No idea where we will be during the 5 years we are planning for.

I wonder why there is more of a drugs problem at Millfield than at other similar profile schools - if there is. Anyone out there know?

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 21:57:14

Xenia describes Millfield as good for rich thick kids.

My grandad wants to pay for dd to go there as she is so sporty, but have not looked at it.

StudentMadwife Sun 30-Nov-08 22:03:12

I live about a mile away from edgarly(sp?) and about 3 miles from main campus. FIL works there as a caretaker. Have not heard anything bad concerning drugs. they have excellant sports facilities.
There was something a while back about one of the staff being involved in somekind of innappropriate behaviour, he was dissmissed i beleive.

The only downside of the street campuss is students from others schools "miffy bashing"... not sure how much of a problem that is nowdays though...

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:07:10

We're not rich (the Army pays a good proportion of fees) and my DD is certainly not thick but I am looking forward to going to visit and see for myself what is on offer at Millfield.

I was hoping someone might have genuine knowledge or experience of the school. Does Xenia have this? Have you ruled the school out based on her assessment?

PeachyAndTheSucklingBas Sun 30-Nov-08 22:07:21

dh had a friend worked there, and we also lived (and still socialise) quite close; for studentmidwife I worked at Strode

I am aware of druggy reputation, very definitely. Wouldn't touch myself, unless only other option was Taunton School. And the latter is just personal bias because of ex-p.

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:07:49

Have you looked at Clayesmore which is Dorset We live next to Bryanston and lots of people choose Clayesmore over Bryanston when they are choosing to escape our local secondary. Lots of the the mums at dd horseriding have been impressed by the sports facilities

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:09:57

I have ruled out the school in the basis that I teach in a very very good state secondary school and would like dd to go there.

I only quoted Xenia because her quote comes to mind whenever anyone mentions the school. I would not discount a school on the basis of one rather extreme mumsnetter. I did not mean to imply your dd was thick but it is a school not known for being highly academic.

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:10:23

If you do visit you must let me know what you think.

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:11:24

Thanks, StudentMadwife. I must admit, I prefer campus schools, rather than those where the houses are at a distance from the school. It seems some of the benefit of boarding is lost if the facilities aren't on your doorstep.

Am I being naive and sexist to think that the local kids might be kinder on the girls, and that there might be more of this with boys?

Miggsie Sun 30-Nov-08 22:12:28

My friend (female) went there a long time ago...she is very bright, she had a scholarship but she left before age 14. She enjoyed it.

My friend's son is there at the moment on a massive scholarship as he is shit hot at sports and due to him their junior teams are winning the leagues for the first time in years.
It has turned him into a noxious brat, but he has made a friend whose dad is very wealthy and takes him to New York with his son...this may be considered an advantage by some.
His mother says his reports are pretty much the same as when he was at state school (average) and she was disappointed because she says "you would have thought a school like that would have improved his work".

I also know someone who sent her three fantastically thick boys there, one came out unable to find the mediterranean on a map and went into the family business and nearly bankrupted it...the other was arrested for armed robbery with his mates, the third became a male model for at least 3 weeks.

judgenutmeg Sun 30-Nov-08 22:16:05

Would Devon be too far for you? Ours go to a lovely school with good sports but more importantly loads of support for all abilities. From a boarders point of view, the pastoral care is lovely - really nice houseparents and busy, engaged children.

My ds is of a similar age and some of his friends are Forces boarders. Cat me if you want to talk more.

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:16:58

Thanks, twinsetandpearls. Sorry if I got defensive! I certainly intend to visit but probably not until next year. You are lucky to have inside knowledge of a good state school for your DD smile

Will take a look at the link you suggest. I went to an Open Day at Clayesmore a long time ago and had a positive experience.

MotherOfGirls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:23:08

Thanks, Miggsie - all a bit worrying!

judgenutmeg, I think Devon probably is a bit far. Although we don't know where we will be posted, there are no jobs for my DH down that far and we have no family in that direction. Thank you for the thought.

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:26:41

I do think she would thrive at a school like Clayesmore or Millfield. She had a place at Stonyhurst and was very excited but then we moved. Our house overlooks Bryanston and we walk in the grounds most days and dd really really wants to go. But the school I teach in is so good I know that I could top up what she would be missing. But I do wonder of I will reget that decision and do listen with envy to what children at these schools get to do.

judgenutmeg Sun 30-Nov-08 22:31:39

No problem. Enjoy your visits to what ever schools you shortlist and try to do a tour with a pupil rather than a staff member.....they can be much more honest about the things that will matter to your daughter.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sun 30-Nov-08 22:35:14

My cousin went to Millfield. Seemed to like it. No druggy problems. He is very sporty and not particularly academic.

twinsetandpearls Sun 30-Nov-08 22:38:36

I have a child who is very sporty and academic, my dp wants to send her to the grammar for that reason.

MotherOfGirls Mon 01-Dec-08 08:55:56

Thanks jimjam. Good to hear drugs aren't always the first thing people think of in connection with Millfield.

twinsetandpearls, I sypmathise. I think lots of us wonder whether we are making the right choices. In our case we chose boarding so that our DDs can have stability and the benefits of an education we couldn't otherwise afford. I miss them terribly! While I hope and pray we are doing the right thing, I suspect we won't know until they are about 30 and they turn around and either thank us or tell us we got it wrong! I suppose that sums up what being a parent is all about.....

If you have options regarding education, my suggestion would be to research them thoroughly, so that you can have as much confidence as possible in your final decision, whatever it may be. Still no guarantee you'll get it right.

marialuisa Mon 01-Dec-08 14:45:48

I went there for a while, am tremendously unsporty and rather bookish. It was fine, there were people who excelled in all areas there, not just sport. It was big enough that the helicopter-owning crowd didn't dominate, lots of forces kids in my year and other "ordinary" people.

I had my pony there and at time the stables were particularly party friendly, but no worse than any other senior school, state or private IMHO though.

Cousins' kids are day pupils at the prep now and are happy enough.

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