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Boarding school

Radley VS Teddies VS Bradfield

16 replies

Boscombe · 20/03/2024 17:04

Hi - my DS has received unconditional offers to all three above schools and we are finding it very hard to choose given they're all quite different and he likes them all! He is very clear he wants to board for senior school and boards a day a week at his current prep.

Radley offer was a surprise but he very much liked it on assessment day and visit, and can imagine himself there. Bradfield has always been a frontrunner given its lovely atmosphere and seems to be full of happy kids but his prep are not sure it's academically challenging enough for him (we've turned down Marlborough and Charterhouse already so it's def just choice between the above three). Teddies is obviously up and coming but, like Radley, slightly nightmarish traffic situation given we are in W London.

DS has ADHD but this is well managed and his learning is not impacted by it, he is a solid B-team across all sports (current prep has teams A-D), socially able and well liked by peers and teachers, pretty easy going and smart but also very lazy! He's a boy who loves a wrestle and rough play but who also often chooses to head to the library in break time to read and help shelve books. He loves maths, science, geography in partic.

Any intel or up to date info would be gratefully received. I sort of feel like we should go with Radley but Bradfield would def make our lives a bit more straightforward. Teddies is a strong backup either way. We aren't hung up on achieving Oxbridge outcomes at all.

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Napacor · 21/03/2024 06:03

I would certainly suggest Radley which is also much more of a full boarding school but the choice should really be up to the child. Since your child got so many offers and you also turned down Charterhouse, Bradfield will not be the perfect fit. It is clear you have a smart and academic boy who with a little push will flourish. Any reason you turned down Charterhouse and Marlborough ?

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Boscombe · 21/03/2024 07:03

Napacor · 21/03/2024 06:03

I would certainly suggest Radley which is also much more of a full boarding school but the choice should really be up to the child. Since your child got so many offers and you also turned down Charterhouse, Bradfield will not be the perfect fit. It is clear you have a smart and academic boy who with a little push will flourish. Any reason you turned down Charterhouse and Marlborough ?

Thank you so much for replying...

We turned down the other two schools due to their size and geography, and tbh didn't get the right vibes (for us) from Charterhouse anyway.

DS is young for his year, and in general, but is also an only child so there are some collegiate benefits to boarding for him, too. Our aim isn't to get him to the 'best school', hence not bothering to apply to Harrow or Eton, but obviously there's a balance to be met in terms of ensuring he's academically interested and pushed enough but also that he feels like school is about more than just lessons and exam results.

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Elvisthedonkey · 21/03/2024 10:07

If I had those offers I think I would choose Radley (if my child wanted to full board and was academically able and hard-working). We have a friend whose son has just started there and he is loving it - although they do work them hard.

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Boscombe · 21/03/2024 10:27

Elvisthedonkey · 21/03/2024 10:07

If I had those offers I think I would choose Radley (if my child wanted to full board and was academically able and hard-working). We have a friend whose son has just started there and he is loving it - although they do work them hard.

Ok that's super helpful, thank you! I guess as long as there's a balance between working hard and other less intense things....

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Rennypie03 · 21/03/2024 16:24

Like you said Teddies is a strong back up - visited yesterday myself but for a bright kid, go for Radley

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Boscombe · 21/03/2024 16:34

Rennypie03 · 21/03/2024 16:24

Like you said Teddies is a strong back up - visited yesterday myself but for a bright kid, go for Radley

Thank you so much....that's helpful to know.

DS is bright but I don't think I'd be entirely honest if I said he were self-motivated (!!) so any school requiring that sort of kid won't suit him. He for sure will need some prods and pushes....

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RedPanda2022 · 24/03/2024 21:16

I suspect any of these schools will be absolutely fine for him. Radley is full boarding, others have a significant weekly crowd (teddies about half are in at weekends, can’t remember re bradfield). Bradfield has one giant yr9 boarding house which various people we know had dc who didn’t really like - very chaotic, noisy and busy all the time.
The folks we know at teddies who are in west London use the school run coach service - this saves parents the driving so is very popular. I think it runs Friday and Sunday but also does the exeat weekends which are Thurs to sun.

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Nettleskeins · 29/03/2024 18:06

I think with ADHD your child will probably benefit from downtime as weekly boarder, at home every weekend even if it's only 24 hours!! I don't think you can underestimate the importance of your input as parents.
Friends son enjoyed Bradfield, and found bus very convenient.
Disclaimer...all nephews weekly boarded, and did well from it, other friends sons further down the line have made clear that full boarding was not so satisfactory. Yes, they got used to it but something was lost along the way (I'm referring to Winchester and Eton here btw)

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Nettleskeins · 29/03/2024 18:15

Even at Bradfield I recall it was compulsory to spend some weekends at school, plus of course all the Saturday sports.
A relative who left Radley ten years ago, and had ADHD, found concentrating difficult and went all out for sports and performing there, although he was actually v academic and did an academic scholarly subject at university ultimately..I don't think it was such a good fit for him either, I think he had to adopt a very gung ho persona to survive. Never worked out best path after uni. Parental input has increased since he left as a result of these early setbacks...
Just thoughts!!

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Gangstamummy · 30/03/2024 13:13

I have a son with ADHD at Radley now -there have been ups and downs but he is thriving overall and the Learning Support team are great. Some of the dons have struggled a bit with him but that would be the same anywhere and they have put in mitigations that help. The team in his social/house are amazing and the range of activities he gets involved with is huge! The full on environment of full boarding suits him, though his HM lets us know if he needs a break (and is flexible if this is more than the norm). It’s also better since he moved into having his own room so can have space and time out from everything. We’re v pleased with it.

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Boscombe · 30/03/2024 17:02

RedPanda2022 · 24/03/2024 21:16

I suspect any of these schools will be absolutely fine for him. Radley is full boarding, others have a significant weekly crowd (teddies about half are in at weekends, can’t remember re bradfield). Bradfield has one giant yr9 boarding house which various people we know had dc who didn’t really like - very chaotic, noisy and busy all the time.
The folks we know at teddies who are in west London use the school run coach service - this saves parents the driving so is very popular. I think it runs Friday and Sunday but also does the exeat weekends which are Thurs to sun.

Yes, agree, thank you. We are def aware of the differences, difficulty is they've all got a variety of pros and cons ... thank you for your comment!

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Boscombe · 30/03/2024 17:06

Nettleskeins · 29/03/2024 18:06

I think with ADHD your child will probably benefit from downtime as weekly boarder, at home every weekend even if it's only 24 hours!! I don't think you can underestimate the importance of your input as parents.
Friends son enjoyed Bradfield, and found bus very convenient.
Disclaimer...all nephews weekly boarded, and did well from it, other friends sons further down the line have made clear that full boarding was not so satisfactory. Yes, they got used to it but something was lost along the way (I'm referring to Winchester and Eton here btw)

Thank you so much for commenting - I do worry about full boarding tbh, especially as DS is an only child - the conflict between what he'd gain collegiately and the fact he's so removed from home is the thing we are mostly figuring out. If it were weekly boarding I think it'd be an easy pick. Bradfield seems wonderful but his current school is so firm on it not being academically challenging enough for him (ie: he'd end up in the top quarter of lessons without much effort) that is a real concern as he v much needs to learn the lesson that effort is a rewarding thing to invest in. So....

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Boscombe · 30/03/2024 17:08

Gangstamummy · 30/03/2024 13:13

I have a son with ADHD at Radley now -there have been ups and downs but he is thriving overall and the Learning Support team are great. Some of the dons have struggled a bit with him but that would be the same anywhere and they have put in mitigations that help. The team in his social/house are amazing and the range of activities he gets involved with is huge! The full on environment of full boarding suits him, though his HM lets us know if he needs a break (and is flexible if this is more than the norm). It’s also better since he moved into having his own room so can have space and time out from everything. We’re v pleased with it.

Oh that's very encouraging to learn, thank you. How is he doing with full boarding? My DS is an only child and whilst I don't feel it right that he know my own heartbreak (💔) about him being gone so much I am a bit torn about him being gone for 2-3 weekends a time.

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Boscombe · 30/03/2024 17:09

Gangstamummy · 30/03/2024 13:13

I have a son with ADHD at Radley now -there have been ups and downs but he is thriving overall and the Learning Support team are great. Some of the dons have struggled a bit with him but that would be the same anywhere and they have put in mitigations that help. The team in his social/house are amazing and the range of activities he gets involved with is huge! The full on environment of full boarding suits him, though his HM lets us know if he needs a break (and is flexible if this is more than the norm). It’s also better since he moved into having his own room so can have space and time out from everything. We’re v pleased with it.

Oh I re-read your message - sounds like they've figured out how to help him and glad to hear he has a place to go and be on his own - my DS would def be the same.

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Gangstamummy · 30/03/2024 17:36

They actually all have their own rooms from the second year onwards which has worked well - he loved being in the cubicles/communal prep room in the Shells (first year) but it wasn’t as good an environment for concentration or for keeping him calm/grounded. And yes full boarding is hard on parents but if the child is thriving then I can cope - and they encourage attendance at matches/plays/concerts etc etc as much as you can manage so I see him most weeks to check in!

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Boscombe · 30/03/2024 21:18

Gangstamummy · 30/03/2024 17:36

They actually all have their own rooms from the second year onwards which has worked well - he loved being in the cubicles/communal prep room in the Shells (first year) but it wasn’t as good an environment for concentration or for keeping him calm/grounded. And yes full boarding is hard on parents but if the child is thriving then I can cope - and they encourage attendance at matches/plays/concerts etc etc as much as you can manage so I see him most weeks to check in!

So helpful - thank you! We are based (and work) in London so it's tough during the week but for sure weekends very doable. I quite liked the communal little cubicles whilst they all settle in and that they've own rooms thereafter. Not the same as what we'd seen at other schools.

At Bradfield it's all Yr 9 Shells together in one big house for the first year which I imagine is great for making friends but the chaos and noise wouldn't necessarily be great for DS.

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