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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:10 am 
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Does anyone have recent experience of girls' boarding schools for an overseas family with daughters who would be new to boarding please? The girls are academically capable. Stimulating teaching and an interesting, accepting, supportive environment are important. Schools currently under consideration are Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies' College and Downe House but would appreciate any information or recommendations. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:28 am 
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If your girls are new to boarding and the UK independent system then you should be aware that WA and CLC are filled with pushy parents and highly sopisticated girls iykwim, especially CLC which is a town school, a day and boarding school and has a lot of girls from London. WA is an academic power house and the girls I know who go there say there is a lot of peer pressure to be the best, the skinniest etc. I would have said Downe House was the best choice as it is far more nurturing, however be aware that most of the parents are of a certain ilk - you'll find most of them in the peerage.com :lol: - so if your not from that set it is difficult to fit in.

I would seriously consider some co-ed schools which are generally a less harsh environment.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:58 am 
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My DD is just going to be doing her exams next week for a girls boarding. It is very difficult to just rely on hearsay because you have to find a school which has to be more like a second home for your child. I saw a few school and its very hard to say why we disregarded some of them (we instantly knew they werent right). The one we ended up with on our shortlist was one we felt would not only enable my DD to succeed but to nature her too. You really need to find one with ethos you believe in. Its more about gut feelings too. The school we ended up with was one which was last on my preferance list but something just did it for us when we visited and met the other girls in the school.

Dont immediately rule out the ones that arent in the top league as WA or CLC, they would have systems in place for the academically able to be stretched. You may just need to find out how they stretch them when you visit or call them. I have some scholarship papers for WA and its really hard and shows they have a high calibre of candidates so your child will be one of the many who are clever whereas for some other schools she could be the one among a few if that makes sense.

Personally I would look for a boarding school which places high value on pastoral care as just as they do on exams too. :wink:

Is it 11+ or 13+ you're looking for and is it for 2011 entry?

WOG why do prefer coed? I thought until GCSE single ed is better? One of the co-ed I saw I immediately disliked it. The boys and girls live in the same house and only have separate dorms but share everything else. The other co-ed was diff though boys and girls had separate houses. I am still not sold on the benefits of co-ed over single sex particularly in the early years esp for girls. 6th form is a diff matter and I wholly support it then.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:11 am 
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Thank you for a quick response WFG. The social standing of parents is not important, but neither would it be a reason to decide against a school if the school and children are not socially elitist in their attitude. Do you think that a mixed school would have other social pressures for teenagers living closely? And if not, which do you recommend please?

Sherry,
thank you. It would be 13+, starting 2012. I have certainly found it difficult to sift through information from hearsay, but it is also difficult to imagine real life day to day in any of them from a visit - all seem to have a good ethos. I hope you are pleased with your choice and would be interested to hear any information you feel able to share on a board.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:26 am 
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I have not generally been pro co-ed however I feel if a parent is sending a child from overseas to board for the first time then pastoral care is the most important and I do feel that co-ed schools do a better job pastorally. I often feel that in a boys school the teachers pigeon-hole them into a certain category and have less skills to deal with the shy or quirky boy. With co-ed they have to develop skills to cope with many personalities.

I don't know many co-ed schools where the boarding houses are mixed. If I were an overseas student I would consider an IB school but I am also a big fan of Oundle and there is Marlborough too but you may have missed the deadlines for applying. WA or CLC may be perfect for your children but they are schools which tend not to suit both siblings. I have friends with one girl who is miserable at CLC and one who is thriving and this seems to be quite common. Personally I think CLC is overrated - a good school - but there are better.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:28 am 
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What I would say is if you can put them in a prep boarding school for a couple of years - Godstowe for example - then they would be able to tell you exactly what school would suit your DD's. The mainly feed to CLC, WA, Downe House and Benenden an a handful of co-ed schools such as Wellington and Marlborough.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:40 am 
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That's helpful, thank you. I don't want to send them boarding any younger than I need to since we are so far away for visiting, so prep is unfortunately out I think. Would you be able to say why you feel CLC (which I thought had a wider ability intake than WA so was hoping might suit several siblings - we have a few girls!) is overrated please?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:53 am 
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Phaedra I have send you a pm.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:57 am 
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As a day school it is a good choice and good value. But I would be very warying sending first time boarders to a school with a high day number and one in the centre of town. It's very different if they had grown up in British culture and in a British town before sending them. I would opt for a country campus school where the majority of staff remain on site and where a child cannot just wander off with a day pupil, grab the train to London and disappear for three days - and yes it has happened!

Another thing you should be aware of is many of my friends who have girls say it was a big mistake sending them to senior school at 11 instead of 13. They all became very restless and would ave preferred a 5 year stint. If you are thinking about sending them at 11 you could still send them to a prep from 11-13 and then they would have 2 years in a smaller nurturing environment whilst learning the expectations of the inde system. And as mentioned, the Head could then advise you on the perfect school.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:16 am 
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We have several friends at WA, it really is one of the most academically elite schools in the country. Maybe you’re just being modest, phaedra, but your DDs need to be much more than ‘academically capable’ to thrive at WA, they need to be straight ‘A’ students (at least :) )

I know Wellington College quite well and it is a great school in many respects. Personally, not a fan of the current HT though.

What about Rugby? On of the regular posters here has a daughter there, I think, and seems very happy with it.


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