Dauntsey's 6th form boarding - any thoughts?

(19 Posts)
HopOnMyChooChoo Mon 16-Jun-14 13:20:24

I am considering Dauntsey's for my son after his IGSCEs which will be this time next year - we are British expats.

My main concern is whether there are sufficient numbers of full time boarders in 6th form to keep him company out of school hours, or do most of them disappear home at evenings and weekends? What is the mix of nationalities like in 6th form?

How much freedom to socialise and do all the stuff that 16-18 year olds like to do at weekends? Can they go out alone without a pass, or do they have to do everything en masse like the younger seniors? He hasn't boarded before so I want to make sure we know what to expect.

I am trying to arrange a visit when I get back to the UK shortly but it's a bit tight before the end of term so I am not sure it will happen.

Has anyone had any experience of their Skype interviews?

TIA.

happygardening Tue 17-Jun-14 13:13:21

I was talking to a mother recently whose DS is at Dauntsey they love it, it's very non pretentious but she did say hardly any full boarders as there are lots of local families. If you want that area and want full boarding then Marlborough College is the one to look at.

happygardening Tue 17-Jun-14 13:15:42

I'm assuming you know it's fairly rural, Wiltshire is not exactly stuffed with public transport either.

HopOnMyChooChoo Wed 18-Jun-14 06:45:17

Yes I do know. I don't think that will be an issue, so long as there are a reasonable number of boarders for him to bond with, and depending on the level of freedom allowed at weekends etc.

celestialsquirrels Wed 18-Jun-14 23:36:32

Are you sure your 17 year old wants to be stuck on weekends in a 3/4 empty school in the middle of nowhere with no entertainment save for Salisbury plain? It sounds like a very very bad idea to me. Why don't you send him somewhere in a town? He is almost an adult. There are lots to choose from. Rugby, Marlborough, teddies, Cheltenham, Sherborne, Harrow to name but a few.

Dustylaw Thu 19-Jun-14 00:13:30

Have a look at The Leys in Cambridge. A brilliant place to go for sixth form and a safe and civilised stroll to the town centre.

HopOnMyChooChoo Thu 19-Jun-14 04:00:48

Thanks, will look.

happygardening Thu 19-Jun-14 07:27:44

Cheltenham College is also mainly weekly boarding.
I doubt you're even talking about 3/4 empty more like 7/8's gone home for the weekend.

celestialsquirrels Thu 19-Jun-14 19:16:27

I'm sure you are right happy gardening. At least in Cheltenham he could mooch around the shops and go for pizza unlike in Market Lavington!

HopOnMyChooChoo Thu 19-Jun-14 19:17:31

ok you are not filling me with confidence here. Maybe back to the drawing board. But it seems like such as nice school. sad

happygardening Thu 19-Jun-14 21:04:47

No one has said it's not a "nice school" but that doesn't mean it has lots of full boarders. Boarding schools where the vast majority have to full board are few and far between hence I suggested Marlborough if you want Wiltshire and full boarding.

celestialsquirrels Thu 19-Jun-14 21:51:24

It is a really good school. But if I was 17 and being sent to board in England I would wonder why on earth I was being exiled to a school in the middle of the countryside where I was basically alone on weekends. You need to think of him as an adult. Where will he get a good experience of England, make great friends for life and learn to move towards independence? Not there, that's for sure...

Pepperpot69 Mon 23-Jun-14 01:16:41

Why do you all want to expose children to towns and cities so fast? They have the rest of their life for that. School is school...for learning and getting through exams. The peace and quiet of dauntsey sounds perfect for 6th form where he can make non-pretentious friends in a gentle environment. when teenagers are already struggling with hormones and enough pressures in life why do they need enhanced peer pressure and more outside influences? Boys are notoriously slow to mature which is why schools like dauntsey are so ideal. Living in the middle of no where and our children in a rural prep, I was also worried that they would need 'exposure' but I have realised this is rubbish! Go with your gut instinct..only you know your DS!

happygardening Mon 23-Jun-14 01:22:32

I agree "go with your instinct" concept but the OP is looking for full boarding (she is abroad) she asked if there were sufficient numbers for full boarding and regardless of where the school is and how slowly or quickly boys mature the simple answer is that the school does not have many full headers this has nothing to do with gut instinct it's fact.

Dustylaw Mon 23-Jun-14 10:53:54

No intention of doing down rural schools and especially rural preps but it is a real plus in my view for teenage boarders to be able to get out of school and into town. Ideally you want a safe and easy journey into that town and an interesting and safe town. And you need enough boarders so they are going around with their friends and not on their own. Sixth formers of course will have more freedom than younger years but going out is still controlled - they aren't going to be out clubbing (like they probably will be in only a couple of years!).

MillyMollyMama Mon 23-Jun-14 17:15:43

I think children can get very bored when they are older in the middle of nowhere and this is why so many go home at weekends. A country prep is not really a comparison to a full boarding school. So I do think having a bigger town to go to can alleviate the boredom. It is not really anything to do with growing up slower or faster, it is about what actually makes you tick as a person. Being a boarder with few like minded children around can be quite isolating. That is not really a country/town issue. Who the other boarders are, that stay in, can make a huge difference to a child's well being.

Tweetinat Mon 23-Jun-14 17:37:23

My sister left Dauntsey's last year and absolutely loved it. I have to say that I was very envious of the opportunities it afforded here and she has blossomed into an amazing young woman there. Although my Dad and SM live I my an hour away, she didn't come home every weekend (maybe only once a month) as there were lots of things happening at the weekend so I would say don't rule it out on the basis that it doesn't have lots of full time boarders. Although I wasn't directly involved in her 'life' there I got the impression that the pastoral care was excellent. Happy to get her / my parents to answer any specific questions if you want via PM.

Tweetinat Mon 23-Jun-14 18:01:34

Not quite clear from my post my my DSis was a boarder not a day pupil.

redmapleleaves Mon 23-Jun-14 21:07:43

We were UK expats and our DD was a full boarder at Dauntseys last year in Y9. She loved it. We looked at lots of schools, had no links to Dauntseys nor the area, and chose it over others with high proportions of full boarders for its grounded unpretentious nature and good pastoral care. She felt there were more than enough full boarders that there was always a good critical mass at weekends, and had a great social life.
While she was there there were considerable security risks in the country we were in and lots of other family stress. Her housemaster, and staff generally, offered exemplary support. You couldn't have hoped for better. I'd say take a look and go with your gut. Do pm me if you'd like to know more.

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