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Radley College

School rating 4 / 5 by

Radley Abingdon Oxfordshire OX14 2HR United Kingdom
6th to 12th
Boys only


Radley College review by .

Radley College performs very respectably in academic league tables, despite requiring a relatively low common entrance pass mark for admittance. In terms of 'value added' per pupil, therefore, it is highly impressive academically. Radley is very strong in terms of sciences and mathematics (notably it is one of very few schools that offer triple maths at A level), as well as other core subjects: humanities, English and languages. The range of possible subjects is perhaps less impressive. For example, Radley did not offer Law, English Language or media studies when I studied there. The rationale for this is probably that such subjects are not so highly regarded by the top universities, although costs and resources might be an issue. The school's high quality teaching in maths, sciences and English gave me an invaluable grounding for my economics course at Cambridge. Class sizes were small, especially at A-level. GCSE classes were larger but still of a very acceptable size, ensuring sufficient attention on each pupil, especially those struggling. Students are allocated into sets or streams from the outset, allowing them to be taught to an appropriate level. Work loads were certainly manageable but ensured that the curriculum material was hammered home. Indeed one criticism of Radley could be the spoon fed approach to teaching and a a strong focus on teaching how to excel in the exam as opposed to learning the subject. However this approach suits many students and the results speak for themselves. Furthermore the range of possible extra-curricular activities and societies is highly impressive.

College Counseling

This is an area in which Radley could improve. Although the teaching was excellent, as....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

There is a very long waiting list for Radley, so the child's name should be....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

The quality of life, in some respects, was outstanding and we could only be described as spoiled when one considers the setting, the magnificent grounds and the qualifications of the staff. However, like all boarding schools, the first year can be tough. There is a certain hierarchy where the older boys are top of the pecking order. The school had 8 houses when I was there (now 10 I believe). The accommodation was excellent. In my house I had my own room for 4 out of 5 years and was in a cubicle in a dormitory for the first year. All 600....

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