Wimbledon High School(5 Posts)
I would be most grateful for some advice from people with children at WHS or direct experience. My daughter has been very fortunate and has just received a place for 4+ entry at WHS (the drop off is close to me)
We are also awaiting her Alleyn's outcome (the drop off is close to my work) which comes in later than the deadline for the WH acceptance.
1. I found the girls at WHS very impressive on the open days: eloquent, confident and proud of their school. This gave the impression that they were all very happy. I have formerly been very pro co-educational (to be honest I disliked some of the girls schools I went to as a child) and despite this I loved the feel of this school. I just wondered if anybody feels there is any disadvantage to this school being all girls e.g like the stereotypes (girls being mean to each other etc) and how their children are with boys-especially as they get older? My daughter does have a brother and a good relationship with her father so maybe it doesn't matter, but we did note that there are no male role models there as teachers (bar the janitors that the headmistress was keen to point out!). Any experiences? Any pros and cons in general?
2. I don't have much of a sense of the senior school, but is there much in the way of any problems with drugs, eating disorders or underage activities in general (boys!)? I know there will be potential access in any school/parties etc, but just wanted to check there was no particular problem?
3. Has anybody been in the position of another school outcome coming after you need to accept a potential school? What did you do if you were unsure which you would choose? Obviously I could just pay the deposit and then forfeit it later (I can see the small print says you need to give a terms notice, if children start in September I presume that would be from now) or I could talk to the school?
4. Any thoughts if she is lucky enough to get into both what you might choose and why (for some reason the children at Alleyn's seemed more shy and it was harder to gauge how happy they were but it really grew on me with each visit-but obviously the facilities are incredible and it's co-educational with great parent feedback on the assessment day and on mumsnet!)?
I think one can really overthink all of this, but any thoughts are most welcome!
I may not be much help to you as I don't have a daughter at WHS, it is simply our favourite choice for the future (she is not yet 3)
BUT... when we visited I also was very impressed and it didn't feel like one of those 'girl's schools' that I, too, had bad experience of as a child, with underhand bullying etc.
I've had conversations with current parents and it does seem that a few (roughly 10-15 per cent) of the girls leave at the end of the junior school to attend different schools. Some because they win places at super-selective non-fee-paying grammar schools eg in Kingston. Some because they board outside London. I haven't actually heard of any moving to a co-ed school BUT would this be an option for you to consider for the future? In our ideal world (and all this is a long way off and we don't even have a place at WHS yet - or maybe at all!!) we would send our daughter to WHS for the junior school and then, if we still feel (as we currently do) that we are happier with a co-ed school, we would look further afield for senior options (eg Alleyns) when she is older and the travel is not so much of an issue for her.
Does that make any sense?
I previously ruled out even looking at WHS because I assumed all the girls automatically went onto the seniors and that it would be unfair on DD to persuade her to leave before seniors, uprooting her from her friends etc if nobody else was leaving. But I was reassured to hear, as I say, that a small group DO leave, because it feels like it leaves the option open to change tack later on.
Thanks for your response, yes I suppose that's definitely a possibility. I think it depends if she is lucky enough to get both offers or not. If she does then we are in a real pickle as if we decide Alleyns would be better for secondary school then it seems really tough on our daughter to go to WH first, when she already had a place, and then get her to go through all of the stress of entrance exams to the senior school that she originally had a place at! In a way then if the choice is made for me that would be easier (i.e one option) as then a shift later is feasible if she is unhappy. There are so many pros and cons to either it seems an almost impossible decision. Either way I know she is super lucky, so what will be will be and hopefully will be right for her (or she will move and then it will be right) :-). It's just such a weighty burden trying to figure out where one's child will be MOST happy!!!!
I so hope that your daughter gets into your top choice for her and it's good to hear that children do shift if need be!
rmr100, I posted a link to your query on the Mumsnet Merton & Wimbledon FB page. Wimbledon High School responded thus:
"Wimbledon High School GDST Thank you. We would warmly encourage this potential WHS parent to contact us here at the school so that we can answer these questions directly."
Although I would say that they missed the point of your post - that you would like 'insider' insights from local parents who have direct experience of the school, rather than the official school perspective.
OP, you have obviously made your decision by now, but I had two DDs at WHS and cannot recommend it highly enough. Your impressions at the Open Day were absolutely spot on - the girls are very happy there, very supportive of each other and incredibly busy and motivated. All 'sorts' of children are valued and appreciated and there is no 'type' of child as you find in some other schools.
If you decided on WHS for your DD, you will discover what a fantastic choice you've made in the years to come.
There is absolutely no disadvantage to it being single-sex - there are close links with KCS (and also Willington and Rokeby due to brothers going there) and many girls join Scouts when they are older and also have other community activities for contact with boys, so it is not a 'big deal'.
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