Withington Girls School Entrance Exams

(59 Posts)
yummymumoftwoandanangel Tue 14-Aug-12 12:16:12

We have registered our 10 year old daughter to write the secondary school entrance exams in January 2013. Can anyone please recommend any private tutors who are specialised in this particular entrance exam? Thanks.

Runningchick123 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:59:19

The mgs cohort at age 7 only makes up a tiny fraction of its gcse / A level cohort, because most students don't join until they are 11. The junior dept is still relatively new in the scheme of things, so isn't comparable with some other 7-18 indie schools.

Runningchick123 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:05:18

Just checked the mgs website and its junior dept only opened in 2008, prior to then it only accepted boys from age 11. So the current GCSE / A level results are from students that would not have been at the school from age 7.

bmw66 Sat 24-Aug-13 17:55:48

sorry should of made myself clearer, yr7 normaly is understood as 1st yr in senior school, i.e yr6 is the final yr of primary but indies often adopt different nomenclature, anyway to answer my own question I think it depends on the child , for my son Ithink he would of found it difficult to cope in such an intense envornment as MGS although he is very strong in maths, science and reasoning , he was quite poor in english level 4b at end of yr6 in key stage 2, approx working towards a grade C at gcse , however with the support and gentle guidance of The Grange he is on target for an A which would be a remarkable achievement for him, but my daughter is genuinely an all rounder and easily within the top 1-2% of the national cohort and would of flourished at WGS BUT the idea of paying 2 sets of fees still brings me out in a cold sweat, so AGGS was a compromise but a reasonable one for us , there are plenty of very bright girls there to keep her on her toes and give her a very good run for her money ( 18 6th former gained Oxbridge places this yr) .
So to summarise , yes MSG and WGS are the most prestigious and academic schools in the north they are not necessarily always the best option for our children even if they pass the entrance exam, its important to know your child , and act in their best interest and not just try to keep up with the Jones!

Runningchick123 Sat 24-Aug-13 18:58:26

bmw66 you were actually perfectly clear; it was me that had a glass of wine last night and then came on mums net and misinterpreted and didn't read properly due to the alcohol what you had written about year 7.
My son really wants to go to mgs but not sure if he will manage the intensity. He would probably be ok academcally as got 4c in maths, 4c in reading and 4c in writing at the end if year 3 when he did sats. So I would imagine at the end of year 6 he would do better and be high even 5's / some level 6's. But I'm not sure that emotionally he would enjoy mgs as much as perhaps SGS/ CHGS. I hadn't even considered the grange due to proximity from where we live. The results are very similar to mgs, but im not sure if that's due to the intakes being of similar ability or the teaching being better at grange to make better improvements etc.
school choices are so difficult and prior to a couple of years ago I wouldn't have even considered going private due to the cost and my own pig headed socialist attitude, but after a horrendous few years at state school and not having many other options where I live private is the right choice.
If I lived in Trafford and could get a place at a state grammar then I absolutely would choose that.
Well done to your son and the school for making such a great improvement.

MaryKatharine Sat 24-Aug-13 22:58:55

We no longer live in the area but when we did, my NCT group with dd2 happened to have 2 mums who had attended WGS. Both said they would never send their daughters there. I know that's just a sample of 2 but made it sound like a horrible place with stories of standing on chairs if you dropped a grade and stuff.

I sent my eldest 2 to CHS whilst we were there and I also knew of one parent who moved her exceptionally bright Y8 girl from WGS to CHS because she felt the intensity was such that it wasn't allowing her DD to be a child. But of course, that same intensity is what many parents pay for and of course, what many girls will thrive on. I don't think it's just about intelligence, more a mix of brains and the right personality.

bmw66 Sun 25-Aug-13 01:15:55

dear MaryKatherine
you are kind of making my point! but with respect I think you are being a little unfair ,the example you give of your "exceptionally bright yr8 from WGS" may of been,quite ordinary amist the very exceptional group of girls at WGS , I went to Oxford and even I sometimes felt inadequate amonst my (comprehensive) peers ,the secret to sucess is not intelliigence but resilience and hard work , some exceptional bright kids think oxbridge is some kind of automatic right!" well if you cannot compete at schools like WGS or MGS you have no chance at Oxbridge or other elite unis IMO

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 12:56:00

I agree it's not just about intelligence. But this girl was very bright. I do know the difference. I have four kids. DS1 is very bright and top of his class. DD1 is academically gifted and in a whole different league to her brother. SHe is not just top of her class but ahead of pretty much everyone else in the school despite just going into Y3 this year.

I wouldn't have sent her to WGS though because I wanted a school that would place everything else on an equal footing with academic learning. If left to her own devices she would plough through a narrow academic education going in for 4 or 5 Alevels etc. I wanted a school that saw hockey and art as important as maths and chemistry. And somewhere that if she had said she wanted to be a travel rep or a singer in a bar would encourage her in that as much as if she told them she wanted to be a doctor.

I do know this is just my own personal preference and many parents actually pay for schools such as WGS to ensure their daughters get the very best Alevels possible. Because she is gifted, I paid to ensure that her schooling was by much a stretch sideways if that makes sense.

jalamwaca Sun 25-Aug-13 13:00:41

I agree bmw66,brains alone wont get you anywhere.Yes there are girls who are extremely academic at WGS and that's all, but the vast majority
bring a lot more to the table ie not only do they have brains but also play a sport to a high standard and/ or play an instrument.With respect MaryKatherine, you know nothing about WGS,you have never had a child study there and are basing your judgement purely on hearsay.

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 13:40:24

There's no need to be rude! I did say my experience was a small sample. I dont pretend to know the ins and outs of any school i have not had direct dealings with.However, I am also a teacher who has taught in secondary schools across the Manchester/Cheshire area. And I have an exceptionally able daughter. She isn't just bright, she is genuinely gifted, mainly in maths but her English is well ahead too. She is also extremely sporty and currently enjoying learning both violin and piano and although she shows no exceptional musical talent, she enjoys learning them and is fairly competent at both.

On paper, she is very much the sort of girl who would thrive at WGS and she would easily pass the entrance exam. I'm sure her confidence and all roundness would see her through the interview too. But it wasn't what I wanted for her. Not all parents are looking for the same thing in a school. I certainly have never chosen a school based on its results and have never had any interest in paying to ensure the best Alevel results. I pay for them to enjoy the experience of a good school.

Anyway, we now live at the other end of the country so it's a moot point. Oh and I would always opt for co-ed too as I believe it to be a better reflection of real life and I wanted all my children educated together. Again, that's a personal choice. I am not saying WGS is a bad school, just that it's not right for all girls or all parents and the reason isn't always because the girls aren't bright enough or don't have enough to bring to the table.

jalamwaca Sun 25-Aug-13 14:28:37

It annoys me immensely to hear parents harping on about schools that they have no direct experience of their children attending.Making a comment about WGS getting girls to stand on chairs if they dropped a grade?Was this in the 70's?
As far as deciding it was the right school for my daughter,we let her decide as we were happy for her to attend any of CHS,MHSG,AESG,WGS and she ultimately chose WGS.WGS isn't for everyone,you're right but my daughter made the right choice for her and wanted to push herself.

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 15:34:04

The 2 parents in my NCT group were in their late 30s so I'm guessing the 1980s. I wasn't making any assumptions just thought it interesting that 2 women who only got to know each other 5yrs ago both had the same experience. I was hardly passing it as scientific evidence. hmm and actually, their experience, albeit dated, is no more anecdotal that parents who have had one daughter attend the school.

If your daughter chose it and is happy then I don't see the problem. I just think its unfair to suggest that the very best girls either in academic terms or 'all rounders' would always choose WGS over everything else and that the ones who chose MHSG did so because they weren't good enough for WGS. As suggested by another poster on this thread. It's also not true that all parents of such girls would chose WGS for their daughters. My children are currently at a wonderful prep.

There is another local to us with an amazing reputation for getting children into highly desirable, well known senior schools inc top public schools. My older 2 children sat assessments there when we moved. Both passed but they offered dd1 a massive scholarship to attend but it simply wasn't what I was looking for. I much preferred the one we chose as during our visit they took a break from lessons to pull waterproofs on and run out to jump in puddles as the rain had been relentless all wk and there seemed to be a small break in it at that moment. That's why I chose it as that was exactly what I was looking for at primary. I want a senior school with the same ethos. Not puddle jumping but the age appropriate equivalent. I don't want somewhere who wants dd1 because she is academically gifted just to give her back to me with 5 A* Alevel and an Oxbridge offer. I want somewhere who want her because she's funny and quirky and who would want her for those qualities even if she wasn't as bright. My DD2 is nowhere near the levels of her sister. She is probably just above average so not as able as either of her older siblings. But she is an amazing girl, so friendly and popular and the happiest child I have ever known. I want them to go to school. Together somewhere that will challenge both and help them become happy, confident young women. That is all I'm interested in.

Parents want different things otherwise there wouldn't be so much diversity within the independent sector.

Runningchick123 Sun 25-Aug-13 16:30:58

In the 1980s they probably did make the girls stand on their chairs for dropping a grade - in the early 1970s most schools also used the slipper and the cane (state and private).
We have moved with the times, thngs have changed and telling stories about things that happened 30 years ago isnt helpful.

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 16:39:28

But a school ethos can change dramatically in as little as 5yrs. It may not be helpful but only in so much as a parent needs to visit with their daughter and get their own feel for the place. As I said, different parents want different things from education. When we lived in the area, I deliberately discounted Ladybarn as it seemed to sell itself on prepping for WGS and MGS, neither of which was for me.

In the same way, It is equally as unhelpful to suggest that girls who attend MHSG do so because they didn't make the grade for Withington.

bmw66 Sun 25-Aug-13 17:47:56

my son would not of made the grade for MGS when he was 11 yrs old , so he went to The Grange I would not get offended if someone pointed it out it's just a statement of fact , it does not make him any less of a person in my eyes or any other sensible persons eyes! we all know different childred mature at different rates, so WGS is more academic then MHSG so what ?

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 19:04:01

I'm not sure what your point is? I have already pointed out the difference between my children. It doesn't mean I think any less of dd2 because she's not as academic as her sister. My point was that not all the brightest and the best would necessarily chose Withington. Some of those girls would chose MHSG or CHS instead. That choice doesn't mean they are not as bright as the girls who chose Withington.

bmw66 Sun 25-Aug-13 19:29:57

my point is the issue only becomes contentious when posters try to contradict all the avialable evidence.
WGS is more academic then MHSG -the evidence is overwhelming over many yrs
why does it seem strange the the enty criteria would be more stringent for WGS
yes you are right there are plenty of girls who passed both but chose MHSG for the reasons you have rightly pointed out , but IMO on the balance of probability most parents would rightly or wrongly choose WGS over MHSG Iif for no other reason but to have bragging rights over their neighbours , sadly thats just human nature , as I have siad before we as parents have a resposibility to choose on the basis of the childs best interest.
I not trying to be provocative , honest ,I am just trying to make sense of this age old rivalry

jalamwaca Sun 25-Aug-13 19:49:39

My son is not an MGS boy either,he is not interested in sitting the exam and wants to go to CHS,SGS or Kings. Does any one have any feedback on a good school for a boy whose weakness is English?(slightly Dyslexic)?Any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks.

MaryKatharine Sun 25-Aug-13 19:55:58

I guess what you're saying is that if your son had been more academic then you would have sent him to MGS. So I fundamentally differ in that I would not put my DS in for the MGS exam nor would I put my DD in for the exam at Withington (or MHSG for that matter). I would have probably kept them at CHS because it seemed to have a very different ethos to the others. I didn't like Stockport Grammar either. We did visit The Grange and i quite liked it but as we lived in Wilmslow it seemed too far away.

Anyway, I certainly wouldn't chose a school to give me 'bragging rights'. And I agree that we all have a responsibility to make the right choices for our kids. But for me, sending my naturally very academic DD1 to a school renound for being very academic would only have narrowed her education. I want it to be as rounded as possible. I want her presented with all the options and it not just be expected that she take all academic Alevels and go to university. If she tells them she wants to be a hairdresser then I want a school that will say, 'great!' Here's how you go about that.

Just to be clear, if she wants to go to university, then great, we will support her all the way. DH is an Oxford educated lawyer and I have my degree, PGCE and MA from a top 5 university so we are not anti education by any means. I just want something different for them all, especially dd1.
People pay their money and make their choice. It's just that they wouldn't necessarily all make the same choice from what's on offer.

bmw66 Sun 25-Aug-13 20:27:55

MK , I don't think we that far apart in this discussion it's just when one makes statements like "forcing girls to stand on chairs" is going to get peoples back up and frighten others who may children at WGS or potential parents reading this post in yrs to come.
I am sorry if I offended you in anyway it was not my intention XX

bmw66 Sun 25-Aug-13 20:52:12

jalamwaca
SGS and CHS are academic schools and if your son can pass their 11+ then I am sure they can maximise his potential.
however if he average across all the subjects i.e 4b or less at KS2 have alook at North Cestrian Grammar School in Altrincham or Hillcrest in Cale Green in Stockport.
now Imust go and do some washing

jalamwaca Mon 26-Aug-13 14:52:25

MK,I guess what I am saying is he has no interest in going there regardless of whether he would pass the entrance exam or not and nor do I.Just because my daughter goes to a very academic school doesn't mean I automatically want the same for my son as he is a completely different child with different needs. .Ill end here by saying all schools have their pros and cons,its all down to individual preference and I think all the private/grammar schools in the Manchester /Cheshire area offer an exceptional education and we are very lucky to have such an abundant choice for our children.

bmw66 Wed 28-Aug-13 14:34:02

DEAR R/C 123
I just thought you may find this link useful when deciding on your choice of indie for your very clever boy.
It had some influence on our choice of school the research came out in 2009 around the same time we where in your predicament

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/why-singlesex-schools-are-bad-for-your-health-if-youre-a-boy-1831636.htmlt
I know you are a nerd ! and knowledge is power and all that!!
my personal view in the end was " I have no problem with other peoples' girls civilising my son but I rather not have my girl distracted , she is sensitive and civilised enough , (wink)
it was an important reason we chose co-ed for your son, no doubt new research will totally contradict this article !!

bmw66 Wed 28-Aug-13 14:41:25

if you have difficulty in getting the page google "why single sex schools are bad for your health if you are a boy the independent."
all comments well for and against !!

Runningchick123 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:29:14

Bmw66 - thanks for the link, it was an interesting read.
I have to admit that I would prefer my son to go to SGS, partly due to proximity from where we live but also partly because it is co-ed, but he has his mind focused on getting into MGS. I have prepared him for the fact that MGS will be looking for a higher academic level and certain personal qualities when he sits the entrance test as I don't want him to be disappointed if he doesn't get in.
We are going to attend the upcoming open days dor a variety of schools and get a feel for them all and he might change his mind. Me and DH don't mind what his choices are, we just worry about financing it in the long term and worry about our son being happy with whatever choice he makes.
Our son is currently at an indie prep and they will help guide us towards which school environment would suit our son so hopefully we will be able to make the right decision taking into account where our son wants to go. The current school is not a feeder for any particular senior school so they won't be too biased.
The article that you linked to was food for thought and confirmed a lot of what I thought about single sex schools, although I went to a girls school and was surprised that the findings are not the same for girls schools as they are for boys schools. I do wonder if part of the statistical evidence is due to the fact that boys are expected to be the breadwinners and work hard and get high paid jobs and are more pressured. I know that this fact might be more relevant in certain cultures and boys from the previous generations. Hopefully things are changing.

Computer1 Wed 28-Aug-13 23:45:20

Bmw66. Thank you for usefull suggestions,we have started Bond VR and maths but will try English books as you suggested. Any more suggestions for interview prep?

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