Westfield school, Newcastle(7 Posts)
I'm seriously considering Westfield for DD who has due to start Reception in September. Does anyone here have DC there?
Right now we're actually debating between Westfield and Central Newcastle High but I know that Central is merging with Church High and will be Newcastle High School for girls in September. I think Central does better academically than Westfield but Westfield is smaller which I think I prefer.
I've heard that both of them can be quite cliquey but not sure if there's any truth to that.
We're also considering Newcastle School for Boys for DS but he's only five months at the moment so we have a while to make any decisions regarding him. Still if anyone has DC there it will be interesting to hear their experiences.
I'm in a similar position to you. My DD is 2 so is due to start nursery in September. We have looked around Dame Allan's, Westfield and Newcastle High School for Girls. I actually attended Westfield from the age of 3 to 13 and then went on to Dame Allan's where I stayed until after 6th form. However I'm 35 now and things do change.
My thoughts/feelings after looking around all 3 and doing a bit of research are as follows:
Westfield - the same head mistress (Mrs Farndale) is still there as when I attended although she does retire at the end of this school year. My DH and I really liked the atmosphere of the school however the school is literally dropping to bits IMO. It is exactly the same as when I was there and has had very little investment. On the day I visited, nursery and reception were in one room together as there simply wasn't enough children to have them separated. This concerns me more from the point of view of the reception class children. Are they really getting what the need when nursery children are being catered for in the same classroom? I also have concerns over the long term viability of the school. My intention is to find the right school for my DD and for her to follow through that school all the way to 18. I quizzed the head about this and she assured me that Westfield was financially sound and will be here for a long time to come. However I know that pupil numbers in the school have been falling and I have downloaded the accounts for Westfield from the companies house website for the last few years (I'm an accountant BTW) and I'm just not convinced that Westfield will be here in 15 years time. They are loss making year on year and whilst they do own the Gosforth site with some outstanding mortgage I don't know how much longer they will keep the school going unless they manage to increase numbers. My other concern goes back to my personal experience. The vast majority of the girls I know who continued on at Westfield to 18 don't really have what I would call professional careers. I don't mean this in an awful way but quite a few went on the be cabin crew or work on beauty counters. My main concern in the DD is happy and if this is what she decides to do then that's fine but I do want all possible options to be open to her. I always enjoyed my time at Westfield and didn't find it to be too cliquey and IMO you could get this at absolutely any school.
Dame Allan's - we looked round the new junior school at Hunters Moor. Again I have personal experience of the school and was always happy there. I won't include much about Dame Allan's as I'm not sure you're interested in this one. Briefly, the new school building is amazing and facilities are second to none. My main concerns here are that I'm not convinced that the pastoral care will be on the same level as that given by Westfield and Newcastle High School for Girls. I fear that DD could just be a number. In addition I have reviewed the last independent schools inspection report for Dame Allans (carried out in 2011) and this concerns me greatly. It is nowhere near as good as the inspection reports for both Westfield and Central High/Church High. On the flip side the vast majority of my year group are all in professional careers (doctors, dentists, vets, solicitors, accountants etc).
Newcastle High School for Girls - I don't know why but I really didn't expect to like this school when I looked round and TBH only really looked round for completeness sakes. However, both my husband and I loved the school. Our daughter seemed to instantly settle there. The school building was fully renovated last year and is fabulous inside with fantastic facilities. It had a great feel about it and all the girls were lovely and you can tell from the interaction between the children and teachers that there was a real level of caring there. Obviously the school Newcastle High School for girls doesn't actually exist until September 2014 so I looked at the independent schools inspection reports for Central High and Church High both of which are excellent. I'm assuming that since Central High is the much larger school and it s the head of Central that is taking over the new school that it is the culture of Central that will largely prevail over the new school.
We have yet to make a final decision and plan to look around again but at the moment we are leaning toward Newcastle High School for Girls.
I hope this helps.
If anyone else has any other opinions I would be very interested to hear also.
Church parents are pretty hacked off with the Central merger, as Church is generally where girls are sent for a bit of TLC. When La Sagesse closed, most f the girls that were a bit quiet/had SEN went there. Central is regarded as a bit of a bitchy hot house, especially in Seniors.
NSB OK, mass exodus to RGS fir Yr 3 and Yr 7.
NPS lovely, as is Dame Allens; never heard any parent say a bad word about them.
I have a DS who went fom state to RGS at Yr3; ther DS is sitting fir RGS soon. I'd send him to NPS otherwise.
I don't see how Westfield is going to survive. Private schools are closing like mad in Newcastle. RGS is expanding, although I think they have physically reached their limit now.
I have (had) three girls at Central (seniors) over the past three years and recognise nothing of the bitchy hothouse, Highlander.
DD2 moved at a critical time in her schooling and has had nothing but fantastic support from both staff and girls. All the girls were immediately accepted into already established friendship groups and they have all been/are very happy there.
We have 'done' six schools over my daughters' school careers, four if them girls' schools, and there is no more bitching at Central than any of the others they've attended and, according to my daughters, less angst and stress amongst the girls. When there was a suggestion that my youngest was having a bit of a problem, I emailed her form teacher, had a reply within the hour and it was all sorted by the next day.
We couldn't have asked for any more as parents than what our girls are receiving from the school.
It's a shame if the Church parents aren't happy about the merger (there are parents at Central who feel the same), but from what I can see, it seems to be being handled well. I'm not in the least bit worried about it.
I pm'd you op.
I'm out of the loop regarding the whys and wherefores of most of the Newcastle schools now - but I'd be wary of any with low pupil numbers as I know they were getting absolutely decimated as the senior schools reached further and further down the age range in previous years (I worked at one which closed in such circumstances).
There is one teacher at RGS who I wouldn't let within 100 feet of my kids though - she used to fairly regularly refer to children in her classes as "little scroats" from within the privacy of the staff room...
After thinking about it, I don't think Westfield actually sounds that great. Is it a small school because it wants to be that way, ie they only let a certain number of girls in each year or because people are opting for other private schools in the area over Westfield? I know it does pride itself on being a small school.
I have thought about Dame Allens. I like the fact that it's co-ed in the junior school, single sex in secondary and co-ed again in sixth form so the students get the advantage of learning in a single sex environment whilst still mixing with the opposite sex. It means that both DS and DD could go there. I've also thought about RGS - that's supposed to be an excellent school and it's the first school that comes to mind when I think of private schools in the area. RGS doesn't accept student until Year 3 though so we'd need to find another school in the mean time anyways.
I like the thought of an all girl school for DD though. Central is meant to be a very good school although I have heard it can be a bitchy hot house like someone else mentioned above but GirlsTimesThree didn't have that experience. It's just it's merger with Church High to form Newcastle High School for Girls which is putting me off slightly as we can't predict that it will keep that up when it becomes a bigger school. I assume that even though Central is bigger than Westfield that classes are still kept reasonably small?
Oh yeah, how do I check PM's. [feels stupid]
I think you go to the purple box 'My Mumsnet', click and you get a drop down menu.... I think, but I'm a bit dim with anything technological...
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