Withington Girls School Entrance Exams

(65 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.

ALittleScatterOfRain Thu 06-Sep-12 00:38:41

Hello, I don't know if you've managed to find somebody by now, but I thought I'd answer just in case! I'm afraid I don't know a particular tutor, but can give you some pointers if that would help. Feel free to ignore if you know this already though!

Withington's is a bit of a funny entrance exam, it's designed to test for potential, so it looks at how you tackle the questions, not just if you get the answers right. It's hard to tutor for it as they'll ask questions above the level expected for year 6 to test how the girls think.

There are two English papers (comprehension and essay I think), two maths (paper A is straightforward questions, paper B is more problem solving and applied questions) and a non-verbal reasoning test.

The best thing to do (whether you find a tutor or not) would be to get hold of some of the papers (if you go to the open day they sell them then) so your DD can go through them and get the feel of them. If she's never done non-verbal reasoning before you definitely should have a go as they're hard if you've never seen them before, they're different to anything she'd have seen.

I would say one of the most important things though is to be well read, it makes such an impact on vocab in the essay and it makes the comprehension easier too. It also helps at the interviews, I'm pretty sure reading is one of the things that's often talked about (although maybe not as much with the new headmistress, I'm not sure).

If I'm not being too nosy, is she at a prep school (because then you'd probably know all the above grin )? Where else is she thinking of sitting?

yummymumoftwoandanangel Fri 07-Sep-12 22:38:50

Thanks for the information. Our daughter is at a prep school but not one of the recognised prep feeder schools that send a high number of girls to Withington every year. This puts her at a slight disadvantage. We were at last year's open day and really impressed. Our daughter is consistently at the top end of her class in both Maths and English. We have been working through Bond with her for sometime now. The reason why we are looking for a tutor with knowledge of the Withington exams is based on advice that was given to us by a friend who is a headteacher in the Manchester area. He thought that a few final months coaching with a tutor would help immensely. We are also considering Manchester High School for Girls but then she hasn't done any Non Verbal Reasoning at all and this is putting us off a bit.

Ceebeejay Mon 10-Sep-12 12:07:42

I really wouldn't waste any money on a tutor for the Withington exam these days as under the new headmistress I don't know anybody who hasn't been offered a place - certainly last year. It will be interesting to see how the place changes in the next few years due to the lower academic standards of the girls being admitted under the new head.

nwmum Tue 11-Sep-12 12:04:36

Ceebeejay, I 've heard of girls who passed the exam but failed the interview at Withington last year. do you have add at Withington? What do you think of Man High?

ALittleScatterOfRain Tue 11-Sep-12 13:03:25

Apparently Manchester High's new head is really good, much preferred to the last one. Unlike the new WGS head.

Interestingly enough, she was a business woman first, like the new head at WGS- perhaps they don't make as good headteachers?

I should have said, I was at WGS until recently, and my DSis left this year.

I agree with you Ceebeejay it will be interesting. I know 5-10 years before I went, Man High was where you went if you were clever and Withington was more the school for young ladies. Perhaps it will swing back that way? I hope not, but then I'm obviously biased.

Try not to worry about the feeder school, some of the girls are very prepped for the exams but once they get there, they're the ones who struggle more <coughLadybarncough>. If you're daughter gets in because she's bright enough to go without being drilled, she'll be absolutely fine there smile

You will need to do non-verbal reasoning though, I think almost every school (including WGS) uses it now.

A good rule of thumb about the interviews is the earlier your interview the better!

yummymumoftwoandanangel Wed 12-Sep-12 12:00:23

Thanks so much for the information. It's been really useful. I will get a Bond book on Non Verbal Reasoning and she can practice at home. Judging purely based on their GCSE results for the past 3 years it seems WGHS has an advantage over MHGS. If we are lucky and she passes both exams then the final decision would have to come from our daughter herself. We would also attend the Open Days for both schools this autumn and give her as much information and assistance to enable her make an informed decision. At the end of the day it's not just about academia. Thanks once again.

Ceebeejay Fri 14-Sep-12 16:57:07

I agree with ALittleScatterOfRain re the quality of the new head at MHSG - very approachable and unlike WGS new head actually takes time to meet the pupils, wander around school and watch school performances. WGS head is too keen to work a standard 9-5 day and regularly disappears at the appointed time irrespective of what is going on - no interest in mixing with pupils or parents either bar the bare minimum. Also not popular with staff.
nwmum I did until recently - we observed new head for couple of years then, based on our own observations and feedback from girls higher up the school decided to transfer. I still have plenty of friends there so I listen to their observations with interest!! Interestingly not one is happy - one daughter is top of the year at WGS but not being stretched at all. Enough said or I will be outed!!

Ceebeejay Fri 14-Sep-12 16:58:04

yummymumoftwoandanangel - remember the next few years exam results are based on Mrs Pickerings intake of girls and not the new head!

yummymumoftwoandanangel Mon 31-Dec-12 11:06:13

Exactly two more weeks to go before the Withington Girls and Manchester High School for Girls Exams. Any last minute tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

13ismyluckynumber Sat 09-Mar-13 21:35:12

I'm going to be honest here, I'm completely outraged by this new vendetta against WGS and the new head. The standards of intake at WGS have not been lowered and the new head is not as bad as people have been saying. She took a while to settle in but she's beginning to settle in and adapting to the WGS environment. WGS' success is based on the extremely high quality of teaching staff and the dedication and hard work of the pupils. A well known phrase around the WGS area is 'What do girls from WGS and MHSG have in common? They all got a place at MHSG'. I find this to be completely true, WGS takes the cleverest girls, MHSG accepts the rest.

Librarina Tue 12-Mar-13 19:03:48

I would take the above post with a pinch of salt. There is a longstanding rivalry between the two schools, it was fierce when I was there in the 80's.

SeraphinaFuchsia Tue 12-Mar-13 19:41:11

I have just found this thread and must take issue with 13ismyluckynumber - this isn't any vendetta but bears out what we have been told from girls who have been under both WGS heads. No idea about MHSG but word is most definately that WGS intake is considerably lower in ability than it used to be. Girls are there that I know are average ability. I have no personal interest in the school at all so nothing to lose/gain

bmw66 Mon 18-Mar-13 07:58:13

Hi there my dd has sat the AGGS, WGS,MHSG AND THE GRANGE.
She got offers from all, and in her opinion the MHSG exam was the easiest to pass, we have opted for AGGS because of the obvious financial reasons aswell as the proximity of AGGS to us.
BTW when we had over "parent interview" at WGS the new head came across as very friendly,approachable and knowlegeable about her school and we were most impressed.
If we had to choose between WGS or MHSG we would have chosen WGS. To us WGS has always been the 'creme de la creme' of independent education in the North and the only school in the North in top 20 in country as per the ft-rankings of all schools, ( rank 19 as opposed to rank 122 for MHSG even AGGS came 82nd)
IMO WGS is simply in another league!
any child who HAS passed the WGS exam WILL pass the MHSG enterence exam ,I dout it would be the case the other way round IMO.

bmw66 Tue 19-Mar-13 17:17:36

BTW she got a academic scholarship at both the grange( which is a CM -Exam developed by Durham uni computer adaptive exam, sooner or latter you hit your limit right upto quad equations and complex algebra depending on previous correct answer now also use by Eaton ) and MHSG.WGS do not offer an academic scholarship"all our pupils are scholars" quote/unquote LOL Ya-right!!
the idea MHSG, is in anyway comparable to WGS is laughable, have you tried WGS paper 2 in maths , it make MGS paper 2 look like a walk in the park!!!( you can download it from their web-site under publications)

yummymumoftwoandanangel Sun 07-Apr-13 11:06:30

Thanks everyone. As I stated in a previous post our daughter in the end chose WGS. She also found the WGS exams tougher than the others. We showed the Maths Paper 2 to two friends who teach maths at secondary and university level. They were amazed at the high level and standard expected of the girls at that age. It has been a long and tiring journey but worth every ounce. I would keep you updated of her progress. Hopefully, her younger sister can join her in Year 3 soon. Now, it's time to save for the school uniforms LOL! It costs an arm and a leg.

bmw66 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:38:43

Good luck to your DD hope she reaches her potential.
If we had the finances we would of chose the same, but been offered AGGS we could not justify the expence(IMO AGGS the only real rival to WGS in the N.W)
good luck and well done xxx

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Fri 17-May-13 19:35:05

I think if there is any 'vendetta' is because she tried very hard to stamp her mark on the school very quickly. She made numerous changes in her first year, many of which pupils and parents weren't happy with and there were several things that weren't very professional (getting the previous headmistress's name wrong at a very big event, taking over the running of Oxbridge sessions for Upper Sixth and then never actually running any...).

She might be settling in now, but she really should have after three years! I mean, she's fairly old, she's not going to be there for years and years so should make the most of it.

Computer1 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:46:54

Yummymumoftwoandanangel- my daughter is sitting for Withington school entrance test in jan2014,any ideas how tough is competition as to availability of seats and pupils applying. Any advice re preparation will be much appreciated as unfortunately there is not much information available.how does admission criteria work in terms of written exam and interviewes. Thanks

Computer1 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:48:38

As my daughter is not going to any of the feeder schools for withington but we have started doing few papers

bmw66 Sat 17-Aug-13 08:57:02

dear Computer 1
aprox 2/3 of the cohort who sit the exam are interviewed of which aprox 1/2 are given firm offers,
i.e aprox 1/3 of the original cohort are given firm offers , borderline candidates are put on waiting list I do not known what % though.
My DD also went to a state maintained primary, I would suggest start with bond books right upto the 12+ level then GL VR , we found the 13+ common enterence exam books useful for english prep , you will need to buy both question and answer books, if maths is not your thing get a profession tutor-it's a tough exam

bmw66 Sat 17-Aug-13 09:18:12

BTW most of the prep kids are very "prepped" for the exam and interview WGS know this and will IMO take this into consideration at my DD interview they only asked what where the advantages and disadvantages of co-ed schools nothing about the the exam papers
best of luckx

jalamwaca Fri 23-Aug-13 09:01:33

My daughter attends WGS and was previously at Lady Barn.Lady Barn teach to a much higher standard/level than most other feeder schools,I wouldn't say they were prepped for schools like WGS,they just are taught to above the national age requirements. To say LBHS girls struggle at WGS is rubbish too! My daughter is coping fine and loving it there as are all the other LBHS girls! MHSG is generally regarded as a sportier school but looking at recent results WGS are more successful. You just have to look at this years GCSE results as well....
WGS 96% A*/A compared to 86% MHSG. The school must be doing something right??
If you are considering sitting your daughter for the exam I would also say to get some past papers to have a look at the standard and bare in mind that it is a competitive, fast paced learning environment at WGS.WGS doesn't suit some as too intense.IMO I cant fault the school.I would choose Withington 100% over MHSG.

Runningchick123 Fri 23-Aug-13 12:48:14

I think part of the reason that WGS gets better GCSE results is because they have taken in a more academically able cohort to begin with. If MHSG take on some students that were not able to pass the WGS entrance exam then surely they have a harder task to get good pass rates as they have to improve the girls levels by a greater margin.
I think that both these schools are excellent within their own rights and different girls will be suited to the different schools for their own reasons.
If I had a very academically able girl then I would be targeting WGS, but would not be disappointed with MHSG.
As it happens I have boys and so neither school is an option, although my boys might be wishing they were at either once puberty begins grin.
I also do believe that ladybarn is an excellent prep school and rightly encourages its student to apply for the best schools as it expects that they will have a good chance of obtaining a place. There are some prep schools that have less success of getting children into WGS, MHSG or MGS but I don't think it's fair to say that the ladybarn children won't keep up once they get there and I would be interested to see actual evidence to back up that claim just because I'm a nerd and like to pore over research evidence

bmw66 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:20:10

The problem with indie schools is there is no legal compulsion for them to release CVA results unlike the the state sector so such comparisons are difficult to make.
heres some anectdotal evidence (yes an oxymoron I know)
my eldest son attends the The Grange in Hartford and they make a great song and dance about their value added 2/3 of a grade at igcse and 1/2 grade at A level, it is generally accepted the MGS cohort at yr 7 is much brighter then the Granges but results are much the same MGS A/A* 90% Grange 89% with 60% of all GCSE at A*for the Grange (figures for A* not on MGS website as yet) so which is the better school?

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

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

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?

bmw66 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:42:11
bmw66 Wed 04-Sep-13 23:10:11

BTW I think there are 2 types of interviews , the first are those who passed comfortably , the school in now in " selling mode" and will do almost anything to persuade you and your child to accept the place,
and those who are borderline ( any child can have a bad day even very bright ones, especially when you are only 10-11 yrs old ) this is when they may re-visit a question in the written assessment , or may ask a more nuance question like " if you were a instrument what kind of instrument would you be and why )? every reasonable child should be allowed a second bite at the cherry! all they want to confirm is , is the written assessment consistant will the actual child-if that makes sense

bmw66 Thu 05-Sep-13 20:58:48

r/c 123
have a look at this meta-analysis of the "top schools in the N.W
take a look at bns analysis

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 20-Oct-13 03:25:32

This dropped off my TIO, but I see some of you were asking about my comment about some LBHS pupils struggling there.

I wasn't very clear in my post, I didn't mean all Ladybarn girls would struggle there. But there are some who probably wouldn't have got a place if they'd been to a school other than Ladybarn, because Ladybarn do prep incredibly hard for the entrance exams.

These are the ones who find it hard.

Obviously my evidence is anecdotal, but my DSis's year was probably the first that sent very high numbers (15+) to WGS (my year only had three or four). My DB was at Ladybarn, so we saw it from both sides. His year was ridiculous, with around 25 places offered to Ladybarn girls.

Now I refuse to believe that all the girls at Ladybarn are just that much cleverer than the girls at all the other prep schools in the area! Or that much cleverer than the cohort was two/three years previously... It therefore seems reasonable to believe it's down to the way they're now being prepared for the exam. I know my DB did much more exam preparation than my DSis and I did (another prep school).

And, yes, once some of them were there, they did struggle. The work at WGS is fast paced. If you spend most of year 5 and 6 doing past papers then you'll be good at them, but when you're expected to learn new things very quickly, some people do come unstuck.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 20-Oct-13 03:28:50

Ok, that was a long post!

Basically, if you would have got in from another school you'd be fine. If you only got in because you'd been at Ladybarn and knew the exam back to front but perhaps weren't as academic, you could struggle.

Obviously this would apply to anywhere that 'overteaches' an exam, it's just that Ladybarn (along with Withington Juniors) is particularly bad for doing it.

It's the same principle as if you have a tutor for hours a week to pass.

Deebz82 Sun 10-Nov-13 23:12:34

My ds passed sgs/chs and kings but decided he wanted to go to sgs as he found it more friendlier and he felt more comfortable. I would suggest you take part in the taster days (the kids get to spend a full day at the school and take part in activities/lessons)that are provided by sgs and chs (not sure if kings do one)and see how your ds feels. My ds attended both and decided pretty much straightaway he wanted to go to sgs. I attended all 3 schools on the open days plus ehen ds had his interview and agreed sgs was the better choice. Everyones different though hence why I think its a good idea to enrol your ds on the taster days and contact each school and ask how they would support him with his dyslexia.

bmw66 Sun 24-Nov-13 14:03:41

Good luck to all those sitting enterance exams after X-mas-it will soon be over Hooray!

aciddrops Sun 24-Nov-13 17:11:39

Is all this infighting going on at all of the Manchester private secondary schools? From my small amount of knowledge, it seems to be.

isipritchard Tue 15-Jul-14 21:28:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

yummymumoftwoandanangel Fri 17-Oct-14 15:29:18

It's been a while since I started this thread and thought I would give an update of my daughter's progress. She has been at Withington Girls School for a while and absolutely loves it. Most of the girls and their parents are really down to earth. Unlike a lot of misconceptions and stories about posh and privileged parents in the independent sector, most of the parents I have met including myself are far from privileged. We all have high standards and expectations for ourselves and our children. We come from a plethora of socio economic backgrounds. WGS has been an eye opener for my daughter. The journey has not been an easy one. She has learnt that she can't relax and just use her natural intellect to cruise through life and expect great results. WGS has helped her to focus, better organised, develop her critical thinking skills and be very proactive. Also there is a lot of emphasis placed on fostering emotional, moral and social intelligence. The teachers and authorities are extremely proud of the success of the school. Rightly so! It never ceases to amaze me how many times I have heard " WGS has very high standards". I now have a better understanding of how they maintain those standards and get those amazing exam results year in and year out. Also, they don't take any prisoners and would give it to you straight because they actually "know" your daughter. No fluffiness. Last week, I was asked whether I thought moving my daughter there had been a good decision. Without a blink, I answered yes. WGS brings out the best in its girls. It separates the wheat from the chaff. If you want your daughter to get one of the best education in the world, send her there. You won't regret it. However, you as a parent must be willing to muck it and work with the school to bring out the best in your child. You must be ready to teach your daughter coping and resilience skills because it won't be an easy ride. After all who said the world is an easy place. Your daughter can't just fly by the seat of her pants at WGS and expect good results. She would have to knuckle it down and work hard. There is nothing 100% foolproof in life, however a WGS education will enable your daughter to become resilient, face challenges head on, smart as a whip, confident, secure and prepared.

yummymumoftwoandanangel Fri 17-Oct-14 15:40:15

Also, I must add that the girls are far from nerdy or geeky. They may be smart but they know how to have fun. The do and act like all normal Tweens and teens. Films, dressing, sleep overs, boys, shopping you name it. As I often tell my daughter, "fun with brains and beauty with brains". They have it all at WGS. Also their headmistress, Sue Marks rocks. I guess in life you can't please everyone. Not everyone will like you. However, I can personally vouch that all the parents and staff I have come across, have the utmost respect for and think she is a great leader. I personally, have not had any reason to question her ability.

Corestrategy Sun 26-Oct-14 13:30:37

Thanks for the update. I imagine there must be a lot of pressure on the girls there but encouraging them to work hard and do their best obviously works.

Sammads123 Sun 09-Nov-14 17:46:45

Hi I just wanted to say I found the information on this thread very helpful. I am at the moment going through the process of applying for my daughters secondary school. I have recently visited the Withington Girls School again on the open day my daughter as set her heart on going to this school. I do worry because we are not fortunate enough for my daughter to be at good primary school, she is doing well she is at a level 5c at the moment. How can I help my daughter achieve this dream?

Sammads123 Sun 09-Nov-14 17:55:07

Hi I just wanted to say thank you I have found this thread very helpful. I am going through the process of applying for secondary school for my daughter. My daughter as her heart set on going to Withington Girls School, but we are not fortune her primary school is not very good. She is doing well because I am helping her at home she is working at a level 5c. How can I help my daughter achieve this dream?

yummymumoftwoandanangel Mon 17-Nov-14 09:47:39

Hi Sammads123
At Level 5c, your daughter is at a really high level and this should give her a good standing in the exams. Work through as many of the WGHS past examination papers repeatedly. I guarantee you, the Year 7 maths tests are nothing like what my daughter practised for her exams. LOL! The interviews are just as important including the parents interview with the headmistress. I know some girls who excelled in the exams but were not accepted after the interviews. Good luck. Good choice.

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