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Hall School Wimbledon - what makes it "different"
;, "alternative&qu ot; and "quirky"?
Hi, we are moving to London from the US this summer and it is all happening very quickly. I am looking for a place in reception for my DS and in Year 2 for my DD. I would prefer co-ed and a school that is academic and prepares the kids for good secondary schools, but that is equally well-rounded with emphasis on art, drama, music and sports. We are an international family and our children have already experienced living in different countries and cultures, so I think I would really like a school that is quite international. I have looked at the Hall School website and like what I see. I have also looked at several threads on here and am wondering if someone can explain to me why so many people classify this school as "different", "alternative" or "quirky"?? Please enlighten me!
Firstly, the headmaster founded the school, so I think it's very much his vision, so it's very physical, outdoorsy, field trips, climbing, circuit training before school.
They've just bought a farm in Wales for field trips.
It has a reputation for not being as academic as some of the other private schools, but it's non-selective, so they don't just take the clever kids.
It's not traditional(old fashioned) in lots of ways, they don't have blazers, so it seems a bit less polished, but teaching methods are quite orthodox I think.
Just had outstanding ofsted which I think it really deserved
I love the school and so do all the parents I know
And it's very international, lots of Europeans, Japanese, Americans, so that would suit.
Happy to answer any specific questions
Visit and you will understand why it gets extreme love or loathe reactions. We actually really liked it on our visit but realised it was because that was where, as adults we would like to go and not because it was the best place for our Ds. I would have considered it for my Dd but the trip out of WImbledon every am put me off in the end.
Thank you Veuveandlilies and Wobblypig for your answers! Veuveandlilies, I might send you a private message in the next few days. Farm in Wales sounds fab! I am still researching a few other schools in the area, which is getting more difficult as term is over in some schools.
I realise that it is located at the far end of the Common (if coming from Wimbledon). How is traffic and parking at drop off and pick up? Also, can you ride bikes through the Common all the way to the school (on a dry day, that is!)?
If you park in the Windmill car park it's a 10-15min walk, you could do it on a bike, there's a downhill bit, but mostly flat, I don't know any other routes through the common, sorry.
Parking is fine. Drop off is 8.30-8.50, and the older years get in earlier. It looks like its going to be a nightmare but they operate a one way system which works well. It's busy but I've nicer not found a space.
A lot of children use the bus which is very well run, you could think about that
How wide is the catchment of the school? Would there be children from as far as Parsons Green or Putney or is everyone from Wimbledon?
Putney, Southfields, Raynes Park, mainly. That's what I know.
The school bus goes to clapham, I think that's the furthest.
Thanks, and where do people go for 6th form? I just saw it only goes to 16?
from the website
They say they are looking for a site for a sixth form, but not sure where it is in the list of priorities.
The senior school is on a different site much more accessible from Wimbledon but on a road with lots of other schools so very busy. Academically it is the results at Gsce level that often put people off. For us we had a concern about discipline which was relevant for our Ds but would have not such a worry for our dd.
If only it was located in Wimbledon.
Wobbly pig, I had to think long and hard about the journey but I can honestly say its not that bad and I think I live the furthest away out of the kids I know.
I'm not working, so that helps, but there are mums who do the drop off and then work, or drop off at the bus in Wimbledon and go to work
It can work
Wobblypig, how do you get access to the GSCE results? From the school, or from elsewhere?
Dept of education website has these details
I have posted elsewhere, so won't repeat myself. As a parent of three children who have gone to HSW, I'd be really cautious. I think the junior school is better, but we've been disappointed and worried by our experiences of senior school. The Head is a real problem: rude, arrogant and snobbish. There are some fantastic teachers, but many problems in our experience with the senior school. Regret enormously not pulling children from school sooner (were reluctant due to disruption for them and friendships). May be right for you of course, but perhaps be a bit sceptical of the rhetoric school/Head disseminates.
If you are moving into this area, you will find really good (Ofsted outstanding) state primaries to chose from which prepare children very well for Secondary, Independent or Grammar schools.
London is very international, and very little racism, so most schools will be quite international.
A friend with children there was wondering what to do for sixth form, as she feels her child has not been stretched enough academically to win a place at other more academically selective schools. It is from what I hear a very outdoorsy school with a lot of sports and play, and a lesser emphasis on academics. Some suggest this school to parents who worry where their less academic child should go for secondary, and put it down as an option if they are not gaining secondary places elsewhere. Good independent secondaries are heavily oversubscribed with several hundred applicants for few places.
If you are Wimbledon based, and keen on a very academic school, I suggest you look at Kings College school. Otherwise Ibstock is a notch up from HSW. But like I said, dont disregard good state primaries outright. Many people opt for state for the junior years, and move their children on to the independent sector from Y4 or Y7.
My son has been at HSW senior for 2 years and it suits him fantastically well - his friends are all very well rounded lovely individuals and I love what the school is doing for his confidence in his teenage years. He has enjoyed fantastic school trips to Wales where they have recently acquired a place for field trips and local playing fields (no mean feat in London). They have long days but not as much homework which suits me versus the horror stories of 2 / 3 hours a night from some of the more academic schools. He is dyslexic and has very good SEN support and now uses a laptop in some lessons and exams - ironically IT or lack of it is my only gripe. The uniform is polo shirt and sweatshirt and chinos so they are comfortable and not overly concerned about losing expensive blazers and the like. They do physical exercise first thing in the morning to get their brains in gear which suits my very sporty son. They are great at nurturing confidence and encouraging them to be their own person.
Thank you all for your responses, very helpful! QuintessentialOldDear, I will apply to some state schools, but considering we will only be able to apply a few weeks before school starts, we cannot really count on a good school.
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