Why does Wallington Boys never seem to be first choice?

(23 Posts)
legallady Mon 22-Oct-12 23:36:31

There is a lot of comment on this site about the Sutton grammar schools - Wilsons, Wallington Boys and Sutton Grammar. I appreciate that it's horses for courses and one person may love something about a school that the next person hates, but why do people seem to always prefer either Wilsons or Sutton and then Wallington seems to be the one that people accept if they are not successful with one of the others?

Wilsons seems to currently achieve the best exam results but there isn't much to call between Sutton and Wallington. There are differences in emphasis generally, but they all seem like good rounded schools to me. Obviously travel will make a difference too but Wallington must be closer for some people, surely?!

Can anyone tell me what I'm missing? Of course it's personal choice, but I'm just intrigued as to what people think is missing from Wallington so that it hardly ever seems to be the school of first choice.........

Seeline Tue 23-Oct-12 10:17:54

We looked round last year (early for DS who is now in Y6 but started in the Junior form at a local indi rather than 11+). Wallington would have been my first choice, although we only looked at Wilson's not Sutton Grammar which is too far away. I really liked the general atmosphere and attitude at Wallington, which seemed far more caring of the individual. Wilson's seemed very corporate - what can you do for us, rather than what can we do for your son. I also thought the facilities at Wallington were better. But as you say - horses for courses.

legallady Tue 23-Oct-12 10:32:44

Thank you Seeline - was starting to feel a bit lonely!

It's really good to hear another perspective smile

mumwithtwokids Tue 23-Oct-12 12:58:40

We went through the whole secondary school process last year and from visiting all three schools my son's first preference was Wilson's whilst both my husband and I much preferred Wallington as we knew this would be the right school for him.

When discussing the schools, my DS admitted that he liked Wallington but found it to be quite old inside compared with the rest and this for some reason put him off whereas Wilson's was modern so much more appealing. He started at Wallington this September and he couldn't be happier. The school is brilliant and really cares about the boys whilst also achieving amazing results. Whilst the other two school's are also great I felt they weren't as good on the pastoral side of things which is an important factor for me.

gazzalw Tue 23-Oct-12 17:24:18

Waves at Mumwithtwokids!

We looked at all three for our son last year.

For us the open evening was a bit shambolic at Wallington (although that could have been because we were late to look round and everyone was tired by then) and that put us off rather. Also, the 11+ exam day was not managed as well as it could have been. Those two factors rather tarnished our view of WCGS, although it was the one that initially offered our DS a place. That was just our vibe though and DS's. In the end he was lucky enough to be offered Sutton Grammar which we readily accepted because we had good vibes about it and it's most convenient from where we live.

DS is perfectly happy there and he too thinks it's the right choice now (although he too was keenest on Wilson's left to his own choice!).

I did however think that Wallington was very good on getting information out after Offers Day and was most impressed that their website had been updated in preparation for it. So I would agree with Mumwithtwokids that their pastoral care certainly did seem very good.

I think at the end of the day you have to go with what your son feels an which one you can all reach a happy consensus on. There is probably very little between them really even though Wilson's seems to be currently riding very high in the league tables - but heck Sutton and Wallington are pretty close behind.

I personally can never see what the attraction of Tiffin would be but that's another story....

A school should be about more than just its place in the league tables!

mumwithtwokids Tue 23-Oct-12 17:30:26

Hey Gazza - totally agree on the Tiffins front! Other than people applying because they believe their child stands a better chance of getting into Oxbridge, i don't really see what the attraction is. Would love to know what all the hysteria is about.

gazzalw Tue 23-Oct-12 18:02:10

Hey Mumwithtwokids, I find it very amusing that parents are already thinking about Oxbridge when their children are 11! Oxford and Cambridge are not the be all and end all especially as for some subjects (thinking some of the science ones here) some of the Russell Group Unis must come pretty close in terms of academic merit?

Our DS, having been indoctrinated by me against Oxbridge wink is thinking Durham but of course it's all a long way off and he may not be up to any of those three anyway..... Only time will tell.

I am not entirely sure that a school's merit should be based on Oxbridge entrants alone?

It frazzles my brain sometimes...

Ladymuck Tue 23-Oct-12 19:58:45

I think that Wallington has its fans too. It was our preference as it plays more rugby than Wilsons. But I have to say that our entrance exam experience was pretty offputting, and we stayed in the independent sector.

legallady Tue 23-Oct-12 20:48:13

Thanks for responding everyone. I was starting to think there was something wrong with the school that I hadn't noticed grin

gazzalw Tue 23-Oct-12 20:54:46

Just go with your gut feeling legallady! If you and your DS really liked it above the others that's as good as it gets...

Yes, I'd forgotten about the rugby issue...that would make a difference for a lot of the boys....although having said that, DS is keen on football although not brilliant at it but not sure that the football vs rugby dilemma really impacted on his views of the schools.

Personally one of the things I was very keen on for Wallington was the mixed sixth form - that's got to be a good thing hasn't it?

AngelEyes46 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:10:25

My dn took the tests for Wallington and Wilsons - passed Wilsons but not Wally. His friend passed Wally but not Wilsons. My sil preferred Wilsons (I think because it was not as 'old' looking and also my dn is not at all sporty.

Classicsgirl Tue 23-Oct-12 22:05:32

Our DS took exams for all three Sutton grammars last year; he was really put off by the bad organisation of the exam, alth

Classicsgirl Tue 23-Oct-12 22:10:26

Sorry pressed wrong button! I liked WCGS a lot, but in the end it was the only one he failed, so no difficult decisions. He has just started Wilsons year 7, chosen because of DS's love of chess and the opportunity to study classics. Going very well so far, and ive been impressed by the paatoral care, but I'm sure he would have been equally happy at one of the others. It's unusual to really have the choice - the schools choose really!

Lfs2126 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:26:16

I'm local to the sutton grammars. When we went to look at the schools we noticed that wcgs was in dire need of a lick of paint, the boys seemed a bit dour, and the deputy hm speech was lacklustre. Ironically, the most personable teacher had himself been taught at Wilson's.
Wilson's was clean, the boys were witty and keen to show us around. Sgs was friendly, but the boys seemed the least mature IMHO. The teachers were very caring though. However, this was 3 years ago and at the time wcgs were going through a 'difficult' patch with the fairly sudden departure of the hm. They do have a good sports facility now.

gazzalw Wed 24-Oct-12 17:17:35

I wonder if WCGS slightly suffers the 'poor relation syndrome' to Wilson's? As posters have so rightly pointed out it is rather shabby (I still have a vision of a giant ink splodge on the floor in the main hall!) so physically can't really compare with the relatively new Wilson's

Maybe it's a hidden gem. I get the feeling that it might have more of a local intake possibly (although stand to be corrected!) than SGS or Wilson's?

I have heard very positive things about the current Head of WCGS, pastoral care wise, but do have to say that his speech at the open evening we attended was rather lacklustre. It would seem that he has competently filled the void and is probably keeping the school on a level until he retires (which I wouldn't think would be far off). Maybe there will be a complete turn around with a new and ambitious Head at the helm?

mumwithtwokids Wed 24-Oct-12 20:58:31

I believe both Wallington and Wilsons have quite a high local intake. I'm also guessing the location of SGS lends itself better to those who have further to travel due to the transport links.

Because Wallington is the smallest out of all three schools it gets the least funding. In addition, Wilsons is VA.

gazzalw Thu 25-Oct-12 10:41:53

Think you are right Mumwithtwokids although I am not getting a feeling from DS that many of the boys in his class at SGS really come from that far afield - quite a lot from Sutton and Wimbledon and thereabouts really!

mumwithtwokids Thu 25-Oct-12 12:51:05

That's really interesting gazza. I would have thought that given the location of SGS, there possibly wouldn't have been such a high local intake.

How's your DS getting on?

gazzalw Thu 25-Oct-12 13:01:04

He's doing well, I think (all will be revealed with first report followed shortly by parents' evening!) although his bus broke down yesterday half way to school and he reported that he'd basically run the second half of the journey with his very heavy backpack on! I told him he should consider joining the Marines! grin.

Of course his class's relative locality to the school may not reflect the other three ;-)!

bb100 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:18:10

We put Wilsons top of the list because it is a maths specialist school and my son loves maths. He past the test but didn't get a place but he did at WCGS. It was our second choice because it was one more train stop away than Wilsons and we used to live a very long way away! We live around the corner now. I guessed that for others, people chose Wilsons over WCGS because it was backed by an outstanding Ofsted report whereas WCGS had a very old outdated inspection report. It has only just had a new report done recently under the new rigourous Ofsted framework.

Also, I like the fact WCGS isn't as miltary orientated as Sutton or Wilsons. They don't have cadets and their ethos focuses on training gentlemen who are well-mannered. This suits my son's personality much better. I also found the attitude of some of the teacher's at Wilsons rather superior and thought that my son would not like some of them.

My son has been at WCGS two years and the pastoral care is excellent and the staff bend over backwards to please parents. They always take any parents concerns very seriously and are dealt with instantly.

Yes the entrance test was chaotic but if you can get past that it appears highly organised after that. The induction days were excellent so my son had already made friends before he started in the September. There is also a fun initiation ceremony for the boys before the first October half-term.

My son didn't like the idea of doing rugby either, but the school provides badminton instruction for the few who are not that interested/good at it. They do football in the spring term and cricket in the summer.

The range of subjects offered during the first two years are excellent. My son learns Latin, Classics, Food technology and Spanish on top of all the other subjects they have to teach. The boys particularly like the food tech and my son is now very confident in the kitchen to the point of cooking a family meal.
The school has also broken from tradition by scrapping the boring ICT curriculum and each subject offers an element of ICT applied to what they are learning in that subject. I was a bit worried at first about it but the school's specialism of applied learning makes it work very well.

Yes, the Head is retiring in July and he has given lots of notice for the governors to find a replacement. I've noticed that his deputies are a dynamic bunch though and probably run the school for him.

Berganza Thu 09-May-13 23:04:56

My son is starting WCGS in September. Does anyone know anything about the incumbent headmaster?

JBX2013 Fri 10-May-13 05:58:41

Hi bb100! Just a simple point about Ofsted Reports, based on my experience of teaching in schools.

It's the oldest Reports which are the most valid. The Ofsted visits have become shorter and shorter and less and less rigorous and thorough. They used to be several man-weeks; now a visit could be just two Inspectors for two days. And there has been significant 'grade inflation' on Ispections, as well.

qme Wed 26-Jun-13 10:22:48

I believe one of the deputies becomes the new Headmaster from Sept.

My son is in WCGS in year 8. I am finding it a much better organised school than Wally Girls is!
English department is amazing, he progressed loads - this is confirming this department's outstanding report by Ofsted from last year! History department got it too, my son chosen history as his option in GCSE'ssmile
He sat an external Latin exam few weeks ago - organised by school and paid by some external body.
I can see his trust in his abilities is growing.
My son isn't sporty at all and doesn't feel he has to join in - he will be doing music for GCSE.

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