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Reviews of Colet Court and Westminster Under in London

(22 Posts)
MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 14:35:23

Our DS who is 6 is due to take his 7+ in the forthcoming academic year and we are looking at the sorts of schools where he should sit the entrance exam. We have been strongly advised to apply for Colet Court and Westminster Under and I was wondering whether any parents out there had and experience of either school, first hand or through association? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts, good and/or bad, on everything and anything. Many thanks.

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 14:39:09

Sorry "any experience" - am bfeeding...

slummymomma Tue 09-Jun-09 19:45:23

Where abouts are you? For a 7 year old i would have thought that proximity to home is quite important. Both are excellent schools but if the journey is tricky I would try and identify other options. We thought of both those schools but the journey would have been tricky - particularly with other DCs to consider. Although the schools often have buses I would not want to put a 7 year old on a bus at 7.10!

Also where do you have in mind for senior school? A long way ahead I know but you need to be aware that certain preps will make for an easier passage into senior school. If you are thinking of St Pauls or Westminster then your choices make sense!

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 21:17:51

slummymomma Thanks for posting. We live in Chiswick so Colet Court/St Pauls is nearer being about 30 min strolling along the river. The complication is our three other DCs - all girls (younger). Originally we thought it would be great if we could get the clan into Latymer but after a meeting with the school today we were advised that only Colet Court or Westminster would stimulate him. We were amazed to be told he'd come first in mock exams in both maths and English which were sprung on the boys just before half term! Both sound great but I wanted to know what other parents thought from experience.

Our eldest DD (DC2) starts school in September so the school run will involve two places as of this autumn thereonin. Her school is in Chiswick so I could possibly do a Colet Court/Chiswick school run although this would pull me in two slightly different directions and may prove tricky. The Westminster option may mean DH could do a drop off although the collection would need working out...

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 21:23:33

sorry a superfluous "thereonin" crept in...

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 21:31:39

sorry a superfluous "thereonin" crept in...

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 21:32:18

Oops.

fridayschild Tue 09-Jun-09 21:33:20

DH had a friend whose son was at Colet Court (I know, a tenuous link). That child got there from Chelsea on a bus every day - maybe one or both schools have a bus from Chiswick? Or sound helpful on the phone about putting you in touch with other parents to organise a school run rota? The boy is now 17 and still very nice, according to DH.

I know a couple of the teachers there, from my running club, and they speak highly of the school and seem genuine about it. Their comment is that it is a great school for some children (meaning those who get in) and I think that would be right.

There is a mumsnetter whose son is there, I think. I will try to remember her name in case she doesn't see the post.

artichokes Tue 09-Jun-09 21:49:16

I don't know much about Colet Court/Westminster but I do think your son's current school is giving spurious advice if they really said that ONLY those two schools would challenge him. Really? Latymer is a great school and any bright child would thrive there.

If I were you I would think carefully before sacrificing the dream of having all your children at the same school. That arrangement would allow you to be fully involved in all of their educations. If your son is at one school and your girls at another it is going to be hard to attend all the school plays and events, it is going to be harder to arrange play dates, he may feel the odd one out etc etc etc. I would value the proximity of Latymer very highly. I do not think you can underestimate the stress of a central London commute on a young child.

Is your son at Orchard House at the moment? I only ask because I have heard of them issuing this advice before. I think they love the idea of being able to show that some of their boys go to the top Preps. I would question whether the advice is in their best interests or the best interests of your son and your family as a whole.

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 21:50:45

fridayschild thanks for the information on CC. If you know the MN mum please do see if she wouldbe happy to share her views. Are you in West London too? Which running club are you with? As an aside point I am thinking about joining one even thoughi am not sure how to fit club runs in just now... Before kids I ran with the Serpentine Club but would love to train locally if I can work out how to fit it in!

foxinsocks Tue 09-Jun-09 21:52:09

yes, would second artichokes advice, esp with 4 children! Think you'd be stretched!

fridayschild Tue 09-Jun-09 22:03:02

I am in Barnes and run with Barnes Runners. We do a 7k handicap race on the last Saturday morning of each month from Barn Elms (near the Wetlands Centre). The course is flat if one of your children will be pushed round in a buggy while your DH keeps an eye on the rest; or it starts from a running track with a long jump my boys use as a sandpit /scooter track the times I am marshalling rather than running. I don't suppose that sort of detail is on the website! The run is open to other local clubs too so if you can come at the end of the month you would meet people from north of the river too. Other runs detailed on the website

There is a club in Chiswick I think - W4 Harriers?

lazymumofteenagesons Tue 09-Jun-09 22:27:15

With 4 children you will be very lucky if they all fit the bill for the same school. I don't have experience of the prep schools but I do of Westminster. It is a very different school to the other london independents. It brings out an incredible thirst for knowledge and love of learning in the boys. They are encouraged to question everything and lessons often go off on tangents with discussions covering other aspects of the subject. teaching for the exams is seen as simply a means to enable the boys to have all options available to them in the future. Read the latest ISI report. Discipline is rather lacking but they are all totally self-motivated.

I have a friend who has had one daughter at Latimer and one at Westminster and although Latimer is a good school the difference is noticeable.

If he is of the right calibre you should think seriously about it. Using another prep school still gives him the opportunity at 13, but I'm not sure if you put him in latimer at 7+ that he can change at 13. They may not prepare him for common entrance.

MoshiMoshi Tue 09-Jun-09 22:43:49

artichokes Thanks for posting and I do agree which is why we are in a bit of a quandary. No, my DS is not at Orchard House. I am going to see what other parents were told but I suspect there is a bit of truth in what you say, although the meeting today was definitely a very genuine one. The form teacher was there too and he is an absolutely lovely bloke who seconded what the head said.

foxinsocks This is why we had the idea of trying to get all 4 into the same school - to make life as a family work and be easy! Of course, at the same time we also want to get each one of them into the right school for them. The problem is that we will never know whether the choice we make is the correct balance of the two until we have made our choices...

lazymum - thanks for your post. That is exactly what I have been told by several people with first hand experience of Westminster, both on the pupils' side and the teaching side. It does seem to be the sort of thing that would suit my DS's personality very well so we will definitely be looking closely into it before we make any definite decisions about entrance exams.

fridayschild - thanks for the info on Barnes Runners. I will defintely see if I can check it out!

missmem Tue 09-Jun-09 23:19:04

WUS prepares better for other senior schools if you want to keep your options open for later. I think they won 4 Eton scholarships (very rare for a school to even get 1) this year and send other boys to Winchester, with about 3/4 going onto Westminster. CC can send some boys but I know you are not expected to if you go to CC whereas WUS are more accomodating.

MoshiMoshi Wed 10-Jun-09 09:30:58

missmem thank you for that valuable information. The CC website does indicate it's policy of boys entering CCoj the assumption they will pass through to St Pauls which is something to bear in mind, especially if we may not be in London in the long term.

MoshiMoshi Wed 10-Jun-09 12:19:05

Ooh. The perils of typing on an iPhone while breastfeeding shock...

fridayschild Wed 10-Jun-09 13:41:29

OK I think it is MrsGuyofGuisborne or maybe Guisbourne who has looked at CC for her son. I don't know if he ended up there in the end. You could try to CAT her?

If you leave CC and do not go to St Pauls you lose your deposit.

MoshiMoshi Wed 10-Jun-09 13:43:08

Thanks, fridayschild. Losing deposits seems to be a common theme with London independents!

missmem Wed 10-Jun-09 13:53:03

I'm sure that does not happen at WUS but may be wrong.

singersgirl Wed 10-Jun-09 19:01:23

I think at 7 closeness to home is very important - and also the distance at which friends might live. I suspect Latymer is a slightly more 'local' school in terms of catchment than the others, but all of these central London schools seem to draw from miles around. The assumption for Colet Court is definitely that they'll continue on to St Paul's. Latymer's children move at 11 to the senior school, so they don't prepare for 13+.

We considered all these schools, and others, for DS1 at 11, coming from state primary, and in the end we didn't bother looking at Westminster because of the distance from us, and Saturday school (may be just the senior school). The school he is going to is a longish walk, a 5 minute car journey or a 15 minute bus or bike ride from our house.

I think a bright child would flourish at any of these schools, to be honest, and tend to agree that pre-prep schools are very keen to get CC, WUS or (round here)KCJS on their leavers' lists.

MoshiMoshi Wed 10-Jun-09 22:36:39

Tnanks for your post, singersgirl. I also have this nagging feeling that keeping him closer to home is quite important. KCJS is also one of the recommended schools at DS's schools, atlhough it was not suggested for him. So his school looks at local-ish ones and also ones quite a distance away.

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