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New Westgate all through school and Western - thoughts!

(9 Posts)
Odgehog Sat 30-Nov-13 19:35:18

Hello we are totally new to Winchester. Our catchment area school is Western which I know people really rate but I was not impressed at all. The head didn't seem that engaged and the place was really noisy. Maybe this was because the open day was 200 people traipsing round, not easy to get a feel for the place in these circumstances. In contrast the new lower school at westgate seems really good brand new building, continuity, a really experienced team and access to specialist teaching.

Is there any more info about either of these schools that anyone can give me? Interested to hear if anyone else is weighing up these two choices.

LlanberisLlama Sat 30-Nov-13 21:56:53

I'm not in the same position as you but I live in the part of Westgate's catchment that overlaps with St Bede's. My eldest is already at St Bede so I have no real reason to suppose that my second won't get a place there in Sept '14. Nevertheless I have a couple of friends who live right on the edge of the St Bede catchment and are thus unlikely to get their DC1 in. They have been looking at Westgate as their obvious second choice. They share many of your positive perceptions of the new lower school. Their biggest concern is the fact that their DC will always be the oldest year group in the lower school.

If I were in their position that would also be my chief worry. My eldest is only in Y1 but I've seen how much the younger children benefit from the interaction with the older primary school children (house captains leading the "cheers" at sports day, streamed phonics groups that cross the year groups, the passing down of traditional playground games etc) and I'd be really sorry if my younger DC didn't get to benefit similarly.

I have no personal experience of Western but FWIW I have heard people say similar things to you about its noise. I do think, though, that you'd have to try to see it on a normal day to get a fairer impression. Do you know anyone with DC already at the school?

Also, do you know if you have a realistic "choice" between the two schools? In Winchester, even if you're in catchment, distance from the school is often crucial. I know so many people who have not got into St Bede because, although in catchment, they did not live close enough. I don't know for sure but I'd imagine the same is true of Western. I don't think applicants to Westgate lower school will suffer the same problem - at least at first. I've heard that the head is not expecting the YR classes to be full in September so I'd imagine that if you're in catchment and you want a place, you'll get one.

Good luck either way - exciting times!

TwinkleMama Mon 02-Dec-13 10:40:02

My two are at St Bede's but when I visited Westgate recently at one of their open evenings, I had quite a long conversation with the new head of the lower school, who was really impressive and engaged with the job in hand. Western and St Bede's are both very good schools but I have no reason to think that the Westgate junior won't also be outstanding.

Hahaai Tue 03-Dec-13 01:06:57

I'm one of those people onthe outskirts of StBede's catchment and gave put Westgate down as my 3rd choice. My reservations are the same as those mentioned above relating to dc always being the oldest.

Bumble1234 Tue 03-Dec-13 19:38:16

We're trying to choose between the 2 schools. We too were really impressed with the Westgate Lower School head and less so with Western. It's such a unique situation having the choice of two catchment schools. I thought the Westgate head said they would probably back fill the higher years as the demand for this happens so it may well be likely that the original year R children will have older years. I do think the lower senior school years can get involved as well. We live near both the schools and are slightly concerned that dd's local children of her age may be at a different school. But we think its a great opportunity and I'm sure the teaching and facilities will be great.

Odgehog Thu 05-Dec-13 09:42:09

Thank you so much for all your replies. One of things I was stressing about was not knowing anyone and being out of the loop gossip-wise when it comes to schools. Like you Bumble I'm concerned about making a different choice from all the other local parents leaving DS with no local friends. You make a good point about catchment Llanberis, we are a stones throw from Westgate but Western is 10 mins walk with in London would certainly mean we were out of catchment. I think the Westgate Lower school carries a bigger risk but potentially bigger reward. Difficult choice to make.

Bumble1234 Thu 05-Dec-13 22:13:47

I get the feel that parents with older siblings already at Western will stick with there, understandably. The choice is harder for the children without older siblings. I think most people are happy with Western but we're excited about the opportunities at Westgate. We're going to go for it....and I know a few others from Fulflood who are too.

tmpod Fri 17-Oct-14 14:33:42

Hi i am now looking to put my eldest in either school (westgate/western) A lot of my eldests nursery friends went to western this september. We are not sure about our local school Winnall and want K to know some kids. Any advice

Winchestermum2018 Fri 09-Nov-18 17:53:29

Hello, interested to hear which one you decided on in the end?! We’re now facing the same choice for September 2019 x

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