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Weeke / Western / Sparsholt / The Westgate Primary schools - advice please

(13 Posts)
Spoonybird Mon 05-Dec-16 20:40:34

Hello Winchester!
We're in a bit of a pickle about primary schools and seeking your experienced wisdom please. We'll be moving around Sparsholt / Weeke and have visited all the above schools but cannot make up our minds which to put on the shortlist as they are all so different. Some local friends have given us their lowdown, what's your experience?

Sparsholt - inspiring and creative teaching, a bit on the snooty / cliquey side, a small pool for friendships
Western - historically good reputation but seems to be going downhill and underfunded
Weeke - solid / good enough but nothing exceptional
The Westgate - feels a bit clinical, overly pushy parents

Thanks in advance for your help xxx

Odgehog Tue 06-Dec-16 00:28:16

Hello. My son is at one of the other schools in town so I don't speak from experience. I understand your reservations about Westgate feeling clinical that was my view too, but the people I know with children there love it. Why do you think Western is going downhill?. It's got fantastic results was in the Sunday times as the 20th best primary school. Buildings are a bit scruffy I agree I would be nice if they could spend some money on it but teaching is meant to be pretty good.

Holaholahola Tue 06-Dec-16 12:27:36

Hi, I don't have direct experience either (just started at another local school) but have heard similar things to Odgehog about Westgate and Western. All parents I know with children at these schools seem happy. Parents I know at Westgate are lovely btw! The input from specialist teachers at Westgate secondary school is often cited as a big plus for the primary years. Would just say that it may be difficult to get into Westgate if you aren't in catchment. This year there were a lot of siblings and the out of catchment children without siblings that I know did not get in.

blueberryhedgehog Tue 06-Dec-16 13:35:14

My son is at a different school but Western has a good reputation (not heard about it going downhill either) what I would say is look at your catchment area. Last year and this years intake are boom years and I don't know anyone in Winchester (including myself) who managed to secure a place at a non catchment school

Spoonybird Tue 06-Dec-16 16:40:30

Thanks for all your advice. The tour leader at Western told me that they take people out of catchment which gives me some hope. Any opinions about Weeke or Sparsholt please? These are our mostly likely...

Holaholahola Tue 06-Dec-16 19:00:14

I don't know much about weeke but think it's seen as a good school. I know of one child who's happy there, and another whose parents visited and were impressed with it (albeit not as much as Westgate). Western did indeed take out of catchment children this year. Don't know anything of sparsholt unfortunately.

alcibiades Tue 06-Dec-16 21:25:08

I don’t have any direct experience of schools in the Winchester area as my offspring are adults now. But my DGC will be starting school in a couple of years, so I’m always interested in current views about local schools to pass on to the parents.

It might be worth having a play with Hampshire County Council’s school catchment area finder (if you haven’t already done so). www3.hants.gov.uk/ad-catchmentupdate - but good luck with that, as I didn’t find it particularly easy to use.

Another thought is maybe look at how you’ll get from home to school, although I know that’s a bit up in the air at the moment. Winchester is notorious for having traffic hold-ups. (This morning’s rush hour was complicated by a broken-down lorry at Pitt, causing traffic back-up on Romsey Road, spilling over into Chilbolton Avenue, and even Stockbridge Road which has its own problems from just traffic volume at that time of day.)

I’m not sure about Westgate Primary, but I think that’s only got years R/1/2 currently, as they’re gradually filling the school rather than having taken all years when it first opened. That might have an effect on the overall feel of the school at present. Certainly the primary school will be influenced by the senior school, as it’s an all-through school, but probably both Western and Sparsholt will be similarly influenced as I gather both those are feeder schools to Westgate.

I have got the impression that Western school is closely linked with the CofE parish, which might be of interest.

Weeke is a feeder school into Henry Beaufort. Of the three secondary schools, there’s the general belief that Kings is the most academic, Westgate second, Henry Beaufort third. But I’m really not so sure about that. The daughter of someone I know, left Henry Beaufort last academic year with a hefty bunch of good GCSEs and is now at Peter Symonds aiming for sciences and possibly medicine in the future.

Generally speaking, Winchester state schools are very good, so I’d suggest going with whatever is easiest in terms of access along with how good the pastoral side of things seem to you.

MonkeyMagicMoo Tue 06-Dec-16 22:05:58

I have two children at Weeke and I think it's a great school. My children are thriving there. I preferred the feel of Weeke to Western when I looked round the local schools before my eldest started... Western felt very big to me. I know parents of children at all the schools mentioned and all are happy to be honest. There really aren't any rubbish schools in Winchester.

MonkeyMagicMoo Tue 06-Dec-16 22:06:24

What age are your children by the way?

Spoonybird Wed 07-Dec-16 08:48:53

Thanks for the steer, all very useful food for thought.
I have one who will be 5 in September (so def one of oldest in reception year). Do Weeke kids ever go to The Westgate or Kings?
Still looking for any insights on Sparsholt which is, I understand, a very different offering with mixed year classes...

Toptack Wed 07-Dec-16 14:18:19

We've got kids at another local primary school - currently the Y6 pupils seem to be able to choose which of the 3 secondaries they prefer, and everyone I know of last year got their first choice. Things might change with all the new development going on around town though; I can imagine catchment areas may tighten up a bit over the next few years.

sh700 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:21:50

I looked around Weeke for my eldest a few weeks ago and the head said last year there was a pretty even split between Henry B, Kings and Westgate.

MonkeyMagicMoo Thu 08-Dec-16 22:01:39

Most of the older kids I know from Weeke have gone on to either Westgate or Kings. Year R team at Weeke are really lovely.

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