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Is Wetherby Prep an academic fall back option

(14 Posts)
hedgedmum Sat 30-May-15 15:12:05

Wetherby Prep is a popular "fall back" prep in West London for those not getting a place at CC, WUS or KCJS. Do any parents with DS at Wetherby Prep for whom it was their "fall back" school feel it lacks academic rigour? The margin between the so called "top" day preps and "fall back preps" are pretty narrow these days so I'm investigating DS fall back options as keenly as his first choice

Trifle72 Thu 11-Jun-15 18:05:27

If you dig a little deeper and read the Head's blog this month it's interesting to see under his key appointments that the deputy head, senior mistress and now a geography & history teacher are all ex Westminster Under staff.

LittleTurtle Wed 17-Jun-15 17:08:25

Hi there,

I just wanted to say that I live near Wetherby Prep, and never ever realised it to be a fall back at all. I always thought it was one of the best in London. When they have Open days etc. I always see a queue of prestigious schools children coming over. I assume it is not Public, just in the old sense of the word in that it is not an old senior school. The Prep side is new, so I just presume that had it existed back in the day, the Royal children would have stayed there. And now that they are opening a senior school, I imagine it will competent with WS, St P, Harrow, Eton etc. and will be in the same league. I know most parents around here are doing all means to put their kids at this school as a first choice.

Someone my differ.

chocolateyay Wed 17-Jun-15 17:14:57

Please consider all options. Your child's happiness and well being is paramount. A happy child will thrive, and the school culture must be a right fit.

Hedge - where abouts are you, how old us your son, what is he like?

An oversubscribed school isn't necesarily the best choice. We went this root - big bloody mistake - rectified it and DS went on to get very good results for our/his chosen secondary schools.

Michaelahpurple Wed 17-Jun-15 22:45:09

Any bet on it as a fallback. It has become increasingly popular and they have no Palme at all filling it, so children who look as though they well places at WUS/Collet tens not to get offers from wetherby at all, and then of course can perfectly well not make it to the other two in the end. Have another one or two lines up too

Nick Baker is such a star head, and they are so good at the serving the clientele bit of the offer, which other preps are bafflingly inept at.

I think it does offer a less intellectual option, but they are very good at doing what it says on the tin.

Michaelahpurple Wed 17-Jun-15 22:45:49

Sorry - that should have said "Don't bet on it" - the curse of the iPhone

sanam2010 Wed 17-Jun-15 23:06:54

well I know people who thought it was their fallback and got a rejection. it's very popular, even if most people will of course choose WUS / CC over it, but there's enough other people!

hedgedmum Thu 18-Jun-15 01:02:23

Chocolateyay DS is in Grade 2 of a west London pre-prep and we live very close to Wetherby Prep. He is a very bright (officially G&T but we've not told him and we don't use that term) but sensitive soul and doesn't cope well with exam stress even though he typically scores very highly across the board. He is not as strong in English as Maths hence I think we need to think of back up schools if he bottles the exam on the day. He plays the cello, chess, is part of a drama club and loves reading.

sleepingdog Thu 18-Jun-15 07:29:48

I think Wetherby is a great school which people consider as a back up, but in reality is so oversubscribed that anyone relying on it as a back up will be sorely disappointed. It has a with broader ethos than the "more academic" schools and because of the 13+ element, allows you to really get to know your DS before deciding which school he should go to vs going to WUS/CC at 7/8+ and signing up for W/SPS. I doubt you would get the level of secondary school advice at WUS/CC in years 6-8 that you will get at Wetherby which has a very broad list of exit schools if you wanted to change direction or discovered that your DS "was encouraged to look for alternatives" along the way at WUS/CC.

Secondly, they are very cleverly opening a secondary school this Sept which will be/is oversubscribed from the start - being at the Prep must surely give you another London day option at this stage while you look at alternatives including SPS/Westminster/boarding.

chocolateyay Thu 18-Jun-15 07:56:23

What does your current school suggest? I am assuming you've got your eye on Westminster upper, st pauls, CLS, etc for secondary school?

LittleTurtle Thu 18-Jun-15 10:23:14

I know a few of the moms from Wetherby and all say their sons are more than thriving at the school, but I guess it all depends on the individual child. Your DS sounds like he could do well there. My own DS is younger but has been to Wetherby several times for chess tournaments (Wetherby arranges proper UK Chess Masters to often come and play and mentor kids), so if this is a strong point for your DS or something you want to develop or he loves, he would be happy with their contribution that side.

Basically if you live close to Wetherby, they have said, you get bumped up the list. Your DS is also good in Maths, they have a number of international kids, who may not be that great in English etc., so I doubt that would be much of an issue as long as he is good in Maths (but that is just an assumption from my side, as some of the moms I know, both parents have foreign languages).
If you have kids in a pre-prep close by, I guess Connaught House, Ravestone etc. seem to be great feeders.

Which schools did you have in mind as first choice?

chocolateyay Thu 18-Jun-15 11:09:18

There's more than education/results to getting into your (assumed) secondary schools. Does he also play musical instruments, is he good at any sports, arts, drama - what is his 'thing' or his passion?

Look at a few schools - results alone don't tell the full story. We used to go to Wetherby for competitions too and it all seemed very nice. I know some parents who have tried to get their boys into there and the waiting list is huge!

If he is sensitive do consider the culture of the school - some schools are pushy (parents and kids) and a sensitive child may feel harassed and constantly peer-checking to make sure he 'measures up' (that must be stressful).

Ask your current Head - they know the child, his abilities and potential. Our old head was absolutely spot on with our DS with their prediction.

deslibris Tue 21-Jul-15 03:09:40

I have had DS's at different schools - including Wetherby Prep and WUS. Wetherby Prep sets high standards in both its teaching and in its pastoral care. It is a happy school, that encourages enterprise and engagement in its boys and, in my fairly recent experience, is a friendly, caring and welcoming environment for both boy and parent. The approach is well organised, dedicated and the teacher/parent feedback is fairly outstanding (and more importantly honest and helpful!) and the boys are engaged and challenged.
When it comes to the 13+ selection for next schools, the advice is thorough and first rate. The approach focused on getting the boy into a school that will be right for him - not only academically but also as an individual personality - the school also encourages considered thought of what might be right for the family as a whole - especially helpful in the London vs boarding debate. I won't bother with destination schools as these are on the web site.
The range of academic abilities is definitely wider than at WUS (and CC), but this might be considered a plus as the boys are encouraged to each enjoy and excel in their different areas of ability and the results are a testament to the school's good teaching - some of which was genuinely inspired. There is very good teacher/parent communication - we had one occasion where a teacher (in a subject my DS found particularly challenging) called us up (unsolicited) during their own holiday to advise us further on individual preparation aids for DS in advance of CE. My experience was that any email/call to the school met with a lightening and well considered response - this inspired confidence in the efficiency, professionalism and care of the staff - who were also particularly warm and helpful in person.
It's a sporty school and encourages sporting achievement as an area of excellence with good facilities - again the organisation of this so important in a central London school. I feel Wetherby is probably on balance, in culture, slightly less geared to a more reflective or intellectual type of boy (certainly less than WUS) but my DS (being one of these) enjoyed it non the less and these qualities were recognised, appreciated and encouraged in him and others of his ilk. Downside: music is not a strong suit at Wetherby Prep - especially compared to a WUS where standards of musicianship are in a different league entirely. So for a boy seeking say a music scholarship, perhaps it might not be the right choice - for more generalists the Wetherby boys get encouragement and enjoyment from music in the active choirs and orchestras and have many opportunities to perform organised by the school's dedicated music teaching staff. I know they are encouraging development of the music department.
Wetherby Prep has had recently excellent entry results to Harrow and I think this reflects the school's style - slightly less intellectual but with high all round standards. Nick Baker is an ambitious, open and likeable head and it is a well run and happy school which offers an exceptional and rounded education.

almapudden Tue 21-Jul-15 03:56:07

I used to teach at Wetherby. It certainly has a broader range of ability than you'll find at WUS or CC, but the top end is well-catered for (though scholarship preparation is perhaps not as well organised as at other high-achieving schools), and the bottom end is fantastically well-supported. It's a busy, happy school where staff really do care about the boys, and the extra-curricular and sporting provision is excellent.

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