Wycombe Abbey at 11(12 Posts)
We have just been to an open day and DD is very keen to try and get a place.
I am keen to find out what it is like starting at 11, how many children are applying for those 60 places, more about this mysterious assessment day (they breezily say - just a few tests - but what kind?!), and any other information that might be relevant.
Their presentations are obviously impressive - but is everyone treated as an individual as much as they make out, and are they really supportive if a girl hits a bump so to speak in her 'educational journey'?!
Hi there. We are in your position too, so interested in the replies you get. We were told 200 sit for 60 places and that numbers are really on the up, so could possibly be more in the coming years. We understood that the assessment day is a computer test, followed by interview and then academic lesson and extra curricular lesson.
Have been told that this happens in a morning, and then the next batch come in during the afternoon etc until they have seen everyone (ie. conveyor belt), but have also been told they do the computer test and then only take through those who pass it to the next stage. Not sure what is true.
I think it is a fab school for the right girl. It is very full on academically and that is their USP - don't be the girl who gets a B or heaven forbid a C - if you struggle they are all over it (but have been told they charge extra for the additional support given). Our guide said it was competitive but this came from the girls - quite an alpha environment. GSG says 20% of girls leave after GCSEs - with more looking. That's a lot and it has raised a flag for me that maybe 7 years is too long in such a pressurised, claustrophobic environment. I know several old girls, and they are not sending their DD there. Also very much weekly boarding despite the stuff laid on - we had 2 guides and they both said they went home every Sunday except for the 3 closed weekends a term and that this was commonplace. Hence the interest in parents from London because it is so close.
I'd asked the same question of our guide who said that she kept coming up with excuses not to go home at weekends as there was so much on - and her parents were only 15 mins away (had come from a nearby prep).
I am figuring if you manage to get in, then you would be unlucky to be getting a B, given the teaching.
Its hard as we were seeing it on a Saturday just after half-term, but it didn't seem to have quite the happy buzz I have seen at another girls school. Having said that DD enjoyed the children's activities that were put on during the parent's talk.
My DD went to the local girls prep and nearly everyone who went to WA from there, and it was a lot, went at 13. One or two went at 11, usually to join a sibling.
My DD didn't go there but most girls schools near London are weekly boarding now. Does WA have anyone who gets a B at GCSE? This pupil would be pretty rare!
I think a lot of London girls sit but are unlikely to take up a place, my next door neighbour's daughter did and I know at least 5 or 6 others. Some of those who leave after GCSEs go to London day schools for A levels (single & co-ed).
We too are looking at Wycombe for 11+ entry and have visited a couple of times now - an open day (did with DD) and a personal visit which involves meeting Rhiannon Wilkinson (only DH and I went to this).
We understood from our chat with the headmistress that the assessment day involves an online verbal, non verbal & mathematical reasoning test, several group activities and an informal interview with a housemistress (I think). An offer is then made on the basis of all this, along with the girl's headmaster's report (conditional on passing 11+, but online test designed to pick out those who will pass comfortably). I think the idea is that the assessment day is that none of it can really be prepared for. It is intended to provide the school with a comprehensive all round picture of your DD's academic ability and personality and is designed to assess whether she will good fit for the school and vice-versa.
I'd highly recommend booking a personal visit if you have any concerns at all. Ms. Wilkinson brought in these Tuesday morning visits specifically sp that she can meet parents face to face. She is wonderfully approachable and down-to-earth-honest. I'd happily entrust my DD to her care if the school walks her talk.
I am somewhat concerned to read posts above about weekly boarding being the norm. We are London parents and particularly wanted a full boarding school over a London day school, for the stronger community and friendships that we thought full boarding would encourage (particularly important I think in an alpha-female environment). I'd be disappointed if DD felt that she wanted to escape every weekend (which she would of course if all her friends were). Having said that, once the closed weekends are taken into account, the odd Sunday at home (presumably out and back by Sunday night) doesn't really constitute weekly boarding...
Unfortunately, where schools permit girls to go out after Saturday morning, or in our case, Friday evening, and then back on a Sunday night, 9.00 pm, the girls take the opportunity. What really bothered me was that nearly all the parents wanted it this way, even though the fes are £10,000,for full boarding. There are a lot of working parents who feel guilty that they do not see their children in the week but do want to see them at weekends. At our school, girls were collected on a Friday evening and some were brought back for sports matches on a Saturday morning and then went home again!
There is also the problem that if only the overseas girls stay in, there is a divide and sometimes it ishard to persuade your child to stay in if none of their friends do. There are plenty of parents that do not was weekend activities for their children in school. The want a family dinner on a Saturday and Sunday lunch too!
At our school, parents even complained about the closed weekends! It amazed me! I cannot speak for the culture at WA, however, but it is a working/London parent driven issue from my perspective. Also, where parents have not boarded themselves, they think weekly is a step back from "sending your child away".
Is it more a girls school thing? I definitely got the impression on the tour from a housemistress that alot of girls go home. DD would need to be in on non-exeat weekends as we are too far away, and the idea of her friends going home, and her not, I think would make her homesick. (She is not a homesick kind of kid - but I think that would only be the case if everyone was in the same boat.)
We would love to find an academic school which is genuinely full boarding like Uppingham, but preferably single sex as DD is into maths, science and D&T.
Which school are your children at MillyMolly, as we are looking at other schools. (PM me if you don't want to make it public.)
I have been told that personal visits are possible with a housemistress, but the full personal visit including meeting the head will only be possible once you have formally registered your child. Apparently she is too busy to meet all parents who would like to meet her.
My dd joined at 11 and loves it. Meeting the head is not a new thing, we met Mrs Hall. I didn't do an open day. It's certainly not weekly boarding! It's possible to go home after chapel on Sun back by Sun evening, but it's up to your child. My dd is in a concert this Sunday so we will go and watch then have dinner together. There are girls who go home, girls who stay, it's nice to have choice. There are loads of activities, clubs, sport, drama and dreaded prep, so sometimes our dd stays, sometimes she goes to a friend's or comes home. We let her choose. There are other threads on WAS on here....
If you are catholic St. Mary's Ascot fits your bill. Same league as WA in terms of academics and they are v strict about weekends.
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