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Latymer vs Westminster Under

(7 Posts)
londonmaman Mon 16-Feb-15 18:17:37

Our son has offers at both Latymer & WU (KCS too but that's too far away logistically). I would like to ask Mums with experience of both to see which one would be suitable for us.
DS is on the scholar stream at his prep, is quite sporty but not very self-motivated, does his homework as quickly as he can instead of doing it to his best standard, likes to play FIFA on his iPad (which boy doesn't?!) and likes to be the top dog.
WU seems to be quite intellectual and from what I hear, if you are not in the scholar class then you feel second best.
The Saturday school at Westminster later on does not look attractive either.
The only reason I'm hesitating about choosing Latymer is that although their results are good, the number of kids get to top universities is well below SP / Westminster (17% compared to 40%).
Anyone can help please?

choselatymer Mon 16-Feb-15 18:51:39

By top universities you mean Oxford and Cambridge then?
There are other top universities, are they not?
And if you want to do drama, or marine biology, or any of the other subjects that Oxford and Cambridge don't offer, then you have to choose alternatives...
And if you want to go to USA (increasingly popular choice) then off you go.
So take those numbers with a pinch of salt.
However, if exam results, leavers destinations and numbers are important to you then Westminster is the choice.
Although lots can change in seven years.
Does he prefer single sex or coed?

minoula Mon 16-Feb-15 19:39:13

Hi London. Congrats to your son on his stunning set of offers!

I'm afraid I have little knowledge of WU (DS didn't apply as there was no way he was going to get one of those 10 places at 11 plus - maybe this tells you all you need to know �� )!

He is now at LU in Year 7 though. To be honest, I never looked at the number of Oxbridge places the school secure. There does seem to be an increasing number going to US unis though and there is a department at LU to advise on this process.

LU seems to attract very articulate, outgoing types. For instance, they all want to be in the debating team or take lead part in the plays, etc! I think being co-ed gives it a livelier, edgier atmosphere than a single sex school - obviously this would not suits everyone though.

Another consideration I'd that they do not have to work to the Common Entrance syllabus as LU do not really have an intake at 13 plus.

At LU there is no streaming at all until some time into year 8 and no exam week in the summer for Year 7s. They do not give A/B/C etc grades on report cards - there is simply a 'L' grade which means that a pupil is at LU standard, an L* grade if they are consistently top of the class in a particular subject, or an R grade if some areas need working on. It's made very clear to all that a report consisting of L grades means that a DC is well on track for the highest grades at GCSE and the vast majority of pupils will be achieving Ls. So no need to stress as long as you are getting Ls!

The whole school closes for a week in June for 'Activities Week' when they go off on a residential trip of their choice (chosen from a quite substantial brochure)!

Despite all this, the Maths is taught at a pace which (to me) is quite extraordinary - strong reasoning/ lateral thinking skills are definitely the order of the day. They definitely encourage independent thinking, rather than simply working to formulas. And they fly through the Mandarin as well.

Sounds like your DS would more than cope with all this though. Westminster is an amazing school with its own unique atmosphere and the results are pretty much second to none. Go with your gut feeling at the end of the day -and good luck!

choselatymer Mon 16-Feb-15 19:56:03

Hi Minoula
last year there were end of year exams for year 7, one week right after May half-term.
They start yr 8 in sets for maths and french only. I guess mandarin will be the same.

minoula Mon 16-Feb-15 20:02:06

DS feels very lucky as they have now done away with exam week for Year 7 (for this year at least -could all change back again)!

choselatymer Mon 16-Feb-15 20:29:15

Oh nice for him and an interesting move by the school!

londonmaman Wed 18-Feb-15 09:35:05

Thank you for your thoughts. DS is not at all articulate / arty type. He's popular at his school but is definitely a Maths person (he'd rather do a maths paper than a History essay) and he likes being in the top set as he finds the pace there about right.
Our DD is at Latymer already so we know the school well and that's what worries me: the girls there are way more articulate, outgoing, active, involved in clubs, drama, school plays than the boys and to a boy like DS - he'd be 2 years of maturity less than the girls.
DS's gut feeling is for the moment WU.
For family convenience & simplicity, Latymer would be great but at the same time we want to choose the right school for him rather than a simple life for us.
You are right though in saying that no exam at Latymer after 11+ is a definite plus!

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