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Westminster Under school vs City of London

(66 Posts)
essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 10:33:44

Dear All
If you're given a choice, would you choose Westminster Under school or City of London? I know it's personal choice and circumstances etc. but are there any good points to consider in choosing one school over other?

your response is very important for us!

Thanks,

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 10:38:35

Have you to make The Decision? What does your son think?

Noitsnotteatimeyet Thu 24-Mar-16 10:46:56

There's a huge difference in the fees - City being one of the less expensive independent schools in London and Westminster being eye-wateringly expensive, especially at senior level- will that have a bearing on your choice?

Apart from the fees they're very different schools - City has a very modern setting and its pupils are more diverse. Westminster has centuries of history and is one of the famous 'names' of English education

They're so different surely you must have a preference for one or the other- what does your son think?

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 11:08:05

They are 2 very different schools. CLS is more 'normal' whereas Westminster is more privileged, with far narrower social spectrum of boys.

CLS has a relatively close relationship with the girls school, but I'm not sure if Westminster has a similar set up with a girls school. But they do have girls in sixth form.

Look at results too. Both good.

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 11:27:41

Thanks to originalmavis and Noitsnotteatimeyet !

yes, we had St Paul's offer too but it's more than 80 minutes door to door.

Yes, Westminster is expensive and it's not automatic moving to Year 9. I'm not sure whether child needs to go through competition every year for school place? But on the other hand whole world is running on competition. Do you think it's wise to take the pressure of competition now get used to it? or go to City and bit more comfortable and relax and still get desired results? Do they get time to relax at Westminster? I know children are more relaxed at City of London. At Westminster from Year 9 onward, they've to attend Saturday class?

any other major differences to consider please?

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 11:38:31

The boys do need to pass wus to go to the upper school - you can check online how many do go up in tbe upper school brochure. I don't think they have classes every Saturday.

Did you go to the parent's open evening? That gives a feel for the culture. I found it a bit pointy elbowed to be honest. A definage whif of high achieving City lawyer about the place! CLS is more smart kids, parents working to pay the fees.

There's competition and there's pressure. I'm happy with the former but don't think that the latter is for everyone. I've worked with many an unhappy high achiever!

What does your son think?

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 12:06:17

Thanks originalmavis!

for my son both schools are good. equal distance.

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 12:34:07

Think of the culture of the school. Will he/you fit in and feel comfortable?

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 12:52:38

yes, both schools should be fine in terms of culture for us. WUS divides Year 7 children into two groups in Year 8 for Scholarship entrance and Common Entrance for WSS. its not your choice if you like to be in one or other group. this'll decide whether you can hope for scholarship at 13plus entrance at WSS or not.

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 12:57:45

The scholarships aren't really worth much in financial terms! Do you know any boys going to either school? How will he commute?

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 13:22:26

yes, I know boys in both schools. We'll be using TFL trains. They say both schools are good.

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 13:28:58

But what's your gut feeling? I found WUS a bit - well a lot - snobby, whereas CLS more of a wide church.

Ladymuck Thu 24-Mar-16 13:45:55

At this level it isn't about one school being "better" than the other - they are both excellent schools by pretty much any measure. You are not going to regret choosing your favourite. It is entirely down to which you feel more at home with. Which do you feel more at home in? Which is most similar to the school you were at?

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 13:49:39

At DSs current school we walked in and thought 'oh yes, this is it'. We experienced another that was 'good' but a hothouse and it was not a happy place.

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 14:20:55

Thanks to Ladymuck and originalmavis for your comments!

as you say both schools are good and my son is comfortable with both and he's open. May be gut feeling for me is City of London as they've excellent Entrepreneurship activity. I'm not sure about WUS activity on Entrepreneurship! Drama, Music and Academic may be similar or one is superior to other slightly.

But in terms of rankings WUS is at 2nd or 3rd whereas CoL is at 30th!

Cantchangeusernameback Thu 24-Mar-16 14:28:32

At that level it's more about the boy than the school ranking - he will have the potential to do well at either. I'm a bit confused about where you are in the process. Presumably this is for 11+ entrance since that's the only year that both have a regular intake? Haven't the acceptance deadlines already passed for this year, or are you just considering where to apply?

ohtobeanonymous Thu 24-Mar-16 14:31:08

Personally, I think WUS sounds vile.

Your son is obviously bright if he has offers at three top schools. Let's face it. there's not much difference between schools in the top 50 /100-of the country, surely. If he works hard and enjoys being at school, he'll get his level 8 or 9 (no more A* grades anymore!) in all his subjects at probably any school with decent staff and a positive work ethos. Even our local 'sink' comp produces A* achievers.

As for your son's choice, it's between two top 'brands' rather than anything like the choice between Bugati and Skoda! I'd go with your gut on this one, all other factors being pretty equal.

Ladymuck Thu 24-Mar-16 14:32:36

"But in terms of rankings WUS is at 2nd or 3rd whereas CoL is at 30th!"

Which is fairly meaningless at this level. All this will tell you is that perhaps one school doesn't allow boys to sit subjects unless they are likely to get an A, or that a couple of boys struggled at 16 with medical or pastoral issues. The vast majority of boys at both schools got a string of As and A*s. At this level in the league table any differences mainly arise due to the poorer performing boys in certain public exams. (One school had a single child fail maths GCSE one year and as a result dropped over 100 places in the league tables!) Which is why it is so important to look for somewhere that you and he feel comfortable. A boy who is bright enough to get into these schools has the potential to do well anywhere provided he is happy and motivated. What you are really looking for is an environment where he is happy and can be stretched, and where you find it easy to approach the school if something isn't working out.

Cantchangeusernameback Thu 24-Mar-16 14:34:31

What is this ranking OP? WUS only goes to year 8 so no GCSEs there.

essexuser Thu 24-Mar-16 14:40:51

ranking is between WSS and CoL

www.qebarnet.co.uk/files/Sunday%20Times%20magazine,%2007_02_16.pdf

Cantchangeusernameback Thu 24-Mar-16 14:47:41

Where in the process is your DS?

jeanne16 Thu 24-Mar-16 16:43:09

In what way does Westminster sound vile? Surely old prejudices of posh students
are not still around.

I have no experience of WUS but my DD was in the Westminster 6th form and it was fantastic. While there were obviously some people with loads of money, there were also lots of fairly ordinary professional families and probably over 50% Asian pupils. This is becoming the norm at all top UK schools because of their vastly superior work ethic.

Coffeeismycupoftea Thu 24-Mar-16 17:57:52

All the grown ups who went to Westminster are very funny, smart people who say the school was extraordinary with excellent teaching. We went to look at it and like a PP, I had a bit of a reaction to the other parents. You could smell the ambition and I found it a bit overwhelming.

Plus I thought it pretty unlikely my son would get in...

City feels like a completely different school. It's sort of the private school that's most palatable for those who are a bit squeamish about going private. They felt to me like a public school and a grammar/independent school.

I'm really surprised the decision isn't obvious, they feel so utterly different. Isn't the £10k pa saving a factor?

originalmavis Thu 24-Mar-16 17:59:04

£10k? And the rest!

Michaelahpurple Thu 24-Mar-16 18:05:14

Just FYI WUS splits scholarship and CE only at year 8 (most preps do it in year 7 but Wus can't because of the 11+ intake)
Wus really isn't at all snobbish and you certainly don't have to compete to move on each year, but you do have to win your place at Great school albeit with a. Huge leg up vs the rest of the field and the great majority of boys succeed in doing so

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