Hampton School vs Westminster(35 Posts)
Help and advice is needed desperately! DS has been offered a place at both schools at 12+. Westminster school is great but financially twice as heavy as Hampton (Hampton also offers a 25% scholarship). Westminster is such a great name but Hampton seems to be very efficient and its results are very impressive. DS is not a sporty but rather "quirky" type fascinated by the computers, technology, etc.
They are a very long way apart and VERY different schools, we looked at both. Where are you based? and what is your DS like?
I mean other than quirky, because computer quirky can easily be fitted into Hampton. Is he into drama, anything else?
Not at all. He is not into drama or art. He likes science and maths and reads a lot. Studies computer programming outside of school and can turn any phone inside out in a split of a second )
We are in NW London but can move, it is not an issue.
You could stay where you are for Westminster and he could commute in and he would be surrounded by very similar incredibly bright boys and be very happy, although he will moan about Saturdays. Westminster does seem to be one of those schools that lives up to his reputation and for the right boy it would be an incredible experience. It is a lot more successful with Oxbridge entries than Hampton, usually 90+ against 25-30 but is does have a large intake at 6th form whereas Hampton doesn't and prides itself on everyone staying.
Alternatively you could move out Hampton way and save a fortune on school fees. It is a big school with a much wider ability range than Westminster, but there will be a group of similar boys who will be having a Westminster type experience unaware that there are rugby matches etc going on. He would be one of the brightest, the geeky ones. I have only known a few very bright boys go to Hampton and they do stand out in their year group but that can be an advantage and there is a lot for them to do. Hampton does very well at Maths and science Olympiads, they won the senior maths team twice in recent years but I think Westminster were joint winners with another school last year.
If it wasn't for the difference in fees I would say Westminster, but if its too much money Hampton is going to be an excellent choice as well.
From your location and description of your boy - Westminster for sure.
Thank you cakeisalaystheanswer and cavedescreux. Yes, Westminster surely would be a great choice if not the cost of it. We are trying to assess the investment (which is huge for us) against the value it can bring to our boy in the future. Being quite a cabinet style, he is not eager to hold the conversation on anything which doesn't refer directly to his interests. In a way, it is natural as he is only a teenager. The hope is that, being surrounded by the utterly intelligent boys he will eventually become more "rounded" and acquire the ability to find new interests. people we talked to about it all say that W is so much more than just an education. I wonder whether I am not getting mesmerized by a big name and Hampton can well provide all the same .....
I hear similar stories from W parents but if its too much money he can't go. There will be similar boys at Hampton just not so many of them and he will be one of the clever ones but that could actually suit his personality better, if he went to W and was just average he might hate it. The advantage of a big school is that you will always find like-minded friends and I am sure he would do very well at Hampton.
yes, that is exactly why we can't make up our mind... H seems to be moving up the league tables quite aggressively, which proves they are really really good.
Our son attended Westminster, and he (and we) cannot say enough wonderful things about it. Everything about the school is first rate, from teaching to the facilities, and it provides unlimited opportunities for a child who is eager to stretch his/her mind and abilities. The student body is diverse in its gifts, and every single student seems to be incredibly bright and capable. My son formed lifelong relationships there with both peers and teachers. A certain kind of person can flourish at Westminster. But the competition and the pressure to perform are intense as well.
Pensivepolly, thank you for your feedback. May I ask you whether he commutes to school daily or is boarding? From where we are it takes about an hour to get to school in the morning and another hour to get back... Seems to be quite a long journey for a 13 year old. Boarding is not considered for financial reasons.
Cheessy moving up the league tables does not indicate how much extension outside the exam syllabus Hampton does. They may just be very good at teaching for the exams and have become increasingly selective.
If finance is an issue perhaps consider Westminster for the sixth form.
Getting into Westminster for sixth form is tricky, especially for boys. They don't have many places and will take from a variety of backgrounds. It is really not something you could count on.
It sounds as if your son would be a good fit for Westminster, and it is a fantasstic school which offers a lot more than excellent results. However it is all relative. Money, not moving home against moving home etc. Both will give him great opportunities and get him to the next stage.
An hours travel is a long time. And is that a realistic door to door hour at the start and end of the school day or at another time of day?
Yes, that is pretty much an hour of travel one way. Thankfully there is no platform change on our line. Although yeah, it is a long journey...
cheessy Our son commuted. His trip wasn't as long as your son's would be - it was usually 30 to 40 minutes door to door. (We are in NW London near the Jubilee line, so he was able to take the tube straight to Westminster.) He never complained about the commute. FWIW most of his friends were day students, not boarding, and they came from all over the city.
"Alternatively you could move out Hampton way and save a fortune on school fees. It is a big school with a much wider ability range than Westminster, but there will be a group of similar boys who will be having a Westminster type experience unaware that there are rugby matches etc going on. He would be one of the brightest, the geeky ones. I have only known a few very bright boys go to Hampton and they do stand out in their year group but that can be an advantage and there is a lot for them to do. Hampton does very well at Maths and science Olympiads, they won the senior maths team twice in recent years but I think Westminster were joint winners with another school last year."
In our experience Hampton are increasing the intake of bright boys with different interests (e.g. maths, tech, it) and who aren't particularly sporty. They are also becoming more academically selective overall, hence results are likely to continue to increase. In other words, I don't think your ds will 'stand out' as a bright, geeky one, I think he'll be surprised how many similar boys there are.
Good luck with your decision.
Hampton was inspected recently and rated 'exceptional' (the report is on their website). It's full of incredibly bright, happy, down to earth boys. Some are fantastic at sport, others are properly geeky and others love to sing and act - all are very clever.
I totally disagree Paradi. Having DS at one of the local preps I know that out of the 15 on average boys going to Hampton each year only 1 or 2 of them would be considered Westminster material. These 1 or 2 boys get scholarships and are always form prize winners at Hampton. I am not sure you understand just how academic Westminster is, it isn't just a question of getting so many A*s etc, the teaching goes way beyond that. It is a very special school and fantastic for the right boy. However, it is very expensive and if it is too much money it is not an option.
The difference between the two schools should be apparent in that Hampton have offered a scholarship to a very bright boy at a unusual point of entry whereas Westminster is just offering a place.
Surely the cost difference in the two schools will be more than covered in the cost of buying and selling your house and Conveyancing/stamp duty. Unless you want to move to SW London anyway
I also have a son at a local prep and i agree with Cakeisal....
Make no mistake OP, Westminster is very much more than just a big 'name', and the education your son will receive there will far exceed anything that can be reflected in the school league tables. I agree with PPs that your son sounds a very good fit.
Hampton is a fine school, but in your shoes Westminster would be a no-brainer.
Completely agree about the no-brainer.
Hampton is a lovely school, has an 'old-fashioned ( in the nicest possible way) grammar' feel about it. But W is a whole world apart.
If you have a reasonable commute, if you can afford the fees - really - no contest.
(My own DC are at SPS, after the same agonising, and VERY tempting scholarships declined at Hampton and elsewhere for same reasons).
He was also offered SPS as well as Haberdashers and Queen Elizabeth grammar (some 2000 applicants for 180 places). My head is burning, thank you so much for your comments - it is so helpful to hear unbiased third party opinions.
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