Any experience of St George's Weybridge, SWPS or Guildford High?(36 Posts)
Hi there - I'd appreciate any current views (good or bad!) of these schools - for a very bright girl (not a true genius type, but always been at the top of her a class without effort and should get A*/A/whatever they are now).
GHS obviously highly selective, so should be good for teaching at the right level, but do they get time to just be kids and have fun as well? SWPS and St George's seem more relaxed, but are the brightest kids catered for? St George's also co-ed, which could be better as we're all girls at home.
The other option is to go the local 'good' secondary, but seeing how the bright kids are just left to themselves at our primary (and oldest DD starting to lose some enthusiasm as a result), we're not sure this is the right option anymore, if we can stretch to something that fits better. I know she should get good results wherever she is (so long as she doesn't turn off completely), but its not all about the results, but the journey she has to get there.
Going round in circles here. Any help appreciated!
I have had children at St George's and SWPS.
If you live closer to these schools rather than Guildford High, there are no good state schools.
I love SWPS. The girls are not embarrassed about loving learning and it is cool to achieve. They support one another. It really is a school that ticks all the boxes.
My boys went to St George's and one of them loved it. The other tolerated it. They were fairly complacent although I did point out to the old head that they were the only coed independent school in Runnymede so no wonder their numbers were strong. The new head should be a breath of fresh air. I didn't want my girls to go to St George's as I thought the girls there were a bit "hard", hence they went to SWPS?
GHS is also a very complacent school. They cream off the top girls in the county so they have the top grades across the board.
I think the OP, given her choice of three excellent schools, should prioritise transport. What public transport options are a reality to you. You have to think this out long term.
Thank Bizzy, that's very helpful. I've heard lots of good things about SWPS, but interesting what you say about girls at St Georges. Maybe that's a natural result of being in a co-ed - a bit faster to grow up, if that's what you mean?
Transport isn't great really. There's the school buses, but they will add more cost and leave early/come back late. It's more likely to be mum taxi on the days I'm not working, so definitely a consideration.
In defence of the local comp though - it is a good (or probably good enough) school, just perhaps not such a brilliant choice for a really bright child. We're fortunate to be able to choose!
What IS your local comp choice, because based on your choice of indie schools, there are several options off the top of my head, depending on exactly where you are placed? I think if you throw that into the mix, people will be able to advise more accurately? There is, for instance, quite a difference between Jubilee High in Addlestone or St John the Baptist in woking!
In my experience SWPS caters for all the girls who attend the school and expect the girls to work hard and achieve the highest standard they can. Class tests often have to be sat again if a certain mark has not been attained. Academic achievement is celebrated but at the same time if a girl finds she is struggling with a subject the teachers are usually approachable. Girls do very well at the school and one of my DDs (now at Uni) wouldn't hesitate to go back into year 7 and go through again if she could because she loved the school so much!
I've heard good things about Woking High.
I've known a lot of girls who've gone to GHS. They seem to have plenty of time to have fun - and the head has been known to talk to families who were "doing too much" for the daughter to cope eg. Grade 8 in 3 instruments, Competitive swimming, and multiple choirs/orchestras. Unless your DD only just got in she should have plenty of space for other activities, they have great Sports facilities, do a lot of Drama and Music.
Also as your DD would be commuting by train (and they have a buddy system for new year 7s to travel with older girls), she would also have plenty of time to mix with RGS boys when she's older.
But I would also look yourself and listen to your daughter's own opinions, as they can spot something we as parents miss.
All positive stuff, thank you both. Although doesn't help me to narrow the choice down at all!
My dds only concern seems to be the difficulty of finding a boyfriend if she's in a single sex school
send her single sex if that is all she cares about already!!
Ps Agree that Woking High is a good school for the vast majority of their pupils. Just that Ofsted highlighted they still don't challenge the brightest sufficiently, and seem to be heading towards no setting in all subjects except maths. So not convinced it'll be the best choice for us - but very happy to hear any reports to the contrary, as it ticks all the boxes except the academic angle!
weary12 Absolutely - scary how early they start thinking about this stuff. Probably 5 years earlier than my generation!
Transport to Chertsey/Addlestone to Woking isn't too bad. Train via Weybridge - loads of them do this. There are also local buses.
The school bus from SWPS isn't a bad idea as they can do most of their prep in school, or do activities. The SGC buses leave shortly after school ends.
Thanks BizzyFizzy. I guess its hard for me to imagine them being so grown up that they can do the transport on their own/longer day. But good to know those are doable/popular options.
There's murmurings of management problems at SWPS. The last few years' results have been in decline since the newest head took post and there's some dissatisfaction with the current Deputy. (the first anyway as they appointed another deputy in September. maybe to address the problems?)
Definitely been lots of changes in senior management over the last couple of years while the head's got his feet under the table and not seen any corrosponding improvements. My suspicion is he's riding off the previous head's achievements as she was fantastic and he was her deputy. Big shoes to fill and not sure if he's doing so.
I'm a little worried my DD (year 10 now) might not achieve what we were expecting in GCSEs as the quality of subject teaching's gone down hill over the past couple of years. And don't get me started on their sports department. If you're not in the A teams, don't get many proper matches!
My DD is in Y10 too. I haven't heard anything about management problems. Can you elaborate, Bread?
I will add that in any school, there are often quite a few staff changes when a new head takes up post. You have to look at what the staff changes are. The ones I know about at SWPS are either promotions, retirements, or the loss of weaker teachers, so nothing sinister.
The deputy head runs the school and is fairly strict, but comes from a pastoral background so firm but fair. She really has not any responsibility for teaching, other than her subject (and her department is very strong at the moment).
The teachers at SWPS were very happy when the head was promoted.
As for appointing a new deputy head, they are simply changing the traditional Director of Studies title, so still have the standard structure of Head, Deputy - Pastoral, Deputy - Academic, then a bunch of senior teachers (assistant heads), the middle managers. It's really very standard.
Thanks Bizzy. I always wonder how people know so much about all these staffing changes!?! It’s rather unsettling when negative comments are made, especially as I wouldn’t consider moving her in Y10.
My DD seems to be doing well but obviously I want her to get the best GCSE results she can. Are the GSCE results in decline?
We went to the revision workshop last week and I thought the Assistant Head came over very well.
I know of at least two academic girls who have left St George's for financial reasons and moved to Woking High and are not happy there. They have found classes noisy with some pupils not interested in learning but, I guess, this may simply be down to the luck of the draw when it comes to personalities in their respective classes.
Just to further muddy the waters, have you considered Tormead School in Guildford? It is academic without being a hothouse and is easily accessible from the Woking area by train or coach.
Have seen some more comments have popped up - thank you for your thoughts.
We've visited all the schools now (including Tormead as well) and are no further forward! They all seemed good in their own way (except didn't warm to the head of GHS at all, but the school itself seemed good).
One of the girls schools is probably the best fit academically, but struggling to get past the single sex aspect (we're both from co-ed schools). Wish I had a crystal ball
My DD got 10 A* at GCSE and was one of 14, I think, so about 15% of the year group. Almost all of the other girls got a mix of A* and As.
GHS does better, but they are highly selective. SWPS is moderately selective (taking in average to above average girls).
Results at SWPS has changed because the selection system has changed. (I just typed out a long explanation as to how and why but mumsnet ate it apparently.) not necessarily as much a reflection on the teaching staff as a reflection of the fact that the GCSE results from around 2013 onwards are from years that didn't go through a selection process as rigorous as the year groups before that. In my day lots got into GHS but didn't get into SWPS, but I acknowledge that may have changed now.
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