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Withington Girls, Manchester High or somewhere else?

(43 Posts)
Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 14:02:09

DD is bright, sporty and musical but is not at a prep school. We’ve done some Bond stuff at home and she copes well with these. I’d like to know whether either of these schools is a realistic option for a bright sparky girl who is also keen on being somewhere she can play sport and run. I think we need to get the application in in the next couple of weeks if we’re going to go for it.
Do they tend to only take their own juniors plus children from the local preps? Our neighbour has a daughter the same age at a prep in Cheadle and the amount of stuff she’s done compared to DD is staggering although I’d say both are equally bright girls but maybe I’m deluding myself there.
Anyone have girls at either and can let me know anything about the atmosphere there and number of state school girls.
DD has brothers rather than sisters so I think she may quite enjoy an all girls environment. She’s also quite a workhorse and very studious but I’m not sure how much that counts compared to brains (which she also has) and prep (which she doesn’t really have). Thanks for any information.

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Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 16:14:33


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Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 18:52:35


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gammonpie Wed 08-Nov-17 20:13:31

My daughter is at Withington and loves it. She was at a state school. She does a lot of sport at WGS. Has found the atmosphere warm, caring and friendly. Would say it is both academic and hardworking but she equally enjoys that side of things. I think they say the admission process looks for potential rather than vast amounts of prep. Fewer seem to come from state schools than preps though but this has never presented any problems for her. It's the open evening tomorrow night and Sat morning.

mycatthinksshesatiger Wed 08-Nov-17 20:19:00

Back in the day I went to WGS. I imagine it’s changed a lot. I far exceeded my potential academically there but it was very hard work! I get the impression these days there’s far more emphasis on extra-curricular activities and it’s more of an all-rounder school. In my case they spotted potential at 11 that my teachers at my primary school hadn’t seen or nurtured. I did no prep for the entrance tests but I imagine these days things are different. In the 70s it was a fabulously feminist institution with lots of eccentric teachers who made a lasting impression. For what it’s worth 8 years ago DS got into a school very similar to Manchester Grammar in another city from a state school with no prep. The school seemed to have devised a test which identified potential and which kids couldn’t really be prepped for. Good luck!

Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 21:18:06

Thank you both. And thank you gammonpie for the head up about the open evening tomorrow.
If they look at potential, she should be fine because I know she can do far more than she is currently doing. One of my frustrations is that she seems to be getting regular full marks on end if topic/end of half term tests. To me, no child should be getting full marks and that indicates that the test is too easy but school say it’s the correct level for the national curriculum year she is in. They did give her a little bit of Y5 maths in Y4 and some Y6 maths in Y5 but that hasn’t happened in Y6 I presume through lack of resources. I’ll take her tomorrow eve but I’m worried she’ll love it and end up disappointed.

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Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 21:19:28

Any knowledge anyone has on Manchester High would be gratefully received too.
Gammonpie, does your daughter know any MH girls? Are they happy there?

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Nongoddess Wed 08-Nov-17 21:35:25

Hello! I was a Manchester High girl but that's a while ago - in the 90s, so things have no doubt changed a good deal. But I absolutely loved it and still value it and think about it fondly. Amazing experience. Wonderful teaching, a bit like mycat says about Withington, some quite eccentric, creative teachers who really encouraged us. I had a wide range of friends from different primary school backgrounds, state as well as prep (and I got the feeling it might have had a broader intake than Withington in those days but that might have changed). Still in touch with some of my great teachers & went on to teach myself partly inspired by them. I wasn't at all sporty, but there were good facilities for it. Do go and have a look. Best of luck to your daughter.

gammonpie Wed 08-Nov-17 21:52:25

She does know a few girls at MHSG and as far as I know they are happy.

Woodfordhound Wed 08-Nov-17 22:24:55

Thanks, Nongoddess. That’s good to hear. I have just checked their website and they have an open day coming up too so I think we’ll visit that too. Manchester High seems bigger but I guess that’s because they have their own prep. Does that mean they have fewer join at 11?
Thanks too gammonpie. Good to know they seem happy. Another question if you have time; did your daughter sit for both W and MH? If so, what made her opt for W? Was it facilities or reputation? Or exam results? Thanks. Sorry for the questions.

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gammonpie Wed 08-Nov-17 23:14:56

She did. Ultimately went for WGS as felt it would provide greater academic stretch which she needed. Both schools offered a lot of positives.

Woodfordhound Thu 09-Nov-17 17:06:06

Thanks again, gammonpie! Glad your DD is happy. It’s such a minefield especially for girls and their parents who are not in the system.

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Woodfordhound Thu 16-Nov-17 15:16:47

So we saw WGS last Saturday. DD absolutely loved it but did notice that lots of the other girls being shown around were far more confident than her and asked far more questions. I did ask one of the teachers about applicants from state primaries and she said they are aware that some girls will have been prepped extensively whilst others not at all. She said they’re looking for evidence of critical thinking and trying to test potential.
We will see what comes of the visit to MHSG on Sat.

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Ashers40 Thu 16-Nov-17 22:31:47

OP don't get hung up on the state vs prep thing. If your daughter is bright enough she will be ok. Just ensure she practices papers, and that she does them to time (something state schools don't do much of). Some people say the Bond books are not hard enough, so try some others e.g GL assessment. Some schools have practice papers on their websites which can be good for practice, e.g Manchester Grammar and (not in your area) Kingston Grammar. I'm sure there are others.

Woodfordhound Fri 17-Nov-17 10:55:28

Thanks Ashers. I’ll have a look at those past papers. She is a capable girl and I got the impression that they understood that girls st state school may be working within the boundaries of the NC. I guess we’ll see.

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Lifechallenges Tue 12-Dec-17 23:41:18

Any update OP? Just considering my options for DD who is top set in everything at state school as well as very sporty and musical. People seem to say locally that WGS is very academic where as MHS is more rounded.

Kimlek Thu 14-Dec-17 23:57:37

Go look around both schools at open days and also request private tours. Ask lots of questions. Both are fabulous schools and your DD may just ‘feel’ one fits her better than the other. WGS senior dept is slightly smaller than MHSG senior dept but I’m pretty sure both schools have 2 classes in yr6 juniors so there will be fewer places for Yr7’s at WGS. But don’t let that put you off. Both schools are looking for potential and will give you a past paper if you ask. MGS (boys) also has them online and they will give your DD a good idea if types of questions but don’t assume she has to get a high percentage correct as they are meant to be challenging for the most able.

MrsPatmore Fri 15-Dec-17 08:24:35

We used the Withington Girls school papers for 11+ prep. They are challenging and unfortunately didn't come with answers! Also try the 'First past the post ' series from the 11+ exams site (good site to visit for 11+ prep - there is a forum on independent school test preparation). Good luck.

Kimlek Fri 15-Dec-17 17:21:19

The msg ones on their website have answers - thank heavens!

namechangedtoday15 Fri 15-Dec-17 22:11:48

Anecdotally WGS is seen as more academic than MHGS - I agree that its not a state v prep debate, obviously schools differ and it depends where you live as to what alternatives you have.

LadyLovelace Mon 08-Jan-18 22:41:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Woodfordhound Tue 09-Jan-18 09:25:44

This time next week it will all be over!

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Woodfordhound Tue 30-Jan-18 20:32:17

Hi everyone, esp lifechallenges who asked for an update: My DD has interviews at both MH and WGS next week on Thur afternoon and Fri morning. I guess this means she did ok in the test although the letter didn’t give a score or anything but I’m not sure what I expected. I feel so unprepared and the letters both said that the HT will want to speak to us after DD. Does anyone know if this is an interview too? Does anyone know how many girls they interview and how many places they have? I suppose I can ask that next week.

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holymacaronii Tue 30-Jan-18 23:30:25

Independent schools don't seem to feedback on scores. If she has interviews they must feel she has ability/potential.

Kimlek Tue 30-Jan-18 23:59:17

At MHSG she’ll be interviewed first - they usually ask that they take something in to chat about / can be anything. My DD1 took a photo in of her Guides collecting sweets for troops. DD2 took in a sports medal I think. It doesn’t matter. Anything they can chat about. There’s no ‘type’ other than a willingness to learn. They also ask a couple of maths questions and a comprehension - less about ability and more about giving it a go. The girl then comes out and parent goes in - this is more an opportunity for you to ask questions rather than you being interviewed. It’s quite rare at MHSG to be invited for interview and not get a place but it does happen.
WGS is extremely similar in format but quite a few are interviewed but not selected. It’s definitely a significant part of their selection process at WGS. Both are cracking schools and your DD has done brilliantly - good luck with the rest of the journey!

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