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Harris Westminster 6th form- views please

(7 Posts)
Yup24 Sun 29-Sep-19 15:27:38

Does anyone have any views or knowledge of Westminster Harris 6th form. Thinking of it for my DD. Thanks so much

OP’s posts: |
Which6thform Sun 29-Sep-19 17:59:33

My DD had an offer this year and went to the three (half day) induction days. We were delighted that she got through the process (tests, graded interview) and we have a good impression of HW. It is increasingly sought-after and respected.

DD in the end went elsewhere when a waiting list came through at a similarly academic 6th form with a more liberal feel and more flexibility.

Impressions:
+ great number of oxbridge offers (but far from all were met)
+ very good academic results (but should be, given its selectivity)
+ quite easy to make friends as everybody starts there afresh
+ teachers seem friendly/OK
+ great diversity
+ ambitious for its pupils
+ down to earth pupils, slightly geeky rather than cool, which DD felt very comfortable with
- "our way or the highway" attitude shines through in several ways
- subject choice constrained by HW forcing core maths (+EPQ) for pupils who want two sciences (extra £££ for HW!) which removes the optionality of being able to start with 4 full A-levels (if unwilling to take full maths A-level)
- subjects taught at W are only available if applied for initially, and not for swaps at enrolment
- one sample subject lesson was scarily difficult (complex/confusing)
- reputation for pushing pupils very very hard work (online see TSR, we also heard this from a current pupil we know)
- poor grades in one subject DD chose
- apparently HW often put up a fight when pupils want to drop to 3 subjects (silly when unis just need 3)

DD wobbled seriously so it was not an easy decision for her (us) and it really could have gone either way.

The point which both parents and HW should realise and act on, is that pupils with good grades (say mostly 7s+) have a lot of choice and are actively wanted by many sixth forms, as distance, even when officially a key factor in the admissions policy of many good and great state schools, in reality is not used, especially for already waitlisted applicants willing to take a place in the last minute. Schools that might take only from within 0.5 miles at age 11 might ignore distance (or 5+ miles OK / not a problem) at age 16. This opens up other great options!

So in short, apply, but also apply to other top sixth forms including several miles away. (And good GCSEs are a golden ticket if DC is willing to take a place in the last minute.)

Yup24 Sun 29-Sep-19 21:25:37

Thanks so so much for brilliant insight. What other 6th forms would you recommend that you mention? I’d really like to have a proper look at a number. Thanks so much

OP’s posts: |
spickles Mon 30-Sep-19 07:36:46

Interesting reply thank you, that helps us too. What concerns me is the 9% drop out rate. Does anyone know if this is simply a blended rate of those dropping to 3 a levels or is it actually 9% leave?

Yup24 Mon 30-Sep-19 08:06:05

Spickles what other 6th forms are you looking at? I’m trying to get a sense of what choice there is. Thanks so much

OP’s posts: |
spickles Mon 30-Sep-19 08:29:25

Hi yup
We've got greycoats, Dartford boys (ibacc) - which is on one of our train lines out of London, and London oratory (dd is catholic) on shortlist. Theres also an outstanding local sixth form in our wider area Thomas Tallis. (We are in SE London)
I've heard good things about Marylebone too.

Which6thform Mon 30-Sep-19 22:56:43

You are very welcome. Some others with strong academic results:
- Twyford
- Camden
- Holland Park
- St Marylebone
- Greycoats
- Brampton Manor
- London Ac of Excellence
- Grammars: Tiffin, Henrietta Barnett etc (if expecting 9s)

Many single sex schools have coed 6th forms, so quite a lot of options

If catholic or jewish there are others.

This is not exhaustive. No idea of your locaton, so some will be way too far / inconvenient - so first check the commute before spending any time looking at them.

Good luck!

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