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 Post subject: SHSB/WHSB can't decide
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:46 pm
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We are i/c for both schools and my son will have a short bus journey whichever one he chooses.
After viewing both schools back in the summer my son felt he preferred WHSB but couldn't explain why. I was equally impressed with both schools and the pupils who showed us round but got a slightly better feel for WHSB.

After the enquiry visits I am now uncertain and so is my son. His three friends are all putting SHSB down as their 1st choice.

1. I have only just realised that last year 100 i/c boys applied to SHSB and only 65 to Westcliff.
a) Why do so many i/c boys choose SHSB?
My DS friends believe it is better at sport but he is happy with the sports provision at WHSB and I have read on this forum that it is excellent.
b) Parents of WHSB do you find the majority of their new friends live some distance away and is this a problem?
c) Is that a noticeable advantage at SHSB?

2. At the enquiry days I discovered that SHSB stream for Eng and Maths right from the start but WHSB don't stream for Eng until Year 8 and Maths until Year 10. The Maths streaming I've been told is a new initiative. This last fact is really worrying me, especially as we were told that some pupils will be below average in maths but passed the 11+ as their Eng is exceptional. My DS can be lazy about answering questions in class and needs to be pushed but he might loose confidence if he was with very mathematical boys for three years. Maths seems to be the one subject that primary schools stream in.

3. I was very impressed with Dr Bevan at SHSB. I would welcome comments from WHSB parents regarding Mr Skelly. Is he good at sorting out problems with pupils if they occur?

4. My son's friend has informed him that WHSB only have Smart boards in the maths department. This can't be true surely.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:47 pm 
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Traditionally Southend boys have gone for SHSB. My son is there now - we live in the catchment area - but in the newly extended bit in Hockley. Lots of our son's friends he knows through football and cricket clubs who live in the Rayleigh area have opted for WHSB so maybe it's a Southend issue with more boys in the outer parts of the catchment area opting for Westcliff?

Reasons I've heard include easier transport links by school bus and Southend being an athletics/football school whereas apparently Westcliff is more of a rugby/cricket school. This seemed to be quite a factor for some of the ex - private schoolboys who he plays cricket with.

Funnily enough I rather liked WHSB - it reminded me a little of the small country grammar school I attended but our son always preferred Southend (as did my wife!) and at the end of the day we decided it had to be his choice. To be honest you'd be absolutely delighted to have your son go to either school and we said at the time that if we got offered WHSB as our second choice we'd immediately accept the place.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Thank you for your reply. My son and I were impressed with both schools which is why choosing one is proving so difficult.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:25 pm
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I have exactly the same dilemma. We are i/c too. My son wants to go to WHSB, but is basing this on the fact that his friends are going there! He is a clever boy and I have no doubt he will cope academically at either but I'm not sure if WHSB will suit his personality. Whenever I have visited WHSB and listened to the Head tbh he has left me cold....in direct comparison to Dr Bevan who I find down to earth and inspirational.

If his friends were going to SHSB I know he would want to go there instead :? While you shouldn't base your choice on friendship groups I am worried that he will be unhappy if he isn't with his friends?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:58 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:08 am
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I think all the grammar schools are good and he will do well where ever you choose. You are in such a lovely position to have a choice. In the end you don't have a right or wrong choice, but a left or right one. Either one you is a good one.

Friendships are very important,but he will make new friends. Lots of the children at the grammar will start knowing no one,by week 2 or 3 they will already have new friends. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:46 pm
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Thank you very much for all the helpful comments.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Just out of sheer idle curiosity, what did everyone decide on in the end?

DS2 opted to save us money on uniform rather than bus fares, and requested SHSB (DS1's former school, so half a wardrobe full of outgrown blazers and Troy house sports kit :lol: ).

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:46 pm
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In the end my son put SHSB down as his first preference. I was swayed by the fact that more local families choose SHSB.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:45 pm
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DS in SHSB. His best mate went to WHSB. Both boys seem happy. SHSB really keen on languages and the boys do two from the word go. The school has been outstanding and has been fully supportive to my son. At Parent's Evening I was amazed how well they knew his levels and character, which I assume is also a benefit of a small school (my DD school has nearly 2,000 pupils!). One big difference between the WHSB & SHSB are the class sizes, WHSB has 30 and SHSB 25 and this will make a big difference to the teacher . Another thing to consider is 6th Form (I know it seems a long way off), but this 'battle' for places starts again, so you may want to look at the schools' results to have your child already there (assuming that is that the school doesn't suddenly crash it's reputation over the next few years of course!).


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