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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:50 pm
Posts: 52
My DD missed the open day - she was unwell - and would like to visit WHSG.

In their prospectus the head says, "To understand why WHSG is a special place to be you need to spend some time here. I am happy to invite you to do so".

Great! So we attempted to book a visit. The office pretty much says that the above statement is in the prospectus just for PR reasons! That we aren't actually welcome to visit. Not at any day, not at any time. Seriously?

On being pressed they came up with a brainwave. "OK, you can visit but only if during school hours and provided your daughter isn't missing school to do so." Nice move. Very clever!

But my daughter doesn't attend any school and is educated at home so is available on any day. They weren't expecting that and quickly reverted to "not any day, not any time"! :)

I'm realising that dealing with some* grammar schools is very, very different to dealing with the local comp who are always so accommodating and helpful.

*Don't count SHSG. They're an exception among grammar schools and extremely helpful.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:33 pm
Posts: 125
Hi,
I also found whsg quite rude to be honest ! We had missed the open day as dd was sick , dd had attended quite a lot of gifted and talented lessons at whsb so had seen the school next door but really wanted to see the girls school! It also happened that the meeting they held after results dd was away on school
Journey typical .... When I rung the school to inform them I would be attending and that dd was away and was there an alternative day they were so blunt ! The lady then quickly asked what dd 11+ score was and when I told her and were are in catchment she was very rude and said oohhh we don't normally take girls with low scores which I said you did last year and she went on about girls struggle with low scores here we are a highly academic school! I got a really bad vibe and didn't attend meeting as felt I really wouldn't want my dd there! Dd has started shsg and the staff there are amazing can't fault them at all x


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:50 pm
Posts: 52
Quote:
The lady then quickly asked what dd 11+ score was...

I don't know if it's the score that was the problem in your case - it may have just been the excuse they used. We are in catchment with a near 360 score but WHSG gives the same response whatever the score and irrespective of where you live. So don't feel bad about it.

They do seem to know how to make you feel small. When I approached the head at the parents' afternoon to ask when would be a good time to raise a question not related to admission and cut-off scores, he dismissed me and snapped, "No, I'm not taking any other questions today!"


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:13 pm
Posts: 41
We couldnt make the original open evening as we were on Holiday. I phoned them to see if we could visit another time and they didnt want to know. Its a long way down our list!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4605
Location: Essex
Meerme, I'm sure SHSG would love to have your DD.. :) .

I understand from another thread that you have qualms about allowing third parties to have access to any kind of data concerning your child but honestly, most of us regard biometric cashless catering and ParentPay as a real blessing in our lives, not otherwise - no more hassle of getting coins / small denomination notes from the bank each week and not much chance that even the dizziest of offspring will manage to lose both copies of the relevant digit at the same time and have to go hungry. And apart from sending in potentially returnable deposits for certain trips, no worrying that said offspring will lose a cheque for a large sum of money on the way to school. If hundreds of happy users cannot convince you otherwise, DD assures me that it is possible to access school dinners by paying cash into one's account using a code rather than thumbprint. As far as I know it isn't compulsory to activate your ParentPay account and without that, all PP knows is that they have been asked to allocate an account and an accompanying temporary password for your DD.

Re the post-results visits, weren't they parent-only at WHSG anyway?

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3818
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
We put WHSG 4th because of their attitude. DD went on to do very well at CCHS.
Their loss!

We did attend the open evening and that put us off!

However, I know girls of DD's age who have had an excellent education and thoroughly enjoyed their time at WHSG.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4605
Location: Essex
moved wrote:
We put WHSG 4th because of their attitude. DD went on to do very well at CCHS.
Their loss!

We did attend the open evening and that put us off!

However, I know girls of DD's age who have had an excellent education and thoroughly enjoyed their time at WHSG.


DD and DS2 have a good friend at WHSG who loves it there - apart from tripping over the extra 30 year 7s this year :lol:. I wasn't particularly put off by the open evenings we attended and DD had attended after-school activities. there, but she wasn't at all keen on going there in year 7 so it was 4th on our list as well. In fact, she only really wanted to go to pref. 1 - SHSG - or pref. 3 - Shoeburyness, but as it turned out she didn't get any of them that time round...

Sorry, I digress. Once again, good luck, Meerme.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:46 am
Posts: 209
Sorry a bit late for your CAF's , but 2 nieces at WHSG and hopefully 3rd one going there next year. Works colleague has had 3 daughters come through WHSG and no complaints only praises.
Personally, would feel the same as you guys if I had such a poor response from school staff regarding tours/visits.

Good luck and best wishes


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:50 pm
Posts: 52
ToadMum wrote:
I understand from another thread that you have qualms about allowing third parties to have access to any kind of data concerning your child ...

Not at all. I'm against schools selling pupils' data and allowing unvetted third parties unlimited access to pupils' confidential information and emails (and many schools do!) I know schools using the likes of ePraise, Doddle, AlfiCloud etc etc. It makes me shudder. One particular local comp even requires pupils to have a common password to access all these third party sites. Incredible! You won't believe how easy it is for these third parties to, for example, impersonate pupils, log into school servers and start conversations with children in the school. They have everyone's password to the school portal! And it amazes me that parents don't seem to care. It gets worse - a lot of these services backup their data to "the cloud" in unencrypted form. I could tap into that data and get you very personal and private information on any kid in this local comp! How they are performing in individual subjects, what behaviour problems they've ever had, their full attendance record, much more.

I explained the security risks to the school but it went over their IT guy's head. He stunned me with his reply - apparently no staff at any of those third parties or anywhere else would "scrape" (collect) data or access data they weren't entitled to because that would be illegal. Yes, the school doesn't see a need to protect against illegal access. That's nuts!

All the local grammars however have data policies and practises that are acceptable. I've checked. SHSG uses only Fronter, CCHS has the likes of Kerio - all self contained without unvetted third party access. I'm happy with that.

However, WHSG's approach to IT is unique. I'm in awe of their setup - all Linux based systems and open source everything else - no grooming the kids to be Micro$oft puppets. No third parties have access to any pupil data (apart from the statutory data shared with the LA and DfE). Like CCHS they even run their own in-house email for pupils instead of using GMail and giving Google the ability to scan all emails and build a personal profile on each individual. Very slick. Very safe. Very savvy.

But we didn't choose WHSG just on this criteria of course. It was a whole host of things. It also does help that DD could cycle to school and that her grandmother lives in Westcliff. My first choice was SHSG but given the score sheet we drew up I had to agree that WHSG made the most sense in our case. So if DD really, really wants to try going to school we'll let her give WHSG a shot. Lookout for a place becoming available on the waiting list after the first term if she reverts to home ed! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:07 am
Posts: 49
I must say I had this exact response...not from WHSG but from CCHS.

We missed the open evening and they are not happy for visits at any time..at all and didn't offer the enquiry evening either so no opportunity to visit at all.

Staff were pretty rude about it too, so don't think it's just WHSG that deal with it his way.


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