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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:02 am 
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Hi,

DS1 and I missed Wilson's, so I was really looking forward to Wallington. Started badly with the dreariest address from the Head. I badly wanted to give him Public Speaking lessons. But three boys spoke well with great affection for their school.

I was super-impressed by the pupils. They seemed to pounce on us as we walked through, they were so eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm. The difference between their academic curiosity and the mooching, cool attitude at my children's primary was really noticeable.

The school's facilities were fairly old and out of date (not as bad as Tiffin's though!) but there was a real buzz. We spent an hour in the science labs alone. Maths was fabulous, art was strong. Music and English seemed less vibrant although some of the work on the walls in the English Dept was stunning. Didn't get as far as the sports hall, which was a shame. We were there for two hours and shattered by the end, having only seen half the departments, as everywhere we went there was so much to do.

Strong on science and maths, I'd say. And appeared to have excellent pastoral care. The boys were so warm and happy. No sneering, mooching, slouching. Also, important to us, there was absolutely no self-segregation between Asian, Black and Caucasian children. They were clearly all close friends. At Tiffin I got the impression there were more cliques according to ethnicity.

A lovely school. Not perfect but its core values are admirable. First make the children happy and secure and working well as teams, then build form that an immense curiosity. Best thing I saw all night was a stunning physics display of sound waves passing through naked flames. The reason it's not on the usual round of tricks schools show us is because it was designed by 6th form boys in their time off.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:22 am 
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Hey Menagerie! My hubby went to the Wallington's Open evening, he was quite impressed. It seems you were quite impressed too. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:02 am 
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Hi
I have a son in WCGS year 7, happy to answer any questions people may have.
Also have an elder son year 10 Wilsons, so again, happy to answer questions or help with comparisons between the two schools.
SD


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:29 am 
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Hi Surreydad2010,

Would you say that the different entrance exam formats mean that you get more children with one particular strength going to that school? The impression Iget is that Wallington is particularly strong in maths but I don't know about Wilson's. Wilson's appeals to me more (though I've not been to any of them yet!!) because of their solely English and maths exams (DC1 stronger in English, I would say).

Also, is one stronger in sport than the other?

Any other relevant comparisons you could make?!

Thanks a lot! :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:46 am 
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Wilsons is generally much stronger in sport than the other Sutton grammars, although if rugby is your son's preferred sport it is Wallington's winter sport, whereas the other two do predominantly football.

The schools are all academically strong, I think they all appear particularly strong at sciences and maths, not sure whether this is nature or nurture with boys :)

I think the different entrance tests just allow your child to have an off day and redeem themselves on another occasion really.

Location and gut instinct seem important. We know happy boys and parents at all 3


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:45 pm 
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My two aren't hugely sporty. so that's not a big definer for us. But they are very arty. One's musical, the other loves drama and both love fine art and D & T.

Surreydad - do you have your boys at two different schools because that's how the exam results fell or did you apply to different schools because they suited the individual child more? I'd love to hear your opinion on each school's greatest strengths and weaknesses.

Wallington is nearer us by a whisker. But I think we'd move to Sutton if they got into either school.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Hi
I dont think academically there is any bias between the 2 schools. Both seem equally as strong in all subjects. Wilsons possibly has a stronger edge towards science and maths but tbh my year 7 in WCGS is doing the same work as they did in Wilsons!
My younger did try out for Wilsons but missed by a few places, actually in hindsight this was the best thing for him.
My eldest is very studious, serious, just likes to get on and do his work, isnt hugely social - Wilsons suits him perfectly. My younger is more outgoing and loves the social aspects of Wally boys, they take the house competitions seriously and take real pride in their house. Not that they dont at Wilsons but it seems to be more of a core aspect of Wallington - hope that makes sense!.
They are both excellent schools, i know some children are put off by Wallingtons reputation as rugby, rugby, rugby...dont listen to it, there is an active football team and plenty of opportunity to do all sports!
Wilsons has a CCF and is more active in DOE - I offset that against Wallington having girls in the 6th form, which gives (I think) the school a happier, calmer mood - the calming influence of the female!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:26 am 
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Thanks surreydad. Gosh that's interesting. So different but both so appealing. I think my boys' ideal school would definitely have CCF and DOE but also a strong house system and rugby & cricket teams (preferably 3rd and 4th teams, they wouldn't make the first or second!) But it would also have fantastic music, drama and art.

Still have to look at Sutton and revisit Tiffin. Their Open Night does nothing for their reputation. It's a bunfight. Wallington was so much more organised and civilised.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:35 am 
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Also have a current year 7 at WCGS. We did have a choice, and decided on WCGS. This has a lot more to do with the personality of the school and of DS, which are a really good match. When it comes to DS2, whose personality is very different, we will look again and consider what is best for him, though I have to say that the ethos (and I wondered if that was just waffle for the Open evening when I went - but it isn't - it's practice) of 'happy boys with curiosity' is something that I think would suit him too.

In terms of your observations of friendship etc I would say you are bang on. They very much seem to pull as a team across ethnicity and indeed age.

The current head is in dire need of a bit of va va voom, but he's always very approachable and friendly and I have no qualms about his ability to pull the school together. His forte is probably his ability to delegate and manage rather than speak publicly. It would be grand if he could do both, but if he is to fall short on one or other aspect, I'd rather have him fall short on speaking than manage the school. I also suspect that he's a safe pair of hands guiding the ship through current changes which are coming through. He must be fairly close to retiring and when he does I suspect a more dynamic head will be pulled up through the ranks.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:56 am 
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I did wonder about retirement and whether a new head would shake the school up. Dreary as he was in public, the evidence of how well he ran the school seemed very clear. The boys were so impressive. I've never seen such happy, curious and friendly children at an open day. Also i noticed yr7s doing some pretty impressive experiments, guided by older boys. the same experiments at Tiffin were done by sixth formers who loudly complained that these were just for show and it wasn't half as interesting normally. I know Tiffin had until recently real problems with leadership of the school. It's interesting that the Wallington Head delivers what he promises and I totally agree ThreeKids that it's better this way round than any other.


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