It’s that time of year again – when another group of parents have to face the difficult decision of choosing the school that will best suit their precious DC’s through the next 5-7 years of education. It doesn’t necessarily help either that, since last year, we are now offered the choice / dilemma of no less than FIVE state preferences!
Obviously, we all want the best for our children – but does that mean we are restricted to Grammar or the fee- paying Independents? Well... Thank Goodness, No! There are several State School options on the Wirral – check them out.
Some of the sought after “Comprehensive” options last year were Woodchurch (heavily oversubscribed) I know of at least one parent who moved her child to a believed “feeder” school to facilitate a placement. Ridgeway School is another popular mixed-sex choice. Not forgetting the “faith” options of St John Plessington and St Mary’s College.
For the single sex options it’s a little more difficult for the boys. Infact, I can only think of one comprehensive option here - at Pensby High School for Boys. No doubt someone can let us know if I’ve missed an obvious? It might be that the only other options here are the Grammars – Wirral and St. Anselm’s. Both achieve excellent results year upon year. I have no experience of Wirral Boys, but I do have DS’s at St Anselm’s – and should any parent have any questions I would be more than happy to answer. As an aside – it is a Very Good School and has, I believe, just achieved 100% GCSE’s...
There are a number of excellent options for our daughters, whether you want Comprehensive, i.e.: Pensby (Girls); Weatherhead, Prenton; or Grammar: Upton Hall, West Kirby, Wirral (Girls) and, of course(!) Bridging both of these options we have the “new” Free Independent: Birkenhead High School Academy (which is also “The school with the bridge”). This school would have cost you a small fortune to send your daughter to before Sept ‘09 – when it opened its doors as an Academy. Perhaps I am biased; as my own DD will be starting here in Sept ’10 – but my word – it really is “as good as the Grammar’s” when it comes to results – and its facilities seem second to none (it even has its own swimming pool)!
Of course it has taken a battering in some of the “opinion polls” on this forum, over the last year or so – but a lot of this, I think, was down to the [somewhat understandable] shock some parents received on hearing of its change from fee-paying indie to free academy. Let us not forget here – it remains the same school, with the same ethos! (Not forgetting fabulous facilities and a substantial grant now for even more building improvements).
It is also still an Independent and remains under the control of the GDST (Girls Day School Trust) – so isn’t at the mercy of Wirral Council – regardless of past rumours! Incidentally
– There is an entrance test here – although not the same as the Grammars. This school applies the “fair- banding” criteria. It still awards some 10% of places selectively, to girls with a musical ability. But if your daughter sits the admission test – her score will have her placed into one of five groups. 20% will then be selected from each group and these girls will be offered a place. As an additional note – Even though this school will have a gradual increase in size over the next few years, it will never have more than 700 pupils in its senior school (including 6th form). By my reckoning that puts its class sizes (and year 7 admissions) at even smaller that the Grammars?!?
I know that I have omitted a lot of information here (and schools) – but if you are new to this forum and one of the parents I spoke about in my introduction, I hope that it might just help you to focus on what you (and not forgetting your DC) will consider over the coming weeks. Good Luck to all.