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 Post subject: Westminster or KCS 13+
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:29 am 
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My son has got offers from all the three schools he applied for.

Taking in account his decision to continue at his prep for another two years and his preferences, we have now narrowed it down to Westminster and KCS.

He would attend as a day pupil and really likes both schools, even though both are completely different!

We live close to KCS, so he could walk to school. The journey to Westminster would be around 45-50 min. door to door.

I think what makes it harder to decide is the fact he is just 11 and of course, right now, staying close to home would be preferable. However, we do feel that Westminster would offer him more oportunities and independence, which will be useful later in his life.

I really would appreciate your views, so we can add to our pros and cons list and finally come to a decision.

Thank you


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Have you decided?

I’d choose KCS. I think the 2 schools are comparable and having a short/no commute gives one more freedom to allocate and manage his own time. I think that fosters independence much more than commuting. Even WM’s headmaster made a huge deal about the time saved via boarding. You’d have this without having to pay the boarding price tag.

Would be nice to see your DS at WM though :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:53 am 
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Thank you for your comment, Needglasses. We are talking to our current Headteacher this week and will probably stick with King’s. On a side note, my son remarked how nice it feels receiving a letter from the Headmaster instead of one from the Admissions Office. In his little world it seems to make a huge difference!

Hope your son has a great time at Westminster. Such a wonderful achievement! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:50 pm 
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Location: Herts
Every year I know students who get offers from Westminster and every year they all turn it down for a variety of reasons.

Walking to school and being part of the local community is worth a very great deal and I would not be turning that down in your shoes.

I know students this year and last who turned it down for QE and another one last year for St Pauls.

What are the opportunities that you feel it would offer you that KCS cannot? DG


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:08 pm 
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I agree with the community value of KCS, Daogroupie. The school takes part in local events, supports local charities and although they have the buses, lots of boys simply walk to school.

However, going back to the exams, my son thought Westminster's were far more challenging and the interview was more exciting than the other schools. He would usually reply 'Good!' if we tried to get a feedback, so that was a relief when he expressed a 'longer' insight about his little time there.

Also, although he is quite academic, he tends to stick to the material given to him. In short, he will do the bare minimum unless he clearly sees the benefit of doing the extra bit. I think Westminster method would easily establish that bridge and make him more inquisitive. That also adds to my point of making him more independent and preparing for university. Perhaps, it will all come with maturity anyway.

KCS is, of course, a very comfortable choice as we know it so well, my son will be close to us and even the information about scholarships is clear and readily available online, giving details of format and level expected for the exams. His prep is one of the feeder schools, so many boys from his school enter via this route instead of CE. Hopefully, an easier transition albeit the workload.

I just have a minor worry, though. We are not sure what will happen when they first mix the boys from Junior School, 11+ and 13+ in Year 9 next September and I am really curious about their results in a couple of years.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Location: Herts
It would be very interesting to know if one group does any better than the other two at GCSEs.

What is the Westminster method and how is it different?

Interestingly the student I know who chose St Pauls over Westminster decided because he found his St Pauls interview with the Head so much more interesting than the Westminster interview.

Other students have commented on the classrooms being very old and cramped. Dg


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:03 pm 
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Congratulations to your DS, OP!

We were in almost exactly the same situation, except that the school that we immediately turned down (Hampton) was the one DS could have walked to and where many of his friends were going. In our case KCS would have been a 45-min commute, and Westminster is a bit over an hour. We loved both schools but like you, we felt that Westminster offers something truly unique, and DS himself decided that it was the right school for him, so we had to make it work. He weekly boards and is loving it, but with a 45- min commute we’d have chosen it instantly even if boarding wasn’t an option. Most of his class mates are day boys with similar commutes, including from Wimbledon.

Our DS is very bright but like yours hasn’t tended to go above and beyond what he’s told to do. At prep he was becoming complacent and bored, but the Westminster Challenge certainly changed that. Now that he’s at the school he has developed so much in just six months! He’s being stretched in so many ways. And he’s surrounded by like-minded boys who stimulate each other.

In response to a PP, I don’t think you can compare it to St Paul’s as they suit completely different boys. We didn’t even apply to St Paul’s as it felt totally wrong for DS. Likewise we know others who only applied to St Paul’s. With Westminster you either get a buzz out of the location and how it’s enmeshed in the fabric of London, or you don’t - our DS felt the energy the very first time we visited, when he was only 10. Others prefer a large campus and large green playing fields. KCS seems to fit somewhere in the middle, and I know several families who turned down St Paul’s for it, or for Hampton for that matter.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either school but personally I would go with your son’s gut feel. The District Line to St James’ Park is very straightforward and there are lots of Westminster boys on it. Or train to Vauxhall and 5 minutes on bus 87 or 88 which both stop very near the school.

Good luck with your choice!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:56 pm 
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Coming back to this in case others read this later on, even if OP has already made their choice: we didn't make the final choice between our two favourite schools, KCS and Westminster, until Christmas of Year 7. Not to be difficult or selfish, but simply because a) we simply couldn't, as DS was too young at not yet 11 to decide whether travelling into central London and/or boarding would be right for him, and b) we didn't have to, since the Westminster deposit was refundable until January of Year 7 and KCS didn't require a deposit until then in the first place.

This is the advantage of 13+. I believe most boys' school deposits are refundable at this stage , but I may be wrong!

And OP, in case you haven't made your mind up yet: according to Google maps, the commute from Wimbledon station via Vauxhall to Westminster School is around half an hour. We know a number of boys who happily do this every day.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:38 am 
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Thank you for replying, INeedCoffee. It is great to learn that your son is enjoying his time at Westminster.

We decided to send him to KCS. My son likes both schools equally, so the location wins. It makes easier when he needs to take his cello to school too! :D

Although we could have postponed the decision untill Jan, we felt that as a family, we just wanted to decide and move on to the next stage.

We also have a younger son and are about to start looking for schools for him. So, will have plenty to keep me busy for the next two years! They both have completely different interests and ability levels, so I guess the younger will be the one travelling to school.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:17 am 
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Sounds like you’ve made the right decision. KCS is a wonderful school too.

Our families sound very similar - we’ve just been through it all with our youngest, also with totally different schools (hence why I was having a browse on here in case there was anything about the school that we’re choosing for him). It was a lot more stressful but it’s thankfully all done now. Good luck!


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