Choosing the Right Independent School
As parents consider senior school options for their children, Withington Girls’ School Headmistress Mrs Sarah Haslam answers questions asked during Open Day events.
What do selective independent schools look for in candidates?
Wellbeing and the happiness of each child throughout their educational journey is a priority for us in the selection process. Schools in our sector are seeking children who will thrive within our respective environments; the ethos of each school will differ and most consider a child’s extracurricular interests as well as academic potential.
How do I know if my child will thrive in a particular school?
Once you have drawn up a short list, go along to as many Open Days as possible. Each will have a unique ambience and its own distinctive qualities and we often find that children (and families) quickly find an instinctive preference for a particular school. Ask questions – and encourage your child to ask questions too. But remember also to check what other opportunities there may be to get to know schools better. For example, Withington now offers events where children and parents can experience the School in action, as well as Taster sessions, and feedback received to date has been that these are very helpful.
What does the selection process involve?
Assessment for independent schools is usually via an initial entrance exam (typically Mathematics, English and sometimes Verbal Reasoning and/or Non Verbal Reasoning), followed by a face-to-face interview for short- listed candidates. Try and minimise potential stress on your child; remind him or her that admissions procedures are designed to help identify pupils who will be happy and flourish in our respective schools. We consider application and decision-making to be a shared process where schools and families are looking for the best fit for each child.
What extra value is gained by an independent school education?
Whilst independent schools do differ in their approach, we all have a genuine desire to see our pupils achieve their academic potential but also to develop character and confidence through the broad range of extracurricular and community programmes generally on offer. At the heart of our practice is a shared dedication to preparing young men and women to contribute to society with creativity and compassion.
www.wgs.org Admissions t: 0161 249 3371