What is the ratio of applications to places?
The ratio is about four girls to every one place; 360-380 apply each year.
How many places do you have in any one year?
We usually take 84 girls into Year 7 but this year we were, unusually, able to increase our intake to 100. Much as we would like to be able to offer this number of places every year, we simply do not have room to do this! We will offer 84 places for entry into Year 7 in 2013.
How many girls transfer over from your Junior School?
Almost all of our Junior girls – usually about 40 – transfer to Seniors, having undergone the same entrance procedure as our external candidates.
If my daughter is already in a GDST school, can she transfer directly to WHS?
No; all applicants must sit the entrance examination whatever school they currently attend.
What is the pass mark?
There is no pass mark, per se. We take all the examination results and rank the girls. We refer to interview notes and make offers to the highest ranking candidates. This is because we have a set number of places and must stop offering when we are full.
What does your 11+ exam involve?
From September 2012, we will test applicants to the school on Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning only.
Do you recommend tutoring in preparation for 11+ entrance? How can my daughter prepare if these are not practised in schools?
Tutoring is not necessary. It has been our experience that many girls are tutored in Maths and English prior to the exam and we are aiming for as level a playing field as possible for all our applicants. We want our entrance tests to assess a child’s ability to learn and not the ability of the parents to pay for tutoring! If your daughter needs tutoring in order to succeed at entrance examinations, you must question whether she will be able to cope positively if she takes up a place in the school.
We do recommend that she practises at home Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning: some practice in these papers is necessary to help her become accustomed to the unusual style of the examination. This does not mean completing hundreds of papers! Six or eight, in the weeks leading up to the exams, will be more than adequate to ensure optimum results. Research has shown that any more than this makes no difference to the outcome; that is the way the exams have been designed.
Practice papers are available online and in WHSmiths. We will not be giving more information about the specific tests as we are very keen to ensure as fair a system as possible for testing at 11+.
Why are you not testing Maths and English anymore?
We are confident that the two tests of Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning will tell us what we need to know about the intelligence and capabilities of our applicants.
What part will the interview play in the process?
We will be interviewing all applicants in pairs during the autumn term. The interview will take the form of a three-way discussion with a teacher and will include a reading and oral comprehension exercise, with questions directed at each girl alone, so that she has every chance to speak up. This will assess your daughter’s listening as well as reading, comprehension and thinking skills. As before, however, the exam is the core deciding factor in the application process.
What happens on entrance exam day?
Your daughter will be in a classroom with a group of peers, a teacher and two 6th Formers. We try to create as relaxed an environment as possible, and it helps that the rest of the Seniors are off school that day. There are two exams: Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, with a break in between and a drink and snack provided.
Do you give extra time to girls with special educational needs (SEN)?
If your daughter has an educational psychologist’s report which states that she has a special educational need, you will need to send us a copy of this. This is not adequate in itself to guarantee extra time. The authority which regulates English public examinations (GCSEs and A levels) has recently altered its regulations to state that extra time will only be awarded to SEN students whose Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (or equivalent) scores in Reading, Numerical Attainment, Written Language Attainment, Oral Language Attainment place them on or below the national average. We will apply this criterion in our decision-making at 11+ so that pupils at WHS receive a consistent experience throughout their school career.
Please include on your registration form any medical information, such as problems with eyesight or hearing, which may affect your daughter's performance in the 11+ exam.
Do you screen for special educational needs once girls start at WHS?
We screen all our Year 7s during the course of their first term at WHS so that we can provide the best possible support academically and pastorally. If the screening indicates that there may be an issue, we will recommend to parents that they have their daughter fully assessed by an educational psychologist.
Once in the school, will my daughter be asked to leave if her work is not a high enough standard?
No. We are confident in our selection process and it is our job to get the very best out of your daughter. If there are concerns about her work, or she is having difficulties, she will be supported by her form teacher and others as necessary. The only reason for a girl being asked to leave is poor behaviour or an unwillingness to engage positively with staff who are trying to help her. Both instances are thankfully extremely rare!