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We have put here some of our frequently asked questions about Admissions to our Senior School.
What is the ratio of applications to places at 11+?
We tend to offer about 60 external places into Year 7 and the ratio of applicants to place tends to be about 10 to 1, but clearly this varies year on year. Behind the statistic, remember that many families will be applying to a number of schools for 11+
How many girls transfer over from your Junior School?
The vast majority of our Junior girls – usually around 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 for WHS, whatever school they currently attend.
What is the pass mark?
There is no pass mark, per se. We take all 11+ Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning scores and invite a number of candidates back to our Stage 2, which is a creative assessment. We refer to notes from our assessors and, taking into consideration the report from a candidate's current school, decisions are made regarding offers.
What does your 11+ exam involve?
We test in two stages. All applicants are assessed in Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning as Stage 1.
Verbal Reasoning tests the ability to understand, analyse and interpret written information. For example: identifying opposites, considering anagrams or logic statements.
Non-Verbal Reasoning tests the ability to understand and analyse visual information and solve problems. For example: identifying similarities and differences between shapes and patterns, recognising sequences.
Candidates who are successful in this stage will be invited back to Stage 2, our creative assessment day. It involves a carousel of inspiring activities, to assess: curiosity, clarity of thought and communication, risk-taking, creativity, teamwork, integrity, teachability, problem-solving, numeracy. We also test literacy and numeracy in short tasks during the morning. As we do not want girls to prepare for these, we will not be giving out details in advance.
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, nor something we encourage. We do recommend that your daughter practises Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning: some practice in these papers (at home or in school) 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 good bookshops. We do not give more information about the specific tests as we are very keen to ensure as fair a system as possible for testing at 11+.
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 in an entrance examination, you might question whether she will be able to cope positively if she takes up a place in the school.
For our creative assessments, the best preparation is encouraging curiosity in your daughter.
Why do you not have Maths and English tests?
We are confident that testing in Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning gives us a good understanding of the academic level of our candidates. The creative assessment day (stage 2) puts the individual at the heart of our process, giving them the chance to stand out and show us a can-do attitude towards creative inter-disciplinary learning and problem solving as part of a team. These skills will be so important in the world of work this generation will enter. We want our girls to combine a scholarly delight in deep learning with creativity and intellectual agility. We ask them to find solutions, to think differently, to show resolve, resilience and enthusiasm in the face of challenges - all this is more important to us than testing in Maths and English.
What happens on 11+ entrance exam day?
For Stage 1, candidates will sit Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning papers in our Sports Hall. Our Sixth Formers will be on hand to make sure the experience is not too dry!
The creative assessment day (Stage 2) will involve a morning of activities across the school site. Our Senior students will be working from home that day, leaving plenty of space; our Sixth Formers will be assisting, and the majority of our teachers will be involved. A drink and snack will be provided.
Do you give extra time to girls with special education 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 in advance - do not wait until the days before the exam. This is not adequate in itself to guarantee extra time. The authority which regulates English public examinations (GCSEs and A levels) states in its regulations 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 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 significantly affect your daughter's performance in the 11+ exam.
Please note that we are not able to accommodate requests for extra time or special exam access arrangements unless they are indicated on the registration form at the time of application and supported by the appropriate reports and documentation.
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!
What languages will my daughter do in Year 7?
She will study two of French, Spanish and German. If your daughter is already fluent in one of these languages (e.g.: native speaker), we recommend that she take the other two. Girls are asked to give a first and second choice of language and languages are allocated taking these choices into consideration (with the first choice guaranteed).
From Year 7 she will also study Latin and in Year 9 there is an option to learn Mandarin. Ancient Greek is another option for GCSE, from Year 10.
Do you teach separate sciences?
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught distinctly in Years 7 and 8. From Year 9, students embark on Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science material that will be part of their GCSE courses. The majority of WHS girls choose to take three sciences at GCSE, though the minimum is two.
When does squad training take place for Year 7?
Training for hockey and netball squads take place one evening after school in the relevant term. Swim squad occurs on Friday afternoons. There is gym squad and rowing training too, and there are many smaller clubs in different sports. The full co-curricular timetable for the new academic year is published at the end of each summer term.
Do you have past papers available?
We do not publish past papers, however, there are many 11+ Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning practice papers widely available from bookshops and stationers. It is advised that candidates have completed a small number of these to familiarise themselves with these tests before they sit the assessment at WHS.
What is your Occasional Vacancy process?
Entry into Years 8, 9 and 10 is assessed using age-appropriate assessments in Maths, English and Verbal Reasoning, followed by an interview for successful candidates.
If we have places available for September, we will open applications for our Occasional Vacancy assessment during the Spring term. We may be able to offer places at other points in the year and this will be done on an ad-hoc basis. For more information, please visit our Occasional Vacancy page.
Do you keep a waiting list for Year 7 entry?
We hope to place all candidates who are invited back to our Creative Assessment but do not subsequently receive an offer onto our waiting list.
This waiting list is split into thirds to give you an indication of where your daughter is placed. Unfortunately, we cannot indicate exact positions on the waiting list or how many offers we will be able to make to the girls on our waiting list because this number varies every year. A girl’s place on our waiting list will be valid until a year after the assessment date. After this, candidates will be asked to attend another assessment in order to be considered for any future vacancies.