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St. Swithun's School

School rating 4 / 5 by

Alresford Road Winchester Hampshire SO21 1HA United Kingdom
4th to 12th
4th to 12th
Girls only


St. Swithun's School review by .

The academic program at St. Swithuns is very good, the focus is very much on academic work from the start. As everyone has to pass the common entrance the standard is very high throughout the school. At the start of the secondary school students study a wide academic program which then narrows down as GCSE's are chosen. English and Maths must be taken at GSCE level along with one modern language and a science subject. 9 GCSE's are usually taken but more can be added with permission from parents and teachers. 19 different GCSE's are offered. At six form 23 different A levels are offered and the generally 4 are chosen for AS level, one being dropped after one year of study to carry on three for A2 level. Again with permission from teachers more A levels can be taken. The strengths of St Swithuns currently lie in the Sciences. This is where the best teachers are at the moment (2009) and the equipment and facilities are really excellent. There are at least two classrooms/ labs for each of the three sciences. Music and drama at the school is also very strong and the recent building of the new Performing Arts Centre means that facilities for this area of study are also outstanding. The nature of the student body is hard working and very competitive. But also friendly and human. The friends I have made at St Swithuns are the best I have made in my life. However as everyone is very academic and all the teachers and parents have very high standards the time I spend there was some of the most hard working I have known. I think this is a good way to prepare students for university. The amount of work set gradually increases as you move up the school and the A level courses that I took I feel fully prepared me for working at university. We were given more independence in our academic work in the six form which prepared me for having to work more on my own at degree level. The learning experience I had there was varied. At the start in our first year it was very much class based with a group of students and a teacher who would control the learning process. But as you move up the school into A levels some lectures came into the time table as well. Mainly as part on the General Studies course. Although the lectures in themselves were a good praparation for university, the contents of this course was not good. I do not feel the General Studies A level course really helped us learn very much apart for study skills and perhaps class discussion. Class size is very good. Slightly larger in younger years but decreasing to around 8-12 in A level classes. These small groups provided really excellent lessons and learning opportunities. Class size even in the first years was never above about 20-25. The faculty were so helpful during my time there, always always on hand to help. After lessons or during study or breaks, an appointment could always be made if I was struggling with the work. Particularly good was their help with course work or homework that was not as good as it could be. There are no specific help groups for those with difficulties in a particular subject. Few people seemed to have acute problems in anything therefore there is little help for those really struggling. Advanced students will always have opportunities and are rarely held back or bored. The subjects are streamed/ dived so that all students are with those of the same standard. As the overall standard is so high anyway this means the top div is usually very fast moving. There are extra curricular activities in most subjects for those who have a particular talent.

College Counseling

We were first allocated an advisor when we were choosing our GCSE's. This person then....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

Most students enter the school aged 11 after completing the common entrance exam. there are....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

The quality of life at St Swithuns was fantastic. The housing, and dinning were both of very very high standard and the resources of every subject were always available. The new library is fantastic and is available for all students to study in at any time of the day. Study areas are provided in every house and within the school as well. Crime and safely around Winchester is also good, very little ever happens to threaten any of the students. Winchester is a beautiful and safe place in which to life and study. recently new gates and coded lock have....

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