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King Edward VI School Southampton

School rating 4 / 5 by

Wilton Road Southampton Hampshire SO15 5UQ United Kingdom
7th to 9th


King Edward VI School Southampton review by .

In general, the school is very academic, certainly compared to any state school. Though despite the protestations of the current headmaster, much of the teaching before GCSEs in the 5th year is 'to the test', it teaches students to perform well in exams. Individual perspectives, and academic debate are neglected. The sciences (including maths) are notably stronger than the arts, with very technical lab teaching, many MANY chemistry experiments, dissections, and even electronics from the first year (which was exceptional in hindsight). The exam focus is not so much a problem in the sciences as practical skills are also very well developed and individualism is not so important. The History department-despite the exam prep that takes precedence in the fourth and fifth years- is also excellent with very well educated teachers (most Oxbridge) and the provision of many interesting pieces of trivia which still serve me well. From the second year until the final year in the Upper Sixth ( seventh year) students are set in Maths and Languages. Maths has seven sets (for year groups of ~150) so classes can be tailored. My own experience in, gasp, a mid set was of meat grinder style teaching where we were made to do as many exercizes as humanly possible in our 4 hours a week. I know the teaching is far more personalized and developed in higher sets. The language departments use tapes, headsets, and much IT to enhance learning and the teaching in my French classes was excellent. Greek, Latin, Spanish and German are also taught. Art is well provided for, with almost every imaginable resource available, though the teaching was lacklustre and their has been a high turnover of teachers. The compulsory sport, which I hated, is also well provided for, with large playing fields, a nearby city park for running and much equipment. Rugby, Cricket and Hockey are key for the boys, whilst the girls take netball, hockey and rounders. There are House Games from the fourth year onwards and an annual Sports Day. There are also compulsory long distance runs once a year and bleep tests. Around half of the intake come from prep schools and admission is selective, but the majority of students were not overly academic or keen, they simply adhered to the challenging curriculum. A significant minority of the year group (~10%) appeared smarter and generally better than the rest from the first year to the last, and unsurprisingly it was this group that dominated the admissions to Oxbridge. The teachers clearly favoured these types ,giving them personal attention, but if your child is clearly able to perform at the highest level from a young age a more academic school (though there are very few in the county, let alone the immediate area) may be better. There are annual tests each summer from the very first year, and these provide valuable exam practice and are the basis of setting. Teaching style for arts is dictatorial, with rapid note taking and occasional discussions. The natural sciences were far mroe independent with constant experiments in small groups alongside many demonstrations. Maths varies depending on set, but my mid set revolved around initial demonstrations, followed by rapid paced individual work with help provided if asked for. Workload was not huge, with a couple of hours of homework a night which went up slightly in sixth form. Science olympiads are promoted, which is excellent.

College Counseling

Advice given by personal tutors, application boosting extra-curriculars are promoted from the very beginning and....

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

Entrance requires references from previous school and 3 exams: maths, writing and verbal reasoning (the....

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

Campus atmosphere is busy, scheduling is tight. School is not blessed with overly beautiful architecture bar the main hale, but it is spacious, clean and technologically advanced. Competition in all fields in encouraged and this leads to inevitable, and dare I say motivating, rivalries. Uniform standards are very strict and any romantic actions are strictly prohibited, though some escape attention. Student's are almost uniformly ambitious and from professional families, though their abilities vary wildly. The on-site nurse is very helpful. Pastoral care is provided by tutors, who are seen every morning, but I found mine to be dull, unhelpful and....

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