Westminster School Londonreview by University of Oxford student. The quality of teaching at Westminster is truly exceptional - teachers regularly write articles and papers on their subjects and are academics rather than people who didn't know what to do with their degree so fell into teaching. Many are Oxbridge graduates but others have spent years in the City, etc. They are, on the whole, hugely passionate about their subjects and pass on much of this enthusiasm to their pupils. Westminster teachers teach the subject for its own sake, not for the sake of passing exams, although the school's public exam results speak for themselves. Class sizes are probably comparable to other public schools (around 6-10 per class for A-level). The school facilities are outstanding given its position in the heart of London; some of the buildings are extremely old but others are brand new, with the recent acquisition of a newly-built, state-of-the-art music centre and the purchase of two further buildings for the teaching of humanities subjects. The science centre is about a 7 minute walk from the main school site, and the sports fields a 10-15 minute walk: again, it must be noted that this is exceptional given the school's location right next to Westminster Abbey (with which the school has a longstanding relationship, and where school services are held twice a week). The school excepts both day and boarding boys from age 13 and day and boarding girls from age 16. There are frequent lectures given by outside speakers in various academic fields, many of whom are greatly distinguished and some even world experts. In addition, "John Locke Society" has a whole period a week allocated to it; this is where outside speakers from the worlds of journalism, politics, sports, entertainment and many more come to give a 40 minute talk, and this is followed by the opportunity to converse further with the speaker over lunch.
The whole atmosphere of Westminster is phenomenal. My years there were an incredible experience. The location, literally next door to the Abbey and less than 10 minutes' walk from the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and St James' Park gives it an unrivalled position - no other public school enjoys such a central setting. The school is also within half an hour's walk from numerous theatres and concert and opera venues, and just minutes from tens of restaurants and shops. Three tube stations and Victoria rail and bus stations are within ten minutes' walk. It is one of the most fascinating and beautiful areas of London. Boarding houses are renovated on a rolling basis but many of them are very comfortable indeed. For facilities please see the first section. There is a thriving social scene at Westminster with many evening outings organised for boarding pupils.
There is a huge range of extra-curricular activities - sporting, musical, dramatic and otherwise. For the first three years boys have to participate in activities at lunch time or after school two or three times a week, and there are many options to choose from, including football, orchestra, model-making, chess etc. In the lower sixth year there is the "options" programme where students participate in short courses from a choice of photography, film-making, singing, history of comedy, psychoanalysis and many others. All students spend two afternoons a week engaged in sporting activities, drama or community service. There is also a variety of optional after-school and lunchtime activities, from discussion groups to debating and choirs. Westminster excels in various fields, especially fencing, debating and music and there are highly accomplished teachers ready to support extremely able students.