Postby ellesmum » Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:03 am
My daughter was amongst the second cohort at HAWI, and I couldn't be happier with our choice. Her progress has been incredible - she left Primary school working below average (no fault of her equally fantastic primary school, she just hadn't had everything "click" yet), and she is now in Year 10 and is absolutely thriving, with top grades predicted in many of her subjects. As a child who comes from what could be described as a more "deprived" background, the school have given her so many opportunities that I wouldn't normally have been able to afford - they have given her free extra curricular singing lessons, she has been to see Cirque Du Soleil and Tosca at the Royal Opera House, they encourage all the children to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and last week they had Hugh Bonneville come into the school to give a talk. It is an incredibly supportive school for the children, albeit a very strict one. For my daughter, that works, as she thrives with a very strict set of rules to abide by (well, in school at least, not so much at home!), but it might not work for all children. They stamp on any bullying incidents quickly, so any experiences my daughter has had with bullying have been dealt with swiftly. On the negative side, school communication can sometimes be frustrating as they often only notify parents of things at the last minute, and it can sometimes be difficult to get hold of them. They are very strict about uniform - it was irritating to have to go and buy a new pair of shoes within her first week because her smart, clean, sensible shoes were "too shiny" (they were patent, which, at the time, they hadn't said weren't allowed!). A few of the teachers hand out blanket detentions to the whole class, rather than punishing the individual perpetrators, even though it is against school policy, which has caused a few issues & upsets . Teacher turnover appears quite high, which is a shame because the ones I have met have always seemed lovely, but I don't seem to have met many of them more than twice before they are gone. Oh, and the school canteen appears to be a point of frustration, as my daughter is always complaining that they have run out of food, or that other children have been pushing in the line, or she hasn't had time to finish her lunch...this could all just be her, though, and I have left her to address that one with the Headmistress!
All in all, though, I think it is the best school I could have chosen for my daughter. As one of the youngest in her year, she has had a unique opportunity to grow with the school, which is not something she could have had elsewhere. It is probably a good representation of London life, as it is very mixed - mixed sex (and a whole rainbow of genders), mixed cultures, mixed nationalities, mixed socioeconomic backgrounds - but that is exactly what I wanted, as it has allowed my daughter the opportunity to find her "tribe", and she has made a lovely group of friends.
I definitely recommend going for a look around & getting a feel for it. It's not Graveney, but there is no way my daughter would have thrived at a school like that in the way she has at HAWI.