Westminster is located in the heart of London right next to the famous Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. It has a rich tradition dating back to the 12th century and received royal patronage from Queen Elizabeth I in 1560. It is made up of buildings built or acquired over the centuries, which in and of itself reflects the history of Britain.
Westminster students are some of the most successful in the country with 86 per cent of subjects were completed with A*.at GCSE in recent years. In the previous 15 years, results from 99-100% of subjects were A*-C. All GCSE subjects, in addition to others, can be taken to A level or Cambridge Pre-U and students in these cases have achieved equally impressive results. Almost all students take four A levels, and there are many who take five. Maths are the most popular, followed by history, sciences, English and economics. Languages are also popular. Theatre studies, electronics, music, art and drama are also available.
Classrooms are fully up-to-date and lab facilites, including an electron microscope, are impressive. There is an extensive library and laptops are readily available. Classes are small with about eight students. Extra support is provided by a study skills coordinator. Almost all students go on to universities with a majority finding places at Russell Group universities.
A broad range of extracurricular activities are availabe to round out the Westminster experience and to enrich students’ education. Students may choose from among 25 different sports. Professional coaches, some of whom have been Olympic competitors, lead the major sports, including cricket, cross country, fencing, fives, football, hockey, netball, tennis and rowing. Musical education is also very important and a wide variety of instruments may be studied in individual lessons. Pupils may participate in traditional and contemporary performing groups, ranging from the Symphony Orchestra to jazz and unplugged evenings. The art programme is also very rich with subjects offered at GCSE, A level and Pre U. Students have many opportunities to display their work, both on and off campus. Drama and Theatre are also available as academic subjects and trips to London productions are often organised.
During the school year, students may participate in exchanges and expeditions, thus expanding their knowledge of other cultures. Furthermore, the student-run John Locke society brings many noted speakers to campus.
Boarding and pastoral care
Boarding at Westminster is organised around a house system. Both boarders and day students belong to a house where they have access to study and leisure space, changing rooms and lockers. Out of the eleven houses, six houses are for boarders. The atmosphere in the houses is lively and welcoming. All houses are overseen by housemasters who provide many different forms of assistance. Each pupil is assigned a tutor who supports the headmaster and keeps an eye on their pupils’ academic progress.
A spacious new sports hall provides space for a wide range of sports. It includes courts for basketball, netball, five-a-side football, hockey, netball, volleyball and badminton; climbing walls; a multi-use dance/yoga/aerobics space; a rowing training suite; fencing pistes; indoor cricket nets and areas for judo and table tennis. Pupils also have access to fives courts accessible from the Yard, a shooting gallery and playing fields at Vincent Square.
Opened in 2005, the Manoukian Music Centre contains a recording studio, a recital hall, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, classrooms and instrument storage all to the highest standards. There are Steinway concert grand pianos and a Goble harpsichord.
Excellent drama facilities include the renovated Millicent Fawcett Hall, named after the president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, and is a state-of-the-art theatre space. Teaching and most productions are held here as well as at several other spaces in the school.
Both girls and boys may apply to enter Westminster School at 16+. Registration opens in the summer of the year before entry and the entrance examinations take place in November.