ahuman45
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I would like to know if HWSF provides free use of Microsoft 365 (etc. Word, Powerpoint) with a school account or email. If there’s anyone that goes there and wants to private message me, I’d be so grateful bc I have sooo many other questions - I really want to know whether to go or not. Thanks x
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ivorybird
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(Original post by ahuman45)
I would like to know if HWSF provides free use of Microsoft 365 (etc. Word, Powerpoint) with a school account or email. If there’s anyone that goes there and wants to private message me, I’d be so grateful bc I have sooo many other questions - I really want to know whether to go or not. Thanks x
Yes, you get access to office 365 which is linked to the Harris Federation.
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ahuman45
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(Original post by ivorybird)
Yes, you get access to office 365 which is linked to the Harris Federation.
Hi, thanks for replying! Do you go Harris Westminster by any chance?
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ivorybird
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Yes, I have just completed Year 12 (:
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ivorybird
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Feel free to ask me anything about HWSF - I've just posted twice in a forum so I can activate private messaging so please PM me!
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ahuman45
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(Original post by ivorybird)
Yes, I have just completed Year 12
omg! i’m really stuck between picking LAE or HWSF and it’s been making me super stressed and anxious bc results day is soon. So I have a couple questions if that’s okay about Harris…(I’m really sorry to bother u)

What subjects did u pick and how do you find them? I’m taking English, History, Politics and P+E

Is the environment as unsupportive and cold as people say? I’ve heard some really negative things about the principal

I know academic pressure is inevitable, so do they have any mental health services?

One of my main concerns is the travel aspect- I live 40 mins away whereas LAE is 20mins so is that something you’ve experienced bc I feel like the location would be totally worth it?

Also, do you get any trial period to see if you like it there or with your subjects? I don’t have any friends that attended sixth form or ones in my year that are changing- they’re all staying at the our secondary.

And also anything you can tell me about extracurriculars bc I know there’s Student Principals and Senates and stuff? And how much is PE encouraged?

Basically would you recommend HWSF

I know this is a lot so I’m really sorry, but if you find the time to reply, it would soooo helpful! Maybe we could exchange socials or PM, since you’re in Year 12, it’d be great to have friendly face!
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ahuman45
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One last thing lol (sorry) how important is doing the summer homework and reading they give you?? Bc for my subjects it’s very overwhelming! I would PM you but my account won’t let me
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ivorybird
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(Original post by ahuman45)
omg! i’m really stuck between picking LAE or HWSF and it’s been making me super stressed and anxious bc results day is soon. So I have a couple questions if that’s okay about Harris…(I’m really sorry to bother u)

What subjects did u pick and how do you find them? I’m taking English, History, Politics and P+E

Is the environment as unsupportive and cold as people say? I’ve heard some really negative things about the principal

I know academic pressure is inevitable, so do they have any mental health services?

One of my main concerns is the travel aspect- I live 40 mins away whereas LAE is 20mins so is that something you’ve experienced bc I feel like the location would be totally worth it?

Also, do you get any trial period to see if you like it there or with your subjects? I don’t have any friends that attended sixth form or ones in my year that are changing- they’re all staying at the our secondary.

And also anything you can tell me about extracurriculars bc I know there’s Student Principals and Senates and stuff? And how much is PE encouraged?

Basically would you recommend HWSF

I know this is a lot so I’m really sorry, but if you find the time to reply, it would soooo helpful! Maybe we could exchange socials or PM, since you’re in Year 12, it’d be great to have friendly face!
I also had to choose between HWSF and LAE - the main thing that put me off LAE was that they asked for a £50 deposit when accepting their offer which would only be returned if you completed the 2 years there (so if you dropped out or changed schools you wouldn't get your money back!). In the end I'm very glad I chose Harris Westminster.
1. I take Maths, Biology, Chemistry and a humanities subject - I love them! I have genuinely amazing teachers - it's not only the teaching I enjoy but the class banter and vibe - kind of hard to describe but it's so satisfying. Of course not every teacher is perfect but on the whole the staff are extremely knowledgeable and supportive. One thing they do a lot is talk outside the specification which is really helpful for interviews and interesting - we are encouraged to develop a strong 'hinterland'. Since you want to do all humanities, I would say there's a stark STEM/humanities divide and I can't really give an accurate representation of the whole department (my friend does history and it's her best subject academically). I was also part of a creative writing class which was run by an English teacher - she was great and clearly good at her job!!
2. The principal is slightly eccentric but in the best possible way - he's friendly and probably the most intelligent person I've ever spoken with. I hope this reassures you! It's interesting that the student body's opinions on SLT vary quite a bit but I've never had a problem with them.
3. Yes, there are in-school counsellors (one of my friends uses the service) and you always have your tutor to talk to. Also I think HWSF has facilities beyond those mandatory 'sleep well, revise and manage your stress by doing xyz' powerpoints that every school does. Your wellbeing is important and this is stressed by the PSHE lessons during tutor time (although this can be slightly cringey? at least it's there).
4. For me the travel time to LAE and HWSF is the same - the central location is really nice, although I suppose after a while it becomes slightly underwhelming. Being in central London after school and on Saturdays is convenient especially to meet with friends. Just be sure to have a 2nd and 3rd travel plan for when there's a tube strike or delays. Some people have journeys of 1 hour+ and some even live outside London so I think 40 minutes is doable (school starts at 9am which is later than a lot of schools in my local area)!
5. A lot of people dropped out after the first 2/3 weeks and you can change your subjects towards the end of September I think? Or maybe early October but it requires a proper meeting with SLT and a good academic reason - after this one opportunity they will not let you change your subject (to my knowledge). If you have more questions on changing subjects I'd advise emailing the school. You can also change your subjects on results day/enrolment day if you meet the grade requirements.
6. Extracurriculars are essentially embedded into the school day - you have to take 2 Cultural Perspectives classes a week which are lessons which explore really niche subjects e.g printmaking, parasite biology, race relations in the UK, coordination chemistry, feminist essays, origami, Portuguese etc. things that teachers have extra knowledge or an interest in that they share. I really like them, however a lot of people feel that it's an unnecessary part of HWSF and makes the school day longer. There are almost daily emails about summer schools, competitions, lectures, community activities etc. Honestly you don't need to worry about making a huge effort for extra-curricular activities since they are basically a part of the school day. There's society once a week where a student gives a presentation e.g biology society, psychology society, engineering society, medical society etc. Also, every week there's a guest lecture which is optional, otherwise the time, referred to as 'Lab' is used for independent study and catching up with teachers.
There are lots of roles like House Captain, Society Presidents and Senate is basically student council/prefects.
7. Sport is compulsory and takes place on Thursday afternoon. There are so many options including badminton, table tennis, functional training, boxfit, board games, chess, basketball, football, yoga, spin etc. Sport has been the best part of HWSF for me - it's a good time to destress mentally and physically.

In summary, yes I would recommend HWSF! I avoid the people that complain a lot about the school as I'm sure they would do that in whatever school they end up in. I hope this is helpful, and please PM me if you have more specific questions!
Last edited by ivorybird; 1 month ago
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(Original post by ahuman45)
One last thing lol (sorry) how important is doing the summer homework and reading they give you?? Bc for my subjects it’s very overwhelming! I would PM you but my account won’t let me
I'm not sure for your subjects - out of my 4 subjects, only the chemistry department was serious about checking the prep work and they spent the first few lessons going through it so that everybody is on the same page for GCSE knowledge. I know that a lot of people didn't complete the Y12 prep, but I found it helpful especially since my GCSEs were cancelled lol. Generally, please don't stress about the prep too much and if the department really wants to check it, they'll give you time to complete any essential parts as (probably optional) homework in September. Hope that helps!
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I realise my experience is overwhelmingly positive so I thought I'd list a few of the negatives/things that generally the student body complains about:

1) School ends at 4:25 or 4:10 - other sixth forms allow you to go home if you don't have lessons e.g at 1pm but at HWSF you must tap out at the end of the school day (even if you have free periods for the last 2 lessons!). It can get tiring but I find it similar to secondary school in having a prescriptive time to leave.
2) CPs and Lab - although they can be interesting, they make the day longer! Some of them aren't specifically academic so it can feel like a waste of time
3) Saturday school - 9am-1pm on Saturdays, you'll have them in the second half of the summer term of Year 12 and then 4 out of 6 Saturdays in Year 13.
4) 4 A levels - you have to do 4 A Levels or 3 and core maths + an EPQ. This takes up a lot of time but puts you at a significant advantage for further education e.g UCAS tariff points
5) Stairs - so many stairs... there are 8 floors
The main thing I heard about HWSF when I was applying was the lack of mental health services but this hasn't affected me at all so maybe I'm not the best person to ask

Personally, I don't consider most of these things as 'negative' parts of the school - I accept that I chose to go to an academically rigorous school and these aspects are part of what makes the school so successful (:
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ivorybird
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(Original post by ahuman45)
One last thing lol (sorry) how important is doing the summer homework and reading they give you?? Bc for my subjects it’s very overwhelming! I would PM you but my account won’t let me
My friend who does History said:

"Personally my teacher didn’t check. The early Tudors one provides context for what we’re learning but the actual content isn’t part of the A Level spec (we did get tested on some of the knowledge in our first assessment though). Idk about African kingdoms, it’s a new topic."
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ahuman45
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Wow!!!! I can’t describe how helpful this is…thank you so much! I’m beyond grateful. You’ve answered everything and more. If I have any further questions, I’ll definitely PM you. But thanks again. I hope everyone in HWSF is as helpful as you
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ahuman45
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Hi,

(Original post by ivorybird)
I realise my experience is overwhelmingly positive so I thought I'd list a few of the negatives/things that generally the student body complains about:

1) School ends at 4:25 or 4:10 - other sixth forms allow you to go home if you don't have lessons e.g at 1pm but at HWSF you must tap out at the end of the school day (even if you have free periods for the last 2 lessons!). It can get tiring but I find it similar to secondary school in having a prescriptive time to leave.
2) CPs and Lab - although they can be interesting, they make the day longer! Some of them aren't specifically academic so it can feel like a waste of time
3) Saturday school - 9am-1pm on Saturdays, you'll have them in the second half of the summer term of Year 12 and then 4 out of 6 Saturdays in Year 13.
4) 4 A levels - you have to do 4 A Levels or 3 and core maths + an EPQ. This takes up a lot of time but puts you at a significant advantage for further education e.g UCAS tariff points
5) Stairs - so many stairs... there are 8 floors
The main thing I heard about HWSF when I was applying was the lack of mental health services but this hasn't affected me at all so maybe I'm not the best person to ask

Personally, I don't consider most of these things as 'negative' parts of the school - I accept that I chose to go to an academically rigorous school and these aspects are part of what makes the school so successful (:
Hi, for some reason, I can’t send PMs but I’m really confused by something- How does the Core Math/EPQ thing work? Do I have to do Core Math? Can I do an EPQ without it, alongside my 4 A-Levels? Sorry to bother you again (:
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ivorybird
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(Original post by ahuman45)
Hi,


Hi, for some reason, I can’t send PMs but I’m really confused by something- How does the Core Math/EPQ thing work? Do I have to do Core Math? Can I do an EPQ without it, alongside my 4 A-Levels? Sorry to bother you again (:
As far as I know, the options are either:
- 4 A Levels
or
- 3 A Levels and core maths and an EPQ
The school will not facilitate 4 A Levels and an EPQ (it does not fit the timetable).
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ahuman45
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(Original post by ivorybird)
As far as I know, the options are either:
- 4 A Levels
or
- 3 A Levels and core maths and an EPQ
The school will not facilitate 4 A Levels and an EPQ (it does not fit the timetable).
okay thanks
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ahuman45
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(Original post by ivorybird)
As far as I know, the options are either:
- 4 A Levels
or
- 3 A Levels and core maths and an EPQ
The school will not facilitate 4 A Levels and an EPQ (it does not fit the timetable).
hi again, i still can’t access my PMs but i have another question. i hope u don’t mind (:
i know a lot of sixth forms changed their timetables because of covid. so i was wondering what the timetable might look like for me in september? thanks again
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(Original post by ahuman45)
hi again, i still can’t access my PMs but i have another question. i hope u don’t mind (:
i know a lot of sixth forms changed their timetables because of covid. so i was wondering what the timetable might look like for me in september? thanks again
No problem!
This is kind of tricky because they are changing the timetable for 2021/22 slightly, but generally you have 8 free periods per fortnight (in Year 12) and lessons are 40 minutes long. Break time is 25 minutes and every day has a different number of lessons (this depends on the block your classes are in). Monday and Tuesday end at 4:25, Wednesday and Friday at 4:10 and Thursdays technically end at 4:00 but this depends on your sport. Lunchtime length also depends on the day - for Year 12s this year it was:
- Monday 1 hour 10 mins
- Tuesday 50 mins
- Wednesday 45 mins
- Thursday 50 mins
- Friday 1 hour 20 mins
There are lots of lunchtime clubs on Mondays and Fridays which is why they are so long! Sorry this isn't more detailed but the timetable is quite complicated and alternates between week A and B!
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certii_db
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(Original post by ivorybird)
Yes, I have just completed Year 12 (:
How did you find year 12? Was it stressful doing. 4 alevels? And what are your opinions on the school?
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(Original post by certii_db)
How did you find year 12? Was it stressful doing. 4 alevels? And what are your opinions on the school?
I would say that 4 A Levels will take up a significant amount of your time in a week, but I didn't notice this until I compared my timetable with my friends' in other sixth forms. It can be stressful at times but to me it felt like a lot less than GCSEs, going from 11 subjects to just 4.
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(Original post by ivorybird)
I would say that 4 A Levels will take up a significant amount of your time in a week, but I didn't notice this until I compared my timetable with my friends' in other sixth forms. It can be stressful at times but to me it felt like a lot less than GCSEs, going from 11 subjects to just 4.
thank you!
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