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‘Learning is amazing’ is a phrase you hear frequently and it is written all over the place, even on the cushions in Mr Handscombe’s study. The same ‘loyal dissent’ that has characterised intellectual debate and classroom discussion at Westminster for generations is being fostered in its sapling. Stimulating speakers at the top of their field come to the school to lecture, whether it be on human rights, politics, climate change or science. A select number of students are invited to principal’s tea with them...

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Since 2014, when the school started, Mr James Handscombe MA (Harvard) BA (Oxon) mathematics PGCE NPQH (early 40s). Previously deputy head at Bexley grammar school, Mr Handscombe started his career in what was perhaps his most formative experience, as a maths teacher at Tonypandy comprehensive school in south Wales. Youthful, purposeful, wholly unaffected but intimidatingly intelligent, he is relishing running the innovative and above all scholarly sixth form he is leading here at HWSF. Married with two school age daughters, he met his wife as a student in Oxford. A truly vocational teacher, Mr Handscombe could have done almost anything with his brilliance and brains, but the children he teaches are the lucky beneficiaries of his calling. Educated at a comprehensive in Sheffield, he went on to achieve a top first in maths at...

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Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

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