Skip to main content

What says..

The head of philosophy is keen to throw everything at them, from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Hobbes. The aim, to create independent learners who can think for themselves - qualities top universities are crying out for.One mother remarked how pleased she was that her son came home buzzing from a series of talks from ‘the good lad initiative’. A group of cool young men promoting ‘positive masculinity’. Last year they did a ‘promenade’ production to great acclaim, as the actors moved round parts of the school performing. This year we witnessed the dress rehearsal for an edgy...

Read review »

What the school says...

An independent day school for boys aged 11-18 in central London. Our vision at Wetherby Senior is to provide an outstanding, progressive, all-round education. Each of our boys is valued and encouraged and our aim is to fully prepare them to meet the challenges of being a young man in the 21st Century and contribute fully to the communities in which they live. ...Read more

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2021, Joe Silvester, previously deputy head (academic) at Bancrofts School in North East London. His first teaching post was at Ipswich School before moving to the City of London School in 2005 to teach RS, where he became (just a year later) head of department and housemaster and later (in 2014) assistant head (teaching and learning) where he transformed both the school’s online learning programme and its outreach and partnerships strategy before moving to Bancrofts in 2017.

Married to Rachael Curzons, an edtech startup executive, with whom he has a 4-year-old son and a daughter on the way. He is a keen sportsman, with a particular interest in cycling and fitness. Also a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Innholders.


Academically selective at 11, 13 and 16. Tests in English and maths at 11, held in the January of the year of entry, but school will also give equal weight to the reference from his current school and his performance at interview. For 13+ entrance, all boys will sit the Common ISEB pre-test in the autumn of year 6 together with an interview. For 16+ entry, candidates are interviewed and examined in the subjects they want to study for A Level and offers are conditional on GCSE results. Always worth checking for the occasional place. They are looking for boys who will contribute to school life and benefit from the rounded education.


Fifteen per cent leaves after GCSEs. All boys are prepared for university, and the expectation is that the most academic will go to the top US and UK universities. ‘Staff are experienced in supporting applications to UK universities and the school will be working with US university specialists to support boys who are aiming to study further afield.' Durham, Exeter, Bath, Bristol, Manchester popular. A few to Oxbridge, but none in 2021. Two medics in 2021.

Latest results

In 2021, 78 per cent 9-7 at GCSEs. Second set of A levels in 2021 - 70 per cent A*/A at A level (92 per cent A*-B). In 2019 (the last year when exams took place), 60 per cent 9-7 at GCSE.

Teaching and learning

Third set of GCSE results in 2020; internal data suggests pupils make very good progress, and systems in place to track progress constantly. ‘For GCSE boys,’ says school, ‘projected grades given to boys and parents after year 10 and 11 mocks are tracked against independent baseline data (MidYIS). Using Attainment 8 as an overall measure for each boy, we are adding 0.22 of a grade on average, with 29 per cent of cohort adding more than one grade.’ Almost every parent we spoke to praised the quality of the teachers and how impressive both their subject knowledge is and their understanding of the ethos of the school and commitment to it. A blend of experienced and relatively newly qualified, an equal split of men and women, they are recruited from both sectors, state and independent, and while naturally differ in style manage to combine being unpretentious with a traditional approach. ‘All of our teachers are really lively,’ averred the boys we spoke to.

A traditional academic curriculum includes Latin with German, French and Spanish the choice of modern languages. Native speakers and those who show a particular aptitude will be invited to take the GCSE as early as year 8. Graphic design, no DT. Practical skills are taught, the use of laser cutters etc. An esoteric part of the curriculum is that every pupil to age 16 is taught philosophy and learning skills. The head of philosophy is keen to throw everything at them, from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Hobbes. The aim, to create independent learners who can think for themselves - qualities top universities are crying out for. Boys setted for maths from year 7 and in English and science from year 9. There are five sets for science. Beginners' sets for German and Spanish in year 9. Class sizes are small, currently 16. Judicious and sensible use of sets and there is movement up as well as down. A healthy broad range of ability when we visited, but as the school fills up, and word spreads, we suspect intake likely to become more and more academic.

First sixth form intake was in September 2018, most moving up from year 11, with a few places for external applicants. The sixth form will grow organically - from an initial 35 - as the larger year groups move up the school.

Learning support and SEN

A specialist SENCo but no one-to-one support in the classroom. Needs of anyone with learning difficulties are met in the classroom through differentiation. A tiny few need EAL support. Lucid Exact software used to screen boys once they’re here to spot any difficulties, like dyslexia. School works closely with an educational psychologist who is brought in when there’s a problem. They avoid labelling as much as possible but around 25 per cent of current pupils are on the SEND register. Whatever their needs, school claims they can all manage in class without individual support.

The arts and extracurricular

Drama is vibrant and everyone gets a chance to be involved. Last year they did a ‘promenade’ production to great acclaim, as the actors moved round parts of the school performing. This year we witnessed the dress rehearsal for an edgy play set in a prison written by the head of drama. She fizzes with excitement as every head of drama should, and the boys respond positively. Some prefer to do backstage work, whether it be costumes and make-up or lighting and set design. Productions, small and large, throughout the school year, including a Christmas cabaret. LAMDA very popular in years 7, 8 and 9 and the teacher is in school most days

‘The head of music is an inspiration,’ say the boys. A French horn player, he has a fleet of colourful plastic brass instruments and with his combination of music technology and practical playing gets all the boys involved. There are already a number of groups including a wind ensemble, brass group and rock school plus DJ Buster teaches them to DJ. While the school is still relatively youthful it is hard to get the strength in depth for a whole school orchestra, although there is a chamber orchestra which will expand to full orchestra as the school grows.

Art technician specialises in sculpture and this was evident in the displays. Much use is made of the kiln. We saw a variety of silkscreens, and while there is a separate art and graphic design teacher, there is much crossover in the work produced. Boys’ artwork is prominently displayed in the headmaster’s office and throughout the school, but there is also a lot of artwork that has not been done by the boys – perhaps to fill the space? A number of exhibitions during the school year; the younger boys exhibited their art and graphic design work at the Saatchi gallery. An additional art studio has recently been added.

Lots of trips: ‘they are always off somewhere,’ remarked one parent, to Croatia (geography), Barcelona (combined Spanish and football tour), Pompeii (classics) and closer to home. Located in the heart of London, they don’t waste the opportunity to take advantage of the museums and theatres on their doorstep.

Activities take place at the end of each day and are built into the timetable. As well as ‘academic catch up’ clubs in every subject, they can choose from a range of activities, from bridge, to cinema, scientific illustration (an example of their innovative use of cross-curricular expertise) to boxercise.

Plenty of alliances with Queen’s College - social, musical, DofE, lectures etc. A relationship is also developing with Francis Holland Regent’s Park, so there will be lots of opportunity to experience working alongside girls.


Traditional sports, rugby, football, cricket, tennis and athletics, with lots of competitive fixtures. Two afternoons a week are timetabled for games and they play matches against leading London secondary day schools including Latymer Upper, Westminster and Kingston Grammar as well as the top two years of the prep schools. The downside, say a number of parents, is the one hour plus round coach trip to the sports ground, which is Trailfinders in Ealing. Some wonder how much time they actually get to play when so much time is taken up travelling. Nonetheless, the U15 football team had an impressive season, reaching the quarter final of the ESFA small schools cup. They are starting to punch above their weight.

The director of sport, an ex-Saracens rugby player and elite RFU referee, is highly praised by colleagues and parents. A ‘fantastic sportsman, he is increasingly attracting sporty boys,' say some parents we spoke to. One parent was particularly impressed by his attitude to sport and exercise. It is not just about competition and fixtures but laying down the foundations for a healthy lifestyle and contributing to a mental health. Year 10 boys are linked to gyms and can opt for boxing, spinning etc, and there are a range of minor sports offered from fencing to basketball. Even unenthusiastic sportsman have to do one afternoon of physical activity in the sixth form – other afternoons they can do work in the community or work experience. School recently formed partnership with Ealing Trailfinders - home to a professional rugby union and rugby league club - which provides Astroturf and grass pitches, plus facilities for tennis and cricket.

Ethos and heritage

The last link in the chain of the formidable Wetherby schools, owned and managed by the private equity backed Alpha Plus group, Wetherby Senior School caters for the oldest boys in the group but is the youngest school. Alpha Plus have cleverly given all their Wetherby schools the signature colours - the red and grey, evident from moment you arrive at the brightly painted red front door, to the furnishings throughout the school, and the boys in their smart uniforms - and also through each school runs an ethos of traditional boys’ education blended with a modern and global outlook.

The school opened in 2015 with 67 boys in years 7 and 9. There are now over 300 and the maximum number will be 600. ‘The size is an essential part of our ethos,’ explains school. ‘We will be big enough to be able to compete, have an orchestra, field a number of different team sports, but not so big as to lose the intimacy that we value so highly.’ Expectations are high, but boys can be themselves and there is no particular ‘Wetherby mould’ that they feel they should fit into.

Set in the heart of central London, the main site is in a surprisingly quiet corner of Marylebone Lane, tucked behind the famous haberdashery shop with its colourful array of ribbons. A Victorian mansion block, it has the benefit of being a traditional building with soul, but high ceilings, large classrooms and a sense of space, and a gym in the basement. A second, more newly purchased, similar five-storey building, Hannah House in Manchester Street, is largely the base for the junior years. A flow of boys make the five-minute walk between buildings, as the division of use is largely by department, but timetables are designed to minimise movement for the youngest boys. The new building has a large cafeteria, signature red benches and grey tables and staff eat with the students. Sixth formers can also have lunch and snacks throughout the day in their café in the sixth form centre in Marylebone Lane.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

One message we received very clearly from parents is that the care taken by all the staff and their sensitive approach to the boys’ welfare is remarkable. Whether a response to a particular crisis, or the general awareness of the difficulties of being a teenager in the 21st century, the school takes it seriously and responds professionally but with compassion. They will not hesitate to bring in professional counsellors for support and one mother remarked how pleased she was that her son came home buzzing from a series of talks from ‘the good lad initiative’, a group of cool young men promoting ‘positive masculinity’.

Boys are split into horizontal groups within their year group, known as Tributaries or ‘Tribs’, and assigned a tutor, who not only sees them every morning for registration but also meets with them for an hour each week. The tutor, overseen by a head of section, is responsible for the welfare of the boys in their care as well as keeping an eye on their academic progress and behaviour. The system works well, was the unanimous verdict of the parents we spoke to, and the communication between tutor and parent is invaluable.

The chef here (god forbid that you should refer to her as cook) used to work at Soho House and while the food is delicious, there was a plea from the boys to tone down the sophistication of the recipes, since when baked potatoes have been back on the menu. There is a busy school council which consists of representatives from each Trib, and which reports to school in assembly.

A tiny courtyard at the back of the Marylebone Lane building makes it possible for boys to play football, and they do; there are two common rooms here complete with table football, and a Nintendo Wii. A range of lunchtime activities at Hannah House, indoor and out, as well as time in the park. Most of the boys we saw in break were staring at their phones, disappointing but a reflection of the age. A number of parents we spoke to would welcome a more robust approach from the school on the use of mobile phones.

Only sixth formers allowed out to lunch. We happened to see a number of younger boys filing into a local tea shop at the end of the day and were impressed by their deportment in the bustling streets of Marylebone.

Pupils and parents

Wetherby Senior couldn’t be more of a reflection of its central London location. Thoroughly multicultural, one parent might be Swiss, the other Swedish. Whilst the majority of the boys are long term residents of the UK, the school is a truly global environment with boys from all over Europe as well as Russia, the Middle East and the USA. Most come from London prep schools.

Boys we met and spoke to were refreshingly individual and polite. They look you in the eye, are confident but not arrogant. This is far from a macho culture. Boys here can be any kind of peg, and will still fit the hole.

The last word

Wetherby Senior could not have arrived at a better time. Parents of boys will be flocking to its red door in this overheated senior school market, in which it is particularly hard to find good schools for boys. If the school continues along the trajectory it has set for itself it will only become ever more popular. A marvellous education for the modern teenage boy.

Please note: 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.

Special Education Needs

Who came from where

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

The Good Schools Guide manifesto for parents