Parent’s first contact with the school will normally be either by telephone or by letter or email, perhaps as a result of looking at the website. As a result of this first contact, parents will be sent a prospectus, accompanied by a brief handwritten note from the Headmaster inviting them to arrange a visit if they think Woodcote might be suitable for their son.
No prospective parent would be denied this information, although they may be advised at this early stage if the year group into which they wish to enter their son is full and a place is unlikely.
Initial visits to the school would normally involve a discussion with the Headmaster, followed by a tour with him, with a senior member of staff, or with boys. Parents would then be offered an Entry Form, completion of which would guarantee a place for an agreed term, subject to the conditions below.
Admission thereafter is on a first come first served basis, but no place is offered without the boy meeting the Headmaster for a brief informal interview in the year before he is due to start. At this point the boy will be asked to take an assessment test – at a level appropriate to his age. Only if a boy appeared socially or academically very far behind would the Headmaster refuse a place if one existed, and in such cases he would take advice from the Special Needs Coordinator before doing so. Provided that there is adequate room within the school (taking into account the limited number of Day places) and within a boy’s year group, no other form of selection would operate. No boy will be barred from entry on the grounds of race, religion or belief.
Once a place is offered and accepted, parents would be sent joining instructions and be required to pay a refundable Entry Fee in the form of a £1,000 deposit. Further visits – for clothes, to meet staff and boys, to spend a day with a proposed class – may then well be arranged. At the end of the term preceding a boy’s entry final instructions and the Parents’ Handbook will be sent, together with a bill for the first term, which becomes payable by the first day of that term. Thereafter, a full term’s notice will always be required before a boy leaves.
Once at Woodcote, the school undertakes if at all possible to continue to educate a boy until his agreed leaving age, provided fees are met. Only if parents are warned formally and in writing that a boy’s behaviour was prejudicing the best interests of the school would exclusion be considered; in such cases the school would see it very much as part of its brief to seek appropriate alternatives on behalf of the parents. A boy would never be excluded on grounds of pure academics, though the school would of course alert parents if it felt there were grounds for concern. If a boy is excluded, any fees paid in advance for any remaining days of term would be refunded to parents.