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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:03 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Birmingham
I'm delighted and proud as punch to report that my son got into his first choice Grammar, KE VI Camp Hill Boys. At the risk of incriminating myself, I had to take the call on my mobile, as I was driving back from work in Nottingham, on Friday afternoon.....and it felt like all my Xmases had come at once! All those months of hard work that my son had put in over the past year had finally paid off. Well, all of this was in addition to my son being offered an Assisted Place Scholarship/Bursary to the King Edward's School, Edgabston a few weeks ago. The celebrations have lasted all weekend and the phone hasn't stopped ringing with messages of congratulations.
We're now faced with a bit of a dilemma - which of these 2 exceptionally high peforming and prestigious schools do we send our son to? Initially, before the LEA results came out, we were all (including my son) more or less certain that my son would go to KES. Now that he also has a place at Camp Hill, we are not so sure. Does anyone out there (KenR, in particular) have any thoughts on this matter. We'd appreciate some feedback. I'm planning to take my son to KES on Friday morning having spoken at length to the newly appointed KES Admisson's Co-ordinator this morning, but haven't quite managed to get hold of anyone at Camp Hill yet (phone seems to be perpetually engaged).

Thanks

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Dr Jalal


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Hi Dr Jalal,

Congratulations to your son. As I mentioned in a previous post last week the pass mark for Camp Hill boys is always significantly higher than the other KE Grammar Schools due to the popularity and small intake (only 93 boys) so he has done extremely well.

As for any thoughts regarding KE Camp Hill Boys and KES, well they are both excellent schools and I think it really comes down to personal factors and choices rather than academic factors viz.



    What school does you son prefer?
    Which school are his friends going to?
    What are the travel logistics like for your family? Can he use a school bus?
    Have you already promised your son that you will accept KES, what would his reaction be if you switched to Camp Hill Boys?
    What about the financial factors? Even with an Assisted Place KES is going to work out at circa £7K per annum for probably 7 years.



Hope this helps


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:03 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Birmingham
Thanks KenR

Your advice, as usual, has been invaluable. I've managed to set up a tour of both schools with my son this coming Friday, so that we can further assess the suitability of the schools to meet my son's needs. BTW, your article in the Independent Schools section ("Private Schooling is often a worthless expenditure") was quite interesting reading - should I take that into consideration when considering KES vs Camp Hill?

You asked us to consider:
What school does you son prefer? At the moment his heart says Camp Hill but his head says KES.
Which school are his friends going to? Unfortunately none of his friends managed to get into either school.
What are the travel logistics like for your family? Can he use a school bus? Yes, he can just about use the Camp Hill bus, although in both cases easier to get into city centre and then catch the respective TWM buses.
Have you already promised your son that you will accept KES, what would his reaction be if you switched to Camp Hill Boys? No we have not promised him either way.
What about the financial factors? Even with an Assisted Place KES is going to work out at circa £7K per annum for probably 7 years - Could you elaborate on this Ken.... We need to pay £1,200 per annum fees + uniform (£350/annum), bus fare (£230/annum), lunch (£400/annum), school trips (£700-£1000/annum) etc....have I missed out anything?

Once again thanks for your quick and invaluable response.

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Dr Jalal


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:02 pm 
Hi Dr Jalal

I was in a similar dilemma as yourself but I decided to accept the offer from KE Camp hill.

My son was offered an assisted place at KES at a half of the full fee but after some careful consideration on our future plans to extend the family and also to upgrade to a bigger property I decided that KES was not for us.

I would have preferred my son to attend the KES but both my partner and I dont have high flying jobs and we would have struggled over the years especially with the numerous trips and the increase in fees in year.

My advice is that if you feel you can afford the fees then you should go for KES.

Good luck
Sham


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:26 pm 
Dr Jalal

Well done again to your son - I'm sure he will do very well wherever he goes.

I don't know anything about KES, but friends of mine who had the same dilemma two years ago eventually chose Camp Hill and their son is now thriving there. Why do you think your son's "heart" prefers Camp Hill? He may have picked up the friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. It is very difficult to turn down what seems like a "bargain" if you have been made a very generous scholarship/ assisted place offer, but remember KES is offering these because they are keen to have the brightest pupils - they believe your son will get good exam results for the school in 5/7 years time!

I found it strangely uncomfortable to turn down a half scholarship for my son for sixth form at a local independent school even though he (and we) didn't actually want to go there - he is now at Camp Hill for 6th form and really enjoying it. There are some excellent teachers, plenty of clubs, extra activities etc and (as I detect in some of your earlier posts that you are looking for reasons to justify not going independent!) the fees saved could be put in a fund for your son's university education... Also if your son feels you have made a substantial financial sacrifice to send him to KES, he may find that uncomfortable to live with in future when he is trying to decide which path to follow.

On the other hand, there may be other parents here silently urging you to turn down the Camp Hill place as their sons are on the waiting list! In the end your son must decide. In a year's time he will be quite happy wherever he goes!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:49 am
Posts: 145
Quote:
upgrade to a bigger property


I do not know any of these schools, am completely from a different region, but definitely if I had a choice between the above two schools with similar situation as yours, i would have preferred the independent one.........there must be something extra that these top ranking (academically) independent school offers than similar ranking state grammar schools to justify their fees, might be extra activities or pastoral care or better environment (everything cannot be always defined in words) other than academics. The expense Dr. J gave comes to £3200/annum, ie £22k for 7 years. Somehow in my opinion investing £22k in a good school is a much better option than investing 22k more in a extra bedroom property. The prime 7 years in a child's life cannot be compromised against property. Ofcourse it depends on your priorities in life and if its affordable easily................

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mum


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:13 pm 
I think your son has done so well to be offered both of these fantastic choices. I do believe that if you do not mention the money side to him and do what you do - take him around both schools again, you should then let him go with his gut feeling. He has to be at the one that makes the choice on feelings! After all you are talking about the next 7 years of his life. There will not be a wrong decision to be made.

Again congratulations and a lovely position to be in.

CLP


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:09 pm 
Hi

We were in a similar situation to the one that you are in last year and we decided on Camp Hill, but the independents were just a back up plan for us, so we didn't find it hard to choose.

It does seem crazy to turn down a scholarship, but we felt that we would rather send our children to a state school than an independent. You will also have costs in addition to the fees, such as trips abroad and other extra curricular costs due to music etc.

It is a hard choice because the KE schools in Edgbaston are two of the best schools in the country, but that is just league table stuff and really was irrelevant to me. KECHB is also one of the best schools in the country, so you have a good choice. You need to revisit the prospectus of both schools and look at precisely what goes on in each school. I found that the curriculum at Camp Hill was much wider and, I felt, more interesting for the children. I also felt that the school itself had a more modern feel than KEHS (my children are girls) and the new sports centre is brilliant.

I am a little biased because my children are both very happy at Camp Hill and really enjoy the atmosphere there. I am sure that your son would be happy at either school, it just depends whether you want to commit to paying fees. I'm sure that KES and KECHB have a very similar ethos since they are both in the foundation. A tough choice, but I am sure that many would give their right arm to be in your situation.

Good luck to your son at his new school - let us know which it will be.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:28 pm 
Quote:
there must be something extra that these top ranking (academically) independent school offers than similar ranking state grammar schools to justify their fees,


Not necessarily - often there are historic reasons why one school is private and another is now state: it could just be a case of paying extra for a "designer label", nice buildings etc. And even if there are tangible benefits (smaller class sizes is the usual one given), they have to be balanced against the other things that the fees money could otherwise be spent on, such as:

musical instruments, lessons, theatre trips, museums
family holidays or school expeditions/ tours
flexible working to allow one parent to spend more time at home during the crucial teenage years
more space in the house to enable a better environment for homework
BOOKS!!!
future university expenses

all of which could benefit the child just as much, if not more


Every family has their own balance: most don't have the choice between two such high-achieving schools!
[/list]


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:27 pm 
We need to pay £1,200 per annum fees + uniform (£350/annum), bus fare (£230/annum), lunch (£400/annum), school trips (£700-£1000/annum) etc....have I missed out anything?

What sort of doctor would need such a hefty subsidy?! :roll: I'm not even a doctor at all, but KES charge me the full whack. :cry:


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