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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:54 am 
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Dear Friends,
Many parents have advised us that there are a lot of behavior issues in Handsworth Grammar School so I was not sure whether to put it on the LEA form or not. Please send me your thoughts regarding this in a private message if your do not wish to express your opinion in the forum
Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:42 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Hi anxious_mother,

I was hoping that someone with more direct personal experience could advise you, but I can tell you the impression I get about Handsworth Grammar.

I did see it mentioned on this forum once about behaviour issues there, but I have not heard anything else as I don't really live in the area. My neighbours send their sons there and they seem to be quite happy. They have made good progress, are polite and confident, focused on work and matured a great deal in a short space of time - even the one that kept breaking bits of the fence between us and laughed when he told him off, has completely turned around! I used their work as part of my cohort for a piece of research I was doing and got the impression that their work improved significantly over one year and they received constructive feedback in their marked homework.

I think there may well have been a few bouts of problems but it does not seem to be an ongoing issue as far as I am aware. As much as I would love to have my DS go to KECH (it is just a few minutes away), I doubt that it is realistic option for us: traditional VR and English are his strongpoint and he struggles to complete NVR and maths within the time. I intend to put Handsworth Grammar as one of my options - it may not have the prestige of the KEGS, but it still has good results - far better than any of the comps that are nearby.

To be frank, I think that one of the reasons it may not be held in very high regard by some, is due to its location and the demographic of the majority of the pupils that attend there: black and asian. To some that is a positive but to others, not so much. I am not suggesting that anyone who does not like the school, dislikes it for this reason - but it is a factor for some people's attititudes. Certainly, there are plenty of asians/other ethnic minorities at the KE schools but I get the impression that HG does not have they same white, middle-class gloss - for obvious reasons! Also, the Durham CEM exam does seem to be more challenging and difficult to prepare for - although the HG pass mark is still set fairly high.

I am sure there are people who hold different views - that is just my take on it.

Regards,
UmSusu

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Last edited by UmSusu on Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:46 pm 
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I imagine this is the thread Umsusu means:

http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8032&p=85245&hilit=handsworth+behaviour&sid=7f459a52e64a1ab2e1df76c0d62b166e#p85245

I'd recommend you go and have a look and see whether you like it or not (it's not a given that you'll like a school just because it's supposed to be good!) and ask yourself whether it's better or worse than where he might otherwise end up if he doesn't get into a KE.

The 2009 Ofsted found that behaviour was good, I imagine there are good and bad year groups in any school (in fact we had an email from CHB at the end of last term about the unacceptable behaviour in our son's year group... :( )

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Many Thanks UmSusu and Mike,
Now I can be a bit open and have a look into the school


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:27 am 
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Location: Birmingham
Hello

Just a quick note for those of you planning to enter for the Handsworth Grammar test:

I attended the open evening yesterday and spent some time talking to the Head (who I found to be very approachable and open btw). He mentioned that they were going to change the way they mark the papers this year - for those who don't know, in the past they would initially mark all the VR papers and those who achieved a standardised VR score above 109 would have passed on the basis of this paper alone. In the case of those children whose scores were borderline, they would then mark the maths and english papers, taking these results into consideration as well. From this year, they intend to mark all 3 papers from the outset and give more equal weighting across the three tests, so VR scores will not have the prominence they had before.

I am not sure how significant a difference it will make, apart from ensuring that no-one gets in on the back of VR scores alone. In terms of preparation, I suppose it is just a technicality because we know they are going to sit the other 2 tests anyway. Just thought I would pass on what he told me for anyone else who is interested.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:30 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Thanks Umsusu it was kind of you to post, we were unable to get to the Open Evening (I was away on business, DS is away on a school trip). I'm trying to remember is the English just a composition or is it a comprehension as well?

What were your impressions of the school itself? Were the boys acting as guides - if so how did they come across to you?

poppit


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:57 am 
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Hi poppit

The english has always been composition. The Head maintained that it was left to the English teacher to write the paper and that they may change it in the future if they wish to.

There were a lot of pupils around the school and they were all keen to impress. We were guided around by a sixth form student who was keen to welcome DS and answer any questions about the school and his own plans. The pupils and teachers seemed to be very motivated and those doing the displays actively called DS over to see what they were doing. I was more impressed with their attitude than some of the rather aloof boys I met at CHB (sorry CHB parents, I am sure it was not any of your DCs :wink: - I think we had bad luck with our guides there).

On the other hand, there is no escaping that we are talking about an inner city school and the make up of the families visiting largely reflected this. The area is overcrowded and busy which means that should you have to drive DC there, it may take a while at busy times. It is a multicultural school, although DS did come out asking if white children were allowed in that school :shock: (there were some btw, but probably less than he expected to see ).

When the Head talked about how proud he was that it was such a multi-cultural school, the cynic in me wondered if this was just platitudes. As I left the school, I did actually feel that HG symbolised the striving for social equality and educational equity that that grammar schools are supposed to represent. Many of the children we met (but not all) were from the local area and proud that they had achieved a place there. Ultimately, I have some mixed thoughts about whether it is the most ideal fit for DS and travelling would involve 2 buses:but I left feeling that should he get a place there I do not doubt that they would take good care of him.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Umsusu

Very interesting, you are good at painting pictures with words :)

You have crystalised some general thoughts/feelings i have about the school. It is great to read how well the pupils conducted themselves. I have concerns about the area, DS would be using the green bus so hopefully it wouldn't be an issue. We will include it on the preference form but below the other KE grammars. If my DS has anything to do with it we will rank them according to how good their sports facilities are!

Thanks again
poppit


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Unfortunately there is no longer a green bus to Handsworth Grammar.

I would have been happy with it as a choice, but sadly the journey from ours is now just too difficult to make it feasible.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:59 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Thanks for putting me straight Um, back to the drawing board for me I think! :roll:


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