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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:25 pm
Posts: 8
Hello everyone,

We are very fortunate in that our DD has been offered a bursary for KEHS where we have to pay about 35% fees. However DD also has a high enough score to get into KE Handsworth.

We are really swayed towards KEHS as it really sells itself well on open days for obvious reasons. Did anyone notice the difference in terms of teacher enthusiasm on open days at both schools? Or was that just me? We like all the extras KEHS offers (classics, more languages, performances etc). So many factors to consider for both schools, it's really confusing. I'll try to keep it short as I can:

Both schools have/will have new(ish) Heads
No fees vs 35% fees
Better pastoral care at KEHS?
Is Handsworth only concerned with good grades?
High recent teacher turnover at HW
Higher costs once DD starts KEHS (equipment, trips etc)?
DD is very academic
Smaller class sizes at KEHS
Starting to like music (piano grade 2)
Enjoys some sports + drama
Travel time is same for both schools (about 40 mins).

Some people may think that turning down KEHS on 35% fees for HW is crazy considering what a full fee place costs, but it is still a lot of money to us. Would be really grateful to hear from any parents who have DDs in either school, partuculary KEHS. Any negative points (if any) regarding the school?

I also sincerely hope the new Head at KEHS doesn't change things too much. Does anyone know what to expect from the new Head?

Thanks to all in advance who respond


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:59 pm
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For a very academic child, interested in music, drama, language and classics, I would definitely be swayed towards KEHS. They are definite strengths of the school. Congratulations on the bursary too!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:38 pm
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Our child was a no frills type at school so went grammar route. Turned down all the indies in the end to free up places. Compensate with tailor made frills outside of term time as well as after school clubs. For us, frills at indie school would have meant not great quality family Hols too based on budget available. Best of luck in your decision.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:59 pm
Posts: 659
rubidium wrote:
Our child was a no frills type at school so went grammar route. Turned down all the indies in the end to free up places. Compensate with tailor made frills outside of term time as well as after school clubs. For us, frills at indie school would have meant not great quality family Hols too based on budget available. Best of luck in your decision.


No_ball/Steve Hopkins/Paramjeet/rubidium......my head is spinning :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:38 pm
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Uh?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:13 am
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Hi I know nothing about KE Handsworth, but am a very satisfied parent of kEHS. It is a truly wonderful school and I can find very little negative to say about it. Lots of opportunities and extra -curricula activities to suit all interests.

Once pupils are start, I don't think expenses are any worse than at any school. The uniform is practical and not overpriced (no blazers etc) and there is the opportunity to buy second hand at admissions day.

Good luck with your decision!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:59 pm
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Back to topic. Bloxy, did you revisit the schools? KEHS had invited those with places to go back on a working day. Did you return?

For either school I don't think the new Headteacher will make a difference. The new one at KEIVHS was already known to the girls and parents there. The girls felt she was stricter than the previous one, maybe they thought they wouldnt get away with as much! :lol: The new head at KEHS by all accounts is also very good.

Do you have any other children? Do you need to plan for them in case they don't make a Grammar? I don't think turning down a place is crazy, some would say the reverse too I.e turning down a Grammar is crazy!

We are also in the process of choosing Indie v Grammar for our DD1, having been through a similar process two years ago with DS1. At that time, it was seeing the schools in the cold light of day, on a private visit, that helped make the decision.

Best wishes whatever you decide :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
Posts: 2237
KEHS negatives after nearly 5 terms:

1. Incomprehensible marking system (seems to consist entirely of various flavours of "A": don’t ask me how A- is different from A(-) – but they are), and feedback (reports, parents evenings) is very vague. Judging by incoming head's current school, I suspect marking/assessment/feedback/target setting will get a serious makeover.

2. A new head always means staff turnover. Whether that’s a negative depends of course on what you think about the people who leave, but I haven’t met any (yet!) that I think the school would do better without (unlike CHB where almost the entire science dept seem to be on the far end of the autistic spectrum, how they get the results they do without any visible interpersonal skills is beyond me).

3. Expensive and inflexible lunch system. New scheme this year means paying a flat fee which works out about £16 pw - which is far more than daughter ever spent – and you are either opted totally in or totally out, there’s no flexibility about having school lunch on some days and not others. And of course the cost is only going to go up.

4. Longer school holidays, depending on your circumstances that may be a major issue or no issue at all.

5. Sport (other than for school teams) appears half-hearted even to someone as apathetic about the subject as I am. They seem to do two or three different ones each term. I suppose that stops people getting bored and demotivated when they're doing something they're not very good at, but equally I don't think anyone will discover an unsuspected love of sport (or a previously hidden talent!) from doing, say, a couple of weeks orienteering followed by a couple of weeks football followed by a couple of weeks tag rugby which I understand is what our daughter is doing this half term.

As I've said on other threads, I don't think there's much to choose in extra-curricular terms between KEHS and the GSs, but I suspect there might be more encouragement to participate at KEHS. Most activities take place at lunchtime, there are odd ones after school like LAMDA and fencing (both those have to be paid for) and some music. I wouldn't assume that music opportunities will be any better, btw. The opportunities apparently available are pretty spectacular but I think they’re more constrained if you arrive with much less than about grade 5 (unless willing to take up one of the invariably non-portable instruments that all schools struggle to find people to play).

Finally, remember that with a bursary, if you earn more you will pay more so if you get a pay rise/new job etc. you “won’t feel the benefit” as my mother used to say.

Mike


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:31 pm 
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Yes the new lunch system has been a source of angst in our house! It's the same as KES so I feel I can comment on that. Last year (last year of the old system), DS1 was very happy with school lunches. He actually came home still full from lunch :shock: which had never been the case in primary school.

We opted him "in" for the Autumn term of the new system and it became clear pretty early on that the new menus weren't for him. Agree it is expensive too, and lacks flexibility depending on what DS1 is doing that day, although at KES they say you can use it up at break time which was made later in the morning as boys are just so busy over the lunch break. I could manage the expense if he was actually eating and happy but a point came towards the end of the Autumn Term when we had paid and he was bringing in food from home. Needless to say he is now opted "out" but at least he is eating even if it is food from home :roll: . Some of his friends are a bit, ahem, annoyed with their parents for "forcing" them to eat school dinners, especially the ones on FSM, as they would prefer packed lunches/food flasks.

Mike, even I spluttered out my tea reading your comment about CHB science teachers :lol: surely not? :lol:

One girl we know who has accepted is a very accomplished musician, among other things, won National competitions, on YouTube etc and I know that was a large factor for her.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:52 pm 
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After nearly 2 terms at KE Handsworth, I offer a few comparisons:

1. Most clubs also lunchtimes. My daughter is doing Junior Choir, athletics, wind band and Christian Union. So busy most lunchtimes! And she's done a cross country run after school. So lots of opportunities if you want to take them.
2. She has started clarinet since she joined the school and is very much enjoying it. Doesn't seem to be much push from the school but plenty of opportunities.
3. I load on about £15/week to her lunch payment card. She enjoys her school lunches very much and also all the sneaky treats of flapjack etc that she nabs at breaktime using that money.
4. We were very impressed with the staff at a recent parents' evening - all seem bright and enthusiastic and know their subjects well. Science staff have good interpersonal skills (it's a major strength for the school - the science that is) :)
5. I like the new head a lot. I think she may be less of a pushover than the previous one but she is also warm and enthusiastic.
6. The marking I've seen is generally done using national curriculum levels, so that's easy enough to follow. I guess KEHS aren't bound by that so that's why they use their own system.


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