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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:29 am 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
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Location: Birmingham
Yes, it does exist - I thought I'd point that out as they joined the consortium this year, and may be a choice for a number of boys.

It is hard to speculate on what will happen to the KE/BV/Sutton scores when were already know the scores-in for the last few years.
But it is even more difficult to guess what the final score to Handsworth Boys' Grammar will be.

On their website it says: As this is the first year Handsworth Grammar School has taken part in the Grammar Schools in Birmingham (Consortium) test, we have no historical data with regards the cut-off scores. However, when we provided our own test our cut off scores were similar to that of Bishop Vesey and King Edward VI Aston. If you feel your son has performed well in the test, please put us on your preference form.

I must say that I'm not convinced that the cut-off will be as high as they think.

However, I have heard from parents of boys there that they feel that the school has been improving in recent years.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:25 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
If they were standardising against their own cohort, which quite possibly didn't include many of the top scorers from the KE tests, then the scores achieved will probably have been higher than they'll turn out to be as part of the consortium. Would anyone who sat both in the past care to share scores so we can see how they compared?

Plus the effect of the extra places elsewhere, and consequent drop in scores required elsewhere, may well supress the scores required further.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:37 am 
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Last year DS was ranked 103rd (or thereabouts) for HGS and scored 228 in KE exam. His friend was around rank 33 for HGS and scored 227 in KE. Another friend scored 210 in KE and did not get a place at HGS but don't know his rank. From memory I think they said ranks down to 350ish normally were offered places in March reflecting it place for many as a back up plan.

DS said the HGS exam was easier and it included a piece of extended writing (day in your life).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:50 am 
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I think it is impossible to compare as the previous exam was a completely different exam, based primarily on traditional VR.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:31 am 
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um wrote:

However, I have heard from parents of boys there that they feel that the school has been improving in recent years.


I'd second this.

1st son has finished CHB. 1st daughter is now at Handsworth Boys doing her A-Levels -- they allow girls in for the sixth form. She turned down KEHG & Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls in order to go there. She was bowled over by the teachers, students, and friendliness of the place.

We were somewhat reluctant, but let her choose, seeing as she's 16. We've been very impressed, and 2nd son is now desperate to go there over CHB and KEFW. They've got a new headmaster, he's in his second year (taken from KEFW), and a good number of youngish (30s & 40s) staff from the KE schools. If your son prefers sciences, maths, and computers, he will thrive at this school.

The kids all get on, and they've eliminated some of the tensions that were in the school about eight years ago. Would highly recommend, and advise to ignore the reputation of the area (which is no worse than Aston), or any perceived negative attributes of the school.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:22 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
The HGS exam in the past gave equal weight to VR, maths and composition for the last few years ( it had previously been mainly VR). They usually had around 1000 applicants for their exam and initially offered between the 300-350th rank. Based on this I would guess the standardised score will be around 208-210. With the additional places on offer this year, I wouldn't be surprised if it went down to 206/7.

Admittedly it is not as plush as the KE schools but it has had work done in recent years and they have plans to build further. Apart from the uninspiring decoration of the main hall, the school is quite spacious and they have access to large off-site grounds too.

Academically, the recently-appointed Head is making positive changes (and the kids are complaining that things are stricter and teachers making them work harder :lol: ). He has been in leadership roles at FW and Solihull, so has good experience behind him. Grades and feedback about work is good.

It wasn't our top priority school at the time either, but I am glad we took it up and ignored the stereotypes people had about it. Several of the pupils in my sons class only put Aston and HGS on their form. DS1 is very happy there; the older boys really looked out for new Year 7s when he started there last year; I am forever grateful to the Year 12 boy who escorted him to his bus stop and waited with him after seeing DS wondering through the city centre looking worried and made sure he was ok the following day too; apart from the hearing about two scuffles, I am not aware of any major fights/ bullying etc. There was a minor incident with DS last year and I went in to speak to his form tutor before school : she dealt with it immediately and Year 7 Head was informed - the other boy apologised and there were no further incidents. So I feel they dealt with things very well and teachers were very approachable. The kids rub along really well and he has never had so many friends in his life and booming with confidence. This is something as always lacked confidence and didn't like school much. Now he hates holidays and wants to go back.

The overwhelming majority of the pupils are of black/Asian origin, so if that is a problem to some (and let's face it, it is to some) then don't apply :D. If I am frank, then I should admit that he has learned a lot more slang than I care for and is a bit more 'street' (or this might be the case with other teens too :?: ) . He thinks this makes him the bee's knees and his emerging facial hair and growth spurt for some reason seems to confirm this both to him and the midget DS2 :roll: .

The main problem I have with the school is that lunchtimes are only 30-35 minutes as the school finishes at 3pm. So most extra-curricular is after school and DS is only motivated to go to one thing as he wants to travel home with his friends.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:03 pm 
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UmSusu wrote:

The overwhelming majority of the pupils are of black/Asian origin, so if that is a problem to some (and let's face it, it is to some) then don't apply :D.


I wonder if this is putting people off. Many people who apply to KE don't apply to HGS. It can't be just for academic reasons, because we know people who would rather go to the local comp than HGS.

I think there are about five white children in the school now, my daughter being one of them. It didn't used to be quite like this even ten years ago.

It's not a problem, and should not even be thought of in terms of being a problem. We've embraced the whole vibe of the school, including the white kids speaking the street punjabi they've picked up from their classmates, or the full-on bollywood concert that occurred spontaneously in the sixth-form common room last week, or the kabbadi matches in the playground.

I see it as my daughter becoming more cultured in a tremendously friendly environment.

But there has definitely been white flight from the school. Frankly, compared to the boring, suburban, meat, veg and gravy, *white* upbringing I had, I'd rather my kids go to HGS.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:52 pm 
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We visited HGS several years ago and again a few weeks ago for their recent open day. The difference the new Head has made appeared obvious to us. Didn't much like the old Head at all, no offence, was a large factor in why we didn't like the school. We are definitely considering it for DS2 (but realistic that he may not get in :( ).

Agree that the main issue for us is the short lunch hour and hence the provision of extra curricular activities which are mainly after school.

The ethnic origin of the pupils may be a factor in why it isn't popular (as well as location). Funnily enough, Handsworth is the only place I have been racially abused in Birmingham, other than Solihull (as um has :( ) but that time in Handsworth I laughed in the abuser's face :roll:.

I know a family who turned down CHB because they said there were too many Asians there, so different people have different levels of what they consider comfortable for themselves.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Quote:
I think there are about five white children in the school now, my daughter being one of them. It didn't used to be quite like this even ten years ago.


Then I know 2/5 of them!

The main issue that I have come across (for parents in SE Bham) is that it is quite an awkward journey needing a trip into town and out again. The number 11 bus should be a good option but I've heard of trouble with kids from George Dixon - secondhand from a parent of a HGS boy who travels via the city because of it.

When we looked round it seemed friendly, keen teachers and very nice student guides. I preferred it to CHB :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:07 am
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I seriously cannot believe what I read on here sometimes ... my big blond son attends QMGS where he too is in the minority - this was absolutely never an issue for me - this is Britain 2013 - Is this why QM is also considered "back up" by many ? I really need to go and lie down...
Incidentally talking "street" is prevalent in teenagers from all schools these days I find the best treatment for it is to do it back to them , preferably somewhere public
.


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