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 Post subject: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:25 pm
Posts: 27
We are in the very fortunate position of possibly having to choose between two different grammar schools. KEFW was our first choice, BVGS was second; we have been offered a place at the latter.

We like both schools and, while KEFW is geographically closer to our home (which was the main reason we ended up putting it first), travel time to either school is actually pretty much the same. Our son is very excited at the prospect of either school, which is fantastic, but doesn't help in the decision making! No other boys from his primary school are going to grammar school, so that doesn't colour the decision either.

What are other people's thoughts on the pros or cons of either school (especially if you have sons attending one or the other)? Is there anything that made one school stand out more than the other for you?

If that phone call comes in the next week or so, we are going to be really torn as to which way to go!


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14 am
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Ds1 is in year 8 at KEFW. The fact that it's coed is a big seller for me. I also thought BV seemed a bit white, middle class whereas kefw is pretty representative of Birmingham's mix but this is based on one open evening at BV so please correct me. Presumably KEFW is closer by car even if not for your ds by bus. That would make late pick ups, parents evenings, forgotten pe kits easier to manage.

Don't have experience of BV but ds1 has been happy so far at kefw.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:38 am
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Location: West Midlands / warks border
I have no knowledge of BVGS as it wasn't a consideration.

My DS1 is also year 8 at KEFW and is doing really well.

The co-ed was a plus for us as DD doing 11+ this year.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:09 pm 
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BV is in Sutton Coldfield which might explain the "whiteness" and perceived socio-economic background of pupils.

Nice choice to have as both are excellent schools. Grounds of KEFW are probably the best of the free GS and as a KE Foundation school probably has more prestige. KEFW still offers latin, BV stopped in 2013 I believe. BV was our second choice and ds1 was going, and very happy to do so, until KEFW offered from the waiting list. The Green Bus virtually does "door to door" for us which was an other consideration. KEFW is mixed although still 75% male. BV has a good house system which encourages all to get involved, KEFW has a house system but to my mind plays at it. I was very impressed with the then new Head at BV.

DS1 is in Y8 and loves KEFW.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 am
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No experience of BV but KEFW has been great for our child in year 7 and he loves it there. Co-ed was a big thing for us. We are closer to Camp Hill but preferred the feel at KEFW.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:51 pm 
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rabbie burns wrote:
No experience of BV but KEFW has been great for our child in year 7 and he loves it there. Co-ed was a big thing for us. We are closer to Camp Hill but preferred the feel at KEFW.

I've heard this so many times before (people preferring FW to CHB). Any reason why rabbie in your case?


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Bob1892 wrote:
rabbie burns wrote:
No experience of BV but KEFW has been great for our child in year 7 and he loves it there. Co-ed was a big thing for us. We are closer to Camp Hill but preferred the feel at KEFW.

I've heard this so many times before (people preferring FW to CHB). Any reason why rabbie in your case?


I have the same feeling re chb. For me it's based on the boys I know who've gone there and the boys who gave us guided tours on open evenings. Chb boys seem much more academic and bookish than my boys.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2094
Location: Birmingham
You haven't met my ds2 then :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 am
Posts: 251
KEFW ahead of CHB? Apart from the tangible differences of co-ed rather than all boys and the geographical locations, the rest is by its very nature subjective. However, I think a read through the two websites tells you a lot about the differences and even doing that KEFW wins hands down for me. The fact that the head at CHB felt the need to put an article on there a month or so back criticising league tables says a lot about the school, and not in a good way. However, it all depends on what you want from a school. I know there are lots of people who love CHB and theres nothing wrong with that.


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 Post subject: Re: BVGS or KEFW?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:44 pm 
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rabbie burns wrote:
The fact that the head at CHB felt the need to put an article on there a month or so back criticising league tables says a lot about the school, and not in a good way.


Hi rabbie burns,

I am really not trying to defend CHB, but personally, I have rather been impressed by the move of the head at this school to take the time to write a letter to parents about league tables and to post it on the school website. I perceive it as a sincere desire to ‘throw light on’ the ‘labyrinth’ of what the education system has unfortunately become in England.

I do feel that there are millions of things that people working in schools do understand but that parents without a foot in the educational system do not. I am sure that I am not alone feeling in such a predicament! :?

For example, last week, I had an email communication with my son’s RS teacher just to be able to understand a bit more about a new grading system at his school. Here is part of her very clear answer, with some annotation in blue of my reactions when reading her mail:
As you may know, national curriculum levels have been abolished (oh, I didn’t know that! shock!). RS is not part of the national curriculum, but part of the statutory curriculum (gosh, what is the statutory curriculum? I have never heard about that one!); previously it used an 8 level assessment scale (ah! :D :D :D ! I know this scale!). These levels have also been abolished (why do the things we know and understand always get abolished! :evil: ). Schools are now at liberty to manage their own assessment policy, and departments will do this differently (not a very good system if parents have children in different schools! And if even departments do it differently inside a same school, what a joy!). The department is therefore working on its own system of assessment; this year we are trialling lettered grading. An A2 this year would be the equivalent of an 8b in the previous 8 level scale used for RS. (I can understand the 8 level assessment scale. Why on earth are all the things working well usually abolished by the ministry of education? :? :? )

As for criticising the league tables, Mr M. Garrod is not at all the only one to express his views, as these samples can show you:
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor ... er-8542013

http://www.nottinghampost.com/Head-teac ... story.html

http://www.breathingbuildings.com/news/ ... eadteacher

Here is an excerpt of the page which is opened by the last link:
The official rankings showed that schools such as Eton College, City of London, Marlborough, Harrow and Westminster were given a 'zero' rating for their failure to get sufficient numbers of people to gain the official benchmark of five A* to C grades.

This is partly because at some independent schools, pupils have been studying versions of qualifications, such as International GCSEs, which have ceased to be recognised in the tables


As for Mr J. Claughton (the Chief Master at KES), here is his opinion of the GCSE result tables in 2014:

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/lo ... dy-6645677

So I am indeed very grateful that Mr M. Garrod took the time to explain to parents the ‘mysteries’ hidden behind ‘vagarities’ of the league tables!

By the way, FW is a lovely school. It really impressed me greatly when I visited it a few years ago. Something that I really liked about it is that there are only 26 (or 24?) pupils per class as soon as year 7. I have never seen this in the other grammar schools I have visited so far.


Last edited by JaneEyre on Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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