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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:28 am 
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Surprisingly, I had a phone call from CHG on Friday offering my youngest dd a place. We originally had placed CHG 1st and KEHG 2nd. MY dd was 42nd on the waiting list and to be honest, I had ruled out the chance of her getting into CH.

We put CHG first as her sister is there ( it was always her first choice); it is on a convenient bus root and only 15 minutes from home. However, I have always really liked Handsworth. Anyway, when I told dd she had a place at CH, she said that she would rather stay at Handsworth. She said that she really likes it, she feels part of it and she knows that she'll be happy there - whereas with CHG this is more of a gamble as she has been to the induction day at Handsworth.

The teaching and learning at Handsworth seems fantastic - very interactive with great procedures in place to ensure everyone keeps up ( I think would be great for dd). CHG hasn't had an ofsted since 2007 so it's difficult to compare but I get the impression that some of the teaching is a little dry and "lecture style". Interestingly, CHG only has a "good" for teaching and learning whereas Handsworth has been graded outstanding 5 times in a row.

However, Handsworth is a longer journey time (dd2 would get home 20 minutes after her sister- but she says she doesn't mind) and if she went on the public bus she would have to change buses halfway through the journey so would probably be confined to the green bus for her whole time in school (she says she doesn't mind this either).

Her two best friends are going to CHG but this doesn't seemed to have swayed her in any way.

She feels that she doesn't want to start having missed the induction day. Is the induction day so important? Maybe it is! Can anyone spare any thoughts on this?

Part of me feels that they are both great schools and we should just choose the most convenient but Dd2 is a child who knows exactly what she likes and is quite strong minded. If things didn't go well at CHG then I would always feel guilty about moving her.
CHG seems very competitive ( which I am not sure will suit dd2) but I only this because dd1 is there and Handsworth might be too!

Any thoughts would be appreciated, if anyone can spare the time. We have to let CHG know tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:12 am 
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It is a tough one.
From what you have written it seems that all though more convenient if your children went to the same school you want to give Handsworth a go.
If logistically you can do it then it is not really a problem.
A number of people on this site have siblings at different schools and have found it helps the siblings relationship.
I don't think missing the induction day is a massive thing, some others will have missed and I am sure she will make friends ok.
My one son who didn't get into a grammar could have gone to the local school, walking distance where people he knows go but preferred one 30 minutes away. He is aware of the travelling etc but was sure that he preferred this school so that is what we have opted for.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:22 am 
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Location: Essex
For what it's worth (if you don't mind some observations from someone who is not in your area but does have three DC who have attended both different and the same secondary schools over the past few years), your DD is very sensible not to place any emphasis on switching schools on account of current best friends' destinations. If the friendships are to endure, they will do so despite the girls being in different schools - equally, secondary transfer is a time for forming new relationships and old 'best' friendships do not necessarily carry over.

With regard to the journey time, if I have understood you correctly, your younger DD would have a 35 minute commute? Not extreme imho - it takes our DD at school four miles away until at least 40 minutes after the bell goes to get back, with the walk to the station and the train times. Also, I appreciate that there are probably a few differences between 'greater Southend on Sea' and 'greater Birmingham', but would changing buses really be such a big deal? Our year 7 negotiates bus changes (usually completely successfully) and by the time your DD2 is a couple of years older would she not be going out on her own by public transport to meet friends at the weekend?

If she feels that she is now firmly part of the allocated school's community and you are, I think, talking about giving up a place at a good school for one at another good school (rather than being offered a lifeline out of some sink establishment :shock: )?, then I would be inclined to go with your DD's wishes here.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:34 am 
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I think deep down if your gut feeling is telling you - and Dd - that KEHG is the right place for her then go with that. They are both excellent schools and will suit different people for different reasons - if the journey time was going to be vastly different then I might opt for the closest but 20 mins is neither here nor there. Good luck with your decision.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:08 am 
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I don't know the schools in question as I'm down in Kent. However, if they really are as good as each other and the logistics of going to a different school work think about it this way - which school would you choose for your daughter if she didn't have a sister already attending one of them?

I know there are benefits to having both in the same school (mine are and it does make things easier) but we wouldn't have done it if our alternative (equally good) school had of been a better choice for DS2.

Good luck with a tricky (but actually lovely to have to make) decision.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:16 am 
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was your child heavily tutored to get into grammar or natural talent? We know of several that are struggling at KECHB that were heavily tutored, may be a consideration. Left out the flowery language as you have to decide quite quick


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:40 am 
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They haven't given you much time to respond so a return visit is probably not possible.

Playing devils advocate....

From the sound of things, your first choice of CHG was based on her sister being there, closeness to home and convenience of bus routes. These are concrete reasons. It's incidental that her best friends are going there.

For Handsworth, she basically felt a part of it based on the Induction Day. As reassuring as the Induction Day is, I don't think it's that important especially as your older daughter can fill her in on the basics of CHG, I.e where to go and what her teacher looks like etc. there are plenty of "icebreaking" activities in the first few days so she will get to know her class even if she didn't meet them on induction. From what I remember about CHG the school doesn't organise anything between Induction Day and September and I doubt the girls will remember who they spoke to that day.

Regarding journey times, would she be fine with a longer journey in winter (cold, dark alone) rather than a shorter one with her sister for support for the first few years? Seven years is a long time to consider.

The Ofsted for CHG is very outdated and I wouldn't use it to judge it. I have met some lovely teachers there who have really inspired my daughter (there was only one I didn't like which is quite good for me!). Handsworth is more of an unknown quantity despite the Ofsted unless you know a girl there who can give an "insider view".

DD doesn't consider CHG to be any more competitive than her primary. All secondary schools have some competitive children and it's up to your DD if she becomes a part of it or detaches herself as mine do.

I think you might stick with Handsworth as you have said your DD "knows exactly what she likes and is strong minded" so she might not be open to the idea of CHG. I overruled my own DD on the CHG v KEHG debate and she actually thanked me for it!

Incidentally, there isn't a correlation between score at 11+ and how the girls do once they are in the school, so don't worry about it :D .


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:51 am 
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It would be unfair of me to offer an opinion on either of KE Handsworth or CHG as I only know the former but both appear to me to be excellent schools.

My youngest dd went on her two days of induction at WGHS on the 2nd and 3rd of this month and we know from that our dd will be happy there.She finished her tutoring with her tutor this week which we continued after the 11 plus exams just to continue with help in her English.Her handwriting is very poor but will get better as she matures.In her thank you card to the tutor she wrote thank you for helping me get to the next school in my next stage of life. This is a school I know where I will be happy.

Just go with where you believe she will be happiest.It is a decision for 5 years and can be reviewed for the sixth form.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:01 pm 
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I know nothing about either school but I have told my ds that if he passes I am happy for him to decide whichever grammar he likes. All are fabulous schools and I think , in your heart, you know which one will be best for your dd.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
When you submitted your CAF, was it a question of 'Camp Hill head and shoulders above the rest, Handsworth the least-worst alternative', or did you feel that there was relatively little to choose between them and Camp Hill won out on logistics?

For the past two years, our two elder DC have been at the same grammar school (DS1 in sixth form, DD years 8 and 9). Given that the journey from home to school consists of a five minute walk to the station, seven minutes on the train and a 10-15 minute walk at the other end, they hardly ever get the same train as each other and if they do in the afternoon, don't walk up the hill home together :roll: . Similarly, DS1's girlfriend and her sister usually seem to make the walk from their house to the school independently of each other.

I would definitely echo the sentiment that you should look at DD2 's choice of school as if she didn't already have an older sister at one of them.

Good luck in your decision making. :)

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