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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:28 pm 
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Hi, are there any parents of Handsworth School for Girls who can help?

We didn't manage to visit the school, and was wondering if any could provide feedback on the school in terms of facilities, musical opportunities, academics etc. (My daughter would like a school with a track and good athletics opportunities, so any comments in this area would be helpful.)

My impression is Handsworth is a very rough area and am concerned if it would be safe for children to travel independently to/from the school. We might be moving to north of Birmingham (with easy rail/road links to Manchester) so I'm also hoping if anybody could suggest a good area to live in.

Thanks!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:51 pm 
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If it is for your DD then I assume you mean KE Handsworth http://www.kingedwardvi.bham.sch.uk/

Where are you living now- are you moving to B'ham or considering Manchester?

Had a look on satellite - nice big field but can't see a track https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ros ... -1.9237508

not sure many schools have them, though they may visit sports centres with them


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:54 pm
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My daughter was at KEVIHS until quite recently. It has a good amount of green space for an inner city school, and there are opportunities to play lots of sport if you want to take them - there is a long lunch hour with clubs on every day. I don't think there is a track, but my daughter's good friend from the school trains with Birchfield Harriers at Alexander Stadium. If your daughter is serious about athletics, that would be the best option in North Birmingham I think. There are also music groups that your daughter can join if she likes. These also mostly meet at lunch time. I don't think a huge number of girls take the opportunity to play sports or join bands and choirs but standards are fairly high.

Handsworth is a very diverse area, but travel is as safe as in any big city. It's always very busy and there are lots of people around and many girls travel on buses, trains and the metro. I never felt my daughter was unsafe and she travelled by public bus (including a dramatic incident in Year 7 when she and a friend confronted a man who'd stolen the friend's phone, and had the phone returned!) and also by metro.

Handsworth is an excellent school for girls who are organised, academically able and able to play by the rules.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Thank you, Turtlegirl.

We visited Camp Hill girls last year and daughter was quite impressed. But her results mean that we would have to go on waiting list for CH whereas she should be able to get a place at Handsworth. So I'm now trying to convince DD that the other KE grammar schools are as good in terms of what they offer but she's not sure as she said she hasn't seen the school.

Is the standard of music high (regular concerts, orchestra, chamber groups etc) at Handsworth? Wondering how it compares with the independent KEHS which is outstanding in musical opportunities.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:43 pm 
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Hi Foodie

KEVIHS doesn't have a next door boys school in the same way that Camp Hill and KEHS do, so that affects the standard of the music. They organise musicals with KEVI Aston, but orchestra and bands are obviously smaller than at those other schools because they have fewer musicians. They do have regular concerts and smaller groups as well as orchestras and choir.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:49 pm 
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Are there district wide music events locally (we have them in Yorkshire - kids from all schools get together on Saturdays for orchestras and bands etc ). I wondered as was at KEHS one Saturday and there were multiple bands and orchestra etc playing, not sure that that was just KES / KEHS or a wider network?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Yes. I think all local councils have them. The Birmingham ones meet at KEHS and other city schools on Saturday mornings. My son plays in the Sandwell one at the moment. We live in Sandwell, although he's at Camp Hill and his instrumental teacher is keen for him to move to the Birmingham one soon, as it's obviously larger and therefore a higher standard. I'm happy for him to stay at the current one as long as possible because it's a five minute journey instead of half an hour!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:58 pm 
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That's good - when these things are for kids all over the area they are a great resource and really good for kids at schools where maybe not so many play instruments.

I know what you mean about the journey - next stage from "just up the road" was 23 miles over a great chunk of moorland (they did have a coach though I think )


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:59 pm 
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I have two young daughters at the school and I have taught at various grammar schools myself over the past 25 years. My father has had a second home in Handsworth for decades so I know the area very well.

The school has a large playing field and a good gym but as far as I am aware there is no dedicated sports track. there are tennis courts at one end of the field but these appear to have been abandoned, which is a shame.

The area has changed a great deal in the past 10 years with waves of immigrants from Africa and the newer EU countries and this has had a big impact on housing and demographics. I see more 'mentally unstable' men wondering about, more gangs of (harmless) youths and there is a clinic for mental patients 100 yards from the school where many 'eccentric' characters can be seen going about their daily business.

Parking around the school is awful and made worse by parents and an ice-cream van who insist on parking outside the school, very unsafe. There is a primary school nearby and parents from it often park outside the grammar school. It is very congested with buses daily getting stuck and it is only a matter of time before a child is knocked down. However, this scenario can be witnessed all over the country so not unique to Handsworth.

My perceptions of the school is neutral; my daughters are not pushed enough, getting too little homework and are rarely challenged academically but they love being at the school. I chose this school because it is the closest and a short commute appeals. If I lived elsewhere I would not have chosen this school. The area is a concern but I feel totally safe walking about Handsworth, not sure I'd let my girls do it though. I think the chances of a child coming to harm are extremely minimal, we live in a pretty safe country but the media try hard to make us think otherwise.

As someone said earlier there is the fantastic Alexander Sports Stadium 3 km from the school and my girls often go there for exercise, dance, gym stuff. Handsworth Wood (1 km away) is a good area with lots of big houses and quiet roads so that would be a good place to be.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:34 pm 
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I taught exactly the same thing when I was contemplating which was the best grammar school for my daughter 4 years ago. I thank God that I made the right choice. I have 2 daughters who attend the school- year 10 and year 9, who absolutely love the school. Both with the intention to do music for GCSE. They attend regular music lessons and are part of the music Orchestra. They both also attend sporting activities however the eldest is not a sporty person.

The perception of the area always seems to be the thing that most of us use to judge the school ( I am guilty of that myself) however it is so far from the truth. What goes on outside does not effect the school in any negative way. In the past 4 years I have not heard or witnessed any negative behaviour in the area. I suppose though - nowadays there is not a thing as a safe area! Nevertheless I can safely say that the school is well organised and protected.

Yes the school on evenings is congested but it’s like that at most schools that time of the day.

Further more with the new reform, academically the school have managed to maintain their excellent gcse results and have continued to perform well above average when compared to other schools.

I have no regrets what so ever in sending my girls to this school and would highly recommend it to anyone.


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