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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:46 am
Posts: 39
Thought I'd share, in case anyone was in a similar boat to us...
Our post seems to be about 24-48 hours behind everyone else. We finally received Solihull offer letter today, but still nothing from KES.
Someone we know mentioned that you could phone them if you hadn't received anything by lunchtime today. We did that, and the lady at admissions was happy to share the result over the phone.

Got offered a (full fee) place at both - although at the moment only have the actual letter from Solihull to show him when he gets in.


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:03 pm
Posts: 6
Hi Everyone
Our letter arrived yesterday and our DS has been offered an assisted place at KES.
He is delighted to have done so well but I think he actually prefers the idea of KEFW (he has a couple of friends going there and the journey is easier etc). We let him choose between Camp Hill and Five Ways when it came to sending in his preferences at the end of Oct and he chose Five Ways (he scored highly so was fortunate enough to know that both were an option). However, I genuinely don't know if I should now guide him in the direction of KES. I would really appreciate your thoughts as I have very little experience of either. This is honestly a real concern...I am not fishing for congratulations etc. I just want to do what's best!
Many thanks in advance


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:11 pm
Posts: 8
A big congratulations to you, you must be delighted.

We as parents can steer and guide our children but at the end of the day despite our care and attention, they are the ones who will be studying on a day-to-day basis.
Being happy in a school is more likely to bring about success.

Obviously, there are limits. If the school had pupils who might be a bad influence on your child or other negative factors were apparent you would put your foot down and say no.
In your case, you have three strong schools to choose from.

All have their merits and I am sure that some readers will be envious with the choices before you.

My own view is that if you have the funds KES presents a great opportunity for young people.

As independent schools go, it is quite progressive and its commitment to widening participation and social mobility is something independent schools down south could learn from.

I think this commitment to widening participation helps keep the more affluent boys better grounded.

That said, both CHB and KEF are fabulous schools and there is no point sending your child to KES if he is going to be unhappy.

Birmingham is unique when compared to other cities. It has first class grammar schools that provide an outstanding academic experience. It is just my view that at KES you get this outstanding academic experience and are developed more holistically than the other schools.


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 6735
Lizjohn104 wrote:
Hi Everyone
Our letter arrived yesterday and our DS has been offered an assisted place at KES.
He is delighted to have done so well but I think he actually prefers the idea of KEFW (he has a couple of friends going there and the journey is easier etc). We let him choose between Camp Hill and Five Ways when it came to sending in his preferences at the end of Oct and he chose Five Ways (he scored highly so was fortunate enough to know that both were an option). However, I genuinely don't know if I should now guide him in the direction of KES. I would really appreciate your thoughts as I have very little experience of either. This is honestly a real concern...I am not fishing for congratulations etc. I just want to do what's best!
Many thanks in advance


Your son has obviously done very well, so congratulations. If you have been offered an assisted place, the school are acknowledging that finances are tight. Do you have any other children coming up? What if you had a change in income up and the school took the assisted place away, could you still afford it? Or if your income went down but the school were unable to offer any more? Does the AP cover all school costs like trips etc (not necessarily) - if you chose KEFW you would have to pay for these too but wouldn't be paying any fees.

You have a choice of two very good schools. Do not put yourself under any financial pressure for perceived benefits of the fee paying one (albeit reduced fees) - remember any income not spent on private school can be spent on family activities etc. If the AP is enough that you do not have to worry about money then choose the one you like best. Can you get to KEFW easily - if your son is keen to go there (and it is a very good school) then that is a real sway. Please note, many years ago we were in a similar situation - we were offered a full scholarship to a very prestigious school (and by full I mean full) but my son preferred the grammar school - and actually so did we...by a country mile. We felt that the whole family "fitted in" better there - and it was a better fit for his needs - that was the most important decision - he loved the grammar, he only liked the independent. He is happy, he does well. No brainer, as they say.


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 22
We also appreciate some advice here. Got choice between fee paying place at KES and a decent scholarship from Solihull School. DC likes both of them. We get a lot of information of KES from friends and relatives, but very little on Solihull. Friends mentioned that Solihull School might not acedemiclly stretch enough for an able child and some children they admitted could not even obtain places for grammar schools. We find from open day and web research that the school seems fairly strong in Music, Math and Debating, holding lot of activities related to Law study. The number of students who went to oxbridge are similar to KEHS but less than KES. We don’t want to misjudge the school by limited experience and information. Any advice will be well valued. Travel won’t be an issue in our case. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 3:09 pm
Posts: 1204
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
I have friends (with more money than us!) whose children have been through Solihull School and seem perfectly happy, although one has subsequently dropped out of two degrees and is close to finally completing his third, several years after leaving (so maybe a mismatch somewhere with 6th form advice and parental expectations) . Some aspects of the school (the musical facilities & opportunities particularly) demonstrate where the extra resources go: academically I have no idea how it compares with KES, but with children who have been selected by exam and have the advantages of (mostly) well-off middle-class parents (or footballers?) they will generally do well (yes many of them would not have got into the Birmingham grammars but that is known to be a more competitive process). I'm a touch ambivalent but that's more a function of being uncomfortable with the privilege. They boost the 6th form results by importing the brightest pupils (especially girls in the past, presumably less so now!) from the local comprehensives after GCSEs - DS2 was offered a generous 6th form scholarship but he/we chose Camp Hill instead.

other parents have commented that the school has taken a while to really adjust to having girls, and that staff from some departments (music & PE for example) expect too much of their "star" pupils in extra-curricular activities and don't liaise with other departments on timings of important events (mind you, that can be true of teachers everywhere)

I'm sure there are some excellent teachers, and some who should have retired years ago, some lovely fellow pupils and some who are surprised when they discover they have to do some work to actually pass those exams.... I do recall at the 6th form open evening we attended with DS2 being unimpressed by one lad who told the room full of parents how much he'd enjoyed Year 12, with all the parties and rugby tours -oh, but he was having to retake all his AS exams!

I'm not sure where you live that travel to either KES or Solihull school is equally easy - are you really not closer to one or the other?


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 22
Many thanks for the detailed information, and they are valuable for us. It will take us 40-60 minutes by public transport to both schools in rush hour. It is the acedemic side that we are concerning about solihull but it is big saving for us over 7 years. Thank you again for your time and help


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:11 pm
Posts: 8
Grace2DC wrote:
We also appreciate some advice here. Got choice between fee paying place at KES and a decent scholarship from Solihull School. DC likes both of them. We get a lot of information of KES from friends and relatives, but very little on Solihull. Friends mentioned that Solihull School might not acedemiclly stretch enough for an able child and some children they admitted could not even obtain places for grammar schools. We find from open day and web research that the school seems fairly strong in Music, Math and Debating, holding lot of activities related to Law study. The number of students who went to oxbridge are similar to KEHS but less than KES. We don’t want to misjudge the school by limited experience and information. Any advice will be well valued. Travel won’t be an issue in our case. Thanks


Solihull is a good school. It has excellent facilities.
I would not worry too much that some of the children would not have made it into a grammar school.
Even if this was true you would have to conclude then that Solihull School adds value because its public examination results are high. If kids are coming in with lower attainment to start with then that is a high value add.
In reality there will be plenty of able pupils. In the more affluent parts of Solihull there is less of a preoccupation with trying for grammar school entry. The school estimates that less than a quarter of pupils trying to get in also sit for grammar schools.
When JC first moved to KES from Solihull he reflected that he had been unable to reshape the cultural focus of the school from sport to academic. Solihull is academic and an aspiring Oxbrdge candidate will get plenty of support but sport still plays a big part in the school.
KES is more academic than Solihull and it is easier to be a geek at KES than Solihull.
KES is more multicultural which could engender a more tolerant attitude amongst pupils than at Solihull. That said both schools are witnessing changing demographic patterns with KES increasing its white demographic in its younger years and Solihull becoming more multicultural in its younger years.
Both are great schools but KES will work you harder and gets better academic results.
It depends whether you think this will suit your child.
Both have high levels of pastoral care.
Rumours are that the Solihull head is looking to leave whilst the head at KES is there for the long haul which brings stability.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 3:09 pm
Posts: 1204
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
As Solihull has a Junior school (which I gather now guarantees admission to the senior school) there will be a sizeable cohort from local wealthy families who (as Silent House says) do not even consider grammar schools at 11 plus (tbh as there are good local comps many of the less-wealthy-if-only-relatively-so-at-least-we-can-afford-to-live-in-Solihull residents don't either)

This does also mean that I suspect a high proportion of pupils (higher than KES? I have no idea but would imagine so) live fairly locally, and my sense is that those parents are quite often backwards and forwards to school at non-standard times, fetching after sports matches, choir practice etc. Obviously there are public buses too from Solihull to further afield but worth bearing in mind how much a child could be involved if there's a 60 min bus trip after the match rather than a 10 minute wait after a phone call to mum (or walking to Grandma's nearby apartment, given that there are also plenty of local Old Silhillian families where the tradition goes back generations). The offspring of one of my friends seemed to spend half their evenings at school at some busy times (this is the problem of having DC who are musical AND sporty, even if they don't have a clue what A levels to do...)


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 Post subject: Re: KES results
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 6735
Grace2DC, assumedly, from your comment worrying about Solihull having children who didn't even pass for the grammar schools, coupled with your worry that it may not stretch an academic child, you think your child is academic? If the answer to this is "yes", which Grammar Schools have you applied to on your CAF? If you then get offered that Grammar School, will you take that over an independent, on the basis that the lowest level in the Grammar School is above the lowest level in the independent (on the basis that ultimately, indies are businesses and must have bottoms on all their seats)?

If the answer is "no" to the Grammar School application then go for the one that makes family life easiest (in terms of travel and financial commitments.)

If you are debating between taking a Grammar School or an indie, then you have to seriously look at whether there is a closer school - 60 minutes travel one way is at the very outside edge of a sensible jouney for a child - two hours a day commute is hideous.


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