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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:55 pm 
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Hi everyone,

My son has been offered a place at KE Handsworth boys. It is likely that he will be offered a place by Aston as he is quite high up on the waiting list. Distance wise they are about the same but Handsworth has the better public transport links.
I'm in a dilemna, some say leave at Handsworth as this school is rapidly progressing and some say accept Aston. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:31 pm 
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dad10 wrote:
Hi everyone,

My son has been offered a place at KE Handsworth boys. It is likely that he will be offered a place by Aston as he is quite high up on the waiting list. Distance wise they are about the same but Handsworth has the better public transport links.
I'm in a dilemna, some say leave at Handsworth as this school is rapidly progressing and some say accept Aston. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Thanks in advance.


It seems like you're in a wonderful position to have a choice. I'm assuming by KE Handsworth boys you mean KE HGS (Handsworth grammar school)? If so I remembered at the open evening my son loving the atmosphere and the feel for HGS more than KE Aston. I believe the exam results may well be very similar and both rated as outstanding schools. Have you asked your son what he thinks? It is very important you ask him and make sure you visit to get a feel for the place. We are very happy about our choice of HGS.

I wish you well with your decision :)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:27 pm 
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Hello and congratulations to your DS. I think it's very sensible to choose for other reasons than score cut offs and you are in a fortunate position to be able to do this.

I agree that it comes down to your son's preference. Don't underestimate transport links though - I think stronger transport links would swing it for me.

One of my sons is in year 7 at HGS and we have had a good experience there during his short time at the school.

Good luck - it can be hard to choose and sometimes you have to go with gut feeling.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:24 pm 
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Congratulations to be in that position. We have one DS in Y8 at HGS, and DS2 will be joining him in September (he could potentially have gone to KEA from the W/L - 217). If we ignored the experience of DS1 (which is nothing but positive), we felt that HGS had a more friendly, down to earth feel about it when we visited and feel that DS2 would fit in better. Although they still expect the boys to work and achieve, it didn’t seem as focused on just that; it had more of an attitude to shape the boys into well rounded young men who can go out into the world and succeed as they have the skills to be able to do so. This is not to say that KEA doesn’t do that, it just didn’t come across.

Does one school offer a subject / sport / extra curricular that the other doesn’t which your son wants to do? With the better transport links, how much earlier would your son be home / how much later could he leave in the morning? Don’t under estimate travelling time and how those extra minutes at home make so much difference, especially when there is homework every night. Does your DS have any friends going to either of them? As the others have said, which did your son prefer and why?

I think that both schools would offer him a fantastic opportunity - perhaps you can arrange to visit them both again before decide?

All the best with your decision.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:25 am 
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I don’t think there’s a compelling educational reason to choose one over the other. Both are excellent schools with a similar cohort of pupils. I think you need to decide based on personal preference and ease of transport.

We had a similar decision between Handsworth girls and Sutton Coldfield girls. We liked both when we visited, my preference (and my husband’s) was slightly towards Handsworth but our daughter preferred Sutton. Sutton also had the advantage of being on a train route for us - Handsworth would have been longer and a bit more complicated so we went with our daughter’s preference. I think if it had been the other way round we would probably have done both journeys with her to make sure she was happy with her decision.

We’re very happy with HGS for our son and we weren’t so keen on Aston (although he didn’t score high enough anyway) - and to be fair, we had problems getting there for the open morning, we were late so missed the main tour and it was raining! Lots of people are very happy with the school so you need to make your own minds up. Definitely visit both on a normal school day so that you can compare.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:27 am 
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Hi

I strongly disagree that there is no compelling educational reason to pick one or the other. The facts speak for themselves.

Current 2017 GCSE results.

Hands worth boys.
English. 24%. English lit. 39%. Maths. 65%

Aston
English 46%. English lit. 54%. Maths. 86%

So based on results in core subjects kea has cumulative average of 62% v HGS boys 42 %. I thinks alot of people get confused with the results for HGS girls. There are state comprehensive schools in and around birmingham and Solihull area that acheive similar results to HGS Boys.

Cursory look at their science results HGS seems to be more competitive with an average of 66% v KEA 80%
Biology. 66%. Chemistry. 64%. Physics. 69%

KEA
Biology 78%. Chemistry. 79%. Physics. 82%

However Handsworth boys only enters 3/4 of their cohort for the triple GCSE. 32 students sat core and additional. KEA only entered 2 students for the double.

Extra curricular activities is great at both schools. I believe there is a lot of misinformation and a general bias against KEA on this forum. I know lots of pupils at both schools both past and present.

Ultimately through experience I would advise everyone to send your child to the school closest and easiest to get to. I have a son currently attending BVGS year 10 and have seen first hand the toll long journeys take on children. DS2 acheived a result good enough to get into KECH but he will be starting KEA in September.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:14 am 
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zuhud wrote:
Hi

I strongly disagree that there is no compelling educational reason to pick one or the other. The facts speak for themselves.

Current 2017 GCSE results.

Hands worth boys.
English. 24%. English lit. 39%. Maths. 65%

Aston
English 46%. English lit. 54%. Maths. 86%

So based on results in core subjects kea has cumulative average of 62% v HGS boys 42 %. I thinks alot of people get confused with the results for HGS girls. There are state comprehensive schools in and around birmingham and Solihull area that acheive similar results to HGS Boys.

Cursory look at their science results HGS seems to be more competitive with an average of 66% v KEA 80%
Biology. 66%. Chemistry. 64%. Physics. 69%

KEA
Biology 78%. Chemistry. 79%. Physics. 82%

However Handsworth boys only enters 3/4 of their cohort for the triple GCSE. 32 students sat core and additional. KEA only entered 2 students for the double.

Extra curricular activities is great at both schools. I believe there is a lot of misinformation and a general bias against KEA on this forum. I know lots of pupils at both schools both past and present.

Ultimately through experience I would advise everyone to send your child to the school closest and easiest to get to. I have a son currently attending BVGS year 10 and have seen first hand the toll long journeys take on children. DS2 acheived a result good enough to get into KECH but he will be starting KEA in September.


I agree that there’s a difference in the raw exam results but this only reflects the wider ability range that HGS takes - if you look at the data on the government education site, you’ll see that last year 12 of the 146 boys were ‘middle attainers’ (ie old level 4) at key stage 2 - whereas all the cohort at KEA were high attainers. The progress data is more reliable because it takes this into account - the two schools’ scores are virtually identical (0.44 v 0.46).

By the same measure, CHB results are much better than BV - but this again reflects the high cut off on entry.

I’m not personally concerned about triple v double science. For a student stronger in the humanities or languages, dobig 3 sciences is unnecessary and a misdirection of time and effort. Interestingly KES and KEHS, like lots of renowned independent schools, allow students to drop one or two of the sciences because they also value other areas. My daughter is dropping Physics so she can focus on humanities and I’m glad she’s got that option.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:48 pm 
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crazycrofter wrote:
zuhud wrote:
Hi

I strongly disagree that there is no compelling educational reason to pick one or the other. The facts speak for themselves.

Current 2017 GCSE results.

Hands worth boys.
English. 24%. English lit. 39%. Maths. 65%

Aston
English 46%. English lit. 54%. Maths. 86%

So based on results in core subjects kea has cumulative average of 62% v HGS boys 42 %. I thinks alot of people get confused with the results for HGS girls. There are state comprehensive schools in and around birmingham and Solihull area that acheive similar results to HGS Boys.

Cursory look at their science results HGS seems to be more competitive with an average of 66% v KEA 80%
Biology. 66%. Chemistry. 64%. Physics. 69%

KEA
Biology 78%. Chemistry. 79%. Physics. 82%

However Handsworth boys only enters 3/4 of their cohort for the triple GCSE. 32 students sat core and additional. KEA only entered 2 students for the double.

Extra curricular activities is great at both schools. I believe there is a lot of misinformation and a general bias against KEA on this forum. I know lots of pupils at both schools both past and present.

Ultimately through experience I would advise everyone to send your child to the school closest and easiest to get to. I have a son currently attending BVGS year 10 and have seen first hand the toll long journeys take on children. DS2 acheived a result good enough to get into KECH but he will be starting KEA in September.


I agree that there’s a difference in the raw exam results but this only reflects the wider ability range that HGS takes - if you look at the data on the government education site, you’ll see that last year 12 of the 146 boys were ‘middle attainers’ (ie old level 4) at key stage 2 - whereas all the cohort at KEA were high attainers. The progress data is more reliable because it takes this into account - the two schools’ scores are virtually identical (0.44 v 0.46).

By the same measure, CHB results are much better than BV - but this again reflects the high cut off on entry.

I’m not personally concerned about triple v double science. For a student stronger in the humanities or languages, dobig 3 sciences is unnecessary and a misdirection of time and effort. Interestingly KES and KEHS, like lots of renowned independent schools, allow students to drop one or two of the sciences because they also value other areas. My daughter is dropping Physics so she can focus on humanities and I’m glad she’s got that option.


I think it is very misleading to only look at the A* or new Level 9 results in isolation when comparing schools (as in the above %’s). It is possibly expected that KEA's results would be a bit better for these results alone as a higher 11+ result is required for entry.

When you look at overall results, (taking it as A* - C), HGS achieved 100% in all 3 individual sciences, 97% in Science Additional and 91% in Science Core. It was also 100% in Electronics, Materials and ICT, 99% in Geography, 96% in German, 95% in French and 94% in History. On the website taking the new levels as 9-5 (unsure how this compares to old style), English Language and Literature were both 86% and Maths was 98%. I can't compare these with KEA as I can't find the results on their website :? I'm sure they are there, and it is me looking in the wrong places! :roll:

It is how a school ensures that each child progresses and achieves their full potential; how they nurture and develop them, what pastoral care is available etc. Ultimately what is the best fit for each individual child, and where will they be happiest. This is a decision that can only be made by each individual family.

I have no bias against KEA - for a while DS2 ranked it as a higher preference to HGS as they do photography, cross-country and athletics. However, the only experience I have of it is from the 11+ exam days and Open Mornings. We preferred it to BV, but ultimately preferred HGS to KEA even though it is a bit further to travel.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:46 pm 
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Hi,

Some good points raised here.

It is true that HGS has had 12 middle attainers however at the same time KE ASTON had 7 which for some reason not listed on the website but you can see there is a defecit for total numbers of students. I do not agree HGS takes on children with a wider ability range compared to KEA. I would even go to say any child that hits above 190 in their 11 plus is a high attainer. I do not know of any child that achieved 190 and was not placed in top sets at a comprehensive school. The problem lies in how different schools in different areas tackle KS2 tests. Some put higher emphasis on the higher attainers some prefer to concentrate on the ones struggling to reach the standard and so forth. This can and does skew progress 8 data.

The question you have to ask yourself if your going to use progress 8 as an assessment tool to compare schools then will you agree the KECH progress of 1 is an accurate measurement? So is Camphill twice as good as KEA or HGS. According to progress 8 it is. You can’t use progress 8 in one case and not the other.

When comparing grammar schools it is a moot point when looking at GCSEs A to C or 9 to 5/4. There is a reason why the top 50 or 100 schools use their 9-7 a* - a. Otherwise their is no differentiation between any of these schools or it would be negligable. I used the same data sets the schools use not just level 9 or A* as implied by second poster.

Comparing private schools and HGS when it comes to their sciences is not a good example. It is true that these schools allow children to drop a science in favour of other subjects but their are two stark differences. The first is they do 2 complete subjects eg biology and chemistry. The second is this is not based on ability whereas HGS clearly state on their website it is. Double gcse science is all three sciences with topics excluded. So if a child struggled with physics this would not necessarily benefit them as the subject will still be assessed and counts towards their final grades.

As I stated before I don’t believe just academic results are the best way to pick a school for your child but if you did then KEA trumps KEHGS. It is better to pick a school based on where you think they would be happiest, shorter travellling distance, friends etc

Mentioning pastoral care or reaching their full potential is unfair because unless you have any real data to show KEA is somehow failing (which is implied by that statement) in comparison to HGS then raising it as a point is pointless :D this is all subjective and people’s opinion can be skewed based on predjudice and preconditioned notions of the area.

I have said it before and will reiterate again on this website when comparing these two schools there is lot of misleading information. Whenever reading comments about these two there is always a downplaying of KEA achievements. This has unfortunately been going on even before the new headmaster for fiveways arrived and the gap was much bigger in terms of results. There has been a big improvement since and it is a great school but I do believe distance and travel time is probably the biggest differentiator between the two.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:48 pm 
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The deficit of pupils you refer to in the league tables relates to children who didn’t do SATS. They don’t get included in the data. They’re usually pupils from prep schools. They’re not middle attainers.


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