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 Post subject: KE Aston or Bishop Vesey
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 8:40 am 
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Hi everyone,

My DS1 was initially offered a place at KE Aston, which we’ve happily accepted. However, he has also recently been offered a place at Bishop Vesey off the waiting list. This has left us in a bit of a dilemma - as we were unsure where to place the two schools on the CAF to begin with. Distance is not really a factor as both are of equal distance, KE Aston being slightly closer. They both seem to be about the same academically. Could anyone offer any advice where one school may have some significant advantage(s) over the other, especially parents who may have children in one or both schools. Or is it the case that either school will be just as good as the other? Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 9:58 am 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2340
Location: Birmingham
I also had this dilemma when filling in my CAF, and chose Bishop Vesey and we were very pleased when ds gained a place.

This was for the following reasons:

Although BV is further in distance by miles, the train journey to BV will hopefully be easier for my son than the Green bus through the Bham traffic.
When speaking to parents with boys at both schools, the BV parents were extremely happy with the school and the KEA parents had some reservations.
This, I stress, is not a scientific study but parental feedback and thoughts did sway me.
When I received my son's scores in October, I wanted to explore the SEN provision at both schools.
My phone, email messages and website messages to KEA are, to this day, unanswered. In contrast, BV could not have been more helpful and accommodating and even allowed me to come again at that point and look around the school - two lovely pupils showed us around.
I preferred the more diverse ethnic mix at BV as my older sons had benefited from having friends from all backgrounds in their older year groups at CHB (one at Uni now, one at 6th form)
I liked the green space around BV - although KEA does have access to great sports facilities, they are not on site.
DS really enjoys rowing and has rowed since he was 6, and BV have a rowing club.

So far, the communication with the school has been great. I attended a welcome morning previously, and the parents' welcome evening just this week was great too.
To my surprise, all parents have a personal introductory interview with a senior school leader over the next month or so, and ours is booked.

That said - I must stress that KEA remains one of the very top boys' schools, not just in Bham, but in the UK, and is still an excellent school.
I'm just stating my own personal reasons for the choice I made.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:17 am
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Although we had HGS as 1st choice, we ranked KEA above BV. Like you, the distance is negligible, but KEA had cross-country, athletics and photography which DS2 likes.

DS2 did the outreach programme at BV, and when we dropped him off / picked him up the pupils were walking round with their shirts untucked and the teachers were having to tell them to ‘sort their uniform out’. Not a major point, but I felt that they should have been dressed properly in the first place.

The new Stem block has only been in situ a short time, yet the walls were dirty and full of marks. DH said the skirting boards were dusty in other parts of the building, and his view was that if they can’t get basic cleaning right what else are they not doing?

BV has the advantage of the open space, and is deemed as a safer area to be walking round.

KEA still did German (not sure if this is still the case) which DS2 prefers to Mandarin and Spanish which I believe BV offer (think both do French).

We felt that BV was more ‘stuck up’ than KEA, which is possibly from having a large intake from the Sutton / Lichfield area. There are obviously a wide range of pupils there, and I’m sure that they all get along and fit in, but there were a lot of new Jags, Mercs, BMWs etc. in the carpark at the open evening!

As Um says above, these were our personal reasons for the ranking order, and are not meant to offend anyone who has chosen either school. Both schools offer a great education and opportunity, so it would be which is easier to get to / offers something the other doesn’t that your DS wants to do.
Good luck with your decision.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 2:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 60
Fellowman wrote:
Hi everyone,

My DS1 was initially offered a place at KE Aston, which we’ve happily accepted. However, he has also recently been offered a place at Bishop Vesey off the waiting list. This has left us in a bit of a dilemma - as we were unsure where to place the two schools on the CAF to begin with. Distance is not really a factor as both are of equal distance, KE Aston being slightly closer. They both seem to be about the same academically. Could anyone offer any advice where one school may have some significant advantage(s) over the other, especially parents who may have children in one or both schools. Or is it the case that either school will be just as good as the other? Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks in advance.


The only real difference is that bishop vesey is more Faith based

Ke Aston is more mixed in intake equal amounts of white black Asian & Chinese children

Ke Aston results are slightly better may i reiterate only by a small amount

Brilliant for sports my d's has just come back from training with real Madrid also rugby tours to Canada

Both equally excellent i would be proud to get into any grammar in Birmingham

My d's had choice of ke Aston fiveways or bv chose ke Aston as the closest

Best decision made the time saved in travel is paramount to social activities & study life

There are children in his class who get home for 5:30 or 6 o'clock mine home by 4 & homework done by 6 o'clock

Discipline is great at Aston & never seen any snobbery or elitism from anyone there :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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Dadybear wrote:

The only real difference is that bishop vesey is more Faith based



Really?


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
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Location: Birmingham
Although initially a Catholic school when founded (as the KEVI are C of E and Queen Mary schools were also Catholic) it's not particularly 'religious', from what I have gathered with my enquiries to staff and pupils, and from the collective worship policy, which is extremely broad and inclusive.

They do have some events at the Catholic church as do all the KEVI schools occasionally have events at the Cathedral.

Collective worship (of a broadly Christian nature unless a determination has been granted) remains a legal requirement for all schools in England (religious or not) and different schools approach this differently.

The policy I have from BV states:

'Collective worship', more commonly known at our school as form period, extended registration or assemblies, is a time when the whole school, or groups within the school meet together in order to consider and reflect on common concerns, issues and interests.

That doesn't sound massively religious to me.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2340
Location: Birmingham
Dadybear wrote:
Ke Aston results are slightly better may i reiterate only by a small amount

[/quote]

Results are not everything, but this is not correct as of last year.

As a brief overview:

At GCSE:

KE Aston Progress 8 score was + 0.46 (above average)
BV Progress 8 score was + 0.56 (well above average)

KE Aston Attainment 8 score 71.6
BV Attainment 8 score 72.1

At A level:
KE Aston average A level points 35.72
BV Average A level points 40.92


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:38 am
Posts: 1264
Location: West Midlands / warks border
I don't know anything about either school.

When this issue has arisen in the past i.e when there is a choice of 2 schools, which are on a par with each other and you really don't know which to choose, the advice is 'go for the closest'

You've said they are more or less equal distance, therefore I would look at the one which is the easier to get to i.e the most direct journey, least travelling time, least traffic etc.

Someone recently asked me about primary schools, they were in a dilemma, there were 2 schools, just as good, but they couldn't decide.

One was a 5 minute car ride, the other less than a 5 minute walk. I said when in doubt, go for the easiest, in this case the walk!


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 2:25 pm
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Fellowman, what lovely dilemma to be in! As I am new to it all, I am not sure how valuable my input would be. But thought I would contribute, have you managed to visit both schools with your son?

Sometimes the 'feel' of a particular school might be more appealing to him. If feasible, try to visit (time permitting) and hopefully, the right one for your son will emerge. All the best to you all. :D


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 12:04 pm
Posts: 4051
hermanmunster wrote:
Dadybear wrote:
The only real difference is that bishop vesey is more Faith based

Really?

I was also very surprised by this comment. :shock:

Like all ‘non-faith’ schools in the state sector in England, if a prayer is given, it would be to ‘God, the Creator’, which sits well with all religions I think.

um wrote:
They do have some events at the Catholic church as do all the KEVI schools occasionally have events at the Cathedral.

Indeed, I am under the impression that, during their first term, all the year 7 pupils at the schools of the King Edward VI Academy Trust attend a ‘service’ at St Martin's in the fields in the city centre, the KES chiefmaster leading it with a Reverend. This means that the Aston boys attend it as well as CH boys and boys and girls of the 4 other GS and also the private schools (and maybe the Academy too?). BV’s and SCGG’s students are not attending as these schools are not part of the Academy Trust.

Having attended the CHB’s Carol service for the two last years, I can testify how open to all the ‘service’ is, with attendees representing all the large faiths and those who would claim allegiance to none! Last December, we had a Jewish prayer, Christian carols, and the boys decided the monies collected were to be given to a charity that sprang out of an atrocity committed against Muslims.

So parents of children attending a school of the KEVI foundation in Birmingham shouldn’t think that because their DC attends a ‘service’ in a Church/Cathedral, they are made to pray to ‘a God’ whom they do not wish their DC to pray to, as the service is conducted is a manner as inclusive and as respectful to all as possible.

It is indeed wonderful to see how inclusive the grammar schools in Birmingham are … and I have to say, the British society really needs these kinds of bridges made of ‘respect’ and ‘love’ between the different communities!


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