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 Post subject: HGS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:44 pm 
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Sorry to revive an old thread but it's a new year, same old issues! We can choose between Aston and Handsworth for DS2 and are leaning towards Handsworth but not completely sure. Your advice, seeing as you children have been going there now, would be greatly appreciated?

Split from old thread - Mod


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 Post subject: HGS 2
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:47 pm 
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Faisal2110 wrote:
Sorry to revive an old thread but it's a new year, same old issues! We can choose between Aston and Handsworth for DS2 and are leaning towards Handsworth but not completely sure. Your advice, seeing as you children have been going there now, would be greatly appreciated?


Are you the person I met at KEA last year and had a son start KEFW this year? I’m happy to answer anything you want to know about HGS; is there anything specifically?

Sorry, edited to be non-gender specific as we are all under pseudonyms (well, some of us)! :lol:


Last edited by helen0209 on Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:29 pm 
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Faisal2110 wrote:
Sorry to revive an old thread but it's a new year, same old issues! We can choose between Aston and Handsworth for DS2 and are leaning towards Handsworth but not completely sure. Your advice, seeing as you children have been going there now, would be greatly appreciated?



From my son's point of view. He is really enjoying it at the moment. The one thing he doesn't like is the amount of homework he gets. Lol.

HGS do seem to work their pupils really hard. My son has homework pretty much every night. Sometimes two, three or even four pieces of homework a night. We get to check it all on an app which is great.

Anyway you're in a wonderful decision as both schools are very good.

All the best.


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:10 am
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Faisal2110 wrote:
Sorry to revive an old thread but it's a new year, same old issues! We can choose between Aston and Handsworth for DS2 and are leaning towards Handsworth but not completely sure. Your advice, seeing as you children have been going there now, would be greatly appreciated?


Have you and your son visited both? How would you get to Aston from Kings Heath? If it's only by green bus, then search my recent comments on being reliant on the green bus! I would recommend going for a school that's accessible by public transport.

If you're near the number 11 bus route then Handsworth would be a much more obvious (and cheaper!) choice for you. It can be a bit slow, but that's no different to the green bus.

My son is happy at HGS and we've been impressed with the organisation and responsiveness of the staff. The reward system of merits and behaviour points is used very effectively. If ds has had a bad day (ie a 3 behaviour points day!) we know by about 6pm as the points come on the system. He's also had lots of good days, he's like Jekyll and Hyde! My point is though that it's really helpful to be able to gauge quickly what's going on and act to sort it out.

There's a very stable teaching staff - only a handful left last year. There was a lot of homework last year, but I think all grammars are the same. This year ds has taken to doing it at lunchtime or staying in the learning hub (library) after school to do it with friends. The learning hub has recently been upgraded so there's lots of computers.

You might also want to compare sports. Handsworth doesn't really do rugby or hockey much (apart from a bit in PE). The main sports are football, cricket, table tennis, badminton, basketball.


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Thank you so much for thew speedy replies. Yes Helen it is me again! My DS1 is really loving life at KEFW which makes it hard pill to swallow that DS2 was only a few marks short but we're thinking positively - firstly that he passed and secondly that he can have his own adventure!

I personally preferred Handsworth but have to tel you I am surprised at commutes! The 11C leaves right from our street and takes 1 hour to get to handsworth which I think is acceptable but the return for some reason is 1hr 35mins which is too much! The green bus is better but drops them at Handsworth girls which is a ten minute walk away - sure if we're paying £900 for peace of mind, I had should have to picture him walking down soho road in the dark, rainy winter?

For Aston the green bus is good but, if we don't rely on it, the bus stops are actually a 15 minute walk away from the school - it's really thrown me.

We loved both schools. Last year I though Aston was a little bit robust but this year it felt better. I probably still saw my son fitting in at HGS better as it seems to have a more friendly vibe with Aston being more stern. It's just the logistics for both are proving tricky!! I'm sure car shares etc may work but I can't chose a school only to find that it's not possible and we're in difficult for years to come!


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:20 pm 
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That’s tricky! Which way would he go on the 11, clockwise or anti? A lot of kids end up travelling into town and out - would that be an option?

My ds takes the train from Northfield - 20 mins - then a tram (10 mins) and a walk (10 mins). As well as the tram there are lots of buses going from town to Handsworth. Are you anywhere near a station or would it have to be the 35? I know that’s slow too so it would defeat the object.

When they open the Kings Heath train station it will be much more straightforward!

Maybe green bus is the best option for you whichever school you choose?

Sorry about FW. That’s a shame. Our children are at different schools though and it’s worked out fine.


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Glad your DS1 has settled in well.

We purchased the Green Bus pass early (before 1st March on the punt that 217 would secure a place at HGS), as they are cheaper in January - they just have your money for longer :evil: Sometimes they drop at the boys in addition to the girls, and pretty much no boy would ever walk alone. The buses do go back from the girl’s school, but the boys meet up in the playground and walk together.

Like us, if we didn’t get the Green Bus to KEA it would have been a 15 minute walk from Aston Station or the bus stop. That walk seemed more problematic / iffy than a walk up the Soho Road which is full of people, but just a personal opinion.

We felt HGS a better fit for DS2 - slightly more relaxed, but still with a good work ethic. I prefer the Head at HGS, but obviously they can move on. I like the fact that the homework is all online, whereas at KEA they rely on the boys to write it down - that worried me as I thought DS2 would miss some of the info :roll:

DS2 liked the fact that KEA had a dark room and did more athletics, but opted for HGS.

Would it be quicker for your son to get a bus / tram into Birmingham and another one out home on the way back? Appreciate this may be Y8 onwards if you wanted to do the Green Bus in Y7 for piece of mind.

As you say, great that he’s scored enough for either and good luck with your decision. If you do have anything specific you want to know just ask :D


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Thanks you so much for the support and advice guys - you're amazing and keep this forum going. I had no idea about kings heath train station so will look into that more. He would get the 11c clockwise to get to school - it's the return that seems troublesome. Happy to get the green bus in first year despite the ten minute walk but seems expensive if he still has to walk the ten mins but needs a must I guess? Surprised by going into town and coming out still seemed to result in a lengthy (14 minute) walk after. I have found one route which involves three buses but is complete in an hour! No walking between bust stops either. I guess it's a good option as a last resort!


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:35 pm 
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It’s a bit crazy! Kings Heath definitely needs the train!

Lots of people use green bus for all the years, I guess if it’s the quickest and easiest route it makes sense and you have to swallow the cost and restriction. Ds found there was a group of them doing the walk up the Soho Road last year so your son wouldn’t be on his own. But maybe if you’re going to be using the green bus permanently Aston would make more sense?

I hadn’t realised that Aston don’t use the Show my homework app. I dread to think how year 7 would have gone for us without that! Ds never knew what he had to do or when despite being told in the lesson. I had to keep on top of the app and check it every day/run through it with him. He’s much better this year and I’ve been able to back off!

My daughter was so impressed with it they tried to get introduced (via the school council) at KEHS but it was turned down!

I wouldn’t choose a school solely on that basis though :D

Have you driven to both schools, in rush hour and out of rush hour?


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 Post subject: Re: HGS open morning
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Yes we've driven there - Handsworth wins hands down from our place. Traffic is horrendous for both to be fair on the buses but have to accept it. I also find that, if I ever needed to collect him, Handsworth is bearable but Aston a tad too far. I can only imagine I'd start to hate having to collect and drop off after a few months and we're hoping to stay in this school for 7 years! I think just chatting to you guys and typing my thoughts has made me realise I do prefer handsworth and, more importantly, so does DS2.

Interesting about the app. KEFW use Frog but my son's login didn't work correctly even though my monitoring one did. For a couple of weeks it was very confusing and he didn't seem to get the required support to get the issue resolved - in fact, I still don't think it's been resolved! He's just started using his diary more and it seems to be working so I'm fine with it. In general, he loves it and I have visibly seen him come out of his shell and become so confident in just a number of weeks. It definitely was the ideal school for us but not to be!


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