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 Post subject: Handsworth Grammar Boys
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:38 pm
Posts: 33
Hey, could any parent of boys at a Handsworth Grammar please give me some advice. We may have an offer in the next few weeks, we are a late applicant! We haven’t seen the school but hoping to soon. I know there is good and bad in every school and by no means do I live in a particularly nice area lol but there seems to be a lot of talk on other forums etc and after listening to other people’s opinions when they don’t even have a link to the school I thought I’d ask the moms and dads on this forum for their thoughts. I’ve heard many opinions from it’s the worst of the grammar schools hence needing a lower score, terrible area therefore attracting the wrong sort of child! I have also heard many good things such as the ofstead report and a parent who’s DS is extremely happy there. I am going to remain on the fence until I’ve seen it myself and also taken my son as ultimately it’s his decision. Any honest/positive/negative opinions all welcome. Thanks in advance for your time x


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:19 pm 
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Tinka1979 wrote:
Hey, could any parent of boys at a Handsworth Grammar please give me some advice. We may have an offer in the next few weeks, we are a late applicant! We haven’t seen the school but hoping to soon. I know there is good and bad in every school and by no means do I live in a particularly nice area lol but there seems to be a lot of talk on other forums etc and after listening to other people’s opinions when they don’t even have a link to the school I thought I’d ask the moms and dads on this forum for their thoughts. I’ve heard many opinions from it’s the worst of the grammar schools hence needing a lower score, terrible area therefore attracting the wrong sort of child! I have also heard many good things such as the ofstead report and a parent who’s DS is extremely happy there. I am going to remain on the fence until I’ve seen it myself and also taken my son as ultimately it’s his decision. Any honest/positive/negative opinions all welcome. Thanks in advance for your time x


Ignore those with negative opinions who don't have any real insight. I've never had a child at the school but relatives and friends children have been to the school and I know the area well through my work.If you do get an offer at the school you would be wise to pick the school.I have been to the school and your son would get an excellent academic education at the school.

The only concern I had when I read the most recent Ofsted report from memory was the results in English and I am sure the school will have worked hard to improve results since.I am sure you appreciate the school has been educating some boys whose abilities are not as great as those of boys at the other grammars and their results would reflect that.The school is now part of the KE foundation and the new changes to catchments will ensure if parents choose a state education and want a KE education the school will have more children from wealthier areas.Have no worries on the area your son will be just as safe as other inner city areas of Birmingham during the daytime.

Have no fears if you and your son like the school just go for it.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:06 pm
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Tinka1979 wrote:
terrible area therefore attracting the wrong sort of child!

You cannot possibly believe such a comment! Being a Grammar school, King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School For Boys attracts pupils from all over Birmingham... and maybe from outside this huge and great multicultural city! :D


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:22 pm
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I would go and see it yourself and I am pretty sure you will love it. My son is going there and we both loved the school. The facilities are good, well respected and looked after from what I saw.

The Head is great, he has worked hard to get the school to where it is and the recent OFSTED reflects that. English did come up as a weaker area, but I am sure there will be a plan in place to improve that.

Any child who has an offer for a grammar school has done well to secure a place amongst the thousands that took the test. The rise in scores also shows it's rising popularity, it is not far off from the cut off scores of other grammars.

I really wouldn't worry about what people say, particularly from those who have no experience of the school. I know loads of parents and children who are happy with the school. It is best to go and see it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:31 pm
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Tinka1979 wrote:
Hey, could any parent of boys at a Handsworth Grammar please give me some advice. We may have an offer in the next few weeks, we are a late applicant! We haven’t seen the school but hoping to soon. I know there is good and bad in every school and by no means do I live in a particularly nice area lol but there seems to be a lot of talk on other forums etc and after listening to other people’s opinions when they don’t even have a link to the school I thought I’d ask the moms and dads on this forum for their thoughts. I’ve heard many opinions from it’s the worst of the grammar schools hence needing a lower score, terrible area therefore attracting the wrong sort of child! I have also heard many good things such as the ofstead report and a parent who’s DS is extremely happy there. I am going to remain on the fence until I’ve seen it myself and also taken my son as ultimately it’s his decision. Any honest/positive/negative opinions all welcome. Thanks in advance for your time x


My nephew got the score this year to get into Handsworth Grammer or Aston. I went with his mom to visit both schools after he got 228 in his test and we all preferred Handsworth Grammer. The Head was wonderful and had a great insight into what the schools future path would be and has done a great turn around in results. The school is indeed in Handsworth but just on the edge of the High street and so less traffic. My sister was concerned about travel as the Green bus doesn’t stop at the school but picks up and drops off at Handsworth girls. The Head did say that lot of boys walked up to the school together and no safety issue. My nephew preference was this school not Aston even though his mark would have got him a place at Aston. The school was comfortable, very well presented and even though the score last year was indeed low it was just because the school was just getting it self established as a King Edward Grammer school.We saw the kids in classes and they were all well behaved and the school facilities were excellent.
Hope this assists.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm
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Location: Birmingham
My son is in his final year there after 7 years. It is a good school. I am not sure how old the Ofsted report is but when he did his English GCSE (one of his weaker subjects) they had put a lot of extra support, during and after school, to improve his marks - and not just dry exam practice but in really quite creative ways to engage the students more. In the end he got very good grades in English.

As for the area, it really isn’t an issue. The bus stops are mainly right next to the school. Handsworth girls is practically Lozells and noone really conments on that as being a reason to be put off.

As for anyone who says it ‘attracts the wrong sort of child’ due to lower entry scores or otherwise: I would just stop listening at that point. There is no such thing as wrong sort of child. There is no doubt its last entry scores are lower than other schools but, as I recall, every year has also included boys who have high enough marks to go elsewhere but have chosen HGS either out of preference, convenience, location, family ties etc.

With the new admission changes, the racial and socio-economic make-up of the school will likely be more mixed. I don’t see that as an issue myself. In previous years I think it was the only school that didn’t set PP targets as it already exceeded the amount of places others set aside for it.

I personally find head a little detached at an interpersonal level and the deputy is quite annoying too (but that might be saying more about me than them :lol: ). They do have some fantastic teachers and support staff though.

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Last edited by UmSusu on Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:08 pm 
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DS1 is now in Y9, and DS2 Y7. Like you, DS2 had the choice of KEA, HGS or BV (from the W/L), but having had DS1 there for 2 years we were extremely happy for DS2 to go there too (and it was also his 1st choice).

No, Handsworth may not be the best area, but this never arises when people talk about the girl’s school which is literally down the road. The bus stops are close and many boys walk around the area. Mine have never had an issue walking to the girl’s school to catch the Green Bus - well, only from dodgy drivers :roll: but not from being approached by people or being threatened.

I think the Ofsted was last year, and I can say that there has been a change in English (not that it was bad before). They have a mixture of lessons - split between English and Literacy. DS1 has been doing The Lady of Shalott, Stormbreaker and has just moved to Macbeth, and in Y9 DS2 has done To Kill a Mocking Bird, Great Expectations and is now onto Of Mice and Men.

They do 2 language in Y7 and Y8, and then drop one for Y9 when they start the GCSE syllabus. This has really helped as by the time they come to Y11 a lot of the content has already been covered and a lot will be recapping.

I like the fact that they only ask for a £30 donation at the start of the year (which is considerably less than other schools), and then anything they make (DT, cooking etc) is covered. Also, although they have a uniform, there is no issue buying the trousers and shirts from M&S or Asda as they are not logo’d. You can also buy the badge to sew on yourself to a blazer if you so choose.

The mix of boys has changed since DS1 started - think there were 5 or 6 white boys in his year, whereas now there are 5 or 6 per class. I believe they still have a higher than average (for a GS) intake of PP as this was also picked up on the Ofsted report.

I for one would not hesitate to recommend the school or send another child (if I had anymore) there, but would urge you to visit. Once you have, if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:53 am 
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Hi Tinka, my son is in year 8 at HGS.

I think the decision is different for everyone as you need to consider what your other option is (the local comp presumably?) and compare directly to that. For us, there was no comparison, but the schools round us all have negative progress - below average or well below average. They're also not particularly well resourced and have a reputation for being quite 'rough', for want of a better word! So for us, the only benefit of going local would be transport - and our ds does have a long journey to school (we're in south Birmingham). I wish he didn't, but I still think it's definitely worth it.

Our ds' only complaints (apart from the journey) have been that the school is very overcrowded. However, I think this is influenced by seeing his older sister's school (KEHS) - being an independent school, it's obviously in a different league in terms of space and facilities. I think HGS is quite a small site, but I doubt it's that different to most comprehensives. He did also find Handsworth itself a bit scary in year 7, when he was walking from the girls school (he got the green bus) but nothing actually happened, I think it was just a bit of a culture shock! And he always walked with other boys. Now he gets the public buses anyway, which stop very near the school.

He's had one or two not great teachers (unavoidable I think) but on the whole we've been impressed with the teaching and the discipline. If your son is musical, they offer subsidised instrumental lessons (£100 per term) which are great value and the piano teacher is lovely! I think the LAMDA lessons are also subsidised. In terms of sports, the main ones seem to be football, cricket, table tennis, badminton, basketball. It's not like the other grammars which focus on rugby.

Like others have said, the social/ethnic mix seems to have changed since it's become a KE school. Ds says there are more 'posh' kids in year 7! But there's a good mix and of course it will change again in future when the catchment rules come into place. There's nothing to worry about though, ds gets on well with everyone.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:55 pm
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My son is in yr 8. He moved to HGS from a comp and we haven't looked back.

His twin is at QMGS and I am more than happy with both grammars. We feel very fortunate our son got a place at HGS. It feels like a friendly school with strong pastoral care.
Academically, my son is stretched, far more than when he was elsewhere. Our only down side is that he could walk to his nearest school but we also feel the trade off is worth it.

You need to visit HGS. Find out more about transport, the staff/students.

No area is risk free, with both Sutton and Aston experiencing incidents after school.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:09 pm
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Hi

I'm a little late to the party. Lol

My DS is currently in year 7 at HGS. He really enjoys it and has made some wonderful friends.

He is doing really well there and settled straight away.


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