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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:18 pm 
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Hi, desperate for some advice please from someone who has experience of either of these 2 schools. My daughter has scored high enough to get into Queen Mary's (380+) and scored 233 in the King Edward's exam, we are out of catchment for any Birmingham grammar, living in Sandwell.
The schools we are therefore considering are QM and Sutton Girls. Both are almost the same distance from us, although QM would be 2 buses (25min journey) whereas Sutton Girls is 1 bus 35min journey. We may not get a place at sutton girls depending on how much the cut off jumps up by but we want to put our preferred school number 1 on CAF form. But we really cannot decide between the 2. I prefer Sutton Girls slightly just because of the facilities, daughter prefers QM because she feels 'she will fit in better'. Her dad is on the fence but likes the fact that QM offer Mandarin. We really cannot seem to find anything that tops one over the other. Has anybody any first hand experience of either school, especially whether their child is happy there, the child is well supported by staff etc. I think my daughter has the impression Sutton Girls is too 'posh' for her, I've told her that grammar school is about academia and it's a level playing field etc, not social status but she doesn't believe me! Any help much appreciated please...


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:54 pm 
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I don’t have experience of either (2 boys), but if you’re on the fence and don’t have much to distinguish between the two, then I’d go for my DC’s preference - they are the ones who will be there for the next 5 years, so they need to feel comfortable.

I know they make new friends, but does she have any friends that are applying to either?

As you say, this year is an unknown with the catchments, but personally I would imagine that 233 would secure a place at Sutton - 15 points or so would be a massive jump.

Although OOA, it may be enough for Handsworth Girls - just to throw another school into the mix for you! Did you visit that one, and what were your thoughts?

I can see her views on Sutton being too posh - DS2 thought the same of BV :lol:

She has done extremely well and all the best with your decision. Hopefully someone will be along soon with a DD at the schools to answer your query.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:37 pm 
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We were in the same boat about a year ago. We were deciding between Handsworth Girls, Sutton or Fiveways. We visited all three schools and let our DD choose. DD particularly like Handsworth. The girls in Handsworth were very warm, friendly and enthusiastic about their school. Daughter thought the buildings in Handsworth are charming, almost like Hogwarts. Fiveways site is more spacious and modern looking. The pupils were a happy bunch and the whole school has this great sense of togetherness which we liked. Queen Mary was a little far for us, so we didn't visit. But she did say the older girls were very friendly towards her when she was there to sit the Walsall exam. She didn't like Sutton, she thought the girls were a bit uppity when she visited but we did put in our CAF as a backup school. My mrs noticed one of the girls were carrying designers handbag in school. In the end daughter scored high enough for FW and didn't regret going there. We put FW, Handsworth and Sutton as our order of preference.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:10 pm 
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Hi, I am in the same boat. My Daughter got 228 for Sutton girls and 350+ for Queen Mary’s and we live in Sandwell area as well... After thinking about it a lot and obviously taking my daughter’s preference I put Queen Mary as my first choice. My daughter too found the girls at Queen Mary very friendly...she also liked Sutton girls but over all preferred Queen Mary. Plus it’s also the distance to Sutton girls. It’s nearly an hour in the bus. My daughter goes to a school at present which is half way in between Sutton and Walsall.. and trust me it’s a nightmare to drive in the peak hour.
Considering all these things we opted for Queen Mary. Hope that helps.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:33 pm 
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Thank you so much for all of your time and advice. All great points and really helpful. This forum has been a saviour.

@helen0209 interesting that your son thought similar of BV! I spoke to my daughter again and she said happy for us to choose "so long as not Sutton!" I think my slight bias to Sutton is that 2 buses rather than 1 and that at least three time a week I could drop off and pick up at Sutton due to my work. I don't want to choose a school though where she is dreading her 1st day or has pre conceived ideas. She has 1 friend going to QM and 1 to Sutton. We did visit Handsworth Girls btw and although we loved the school and the students were lovely,
we discounted it due to catchment and didn't think 233 would be high enough for OOA. More food for thought!! Thank you for your help and time, much appreciated.

@SVK my daughter felt Handsworth was like Hogwarts too and really liked the library too. The designer handbags was something I noticed too! Thank you for your help, lovely that your daughter is so happy at Five Ways.

@AS1980 thank you for your thoughts. We are in similar positions! My daughter agreed that the girls at QM were very friendly and down to Earth. I just felt the building a little cramped. But teachers were very passionate.

I am so very proud of my little girl and just want to do right by her, as we all do for our little ones. With all her efforts, I don't want to let her down by making the wrong choice, and just want her to be happy in the next chapter of her life. I know we are so so lucky to be in this position, but it's not an easy decision!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:45 pm 
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We live in Walsall and many parents we know including ourselves have been happy to send their children to the boys grammar school for academic reasons and not to the girls grammar school over the last 20 or so years.We ourselves chose to send our daughter to WGHS in 2015 although it was a close decision between KE Handsworth Girls and SCGSG. In the intervening years there has been nothing to change our views of QM girls.

In comparing Sutton girls and Queen Marys please note the former publishes its full results for GCSEs and A levels on its website.Queen Mary has not done so for years and will present a summary and even that's not been accurate for the last 12 months e.g. the GCSE summary for 2018 has a figure of 5% of all grades between 7 to 9.Its clearly an error but its never been corrected.The results at all the other girls grammar schools surrounding Queen Mary have been better over the years.

The destinations the girls go onto from Sutton girls as compared to QM girls have been superior over the years.

The green bus does go to QM girls and passes through Sandwell although it will be more expensive than the public buses.

If you want to use class terminology it is fair to say QM girls will have more working class parents and Sutton girls more middle class parents.In my view it is also fair to say Sutton girls will have more parents who will have greater expectations from the school and will be more demanding.

At the end of the day you have to chose where your child will be happiest.She seems to prefer QM girls and her views are important.

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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 Oct 20, 2019 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:46 pm
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Thank you Quasimodo, really appreciate your time and help. That is very interesting re the publishing of results. The destination of students is also very important. Yes, my daughter prefers QM but I do feel her opinion has been heavily influenced by peers but don't want her to feel we've ignored her feelings. She is an end of August baby and a little naive at times though. We are going to the open day tomorrow at QM to see it again to see if that helps with the decision.

Many thanks again


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:18 am 
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My daughter started at Sutton Girls in September and I have had a very positive experience so far. I would say there is a real mix of parents. There was a parents association event about 3 weeks ago, which you attended with your daughter, and there was a table for each class so you could meet the other parents. Everyone was very friendly, the Head and Deputy Head are very approachable, as well as the Head of Year 7.

I don’t know about designer handbags - I doubt my daughter would even recognise one! She uses a sports rucksack, as do many, so there’s no pressure there.

I know before my daughter started, she didn’t like anyone saying it was a posh school (I think it made her feel she wouldn’t fit in) but we’ve honestly had no issues with that. That said, if my DD hadn’t liked it when we looked around (we missed the open evening but were shown around by a couple of lovely 6th formers) I wouldn’t have sent her there. It’s a tough decision to make!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:24 am 
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Have you had the opportunity to visit either school on a normal school day?

We were in a similar position a few years back, although our choice was between Sutton and KE Handsworth. Dd hadn't liked Sutton at the open day and neither did I if I'm honest. We had a rather 'precocious' guide and the head's speech left me cold, and dd felt it was a bit 'posh' too. But we viewed the school again in a small group on a school day and really liked it. It seemed much more down to earth. In the end it was my daughter's preference as she really didn't like the Soho Road! Silly reason really as we loved KE Handsworth, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision somehow and we knew she'd do well at either school.

In the end she went to King Edward's High School in Edgbaston (which really is posh!) so I can't tell you what Sutton is like in reality, but I've not heard anything bad about it. People have always been positive about QM though too - you only hear negatives from people who haven't chosen it. I suspect the lower exam results are more to do with intake than anything else - rather like Handsworth Boys. There are still plenty of children who do very well at both schools.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:47 pm
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https://www.suttcold.bham.sch.uk/examresults

https://qmhs.org.uk/about/exam-results/

All schools are much more than the academics.The SCGSG exam results are much more difficult to find on the new website and are underneath statutory information.

Here are the links to assist.

_________________
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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