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 Post subject: KES Birmingham?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:01 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Dudley, West Midlands
I'm going along to the King Edward School (Edgbaston Park Road Birmingham) open day on the 18th November. Not a school I know anything about. No doubt I'll form some opinion on the day, but how reliable is that when you've only spent a couple of hours there :?

I'd be much happier if I had the benefit of some of your experiences.

For instance...
Anything about the recent history of the school that I should know about?
Questions I should ask outside the normal patter when looking over a school?
Most importantly - what's the atmosphere at the school for students?
    Out on your ear at the first sign of underachievement?
    Supportive, competitive, both?
    Much time for outside interests or activities
      that don't feed directly into improved
      league table results for the school?

We're also (in fact mainly) looking at the Birmingham KEVI Grammar schools and the Wolverhampton Grammar, any useful comparisons?

Hope you can help :?:

 Post subject: Re: KES Birmingham?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Dudley, West Midlands
Anyone listening :-)
Feeling too cagey?
Just not interested?

Oh Well :-)
Here's what I thought anyway...

Very much a day of mixed messages.

A very well organized Open Day. It was particularly unusual and useful to have parents of current students come around with us on the tour. Our parent guide was very informed and positive about the school, anticipating most of my questions and pointing out a few that I didn't know I needed to ask.

The Head's (OK Chief Master's?) speech was quite low key but, for me, found the right tone (open, honest and approachable) to balance some of the impressions I had before arriving. This did mean that he was slightly overshadowed by the Head Boy's effort though.

As usual GSCE and A level work was put to the fore, but work from year seven was available and impressive. The sports facilities are outstanding

Our Student guide made a small mistake with our route near the start, which we began to correct. The first teacher to notice this was clearly 'disappointed' but remained friendly. The second teacher we met was unpleasant, astoundingly rude and belittling towards our guide: who's' only reply was “Yes Sir, sorry Sir”. I can only hope that this teacher simply felt no restraint when faced with a group of boys and their parents, else God help his students when they're in a more private setting.

Our Guide was obviously uncomfortable when I later asked who this 'second teacher' was and if he is particularly strict - “He's' a good teacher” was the reply.

When everyone was seated in the hall but prior to the Head speaking someone, who seemed to be a member of staff -entering and leaving though the appropriate door- attempted to speak, unamplified, to the whole hall. This all seemed quite strange,unplanned and he was largely ignored. Eventually he was gently led away by the elbow. It's hard to describe the effect this had – lets just say I think he should put a megaphone and ten rolls of rubber wallpaper on his Christmas list.

I really need some help here with this school!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8598
Can't really help you with this specifically - I only know that open days tend not to give a true impression of the school. I have always found it better to go on a private look round when the school (whichever school) is up and running.

Re KES - well I went to KEHS and left 30 years ago (aaagh)!! Many of us who went feel it was the very best and many have spend much time agonising over finding such good education for their own kids - bearing in mind that most of us had the education for free!

The boys school was always a little more "boisterous " than the girls - they have a very ferocious school song...... Can get a view of the boys as it was in the 1970s from Jonathan Coe's book "the Rotters Club"..

Go on another visit and talk to some current parents if you can

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:47 pm 
I know something about the school but mainly second hand from friends. My daugther goes to KEHS next door.

As regards information and thoughts about he school, well here goes:-

Good school, the head has only been there about 5 months and was Head of Solihull previously. I sense he's trying to change things quite a bit.

The range of sports, music and outside activities is fantastic, in fact too good - the is a danger that boys can be distracted too much from academic work. We have friends who's children have had to have priovate tuition prior to GCSE principally because they spent too much time on Music and Sports in year 7, 8, 9 & 10!

The music is fantastic and they have a number of very good orchestras and ensembles which are shared with the Girls school.

Having occasionally had to wait outside for my daugther on Friday afternoons, one thing I have noticed was the Army Cadet Training etc. Friday afternoons is non teaching and dedicated to extra curriculum activities such as this. You can do other activities but Cadet forces training is quite strong and it's strange seeing them marching around the parade ground. It reminds me of the Lindsey Anderson Film IF which was set in an old fashioned Public School!

The teaching is generally very good and I think they are generally well prepared for GCSE if they have done the work. As with most Independent and Grammar Schools these days they have to get grade As in their GCSEs subject to study these at A level.

Hope this helps

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Dudley, West Midlands
Thanks for your replies – I did read them straight away! It's just taken an unforgivably long time to get back to you.

Quite right 'hermanmunster' I need to stop stressing about this and go to see the school on a working day. I just need to build my confidence that the teachers actually like children. I know many people would think me mad to have second thoughts, if I should have the chance for my son to go to KES. If our experience on Open Day were a true reflection of the school day-to-day though, my lad wouldn't thrive there. I quite understand that many, many others would.

I think I know what you mean 'KEHS Parent' about sensing the Head's trying to change things quite a bit. I have no inside information, it's just that listening to him, he did seem a little at odds with what I saw in the rest of the school. I can't believe such a successful organization has picked the wrong person for the job, so you have to assume that he's there to bend the school a little towards his way of thinking. I didn't know that he was previously the Head at Solihull, perhaps I should research that.

I must look at 'Friday afternoon at the KES' experience again. I thought I understood but (if many use it for marching practice!) perhaps not. I don't think it's quite as unique to KES as they think. I know a couple of quite ordinary state schools where Fridays are given over to extended, student led work/activities. Apparently this meets with amazing success, not least in persuading students to work hard in the first four days to earn their Friday privileges!

Many thanks again

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