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 Post subject: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:29 pm
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Hi

We were hoping to get some advice from parents with children already at KES or AGS. We would find it really helpful to hear what you think are the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two schools, what the culture of the schools are and the kind of child the schools suit best?

We have found ourselves in the lucky position where we can probably choose either KES or AGS for our son. We had been hoping for a place at AGS, but since receiving the 11+ results everyone has now assumed we will put KES down as our first choice and this has caused us to question our choice.

So before I finally press submit on the application form I thought it would be worth seeking some input from those on this forum. We have of course visited both schools and have obviously looked at the websites etc but in my experience the best insights have come from those who have actually experienced the schools.

Any thoughts on the merits of the two schools would be very welcome!

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6718
They are very different in style. KES is very traditional - the feel of a private boys school, a "rugby" playing school in all senses of the word, single sex (although girls in the 6th form), with very strict discipline and rules - including specific hairstyles - that are clearly outlined and enforced. It also has compulsory Latin and Mandarin. It is a much smaller school which can be harder for some boys who do not make friends easily. It has a very high GCSE point score to enter the 6th form and boys do leave at this point if they do not achieve it.

AGS is less traditional, encourages sport to be continued to play outside of school, much larger, co-ed, more relaxed (but still has rules/discipline), slightly lower entrance point score to 6th Form.

We have had two boys at KES and have many friends with children at AGS - they are very different schools and I know that our friends who have boys at AGS would not have chosen KES as it absolutely would not suit their boys (even though they did well enough to have gained a place) and vice versa. So you should not feel that you "have" to go to KES just because he scored highly enough - the right school is far more important.

It is also key, where you live - KES has very high expectations that boys will fully immerse themselves in extra curricular activities - after school and on Saturdays - you are expected to get your boy there/collect them afterwards, so make sure travel options are robust.

If KES is right for your son by all means go for it but do NOT just go for it because people say you should - I do know several boys who have been deeply unhappy at KES because it was not the right environment for them and they have left the school because of it - interestingly, often to move to AGS! The right school environment is the only right school for your son - not just a points score based decision.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:13 am
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Thanks for articulating this so well, KenyanCowgirl.


Last edited by WarksMum on Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6718
No worries, WarksMum - I would say that making the right choice between an all girls environment and AGS is even more important to "get right" and well done you for following your gut! If I had girls, I would have made the same choice, (although travel is not ideal to AGS from where we live). There is a very, very high number of girls who apply to leave SGGS at 6th Form - 3/4s of the year group have applied elsewhere in the last few years (although many end up staying) which, I think, maybe reflects that a lot of girls, given the choice, would prefer co-ed at secondary than all girls. I also agree that I was very surprised at what amounted to a significant drop in the AQS for SGGS last year - I, like you, would imagine that it will be higher this year as it did seem an anomaly.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:29 pm
Posts: 7
Thank you kenyancowgirl, your reply was really helpful and exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I find it very hard to get the 'feel' of a school based upon an open day and website review so I've found speaking to different people about their experiences to be so important. We know we are really lucky to be able to choose between such good schools and as you say it really is about finding the best fit for our son. We have decided AGS (our original plan) and submitted the form... roll on March!

Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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No problem! I hope he will be very happy there - it is a great position to be in choosing between 2 very good schools!


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:32 pm
Posts: 30
kenyancowgirl wrote:
They are very different in style. KES is very traditional - the feel of a private boys school, a "rugby" playing school in all senses of the word, single sex (although girls in the 6th form), with very strict discipline and rules - including specific hairstyles - that are clearly outlined and enforced. It also has compulsory Latin and Mandarin. It is a much smaller school which can be harder for some boys who do not make friends easily. It has a very high GCSE point score to enter the 6th form and boys do leave at this point if they do not achieve it.

AGS is less traditional, encourages sport to be continued to play outside of school, much larger, co-ed, more relaxed (but still has rules/discipline), slightly lower entrance point score to 6th Form.

We have had two boys at KES and have many friends with children at AGS - they are very different schools and I know that our friends who have boys at AGS would not have chosen KES as it absolutely would not suit their boys (even though they did well enough to have gained a place) and vice versa. So you should not feel that you "have" to go to KES just because he scored highly enough - the right school is far more important.

It is also key, where you live - KES has very high expectations that boys will fully immerse themselves in extra curricular activities - after school and on Saturdays - you are expected to get your boy there/collect them afterwards, so make sure travel options are robust.

If KES is right for your son by all means go for it but do NOT just go for it because people say you should - I do know several boys who have been deeply unhappy at KES because it was not the right environment for them and they have left the school because of it - interestingly, often to move to AGS! The right school environment is the only right school for your son - not just a points score based decision.



Thank you for all your advice about KES.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:32 pm
Posts: 30
kenyancowgirl wrote:
They are very different in style. KES is very traditional - the feel of a private boys school, a "rugby" playing school in all senses of the word, single sex (although girls in the 6th form), with very strict discipline and rules - including specific hairstyles - that are clearly outlined and enforced. It also has compulsory Latin and Mandarin. It is a much smaller school which can be harder for some boys who do not make friends easily. It has a very high GCSE point score to enter the 6th form and boys do leave at this point if they do not achieve it.

AGS is less traditional, encourages sport to be continued to play outside of school, much larger, co-ed, more relaxed (but still has rules/discipline), slightly lower entrance point score to 6th Form.

We have had two boys at KES and have many friends with children at AGS - they are very different schools and I know that our friends who have boys at AGS would not have chosen KES as it absolutely would not suit their boys (even though they did well enough to have gained a place) and vice versa. So you should not feel that you "have" to go to KES just because he scored highly enough - the right school is far more important.

It is also key, where you live - KES has very high expectations that boys will fully immerse themselves in extra curricular activities - after school and on Saturdays - you are expected to get your boy there/collect them afterwards, so make sure travel options are robust.

If KES is right for your son by all means go for it but do NOT just go for it because people say you should - I do know several boys who have been deeply unhappy at KES because it was not the right environment for them and they have left the school because of it - interestingly, often to move to AGS! The right school environment is the only right school for your son - not just a points score based decision.


I am interested to know what reasons made these boys unhappy and is it difficult to make friends in KES? It is difficult to know if the school is the right one until they actually go to the school and experience themselves. We apply for both schools, Alcester is nearer to us. But my DS likes KES.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6718
It is a well run school with very clear rules and requirements, including for hairstyles - it is also a rugby playing school (including Saturdays) and boys are required to attend/play - it is also single sex - all of these do not suit all boys.

It has high standards for all aspects - and, whilst pastorally it is second to none, they do require boys to work hard - every year several boys do not make it back into the 6th form - some boys find that they very quickly they realise they are right at the bottom of the year group - that can be quite disheartening for some and they choose to move on somewhere where they feel more comfortable.


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 Post subject: Re: KES vs AGS
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:55 pm
Posts: 6
jimbobjoe321 wrote:
kenyancowgirl wrote:
They are very different in style. KES is very traditional - the feel of a private boys school, a "rugby" playing school in all senses of the word, single sex (although girls in the 6th form), with very strict discipline and rules - including specific hairstyles - that are clearly outlined and enforced. It also has compulsory Latin and Mandarin. It is a much smaller school which can be harder for some boys who do not make friends easily. It has a very high GCSE point score to enter the 6th form and boys do leave at this point if they do not achieve it.

AGS is less traditional, encourages sport to be continued to play outside of school, much larger, co-ed, more relaxed (but still has rules/discipline), slightly lower entrance point score to 6th Form.

We have had two boys at KES and have many friends with children at AGS - they are very different schools and I know that our friends who have boys at AGS would not have chosen KES as it absolutely would not suit their boys (even though they did well enough to have gained a place) and vice versa. So you should not feel that you "have" to go to KES just because he scored highly enough - the right school is far more important.

It is also key, where you live - KES has very high expectations that boys will fully immerse themselves in extra curricular activities - after school and on Saturdays - you are expected to get your boy there/collect them afterwards, so make sure travel options are robust.

If KES is right for your son by all means go for it but do NOT just go for it because people say you should - I do know several boys who have been deeply unhappy at KES because it was not the right environment for them and they have left the school because of it - interestingly, often to move to AGS! The right school environment is the only right school for your son - not just a points score based decision.


I am interested to know what reasons made these boys unhappy and is it difficult to make friends in KES? It is difficult to know if the school is the right one until they actually go to the school and experience themselves. We apply for both schools, Alcester is nearer to us. But my DS likes KES.


I just to let you know my experience of KES when my DS started in September 2019. We were a little worried because he was the only boy going there from his primary school, although he did know three other boys through Cubs/Scouts. What impressed us before he had even set foot in a classroom was the welcome evening. During his speak the headmaster got small groups of boys to stand up, pointing out that they all had the same favourite book, or that they were all Scouts, really helping them understand that although they didn't know each other yet, they already had lots of things in common, and that in time they would find friends for life within their year group. It might sound a bit cheesy, but it was really impressive. My son has settled into the school really quickly, I drop him at the station in the morning and barely get a "Bye Mum," before he's off with his friends. Not everyone's experience will be the same, but for us, so far, it's been great.


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