Heart of England School, West Midlands

(11 Posts)
QueenMolotov Thu 14-Apr-16 10:15:06

We are looking to move house and from research I've done, some of the areas were interested in have Heart of England School as the catchment school. I limited have local knowledge of other secondaries, such as Arden, Alderbrook and Tudor Grange Academy, but know nothing of Heart of England.

What is it like, please? Quality of teaching? Happiness of pupils? Can it teach to a broad spectrum of abilities?

TIA smile

tiggytwig Thu 14-Apr-16 10:33:39

Hi Queen, just to start the ball rolling. Are you just looking at schools in Solihull as the schools you have put down are just in that area or are asking for all schools in the Midlands? Is there a specific area, is this a job relocation so distance to travel to work an issue?

QueenMolotov Thu 14-Apr-16 10:53:34

Thanks for your reply, tiggy

Essentially, we are expecting our third child which means we have to move house. Dd1 (eldest) is 7yo and will start y3 in September, but as we are planning to move and settle in our new home, secondary catchment areas are crucial. The areas we are looking at chiefly involve Arden, TGA, Alderbrook, Heart of England as the choices. A couple of areas were interested in have HoE as the catchment school, but I just am clueless re. everything about it!

I have considered Sutton Coldfield as there appears to be many excellent schools, but DH rules out Sutton as it is too far from family and would mean a primary school move for dds in YR and Y3, as well as the changes a new baby brings.

I have considered Kenilworth and Kenilworth School (I know nothing about it there, but I liked the sound of the school's ethos on their website), but as DH commutes by train, Kenilworth isn't served by a train station and would add time to his journey, so he is less keen to move there. Also a big-ish distance to get dds to school from there, so a primary school move could happen.

Therefore, we are looking at particular areas of Solihull served by schools outlined in my first paragraph.

Of course, there is more to a school that it's OFSTED rating, such as how it focuses on children and their varying abilities, not just the ones who are academically able. I want my dcs to be happy at their school and love their time there.

Other areas we would look include having Lode Heath, Langley, Light Hall or Lyndon as catchment schools, but I'm much less keen on those (especially Lyndon and Lode Heath).

QueenMolotov Thu 14-Apr-16 10:57:04

This may or may not be relevant: my dd1 is a very intelligent little girl, but has had issues with reading and is having issues with handwriting. She's a sensitive girl, and needs reassurance and nurturing.

This may change as she emotionally matures and gains confidence, but I feel I need to send her to a secondary that will help her on an individual basis, and not just focus on how well she can pass exams, iyswim?

tiggytwig Thu 14-Apr-16 11:25:20

Not a problem Queen.

I was going to suggest Sutton Coldfield where I am living and also Lichfield where I grew up, but it seems that your DH has ruled Sutton Coldfield out due to distance from family.

I'm sure someone MN will give you some guidance, good luck.

QueenMolotov Thu 14-Apr-16 15:05:26

Thanks again, tiggy smile

So, does anyone know about HoE School?

EarthboundMisfit Sun 17-Apr-16 22:00:32

HoE is good I think. I lived in Kenilworth until very recently. Kenilworth School is outstanding, one of the top nonselective secondaries in the country and not too far down the list even when selectives are included. Kenilworth has a train station under construction but who knows if/when it will open...was meant to be Dec 2016 but work seems to have stalled. No admissions issues in Kenilworth, however property is extremely pricey.

EarthboundMisfit Sun 17-Apr-16 22:02:04

Lovely primaries too, except possibly one.

Budgiebonbon Mon 18-Apr-16 10:48:20

Hi Queen, we have some experience of HoE through a close family member and unfortunately the experience has not been good at all.

The school has achieved good Ofsted and teaching is good but their pastoral care from our experience is not great. We also know of a few families who have removed their children from the school. I understand that the school is making changes in that area, and may have changed in the last few terms, however the Management Team has not changed.

Of course this is only our experience, and other opinions may vary, but I think that there may be better options especially if your DC's have any additional needs. BC Primary School is a good choice and we have heard good things about Kenilworth as well.

QueenMolotov Mon 18-Apr-16 14:01:34

Thanks everyone, this is all really useful info.

I've been looking at a website called schoolguide.co.uk and it's been truly fascinating: Arden and Tudor Grange Academy had over 90% of their students getting 5 A*-C GCSEs last year (national average is 53%) but a happiness rating of only mid-20s% shock.

Alderbrook was around 70% GCSE passes and national average happiness; HoE only 63% GCSE passes (too low for my liking) and 61% happiness rating. Kenilworth had a 79% GCSE pass rate and national average happiness, so indeed, it looks on paper like the kind of secondary I'd want to send our dcs to - there or Alderbrook seem most appealing to me (although I haven't looked around any secondaries yet).

A train station in Kenilworth would make life easier for DH - would that have anything to do with the HS2 construction, I wonder? (Not that it would be a HS2 station).

EarthboundMisfit Mon 18-Apr-16 15:07:06

It does, which is why it has stalled. I haven't followed news on it for a while but you may be able to find out more.

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