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need help........

(38 Posts)
notanidea Fri 12-Jun-09 22:35:51

after a long thought we are moving our dd to
a indie school from september. DH is applying for jobs and has an interview in birmingham. Couple of friends who we spoke rave about the schools in birmingham.
we can just about afford private for 1 dd 2nd is only 1o months. No grammar schools where we live.
What is the diff between a indie and grammar school apart from the fees?

cornsilk Fri 12-Jun-09 22:43:00

Depends on the indie school. Some are more selective then others. Generally smaller class sizes is an advantage.

cat64 Fri 12-Jun-09 22:47:42

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notanidea Fri 12-Jun-09 22:54:10

i meant independant when i wrote indie. the schhol she is going to is a good but non selective school with small class sizes and excellent a level results and has around 35-40 a level students, she is going to year 4
yes i would like to know reg grammar school in birmingham

notanidea Fri 12-Jun-09 23:00:09

what is the diff between grammar and independant apart from the fees?

piscesmoon Fri 12-Jun-09 23:23:10

A grammar school is selective-they get in by passing the 11+. An independent school may be selective, with an entrance exam, or it may be all abilities.

CaptainNancy Fri 12-Jun-09 23:35:42

The grammar schools in Birmingham are extremely oversubscribed- over 20 applicants per place. There are 3 girls' and 1 mixed gender grammar schools.
What level is your dd working at? You're looking at needing to be Level 5 in Y5 to even stand half a chance, plus some tuition on exam technique to help her demonstrate her ability.

That said- even the independent secondary schools in Birmingham are selective, and the competition for those places is almost as fierce- at least for the good schools.

Are you expecting to move her to an independent prep school prior to secondary?

Which area of the city are you looking at moving to?
You will need to consider state schools presumably for dd2, so need to look carefully before renting.

notanidea Sat 13-Jun-09 12:41:42

He has interview late this month and the potential employers have given good vibes so far.We are moving DD to a small independent school this year.She will not be coached for the grammar school entrance as we dont have grammar school in our area and we cant move to Birmingham for another 18months so he will be commuting weekends. I am reluctant as I will have to move to a new area and the children will be with any of their friends. Our friends in Birmingham say that the schools there are soooo goooooood that it is worthwhile in the long run.She is a bright girl but I have gathered that children are coached from year3 onwards so dd will be missing that.Not sure where to move to as it might be expensive in a big city like birmingham.

CaptainNancy Sat 13-Jun-09 21:49:58

Sorry- if she enters Y4 in Sept, and moves to Birmingham 18mo later... she will be arriving halfway through Y5...

You need to consult prep schools now if you want her to have a place then- the good ones are oversubscribed I'm afraid. Try- Blue Coat, Hallfield, Norfolk House, Edgbaston Girls', Highclare (though this is north of the city, and the others are all Edgbaston). For state schools, you cannot apply for a place until she is living in the authority, and for in-year admissions you approach the school directly, though you can check with the LEA Admissions team whether or not there are any places at the schools you have chosen.

Which schools are your friends saying are so good?

The selective independents are in Edgbaston- King Edwards Girls', Edgbaston High School for Girls. There is also Solihull school, in Solihull, natch.
The grammar schools are- King Edward VI Camp Hill Girls', King Edward VI Handsworth Girls', King Edward VI Five Ways (mixed), Sutton Coldfield Girls'. There is information on all the schools in the King Edward Foundation (including independent) here. The grammar schools are indeed excellent schools, however I cannot emphasise enough just how fierce competition is for the places- there are only 120 places in each school each year- girls from all over the West Midlands apply, not just in Birmingham, and Birmingham LEA alone has 7000 girls in a year's cohort!

IMO there is no point in tutoring from Y3- if they need that much help then they are not going to cope with the standard expected at the secondary school anyway, however- she will have to have some preparation in examination technique otherwise no matter how bright she is she will founder. However, if she is in a Birmingham prep school, she will receive a little coaching in this prior to the examinations.

If there is any chance of DD2 going independent too, then you will need to get her on the waiting lists before you move to Birmingham- ie now.

If DD1 doesn't get a grammar/independent place, you will need to live in pretty close proximity to school to get a place at a good state secondary- the best ones would likely be- Arthur Terry and Plantsbrook (in Sutton Coldfield), Kings Norton Girls' in Cotteridge, Lordswood Girls' in Harborne maybe, erm.... thats about it IMO (sorry- hope I don't offend anyone with that viewpoint) unless you are catholic then you could add Bishop Challoner in Kings Heath and St Paul's Girls' in Ladywood.

dilemma456 Sat 13-Jun-09 22:57:07

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dilemma456 Sat 13-Jun-09 22:59:41

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cat64 Sun 14-Jun-09 00:09:07

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piscesmoon Sun 14-Jun-09 07:54:22

It all sounds terribly depressing to me. What happens to childhood if you have to start tutoring and drilling your DC so early in life to get the 'right' school? It all gets like Japan where you have to get into the 'right' kindergarten or you have blown your chances of the 'right' university. Maybe the DC in question isn't even suited to a highly academic education.

notanidea Sun 14-Jun-09 08:00:09

Thanks everyone. It is not easy is it?? Do grammar school provide other extra curricular provisions compared to an independant school.I dont want my DDs to be in a factory which just produces results. All the schools talk about their sats/gsce/a level results but no where I can find the destination of the a level students- which uni and what course they went to.IMO that says more about the school than the statistics they give esp if they are all selective schools ie., they all already have reasonably bright( coached or uncoached) children.
waffling a lot.............need some caffeine to clear the thoughts grin

piscesmoon Sun 14-Jun-09 09:54:44

The only way to find out about schools is to get a list of ones you think are possible and visit them on a normal working day.

Go for one where you think your DC will be happy and fit in. If she is academic it will soon show up. If it seems as though the selective route would suit her I would get some practise papers and/or possibly a tutor, in year6 and do the exams. If she needs to be drilled from year 4 then she will struggle when she gets there.
Getting into the school is only the start and not the end-she has to cope with all the other really bright DCs.

It doesn't really matter where they go to after school-your DD might want to be a hairdresser or landscape gardener or children's book illustrator for all you know and not a doctor or lawyer etc.
I don't agree with mapping DCs lives out and then getting disappointed if they don't achieve it.

Put opportunities her way but don't push her into them-there is a big difference.

Selective schools are wonderful for the academic with high IQs-they are not wonderful for the average or slightly above average. Most of the population are average-if everyone had an IQ of 130 that would be the new 100.
Give her all your support but wait and see. Some DCs are late developers and shine after the age of 11yrs-it is never too late.

notanidea Sun 14-Jun-09 13:39:32

Cant agree with you pm, every child has only one childhood- it should be happy and I dont think that talking to our friends even if we move to birmingham we will tutor her but propably would make her take the exams with whatever I can teach at home. She is bright but there will always be brighter children than her. Cant see the point in wasting the next 3-4 years of her life getting coached.She wants to be a musician when she grows up (bearing in mind she is only 8 and these things cahnge) I will have to find a school which will help her to develop her interest rather than aiming for the exam results.Thanks again for everyone.

fembear Sun 14-Jun-09 14:36:05

notanidea: I don't think that you quite understand the situation. The Biringham Grammars are consistently amongst the best-performing schools in the whole country: everybody in the West Midlands wants their kid to go there. Hence they are super super-selective. Unless your child is comfortably in the top 5% and a very quick worker, you don't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting in.
Best to err on the safe side and get into a nice catchment. If you do then decide to try for the Grammars you will need coaching because everyone else does it.

oneofakind Sun 14-Jun-09 15:11:28

coaching is very much the norm for children sitting the 11+ exams in brum (my sisters daughter was coached for two years prior - offered place at ke camp hill). It is very difficult for a child to understand the format of these exams without prior knowledge of the system. look at the 11 plus exam website for parent forums on grammar and independant school entry in Brum (its a bit scary btw!).

notanidea Sun 14-Jun-09 16:14:18

I should accept it is a different world and it is scarey to read the eleven plus forumshockDo people really go to such an extent to get a school place (I was not educated in this country)Maybe it is easier to work on DH not to take the job in Brumgrin than to compete with the other parents.

cat64 Sun 14-Jun-09 16:15:42

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piscesmoon Sun 14-Jun-09 16:56:47

Grammar schools are not the best schools, they are merely the best for the highly intelligent, academic DC.
If your DC isn't in the top 5% of the population in terms of IQ you are not doing them a service by drilling them to pass an exam. If they are in the top 5% then some tutoring in exam technique is a good idea.
There are lots of non selective good state schools.
DCs can be utterly miserable at the wrong school-there is no point in putting a square peg in a round hole just because you want your DC to be very clever-most DCs are average.

Littlefish Sun 14-Jun-09 19:08:02

Depending on whereabouts in Brum he is based, there is an excellent school in Hagley, a large village/small town which is about 20 minutes from Birmingham. It gets very good results - might be worth googling.

Haybridge School results

Littlefish Sun 14-Jun-09 19:10:06

Sorry - forgot to say that it's a non-selective State School, but you need to live in catchment to stand a chance of getting a place.

CaptainNancy Sun 14-Jun-09 19:52:44

I certainly wouldn't advocate hours and hours of tuition, but without at least a grounding in examination technique, as fembear says, she has not got a chance of getting in. (I think I was too oblique in my post!)
That is easy to do though, and I think from easter Y5 until the entrance exams (november) would be plenty of time for familiarity.

If she is a keen musician then Blue Coat is your school to go for for prep.

Destinations are very interesting, as you say- they are available, but you need to contact each individual school to get them- they will provide them IME. KE's destinations (independent and the state grammars) are excellent- which is one of the many reasons so many parents want their offspring to get in.

Thank you dilemma for reminding me... Hall Green is a very good school, as is Ninestiles in similar area- was concentrating on Edgbaston blush. Swanshurst is a good school atm, though it is huge- 2000 girls! As littlefish says- surrounding areas have good schools too- Arden and Kingshurst Technology college in Solihull; Earls in Halesowen; King Charles in Kidderminster; Old Swinford Hospital school; Haybridge in Hagley. Independents are Bromsgrove, and I didn't include The Priory and St George's as they are not selective (I think?).

Look on the schools' websites for a feel of the extra-curricular activities girls are taking part in- there is a very wide range out there. Certainly all the selectives offer a broad spectrum with something to appeal to anyone- as cat64 says.

Dare I ask why DD2 will not be having an independent education?

CaptainNancy Sun 14-Jun-09 19:54:48

Oh- also forgot to mention- if she is bright enough to get into KE High (the independent, not the state grammars) then fees are actually on a sliding scale according to income- the lowest fees being £37 per year. (there is info on the foundation's website that I previously linked to)

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