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Secondary Schools south of Birmingham

(23 Posts)
Dangermouse1104 Fri 08-Nov-13 17:27:30

Hello all,
Totally new to MN so apologies if I get my acronyms in a twist!
My DH's job is possibly relocating to Birmingham Airport (BHX). I have a few questions I would like to ask with regards to schools and places to live.
We would need to be within 40 minutes drive from the Airport, therefore any suggestions of possible towns and villages would be fab.

We have 3 DS (that is 3 sons isn't it?). Not sure if three different school runs is possible; one very academic year 12 just started AS a year early ( not bragging - frankly amazed shock, an academically average, rugby playing Year 8 and a year 7 who is a happy dyslexic, who is not too keen on schools anyway. State schools preferred but would consider reasonable private (is that an oxymoron?) Any advice on good schools and catchment areas would be greatly appreciated.

Will be visiting the area in the next month or so any suggestions to help narrow down the search would be most welcome. Hopefully in time to go to the German Christmas market.

Thank you all so much in advance

creamteas Fri 08-Nov-13 17:59:07

The Airport is right on the outskirts of Birmingham, so Coventry, Solihull, Kenilworth are easier to reach than some areas in Birmingham itself. Lots of villages as well. Do you want rural or town/city location?

Parts of Warwickshire have a grammar school system and there are other grammar's in Birmingham itself. The other areas are comprehensive. What system are you thinking of?

There are probably at least 100 secondary schools within a 40 mile radius, so need a bit more to go on grin

BackforGood Fri 08-Nov-13 18:04:20

Agree with Cream Teas - follow the M42 round to the West and you cover all sorts of SW Bham, then Worcestershire, you can go East, or not use the M42 at all and go South, or off into quite a lot of Bham in 40mins, and there's 100s of school just in Bham, before you start getting to all the other places. grin

Dancingdreamer Fri 08-Nov-13 22:26:05

Knowing this area well I suggest if you want any school, private, grammar or state that you check with local authorities to see which schools have vacancies before deciding where to live. Know from experience that trying to get kids into good state schools, particularly senior schools, in this area can be almost impossible.

Is your eldest going into 6th form next Sept? Worth trying the grammar schools (in Birmingham, Stratford or Worcs) for a very bright child for 6th form as they do have new intake then.

senua Fri 08-Nov-13 23:00:14

Try looking at the Solihull LEA: it is distinct from the Birmingham LEA. Keep to the south of the area - Solihull and Knowle are very naice; Chelmsley Wood is, erm, Chelmsley Wood.
If you are thinking of Warwickshire, watch out for the HS2 route.

Dangermouse1104 Sat 09-Nov-13 13:47:57

Thank you all for the replies - gotta dash at the mo , but will post more details later. Im beginning to realise the enormity of the situation !!

Tinks313 Sat 09-Nov-13 16:08:08


There are some good state schools in Sutton Coldfield/Four Oaks, which is 30 to 40min drive to the airport. There is also a Grammar school. As previously said the problem you are likely to find is that they are generally oversubscribed.

Dinkydoos Sat 09-Nov-13 16:14:00

Definitely look at Solihull, as most secondaries there have outstanding status, and Langley is ESP good for a whole breadth of ability, as v high achievers there as well as a SEN unit.
Love the kings Heath Moseley area of brum, but secondaries v problematic unless you get into the King EDward system which is v hard.
Sorry this is rushed, pm me if need more info

losingtrust Sat 09-Nov-13 18:01:20

Move to Knowle which is close by and get them to Arden which is good for academics and SEN kids. Great reputation. Nice village. Alternatively Solihull. Tudor Grange or King Edwards GS Birmingham but not for SEN as Alderbrook is better. If catholic ST Peters good for academic and SEN.

losingtrust Sat 09-Nov-13 18:05:41

Don't bother with private in Solihull. The State schools do good in the South of the Borough. Also the facilities for teenagers in Solihull and public transport (train to London from Solihull Station one hour and ten mins) so good. Am moving there next week from North Worcs for that reason. Kids already in school there.

losingtrust Sat 09-Nov-13 18:07:14

Also agree on Langley.

losingtrust Sat 09-Nov-13 18:10:05

Not all schools play rugby there but there are some great rugby clubs round for youngsters. Tudor Grange, and St Peter's definitely play rugby and think Alderbrook do too.

Dancingdreamer Sat 09-Nov-13 21:51:03

Tudor Grange, Arden, Alderbrook in Solihull - would be surprised if not full for older children. Know few people who have tried to get into these in later school years only to be offered Chemsley Wood schools. Langley well liked but not got such good academic results as Arden or Tudor Grange. However, still unlikely to have places. Always worth a try once you have an address but last person I knew ended up having to travel miles out of area for senior school place.

No point in trying for Solihull School as usually don't take mid term (excellent private school with the most fantastic facilities). Could try for Sept but only have 1 or 2 places and I know very bright children who have been rejected simply because demand for places is so high. If got in there the education is superb and the kids are incredibly polite, well rounded and confident.

If Catholic, might have chance at St Peters, the catholic school.

Dangermouse1104 Sun 10-Nov-13 12:24:12

I am totally overwhelmed by you all taking the time to reply - Thank you!

losingtrust - have looked at Knowle and Arden seems to tick a lot of boxes for me - are there any areas in particular?
We currently live in Jersey so the admission system is slightly different to the UK, I understand I need to apply to the LEA and list the schools I would prefer - but how do catchment areas come into it? Dancingbear you seem to have a lot of experience with this - can you advise?
In year admissions seem particularly problematic- ideally we would all move at the same time but it may be possible for DH to move first and the rest of us follow Sept 14.
The whole thing is frankly terrifying and daunting confused

losingtrust Sun 10-Nov-13 16:52:57

Anywhere in Knowle is fine. It is quite expensive but Bentley Heath a good area to look at and within Arden catchment. If you don't get into Arden you are close enough to get into Woodrush in Hollywood which is less popular but still 81% A-Cs including Maths and English or Light Hall which is about 64%. All within easy reach of Bentley Heath. A lot of kids go on to Solihull Sixth Form College from any of the schools in Solihull although Arden has its own sixth form as does Woodrush. You are also close there to the Kenilworth and Balsall Common schools which are good and very close to the airport.

losingtrust Sun 10-Nov-13 16:56:02

To be honest there is no school round there that I would have any concerns with. Even the ones in North Solihull. A lot of money is going into these schools - far more than in the South and there will be pressure for returns on those schools.

Dancingdreamer Sun 10-Nov-13 20:38:05

Wouldn't touch Light Hall these days. From friends' experience gone down hill rapidly in last couple of years. Henley in Arden High school would be better option from Knowle or Dorridge.

jordi77 Wed 27-Nov-13 10:20:21

Hello all, first message at mumsnet... don't expect any acronyms from me! ;)

We are a couple with a almost 3 year old. We are thinking on moving from where we are, in St. Neots to Solihull, where we think there is more going on for us, more shops, more entertainment, more things to visit, etc. and also and most important there seems to be very good Primary and Secondary Schools in Solihull, but here are my questions...

1) We would love that our son can get to the Tudor Grange, we would need to move to the catchment are for sure (with the admissions policy change... it is going to be hard to get into it, unless you are in the catchment area, don't you think?)

2) Is it really worth the Tudor Grange? I mean... it is a great performer, but are kids happy going there? I remember I went to a good school, but the pressure I was in... I really did not like it... so I am worried that at Tudor might happen the same...

3) We preferred the Tudor against the Arden because the location of the Tudor seems more attractive than Knowle... what do you think? it is closer to the centre, parks, leisure centres...

4) The other option would be the Alderbrook or Langsley... which are lower in performance but seem to be still good...

I am mostly interested in our boy to be happy at school, I would hate to hear every morning that he does not want to go to school...

I will be expecting your comments!!!


Dancingdreamer Wed 27-Nov-13 22:52:29

Feedback I have heard is Tudor Grange has lots of petty rules but that could be school trying to enforce high standards. The kids I have met however don't speak so enthusiastically about the school compared to Alderbrook or Arden.

Kids at Arden seem happy and tend to do well. Some low level disruption in classes but think that is common in lots of schools. All people I know chose Arden over Tudor Grange if that helps.

Whilst Alderbrook doesn't get such good grades, generally the kids seem to like the school especially if enjoy dance and performing arts.

Best school for infants if you like Solihull town centre is St Alphege's. Tudor Grange love kids from this school as they are really well ahead academically. Tudor Grange tried to give priority to St Alphege children (make it an official feeder school) but after complaints did not pursue this. Suspect however that as an academy they will find some way to give them an advantage.

hench Thu 28-Nov-13 22:54:06

Dangermouse how are you doing with this? I think your biggest difficulty will be your eldest ds, since he is quite a way into A levels by now and you will need to find a school that not only has space but has spaces in all his subject classes that work with their timetable and also ideally that teaches the same syllabuses for each subject and in the same order. That may well prove to be insurmountable. If he was able to stay where he is until the end of the academic year it is a bit easier to move between year 12 and 13, but still not ideal by any stretch. It would be easiest to restart year 12 next year, especially as he is already ahead, but he may not like the idea of that and it still leaves the issue of what he does with the remainder of this year.

Dangermouse1104 Sun 23-Mar-14 15:55:03

Thank you all so much for your time and considered replies I really appreciate it. Looking at rental around Knowle and applying to Solihull school admissions with 1. Arden 2. Tudor Grange but not sure for 3?
Hench I think you are right about eldest restarting his Alevels ( hope it's possible!). So story so far is ...looking for rental with view to buying with boys starting wonderful new schools in September 2015 - what can possibly go wrong hmm
Any hints tips for applications and estate agents most welcome too. TIA x

Parentingisgreat Sun 27-Apr-14 23:04:21

I strongly disagree with the negative post previously mentioned! Light Hall is a great school and really looks after pupils well. Pupils are generally very decent, kind and considerate. There are academic after school clubs offered pretty much every day by every department, numerous arts and sports clubs and the teaching is very good. My child is very happy there and I,d heartily recommend Light Hall to any parent.

Fair1972 Sat 20-Jun-15 15:08:08

My children go to Tudor Grange and I have found it to be excellent. If you are lucky enough to be in the catchment area then you should definitely send your children there. I looked at other schools in Solihull, including Arden and Alderbrook, but was very impressed with Tudor Grange and have not been disappointed.

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