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6th Form decisions: King Edward Stourbridge vs King Edwards Five Ways

(21 Posts)
Sammy3 Mon 24-Mar-14 00:28:13

My DS has been offered places at both King Edward Stourbridge 6th form college & King Edwards Five Ways (grammar) 6th form. His main focus is studying History & Classical Civilisation. He's accepted both offers of course but is leaning towards Stourbridge since students are treated more like uni students, i.e. no dress code & only need to come in for lectures, etc. I'm hoping he'll judge them each on the taster days but I was wondering if anyone here had a DC who attends/attended either school & could give their opinion. He's hoping to do well enough to study History at Oxbridge or Durham so I'm thinking Five Ways is more likely to get him there but could be wrong.

flourypotato Mon 24-Mar-14 09:57:18

KEFW used to be a specialist school for Humanities. I don't know if it still is; I can't see it on the website.
The difference in size is quite striking: 200/year compared to 700/year. If he wants to fight against all-comers for Oxbridge then the bigger cohort might be the way to go.
I know some DC who have been to KEFW. None of them were particularly effusive about it. I know someone who got a sixth form place, struggled to settle and was kicked out after Y12.
KES is based in a fairly buzzy little town with important things like coffee shops and sandwich shops and loads of charity shops for the grungy student look. KEFW is in the middle of nowhere. Transport to both of them is fairly rubbish but KES is slightly better.
I vaguely know the Director of Sixth Form at KEFW, she is a nice lady. According to the website, they actually have a post called 'Oxbridge Coordinator'.
At this stage, the academic reputation of the school is not so important - it is down to your DS how well he does.

eddiemairswife Mon 24-Mar-14 10:14:22

Grandson at Stourbridge. He has really enjoyed it and they seem very clued up with respect to advising students about University, unlike his previous school's VIth form.

Sammy3 Mon 24-Mar-14 11:05:54

Thanks flourypotato & eddiemairswife. Sounds like maybe KES is the one for him. He did prefer the location as well.

nonameisgoodname Mon 24-Mar-14 11:10:30

My god-son was head boy at kefw. I know a lot of young people who have loved it there and thrived. However, his sister chose to go to Stourbridge as she liked the shops nearby.

flourypotato Mon 24-Mar-14 11:34:29

If you join an existing school for sixth form you will always be a blow-in. At KES everybody is new together and all will have the same chance to be - for example - head boy. There will be friendship groups which were established at previous schools but as far as the teachers are concerned they are all equal.

Sammy3 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:19:47

He'll be going by bus since we don't live near to either school. He's good at meeting new people but obviously established friendship groups sometimes make that difficult so I think that's another plus for KES then as more people will be in the same boat.

Sammy3 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:21:29

I should have mentioned that he's worried that grammar school kids might be a little snobbish. That's probably an unfounded fear though.

flourypotato Mon 24-Mar-14 17:48:24

From my experience, the grammar school kids aren't snobbish but the school itself is. They act like they are doing you the biggest favour in the world by allowing you in.

flourypotato Mon 24-Mar-14 20:52:38

Daft question: has he looked at the History syllabuses in detail. History is such a variable subject and what is covered varies so much from exam board to exam board.
I see that KES actually offers two different History A Levels (C16/C17 and C19/C20).
I can't see what KEFW offer - their website is not very useful. Did I mention how unhelpful and up its own backside the school is. FWIW I see that they are currently advertising for a new Subject Leader for History.

Sammy3 Tue 25-Mar-14 12:15:40

Floury, yes he's looked in detail at both schools' courses & discussed it with them at their open days. He was more interested in the one at KES but was happy that both covered Russian history. He's doing Classical Civilisation as well since ancient history is his favourite. That was the reason he looked outside his school's 6th form since they don't offer it. He was more impressed with the teacher he spoke to at KES. But, then, the students he spoke to at KEFW seemed more knowledgeable & articulate. Hmmm, I think that, on the taster day, if the school does come across as you mentioned, that will make his mind up against them.

Thanks for all if your advice. It's been very helpful.

Sammy3 Tue 25-Mar-14 12:20:23

Should have said he's more interested in the modern history one at KES. The KEFW one sort of covers some bits of both KES courses.

RedVW Tue 25-Mar-14 13:31:16

Floury , are you able to share why you think "KEFW is unhelpful, up it's own backside and snobbish"?

flourypotato Tue 25-Mar-14 19:59:07

To be fair to them I think it is a self defence mechanism. They are vastly oversubscribed and probably find it a logistical nightmare sifting through all the applications. They have no need to be accommodating because that would only encourage even more applicants.

BackforGood Wed 26-Mar-14 21:00:14

I don't know anything about KE Stourbridge, but I have heard over and over and over again how unforgiving and unsupportive KEFW are for 6th formers. You hear of so many people not being allowed to complete their course, because their first year grades were not as good as they hoped. Not at all the way a 6th form should be treating vulnerable pupils, IMVHO.

Sammy3 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:57:15

That's a shame. I'd have thought they'd be very supportive of the few that do get in, considering the fact that have to have a lot of potential in their selected subjects to be offered a place.

flourypotato Thu 27-Mar-14 10:27:41

I get the feeling that if you are a round-shaped peg that fits into their round-shaped hole then it's a great school. If you are a square-shaped peg they try to shave your corners off. If that doesn't work you are thrown out of the toybox.

Sammy3 Mon 27-Apr-15 22:33:42

Just thought I'd update this thread for anyone who might be thinking of KES (aka KEDST) in future. DS decided on KES after the taster days at each 6th form. Although he met one very friendly person, he said he felt like an outsider at KEFW so, having included that in weighing them up, he went for KES. He's in lower sixth there now and loves it. He's made lots of friends and has really matured in taking responsibility for his education. I think it is good preparation for uni and becoming an adult in general, since it is very different to being in a school. Also, I think the teaching is far better than at his school but I suppose I'll find out for sure when he sits his AS exams and gets his results. smile

I think he'd have liked KEFW and done well there, but KES was more suitable for him.

flourypotato Tue 28-Apr-15 08:16:46

It's such a worry when you have to choose a new educational establishment - I'm glad that it worked out.
Now you have to go through it all again for university!grin

Supercal12 Fri 10-Mar-17 01:11:03

IS THERE any evidence to support this statement that is on the Stourbridge's 6th Fom College website:-'VI School has one of the strongest and ... with others going on to study Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at etc etc .Because I can't find any source that the College could have used for verification.

flourypotato Fri 10-Mar-17 08:32:16

has one of the strongest ...

I can't find that quotation on the website. I can't comment on it because it is incomplete - strongest compared to what?
I've found a quote where they say "King Edward VI College is the top performing sixth form college in the Midlands and is currently ranked 6th in the UK for A levels amongst sixth form colleges." You note that they are comparing themselves to sixth form colleges, not all KS5 providers.
They are probably wording things to make themselves sound good. Everybody does. However, it doesn't detract from the fact that they do get good results and it's somewhere to consider, if the sheer size of it doesn't put you off. It's big because there isn't much competition - not many schools in the area have a sixth form.

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