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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:51 pm 
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Hello!

I'm looking for advice on private schools in Birmingham at the senior school level. Can anyone advise me as to how difficult it is to get into the foĺlowing schools from a state primary and whether tutoring is generally required:

Ehs
Solihull school
Kehs
Highclare
Lichfield cathedral


Also if anyone has experience of these schools in terms of culture that would be really useful as we are new to it all and would really appreciate some guidance.

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:49 pm 
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I think if your DD could pass 11+ exam, most likely is she could get into most of the independent schools you listed above. KEHS is probably the hardest to get in from the lot. Whether tutoring or DIY is up to you, but generally her reading and math level should get to year 6/7 standard before the exam. And writing as well if one is aiming for KEHS.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:48 pm
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The independent school exams are very different to the 11+ the English is more creative writing essay type and the maths is more problem solving. Time constraints are not that tough in the independent school tests, I would suggest you focus on essay writing as that is something the 11+ doesn’t require. Don’t think you need tutoring as such for these type of tests lots of material like past papers on line from other private schools which you can access and try. Good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:50 pm 
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There is no entrance test as such for Highclare as it is none selective. Your child would sit a paper to assess their general level of education.

There is a headteacher's scholarship awarded each year based on academic performance (and I can't remember if there are bursaries/and or scholarships for music, sport etc).

Generally, the main criteria is whether you can meet the fees. There would be an assessment and interview, aling with school reports, to check the school is also a good fit for both parties.

I would also look at distance. The schools you listed are in different areas. Please also consider transport as a key factor.

Independents vary so please look around and decide what your child wants. It may be that they love drama or music and that one school caters better for this.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:24 pm 
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This is my perception of the following:

Ehs - I have no inside experience of this school, but it seemed lovely on open day, I know one or two children who are really happy there. The exam is more SATS style than 11 plus, so not so time pressured. They offer scholarships from what I understand upto 50%. I noticed their percentage of 9 scores at GCSE was 20% which is around the same as Sutton Girls and Vesey, so they must really be stretching the top. Considering they do not seem to be highly selective, results look outstanding. Also latin on curriculum. Edgbaston also do an interview. I was particularly impressed with their amazing art block- three floors of art, ceramic on one floor, the fine art on the next floor, then digital art suite full of Apple Macs on the top floor. It’s a lovely facility.

Solihull school - Again, no inside experience, but again I know a few children who are happy there. Results all look good. It is more selective than some other private schools, they seem to need to be above average to gain a place (I am guessing standardized gl scores of around 110ish? But I am guessing based on children I know who have gained places and not gained places). Personally I didn't love it on open day, as I felt the culture was a little too 'fun' rather than all about focused learning, but that was my guess and perception, and this may suit others children anyway). Their results are very good so they must be doing something right.

Kehs - results are outstanding, from what I gather it is slightly easier to get into than grammar but still very selective (I know quite a few people who passed who did not get grammar, but I have also heard of fairly high achievers not gaining places too so I think the standard is high for potential). It is very hard from what I gather to get a scholarship. I think those who are aiming for 260+ on grammar will possibly get scholarships. Facilities are amazing in all departments. They have classics and latin on curriculum too which I like. I loved the school and the curriculum. Again, no inside experience, but I know of a few children that are happy there. Academically amongst the very top in the country and they get a high percentage into oxbridge, medicine, law etc. Fees are extremely good value for the calibre of School it is, and it’s only 25 pounds admin fee to take the exam. 1 in 4 places assisted, and it is apparently a great mix of backgrounds. They also mix assisted places with scholarships too, I imagine these are extremely hard to get. Apparently even the teachers don’t get to to know who is on an assisted place. Don’t let its academic reputation put you off- they look for potential and not just achievement.

Highclare - we had to take our child out of here in the juniors. In our experience it was of a low standard and the culture not very encouraging or positive (except children with poor behaviour seem to be rewarded). I know numerous people with children in the school who are not happy with the school and many who have removed their children. Academically it is at the bottom of your list, and Arthur terry had a higher percentage last year of 9-7s at GCSE A*-As at A Level and A*-Bs at A level with much larger classes. I would personally try a good state school in the first instance before moving to here as a last resort. From what I gather (from what a number of parents have told me), the seniors suggest to prospective parents every year they are filling up places quickly, but I have never known anyone not get a place. They had an ISI regulatory compliance inspection in 2018, and did not meet some of the 2014 standards for safeguarding, welfare, leadership and management (all other schools mentioned here met all standards). They maybe meeting them now.

Lichfield cathedral - I have no experience or recommendations of it here but 2018 results at the top end were generally higher than Highclare, but significantly lower than EHS. Worth applying for a scholarship if they have a talent or skill, even if you don't feel they are at the very top- they can only say no! and they might say yes.

May be worth considering St Martins in Solihull too - sounds like it is not as academically selective as Solihull, but results look very good for a less selective school. All girls. Again, I don't have any inside experience of this school but looks very nice.
Also, Twycross House School, mixed school, seemed very good and more academic, like Solihull, but traditional.
Hydesville Tower, mixed up to year 11, looked lovely when I visited there for a drama event- the children were so well mannered there and it has a lovely old fashioned but relaxed feel (and they seem to be very on top of the numbers/progress/monitoring from a very young age, even publishing their average gl scores from year 1 to 6, and EYFS data too, which I think is so important and I really like the transparency).

Worth noting that many of these schools take the igcse instead of the gcse, some say because it is easier to get higher grades (I read somewhere recently that there are more top grades given out for igcse than gcse, but then you have to remember its only private schools who take the exam too). So cant always compare private results to state grammar who are not allowed to take the igcse.

Again, all my own perception, I hope it helps.


Last edited by MathsMonster on Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:51 pm
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I did this comparison for myself and thought I'd share in case useful (just don't forget that highly selective schools results will always be higher as they selected the highest achievers):

2018 Percentages of 9 grades by school:
Sutton Girls 22
Bishop Vesey 19
Camp Hill Girls 46
Camp Hill Boys 44
Handsworth Girls 24
Queen Marys High Not available
Arthur Terry not published
KEHS 56
EHS 20
KES not available
Solihull not published
Highclare not published
Lichfield Cathedral 16
St Martins not available
Twycross House School 30

2018 GCSE 9-7 Percentages
Sutton Girls 79
Bishop Vesey 70
Camp Hill Girls 90
Camp Hill Boys 83
Handsworth Girls 73
Queen Marys High not available
Arthur Terry over 25
KEHS 92
EHS 58
KES 85
Solihull not available but likely to be around 70 based on what they publish (they publish every individual subject, and Maths is 75%, English is 63%)
Highclare 24
Hydesville Tower 48
Lichfield Cathedral 38
St Martins 63
Twycross House School 72

Note: independent schools are able to take the 'igcses' which means their results are not necessarily comparable to state school results, some argue igcses sometimes opted for where grades will be better (generally more high grades are awarded at igcse than gcse).

2018 A Level comparisons (%A*-A, %A*-B)
Sutton Girls 46, 78
Bishop Vesey 55, 83
Camp Hill Girls 47, 76
Camp Hill Boys 67, 89
Handsworth Girls 38, 68
Queen Marys High not available- seems to be a mistake on web site.
Arthur Terry almost 20%, almost 50%
KEHS 75, 91
EHS 32, 57
KES 75, 90
Solihull 50, 80
Highclare 16, 38
Lichfield Cathedral 17, 52
St Martins 25, 65
Twycross House School 43, 72
Hydesville No sixth form

Worth noting private classes for A Level are usually really small compared to grammar schools.

Hope this helps too.


Last edited by MathsMonster on Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:50 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:51 pm
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Forgot to mention, depending on where you are Twycross School is worth a look too- its a lovely smallish independent school, with a real private school feel and great curriculum. They don't advertise, and they don't need to. They teach in specialist subjects from about age 7/8 in their juniors. I've added their results above too for comparison.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:48 pm
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This is very informative MathsMonster and well worth a sticky for future parents well done collating all that info!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:51 pm
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Inner Chimp wrote:
This is very informative MathsMonster and well worth a sticky for future parents well done collating all that info!


Thank you :-)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:20 am
Posts: 28
MathsMonster wrote:
This is my perception of the following:

Ehs - I have no inside experience of this school, but it seemed lovely on open day, I know one or two children who are really happy there. The exam is more SATS style than 11 plus, so not so time pressured. They offer scholarships from what I understand upto 50%. I noticed their percentage of 9 scores at GCSE was 20% which is around the same as Sutton Girls and Vesey, so they must really be stretching the top. Considering they do not seem to be highly selective, results look outstanding. Also latin on curriculum. Edgbaston also do an interview. I was particularly impressed with their amazing art block- three floors of art, ceramic on one floor, the fine art on the next floor, then digital art suite full of Apple Macs on the top floor. It’s a lovely facility.

Solihull school - Again, no inside experience, but again I know a few children who are happy there. Results all look good. It is more selective than some other private schools, they seem to need to be above average to gain a place (I am guessing standardized gl scores of around 110ish? But I am guessing based on children I know who have gained places and not gained places). Personally I didn't love it on open day, as I felt the culture was a little too 'fun' rather than all about focused learning, but that was my guess and perception, and this may suit others children anyway). Their results are very good so they must be doing something right.

Kehs - results are outstanding, from what I gather it is slightly easier to get into than grammar but still very selective (I know quite a few people who passed who did not get grammar, but I have also heard of fairly high achievers not gaining places too so I think the standard is high for potential). It is very hard from what I gather to get a scholarship. I think those who are aiming for 260+ on grammar will possibly get scholarships. Facilities are amazing in all departments. They have classics and latin on curriculum too which I like. I loved the school and the curriculum. Again, no inside experience, but I know of a few children that are happy there. Academically amongst the very top in the country and they get a high percentage into oxbridge, medicine, law etc. Fees are extremely good value for the calibre of School it is, and it’s only 25 pounds admin fee to take the exam. 1 in 4 places assisted, and it is apparently a great mix of backgrounds. They also mix assisted places with scholarships too, I imagine these are extremely hard to get. Apparently even the teachers don’t get to to know who is on an assisted place. Don’t let its academic reputation put you off- they look for potential and not just achievement.

Highclare - we had to take our child out of here in the juniors. In our experience it was of a low standard and the culture not very encouraging or positive (except children with poor behaviour seem to be rewarded). I know numerous people with children in the school who are not happy with the school and many who have removed their children. Academically it is at the bottom of your list, and Arthur terry had a higher percentage last year of 9-7s at GCSE A*-As at A Level and A*-Bs at A level with much larger classes. I would personally try a good state school in the first instance before moving to here as a last resort. From what I gather (from what a number of parents have told me), the seniors suggest to prospective parents every year they are filling up places quickly, but I have never known anyone not get a place. They had an ISI regulatory compliance inspection in 2018, and did not meet some of the 2014 standards for safeguarding, welfare, leadership and management (all other schools mentioned here met all standards). They maybe meeting them now.

Lichfield cathedral - I have no experience or recommendations of it here but 2018 results at the top end were generally higher than Highclare, but significantly lower than EHS. Worth applying for a scholarship if they have a talent or skill, even if you don't feel they are at the very top- they can only say no! and they might say yes.

May be worth considering St Martins in Solihull too - sounds like it is not as academically selective as Solihull, but results look very good for a less selective school. All girls. Again, I don't have any inside experience of this school but looks very nice.
Also, Twycross House School, mixed school, seemed very good and more academic, like Solihull, but traditional.
Hydesville Tower, mixed up to year 11, looked lovely when I visited there for a drama event- the children were so well mannered there and it has a lovely old fashioned but relaxed feel (and they seem to be very on top of the numbers/progress/monitoring from a very young age, even publishing their average gl scores from year 1 to 6, and EYFS data too, which I think is so important and I really like the transparency).

Worth noting that many of these schools take the igcse instead of the gcse, some say because it is easier to get higher grades (I read somewhere recently that there are more top grades given out for igcse than gcse, but then you have to remember its only private schools who take the exam too). So cant always compare private results to state grammar who are not allowed to take the igcse.

Again, all my own perception, I hope it helps.


THANK YOU for this post, very informative! Really appreciate the effort.


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