An all-girls' day school with an outstanding reputation for supporting the brightest and the best of students with its challenging UK education.
This single-sex day school in Birmingham is one of the top performing senior schools in the UK. Its community of around 850 students come from a wide range of backgrounds from all over Birmingham and the West Midlands, with over 70% of students from non-white British families.
The school was founded in 1552 by King Edward VI and is part of a family of schools in the city including the independent King Edward School for Boys and five King Edward grammar schools. KEHS shares a campus with its sister school, King Edward's School, Birmingham (KES), and there are close ties between the schools that help to close any gender divide.
Whilst it excels academically, it is not seen as an exam factory, and parents praise the school for producing well-rounded young women. It is committed to attracting the brightest of girls, regardless of their financial circumstances or backgrounds, by offering over 25 assisted places every year.
KEHS has a reputation for academic excellence. It’s a selective and high-achieving school with a tough admissions process and a diverse community of students; girls here need to have a strong work ethic, be intellectually curious – but also have the enthusiasm to give plenty of non-academic and creative activities a go.
The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum that sticks to the National curriculum for England (unlike KES which moved to the IB Diploma in 2010). There’s a wide range of subjects at GCSE level with an even wider choice of A Levels in the Sixth Form.
Girls take 10 subjects at GCSE, and options include art and design, design and technology, drama, geography, French, German, history, Latin, Mandarin, music, religious studies, PE, computing and Spanish. Students can also study an extra GCSE in Additional Mathematics or Greek GCSE outside of the normal timetable.
There’s a dedicated Sixth Form, with private study areas, a computer suite and a common room, which plays a key role in encouraging independent learning during the girls’ last two years – which is great preparation for university. Additional A Level options include politics, economics and psychology.
Sports facilities here are impressive. As well as eight rugby pitches, four cricket pitches, three Astro hockey pitches, five tennis courts, a rifle range, an athletics track and seven artificial surfaced cricket nets. KEHS was most recently given a huge sporting boost with the opening of its indoor sports centre complete with swimming pool. Such is the quality of its sporting provision, that KEHS was used as a training venue for rhythmic gymnastics, discus and hammer teams for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Girls have a very wide choice of different sports to play in as part of the curriculum and in after-school clubs including cricket, fencing, football, gymnastics, hockey, indoor rowing, kickboxing, lifesaving, netball, cheerleading and ultimate frisbee. It's great to see girls being offered some traditionally male-only sports too. With such breadth of sports, students can choose to compete or play for fun in house competitions; dance is hugely popular at KEHS, with many girls taking part in dance rehearsals at lunchtime and after school.
The school’s impressive Performing Arts Centre has a 400-seater concert hall, 120-seater studio theatre, a dance studio, music technology rooms and even a rock room. It's shared with KES. There’s plenty of opportunity to explore the creative arts here – whether as part of the curriculum through to I/GCSE and A Levels, or in extra-curricular clubs.
There are 20-plus productions every year, many bringing girls together with boys from KES, and an annual programme of around 40 concerts and recitals. There is an incredible variety in how students perform here; several activities take students out to showcase their talents in the community.
KEHS is one of the highest performing independent schools in the country; if you are choosing a school based on achievement at A Level, then this school is in the UK’s top 10.
2022 A Level results: In the cohort of 92 students, 66% of grades were A*, 97% were A*-A, and 100% were A*-B – which is an outstanding set of results.
2022 GCSE results: In the cohort of 92 students, 64.5% of grades were 9s, 84% were 9-8s, and 95% were 9-7s – which is also an outstanding set of results.
The school has a strong track record of sending a small number of students to Oxbridge (there were six in 2022) and, such is the calibre of students here, that many received offers to study at top London and Russell Group universities (KCL, UCL, LSE, Imperial, University of London). The largest number of students leaving KEHS go on to study medicine, dentistry, economics and history.
KEHS has an enviable campus on a 50-acre site next to the University of Birmingham. The school’s original 1930s buildings stand alongside modern facilities including the performing arts centre and science labs, a Modern Languages Department and Sixth Form Centre.
The main points of entry are 11+ (Year 7) and 13+ (Year 9), and all students sit three one-hour papers in English, mathematics and verbal reasoning, set by the school. KEHS’ advice is “do not seek additional tuition for the examination”; it’s sensible advice as ‘hot-housing' your child to prepare for exams may mean they struggle later on if offered a place at the school and cannot keep up with the pace of learning.
Applications are now open for 2023 entry.
Annual tuition fees are £15,129. As well as assisted places, the school offers academic and music scholarships, which range in value from 5% to 50% of the annual school fees.
Good for: This is an ideal school for confident, dynamic high achievers, and for those looking to apply to Oxbridge or Russell Group universities such as Bristol, Warwick, LSE, UCL, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Manchester. It’s also balancing opportunities for outstanding academic results with impressive achievements in sport and the arts – and with a wonderful 50-acre site, the spacious campus offers girls some outstanding facilities that rival many boarding schools.
Not for: Although the school does share facilities and some classes with the all-boys' KES, it is focused on offering a single-sex education – so it may not be the best choice of families wanting a co-education. Its city centre location offers many advantages and, while it has a large campus, it may not appeal to those searching for a more rural setting.
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