About Us

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls is an 11-18 selective girls’ school, forming part of the King Edward Foundation. The King Edward’s Foundation is responsible for the running of the five grammar schools (all of which converted to academy status on the 1st August 2011), two independent schools and the King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy in the City of Birmingham. We currently have 901 pupils, 261 in the Sixth Form. We are very popular and have approximately nine applicants for every place given. We are a Performing Arts specialist college and gained High Performing School Status in 2010, as a result our second specialism is Science.

Our five Ofsted inspections have been outstanding, nonetheless we are not complacent and review and plan for further development to strengthen our school.

We are an ambitious and forward thinking school, we are firm believers in Building Learning Power, a strategy pioneered by Guy Claxton, and we have spoken at national and local conferences promoting the approach. The vast majority of our lessons are graded outstanding or good.

Our facilities are excellent and provide a 21st century learning environment. Our school is built on a pleasant, enclosed campus, close to the centre of Birmingham. The main building was constructed in 1911 and contains some excellent specialist teaching rooms and a beautiful Hall.

In recent years an extensive building programme has brought about renovation of our older buildings and construction of a Sixth Form Centre, a magnificent Sports Hall and dance studio. A neighbouring church has been converted into a beautiful Music Centre and a new Library was completed in 2011. ICT provision extends to every area of the school with digital projectors available in every classroom, some with interactive whiteboards.
Through our specialisms and the work of the SSCO, we have strong links with local primary and secondary schools and the local community.

Considering the selective nature of our school, academic achievement is important and we are anxious to provide our pupils with the widest possible choice within and beyond the framework of the National Curriculum. We follow a 50 period fortnight with three hour-long lessons in the morning and two in the afternoon. All our staff are well qualified and very able. All girls in KS4 take at least 11 GCSE subjects. Lower Sixth girls take four AS subjects plus AS Citizenship or Critical Thinking and Upper Sixth girls three A2 subjects in addition to General Studies or the Extended Project.  We encourage each girl to participate in the life and activities of the school and we try to provide opportunities for everyone to take on real responsibilities within our community.  Meaningful conversations with pupils and feedback on the curriculum are important. Academic standards are very high – in 2012 41.1% of all GCSE entries passed at A* grade and 80.3% at A*/A. At A Level 53.3% were passed at A*/A and 85.6% at A*/B. The school achieved its best contextual value-added measures for Key Stages 2 – 4 in 2012 (1031). The school features prominently in national league tables.

We pride ourselves on the variety of lunch time clubs with intellectual, social, sporting and creative activities organised by both Staff and Sixth Form girls. We have a strong musical tradition with choirs, orchestras and numerous instrumental lessons. Drama flourishes and we have several clubs run by the Sixth Form as well as our school production and joint ventures with King Edward VI Aston School (boys). Teams represent us in all the major sports. A contribution to the life of the School is expected from students and staff alike.

We have residential visits in Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12 as well as other trips to ski resorts and places of interests. Activity days for all year groups are spaced throughout the academic year to enrich the curriculum.

We enjoy a reputation for our friendly atmosphere and our Form Tutors take a special interest in the progress and welfare of the girls in their care. Serious problems are referred to the Pupil Achievement Leaders (PALS) of each year group. It is our policy to involve parents immediately a need arises since we wish to emphasise our belief that education is a partnership between home and school.
We have an experienced, talented and committed staff. Teaching is lively and standards of preparation and marking are extremely good. We believe in offering opportunities for professional development through in-service training and opportunities for leadership and personal initiative.


Students are hard-working and resilient, ready and eager to embrace challenge. I have also been very impressed with how inclusive the school feels, and the close-knit friendships apparent amongst the girls. The induction programme was also very thorough with a good support structure in place.

David Thomson, Head of German – appointed September 2011

‘Staff are constantly refining their approaches to teaching in order to develop students’ personal qualities, whilst striving for academic excellence. There is an excitement in the school about learning.’ Ofsted 2008.

“Coming to this school has made me realise all the opportunities that are open to me – the teachers make sure that you work to the best of your ability but are still really supportive when you need help”. (Pupil)


The account below is taken from 'King Edward’s Grammar School for Girls Handsworth 1883-1983' which was written by Mrs Alison Thorne, Head of History, at the time of the Centenary of the grammar schools, to whom very grateful acknowledgement is made.

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