King Edward VI Handsworth School

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King Edward VI Handsworth School
Motto Dieu et mon Droit (French for 'God and my Right')
Established 1883 (1883)
Headmistress Miss Clare Berry (2015-present)
Location 21 Rose Hill Road
West Midlands
B21 9AR
Coordinates: 52°30′06″N 1°55′25″W / 52.5018°N 1.9237°W / 52.5018; -1.9237
DfE URN 137047 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 70 teaching staff (approx.)
Students 963
Gender Girls
Ages 11–18
Houses 4
Colours Navy Blue, Emerald Green
Publication The Beacon

King Edward VI Handsworth School is a grammar school for girls aged 11–18 and is located in Handsworth, Birmingham, England. It is part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI. The school was founded in 1883 as King Edwards Aston on the site where its brother school, King Edward VI Aston School, remains to this day. In 2014 there were 801 girls on roll.

The school has been noted for being the top school in Birmingham as well as one of the top schools of the United Kingdom In 2013, the school was placed as the 3rd best school in the country by the school's guide, beating all the other schools in the West Midlands and the other schools who are part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI.


The school was originally three separate schools: Aston (Girls section), Summer Hill, and Bath Row in the King Edward VI Foundation. On the 14 September 1911 the three were merged and the Head Mistress of Aston - Miss Nimmo - became the new Head[citation needed]. When the school first opened, and for many years afterwards, girls were not permitted to eat in the street and had to wear gloves on the journey to and from school.[1] In the beginning, the sixth form was very small with as few as 6 pupils in a year[citation needed]. Transfer to King Edward VI High School for Girls for sixth form studies was not unusual.[1]

The new school at Handsworth cost £50,000 to build.[1] The architect, P. B. Chatwin[1] designed a very modern building with a number of specialist areas which included the library and the "playroom" (a whole school common-room).[1] As it was built on a slope, there are two ground floors, and originally the gymnasium was located in the room on the lower ground floor later used as a Music room[citation needed]. Since the renovation of the church (bought by the school) into a music centre, this room is now used as an ICT suite[citation needed].

To celebrate the centenary of the school in 1983 a new block was built to house a meeting room and the changing rooms for the sports field.[1] In 1997 a new Sixth Form block was built with the help of the King Edward VI Foundation fund.[1] In 2005, the new sports hall was built, using sponsorship money from companies such as O2[citation needed], and a church organ was bought by the school to be renovated and used for music studies[citation needed]. The school also gained specialist performing arts status[citation needed]. 2011 saw the building of a new library by the field; a modern building with a slanting roof and colourful window panes. This includes an mezzanine area upstairs with computers.

Latin was also removed from the curriculum in 2004[citation needed] and replaced with drama[citation needed], which had previously been on the curriculum in the late 20th century[citation needed].


School Houses were introduced at the beginning of the 20th century[citation needed], with each House having its own name and colour. Nightingale house was mauve, Kingsley house was green, Fry was pale blue and Browning was brown[citation needed]. By the 1930s there were awards given for winning competitions against other houses in sports[citation needed]. In the beginning there were House notices in the Playroom and a strict House conduct system[citation needed].

In 1939 four more Houses were added[citation needed] and they were renamed after the different royal Houses (Windsor, Stuart, Tudor, Hanover, Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, Normandy[citation needed]).

In the 1970s the houses were rearranged again[citation needed] and given names of precious stones (Amethyst, Coral, Garnet and Topaz)[citation needed]because of the school's proximity to the Jewellery Quarter.

At the end of the 1990s they were renamed once more after famous women[citation needed] - Bronte, Pankhurst, Franklin and Nightingale) - and when an extra form group was introduced in 2003[citation needed] (then un-introduced in 2005)[citation needed] the new house of Curie[citation needed] was created. In September 2009 the houses were renamed[citation needed], once again after famous women, this time being Parks (yellow), Keller (blue), Astor (green) and Cavell (red)). In 2011 the ties, a compulsory element of winter uniform, were redesigned, featured a coloured stripe to reflect the wearer's assigned house[citation needed].


The school has a number of traditions and rules. Junior school (year 7-9) must wear blazers whereas seniors (year 10-11) replace these with cardigans. Other customs separate the two such as junior break being held from 10.00-10.20am. Seniors must attend two lessons before bring permitted to their break (11.00-11.20pm).

KS4 also hold a number of other privileges, such as being able to relax in their form rooms after 1pm during lunch break, as well as access to the mezzanine computers in the library.

An unwritten rule/tradition of King Edward VI Handsworth School is that blazer buttons and cardigan buttons are to kept open - year 7s are often reminded of this by older girls when they first begin the school.

The girls also aren't allowed to leave the school in their Physical Education kit, even if PE is the last lesson of the day.

Towards the end of year 9, girls travel to King Edward VI Aston School for a day of various activities, called Festival Of Cultures (FOC). These activities vary every year and in the last have included tai chi, gospel singing, ballroom dancing, pizza and smoothie making, comic art, mendhi and fusion dancing to name but a few.

The Beacon[edit]

An annual magazine written by the lower sixth is released every year, called The Beacon, and this magazine can trace back to the originals from maybe 100 years ago or so.

Extra-curricular activities[edit]

The school endorses its pupils to partake in extracurricular activities, including over 50 musical, sports and general clubs such as Christian Society, STEM, debating and chess.

Most of these clubs take place during lunch break as a lot of the school travel far and wide so they have to catch buses, meaning they aren't able to stay after school. However, a few do take place after school such as Archery, Cricket and homework club, where pupils may study in a calm and nurturing environment and gain any help or support that they need. This club is also available for those who need to catch up on any work that they may have missed.


The school has a strict code of conduct. Girls must adhere to the rules obediently.

In KS3, girls are to wear a navy blue blazer with the school logo on the chest pocket, a navy blue jumper with the school crest(optional), a blue blouse (in the summer term: worn without a tie), or a winter shirt alongside a house tie - girls are notified of their houses before beginning the school), navy blue tights (preferably 60 dernier to avoid laddering) and black shoes. No boots, trainers or any other kind are permitted.

In KS4, girls are to wear a navy blue cardigan, a navy blue jumper with the school crest(optional), a blue blouse (in the summer term: worn without a tie), or a winter shirt alongside a house tie - girls are notified of their houses before beginning the school), navy blue tights (preferably 60 dernier to avoid laddering) and black shoes. No boots, trainers or any other kind are permitted.In KS4, girls are permitted to wear a single ring.

No jewellery is allowed apart from one pair of stud earrings of a silver or gold colour and a watch. Make up is not permitted.

The School Timetable[edit]

Registration: 8:30-9:00am (this includes assembly and staff briefing on Monday) Period 1: 9:00-10:00am

Junior Break: 10:00-10:20am

Period 2 (seniors): 10:00-11:00am

Period 2 (juniors): 10:20-11:20am

Senior break: 11:00-11:20am

Period 3: 11:20-12.20pm

Lunch break: 12.20-1.30pm

Period 4: 1.30-2.35pm

Period 5: 2.35-3.35pm

End of school day

Notable former pupils[edit]

A society for alumni, the Handsworth Old Edwardians' Society (HOES), has been running since the turn of the 20th century.[citation needed] The society holds meetings for former pupils of all ages three times a year at the school.[4]


King Edward Grammar School for Girls, Handsworth 1883-1983, Alison Thorne, 1986

External links[edit]