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 Mrs Elisabeth Wager (2012-present)
Location 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
Students 906
Gender Girls
Ages 11–18
Houses 4

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 2010 there were 906 girls on roll.


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].

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]