King Edward VI High School for Girls

King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS) (grid reference SP051836) is an independent secondary school in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. It is part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham and occupies the same site as, and is twinned with, King Edward's School (KES; boys school).

King Edward VI High School for Girls
King Edward High School Birmingham
Edgbaston Park Road

West Midlands
B15 2UB

Coordinates52°27′03″N 1°55′31″W / 52.45082°N 1.92535°WCoordinates: 52°27′03″N 1°55′31″W / 52.45082°N 1.92535°W
TypeIndependent day school
Local authorityBirmingham
Department for Education URN103585 Tables
PrincipalAnn Clark
Age11 to 18


High School for Girls (KEHS), (The old Liberal Club), Congreve Street, Birmingham
KEHS in 1888 at the former Liberal Club in central Birmingham

KEHS was founded in 1883 and occupied part of the 1838 (Charles Barry, architect) New Street boys' school. In 1887, when the adjacent Hen & Chickens Hotel was known to be closing the governors considered acquiring it. In 1888, KEHS moved to the recently vacated, and almost brand new (1885), Liberal Club in Congreve Street (a site now covered by the lending section of the Birmingham Central Library) under a short lease. Meanwhile, plans for a new school on the Hen and Chickens site were being drawn up by the foundation's architect, J. A. Chatwin. In 1892, land behind the hotel was bought with the intention of building the girls' school off the main road, hidden behind new commercial premises on New Street to shelter it from street noise. The New Street school opened in 1896. It moved, along with the boys' school, to its present location opposite the University in 1940 to new buildings designed by Holland W. Hobbiss. At this time a new, green uniform was introduced. The New Street site was bought by the Prudential Assurance Company and leased for the Odeon cinema.

Over one of the entrances is the motto Trouthe Schal Delyvere from a poem Truth by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Ethos of the school

The school has consistently been ranked top of the national league tables for both A level and GCSE which has resulted in the school receiving such recent accolades as "Independent School of the Year" from The Times.

There are places for approximately 560 girls, 80 in a year ( four forms) with entrance exams taking place in late January. The school encourages independent learning and fostering creativity. Students are offered a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. The school also places great emphasis on community service and each year forms elect a charity to support, then host countless cake sells, car washes etc. to raise money for the chosen charity.

Unlike state secondary schools and in common with many independent schools, KEHS does not use modern year group names, e.g. Year 11, Year 12, etc.

The table below attempts to clarify the names of forms used for the different years:

Name of Form Year
Thirds (3rds) 7
Lower Fourth (L4s) 8
Upper Fourth (U4s) 9
Lower Fifth (L5s) 10 First year of GCSE study
Upper Fifth (U5s) 11 Second year of GCSE study
Lower Sixth (L6s) 12 First year of A-Level study
Upper Sixth (U6s) 13 Final year of A-Level study

Music and drama

The school works in partnership with the adjoining boys' school in many orchestras, choirs, and drama productions.

During the course of the year there are several plays in which both schools participate. There are generally two separate plays for the junior and senior members of the school. In recent years the two schools have cooperated on productions such as West Side Story , Les Miserables and 13 Mathering End.

King Edward VI High School for Girls production of Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors

Towards the end of the year, Upper Sixth-Formers from both schools organise and rehearse a Syndicate play, which is usually performed in the last week of term. Previous productions have included Fame (musical) and The Lion King.

In December, the school holds two Christmas Concerts in its newly built Performing Arts Centre. In March every year there is an Orchestral and Choral concert and then a Summer Concert, usually in Symphony Hall, to which all the 'new' girls for the following September are invited with their families.

King Edward VI HS Concert
Christmas Concert

The school year finishes with the Syndicate Concert, planned, rehearsed and performed by students about to leave the two King Edward's Schools.

Throughout the year there are six Lunchtime Concerts, held on Thursdays in the Concert Hall of King Edward's School. These concerts give the musicians, both girls and boys, the opportunity to perform in front of a smaller audience.

The boys school and KEHS now share the newly finished Performing Arts Centre (PAC), completed in July 2012. It offers a wide range of facilities, including multiple drama studios and tiered seated hall for assemblies and orchestra performances.

In May 2018, KEHS pupil and pianist Lauren Zhang won the prestigious award of BBC Young Musician 2018.

Sport and outdoor pursuits

Activities are run during the lunch hour but some may also take place after school when both training and matches take place. As well as staff within the Department organising teams, the school also has a number of external coaches.

KEHS runs a Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme where girls can gain Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. It now runs a residential activities week for all of the first years at Condover Hall. Each year the school plans to offer students in year 8 the opportunity to take part in Voyager expeditions whilst in year 9 students will be able to take part in First Challenge expeditions. Cycling Tours and Ski Trips are offered throughout the year, and weekly Climbing and Cross Country clubs add to the already large range of outdoors activities on offer.

Activities on offer during the course of the year are:

Notable former pupils


  • Waterhouse, Rachel (1983). King Edward VI High School Birmingham 1883–1983.


  1. ^ "How a medieval philosophy don won her battle against Cambridge for". 10 December 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ Obituary for Professor Anita Harding Archived 26 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Independent, 5 October 1995.
  3. ^ Obituary for Olga Kevelos,"The Daily Telegraph",26 November 2009.
  4. ^ Rose, Andrea. "Knight, Vivien Margaret (1953–2009)". ONDB. OUP. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  5. ^ Vardy, Winifred I. King Edward VI High School for Girls: Birmingham 1883–1925, London: Benn, 1928. 127.

Further reading

  • King Edward VI High School Birmingham, Winifred I Candler, Ailsa M Jacques, Beatrice Marion Willmott Dobbie, Birmingham Girls' Old Edwardian Club, Publisher: Benn, London, 1971, ISBN 0-510-26250-3

External links

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