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US expat looking for advice on privates in Somerset

(16 Posts)
CarrymeoutofolVirginia Sun 27-Jan-13 20:37:12

This is my first post, so please forgive any idiotic mistakes - we are relocating to Somerset and I'm looking for best private options for my S who will be nursery / reception ... he has been in an excellent progressive here and I'm concerned about culture shock and also friendliness of other children to him. He is very bright and academic selectivity is fine with us -- but I'm worried about him feeling like an outsider (and a bit worried about formality / sport as a central thing). I've checked out Good Schools Guide but I"m really hoping for a "feel" prior to setting up visits in March. Thanks!

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sun 27-Jan-13 21:15:08

Where abouts in Somerset? Are you limited to private school only?
How old is your DS?

I may be able to help but only in the area of Somerset I know!

QTPie Mon 28-Jan-13 04:44:58

Agreed - Somerset is a pretty big place. Whereabouts?

The private schools that I have looked at, in Bath, would not make your son feel like an outsider: I was very impressed by the friendliness and pastoral care.

Sport becomes more of a thing as you go up through the schools (not early on) and the same with "formality" (not that they are "informal" at "under 7", but they are friendly and a bit more relaxed). My son is a very active, independent child, but I have no worries ab


QTPie Mon 28-Jan-13 04:46:15

no worries about him fitting in and being able to grow, express himself and explore when he starts private pre-school here after Easter.

CarrymeoutofolVirginia Tue 29-Jan-13 13:03:14

I have been thinking of Bath primarily I suppose though I am not wed to that. DH is a writer (as am I) so proximity to university libraries is helpful. DH was at university (long long ago) in Britain and is concerned that Bath is a place where DS will be made to feel excluded because of being from the US. Is that a real worry nowadays? Does anyone have insights on ease of fitting in for US expats in various schools? I'd like him in an all through school, I'd like to minimize transitions unless they really offer significant benefits. DS is almost 4 now; in his current school he'd be not full-time next year (US schools start our Reception equivalent the year AFTER students turn 5, so he has another year, here, to run of 3 mornings / week). I think I'm most focused on privates because he has been in a progressive school here, and also because my preference would be for all through school. Also -- he would be a day pupil, so there is that, too!

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 29-Jan-13 14:55:30

Fairfield School
Fairfield Way,
BS48 3PD
Telephone: 01275 462 743

Sidcot School
Oakridge Lane,
North Somerset
BS25 1PD
Telephone: 01934 843 102

The Downs School
Charlton House,
BS48 1PF
Telephone: 01275 852 008

All great. Fairfield school is primary only though.
These are not bath and north east Somerset area (the area that you are considering). These are North Somerset.
Absolutely can't imagine that being American would be an issue wherever you go, particularly in the private schools which are very multicultural generally.

Personally I'd recommend Sidcot, too far from Bath I think but very multicultural and progressive on a very caring way. Countryside based though.

Not sure I've helped at all!!!

mebaasmum Tue 29-Jan-13 15:12:55

Relatives have boys at Kingswood Bath and are very happy.

jo164 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:51:11

There are some lovely and very good schools in Bath. King Edwards is usually top of the pile academically and is just a day school, although will have a lot Saturday sport as the children move up through the school. Kingswood and Monkton Combe are both day/ boarding at secondary level and I believe day only at prep. All have excellent reputation's locally I can't think of any reason why your child wouldn't fit in due to being from the US, in my experience ( a prep teacher) children of that age are extremely accepting of a multitude of differences, in fact they often don't notice them in the same way as we do at all! If he's another playmate then that's usually good enough for them. In terms of being a culture shock, full time school would be new to all 4 year olds here as well, reception year is when they are introduced to school formalities fairly slowly, most schools do a lot of learning through play, although in the private schools you would need to ask how much of this happens, as often they are a little more formal at this age than state schools. Sport is done a fair amount in prep schools but team sports and matches etc. wouldn't happen until at least yr 3/4 in my experience, so not a major focus in early years.

mam29 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:34:17

Baths nice live there my self -its in county of banes -bath and north east somerset.

I live down road bristol which has 2unis.
huge libary in centre
loads of independant schools
variety of nationalities including 2americans at my daughters old primary school.

bristol grammer school has good reputation
as does colstons.
redland girls
redmaid girl

not usa I know but 2canadians moved to state primary and settled in
although younger one msised out rception year and had to start year 1 as start earlier here no kindregardten.

My adice find area you like rural-urban-good travel links
then investigate schools.

QTPie Thu 31-Jan-13 05:10:45


Bath is multi-cultural and generally very pleasant. I don't know many Amercans in Bath, but cannot imagine that fitting in would be a problem (I met a mother and son from Singapore at the park a while back - son was at King Edwards and they were very happy with it). Parents tend to be professionals, well educated, liberal and open-minded.

Unless you go for somewhere like London (inlaws have a place in St Johns Wood - large concentration of Americans around there), then you are likely to find yourselves adapting a bit (but hopefully welcome smile ).

In Bath, look at King Edwards (very academic, non-denominational, all day school, very into sports), Kingswood (academically selective, Methodist, mostly day but some boarders, very sporty), Monkton (not academically selective although will support excellence, very Anglican, mainly day at pre-prep but mainly boarding further up school, very sporty), Prior Park (not academically selective, Catholic, mix of day and boarders, sporty).

DS starts preschool at King Edwards after Easter - love their pre-prep (very interesting abd nurturing too)and their opportunities and striving for hard work and excellence all round throughout the school. I think that DS will thrive with the challenges and positive ethos. However, I was also very impressed with Kingswood and Monkton (didn't look at Prior Park).

The best thing is to contact the schools and go and see then and get a feel for how they work (preferably during a normal school day): see how they each fit with the needs and personality of your son.


riveroise Thu 31-Jan-13 05:20:49

I've not been there myself but isn't there an American museum in

CarrymeoutofolVirginia Thu 31-Jan-13 13:08:41

Thanks all -- sorry for the delay in responding to these most helpful messages, unfortunately we've all been sick at our house! Hopefully things will improve shortly. I am planning to take a look at Sidcot and King Edwards, both quite different I know, but I do like Friends schools and as KES is non-denom (husband is Jewish) that is appealing, as it is academic focus. It looks like an exciting place to be.

ISeeSmallPeople Thu 31-Jan-13 13:10:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QTPie Fri 01-Feb-13 04:30:27

KES appears to be a very well balanced school (although they do expect pupils to be hard working and keep up) with lots of opportunities, good values and great for day pupils (no boarders so no cliques).

However Kingswood is not overly Methodist - so worth a look. Sadly we discounted Monkton for being too Anglican (fine by me, but DH is Catholic): although Monkton has a beautifully friendly and supportive Anglican ethos, it is just too much against DH's ingrained Catholic teachings... Also DH doesn't want DS to go to a Catholic school (DH went to a set of Catholic boarding schools - Stoneyhurst and Downside - and doesn't want Catholicism rammed down DS's throat). So Prior Park also out.

KES and Kingswood were a very close choice for us: both have a lot to offer and I am sure that DS. Old be happy at either.


LL1980 Fri 01-Feb-13 20:53:16

Hi this is my first ever message so hope it works! My ideas on schools after looking for a nurturing, fun and stimulating education in North Somerset (Cleeve) I would recommend Fairfield PNEU school. It's independent/private in Backwell. I am hoping to get a place for Reception 2014 and have my daughters name down after I realised my friend had put her little boys name down when he was only 6 months old! They run a summer holiday club too which is all day - great if you're working. It has a fantastic reputation for really good teachers and lots of the pupils seem to win scholarships to really good schools in Bristol for secondary level. Or, if you prefer to not pay fees at secondary level the best choice for secondary Ive been told is Backwell Secondary School. Good luck on choosing your area!

lornabode Thu 28-Mar-13 22:56:26

We are English Dutch couple relocating to Bath this summer and have been living in Spain for 7 years -also concerned and proud of our children's different ness probably choosing Kingswood as I liked it and On my visit I met a number of children from outside. My children are 6&9 Goodluck with your move.

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