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Wells Cathedral School

(14 Posts)
nononsensemum Wed 06-Mar-13 14:15:00

Hi there
Thinking of relocating from London into Bristol area (anywhere within driving commuting distance from Bristol) and thinking of going independent school wise. We have not seen any schools in the area as yet (would need both primary and secondary ones) but from our research Wells Cathedral School looks very good. Any thoughts on this particular school? What is the general reputation of this particular school in the area? Thanks Emily

IndridCold Wed 06-Mar-13 16:54:58

Don't know a huge amount about it, but I was talking recently to an acquaintance whose daughter had won a music scholarship there a couple of years ago.

He told me that they had taken her out of the school after a year because they felt that although the music teaching was excellent the academic side left a lot to be desired.

crazymum53 Wed 06-Mar-13 17:43:15

How old are your children?
For Y7 entry, many parents in the Bristol area with musical children would probably consider Bristol Cathedral choir school which is former independent school turned academy so no fees. Complicated admissions criteria including places for children with musical aptitude and lottery banding system.
Although the commuting distance from Wells to Bristol may look possible, it is in fact quite slow as not a dual carriageway and there is a lot of congestion going into Bristol along this route.
If you have girls then Redmaids independent school has a very good reputation for Music as well as all round academic record it also has primary places.
For co-ed Clifton college has good reputation for Music and Drama without being seen as an academic hothouse. Other independent schools in Bristol seem to have good facilities for Music and the Bristol music service does offer a good range or orchestras and bands that are attended by pupils from a wide variety of schools both state schools and independent!

givemeaclue Wed 06-Mar-13 18:18:25

You would need to board at wells from bristol . There are loads of good independent schools in bristol so people don't tend to travel to school in wells

nononsensemum Wed 06-Mar-13 23:11:28

IndridCold thank you and I must say your news really upset us as we were quite positive about Wells. Music is very important but so (if not more) is the academic side and if the academic side at Wells is compromised then it would not be good enough for us I am afraid :-(

Crazy mum we looked at Bristol Cathedral but cannot go with something as vague as the lottery system to determine the place of our child at school plus we would like to have all three children together at one school ideally and not all are equally musically talented etc so no.

Thank you a very valid point in re to dual carriageway didn't know it! Definitely do not want to do boarding for a number of reasons so may consider Bristol or Bath perhaps?..

Hubbie would definitely be working in Bristol (his company has offices both London and Bristol) but there is a direct train between both so I guess that should not be an issue.

What are the independent schools like in Bath? We are looking at co-ed both Junior and Senior as the children will be Y3, Y5 and Y7 respectively.

As we will be relocating from London we were looking into quiet/ countryside part of Bristol/ Bath rather than the city life again... Someone mentioned Cheddar is a nice place to live wile working in Bristol?

Sorry for jumping all over the topics but feeling rather confused and from my experience word of mouth is always best so really appreciate any advice/ opinion - thank you!

nononsensemum Wed 06-Mar-13 23:15:04

IndridCold what year was your a acquaintance's daughter in at Wells? Thanks

IndridCold Thu 07-Mar-13 09:15:43

Will pm you - don't want to risk outing a third party.

Sympathique Thu 07-Mar-13 10:57:42

Friend of nephew went to Wells for the music and then went to Oxbridge so they can teach to that level. He was studying a humanities subject not even music (tho' he was a darn good player I gather which I how I cam to hear all about him!). My anecdote is just one drop in the ocean and I think you will get very mixed reports of all schools on here (that is certainly the case with DCs' schools - I don't recognise one of them from some of the descriptions). It would be a remarkable school that didn't harbour the odd teacher at any one time who didn't come up to scratch. What are their results like?

jo164 Thu 07-Mar-13 17:51:11

There are some good co-ed schools in both Bath and Bristol. King Edwards in Bath is probably the most academic and has a prep and secondary, I have only ever heard positive things about it. Kingswood is a co-ed boarding/day school on the northern edge of Bath - so would be a good place to live near in terms of accessing Bristol by road. Monkton Combe and Prior Park are also co-ed. Both have a faith element - Prior is Catholic and Monkton C of E. Less academic - but still very good. They both have prep schools, although I believe Prior Park's is some way from Bath.
In Bristol there is Bristol Grammar School which is an excellent day school and Clifton College which is the most 'traditional' of the public schools (equate that to most expensive too!). Clifton High used to be a girls school but also takes boys now but pretty low still in numbers I think. Colston's is a little way out of the centre of Bristol and is less academic than the others. All have prep departments.
I certainly think all the Bath schools and BGS and Clifton College would be worth a look. I am afraid I don't know about the quality of the music, but I would think all would have plenty of opportunity for lessons, orchestras etc.

nononsensemum Fri 08-Mar-13 13:20:23

Thank you jo164 very kind of you for such a thorough response - we will be looking into each of these schools now - your list helped enormously!

Interesting though that there are 'only' two excellent names worth looking in Bristol (we are only considering co-eds) while quite a number in Bath! I always thought it is Bristol which is the academic hot house in Somerset but it looks like it actually is Bath rather than Bristol. I wonder why this is a case? Perhaps best to live and school children in Bath and work in Bristol (higher salary) do you think?

jo164 Fri 08-Mar-13 13:55:55

It's more that the Bristol schools are single sex! Badminton for girls is extremely academic, Red Maids is another all girls worth a look and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is the most academic of the boys. All fairly central Bristol, so lots of Bristol families would send their children to seperate schools without it being too much of a problem.

nononsensemum Fri 08-Mar-13 14:31:38

I see - thanks for yet another clarification! Just had a quick on the webs at ALL schools you recommended :-) and like Kingswood most (based on the virtual research of course ;-). Lovely country location, very academic great music and extra curriculum classes and as you pointed easy to get to Bristol which is a must as DH will be working in Bristol. Also fees are mid-range which seems good.

jo164 Fri 08-Mar-13 16:32:23

I have girls but if possible I would like to send mine to Kingswood or the Royal High which is opposite, when the time comes! Lansdown is lovely although pretty expensive on the housing front. It is a short bus ride down the (steep) hill into the centre of Bath or a 25/30min walk. I believe there are buses from the outskirts of Bristol to Kingswood School so that may be worth investigating.

runningforlife3 Thu 06-Feb-14 08:46:35

As a mum who has four children in Wells with very different results I would say have a look around and go with your instinct. The school is great in many ways but has lots of problems/issues. Finding the balance between "regular" school and music is difficult. The Junior School is not very good at all but the Senior part of the school is better. Particularly the Junior School can be quite selective in that if your child is one of the "favourites" they will have it made, if they are not they will often be excluded and made to feel second rate. This is a common thread throughout the school I am afraid and many parents have complained regarding this but the school has not sorted it out.

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