What would you do - Yorkshire school choices(14 Posts)
We are in the position of being able to choose where we live based on a school. We are moving up from the South for a new job based just north east of bradford. We have family in roundhay in leeds, and we need to be able to get to the reform synagogue in leeds (not averse to other synagogues but there don't seem to be any until you get to manchester which is a bit far).
We have now seen 7 (!) schools. All private. I know there are great state schools esp in harrogate but given my children need to be in school for sept and we can't buy a house that quickly, I am sticking to private for now.
We have a very bright girl going into year 1 and a boy going into reception (think he is bright but don't really know yet. He is v young for the year).
Our four front runners are:
- Ashville. Thought it was very warm but a bit small and children in reception are way behind where my daughter is now. Think they would probably do enrichment for her and sure there will be a few other children similarly ahead (she is not that bright) but it won't be the same as her current school where the whole class is speeding ahead and pulling each other along. Activities a bit limited and boy/girl separation eg of dance classes seemed a shame. Children very energised and warm, great relationship w head.
- Highfield HLC. Less warm, bigger (actually full, dd would have to go on wait list), very professional, very child centred approach to education, clearly able to tailor to indiv children, lovely links w the big school and able to use their facilities. Amazing range of clubs, seem to cater to everyone, esp music. Great range of school trips, seem to be v aware of children's social needs. Very 'white' though and slightly concerned they would be only jewish children. One staff member felt that the school is socially v cohesive and seemed to link that to lack of cultural diversity but hope she didn't really realise what she was saying...
- Richmond house. Extremely impressive head and reception and year 1 teachers that I met. Saw work from one child in reception who is clearly working ahead of my daughter and they've just encouraged her to move ahead. Lovely big space out back. Impressive 11 year olds who showed me around. Nice atmosphere, but a bit poky inside and just off main road. Smaller than Highfield, much more culturally diverse.
- Malsis. Totally lovely school, very much country prep school with teachers doing what they love doing. Beautiful place. Warm and personal. Much quirkier than other schools, great range of activities for older ones, but only 6ish children in each year until they get to about year 3/4 when it fills up a bit, so they teach mixed nursery/reception and a mixed year 1/year 2 class. latter might work well for my daughter as she can do maths etc w year 2, not quite sure how my son will find reception. I did push the headmaster about financial stability and he gave a convincing answer. But miles further away from family and synagogue. Ok for work. Amazing music and drama.
We are clearly v lucky to have such choice, but I am stumped! Feel my heart is with malsis but it's going to make rest of life much more complex.
I have name changed, am regular poster.
Any thoughts v welcome esp if you know any of the schools and/or if you can help me think this through. Thank you!
Did you look at Brackenfield? Private prep school in Harrogate, on the same road as Highfield. Absolutely lovely (I have a personal bias). Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss.
OP have you looked on the charities commission website? If any of those schools named are charities, their financial records will be kept & you can see for yourself how stable they are.
I've been in the position where may DDs school went pear shaped & its not a pleasant experience! I'm not saying any of the schools mentioned have financial issues, just saying its best to check these things out as any school whose outgoings are more than its incomings would worry me; especially if its been happening for a few years.
My 2 are at Richmond House. We moved there from state school a while back and think it is excellent. I wouldn't worry about the road at the front - it has no bearing on the school at all and the fields at the back are a rarity in Leeds. Given that it is in Leeds I don't think it is particularly diverse at all, certainly far less so than the state we came from.
The building is admittedly poor compared to a purpose built school but its uniqueness gives it charm and you do eventually find your way around. There are lots of clubs run at lunch and after school which we find great for taking the strain off us ferrying them about. Literally everyone in school knows everyone else and there is a lovely community spirit. It used to be a nightmare before the car park opened but having that has made drop offs and pick ups 100% better.
We have been considering moving house to quite far away from school but we would still drive across Leeds to ensure they could remain at Richmond House for the rest of primary school. Year 6's are treated like gods and I want them to have the pleasure of having that year at RHS.
My DD is given extension work in subjects where she is ahead and she is certainly not the brightest child in that year.
Dru thank you! Agree Richmond house may not be diverse when compared to average Leeds school (rose court was more so), but imagine how white highfield was if it led me to consider rh diverse!
Delighted to hear you are so happy with it, that's just what I was hoping to hear. Did you look at the other Leeds private schools?
No we didn't look at others. Going private wasn't a planned choice but rather the result of a crappy state school. The playing fields won me over and we met the same head as you and were equally impressed so enrolled them on the spot.
Realistically the only others that were an option based on where we live were Moorfields (I was put off by them not publishing their fees) and Rose Court but I have an irrational dislike of GSAL.
Have you looked at Froebelian at Horsforth?
Great school with good academic results (9th in Sunday Times Top 100 Schools), good ethnic mix of children and a real 'family' atmosphere.
Just to say that your feeling is right - Malsis is a lovely school.
Malsis or Froebelian are both fabulous schools. Very different. Look at them both (again?) and then go for one of them. Both in a different league to Highfield and Ashville!
I know friends with children at Highfield and their children are all happy, bright and polite. I think the school is lovely and it seems to cater to the individual child rather than the group as a whole, which is great.
Outside of your choices I have friends with children flourishing at both Frobelian and Cundall Manor, and both schools seem lovely. Might be worth a look?
Can you get to York easily? There are some lovely schools there?
Thanks all. Gradually, we are avoiding York as it would mean a v long drive for me to work (outside Bradford) and I want to be able to be at the school easily for events etc. plus we have family in Leeds and the only synagogues that make sense for us are in Leeds (otherwise Manchester).
Yoni have pmed you.
Really appreciate everyone's advice! Now trying to figure out where to live, then will make final choice on school.
I live about 1/2 mile from Malsis. I don't know the school really, although I did consider it for one of my children. I've never heard a bad word about it, although I think a lot of parents who send their children there live elsewhere.
The area round it is great - obviously much more rural than Roundhay. There are lots of villages in the area between Keighley and Skipton. The quality of life is good. It isn't very cosmopolitan though, and you'd be some distance from family and synagogue. The train is good, but that's into central Leeds.
Malsis is closed now, due to falling student numbers.
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