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East coast of Scotland schools ???

(24 Posts)
farflungfanny Sat 21-Feb-15 15:17:36

We are up for a possible move due to dh's job. Kids will be 10 and 12. So probably a year at primary before at least one has to move to secondary.
Looking at Fife/Dundee area.
Anybody in that area???

Shesparkles Sat 21-Feb-15 15:21:01

I'm in Dundee if that helps...im not sure where you are, as the Scottish school system is vastly different from the English, and there's no point me banging on about schools unless you're familiar with the Scottish system?
Happy to explain it to you if you're not

farflungfanny Sat 21-Feb-15 15:25:39

Hi shesparkles. We are actually living in another European country at the moment, children are in an international school (IB programe) and have been since starting their education.
I would be really grateful for a low-down on the Scottish system though.

Shesparkles Sat 21-Feb-15 16:28:57

in Scotland, the year a child starts school is determined by the year of birth, and they will start formal education between the ages of 4.5 and 5.5.

Eg if your child turns 5 between 01/01/15 and 28/02/16, they can start school in August 2016. Those who turn 5 between 01/01/16 and 28/02/16 can start in August '15, but they don't HAVE to start until Aug '16.

They go into Primary 1, full time at this time.

Primary school last for 7 years, ending when they are 11.5-12.5

They then go into S1.

Secondary school lasts 6 years, from S1-S6, so ages 11.5/12.5 -17.5/18.

Depending on when their birthday falls, they can leave from the end of S4 onwards.

As for individual schools, I can only speak about Dundee, as that's where my experience is.
I have a dd who is 17 in S6, and ds who is 12 and in S1

There is only 1 private school in Dundee, the High School of Dundee (or Dundee High as it's known), which is a co-ed day school covering primary and secondary
If we'd been able to afford it, my children would have attended Dundee High, both because of the smaller class sizes and the ethos of the school (social issues there are exactly the same as at pretty much any other school)

There has been a huge amount of change in the schools in Dundee in recent years, and not always for the better.

I live in Broughty Ferry, which is the catchment area for Grove Academy, which seems to be one of the most sought after secondaries due to good results. You'll note I'm not saying it's the "best" although I believe it has the highest exam results in Dundee, as it's become somewhat a victim of its own success in recent years, and despite a brand new building 6 years ago, is now bursting at the seams due to out of catchment area placing requests.
The 3 primary schools in Broughty Ferry are also "suffering" similarly.

Do you have any specific things you want to know? I could ramble on for long enough but not tell you the one thing you really want to know!

dotdotdotmustdash Sat 21-Feb-15 18:55:19

I've been in Dunfermline for the past 13 years after moving here from Edinburgh (via Glasgow for a few years). My DC have almost completed all their school years here. If I can help on areas/schools/impressions, I will.

cashewnutty Sat 21-Feb-15 19:01:18

There are some great high schools in Fife and some dumps in very rough areas. It depends where you think you would be living. I live and work in Fife and am in and out of the high schools all the time.

Generally children go to their nearest school and to go to another one you need to make a placing request. There is no guarantee it will be allowed.

There is an independent school in St Andrews, St Leonards, which offers the IB if you wanted them to continue with that. My DD goes there and really enjoys it but obviously you need to pay.

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 21-Feb-15 19:08:59

I believe that St Leonard's (private) in at Andrews does the IB now if you are looking to continue in that system. Madras in St. Andrews is state, pretty good but not nearly as good as it thinks it is (as compared with other schools in a fairly wealthy/educated catchment). It's also split site (with the younger kids on a separate site till S4), and that is NOT a good thing.
BellBaxter in Cupar has a new site on the edge of town, motivated and has overtaken Madras IMO, as "the" desirable school in NE fife and I think it would be my choice out of those 3 schools.

impartialme Sat 21-Feb-15 22:08:46

Definitely worth looking at St Leonards in St Andrews if you're going to go private and you want the IB. It has a junior school up to year 7 and the kids go into senior in Year 8. It does GCSEs/IGCSEs and then after that everyone does the IB.

Doublethecuddles Mon 23-Feb-15 09:14:31

I live in North East Fife and have DC at a village school. The schools is this area are good, and people generally send their children to the local schools in catchment. In St Andrews the catholic school Grey Friars has a slightly more international feel, as it's popular with university staff.
There are 3 good secondary schools, Madras College, Bell Baxter and Waid Academy. Madras gets good results, but the state of the building is appalling, they are trying to build a new school. Bell Baxter is in Cupar as is in a new building and also has a good reputation. Waid Academy I can't comment on, but know it doesn't have a bad reputation. The private options are St Leonards which does IB, friends who have children there are very happy with the school. The only moan is the length of the school holidays! Very difficult if you are both working! Parents also send children to Dundee High School.
North East Fife is a great place to bring up children, lovely beaches, good sports clubs and very friendly.

farflungfanny Tue 24-Feb-15 05:09:09

Thanks everyone for your responses.
The IB program isn't going to be a must for us. They are both in PYP at the moment and it seems to suit them. As they progress though I have a feeling the IB program won't suit my eldest as well. That s a few years of worry away though.
I worry about class sizes ( both have 18 in each class) and the fact they will be 2 years behind ( start formal education at 7 here)
If they go to state schools in the UK then it will be a completely different learning environment for them also, so I'm worried they will struggle.
These are my main concerns.
We have narrowed our search down and it looks like Fife/Dundee. So I have been looking at the school websites you have provided.
Do you have to live within a catchment area for a particular school or can you choose regardless of where you live?

dotdotdotmustdash Tue 24-Feb-15 08:34:26

My DC go to Queen Anne High in Dunfermline. It's a huge school, but the building is modern and it has lots of facilities, including a chinese faculty. The school won a national award last year, and had an excellent school inspection. Dunfermline High school is also very large, is in brand new premises and seems to have a good results.

nextnn Tue 24-Feb-15 09:16:43

You can ask to go to a school you're not in catchment area for, but you'll only get places if it has them, and popular schools often don't. (For in-catchment children, new places are created if necessary.)

They are unlikely really to be two years behind just because of starting later. Do you mean they're behind where children their age doing PYP would normally be, or just that they started school at 6 or 7 as in civilised countries? If you say something about what they're doing in maths, for example, we can give you an idea. In the state system, they must join their age group no matter what, for practical purposes - ie in principle you can ask for them to be in a lower year, but I've never heard of it being agreed. In the independent sector, it is negotiable.

cashewnutty Tue 24-Feb-15 09:17:20

If you live in the catchment for a particular school then your child will automatically get in to that school. If you live out with the catchment you can apply for a placing request but there is no guarantee that they will be offered a place. They would also not be eligible for school transport if it was some distance away.

Class sizes in some of the small rural school are small but you would probably have composite classes comprising different ages and stages. In a big primary there can be around 30 in a class (or theabouts). It was for that reason we sent our DD to St Leonard's in St Andrews as the class size is small and it suited her better.

cashewnutty Tue 24-Feb-15 09:35:57

If you tell us which schools you are considering maybe we can help with what we know about them?

Shesparkles Tue 24-Feb-15 10:27:52

You don't have to live in catchment but you'll be lowest priority for a place, there are 3 levels of priority

1 live in catchment
2 live outwith catchment but have a sibling already at the school
3 live outwith and no siblings at the school.

I know that in Dundee, or specifically Broughty Ferry where I am, the schools are so oversubscribed that there is now a hard line on placing requests, so the only way to guarantee a school place is to live within catchment.
(Obviously not an issue with private schools)

I know you're speaking about Fife and Dundee, but would Perthshire be a consideration? If you were to be looking at private education, there's a lot of choice in that area

Shesparkles Tue 24-Feb-15 10:32:04

I know it's not always a popular opinion to hold (especially with my dh grin), but with the cuts in the public sector at the moment, education is being particularly hard hit, especially in Dundee, and if I had the finances, it would be private all the way, for the smaller classes, never mind anything else.

ClaimedByMe Tue 24-Feb-15 10:39:28

Im in Dundee and both my dc are at primary school, dd will go to high school in August, they go to a school in a "deprived area" although only a small part of the catchment area is a "deprived area" its an ok school but getting any outside help for dd has been difficult, finances are very limited.

ClaimedByMe Tue 24-Feb-15 10:42:25

If one of your dc will be 12 I would think they would go straight to high school, my dd was 12 last week oldest child in school and she starts high school in August

farflungfanny Wed 25-Feb-15 06:22:47

The biggest problem is we don't know 'when' or 'where'. They are 8 &10( this year) at the moment, and we will probably move within the next year or so.
Area is really up to us, that's why I'm trying to get a feel for Fife/Dundee area. Haven't even begun thinking about specific schools yet.
10 year old has just started fractions in math, 8 year old has only been at school since August, so basic addition and subtraction.

Doublethecuddles Wed 25-Feb-15 13:53:21

I have 8 year olds in P4 and at the moment they are doing time. Last year they spent a long time on addition and subtraction to 20, and started on times tables. The system in Scotland seems to be far less target focused than England. They are in a class of 25, which is a composite class.
Round us children tend not to go to school out of catchment unless it's the local catholic school, of there local school is a very small school. in North East Fife there are quite a lot of smallish country schools. Different parts of Fife and Dundee are all very different. I live near St Andrews, which has very high house prices, a large student population and a lot of parents are academics. Once you get nearer the west of Fife a lot of people commute to Edinburgh.
Good Luck

PurpleFrog Wed 25-Feb-15 13:58:14

I misinterpreted your 8 year olds "doing time"... grin

dementedma Mon 02-Mar-15 22:29:46

Just outside of Fife but Kinross High School is excellent. Brand new facilities and a strong headmaster.

Mdrm Thu 19-Jan-17 23:03:42

Hi all. Can you recommend the Catholic schools with the best reputation in/around Dundee? Many thanks

Franm2 Sat 28-Jan-17 00:50:09

There are only two Catholic secondaries in Dundee - St Paul's and St John's. Neither comes particularly high on the table of exam results but, of course, that is not the only - and may not even be the major - factor to be considered when choosing a school. Even so, I live in Broughty Ferry, where the secondary is well regarded, and I gather many Catholics have decided not to pass up a place there to send their children to a Catholic school which has a weaker academic record, and is quite a distance from where they live.

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