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Bristol grammar or Clifton high

(12 Posts)
Flameblonde12 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:21:32

My Dh and I are in a bit of a dilemma. Our ds (7) has been offered a places at Bristol grammar school and Clifton high school and we are not sure which one to accept. He is quite sensitive so might suit the smallness of Clifton high better but we are encouraged by the reputation and results of Bristol grammar. We love the feel at Clifton high though. Our concern is that ds is not that academic so seems to have scraped the Bristol grammar entrance. We are concerned that he may not be accepted into secondary at bgs. We also have another ds and he will follow his brother in due course. He is more academic and tougher. We would really appreciate any experience or advice about these 2 schools. Many thanks...

Marmitelover55 Sat 05-Dec-15 00:01:27

Personally in Bristol I would choose a state primary as most are outstanding and I don't think that BGS or CH would give you much in the way of value added at this stage.

For secondary, however, I think BGS is much more academic than CH, and also slightly more suited to boys, as it was a boys school that now takes girls. CH, I believe, was a girls' school that now takes boys. I'm not sure, but I suspect, BGS still has more boys and CH still has more girls.

Flameblonde12 Sat 05-Dec-15 07:55:32

Thanks Marmitelover55 This is what makes it really hard. He is in an outstanding state primary at the moment that I (and he) love but I think the smaller class sizes that private offer may suit him better and help him to make more progress. And I don't think he will get into the private sector in year 7 as it is so competitive then. It has not been any easy decision to make at all. I really would love to hear from anyone with first hand experience of either of these schools to help inform our choice. Thanks.

QueenofWhatever Sat 05-Dec-15 09:57:36

I would disagree with marmite. My DD (10) is in Y6 at BGS and moved from an outstanding primary at the end of Y4. She has really flourished and has done so much more at BGS than she couldhave done at a state primary.

To be fair, she is pretty academic but has benefitted hugely from the opportunities in sport, drama, events etc. One of the things I like about BGS is the variety of kids, academic and otherwise.

Also, everyone in Y6 has been offered a place in the senior school and didn't have to take an extra exam. The gender split is pretty much 50/50 now.

However, I do believe in going with your gut. What does your DS want?

Flameblonde12 Sat 05-Dec-15 10:32:43

Thanks QueenofWhatever for your views. They are really helpful.b DS is really sociable and likes both and we feel that ultimately it has to be our choice, considering DS2 as well.

Flameblonde12 Sat 05-Dec-15 10:46:21

QueenofWhatever - do you feel that there is lots of academic pressure in BGS juniors? Thanks.

Indantherene Sat 05-Dec-15 10:54:41

I really disagree that you should take your DS2 into account in finding a school for DS1. They are different children and from what you say have different strengths. There is no law to say they have to go to the same school.

We had 4 at school at the same time and for several years they were at 4 different schools. Each went to the school that best suited them, not their brother or sister.

catslife Sat 05-Dec-15 12:25:11

BGS has been co-ed for many years so I don't think marmite is right in this respect.
It really depends on the reason for your ds1's lack of progress OP. It could be that a smaller class size would help but it could also be that there is an undiagnosed problem such as dyslexia or similar. In my experience CH provides better support for above average dcs with mild learning difficulties.
I know plenty of families that send dcs to different schools so don't be too swayed by ds2 who sounds as if he would be fine at state primary or in the independent sector.

QueenofWhatever Sat 05-Dec-15 14:01:30

I don't sense that there is a lot of academic pressure at BGS, but my DD is pretty strong academically. Maths is her weak point where she is in the middle set.

The teacher emailed a group of parents recently saying that their kids were finding it a bit tricky and might be moved down to the lower set, but she was happy to help. I emailed her and now DD has an extra Maths book at home which we work through and the teacher marks. I thought that was quite a constructive approach and I feel more included in her learning that I did at state school.

Other things to consider when switching from state to private is that their friends will be all over the place, Clevedon, Longwell Green, Thornbury rather than the small catchment areas you get with state. Also the holidays at BGS are very long - for example, they finish term on 11th December this year.

QueenofWhatever Sat 05-Dec-15 14:05:08

Also. you say you think your DS scraped through in the exam. What makes you think that?

Getting offered a place at BGS is a competitive process, so he must have done pretty well. They look for aptitude, rather than just knowledge. On school reports, they are graded for effort and attainment, which sums up the ethos.

As you are swithering, I would speak to the admissions staff at BGS. A lot of them are parents with kids at the school and they really only want to take on kids who will be happy there. I'd be open and honest about your concerns. I had some issues with DD's Dad around admission and I really valued their support.

Marmitelover55 Sat 05-Dec-15 14:57:12

My DC's state schools (both primary and secondary) both grade for effort an attainment - thought that was standard practice every where?

Marmitelover55 Sat 05-Dec-15 14:58:11


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