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Clifton High School

(21 Posts)
HotelNewHampshire Wed 11-May-16 00:38:56

I'm thinking about Clifton High in Bristol for my 2 boys and would be grateful for opinions, particularly from those with boys at the school. Thanks in advance.

carrie74 Mon 16-May-16 10:37:22

I can't really help, but our DD starts here in September, and we expect our DS to join her in 2 years' time. We've only heard good things about it, and we felt it suited our children's needs, but as we've not had actual experience yet, it's hard to say. The whole process over this year though, from open days to entrance has been very smoothly run, and very welcoming.

Jinglebells99 Mon 16-May-16 10:43:50

I would be put off by the this, and that the member of staff was doing it for 16 years!

carrie74 Mon 16-May-16 10:49:27

That's actually a different school, Jingles, but I think it put the wind up all the local schools, TBH.

HotelNewHampshire Mon 16-May-16 13:46:55

Thanks Carrie. Yes we have heard good things too but always good to hear from current parents. Hope your daughter settles in well.

mouldycheesefan Mon 16-May-16 14:36:42

I have heard positive things especially as it is not academically selective so children who perhaps won't get places at BGS would not have a problem getting a place at Clifton high. It has a good reputation without being a hot house.

carrie74 Mon 16-May-16 18:27:38

Hmm, I think it is academically selective (though not as rigorous as BGS). DD had offers from both but for a number of reasons, we thought CHS was a better fit. Lots of parents we met along the process said similar, and of course there were also some that preferred BGS - it's so much about which school suits your children best.

mathsmum314 Mon 16-May-16 20:26:30

It is academically selective on paper, but it reality it needs the money so will accept anyone who can afford it. Some private schools are .... in trouble in Bristol as the state sector improves.

In terms of private schools its average, if you can afford all the extras then your child will get a good experience, if they are clever they will get good grades...

There are better state schools.

Iamcheeseman Mon 16-May-16 20:39:56

The only school I'd pay for my child to attend in Bristol is BGS

mouldycheesefan Tue 17-May-16 09:30:38

In terms of academic selection you would be hard pressed to find a child that had not been awarded a place at Clifton high, they don't turn people away. Whereas BGS does turn children down following academic selection and some of those will end up at Clifton high. It is known locally as not being academically selective. But also known for being a good school where children are happy and not a hot house, having a range of academic ability.,
For boys though check the proportion of boys as it used to be a girls school, they expanded to include boys lots of years ago as numbers of girls dropped so I would imagine they have plenty boys now but worth checking.
Clifton college, colstons collegiate, the Downs school( only goes to 13, not academically selective) and torwood house (only goes to 11, not academically selective) are the other co-ed independent schools in Bristol I can think of. There may be others.

mouldycheesefan Tue 17-May-16 09:38:27

Just to add, I don't know how academically selective Clifton college and colstons collegiate are, I get the impression that if you can pay the fees you are in at both schools.
QEH is I think the only independent boys school.
Excellent state schools include st Mary redcliffe (c of e) and cathedral school(previously independent). I would imagine their results, taking into account Intake, are not much different to Clifton high.
The only school in Bristol that I have heard children being asked to leave on academic grounds or not passing academic assessment is BGS, which has a reputation as academically very strong but also very good for additional needs.

catslife Tue 17-May-16 09:59:55

I understand that QEH is planning to go co-ed (currently all boys).

mouldycheesefan Tue 17-May-16 11:24:01

QEH do have some younger year groups joint with a girls school. Wonder if they are merging?

catslife Tue 17-May-16 11:38:58

Looks as if the sixth form are going co-ed from September 2017. Doesn't seem to be for other age groups yet.

jo164 Tue 17-May-16 18:50:26

Only the sixth form at QEH is co-ed from September. BGS used to be very academic - but I don't believe it to be quite as strong as it used to be. I am a teacher locally and know of distinctly average children (old level 4's) who have been offered places this year. QEH is definitely the strongest for boys in Bristol currently. BGS also has large classes in comparison to other private schools, so I would start to wonder what I was paying for. Clifton High is less selective - as it needs to be - otherwise it would be half empty. If you are happy with a less selective environment, which suits many children, I would be more concerned about ratio of boys to girls, as it was previously a girls school. All things considered it is a nice school and if you liked the atmosphere and what they had to say when you visited. I'm sure it will be fine. Colstons is much on a parr these days academically with Clifton High - better on site sports facilities, if that interests you, and a good number of boys. Worth a look if you are after co-ed even as just a local comparison.

carrie74 Tue 17-May-16 22:12:56

Mouldy and Jo make really good points, and I think it's advised to see as many schools (both indie and state) before choosing a path: it's a big decision, isn't that?!? On paper, we would have gone with BGS, but it was only after a lot of visiting of various places, and assessment of what we thought would best suit both children. But what we think will suit them wouldn't suit the next child, so it's so hard to advise. Hope your search goes well and you find the right school for your family.

carrie74 Tue 17-May-16 22:15:16

Sorry, I was writing that last post in between a food delivery, hence a hastily ended sentence!!

It should read suit both children, that we decided to go with CHS.

Marmitelover55 Wed 18-May-16 19:59:19

I would check the accounts for Clifton High carefully. In my opinion there are too many private schools in Bristol now that the state sector is so much stronger.

HotelNewHampshire Sun 22-May-16 15:36:14

Thanks everyone, certainly a lot to think about. It's true that we don't want to pay fees without feeling we were really getting something the state schools can't offer. I do have that worry about Clifton.

sandk Mon 23-May-16 14:10:33

I've a son who started at CHS in Y7 this year. He's settled well there and is happy.

I agree with going to look around as many schools as possible. On paper, and going by the local playground chatter, QEH would have been our 'indie' school of choice - DS did still apply there and was offered a place there as well as CHS. But on visiting, CHS won us over almost as soon as we walked through the gates - a gut feeling of it being "the right place" as much as anything. Our local state school sounded as if should be wonderful, but again after visiting it, it didn't feel as if it would be a comfortable place for DS.

I believe for the last few years CHS have taken as many boys as girls into Y7 and this was the case this year (slightly more boys I think) - and also expanded to an extra class of intake. They've recently had a very positive ISI inspection (for what such an inspection is worth!) The report is on their website, and states 249 boys and 279 girls across the whole school.

We like that it isn't a hot-house but that you can still be very successful academically, we like the atmosphere, the feel of the site, that it is co-ed, the small class sizes and that it isn't a huge school overall.

steffie10 Fri 06-Jan-17 00:31:23

Love this school. My daughter has just started in yr 7. She came with low confidence and thought she could not learn to read. She was at the bottom of her class in the local school in reading and writing, mediocre in math and had just been diagnosed as dyslexic. The previous school had told us we needed to try harder and practice the reading and had denied my suspicion that she was dyslexic. At Clifton High School they saw her talents and reminder her of them and they have worked out a way to help her learn the things she finds difficult - like doing her homework on an I-pad and recommending various apps and giving her extra support. They have somehow also built her confidence and she is getting extra individual support in reading and writing from Ms Pilgrim who is absolutely wonderful. My daughter is actually enjoying those support lessons were she is facing what she previously dreaded. She is no longer scared to read out loud in class. She is now so confident that she will read a recipe and bake a cake on her own, or read the instructions and install my new printer. This seemed impossible only a yr ago. The transformation is truly remarkable. She is getting lots of As, is clearly engaged in class and the lessons are taught to match her strengths: very creative and high level academically. Lots of teacher with PhDs and masters degrees who know what they are talking about (I could tell when talking to them) and who have spotted her talents especially in maths and science and her creativity. They looked beyond the fact that she could not remember her time tables and offered her a math scholarship. Of course, with all that confidence building she is now happy to have a go at learning the timetables, too, so that she can learn to truly excel at math. For my daughter, it is really important that someone keeps an eye on her and help her and encourage her when she struggles and does not to take no from her for an answer. And this is definitely happening aided by the fact that it is a very small and school. I also like the headteacher Dr Neil, because she is so warm and empowering in the way she deals with the staff, children and parents.

My daughter also likes the Diamond Edge Model where the boys and girls are taught separately in the core subjects. She likes the classes with just the girls and I like the fact that she is experiencing an all female environment at an early age - the joy of which I only experienced much later. At the same time, the boys won't be far when she starts getting interested in them and there won't be such a mystery about them.

I have a son at BGS, which is also a great school, and the kids are really keen to learn and competitive about getting good grades. A lot of emphasis on doing well in exams, with high expectations, and the learning is less creative. BGS is a school definitely turn out people that are successful in life in a conventional middle-class academic way. They learn to be polite, and helpful, to fit in and to do what they are expected to do. But, in my view, it is not geared to turn out people who question society, the system and create the real breakthroughs that the world needs.

To me, it is important that a school both develop's the children's emotional intelligence, their spirituality as well as their intellect. I also considered the Steiner Schools in Bristol for my daughter as it is my view that they have the best system for developing the pupils' understanding of their emotions and senses and communicating them through art, music and writing. However, in the end, Clifton High school won because it also provides a lot on the nurture and creativity for supporting the emotional development, but in addition it is has high-level intellectual expectations too. For a child with lots of intellectual and creative talent, I felt it was the best school.

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