Bristol Cathedral School(19 Posts)
DS currently in Y5, but trying to get ahead of the game in making school choices.
a) how good is this school?
b) I know it's very oversubscribed, any inside info on admissions?
c) What are the criteria for the music places ie. what is the realistic expected standard?
Admissions - it's basically a lottery unless you get in on music or maths.
Music - it's supposed to be aptitude, so will be aural tests rather than a 'standard on an instrument' - thereby not discriminating against children whose parents can't afford music lessons. So if they've got a good ear and good aptitude they have a better chance.
Went to the Open Evening last night - there are no specialist maths places - just music.
Open evening was very busy - lots of competition for places. 6 children per place last year!
They are having an Open Morning this Saturday perhaps you should go along, have a look round and ask questions?
dd just started there in year 7 on a music place. She took the music aptitude test and then was called back for an audition, for which she played a piece (or two, can't remember) on the cello.
She is very musical but a bit lazy with practice, plays cello (grade 3) and sings (grade 4). Frankly, I'm not sure how hard the music test is as a good friend of hers who is very musical too (bass guitar, double bass, violin, around grade 4 I think), didn't make it through the musical aptitude test. I would recommend doing some aural test practice first just so your child knows what to expect.
We were very relieved she got in on music as I think over 30 pupils got in as younger siblings, then 8 choristers and 10 musicians. Leaves few spaces for others.
She is adjusting very well so far (was at a girls school and the only one going to cathedral from there) and finding most lessons good (adores her history teacher Mr Allin, also head of lower school). Go and have a look on saturday, it's a nice school, I have only heard good things about it so far.
ooh and they've just been OFSTED inspected last week, so you'll soon be able to read their report
So would you say it was better for boys than girls Riven ? One of my concerns that hasn't gone away, even after looking around, is that it used to be a boys school and doesn't cater for girls that well.
There were also quite a lot new members of staff and no mention of any deaths !
Competition for places is so high though that looking around in Y5 won't make much difference. Best bet seems to be getting DCs enrolled as probationer choristers in Y3 !
I know loads of people who put Cathedral top preference but only two who got in, one on the musical aptitude thing. The ones who are there seem happy with it, but it really is a lottery about getting in - apart from the music thing, there is nothing you can do to improve your chances (unless you can suddenly produce an older sibling at the school?) so it's best not to get too fixed on the idea that it's the one school that you want - I know a couple of families who did, and were really really upset when they didn't get a place.
Lots of new staff is probably partly natural turnover (some left when it turned into an academy, most stayed), but also due to expansion - I think pupil numbers are meant to be going up to 700 plus within a year or two, from 400 or so when it was still private. They've just opened a new lot of classrooms, I think.
Thanks, everybody, lots of really interesting input. Sadly have not been able to get to open evening/morning this year due to my work commitments, but am trying to compile a list of schools to look at over the coming year, with a view to attending the official open days next year.
Son is able musically, and does well on aural, so we may take a chance on the music places. Will be interested in the OFSTED report when it arrives, but have enough educational knowledge to read what the reports don't tell you - much more enlightening!
Well, OFSTED report made for interesting reading. Pretty good for a school new into the state system. Achieved Outstanding in all areas that are on our 'important' list. Sixth form report not so good, but hopefully will improve.
Have heard reports from a number of people on the music places issue. Have heard of some being VERY able on their instrument but not getting a place, whilst some less able did get through. Are they looking for something specific, does anyone know? Ie. vocal ability as well as instrumental, or particular instruments?
It's ok, I don't plan on re-writing my sons interests and hobbies, just deciding if the application to the school is worthwile and if he is likely to fit what they are looking for.
Ha, you were faster than me, Decisions, I was about to tell you the report was available! Yes, the 6th Form doesn't look great at the moment but I'm sure it will improve in line with the rest of the school.
Regarding music places, I don't know if they are looking for particular instruments when they recruit the children, but they certainly promote endangered brass instruments to the year 7s (and the director of music and head teacher both play the trumpet I think).
They seem pretty active in the music department, dd has already taken part in the inter house music competition last week and been invited to play in a school concert next week. Pop academy is starting too, and all the year 7s are competing writing christmas songs that will be set to music, recorded and performed at the christmas concert.
I would certainly let your ds enjoy whatever instrument he wants as people get in on a variety of instruments anyway. But do get him to work on the aural test stuff for the exam. They are looking for ability, not grades.
At the Open evening they did explain about the music test - this is a test of pitch and rythmn and is designed to be appropriate for children who haven't learnt an instrument as well as though that have. If you get a high enough mark on the test (this is near perfect mark as know someone who had score of 98 and did not make it) then you get called back for audition on your instrument (if you play one) or voice.
My dd plays the trumpet don't know if this would increase her chances of getting in if she reached the audition stage.
The Open Evening and Open morning are the only chances to look round the school as they do not allow visits at any other time.
By this time next year all the building work should be completed!
Having said that we have decided not to apply for a place as the competition is too fierce and they recruit pupils from not just Bristol but other areas too so the chances of getting in are very small. So not a good idea to set your heart on this school as you may be disappointed!
BCCS is one of three schools that we are currently looking at. I know the other two schools well. I'm just trying to decide wether BCCS is worth looking into deeper, but I don't think I'll be able to make that decision until open days next year.
It's a bit strange that they don't allow visits at any other time, as with any school I'd want to visit it on a normal working day as well as an open day.
I'm in the fortunate position that even if we ended up with my second or third choice (we'd definitely get into 3rd choice), then I'd be happy.
Girls were allowed into the sixth form in the mid 1990s- around 93 or 94 I think.
DD has been offered a follow up musical aptitude test. She doesn't play an instrument or have a great singing voice. Is it worth her going? Took first test to see how she would get on.
Hi AgedP, she should definitely go, and maybe you could get in touch with the music department so that they can let you know how they will be testing her. They are very nice and I'm sure they will help. Good luck to her!
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