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Preston St primary / Watson

(22 Posts)
JennPen Sat 18-Dec-10 22:22:56

Hi everyone

We're looking at buying a place falling in the Preston St school catchment area and I'd like to hear some feedback on the school (have already read HMIE reports). My little boy will be starting school in 2 years time

We're also weighing up the possibility of sending him to Watsons, but, given we both work full time, Im not sure if the commute across to Morningside (by bus/car?) as well as the pick up at the end of the day is going to make life difficult due to traffic etc.

I'd really appreciate any feedback on Preston St/from anyone who does the trip from Newington to Watsons and how easy (or not) it is.

Thanks very much

liath Sun 19-Dec-10 20:11:29

Dd is at Preston St, lovely school I'm really happy with it. Small class sizes and it feels very friendly. Downside is that the playground is rather small.

Lots of the neighbours kids go to Watsons, I pass it on the way to work and it takes me 10 mins to get there in rush hour, it's usually a very clear run.


JennPen Mon 20-Dec-10 15:32:34

Thanks very much, HTH. That's good news.

If we do in the end go for Watsons, I'd be interested to hear how easy it is to park at the school for pick-ups/drop-offs. The school told me this can be difficult. Can anyone who does car or bus pick up/drop offs let me know what parking is like please? Ideally we'd be within walking distance of Watsons but finding somewhere to live within walking distance is quite a challenge!


rookiemater Tue 21-Dec-10 22:07:38

Hi there, our son has started nursery at Watsons. He loves it and we are very impressed with the standard of care at the school.

Parking is a wee bit of an issue, drop off isn't usually so bad as if you wait then you generally get a space fairly quickly, but you do have to plonk your car in the middle of the road with just enough room for other cars to get past so other commuters can sometimes be a bit short with you grin Or if you arrive early you can park at the sports pavillon which generally has spaces until around 8.30.

Pick up is a bit of an issue, if you want a space that is less than 5 minutes walking then you need to be at the car parks by 2.15 for a 2.45-3.00 pick up, seriously people sit in their car reading their papers. Pay places go quickly, but if you are prepared to park a few streets away which is still only a 10 minute walk then (fingers crossed) I have always found something. I'm not going to tell you my special street where I have always found a space as trying to keep it a secret wink but I'm sure you would find your own.

These are obviously at normal pick up and drop off time, when DS is at nursery plus there is no problem getting a space in the car park at 5.30pm.

So it's not brilliant, but perfectly workable and from the traffic I have seen on the main road, would imagine that South Morningside would be harder to park at.

I am jealous though of one of Ds friends who live within walking distance, that would be nice.

liath Wed 22-Dec-10 11:15:45

Aha, so you are one of the people I have to weave my way around on my way to work, Rookiemater wink!!

I must say that would fit with the number of folk I see trying to get parked on side streets etc. I wonder if the number 5 bus goes all the way there from Newington as that might be a better option.

tiokiko Wed 22-Dec-10 12:31:45

Don't know where the 5 ends up in Newington but there is a stop on Morningside Road (just across from Waitrose) that it goes from as I used to get it home from school.

It's about a 5 min walk from there to Tipperlin entrance then another few minutes round to the lower primary.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 22-Dec-10 12:42:33

DS goes to watson's morning is fine as you can drop off from 8.15 so always able to park easily it takes about 10 minutes pick up is harder I usually arive about 2.30-2.35 and always park in the pay parking outside. If I am later I can always get parked in a side street so not a big walk. DS goes to after schoolclub 3 days as I work and parking is never a problem when I pick him up then as the school car parks are empty.

Preston street is a good school I believe. Sciennes was our catchment school and us good but over-crowded. We are happy with watson's and DS loves it

rookiemater Wed 22-Dec-10 15:17:15

Sorry liath blush if it helps at all I don't have a huge 4x4 that I am unable to drive, just a bog standard Ford that i still can't drive very well.

Watson's holiday club is very good as well. I put DS in this afternoon as they are going to see The Snow Queen in the SCHOOL BUS ( you can tell which bit he is excited about) for the normal holiday club cost so seems a bit of a bargain to me.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 22-Dec-10 16:20:43

I think the watson's holiday and after school club are more expensive than some but you can get a place which really helps when working (for example the Sciennes after school club has a two year waiting list for certain days). Also the watson's holiday club in particular is brilliant they do fabulous activities

liath Wed 22-Dec-10 17:00:45

Hope he enjoyed his trip, Rookie. Dd went last week and LOVED it. Lot's of Snow Queen discussion ever since. She's still at the age where she seems to think if she's seen something then I'll also magically know what she's talking about even though I wasn't there hmm.

Another factor for Preston St is that there's no before school club. There's an after school one run from the Royal Mile Primary.

rookiemater Wed 22-Dec-10 19:37:47

Liath he did seem to enjoy The Snow Queen and when quizzed said it was better than Megamind although a little bit scarey.

I can vouch that there seems to be good availability for the wraparound and they do seem to care about the children as well.

JennPen Wed 22-Dec-10 21:44:17

Thanks all for the feedback - sounds like either option will be fine. Glad to hear that the after school club at Watsons is good - we would be reliant on that I expect!

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 23-Dec-10 09:36:25

Feel I should give you some of the plus and minus points just to be completely fair. Watsons don't have the half-day on Friday which is good if you are working, however it that is a day off you do miss time with the DCs. Also when the children start in P1 they go straight in to full days while Preston St have a very gentle run in to full days. Also Watsons doesn't do golden time, but children can bring in toys to play with at playtime.

Lunches are also different (both Watsons and the Edinburgh council lunches are good quality) - Watsons in P1 and 2 the children can't have lunches on just certain days - it has to be all school lunches or all packed lunches for half a term at a time. I can see the school's view point that it helps the children settle if they don't need to remember what is happening at lunch - but some children like a mixture. Also first half-term in P1 it is packed lunches only.

Watsons are also keen on the uniform! It took DS a bit of time to get to grips with the tie, and he still struggles sometimes with undoing his shirt buttons. But his teacher does help if required. Oh, and boys wear shorts until P6. It can be expesnive, but there is a good thrift shop on campus and lots of parents swap uniforms as children grow out of them.

The playground at Watsons is great, and if it rains they stay inside but each area has an activity area so there are different activities to do. Preston St has quite a small playground, but the children seem happy in it.

Watsons operate a 7 day cycle so the children have PE 3 times a cycle (e.g. at least twice a week, sometime 3 times). Preston St is very near the Meadows and I believe they use that in good weather - but not certain.

Academically I think Preston St is good, as is Watsons. Homework is roughly the same at Watsons as it was at Sciennes.

Would you DS start in August 2012? that's when my DD will start P1.

FanjoForTheMincePies Thu 23-Dec-10 09:45:45

I went to Preston Street many years ago and didn't find the playground at all small, although I do now!

We were very imaginative with our games, and also used Holyrood Park.

We also used the roof as our playground occasionally but obviously that is not recommended blush

Tootlesmummy Thu 23-Dec-10 10:00:39

Sorry for the hijack but I also wanted to say that if you're thinking of your DS going to Watsons you should try and get his name on the list now as I know the list gets full quickly.

I'm basing the above on assuming your DS will be looking to go in Aug 2012? apologies if I've got that wrong.

rookiemater Thu 23-Dec-10 10:03:57

Good point Tootlesmummy, in fact I think the cut off date for 2012 may have passed already, however still worth putting your DS name down as spaces may come up.

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 23-Dec-10 10:31:52

The cut off for entering P1 in 2012 is November 2011 I think? Also, I think the cut-off date for entering the pre-school in 2012 is April 2011
Like the others have said would be worth contacting the school

rookiemater Thu 23-Dec-10 11:12:59

Oops am getting 2011 & 2012 confused, only last week was saying to DH that it was a shame we hadn't planned to go to London next year to see the Olympics blush

Tootlesmummy Thu 23-Dec-10 11:22:57

I think you're right re the official cut offs however, I know from registering DS for various schools that the lists were getting full in October for the August 2012 intakes.

The places are allocated quite strictly so I personally wouldn't wait until the last minute to get on the list.

Hope this makes sense!

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 23-Dec-10 11:40:08

I didn't realise that Tootles, DD has a place at the pre-school so I'm hoping I won't miss the application for a P1 place! DS transferred to Watsons in P2 so the P1 intake is new to me!

rookiemater Thu 23-Dec-10 11:42:14

Chrysanth I don't think you need to worry if DD has a place at preschool, I think they automatically factor them in for P1 ( she says hopefully as DS is in nursery and haven't bothered filling in form for state primary)

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 23-Dec-10 12:07:39

Great, I will apply for a state place as a back up - but I am assuming they will give DD a place. Realistically we wouldn't keep DS there if DD was elsewhere!

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