Done to death, I'm sure, but I'm completely in the dark.
We'd like to move to Bristol and aim to find a good state primary and then a house. Ideally we'd find somewhere to live within the catchment of a good primary and secondary, but of course this may be tricky.
DD will be starting school in Sep 2012 so we really need to get going on this.
I'd be VERY grateful for any advice anyone can offer.
Sefton Park (St Andrews) Ashley Down (two sites now, one in Ashley Down, one in Bishopston) St Michaels on the Mount (central) Bishop Road (Bishopston)
If you're not planning on moving house between primary and secondary then you need to concentrate on secondary as school places are at a premium and you absolutely must live within the catchment area to get a place. In North Bristol I would recommend Cotham or Redland Green, but there are lots of academies further afield such as Cathedral (good if your child is musical), Colston Girls or St Mary Redcliffe (Catholic but take children of other faiths). I don't know the schools in south bristol but hopefully someone will be along with knowledge of that side of the river.
We're moving to Bristol in a few mons and focussed a lot on the Westbury on Trym/Henleaze area where there seem to be good primary schools, although you need to live on top of a lot of them and the property prices reflect this. Elmlea, Stoke Bishop, Henleaze, Westbury CofE are all rated Outstanding (don't quote me on this). From what I can gather, there is a lot changing wrt Secondary Schools and 8 years is a long way away after all!
Check with the council for primary admissions - there is a shortage of spaces in "good" primaries and often no children living further than 300-500m from the school gets a place. There have been issues in the last few years with children living more than 500m from all of their nearest schools being sent to undersubscribed schools miles away because there are no other places.
If you don't need to be in central Bristol, there is a better choice of 'good' schools a few miles out. Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Bradley Stoke in South Glos all have great primary and secondary schools. Thornbury a small town north of Bristol has good schooling, or Portishead to the south west also has both good primary and secondary schools.
Hi there St Mary Redcliffe & Temple secondary school is actually C of E but takes children from other denominations. There is also St Bedes in North Bristol which is Catholic. The faith schools take children from the whole of Bristol and do not have catchment areas. South of the river there are some outstanding primary schools that you may wish to look at Hillcrest primary in Totterdown, Southville primary and Ashton Gate primary but these all have fairly small catchment areas. In South Bristol the secondary schools have been rebuilt and are improving. The most popular is Ashton Park.