Primary Schools - Bristol, are these three good?(11 Posts)
We've decided to move to Bristol and think that these three primary schools are good:
Our daughter is due to start Sep 2012. Am I right in thinking that these are good schools? Are there any (state) primaries that you could recommend over these, please?
Any tips to getting in to these schools?? I appreciate that there are very few places. We're looking for houses close to the schools.
Thank you very much.
All of those schools have very good reputations and are hugely oversubscribed. To get a place you would need to move extremely close to one of them. No point being in the middle thinking you'll get one or the other, the likelihood is that you will get none of your choices and be allocated a much less well regarded school far further away. The school places situation is getting worse, year on year. My dd1 got in in 2009 but we would have been too far away for her to have got a place for 2010 or 2011. Luckily dd2 has a sibling place for this year.
Henleaze this year had 66 siblings so only 24 spaces for new families and the distance was three hundred and something metres, as the crow flies. Elmlea took up to about 600m away for 90 spaces (51 siblings) and Westbury on Trym I think about 400m for 60 spaces again with more than half being siblings. The new primary at Brecon Rd (formerly St Ursula's) may take the pressure off places slightly for 2012, but as the school is not yet open, no-one knows how good it will be.
The schools are definitely not the same as each other, so it would be worth you looking around to see which you prefer. Westbury is smaller, but all through from 4-11. Henleaze and Elmlea are 90 intakes but separate infant and Juniors. Elmlea keeps their 3 classes of 30 quite separate from each other apart from outside playtime. Westbury combines their 2 classes for reading groups, maths groups etc so it sometimes feels more like one big class of 60. Don't know so much about Henleaze apart from there is a new head at the Infants. My friend with children there isn't very impressed with the new infant head, however is full of praise for the Junior Head.
Bishop Rd, Sefton Park, Westbury Park are, I would say, equally well regarded, but no easier to get into and I don't personally know much about them. Will happily answer any other queries you may have, as it is a bit of a minefield!
We're in exactly the same position! We'll be making a primary school application in Jan for Sept 2010 and I had my heart set on moving into the Elmlea catchment but we've been house hunting for so long that we've had to extend our search to include houses in Henleaze and Westbury village.
Be prepared - there is HUGE competition for nice family houses that are close to the schools in these areas because the schools are sooooo over subscribed. We've lost out on 3 houses since May - one we were gazumped on, one we lost out in sealed bids and another we didn't even get to view as it was sold on the first day that viewings started. Lots of buyers seem to have made themselves chain free to give themselves the best possible chance of buying and that's what we've ended up doing in the end.
As Runoutofideas has said, there is no "choice" in the system. You apply for your closest school and if it is oversubscribed (as 85+% in Bristol seem to be) and you don't get a place, chances are that you will get a place at a school that isn't oversubscribed (which usually means they aren't as highly rated by Ofsted, are usually in less desirable areas of the city and often involve a long journey for your child).
This website is useful www.bristol-cyps.org.uk/mce/mce.html for schools info and the Council will try to answer any specific queries that you email to them. You can also contact the schools direct to ask about attending one of their Open Days.
Good luck! It's a very stressful process
Colstons Primary is the very best in that area, the others are all pretty good to be honest. Which do you live closest to? If I was to chose one of your three I would go with Elmlea, but seriously try to find something near Colstons, it's absolutely fantastic. I'm a supply teacher and have taught at all of them and I want to get my own children into Colstons based on that experience
Nightstar - am interested to know what makes Colston's stand out from the rest? I've never heard much about it, either way and don't know anyone whose children go there, whereas the 3 schools the OP asked about initially I seem to hear discussed regularly.
Hi Runoutofideas, I guess the main thing about Colstons is the happiness of the children there. There doesnt seem to be any bullying, its got a small amount of ethnic mix and the children just dont seem to notice any difference and yet they seem so aware and well educated. Every single child can read and write (after a certain age) and the slower children are given excellent one-to-one coaching in a non-obvious way so that the whole bunch seem somehow brighter than at other schools I have been to.
I believe that social awareness and intelligence in children generally has more to do with the parents than the school, yet it amazes me how at Colstons all the children there appear to have both.
But as I said, it's mainly how cheerful the place is. The teachers are happy and nice and kind to the kids, and the children benefit from it and blossom and seem so well rounded. I don't know about you, but that's really all I want for my children.
I guess its not discussed as much because it's smaller and the catchment is only really Redland and Cotham?
Our kids are really happy at Ashley Down, the houses around here are smallish but certainly more affordable than henleaze/Bishopston
They're all good. To get in, live really really really close!
Other schools to look at;
Yes those are good schools. You may also like to consider Stoke bishop primary school. But beware of setting your heart on a particular school as in this area of Bristol all primary schools are very oversubscribed and finding a suitable house before the application deadline may be tricky.
If you are planning to be in Bristol long term you may also need to think about secondary schools and consider that the Westbury area is not close enough to get a place at Redland Green or Cotham secondary school. The new Bristol free school may be a possibility but this is only just starting up.
Colstons primary school is in Cotham by the way.
Other areas you may wish to consider: Bradley Stoke has good modern housing and excellent schools and surrounding areas in South Glos such as Winterbourne and Thornbury.
Friends children go to Christchurch in Clifton and they are very happy. As the posters above have said there are a lot of very highly regarded schools in the North West of Bristol but ALL are oversubscribed.
I have friends who bought a wreck very very close to Elmlea school to try to get a school place (property was so expensive and unhabitable!)
We made the decision to move out of the area last year as our son starts school this year, turned out to be the right decision, got him into a brilliant school. Unfortunatley all our old neighbours didnt get any of their 3 choices and are having to appeal, most have decided to go private.
We had exactly the same dilemma a few months ago, moving down here from London. We looked at lots of houses near the schools you mentioned and they were seriously marked-up and all needed an awful lot of work doing to them. One place, on Reedley Road was on for £350k and went for a lot more on the same day; it was a 3 bed semi whose owner had died and looked to need about £100k spending on it. Of course, if none of this is a concern for you then go for it, but, from our experience, it is very competitive.
We ended up side-stepping all of this completely and going for a place that is within catchment of Horfield Primary - all the children around us attend and their parents are beyond happy with the school. Our two aren't of school age yet, so can't comment directly, but we are very happy with the area and all it has to offer.
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