Single mum moving to Belfast(5 Posts)
Hi, I am newly single and my son and I are moving to Belfast this summer. I am considering renting in Holywood (buying will be in the very distant future!). I visited it once and it seems to have everything we would need to make a new life. My six year old's grandmother has offered to pay for private school and I have looked at both Campbell College Junior school and Rockport School. Both seemed lovely and I find it difficult to decide. I would love to know if anyone has a child at either place OR know someone who does. The schools must have a reputation locally (I don't mean simply academically), and I would really like to know what people think or have heard (whether based on fact or fiction!). Given that the split with my husband is recent, I want a nurturing environment for a little boy, who can be quite introverted and silent.
Just a bit of background: I have lived in the UK for almost a decade and over 12 years in the States. Originally, I am from County Monaghan in the Republic. I am fairly adaptable and am hoping for a new start, but if my son isn't happy, then as you mums know, I won't be either. Any advice would be appreciated.
If you don't feel comfortable posting your comments in public, then we could email or I could ring you although I don't know how to do that. Sorry for the long-windedness. Lack of quality sleep is most likely to blame! Thanks for any help.
Hi Kaki. Holywood is a lovely town. It has lots of amenities and good links into Belfast.
My DS is at Campbell, although middle school age now not primary. I have nothing but praise for the school. The pastoral care is excellent, the boys are mannerly and the school has a big rugby culture.
IMO Rockport does not have as good a reputation for academic or sporting results as Campbell, but I think its still a good school.
If you are aiming for your DS to attend Campbell after primary school stage, I would suggest you place him in the Junior school as there are a lot of boys he will already know and be friends with.
Good luck for your move. You can message me if you dont want to talk here.
Is there a reason you want a private school? Just wondering, you don't have to answer! There's also Sullivan prep in Holywood you could check out. There really isn't any other private sector schools, it's not really something that's common here, although I think(?) you can still pay to get into Campbell if your DC doesn't get good enough results. I'd maybe consider looking at the secondary schools before definitely deciding to go private for primary. You'll be able to find results tables on the internet.
I wouldn't send my son to Campbell, mostly due to the attitudes of Campbell boys who I knew when I was in school and knowing friends of my brother. Admittedly that was a while ago and obviously it was the more social rugby crew rather than boys who were quiet and studious, but I'd rather he was at a mixed sex school.
A child in my street goes to rockport and the general consensus of nosy neighbours is that one if the parents is from another country where private education is more prestigious and that's why it was chosen.
I knew a boy who was employed as a handyman there for a year or two, again a few years ago. A few things he said would concern me about the pastoral side of things but that's all I know about it.
Sorry that's mostly personal impressions and prejudices rather than solid information so I'm not sure it's any use to you!
You cant pay to get into Campbell if DC dont get good enough results - not as a day boy anyway. If DC dont get good enough results in the AQE the only way into Campbell is to Board.
Thank you so much for getting back to me. I am well aware that the state schools in Belfast are excellent. Then, why go private? Well, it is very late in the year so I very much doubt DS will get into a good state school , but that is not the only reason. DS is at a private school in the UK. He had a lot of health issues when he was younger due to being pre-term, which made him appear much younger than his peers (balance, hearing and speech). He did not get along in a large class, and the teachers simply did not have time. Since moving to a private school in a class of 15 kids (with a teach and TA), he has blossomed into a more confident, happier child. And now apart from some unclear speech when he is in a hurry, you would not know he ever had problems. But I don't want him in a large class, because even if the school is excellent I fear he won't thrive and won't get the attention he needs. The school he goes to now has its fair share of non wealthy families, and I suspect that will be the case even more so in Belfast since the cost of a private, primary education doesn't even begin to compare with the UK.
Squirted, I am a little worried tbh about an all boys school though. I also worry that DS won't fit into a 'sporty' school. Although he enjoys climbing and the rough and tumble of being a boy (probably a bit more reticent than most boys), he shows zero interest in sport! However, he is only six and may change.
I thought both schools had a lovely, caring atmosphere and lovely interaction between the children and the teachers. Relaxed but respectful. Perhaps I had a slighter preference for Campbell, but my reservations remain.
I am so grateful for all your comments although I am not sure I am any nearer to a decision!
Any other thoughts?
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