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Moving to Bournemouth area from Canada- lots of advice needed!

(6 Posts)
Emeryst Fri 12-Aug-16 05:15:53

Our family is being relocated to Bournemouth area in the next couple of months, and I am looking for advice for a couple of different things: schools and dance schools (to start!)
We will be renting, so have some flexibility as to where we move initially at least.
Applying for a school space is a completely foreign concept, and I am still struggling to figure out what the differences between school types are. I have sent an email to the council that deals with applications though, so I am assuming they can help sort some detail out.
However, I am looking for a little guidance as to some programs that might be offered at specific schools. My son turns 11 in November. He plays piano and trombone. He dances competitively in a variety of genres. He has been in the academically gifted/ talented program at school. He takes German classes on Saturdays, and 80% of his schooling has been in French since he was 6 years old. Ideally, these are all things that he would continue through school/extra curricular activities when we move. My daughter turns 4 in September, and really needs to be in school full time. She is ready to go! Any suggestions as to where to start?
Also, we are looking for a dance school. Both kids love dance- ballet, acro, jazz, lyrical... Pretty much every style. We are looking for a dance school with friendly, well qualified instructors, that offers strong technique. Son would like to continue to compete in the future, on a team where most everyone is supportive and friendly. Suggestions please!
Thanks for your help! I am sure I will be posting more questions-this seems like a great resource!

anotherdorsetbum Mon 22-Aug-16 19:56:50

Hi. I live in Bournemouth, perhaps I can help with explaining the school side of things (I know nothing about dance schools i'm afraid except to say that there are some in the area).
You can send kids to pre school at about age 3/4 yrs. At age 4 (September after 4th birthday) you send them to primary school until age 11 when they transfer to secondary school. (Some primary schools go from 4yrs to 11yrs all through and some schools split at around age 7 and have primary and juniors but its still the same school - bit confusing). At 11 they transfer to secondary (like high school) until age 16. Post 16 they can stay on at a lot of schools into 6th form. On entry into primary at age four they go into a 'reception' year and the following year they enter year 1 and progress through to year 13 (if they go into 6th form). Last year in primary (or juniors if applicable) is year 6 and first year in secondary is year 7. All students take exams in year 11 (age 15/16) these are GCSE's. If they stay on into 6th form they study A levels. You need A levels to apply to university. That is the system in a nutshell. You can leave school at 16 but must go into some form of further education until 18 unless you choose to work. Alternatives to sixth form and A levels are available. OK, so thats the bones of it. to complicate things a bit there are (kind of) three tiers of education in the UK. Free education (state schools) and paid for education (private schools and public school). There are three main types of state education - comprehensive; faith and grammar. Grammar schools are free but selective (you have to take a test at age 11 - the 11+). Faith schools you have to fulfil religious criteria. Comprehensive schools are non selective and non faith based and these are the schools that the majority of students attend. Grammar schools are controversial and thin on the ground and oversubscribed and places are highly sough after. They offer high levels of education, have high expectations of students and produce good exam results. Comprehensives vary hugely in quality usually depending on location. They have lower expectations as they have a more inclusive intake and lower exam results. In the Bournemouth area there are two grammars (one boys and one girls) and two main comprehensives (one girls and one boys - yes Bournemouth is unusual in the UK in that we have a lot of single sex schools). There are a couple of other comprehensives which are co-ed (boys and girls). There is a large faith based secondary school which is very popular and gets good results. The Schools I know about are these.
Bournemouth School. This is the boys grammar. Both my sons attend this school and its a great school highly recommended. (Selective)
Bournmouth School for Girls. Also a good school (Selective)
Harewood College - Boys Comprehensive
Avonbourne - Girls Comprehensive
Bishop of Winchester - Co-Ed comprehensive
St Peters - Roman Catholic Secondary school (Faith selective)
(Feeder primary schools for St Peters are Corpus Christi primary and St James Primary. It helps to go to a feeder primary but its not crucial)

Your son being 11 in November would be transferring to secondary this September if you were here now. To get into the grammars you need to take the 11+ exam which takes place this year on September 24th and you need to register to take it by September 9th at the latest. This 11+ also covers the grammar school in Poole (if you are nearer).
If you want to attend one of the comprehensives then you need to apply to the LEA by sometime in October (in fact you need to apply to the LEA then even if you are taking the 11+ this is VERY important). I can explain that further for you later if you like).
Primary schools for your daughter i would suggest is less complicated as most primaries in the area are pretty good and the nearest one should suit (unless you end up on one of the run down estates which I wouldn't recommend).
Sorry this is so long - I didnt realise how complicated it was until I tried to explain it! Any questions just ask me I'm happy to help. I havent listed all the schools here just the main ones.

coffeeisnectar Mon 22-Aug-16 21:29:03

Although slightly out of your proposed area, Queen Elizabeth school in Wimborne has a dance studio and dance is one of the GCSE subjects. They also have a very good music and sports programme there.

Not a personal recommendation but looking at the website, this may be useful

Also any school would encourage your son to take additional GCSE''s in two languages if he has the natural ability.

Please do post again if you want any further information. I am on the other side of Poole but grew up in Bournemouth and attended Glenmoor School for girls. I have no idea of the standards of the schools in that area now but do know that the Grammar Schools in both Bournemouth and Poole have excellent standards and may well be beneficial to your son.

Sandysunnysmiling Mon 22-Aug-16 21:45:55

There is a dance school in Lansdown, and plenty of supply shops .
Have you any idea where you are wanting to buy ?

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 23-Aug-16 08:49:03

If your son is only 10 at the moment he will be going into year 6 so last year of primary/junior school, your daughter won't start full time school until September 2017 so you will need pre schools for her.

anotherdorsetbum Tue 23-Aug-16 08:57:24

FiveGoMadInDorset is correct regarding the transition year for your son. I stand corrected. That's to your advantage of course as it gives you time to look into secondary schools. smile

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