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Moving back to Belfast - school places

(18 Posts)
tiredallthetime33 Sun 10-Sep-17 13:25:36

We are contemplating moving back to Belfast, thinking of South or East Belfast. Where is good for primary schools in these areas? I have a child in year 1 in England which means they would be in P2. Where would be family friendly too? I moved away over 10 years ago so feel rather out of touch. Also, does anyone know if the curriculum is much different between England and N.I. for this year group?


ShinyStella Mon 11-Sep-17 04:42:25

Four winds, south east Belfast - cairnshill primary, st Bernard's primary, st Itas or st Joseph's (last 2 more Carryduff but only 2 miles or so from four winds) All are excellent schools. As an area it's very family friendly and importantly, it's neutral. Depends what you want though. Prob best to check with the schools you are interested in whether they have places or not nearer the time you plan moving.
Thinking ahead to post primary, it's good catchment area for excellent schools such as methody, Aquinas etc.
You can read recent school inspection reports on the ETI website, will give you a general feel.
Cannot comment on the curriculum differences, but the education system in NI is excellent

Foreveryseason Mon 11-Sep-17 18:24:23

In South Belfast (Stranmillis, Malone, Lisburn Rd) you have Stranmillis, St Bride's, Finaghy, Cranmore Integrated, Holy Rosary, Botanic, Fane St, Taughmonah. The first two in particular are, ime, excellent schools, although are quite oversubscribed.

Also in that area, fee paying schools include Fullerton (Methody feeder), Victoria (girls school, feeder for Victoria College) and Inchmarlo (boys school, feeder for Instagram). I know people with kids at Victoria who also rate it but I'm not personally familiar with any of them.

In terms of feeling family friendly, good chunks of Stranmillis are always well loved by families, the Malone road area is great and near parks etc but more expensive. There are new developments further on out the upper malone road (st Anne's primary out that way is excellent too), and as a pp said, four winds, carryduff has lots of family estates there.
I'd second checking the eti inspection reports although some of the more recent ones are bare bones as there was a teachers strike on during them! Also checking with schools if they're likely to have places coming up. My kids' school is near QUB and the City hospital so we often have families of visiting lecturers/doctors here for a couple of years then going so you do get places coming up each year.

Hth, feel free to pm if you've any questions.

tiredallthetime33 Tue 12-Sep-17 13:27:18

Great, thanks for your help.

BelfastLocalEditor Wed 13-Sep-17 15:31:07

Another area to perhaps consider (I'm slightly biased) is around the Holywood area as there are a lot of schools...Sullivan, Rockport (private), St Patrick's and Holywood Primary is a great small school. The area is safe (so far!) for the kids as it's small and walkable if you live in and around Holywood. I also moved back to Belfast a few years ago and I like the small town feel of the area and yet we are 10 minutes away from Belfast centre. Its like the best of both worlds.

Foreveryseason Thu 14-Sep-17 00:02:05

10 minutes away????!!! I definitely agree Holywood is lovely, but it cannot ever be described as 10mins from Belfast!! Even on a good day it's 20mins and actually the traffic that direction would put me off massively! Lovely part of the country but not in a million years 10mins from Belfast!

ShinyStella Thu 14-Sep-17 11:43:51

It's 10 mins by train Foreveryseason, and as the train station is in the middle of Holywood the train is a good option

BelfastLocalEditor Thu 14-Sep-17 12:58:07

I should have said by train ! Or, in fairness when the roads are pretty empty (I don't speed honest) smile

tiredallthetime33 Sun 17-Sep-17 20:20:39

Thanks for that, something to consider. My husband is starting to get cold feet about moving back. He's English and is worried about there being "trouble". Is it wise to move back? I'm just tired of feeling isolated over here in England.

ShinyStella Sun 17-Sep-17 20:41:01

There's no trouble, unless u move to one of the few (and small) areas that are less desirable. I would have to use google maps to find those places, the vast majority of Belfast and the people in it are ordinary. Your husband need to educate himself a bit more rather than painting all of Norn Iron with the same brush. For goodness sake. Trouble indeed.
Every city has places that are undesirable, and none of those places have been recommended on this thread.

tiredallthetime33 Sun 17-Sep-17 21:34:06

I'm sorry, I guess I am just living in the past remembering how it used to be. Thanks, you've put my mind at rest

Primamadonna Mon 18-Sep-17 08:00:20

Tiredallthetime - I moved back about 3 years ago and there's no 'troubles' anymore ! There are the same issues that exist in any city but of course the areas we have been talking about are quite naice. There can be an ingrained bigotry in some people but generally I ignore it and eye roll.

Its understandable your husband having worries given our past but I find Belfast city centre the least scarey city I've been in for many reasons.

tiredallthetime33 Mon 18-Sep-17 21:54:10

Thanks, that's helpful

PorpoisefullyObtuse Wed 27-Sep-17 23:08:02

My dsis and her English partner moved back two years ago. DSIS been away 20 years. Their life is better and easier - more disposable income, more family support, better commute. The main issue for someone moving back (or forward thinking who lives here) is that there are some very entrenched attitudes - I am shocked by the amount of religion in schools, I am shocked by the number of creationists and young earthers. There are many positives to living here but, same as anywhere, there are compromises.

tiredallthetime33 Thu 28-Sep-17 20:23:21

Yes, I understand what you are saying. I was slightly surprised looking at Websites of Belfast primary schools to see they have after school Scripture Union clubs. I had forgotten about things like that! But I do want to be nearer family. We don't have any family near us in England as my husband's family is a 4 or 5 hour drive away. So the decision is whether to move nearer them or move to Belfast. You get so much more house for the money in N.I. and I think the schools are better but ah it's a tough decision

Foreveryseason Thu 28-Sep-17 23:47:08

Genuinely I think in most circumstances it's a moot point. Unless you're rural or stuck for schools most schools these days are perfectly fine. If you can find integrated schools even better. But for example my kids are no religion at a catholic school. We are both catholic upbringing but not religious. The school allows you to opt out of all religion. There's 33% foreign nationals. It's won diversity awards. It's a great school. This is very common in most areas around Belfast. Rural schools might be different. If you can find integrated schools even better!

WickedLazy Mon 02-Oct-17 22:16:30

The BELB (Belfast education and library board) has been replaced by the Education Authority.

Lot's of info on schools here, if you look for primary admissions, there should be a booklet with a list of schools (and postcodes/areas), and a summary of each. And most schools will have a website.

WickedLazy Mon 02-Oct-17 22:17:08


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