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Bournemouth Collegiate School - prep and senior - reviews?

(20 Posts)
dorsetbound Thu 14-Sep-17 15:52:32

Hi all,
we are moving to Dorset in January from Cheshire. we'll be living in the Canford Cliffs area.
My daughter is currently in year 6 and is very anxious about the move.
So we are now looking at schools... The Junior schools are all over subscribed apart from some faith schools and ideally I'd like her to go to a mixed secondary school.
Does anyone know what the Bournemouth Collegiate Prep School is like and also their senior school? I can't find any review about them. There is Buckholme Towers but she'd only be there for one term and then what as the grammar schools are not mixed. I'm looking at Castle Court but wonder where she'd go after 13? Their feeder schools look far away from CC.
Any advice from anyone would really help. Dorset is so gorgeous and I think we'll have a great quality of life. It's just quite daunting moving so far away from our current village and community that we've been in for years.
Many many thanks in advance.

Flashinggreen Fri 15-Sep-17 20:40:57

BCS junior and senior schools have made big changes over recent years.

My DS 1 has just started at Poole Grammar but we were going to send him to BCS if he hadn't got into the grammar. It had good results this summer I've heard.

There's a lot of buses to the further out private schools that go from the car park at Penn Hill.

Kiri1 Wed 20-Sep-17 08:50:34

The senior school has improved a lot and by all accounts is doing well. The Junior school I would avoid at all costs. It has weak leadership. Classes are small because a lot of children have left. It lacks resources too. Be very careful. What you see at the outset is mostly smoke and mirrors... the reality is something different. We moved our child and are happy we did. However the school she went to is oversubscribed. The local state primary school in Lilliput is good and have heard great things. Castle court is also a better option. Talbot Heath junior and senior is worth looking at too.... friends have children there and love it. Hope that helps. Avoid Bcs prep... it's a waste of money.

Kiri1 Wed 20-Sep-17 09:01:43

Don't feel anxious about the move... this is a wonderful part of the world and there is so much to do here.... there are such great beaches, the purbecks, the new forest, etc etc. Do look at schools further afield in Dorset too as there are great bus services laid on and operate from Penn Hill Car park at the bottom of canford cliffs road, as well as other stops on route. As she is in year 6 Lilliput school won't be any good as it feeds into baden powell which is the middle school. Probably better to choose a school with a senior school follow on so there is more continuity with new friends for her. Good luck!

dorsetbound Wed 20-Sep-17 14:38:41

Hi Kiri

thanks for the message. We're really looking forward to it now. I've enquired with the council about state junior schools with places in year 6 and there aren't many options. I'd like my daughter to move into year 6 with a feeder school to a senior school so she'll know people or go to middle school until she's 13. That's why I was thinking the last 2 terms year 6 at BCS prep and then potentially BCS senior school. But I've heard really mixed reviews. The other option is Castle Court until she's 13 - it looks really full on there though so very different from today. We don't really have middle schools in Cheshire. Do you know if people enter grammar schools after middle schools? Thanks so much for your help.

Kiri1 Wed 20-Sep-17 15:26:37

I am sure children do go on from middle school to Parkstone grammar which is all girls, as they start there at 13 I believe. But if you want co-ed then that doesn't help much. Clayesmore is a bit further out but have heard great things about that and it has a prep school too which would act as a feeder. They run a bus service and although its about 50 mins each way everyone says the children chat to their friends and don't mind it at all. Think castle court is a good one to look at too. Canford in wimborne is another. Maybe Bcs junior would be ok for just two terms... don't let our experience put you off - the senior school is on the up. Good luck anyway, ultimately may be worth short listing the options and having a trip down to see at first hand.... you may find that helps!

Flashinggreen Wed 20-Sep-17 19:13:34

The grammar schools are all single sex and start at yr7, the test is on Saturday...

PotatoPrint Wed 20-Sep-17 21:22:26

Parkstone Grammar starts at age 11.

I think in Poole all the schools mix up a bit for senior sxhool so not entirely necessary to have a feeder school. Lots of surprising state schools are good.

I have heard mixed reports about Talbot Heath but good facilities and a friend who is there is happy. Castle court is very full on and I get the impression prepares more for boarding. I quite like the reports from Yarrels from which a lot go into grammar.

The area is truly lovely, hope you settle soon.

PostNotInHaste Wed 20-Sep-17 21:52:31

Baden Powell is now a Junior school I think? Poole changed from three tier to two tier a few years ago though Broadstone might not have and Dorset has stayed 3 tier apart from a catholic school. So if you want a Middle School you'll need to look at Wimborne really.

I think PotatoPrint is right about Castle Court. A local child just moved onto Canford from there but will be boarding despite beung a few minutes drive. I think that is due to the hours at Canford, lots of weekend stuff by the sound of it.

PotatoPrint Wed 20-Sep-17 21:57:59

Yep Poole schools transition at 11 to secondary schools. There's some primary and some linked infant/juniors.

Broadstone is in with wimborne /cranborne etc on having a proper middle school system where they transition to secondary at 13.

Project45 Fri 10-Nov-17 17:39:30

I would avoid BCS prep. My child did 1 year there in reception before we moved. It was only after moving to a different school that I realised how bad BCS had been. Several years on we are still trying to make up for the fact he fell behind in maths and English. BCS talk a good game, but underdeliver.
The head seemed more focussed on the external representation of the school than the reality of what is happening in the classrooms. The most telling thing for me was that after a year the headteacher at BCS had no idea who he was. In comparison, the headteacher at his new school knew his name within the first week.
Enjoy your move to Dorset, it is a beautiful county and Poole is a lovely place to bring up children

JOYMP Mon 27-Nov-17 09:59:50

Hi Emma, Good luck with your move to Poole - I am sure that you will love it! We moved here 7 years ago and have never looked back! I have 4 kids and we think BCS is an INCREDIBLE school!! My kids have all been so happy there and are have achieved wonders! My eldest 2 have recently moved up to Poole & Parkstone Grammar schools and my youngest 2 are still thriving at BCS. BCS prep is a delightful school and the Head has certainly known my kids by name from the start - she is a smart lady, very switched on and has brought an already successful school on in leaps and bounds! From our experience, children at the school are nurtured, inspired and have an impressive growth mindset. We are very proud to be part of BCS and would have no hesitation recommending this school to anyone! We don't have any direct experience of the Senior site but the Head is excellent and I have several friends whose kids are there and very happy to be so! I hope this helps. Good luck!! x

BB731 Mon 27-Nov-17 17:38:35

Both my children attend BCS prep school and have done so since kindergarten. It's a great school which is continually aiming to improve and develop! Both of my children are incredibly happy and settled. It is a nurturing environment which supports children of all academic ability but also looks at the bigger potential for each individual child. This may be in terms of sporting development/ music or drama and arts! The head teacher has good leadership skills and from my experience does know the childen by name.

I think it's important to recognise that not every school will suit every child but the numbers at BCS are certainly growing not declining!

I think it's definitely worth having a look around the school and making an informed decision to what will suit your individual child!

beachdays88 Mon 27-Nov-17 21:40:40

Both my children attend BCS prep as do many of my friends children and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic. I’m not sure what grounds the declining numbers, lack of resources etc are based on because from what I can see the school is growing significantly and my children have not been short of wonderful experiences which they have been having since the age of 3. As well as their academic work, they love the forest school, the sport and the swimming and for children who started with a real lack of confidence, I have watched them flourish and become so full of confidence and pride in who they are.

At the end of the day, you only really understand a school by going and looking around, talking to the children and staff and asking the questions that are important to you.

I debated whether I could afford for them to stay at BCS just from a financial point of view after their Kindergarten years, but from experiencing the education on offer and watching my children grow in their confidence like they did, I decided it was well worth the money and that the opportunities at BCS outweighed any other school I had visited.

It is never a battle to get my children to school...they love the head who is always present and welcoming to all children. They are so happy. If I were you I would definitely take a look.

I know many other parents that would tell you the same...good luck searching...I know how difficult of a decision it can be.

Butterflyflutter Mon 27-Nov-17 21:51:07

Well I have to say that I am shocked and saddened to hear people badmouthing BCS Prep. In my experience the school is amazing, it’s a place where children enjoy going to school as well offering a rich, well rounded exciting curriculum with specialist subject teachers. The headteacher is super, she takes time to get to know all the children in school and has never forgotten my daughters name!!
As for talking about class sizes getting smaller, this is something I haven’t witnessed? There is, of course a cut off to numbers per class due to the fact it’s an independent school, which is one of the reasons we choose to pay for our children’s education! I’m sure that some people simply cannot be pleased no matter what school they send their child. It’s just like looking at reviews for holidays I suppose, some people will always find fault with even the 5* paradise I say, some people just cannot be pleased! I would have a look around BCS Prep for yourself and don’t let other people’s judgements get in your way.
All I can say is my daughter absolutely loves going to school and seeing her happy smiley face going in each day and her enthusiasm telling me about everything she has done at school is simply enough for me.
Wishing you lots of luck on the move and I’m sure you will love living here, which ever school you decide on! Xxx

dorsetbound Tue 28-Nov-17 09:57:34

We looked round BCS prep and it was a lovely school - the only issue for my daughter is that there are only 5 girls across 2 classes and that's not the schools fault. I want her to have friends as we don't know anyone in the area. Yes, we love it here already even with the few visits to date! Although my daughter is still anxious about the move. We have found a great primary school and secondary school will all be about if she passes the entrance exams or not. I heard people tutor their kids for years..... we'll have to see how we get on with a month of prep! Thanks for all your comments.

Stargazer1011 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:21:32

My children both attend BCS Prep. It is a thriving, welcoming school. Numbers are continuing to rise and my children love it - they even hate being off ill - my daughter even asked to go in whilst being poorly as she loves her school day so much! The staff are excellent - they know both my children very well and are always friendly and welcoming. I strongly recommend other families look at this school - we had no idea how fabulous their facilities were as from the road the site is deceptive and you cannot see how big the grounds are! My son and daughter both love their Forest School weeks. We have been very impressed with the changes to the school in recent years and it continues to go from strength to strength. I have recommended BCS to many friends and will continue to do so as my children are both so happy and are doing so well academically too. Class sizes are just right - not too big or too small and both our children's classes have a good mix of boys and girls. I do not hesitate to recommend BCS.

LaylaGordon Wed 29-Nov-17 21:37:29

Both my two have been at BCS since Kindergarten and my husband and I have nothing but praise for the school and the teachers. The atmosphere is lovely, the children are happy and the teachers are attentive and caring. There are so many opportunities for the kids to learn new activities and the Early Years syllabus is taken very seriously and with great care. My children go skipping in and come skipping out. Miss Smith is a good figure of authority at the school, both nurturing and leading what we think is a fantastic place for our kids to be.

HWest1832 Sat 10-Nov-18 16:23:13

(Tried to start a new thread on this but didn't work so here goes)

My son is currently in year 5 at a small London independent school. We are thinking of moving to Bournemouth after year 6. It seems Bournemouth Collegiate School is the ONLY independent school in the area that takes boys at age 11?

They are non-selective which is fine (son is bright enough and cheerful imaginative/creative/humourous and well-behaved. Loves learning and life, but definitely not a top scorer on tests. Slightly messy/quirky type. e.g. Can't seeing him necessarily getting into highly selective private or grammar school based on test scores in competition with others).

So my question is, is BCS heavily over-subscribed like all our schools in London? Is there a high demand for places or are they trying to attract more pupils? In other words, is it hard for a "regular kid" to get in? . (As a day pupil, Sept 2010 entry)

Also, are there any alternatives in other parts of Dorset? Even Forest Schools and the like.


HWest1832 Sat 10-Nov-18 19:19:33

Ignore above post as I started a new thread for my question:

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