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Clueless ?? Stockbridge Primary vs St Mary's RC vs Edinburgh Academy vs other independent schools ??(10 Posts)
My husband and I moved from the States to Edinburgh in 2018 and we're clueless on how to navigate the school system here. Our son will be eligible for P1 in Aug 2021 since his birthday falls on March 3, 2016, correct? The first question that pops in our minds is why are there so many private/independent schools in the city? Are there any discernible academic or non-academic advantages in sending our son to an independent school?
Just a bit of background about us. I'm American.
My husband was born here in Scotland but he's practically American because he lived in the States for 20+ years since he was a child.
My father-in-law went to George Heriot's as a child so he can't really tell us much about the state schools. My mother-in-law is English.
The state primary schools in our catchment area are Stockbridge Primary and St. Mary's RC. I was raised Catholic, but despite being non-practising I don't mind if my son goes to an RC school. Can somebody give me an honest review of these schools, the good's and the bad's? My only opinion so far is that Stockbridge Primary looks so cramped, no outdoor space for play, etc. But considering the city centre location is that to be expected? Location wise Stockbridge Primary is closer to our flat, but St. Mary's RC is right next to my work.
To be honest we don't want to spend on private education if it's not "necessary" but if that's what's best for our son then we'll consider it. The obvious school in the neighbourhood is Edinburgh Academy. Thoughts on Edi Academy? What other independent schools are worth considering? Location would be a big consideration for us since my husband suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and I work full time so having a school in the neighbourhood is a big plus.
I've read on other threads here as well about other kids starting in state primary schools, then transferring to independent high schools? Thoughts on that?
Obviously we're confused on where to even start.
Yes, he will start p1 next year. have you been to look around the 2 schools? (presumably you have seen Stockbridge since you commented on the lack of space). if you haven't, i would book a tour (phone up the school and make an appointment) to have a look round. that can help you get a feel of it and the space, you can ask about Outdoor learning (as Scotland is one of only a handful of countries which now explicitly includes the use of the outdoor environment as a necessary approach and context for delivering its education curriculum according to Education Scotland and so they must have some outdoor space). personally i would stick with state because they both are supposed to be good schools, however i would have a look around both first.
I think state primary followed by a move to secondary is fairly common in Edinburgh. Friend’s daughter went to Flora’s and Mary Erskine’s for secondary. Did v well in both .
Have you not registered your DC for primary? You really need to do that ASAP. Your child would need to be baptised catholic to get in to st Mary’s as it is a popular school. Stockbridge/flora is also a good school. Private schools offer more than just education but you do pay for it. Visit the schools and get a feel for what you think is best suited for your child.
While St Mary’s will have a bigger outside area, it also has higher pupil numbers so swings and roundabouts there, even with staggered playtimes. Both have a very good reputation. Both tricky for parking for pick up / drop off. I’m sure there are massive advantages to private school education, including connections, opportunities etc, having said that, Scottish education generally pretty good all round, and don’t forget, there are always opportunities to move from state to private later on. Lots of Edinburgh pupils move from Stockbridge (and other local schools, eg Flora Stevenson) around P4/5.
Ah. So we can book an appointment to see the schools even if it's outside of the November registration week?
Yes, my son is baptised in the Catholic Church so we have his baptismal certificate to show St. Mary's RC.
yes, just phone up the schools and they should be able to help in regards to booking an appointment. you might like to wait until the children return to school so you can see the 'school in action'
Go round both schools ASAP. See which you prefer the feel of, look at what the kids are up to whether in classrooms or corridors, and how they behave (happy? worried?). Personally where you are I'd go for Stockbridge unless my kids (DC, sorry, don't do the MN abbreviations!) were particularly musical (Flora has a lot of music provision, or independent St Mary's Music School is near-ish for later on). And although I'm (partly) a professional musician, my kids aren't showing those signs yet.
Don't worry about private yet. In my opinion many of the Edinburgh private schools are good at turning some nice kids into not-so-nice adults (I have friends who are more earthy in their language). Of course that's a generalisation and for some kids they're wonderful, but some do seem like expensive conveyor belts to achieve certain social connections rather than actually fulfilling children's potential. There are some good ones - I was chatting to the Newton Hall head last year and he seems to have a good holistic attitude - but where you are they would be a solution to a problem you hopefully will never have. Bear in mind that many independent schools have waiting lists so you can also save yourself a lot of hassle if the local schools seem good.
You're so near to parks and the Botanic gardens that if you / your partner make a regular walk north part of your habits a couple of times a week, the space issues at Stockbridge won't be so significant.
State school open day will be early November 2020 for starting 2021. It can be hard to get info on as they don’t publicise widely and it’s the same day all schools so I’m not sure how you would visit two.
There’s no doubt EA junior school will have better facilities. But it’s up to you if you want to pay for that. It’s a 3-18 school so you really do you would want to start the nursery in August 2020. I know the private schools near me have great wrap around care and holiday clubs. Our state primary does too but not all do and they’re hard to get into so if that’s crucial to you look into it.
If you go state will you want to use school nursery? We didn’t as our private nursery had a preschool room and teacher but it meant we didn’t know as many people at school as those who had been to the school nursery. The issue with school nursery though is you only get half days so it’s not easy if you work (why we stayed with private nursery).
I’d say go to EA open day and see if you’re sold on it and think it’s worth the money. Your local primaries are absolutely fine otherwise. Which is your catchment secondary? Broughton? You can find their results online.