Family-friendly place to live in Bristol

(11 Posts)
mummific Mon 22-Apr-13 06:22:27


My family and I will be transfering from Belfast to Bristol this coming November because I got transferred to work with offices in BS1. I have an incoming Primary 6 daughter on September and we are planning to look for a very good school for her. My husband also found a work in a Bar at BS1 although he is still weighing if he wants that one located in BS8.

I am thinking what to compromise i.e.
1) Get an apartment to rent in the city centre near my work and my husband get the job in BS1 too and my daughter goes to a nice school (not private) which she has been given a place; OR
2) Find a house/apartment to rent near the one of the best schools which will give my daughter a space in P6 and my husband and i just commute to and from work.

Please can you let me know your thoughts on this? i have known less about Bristol and how education sytem works in Bristol.

I have heard about Redland Green, Cotham & Clifton. Are these places only ideal for parents who want to send their children to secondary schools? I apologise if I ask these questions. Do these schools have primary levels too?

How much travel time does it take usually from the city centre to Clifton or Redland Green or Cotham?

Thanks for your patience!

lovinglapland Mon 22-Apr-13 09:38:41

I think you main concern should be secondary school. Children transfer at the end of year 6 (11 yrs old) to secondary school, and if you need/want a good state school you are going to need to apply on time - which is usually the middle of October. If you have an address in Bristol to use at the time of application, you can choose to rent close to a good school - for example Redland Green or Cotham School which are both within easy reach of the town centre, but are 2 of the best state schools in central Bristol. If you have to put in a late application you will struggle to get a place at a school of your choice as all the decent schools are hugely oversubscribed. If there is any way of moving a month earlier I would really recommend it.
As for primary schools, you will need to phone Bristol City Council Education Department and find out which schools have a place for your daughter in year 6 - they will usually only offer you a place once you have a local address. If a school is full they are not obliged to offer you a place even if you happen to live very close.
The areas of Cliton, Cotham and Redland are all very nice parts of Bristol - but also some of the most expensive. Westbury on Trym, Bishopston, St Andrews, Henleaze are also areas quite close to the centre which are family friendly!

exexpat Mon 22-Apr-13 10:41:26

I just googled, and it looks to me that NI primary 6 is actually equivalent to English year 5 - how old is your daughter, and when is her birthday? If she will just be starting year five in September (ie she will be aged 9 on September 1st), your priority will be to find her a primary school place as she will have two years left before secondary school.

Unfortunately most good primary schools in Bristol are full most of the time, and you can't even go on the waiting list for a place until you have an address here - at least, that is how it worked when I moved back from overseas and needed a year 4 place for my son. But some schools, particularly around Clifton, Redland, Westbury Park and Henleaze (all in north-west Bristol) are quite likely to have spaces coming up in year 5 as children get moved to private schools.

I would say if you aim to rent somewhere in north/northwest Bristol, and go on the waiting list for as many schools in the area as possible, there is a good chance of getting a place. But your chances would be much, much higher if you could move in the summer - or at least start renting somewhere - because children tend to move schools in September, and if you wait until November, any spaces will most likely have been filled.

After that you can look more closely at secondary schools, and if necessary move to be in the catchment of one you like. Most of the areas I mentioned above are already in catchment for Cotham or Redland Green, except that some parts of Westbury Park and Henleaze are too far away some years (it depends on numbers of applications).

I think the first thing you should probably do is call Bristol council's education department, explain your situation, and find out what you can do.

Oh, and Bristol is not a big city, so living in any of the areas I mention would only be a short trip to work in the city centre.

lovinglapland Mon 22-Apr-13 16:40:03

Sorry for confusing you! If indeed P6 is the same as our year 5 you will have time to sort out secondary placements after you arrive.
Call Bristol City Council and see what they recommend. I think you will still need an address before any offer will be made.

mummific Mon 22-Apr-13 19:47:18

Wow! Your responses are appreciated. Certainly I will use the above as guide. Thank you so much. I will definitely ask questions again if I have any.

mummific Tue 23-Apr-13 02:14:50

Just to answer questions above, yes my daughter just turned 9 years old last February and she is 9 by Sept.1st.

Please can you let me know what good/popular letting websites to refer to to search for apartments/houses to let? Is it also the same here in Belfast that you pay 1 month deposit and 1 month advance? I saw a post one time in which it's requiring Gas Deposits? Council tax usually is embedded in our monthly rent and we don't pay water charges here. I take it it's otherwise in Bristol. Thanks!

lovinglapland Tue 23-Apr-13 17:43:43

Yes I would think that most places will ask for 1 months rent and a month in advance. You will usually be responsible for paying all your utilities and council tax on top of the rent unless specifically stated.

AnneTimeGenies Wed 24-Apr-13 10:31:31

Don't forget the dreaded agency fees as well when renting! Can be up to 35% of the first month's rent (+ VAT if applicable).

Expect to pay at least one month's rent to cover the deposit also.

Might be worth checking gumtree or similar to get straight to a landlord/lady but at least with an agency you will have some comeback if things go wrong in any way.

exexpat Wed 24-Apr-13 10:43:12

There are lots of estate agents in Bristol that do both sales and rentals, and you can probably get an idea of what's around by trying general sites like or but some of the local Bristol agencies which do a lot of rentals are:

I can't recommend any one in particular as it's a few years since I rented, but it's probably a good idea to register with lots of them.

BristolChap Wed 03-Jun-15 09:40:47

Just thought I would add to this as I have been left disappointed by lots of agencies in Bristol. Andrews are by far the worst and would suggest everyone stays away - the amount of hidden fees are crazy. We ended up renting a house on Gumtree with a private landlord - so much easier!

The only other choice I would try would be Alexander May in Clifton - when we ready to buy our first house I have no doubt they will be who we will be using, they seem more switched on and less focussed on making a sale and more making you happy!

BristolChap Wed 03-Jun-15 09:42:56

Grr - just posted on this but don't think it worked. I was just noting that a few of those mentioned above are not the best to deal with. We went through a nightmare finding a good estate agents in Bristol and ended up using

Last time we ended up using someone on Gumtree as a landlord as we were so fed up with the letting agents, no children and no pets on all the houses in Redland and Clifton. Alexander May really helped out.

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