Moving to Cotham in 2 weeks - Bishopston / Cotham primary schools and nurseries - especially Bishop Road primary

(6 Posts)
vicki369 Wed 22-Oct-14 13:57:15

Hi. I'm moving to Bristol (Cotham) in 2 weeks time and need to apply for a primary school place for my 3 year old daughter.

I've done loads of research online but would love to hear any first hand experiences. Our closest schools are Colstons, Dolphin, SS Peter & Paul and Bishop Road. I'm also interested to learn more about Cathedral primary.

Bishop Road was one of my favourites but when I called them today about visits they told me they had 3 open days which are all full and they're not having any more, so I need to decide from their website alone. I'm so disappointed as I can't see how I can make a decent decision without seeing the school for myself, but I don't want to write it off. I'd be massively grateful to hear any first hand experiences or impressions from current parents or from people who've gone to one of the open days. I've heard they don't have much outdoor space - is that right? And also that they "teach to test" though I don't really understand what that means to be honest. Their results are obviously really impressive. Any impressions about the teachers/kids/displays/facilities or anything else would be fantastic.

I'll also need to find a nursery place for my younger daughter. I'm looking at Archfield House and Green Door so far. Any comments on those or any other nurseries in the Cotham/Redland/Bishopston area would also be great.

Thanks very much!

bird14 Thu 18-Dec-14 20:52:38

Hiya - we are moving to the Bishopston/Redland area in January and are looking for nurseries for our 10 month old. Considering Green Door and a few others. What have you found out? How's it going so far?

vicki369 Thu 18-Dec-14 22:33:05


Have you looked around any nurseries yet?
I looked around green door, Archfield house and several others - I think green door was probably my favourite in that area. Most the nurseries I called had spaces. Tin drum is smaller and had a huge waiting list so I didn't even look around but I heard really good things about it, so if you don't need a space for a while that might be worth trying too. I was impressed with the outdoor space at green door and even more so at Archfield house.

But in the end I viewed all the nurseries I could reasonably walk to from cotham and wasn't completely happy with any of them. Some places would have been fine for my younger daughter (20 months) but I didn't like the preschool part, and other places vice versa.

So I looked a bit further afield and really liked daisy chain in Westbury Park. It's meant a big shift in our plans and we're moving to westbury park in 2 weeks (it would have been impossible to have primary school and flat in cotham, nursery in westbury park and still manage my commute). We really like westbury park primary school, which is right next to the nursery we like, so hopefully will be a simpler pick up/drop off.

It's so hard when you're relocating to know what's going to work for you until you get down there and start seeing things for yourself.

Hope that's a bit helpful. Good luck!

LaundryFairy Thu 01-Jan-15 11:39:51

Hi Vicki, just saw your message from Oct - hope the move went well. About Bishop Road - the response you got about visiting doesn't surprise me - they tend to take the view that, as they are such a large school, they can pretty much set the rules. At the last ofsted inspection, communication with parents was one of the few significant shortcomings, although some seem to think it has improved since then.

Outdoor space is very very limited, and the school takes in 120 a year. They do have a playing field a short walk away for PE lessons. As for the teaching, it is ok, but as with many schools it depends so much on which teacher you get. In 7 years there DS had three newly qualified teachers, and this seems typical (money saving by the Head). And about the Head - she certainly evokes strong reactions from many of the parents. Many think she is great but others have significant reservations about her. Bear in mind that the school intake tends towards very well educated middle class parents who aren't shy about expressing their opinions. Results for the school are good, but you would expect that, given the intake.

I wouldn't give up on trying to see the school - perhaps a note to the head teacher directly explaining that you are new to the area and so were unable to book in on one of the open days. Sometimes a personal appeal can be very useful and effective.

Best of luck in Bristol - it is a wonderful city!

Bumpologist Mon 05-Jan-15 22:11:51

Hi Vicki and Bird,

Maybe you've already found nursery places, but my 4 Yr old and 2 Yr old are both at Green Door, and love it (we moved to Bristol in August). The staff are extremely friendly, and the kids are constantly coming home with reams of artwork. I particularly rate the preschool teacher.

We're also about to apply for primary schools for our DD - I've been to open days at Bishop Rd, Dolphin, Colston's and Sefton Park. They all seem like great schools, but I think we're leaning towards Colston's or Sefton Park as first choices. I was impressed by Bishop Rd's headteacher and her passion for using literature as a means of learning, but the school is enormous and just seems less personal than the others. Dolphin's headteacher is also impressive, but there's not going to be much outdoor space even once the new school is built, and so the school is reliant on local businesses to offer their facilities.

Let me know if you fancy meeting up for a brew and sharing local knowledge at some point.

Bumpologist Mon 05-Jan-15 22:14:07

Oops, sorry, just saw you're moving to Westbury Park, which also seems lovely. Good luck with the move!

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