Secondary schools around South Bristol and Somerset

(5 Posts)
harryhausen Thu 30-Oct-14 12:11:12

I didn't know whether to post here or on the Somerset board (I may try both). My dc is in Y5 and I know I have a while until I have to fill in the school application forms for next year but I'm tying myself in knots and feeling really anxious. I don't know if I'm over thinking it too much.

I live in South Bristol, literally half a mile (if that!) from the North Somerset boarder. Researching schools so far, I believe we would have a fair chance of getting a secondary school place at Chew Valley, a very slim chance of Backwell, a very slim chance of Ashton Park and a very good chance of Bedminster Down.

A lot of our current primary school friends will go to Bedminster Down. However, although it has a swanky new building is probably improving in results, I don't feel its right for my dc.
Chew Valley is an outstanding school and I really like its ethos and vibe, ditto Backwell. However, the Chew Valley building itself is not new and look run down in places.
I also really like Ashton Park although it's results aren't amazing I feel its likely to improve and I loved the feel of it, the grounds and the building.

I keep listening to people who love to give me their opinions on whats best in a school. Some people believe it's almost criminal not to send your child to the local school within walking distance - stating that they must be able to call on their friends and have total independence. Only Bedminster Down would be within walking distance for us, the others would be school buses.

I guess I'm worried about a few things. If I chose the schools I like a short bus ride away, am I condemning my dc to never being able to hang out with their mates without it being organised etc? Would it be awful for my dc to go to a school where many of their friends won't be going? Am I being swayed by a swanky plush building? I literally feel like I'm going round in circles and going ever so slightly mad. I'm terrified of getting it wrong. People love to tell you horror stories.

Sorry to bang on. Does anyone have any experience of these schools (living in Bristol)? What are they like really and what were your experiences? How did you choose a school? (even though I know it's not a proper choice as catchment is tough and there's not an abundance of great schools).

I guess I just want to mull it over with others.

niveanavaho Wed 05-Nov-14 17:19:42

We've just filled in forms for our year 6 boy. We live in South Bristol and it is a minefield. There are parents who started going to church a few years ago to get the points togoto what is actually our nearest Secondary but is religiously selective, others send theirs on the train 7 miles to Backwell, and Ashton at 4 miles away is actually the "community school". We have considered these and are also considering private.
At the end of the day go and visit the schools on open days and your shorter list on a working day, and see what "fits" your child and family. Everyone does what is best for their kids, and in some parts of Bristol that can mean paying for the house, the school or the bus, genuflecting for a few years or basking in the warm glow of principles and local community.

crazymum53 Fri 07-Nov-14 15:52:27

Hi I live in South Bristol and have a child in Y10 who has friends at Ashton Park School. Both Ashton Park and Bedminster Down (BDS) have been rebuilt in recent years. Although overall the results at both schools aren't amazing, both schools have a streaming system and do cater for the needs of bright children.
Ashton Park seems to suit sporty children as it has specialist sports status and good sports facilities.
As far as South Bristol goes there are worse schools, e.g. our catchment school BEC which is in Special Measures and there is a risk that you could be allocated an even worse school than Bedminster Down if it is oversubscribed.
In terms of LEAs Chew Valley school is in BANES and Backwell in North Somerset. There is another school in North Somerset, St Katherines in Pill, that also takes some pupils from Bristol and would be worth looking at.
Please pm me if you have any further questions as I do work (part-time, casual) at one of these schools.
HTH

harryhausen Sun 04-Jan-15 17:24:03

Sorry for such a late reply to you both. Thanks for replying. I checked the thread a few times and then missed your answers!

I may well pm you soon crazymum. A little insight may be nice as if you work in one of the schools I'm sure you'll know a lot more about other schools etcwink

Checking on past admissions, I think I'm too far near North E Somerset to get into St Katherine's. Again, I've heard good and not so good about St K's too so my head is reeling from tittle tattle. I think I just need to get my head down and ficus in my own opinions!

smile

crazymum53 Mon 05-Jan-15 09:55:16

Thanks for the pm which I have replied to. I wasn't clear from your original post whether you meant the North Somerset or BANES border, but that makes it much clearer now and possibly does rule out St Ks as an option.

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