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Should I move from Manchester to Bristol?

(39 Posts)
Ceebeejay Sun 07-Nov-10 22:57:04

I have a 9 year old daughter and we moved to South Manchester three years ago. She is in her second school and seems to like it although I think it is full of pushy parents with tutors! I haven't really clicked with anyone here and am thinking of moving to Bristol - Redland sort of area
Does anyone have any idea of what it is like to live there? schools, social life etc? any comments would be welcomed - thanks!!

WetAugust Sun 07-Nov-10 23:05:18


Stay away from Bristol. Bristol Local Authority is one of the worst in the country for education.

Move 'near' Bristol i.e. BANES, Somerset, South Gloucestershie.

Runoutofideas Mon 08-Nov-10 07:25:17

State secondary schools are a nightmare to get into. Redland Green is still pretty new, and well regarded, but you need to live on the doorstep to get in. There are loads of good private secondaries because the state provision is generally rubbish.
WetAugust is right - for schools you are better off in the surrounding authorities. Backwell and Thornbury schools have good reputations.
Regarding standard of living - I love Bristol. Redland area is nice, but expensive for housing. Close to Clifton for good restaurants etc also close to Gloucester rd which has a more chilled out, studenty feel.Depends what you like really. In general I don't find Bristolians hugely friendly to outsiders, however Redland area is full of people from all over the place so I guess would be easier to settle in.

IslandIsla Mon 08-Nov-10 08:49:09

ceebeejay - pushy parent with tutors is one big reason I want to move out of Berkshire to somewhere a lot quieter and more chilled! (and DD isn't even 2 yet!!) Can't help on Bristol though.

JimmyTarbuck Mon 08-Nov-10 09:02:11

I worked in Bristol as a teacher for 8 years, but lived in Bath. I would second what everyone else has said. There are real problems in the secondaries in Bristol, despite the amazing work some of the teachers do there. I worked in one of the better ones and I would not have wanted my own DD to go there.

retiredgoth2 Mon 08-Nov-10 09:03:48

I'm a Bristolian, but emigrated to Bath last year.

Bristol is ok, lovely in fact, as long as you can afford to live in the nice bits.

Redland is one of these, as are Clifton, Bishopston and St Andrews.

Primary education is good, though oversubscribed, in these areas. Secondary education is (as has been hinted) more problematic, though Cotham and Redland Green are good. Anywhere else likely to be pretty poor.

But if you can afford these areas then you can also afford Bath. I can't imagine (having lived in both) why anyone wouldn't choose Bath, but hey. Tastes vary...

mrsscoob Mon 08-Nov-10 10:12:40

If you want to get away from pushy parents then Redland is not the area for you! I would suggest South Gloucestershire. The schools are far far better and it isn't so competitive to get your child into a "good" school as they are mostly good, air is cleaner, it is more friendly, there are some lovely parks, shops etc, and you are still very close to Bristol town center, just 20 minutes or so.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Mon 08-Nov-10 10:49:03

I love Bristol, but as retiredgoth suggests, Bath is a far, far better bet school-wise. It is also a lovely place to grow up.

runmeragged Mon 08-Nov-10 10:57:20

Bristol is a great place, education lets it down as everyone has said. There are loads and loads of private schools in Bristol (with quite wide ranging prices) because of the problems that the secondary schools have. Even the primaries, whilst there are some great ones, you virtually have to live in the playground to get into them.

Alishanty Tue 09-Nov-10 13:24:40

Bristol is a great place to live (we have lived there) but when we had children we moved to Wiltshire (about 40 mins from Bristol) as has already been said, Bristol is one of the worst education authorities unless you can afford to go private, we just didn't want our kids going to school there.

pinkjello Tue 09-Nov-10 13:59:26

Are you considering Bristol because you have family there? Is it because you'd receive more support?

I also live in S Manchester though mine aren't at school yet. And yes, it does have a ridiculous amount of pushy parents and yummymummyness. However, if you move to a suburb of another city which is renound for its schools then it's bound to be similar.

If your DD is happy in school and this would just be a random move to avoid the sort of parents you describe then I'd think again. Just make sure she's grounded and try to stretch her sideways. smile

ZZMum Tue 09-Nov-10 14:03:24

I live in south Manchester and have no real direct experience of this tutoring you speak off - I have heard of one kid being tutored for 11+ so not that intense! is this more about your wanting to leave the area as you have not settled or about schools?

gladis Tue 09-Nov-10 21:26:40

We live in South Manchester but just chose our school accordingly, so very few pushy parents at our school gates.

crikeybadger Tue 09-Nov-10 21:42:49

Ooh, so glad I've found this thread as we are currently thinking about moving to Bristol ourselves. (from a -dull- village in Somerset)

I had heard that the schools were pretty rubbish, but they sound worse than I'd imagined. Ours are just primary age but I had heard that there's a new 'academy' to be built near Bishopston.

We used to live in St Andrews many moons ago (and pre schildren) which was lovely, but suspect we wouldn't be able to afford anything there now.

Does anyone know of anywhere else around the Bristol/Bath area that would be a good place to live with decent schools?

Runoutofideas Wed 10-Nov-10 09:24:46

We live in Westbury on Trym, which is great for primary schools but difficult for secondary. Oasis Westbury school used to be St Ursula's - it is still fee paying for this year, but the idea is that is will be an academy or a free school from next year. They also haven't specified yet whether it will be primary, secondary or all through, but I should think it'll be pretty popular. Not sure about the new academy near Bishopston?
Friends have just moved to Almondsbury area, which has a lovely primary school and they would hope to get into one of the Thornbury secondaries - Castle and Marlwood are both well regarded. Any villages which feed into Backwell school are popular. Other people recommend the South Glos side of Bristol for better schools, Downend, Mangotsfield, Staple Hill area - but I don't know much about it I'm afraid.

crikeybadger Wed 10-Nov-10 09:34:38

Thanks for your thoughts runoutofideas .

Fennel Wed 10-Nov-10 10:27:47

I think it's just the very specific bit of S Manchester you're in. We lived in S Manchester til recently and there were no pushy parents or tutors at our school, that I knew of. It was a great school too. But I have friends in a nearby part of S Manchester - could be your bit - and they're all getting tutors.

In the end every city will have some areas with lots of pushy parents, if you choose to live in those particular areas you'll be surrounded by pushy parents and tutors in any city.

selby Wed 10-Nov-10 10:33:50

We lived in both Bristol and South Manchester in the last 5 years (recently relocated again to the SE) but my eldest is 7 and only started school in Manchester. If you're talking about the state schools in Trafford, they are more academic than the state schools in Bristol imo. If I lived in Bristol again, I would aim to live pretty near Redland Green School otherwise look into commuter areas of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire for better state schooling (still a lot less academically vigorous than Trafford but Bristol does not have the 11+ torture that Trafford has which must exacerbate the more 'pushy' environment). We have friends who live just outside the present catchment area for Redland Green. They have already decided to go down the independent route (as oppose to moving house and joining the bunfight to get into that school).

selby Wed 10-Nov-10 10:52:02

I lived in Hale for a few years and ime, the affluence of the area has a direct correlation to the high expectations of parents and you will certainly face this to a certain degree in Clifton/Redland - the most expensive areas for housing in Bristol.

emptyshell Wed 10-Nov-10 12:12:42

Used to work at an independent just over the border into North Somerset... let's put it this way, the staff used to visibly shudder at the thought of a lot of the Bristol schools.

And oi! Not all of us tutors are bad-uns! (Most of the tutoring I do isn't pushy parents at all - I try to screen those out - but kids who are really struggling but capable and who just need a little confidence leg-up).

North Somerset's gorgeous - I'd move back there in a heartbeat if I could afford to live around there

gladis Wed 10-Nov-10 12:50:45

Don't you think that the Grammar schools create the problem in Trafford?

If a child is obviously academic then naturally you would encourage them to do well in 11+ to get into a grammar school. If they are obviously more practical/creative/whatever and not so academically inclined, then they would almost certainly be happiest in a non-Grammar environment.

The problem seems to me that many children fall into the middle ground, bright but if they get into a Grammar school they will be in the lower performing percentiles, however if they opt for a non-Grammar, parents feel they haven't given their children the best start in life (not my personal opinion) or that others will look down on their child as 'not clever'.

When we arrived here we thought - 'great, good schools' and we love the primary our daughter goes to, but I can see how it can all go a bit pear-shaped later on.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 10-Nov-10 15:14:24

crikeybadger outskirts of Bath.

Weston, Batheaston, Bathford, Bathampton - all have very good schools. Obviously I don't know your budget, but there are ex-council properties around that are well built, in nice enough areas, that don't cost too much (comparitively).

I'd probably go for Weston as the bus into town is faster (congestion getting into town from the east side can be dire) and it's the right side of the city for quick (ish) travel into Bristol.

crikeybadger Wed 10-Nov-10 18:54:53

JenaiM- that's a great list- thanks.

Our budget is at the lower end as we are currently in one of the cheapest areas in Somerset. DH would need to go to work in Bristol so I'll have a scout around at Weston.

ShoshanaBlue Wed 10-Nov-10 23:18:33

I live in Manchester and I would quite happily settle for a secondary modern in Trafford.

schoolsecretary Thu 11-Nov-10 19:58:15

Having lived in both Trafford and Redlands. i think you would be better living out of Bristol itself more towards Keynsham, in BANES (Bath and North East Somerset Council) Keynsham is a decent enough place to live and the local schools to there are/well were much better than the local ones in Redland, unless you can afford to pay to go private.

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