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Secondary school Horfield, Bristol

(27 Posts)
stancey Mon 08-Oct-12 17:27:25

Hi All,

This is first post, looking for some advise on my dc secondary school, We have recently moved in Horfield, Bristol. I have chosen three school as required on form. Could some one please see my choice below in priority order and suggest if they are OK or anyone else I should consider.

Colston Girls(highly over subscribed very little chance)
St Katherine, Pill(far but we have direct school bus from our place).
Bristol free school(very new no idea of performance)

Other considered:
Redland Green, Cotham (not in area to be accepted)
Bristol cathedral (She didn't like it for some reason)



crazymum53 Mon 08-Oct-12 17:52:23

Which year group is your dd in - are you referring to Y7 entry or making an in-year application to another year group?

jo164 Mon 08-Oct-12 22:29:29

I am assuming that this is for a year 7 entry? Looks like good choices to me....
Colstons Girls is very popular - however there is no catchment and they operate a lottery system, after sitting an entrance test. If you child happens to be in the top or bottom band of the 3, she will stand more chance of getting in due to lower numbers in these bands. However she stands as much chance as anyone else in her band getting a place. I would definitely keep it at first place.
St Katherines has always had a resonable reputation and if there is direct school transport from Horfield, that suggests a decent number of children get in from around your area. It would therefore seem a sensible choice, if you don't mind the travelling.
I have no knowledge of the new free school, but if you were happy with what you saw on the open day then I would see no real reason not to put it down - with the knowledge of other choices around you - I too would rather go for an unknown quantity in a good location, rather than a less than great school in a less than great area! You will probably start to get children from Westbury on Trym, Stoke Bishop etc, in the free school who do not get a place at Redland Green - so should in theory be a nice catchment!
I think you are probably right not to put the others down you have mentioned, as you have to live very close to access Redland Green, so potentially it could be a waste of an option, and I would probably only go for one lottery option school as well, as its too risky.
If after allocation you weren't happy with whatever school you were given, you could always put your daughter's name on the waiting list at Redland Green anyway.
Cotham would have been another option, but very oversubscribed as well like Redland Green. Personally I wouldn't consider Fairfield or Orchard (Monks Park) which are your closest.
You don't happen to be church goers? St Mary Redcliffe if you are C of E, or St Bedes if you are Catholic would also be worth looking at.

WannabeHarrietVane Mon 08-Oct-12 22:50:01

Interested to know why you would not consider Orchard or Fairfield? Is this based on personal experience or Ofsted etc?

nsure Tue 09-Oct-12 10:17:38

my dc are at the free school. I am very impressed so far , I also had a ds at St Katherines and liked this school too . There is also Gordano School, not much further than St Katherines and has a good reputation , ofsted outstanding i think.

stancey Tue 09-Oct-12 16:06:42

Sorry I didn't mention, yes she is applying for Y7 entry.

Thank you for the replies they are very helpful.

Both Orchard and Fairfield didn't have good reputation with few we asked, I would prefer good school even it requires travel.

Yeah We would not qualify as church goers so no point in applying for St Bedes or St Mary.

I am slightly confused between Free school/Gordano as third option. Gordano has very good reputation but doesn't have direct transport from where we live. Their school buses run from Westbury-On-Trym village, Which is difficult but achievable. Bristol Free school's intake was less than their capacity last year, and possibly this year too they will have some seat available after allocation. Which mean we could opt for it later.


crazymum53 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:31:16

If I was in your position I would have an under-subscribed school as the 3rd choice which does mean Bristol Free school. If Gordano school is oversubscribed then your dd could end up with the school you don't want (probably your catchment school Orchard?).
Your first and second choices are fine too. The chances of your dd obtaining a place at Colston Girls is slightly higher than the Cathedral school and I wouldn't recommend 2 lottery intake schools. Don't forget to fill out the supplementary form for Colston girls and do enter your daughter for both the banding test and language aptitude test to maximise her chances of a place.

stancey Wed 10-Oct-12 15:05:25

Thanks carzymum,

I do agree, Just wondering if Bristol Free school remains under subscribed, Would we be able to opt for it rather than council forcing us school in catchment area. I not well versed in admission process and to highlight, we are not in BFS catchment area.

crazymum53 Wed 10-Oct-12 15:27:06

I do live in Bristol but not Horfield so cannot be completely sure about your area. My dd is in Y8 at a Bristol secondary school.
Some of the parents in my dds year group did put 3 very popular oversubscribed schools as their 3 preferences and then ended up being allocated places at schools they didn't want. They were allocated the nearest school to their home with available places by Bristol city council so it does happen.
Sometimes there are schools with places still available after allocation day, but it really would be a gamble to risk this and omit the BFS for this reason. If BFS has a sibling policy then a 2 year age gap is quite common so the number of applications may increase this year.

chloe74 Sun 14-Oct-12 15:10:21

I put down same choices in different order. Colston Girls, Bristol free school, then St Katherine's.

St Kats has really slid back in last few years and there is a lot of bad rumors about those long bus journeys. BFS seems to have a lot of support from BS9 parents so its not surprising it will be a good school. Unfortunately we are right on edge of catchment and am told it might be oversubscribed this time around sad Looking like it will become another exclusive school for those lucky enough to live at center of area.

If we don't get into a good school I will consider private (and give up holidays for 5 years), as no way I would ever choose Orchard or Fairfield.

prh47bridge Wed 17-Oct-12 16:26:44

Apologies for the belated response but only just noticed the admission question.

If one of your preferences is undersubscribed the council must offer you a place at that school assuming you don't get into one of your higher preferences. They cannot force you into a local school that is not one of your preferences.

Even after offers have been made, if you want to apply to a school with places available and no waiting list they must offer you a place even if you already have an offer elsewhere.

CraigF Thu 15-Nov-12 09:47:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

givemeaclue Thu 15-Nov-12 09:52:45

St Kats has a new head

wincy Thu 15-Nov-12 15:08:47

Agree with CraigF. I've known bright children do really well at both Orchard and Fairfield. You should at least visit them. smile

mam29 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:25:28

Dont know if this is any help evening post compares 2012 results

orchard 37% is that a-c? doesnt sound that goodsad
remind me who orchard was before? monks park? catchment for most of southmead.

I thourght free school was in henbury so still a distance.Think they placed it in wrong place should have been more central

Thankfuly its few years before have to consider secondries least 3years but bristol mets on my watch list- its not too far from you.

You wont get redland green, you possibly could get cotham but thats more bishopston.

It maybe worth considering sg school ridings in winterbourne good if could get right travel links as suspect could be 2buses.

It has to be more than just exam results

To me pastoral care/ethos
bullying issues

All have to play a part

As im not originally from bristol im kind of shocked how devisive education is within the city.

I think results are skewed as many opt out of state into dependants especailly those at brigher end so that skews the state results.

But it does seem to be dominated by

st bedes catholic
st mary redcliffe coe
redland green-lets face it was built for the cliftonites was never meant for horfeld/bishopston.
bristol cathedral
colston girls.

Then depending on how close to border they are they choose to send their kids to diffrent schools in different counties but long commute must be tiring and effect any social/afterschool hobbies they may want to do.

mam29 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:25:55

CraigF Fri 16-Nov-12 07:35:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mam29 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:07:11

Craig f-well evening post is bad laxy journalism and education always turns into a bun fight on their comments section but yes every exam results day gcses/alevels the state schools mentioned above do good, along with the independants.

But a newbie to city may take articles like this and local comments at face value.

I have lived bristol 7years now so luckily I now have quite a good feel for some areas and know lots of bristolians.

I have 1 child in primary but all i heard sinche she was born is oh have you thourght about school.

Im sg so not as limited on primary places as bristol there are many good schools but competition and snobbery is still rife.

Guess we all want the best.

At moment we dislike nearest senior school, even teachers who work there slate it and see their behaviour outside of school puts me off.

Hubbys old school out catchment but commutable was in special measures and now an academy would never send them there.

The ridings and john cabot seem to be the one everyones keen for here unless they do faith.

I dont know where marlwood is.

Most threads about bristol schools always say

move to keynsham-boring-wellsway
move to thornbury castle
Move to wooten.

None of them really say stay in bristol.


runs away from city
sends child a distance to different lea sg gets lots bristol but is less well funded.
sends them private..

Know one really wants to take a risk.

I have worked in many deprived areas bristol

southmead-never heard good things about monks park or filton high for that matter.

easton- city academy or speedwell-wonder despite the shiney new buildings how much the improved as never hear about them.

I am intrigued by bristol met(former whitfeild as its geographically closer to us.)

A lot of bristol schools are haunted by their former past and reputation and not sure how best to change that.

colstons girls and bristol cathedral are just academies for funding they not like the otehr academies within the sytem-most used to be sink schools and academy status was way of raising them up.

They both dont have any accurate results yet since turning state.

The free schools ok but no proven track record yet.

So secondry education is not a choice in bristol

its a lottory based on postcode
If you have money you opt out.

even read about people sending kids to gloucestershire grammers and commuting from bristol

find faith-

So out of the top performing schools its safe to say only small %have any chance of getting in to them as many have selection and no catchment.

So out of slim pickings left parents left to try find next best thing and sometimes its hard to take a gamble with kids education.

I do think the primary admissions crisis in future years will lead to secondry shortage and even more difficult to get in-im dreading it.

We keep updating old sites in deprived areas -but dont think its attracts anyone not living in that area to go there.

The most obvious answer would be build new schools in locations where they needed, the centre of bristol has enough schools, schools are so geographically skewed and clustered never hear anything about south bristol secondries?

I do think horfeild/eastville needs a new school- belive there used to be one on muller rd.

Emersons green-needs new secondry as they keep building new houses with no concern for schools, the ridings is now so huge.

I be interested to know how many local kids get chance to go st bedes?
Or are they all bussed to shirehampton.

Exam results area always subjective just ebcause gets 60% a-c doesnt mean my little darling would but its comforting indicator as its saying she has 60%chance.

I did look at dfe webiste latly at primary sats and was shocked how good some of the less well thourght schools were so guess that maybe replicated at seniors.

My worry in some of them would be

aspiration, bulling and safety as noticed many areas of bristol are stand alone and dont bother with outsiders-classic north /south bristol divide.

chloe74 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:11:42

It makes me angry when people like CraigF suggests parents just look at the headline in a league table. The majority of us do a h*ll of a lot of research on schools, usually starting several years before they even have to choose. I would go as far to suggest it is one of the most important choices in their lives at that time, so much so we consider moving house, remortgaging, getting into huge debt, lying, renting, pretending to have 'faith', wasting years of sundays in a church, baptisim .... and we don't go to those extremes on the whim of a league table headline. And hypocritically CraigF you seem to be doing the thing you are accusing mam29 of by repeating your flawed mantra of 96%.

I have looked at Orchards 'stats' and its not as good as the 96% for high attainers headline suggests. Of that 96%, ZERO were entered into the 5 English Baccalaureate subjects, compared to other schools nearby where the figure was 80%. Perchance they opt for mainly soft subjects. Of that 96%, they only entered on average SIX GCSE's (pathetic), compared to other schools nearby where the average is NINE. What do they do with all their time if they are only studying 6 GCSE's? Of the high attainers you refer to, a fifth of them don't make the progress in English and Maths that is expected of them. Last years Ofsted report concluded the school is “requiring improvement” with a level 3. This year Ofsted's standards have been toughened up so that level could be lowered further at the next inspection and meaning they may have to have monitoring inspections before the next full visit. The grades for attainment and attendance are LOW.

Specifically for children who were above Level 4 at Year 6 SATs, Orchard does not provide an environment to excell and that is why most parents would prefer not to send their child there given the choice. Its all very well for some schools to put a marketing spin of '96%' out there but when you drill down into the figures you can see the real picture. And I have not even got into what other parents and teachers in the area might say about Orchards reputation.

givemeaclue Fri 16-Nov-12 14:35:04

Oh god who would bother with orchard? Stan home and read a book, be better off

chloe74 Fri 16-Nov-12 15:33:56


mam29 Fri 16-Nov-12 16:17:51

In some part I agree with chloe.

I looked at orchards website and under the in the news was good selection of spin and snippets of postive news articles celebrating 6 gcses with grades b and c maybe thats good for them but I be concerned about

level 4 the expected/average level of year 6 sats.

How would they cater for bright kids level 5/6sats coming from horfeild good primaries whilst majority of its intake are from southmead.

Bullying-after working in southmead and seeing that panorama programme it is very racist area, how would ethnic minorities cope in that school.

Im all for an even mix but do think majority of pupils come from one area southmead as most westbury/henleaze opt out into private sector.

Having spent some time there its area of low aspiraration, there is no job centre, they seem to dislike anyone from outside and label them as posh, lots teen mums telling me how having kids ticket to a house,the school has no 6th form curious to see how many get an actual a grade.

I think if that was my only option I would homeschool or consider filton even as with stokke gifford its a much more mixed .

Even labour mps and guardian journos sell out on their socialist comps for all principles and dont sacrafice their kids for greater good and go private.

Bristol education a depressing mess I just checked education figures for secondry and very few schools got over 70%near me yet the top are nearly 100.

mam29 Sat 17-Nov-12 10:03:57

Ok bristol league tables including lots indpendants

5cses a-c 2011 english bac % english/math a-c school
inc e&m

100% 84% 100% Qeh (i)

100% 65% 100% bristol gram (i)

98% 74% 98% Kingswood (i)

97% 53% 97% colstons (i)

97% 70% 97% red maids girls (i)

97% 70% 97% clifton high (i)

96% 92% 96% Badminton (i)

94% 71% 94% tockington (i)

94% 74% 94% colstons girls but still i pupils

92% 60% 92% clifton college (i)
key stage 2 sats set at level 4 expected.
87% 74% 87% redland girls (i)

85% 20% 86% bristol cathedral s a but i pupils?

91%80%75%78%-pass rates falling each year in this school

84% 50% 84% redland green state

81% 30% 81% ridings winterbourne academy

87% 22% 77% st mary red state faith coe

73% 25% 73% wellsway state keynsham

73% 7% 73% john cabot a kingswood

69% 30% 69% st bedes state faith rc

68% 20% 68% bradley stoke community sg

66% 23% 23% cotham

66% 35% 66% castle thornbury.

37% 1% 37% orchard
51% 17% 51% fairfeild
57% 21% 57% marlwood
50% 6% 50% st katherines.
70% 28% gordano 70% gordano
So theres my depressing picture

Orchard is one of worst in city but is making high levels of expected progress than otehr schools in maths and english but cynic in me says they started from low point and national expectations are low ie keystage 2 sats level 4.

Looking at this dont think marlwoods all that.
St katherines based on those results unsure worth the journey

fairfeild looks worth a look round.

No state school got in the 90,s apart from colston girls which belive is still indepndant paying pupils in higher years results not filtered through yet not sure bristol cathedrals same and their results in decline over last 3years.

Only 1 boy school in entire city.

most independants 10grand + pa

2faith schools-who selct on faith and st beds does have a catchemnt.

John cabot is academy that has entrance test

bristol cathedral have music test\lottory
colston girls language/lottory

unsure how you would prepare for thse tests as its not like 11+
bcs is not even an instrument and languages at colstons doesnt mean foreign either it means english test.

Redland green\cotham-depandant on affluent postcode.

bradley stoke-houses quite reasonable but lego land

Or move out bristol neighbouring leas

banes or sg.

dont see bristol itself running any well performing secondries under their control or any academies doing amazing.

so many dont even make 50% including my local secondry but I am in catchment for ridings just unsure as its just so big.

Makes me wonder why bristol people not more angry

most struggle to get a primary places
then get rubbish performing low apsiration city.

yet we quite a affluent city-lots of industry here science park, other stuff but we a blackspot for education -message is pay up or move out our freinds moved to chippenham as they dident nat to be stressing over schools.

chloe74 Sat 17-Nov-12 14:56:30

Believe me parents are V.angry. Seems the clever ones go private or move out of Bristol. And those that cant afford it start there own school. The council has the worst education department in the country and the only way we will get a decent education is if we do it ourselves.

mam29 Sat 17-Nov-12 17:44:58

Just read post article on

how bristols ranked in primary sats keystage 2 year 6

bristol is 77 out of 151 authorities and hit national average for 1st time

bath north east somerset/south glost 26th
north somerset 44th

A major rise in reception pupil numbers is not expected at the start of the 2013/14 academic year but a bulge in admissions is expected from September 2014. If nothing was done to create more spaces, 530 reception pupils would be left without a school to attend in September 2014.

More secondary school places are expected to be needed in the north of the city from 2017 and elsewhere in Bristol from 2019.

With the infant population set to rise steeply over the next couple of years, there is projected to be a minimum shortfall of 3,000 places by 2015.-figures like this scare me as have middle dd starting 2014 and youngets 2015 so fastforward 7years to 2022 extra 3000 places at secondry as birthrates have increased year on year.

The avrage secondry seems to have on average say 250 places for year 7-thats 12 secondrys needed to cope with 3000 extra kids.

BRISTOL is set to run out of secondary school places in six years' time because of the rising child population.

The city's 20 secondary schools have room for 3,725 children a year – and by 2017 that is unlikely to be enough.

They are based on the prediction that 12.5 per cent of children will leave Bristol for schools in neighbouring local authorities. However, that proportion is subject to change, not least because population increases in some of those areas will reduce the number of places available for Bristol children.

"Between 2010 and 2018, prior to the demand outstripping the supply of secondary pupil places, it is important that the balance of pupil places is maintained to ensure that all secondary provision across the city is viable.

Redland green such a odd location and tint expensive catchment to build a school-whys it doing so well? demographics supportive and engaged parents.

I wonder if that 12.5% fleeing bristol lea is accurate?

I also wonder what %independant within bristol as its 7%nationally.
I did read somewhere bristol has highest amount of independants outside london.

Locations huge problem. All the schools seem to be in the wrong places and involve considerable commute in a city with huge traffic problem and the non council expensive run/unreliable first bus group.

Oh lets not forget the new southmead superhospital that will bring more traffic around orchard and north bristol too.

If theres a huge shortage than i guess council think parents will fill say yes to oasis and orchard as they have no choice.

So far sg on borders bristol been protected from crisis but we have lots bristol kids and and secondry we just as limited and the better schools are within bristol boundries and sg has no faith secondries.

I dont want to move. So will keep hoping for best that they get their act together and open some new secondries.

I worry as eldest starred 2010 so starts year 7 in sept 2017 we now 2012, the huge admissions crisis was 2009.

I worry wont get my youngest 2 into same primary.
I suspect may not get my 1st 2choices and end up doing diffrent school.

I am lapses coe go church maybe twice a year and my kids are baptised coe yet all the coe schools are out of catchment and the secondry requires regular church attendance hard when hubby works sundays and have 2screaming toddlers last xmas toddler stole baby jesus out crib and wouldent give it back.

All the anger and crisis groups seem to be centered around primary schools bpas and problems spread south bristol too.

I worry state bristol schools become social ghettos and uneven mix.

Chloe when do you have to apply for yours?

colston girls be my 1st choice but it also be a miracle.

The bristol situation makes me wonder if essex /kent dont know how lucky they are they can work hard and infleunce what school their child goes too here its pot luck and choice is an illusion.

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