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Bristol Grammar School and Clifton High School - where to live?

(54 Posts)
nononsencemum Wed 20-Jan-16 13:45:14

Hi it seems like the decision to move from London to Bristol has been sealed. We will be moving in summer in time for September and have three children: dd will start Y7, ds Y5 and ds Y3. We have absolutely fallen in love with both Bristol Grammar and Clifton High (don't ask which one are we going to choose, no idea!) but not quite sure whether we can afford the private schooling for all three just yet.
So the plan is for dd go independent and the boys will hopefully join her at 11+.
And so what is the best place to live within an easy max 25-30 min commute from any of the above secondaries AND has a good primary our sons could go into as well?
We don't have any preferences as to south, west, north etc as have hardly any idea about the locality I am afraid.
Also if there are any parents from the above two secondaries - where do you live and where would you recommend to live? The usual criteria like easy commute balanced with a good sense of community and easy access to town would be our main criteria. The house budget is around £600K. Thank you so much for all your help!

PurpleElla Wed 20-Jan-16 13:54:05

I'm not sure r.e location. Bishopston, Redland, Cotham and Clifton areas would probably suit and are all close enough to both independents. I will warn you though that primary school places in good schools are like gold dust round here, and I'd be surprised if you get allocated a place in a preferred primary straight away.

Bristol is awesome btw, hope your move goes well.

Marmitelover55 Wed 20-Jan-16 18:52:10

I would second the above areas as I live in one of them but think you would be lucky to get a 4 bedroom house in your budget. Property prices have gone a bit mad round here. I believe Colston's primary in Cotham has vacancies as it has just been expanded but would be surprised if (m)any other local primaries did.

Bristol is a fab city to live in and the choices for state secondary education are much improved with the addition of Colston's Girls', Cathedral, Redland Green and the Free School. Good luck.

elephantoverthehill Wed 20-Jan-16 18:57:42

Westbury-on-Trym or Stoke Bishop, if your house money will stretch. If not perhaps consider Horfield, Henleaze or going out into south Gloucestershire.

AncientsOfMuMu Wed 20-Jan-16 21:10:54

Almondsbury or Olveston in South Glos. Both have excellent primary schools and there is a bus that drops off and collects at BGS, Clifton High, QEH and others.

elephantoverthehill Wed 20-Jan-16 21:17:03

Ancients I was thinking more Pilning grin

nononsencemum Wed 20-Jan-16 23:04:46

Thank you for all your suggestions - extremely helpful. I am rather worried about the 'golden dust' places in local good primaries but then one would hope that they will eventually become available (surely people do re-locate). Perhaps we could place the boys in a local prep while waiting for a place in a good primary to become available? Anyone has gone through a similar experience? How long were you waiting for the place?

I really like Westbury on Trim as the prices are just about right for us and it is within reasonable commuting distance to the above secondaries. One of the reason's to move out of London is to spend less time in the car commuting to work/ schools so ideally we would like to stay away from the countryside (however beautiful). I looked at Olveston primary and really liked it but it is just that extra bit too far commuting-wise.

What are the primaries in Westbury on Trim like? Anything to avoid?

nononsencemum Wed 20-Jan-16 23:06:17

And on a totally different note - once I have you all ;-) - what are the children's theatres like? We all love theatre and truly hoping for a great choice in Bristol!

nononsencemum Wed 20-Jan-16 23:11:29

Also (sorry) what is Downend like? thanks

elephantoverthehill Wed 20-Jan-16 23:12:23

Whilst I hate to be pedantic. It is actually Westbury -on- Trym. It is a very naice area. There is a good primary school - Elmlea, a wonderful inclusive Church, the Baptist church on Reedly Road and a great Scout Group at Northcote. Local Bistros etc.

elephantoverthehill Wed 20-Jan-16 23:15:49

Downend is good too. But quite far from your choice of schools.

PurpleElla Thu 21-Jan-16 06:53:38

Westbury-on-Tryme is nice, it's got a reasonable size shopping area with cafes and restaurants. Its not my cup of tea tbh, a bit quaint and lacking Bristol's style if that makes sense at all.

The primaries I know are Westbury park (crazy catchment, I think you have to live virtually in the playground to get in), Horfield C of E, also very popular and St Ursulas, opened in 2011ish to accommodate ridiculous lack of primary places, not sure whether people rate it or not tbh. As you said people must relocate, a friend moved to Bristol when her son was just starting year one, he just got a place her preferred school this September, he's gone into year three

WOT isn't as close to the grammar or Clifton high as the areas I previously mentioned, I guess you've sat naved to figure out distances though.

Theatre wise, we have the old vic which does regular family productions. The Hippodrome for more commercial big touring stuff. In Bath there's the Egg which has masses for kids every week.

TheGreenNinja Thu 21-Jan-16 07:03:40

We moved out of Bristol to start our family (North Somerset has cheaper housing and good schools!) but I just wanted to warn about the traffic! I used to live in Henleaze and work in Clifton and it could easily take 45+ minutes to commute a couple of miles. Sometimes the travel in from further out is actually much quicker, depending on your route.
Bristol is a great place, I'm sure you will love it.

Footle Thu 21-Jan-16 08:37:26

Yes, don't expect the speed of traffic to be any faster than central London. You could look at the route of the Severn Beach railway line to see if living close to it would be a useful option.

carrie74 Thu 21-Jan-16 22:54:47

We're looking at both schools too. We live about 10 miles south of Bristol, an area called the Chew Valley. It's a cluster of villages, all with lovely primary schools, but it is quite rural, so may be a culture shock after London (although we did the same move and haven't looked back). I agree with whoever said the traffic from further out can be better than trying to get across town. I work in Clifton, and it takes me 30-45 mins door to door in rush hour.

nononsencemum Thu 21-Jan-16 23:19:54

Thank you for all the suggestions. I must admit I had no idea that the traffic can be so horrendous in central Bristol?! That truly got us thinking as the last thing we want to do is to move from London rush in pursuit of traffic free (I need less time in the car!) living and find ourselves stuck on Bristol roads.

Footle your suggestion to trace the Severn Beach route and find a nice spot near the station could be an option. It's just I am not sure we would like to commute with three children to Bristol every day by train/ bus! Most probably not and so we are back to square one again..

Also as the children are getting older, they will be venturing into town more often and so it makes sense to live close to the city (but not too close as again we currently live in a quite densely populated part of London and would welcome a change of scenery). We have managed to increase our budget to £670 perhaps that will give us some better choices...

PurpleElla it's disheartening how long your friend was waiting for the primary school place at her choice school - two years! Ughh it is all starting to look a bit gloomier than we were imagining to be (hope not yet another case of 'grass is greener'). You have been great in bringing up all the points we have not thought of/ were not aware of. Thank you!

elephantoverthehill Thu 21-Jan-16 23:31:24

SeaMills is a nice area, close to W-O-T, Stoke Bishop and has its own railway station.

nononsencemum Thu 21-Jan-16 23:35:47

Thanks carrie74 just had a look at Chew Valley and it looks really nice, stunning countryside! And yes you have got it right - I am a little bit anxious as to how much we would actually enjoy the coutryside living as we tend to venture to galleries/ theatres/ exhibitions quite often. But then one never knows until one tries...
Do you get any plane traffic noise there? Thanks

elephantoverthehill Thu 21-Jan-16 23:38:42

Sorry I did just post about the trains. I think you need to look up about Bristol's transport policy especially those plans put in by the Mayor. Many residential areas are now 20 MPH. Cars are really discriminated against in the city. Use buses, trains or bicycles is the message.

carrie74 Thu 21-Jan-16 23:50:37

In terms of plane traffic, the only part affected is Winford/Felton (both about 1-3 miles from the airport).

TBH, I'd suggest maybe renting in or near Bristol for say 6 months to get a feel for what you'll ultimately want/need. We did that after leaving London, and what struck us was we didn't want to live in a city: we'd just left one of the most amazing cities in the world. Bristol's nice, but it really doesn't compare to London. However, plenty of people disagree with me.

EarSlaps Thu 21-Jan-16 23:55:35

In naice areas you shouldn't have too much problem finding KS2 places, as a lot of children start private schools in Y3. A friend told me her son's Y5 class at Elmlea had only 24 in as the rest had moved to private school.

We are big fans of St Ursula's (mentioned above), it will be in a brand new build from October and the staff are fantastic. However, the upper years aren't quite the same, Y4 were the first year after it opened as an academy and I think there's still a mixed Y5/6 class (but DS's friend's sister is very happy and doing well).

If you aren't worried about secondary school catchments, then you should be able to get a four bed in Westbury-on-Trym, Stoke Bishop or Henleaze for ~£600k. Houses in Redland Green or Bristol Free School catchment have a fairly big premium on them.

No idea what the trip to those schools is like though from here, we're not planning private as we're hoping for the Free School.

EarSlaps Fri 22-Jan-16 00:04:28

Needs work but lovely area and could be stunning.

jo164 Fri 22-Jan-16 11:26:17

I've just seen your question about theatres... I am forever taking my 2 to theatre productions and think the choice and variety is pretty good for a city outside of London. The Hippodrome is the largest and has all the touring shows and pantomime, the Old Vic has some excellent childrens productions as does the tobacco factory and the Redgrave theatre. All are in and around central Bristol. I was in the Theatre Royal, Bath last night at Hetty Feather, and the Egg theatre (which is part of the Bath Theatre Royal) is set up as a permanent childrens theatre. It is about 40 mins drive from Bristol depending on traffic! If your's are into performing as my eldest is, there are many weekend stage school groups and the Hippodrome has a new glee club which my daughter is loving!

nononsencemum Fri 22-Jan-16 23:55:37

Thank you all, I am so pleased i have posted in here, you have been a tremendous help!

EarSlaps thank you for the Elmlea Primary suggestion. I have looked it up and it looks absolutely brilliant - a very similar feel to our current state school (also Ofsted outstanding). Westbury-on-Trim and Stoke Bishop have some really good primaries and so it seems like a natural choice for us. I had no idea about so many children leaving for a private sector at KS2, thank you for this! It is simply not happening in here, once you land a place at outstanding school in London you are staying put till Y6 and then go private. A brilliant tip as it allows us to time it for the youngest to join Y3 and so boost his chances of getting in.

The journey from Westbury on Trim to Bristol Grammar looks fine (at least this time at night on google map ;-)) as it is some 10min by car (ok even if we multiply it by 3 it is still reasonable ;-)).

And the house prices are bang on within our budget - a really nice one EarSlaps, thank you for this!

Jo164 guess what - only this morning I have booked Hetty Feather at our local theatre - what a coincidence is that?! ;-) It must be the same production touring Britain: how funny ;-).

Thank you all for your suggestions. It looks like you may have helped us to decide on the area/ primary schools and I can honestly say that this level of detailed research would not have been possible without your help!

Any other suggestions are more than welcome (there are so many things we were not aware of...) thank you!

EarSlaps Sun 24-Jan-16 21:34:56

I think that historically the secondary schools have been so bad here that people move children into private in KS2 to guarantee a place for secondary! Plus there are a lot of people with a lot of money around BS9! Not us though unfortunately grin.

If you don't mind single sex education then there is the very well regarded Red Maids School (girls) is based in Westbury-on-Trym so could be walking distance. QEH for boys is a bus ride away in Clifton. Both have junior schools if you were unable to secure a state school place (though I bet you'd have some luck in one of the local schools- Elmlea, St Ursula's, horfield c of e, Westbury Academy, henleaze, Stoke bishop, westbury park. All are excellent schools.

If you aren't worried about postcode then there are some lovely houses in BS10 just on the border of BS9 but a bit cheaper because of postcode snobbery.

The market around here moves VERY quickly- houses usually sell on their opening weekends with a few proceedable offers and often going to sealed bids. If you can sell and rent before buying it would put you at a big advantage.

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