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Question about private schools in Glasgow

(16 Posts)
susanjc9 Wed 16-Nov-16 14:34:20

My husband is Scottish and we currently live in the US and have a daughter who will be 14 in January. She goes to a state school in the US because the schools are very good in the county where we live.

We are considering a move to Glasgow and are unsure of whether to send her to state school or private. I would prefer to live in the West End because I am tired of living way out in the suburbs in the US and we really want a change.

But we would consider suburbs like Newton Mearns because I heard the schools were good. I am worried though that if we moved (in the summer) to a neighborhood in the catchment area for a certain school the places may be full by then? In the US they have to take you if you move into a house in that school's designated area.

The other options we are looking at are private schools like The Glasgow Academy, Kelvinside and the High School of Glasgow. Our daughter is academically gifted but very creative (good at creative writing, languages, performing arts, etc rather than maths). Which of these schools would be a better fit? Also are they very snobby? In the US some private schools are fine and some are very snobby and exclusive. I really don't want to deal with that.

But I do like the idea of private because if we rent a house for a year and then decide to buy we are not necessarily limited to one area. I also don't want her to be the only child in the area that goes to a private school while most of the kids go state schools.

There is a chance we may move to Edinburgh instead so if anyone has info on schools there it would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

MuchasSmoochas Wed 16-Nov-16 14:43:05

How exciting! West End is fab, you could get a lovely house/conversion to rent. State schools aren't great there, that's why we left. All the private schools you mention have a wide curriculum and lots of extras as well like music and arts. High School is better in terms of outcomes but I'd say they are much of a muchness.

LizzieMacQueen Wed 16-Nov-16 16:31:44

Off the top of my head I would say that Kelvinside, of the three, would be the least academic. They will all have there smatterings of poshness (and equally those with blingy 'new money').

As she's January born you could have her placed in the year below, so the current S2 year. That may be easier for transitioning to the UK in any event but particularly because at that stage they won't have made their options for National 5s.

If you were to consider state school Hyndland is very good and they don't wear uniforms which will be what you are used to coming from the US.

LizzieMacQueen Wed 16-Nov-16 16:32:36

sorry *their smatterings

Bejazzled Wed 16-Nov-16 16:39:47

All the state schools in East Ren (the Newton Mearns local authority) are good and you will likely get in if you live in the catchment - apart from the catholic schools over which there's a bit of controversy at the moment because of over subscription from outside the catchments.
There is a private school in Newton Mearns called Belmont Academy and the Glasgow private schools have buses which leave NM every morning to go into Glasgow. The East Ren website has a lot of educational information if you needed to check it out.

susanjc9 Wed 16-Nov-16 16:55:01

Do many of the children who live in Newton Mearns go to private school? I don't want her to live in an area and go to private school if most of the neighborhood kids go to state school. I just want a decent school where she won't be bullied for doing well in school. I have heard this can be a problem. That doesn't really happen where we live - it is expected that you do well in school and go to University. However over here many students are very stressed out over getting into college.

Do the private schools typically have more extracurricular activities than state schools? I think in the US it's the opposite at least in our area.

worriedlassy Wed 16-Nov-16 17:00:59

Think the High school is one of the only ones that won't 'make' pupils join one of the cadet forces. That would sway it for me all things being the same.

worriedlassy Wed 16-Nov-16 17:01:31

I await correction though as that info is about ten years old now

Bejazzled Wed 16-Nov-16 18:35:48

The huge majority go to state schools, tbh that's why we moved here just after we got married - that's why most people pay the extra for the houses here. There's a ton of extra curricular activities of all forms, sports, games and arts, everything really. I just mentioned Belmont and the other privates in case that's what you wanted
I can only speak to our experience, dc and friends all loved school, did well and have gone on to Universities all over the country 🙂

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 17:11:36

Have a look at Shawlands Academy - a state school on the Southside of Glasgow. It's a British Council "International School" so well used to kids of all nationalities and in-year admissions.

You'd appreciate the way that it encourages not only academic success but sporting and other extra curricular activities. It is a School of Rugby (for girls as well as boys - the U15 girls are doing really well at the moment) but there's are lots of other activities: basketball, netball, gymnastics, public speaking, swimming (it has its own pool), music.....

It has a very mixed demographic (still gets good results despite/because of that) but there are lots of nice areas within the catchment (although you'd probably still get in even outwith catchment): Newlands, Shawlands, Strathbungo, Pollokshields. (We live in the half of Pollokshields that isn't in catchment but ds got in on a placing request; to date, all placing requests have been accepted).

Pollokshields in particular is like an inner city suburbia: one of the original planned garden suburbs, lots of Victorian stone villas, very green and leafy, lovely wide quiet streets, big gardens and parks, yet only minutes from the city centre.

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 17:17:22

Oh - and as far as I am aware, no bullying if you're clever. Ds is in S5, clever and has never complained about being bullied - nor has he been ostracised for being a "nerd" (to be fair, he's also highly sporty and is captain of the U16 rugby team so no-one would dare wink).

In fact that is one of the things I like about the school - it's not seen as "not cool" to be clever. Academic prowess is encouraged - but so are other aspects of developing as a rounded individual.

susanjc9 Sun 20-Nov-16 15:25:15

Thank you for the information on Shawlands Academy! If we moved in the summer of 2017 and were inside the catchment area do you think it would be easy to get in? What about just outside?

What are the best neighborhoods to live in - we prefer a 2-3 bedroom garden flat or a terrace house within walking distance to restaurants and shops and train stations since we may not have a car the first few months and want to see if we can get by on one car (which is something we could never do in the US because public transport is awful in the suburbs). My ideal place would be a nice quiet street that is a block or two away from all the shops and restaurants. Does the West End have a lot more restaurants, etc?

We would probably rent for a year and then if we decided to stay buy a place. The main reason I was considering private school is the flexibility to move to a different area and she could stay at the same school.

How does it work in Scotland if you are accepted into a neighborhood and then the next year moved? - in the US you have to change schools could you stay in the same school? It would be nice to have the extra $$ instead of spending it on school fees.

prettybird Sun 20-Nov-16 18:32:46

You can stay at the same school even if you move - and Glasgow had a good suburban railway system (plus our wee dinky circular subway), so it's easy to get about (Shawlands is close to two railway stations on different lines).

Your dd wouldn't br going into S1 (this year they were apparently close to the limit of accepting placing request), which might have been a problem but would be going into S3 or S4, so would depend if there were places in those years. As they have so many international students, there would usually be movement.

I'd suggest ringing the school to ask - or email the headteacher and ask (there's a website) - she'd pass it on to the right person. They apparently get quite a few international enquiries.

Housing wise, depending on your budget, many of the Victorian villas have been converted (ie split) so that you should be able to find a ground floor flat with a garden - or, like us, an upper conversion (ie the first and attic floor of a stone villa) with half of a large garden (and a front garden that is technically shared).

Pollokshields West, Strathbungo, Newlands, High Shawlands would all give you access to shops, restaurants, parks. (not all of Pollokshields West - some of the "Avenues" - full of really big houses are further away from the shops and restaurants).

Shawlands, Queens Park and some of Pollokshields also had lots of nice tenement flats, where you share the back green but you are also close to lovely parks. They might be more suitable for initial renting.

prettybird Tue 22-Nov-16 20:32:33

One practical point about moving in Summer 2017: your dd should go into S4 but as a January birthday, would have the flexibility to go into S3.

S4 is the year that they sit Nat 5s so that's a lot of pressure to come straight into, at the same time as settling into a new school.

If your dh is Scottish, then he'll know that Highers are sat in S5 (the main University entrance exams) and then S6, for academic kids is Advanced Highers, more Highers or other extension work.

The choice about which year you put your dd into will depend on how academic she is, how hard she's prepared to work and her social skills/maturity. If she goes into S4, she'll be very much one of the youngest. If she goes into S3, she'll be amongst the oldest.

We emigrated for 2 years when I was in my teens. Although I technically went ahead 6 months (Southern hemisphere) and then came back to my original year, arriving back in the October of my S4 year, it was bloody hard work to "catch up" never did work that one out (mainly due to the different curriculum) - and I'm clever if I say so myself and was coming back to old friends so didn't have the stress of making new friends.

susanjc9 Wed 23-Nov-16 14:25:48

Thank you all so much for all the info. I've talked to a few schools and they have said it's much better to enter during S3 than S4 due to the exams given.

We are also looking at state schools. Can anyone give any info on Hyndland High School? It seems to have better results than Hillhead does anyone know why? The flats/houses seem just a nice if not more expensive in the Hillhead area. Do most that live there send their children to private schools?

prettybird Wed 23-Nov-16 15:57:03

Hyndland is a good school: Shawlands and it vie for the best results amongst the Glasgow schools each year (a friendly rivalry as their catchments are very different areas on different sides of the river).

Hillhead is a good school too - I've not looked at the difference in the results but I suspect variations would be marginal. I think people can get sucked into analysing statistics and not looking at what the school offers the pupils; what sort of individuals they turn out.

Private schools could indeed be a factor - Glasgow Academy is right in the middle of the Hillhead catchment - but probably not the whole reason.

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