York Schools - Bootham vs St Peter's

(28 Posts)
TheMadHatter74 Thu 10-Nov-11 20:20:49

At the moment we are struggling to choose between these two schools for DS to board at. We chose York to be near family etc. DS is an all rounder so academically wise he would cope with a more adademically focused school (St Peter's) or a more relaxed school (Bootham). As St Peter's do the IGCSE it is impossible to compare results although Bootham does seem to be higher up the tables for A levels. We are also impressed by differnt aspects of both schools - music and art at Bootham and sport at St Peter's. I would love to hear if anyone has any experiece of either school or knows anything about either - it would be greatly appreciated.

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123caughtaflea Thu 10-Nov-11 22:29:52

I attended Bootham for 6th form nearly 20 years ago (oh God!). On that basis, if we had a Quaker school nearby, I would move heaven and earth to get my son there. I was a pretty traumatised, geeky teenager and although I never really felt fully integrated socially (partially just who I was, partially though because I didn't board and wasn't there from Lower Schoolroom = Year7) I did feel recognised and valued for who I was, despite the trauma. The idea of there being that of God in everyone was genuinely carried through I found. And I got 5 A levels at A grade and an Oxbridge place, so no issues there.

A family member attended St Peter's before the dawn of time and it wasn't a positive experience, which meant I was never going there. That said, since it was before the dawn of time I wouldn't take that into account now!

TheMadHatter74 Thu 10-Nov-11 23:01:07

Thanks for the reply. We do love the quaker aspect of the school, although not sure if sometimes it's a bit full on? On the other hand St Peter's is very religious with the chapel etc.

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cory Fri 11-Nov-11 07:57:41

Another awkward teen, I spent some time at the Quaker girls school, The Mount, even a longer time ago, and I would say the religious aspect was not at all in your face, more about everybody being valued.

TheMadHatter74 Fri 11-Nov-11 19:48:10

Thanks cory, that was my main resorvation about the school.

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Donki Fri 11-Nov-11 21:16:45

I know a couple of people at Bootham. I really like the school - why not ask to have a look round, and talk to some of the students?

UsedToBeAPunk Sat 12-Nov-11 22:27:18

From what I know of the two schools I think either would suit an all rounder - if interested in sport however there aren't many options at Bootham for it whilst at Peter's there are less music/arts oppourtunities. I would also say that I prefer the ethos of Bootham and the idea that everyone is equal. You also see a lot fewer flash cars going into the school than you see entering St Peter's!


laceoles Mon 14-Nov-11 11:33:23

My two sons were day students at Bootham (now they are 28 and 26), from age 11 to 18, and like you, we looked into all of the independent (and many state) schools locally before making our decision. All I can say is they had a wonderful time, made a lot of friends, achieved excellent grades and have become caring, thoughtful members of society.

Bootham is indeed odd. It seems relaxed when you look around it, no uniform to speak of, disorganised, lots of noise. But when you are a parent and see the school every day, you realise that there's something going on underneath. They don't need a uniform to bring them together or to enforce some sort of discipline. If you sit and watch them all, they are all nice kids. They have a mutual respect between themselves, and between themselves and the teachers. Everyone is polite. Everyone is happy. They actually seem to care for each other. From this respect comes results, because everyone is encouraged, no one is made to feel out of place. Everyone has a talent. So the students seem to achieve amazing things, whatever it is they're good at, hence I guess the high league table results. But results oddly seem almost secondary to the fact that these are children who are learning life skills as well.

I have since met the new head, Jonathan Taylor, and he is even nicer and more approachable than the previous head. And the deputy head, Graham Ralph, is amazing. All the students like and respect him. The Quaker ethos is not shoved in your face - all it seems to do is instil a mutual respect and acceptance amongst everyone, so that can't be a bad idea for society as a whole! There is a daily 9am meeting, but everyone just sits in silence for 15 minutes and contemplates what's important to them. Nothing religious.

My next door neighbour's boy went to St Peter's at the same time and although he did very well academically, he has since told me that it was strict and not always friendly. However, it's just another personal opinion!

You indeed have a big decision to make. But, as someone who has been through the process, personally, I think the school is wonderful and the staff are amazing. I have always wished I could have gone there myself! As a product of an old fashioned, strict, grammar school, I never enjoyed my time at school, and I have always felt I could have learnt more if I had only felt motivated and happier. Hence the choice of Bootham.

As a final aside, I always remember that if I ever visited Bootham at lunchtime, I would be welcome to sit amongst them and have my lunch there too, and I would notice that the staff and students eat together, side by side, OUT OF CHOICE. That tells you everything.

TheMadHatter74 Mon 14-Nov-11 18:37:53

laceoles, it sounds like your boys had an amazing time at the school! Having met the heads of both schools Jonathan Taylor did seem a lot more approachable, as did Graham Ralph. Sadly I believe he is retiring this year as he does seem to bring a lot to the school.

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Northernlurker Mon 14-Nov-11 18:47:30

Purely from an outsiders pov, living in York, I would pick Bootham.

MoreBeta Mon 14-Nov-11 18:51:48

It very much depends on the child.

We looked seriously at both schools. If you have a keen outgoing sportsman go for St Peters. If you have a less sporty, more introspective, quiet, slightly quirky child go for Bootham.

hanahsaunt Mon 14-Nov-11 19:04:32

Short of selling a child or two I can but sigh over the prospectuses but ours would be at Bootham if we could.

TheMadHatter74 Mon 14-Nov-11 19:07:49

DS likes sport, but doubt would make the first team. He does also prefer arty stuff like music and drama.

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Northernlurker Mon 14-Nov-11 19:32:48

hanahsaunt - me too! I harbour ambitions of managing it for dd3 but we will be paying for university by then for the older two.......

daisyp93 Mon 14-Nov-11 20:22:44

My son started at Bootham as a day pupil last year and I have to say it was the best decision we ever made. We did look at both Bootham and St Peters and were very impressed by both, but what swung it for us was the welcome we received at Bootham together with the immediate sense of belonging and the feeling that they really do look upon each child as an individual.

My son has made excellent academic progress whilst at the school, but equally important for me is that he turning into a caring and thoughtful teenager despite the onset of adolescence. He is very happy at Bootham, has made a wide circle of friends and doesn't appear to be overburdened by homework.

He has boarded on a few occasions and has thoroughly enjoyed himself as they seem to have a wide variety of activities, in fact his only complaint is that he can't do it more often!

Lastly, I wouln't worry too much about the sport. There is plenty of opportunity to take part in a wide variety of sports at Bootham and represent the school if he wants.

TheMadHatter74 Mon 14-Nov-11 21:31:00

Thanks for sharing, daisy. Does the school have a large boarding community do you know? DS would probably just be a weekly boarder at first and then turn full but only if there are people around at weekends etc.

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daisyp93 Tue 15-Nov-11 22:58:04

Hi, am not sure of the exact numbers but there would certainly be plenty of people there for your child to make friends and hang out with. You could try contacting Jenny Daly at the school who is a fount of knowledge for more information, she's lovely and very approachable. Also if you go onto the schools webpage there is a boarding blog which may give you a better idea.

TheMadHatter74 Wed 16-Nov-11 18:14:22

great, will check out the blog.

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MuddlingThroughItAll Thu 17-Nov-11 18:42:43

How old is your DS OP? I'm only asking because if you are looking to start in year seven it would be St Olaves you would be looking at rather than St Peter's.

supermama212 Sat 19-Nov-11 07:30:40

my DD attends st peters but not as a boarder as we live in the city.
she loves it and was so pleased when she got in!
All the staff & pupils are lovely! Such a nice school -if your ds gets in it s a perfect place for learning its just lovely!

TheMadHatter74 Sat 19-Nov-11 14:20:12

Supermama, did you look around Bootham and if so what made you choose St Peter's over it(anything in particular or was it just more suited to your child?). I also worry about the size of St Peter's - do children get lost if they are not academically the best/worst?

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FarAwayFromAnywhere Sat 19-Nov-11 17:28:48

A friend of mine has a DS at Bootham and I have gone along to the school on occassions with her. He is a confident and happy boy and, although not academic, is thriving there. It seems a lovely school and would recommend it. I would also disagree with MoreBeta about having to be a certain type of child for Bootham - my friend's DS would definitely not fit that description!

veggieburger Sun 20-Nov-11 17:49:59

I would have a look round both and see what they offer for your DS as they are so different.

quirrelquarrel Wed 23-Nov-11 19:01:24

My friend's sister won a scholarship to Bootham- she loved it. Everyone I've spoken to has something good to say about it. At YGT things they always had loads to say, noticeably confident and self-assured in a good way.

Strangely enough in my work experience at Oxfam, all the young people there seemed to have gone there.

supermama212 Thu 24-Nov-11 17:03:03

themadhatter74 more suited to her than Bootham grin she adores it as do i - she never engaged before going there - she works so much harder - they have brainwashed changed my child's additude! grin

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