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Moving to Bristol

(17 Posts)
Travasso Sat 20-Jun-15 11:56:41

Hey All. Need some advice. We will be moving to Bristol, uk, in 2016. Probably May. I was looking for some insight from those that have changed cities, with kids. I have a 9 year old who will need school admissions in September 2016. But we aren't sure of the exact location we will lease an apartment yet. I'm wondering how the school will react to that. The same in case of my younger son, who'll be 3 by then. How will city council allocate a school for him.
Would appreciate any input from those mums who've been there done that. Thanks.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-15 21:59:45

Bristol is lovely, I hope you enjoy it.

How far in advance will you know where your apartment is going to be? Tbh, I think I'd pick an area, or a couple of areas, look at the local school/s and then phone the council to see what the deal is with those schools. Some primaries will be full, some will have places.

Heels99 Mon 22-Jun-15 09:12:46

Hi, you need an address before they will allocate you schools but if you call th council school admissions they are very helpful and can talk you through where they typically have spaces. Good schools in bristol are in demand and often oversubscribed. Consider secondaries as your child will be 9 and secondary admission in Bristol can be a challenge as there are a number of under performing schools and lots of demand for the better ones. Plenty children also travel outside the area to better schools in spith Gloucestershire and North Somerset at secondary level. It really pays to do a lot of research and choose where you live really carefully where bristol is concerned. At one point it was the fourth worst performing council in the country for education, it has improved but still lots of issues. A ver high percentage of children attend private schools, one of the highest rates in the country.
You will need to live very near the schools you want but renting may facilitate that that.
So speak to council, do lots of research and be really careful where you move to.
Good luck

LibrariesGaveUsPower Mon 22-Jun-15 09:20:54

When does your younger son turn 4? If it's before 31 August 2016 then you'll be looking at school admissions for him too. That will be massively easier if you are living in Bristol by January 2016. If he's 4 on or after 1 September then his school admission will be more straightforward even if you move in May as it will be part of the normal round.

I get the impression from the fact that you refer to it as 'Bristol, uk' that maybe you are outside the UK at the moment. Do you understand the basic principles of school admission? You might want to post on the education board.

senua Mon 22-Jun-15 09:34:26

You don't get to choose schools, they choose you.
You are allowed to express a preference but the decision is in the hands of the system. However, the rules that they have to play by are written out in detail and people can (and do) appeal if they think that the rules are not applied properly. The most common rule is that places go to those living nearest the school.
I think that your best bet will be to forward-plan. Find a secondary school that you like and get yourself into the catchment for that, ready for when the time comes.
Heels' advice to speak to the Council is good. Information, including telephone number, here.

Travasso Tue 30-Jun-15 10:44:32

Hi. Thank you all.
@LGUP, Yes, we are out of the country at the moment. Our academic year ends in april, ie. June to mid april. I did write to the city council and they advised us to apply in Jan and when we get our local address in May, to contact the person handling allocations. I will be visiting Bristol in October and hope to personally visit them and get more clarity on the issue.

Travasso Tue 30-Jun-15 10:51:09

My younger son will turn 4, Aug 2016. Hence, the whole city council thing.For my older son I was told to contact the schools directly. Is that a slightly easier situation? Does anyone have a child at Colstons? Just wondering if there's a possibility of getting in. He turns 9 November of 2015. Is that 4th grade in September 2016? Or 5th? I liked the Dolphin school for my younger one. Could anyone advise on what schools in same vicinity I should consider as option2and 3?

LibrariesGaveUsPower Tue 30-Jun-15 10:55:26

Colston's is a private school. You wouldn't be applying via the council at all.

The good news is that, if you are going private, the whole process of applications is a lot less rigid and you may often be able to apply using your current address.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Tue 30-Jun-15 10:58:06

If your younger son is 4 in August then I would double and triple check, and get in writing, how your application will be treated. If it won't be processed until you have a UK address then by May you have missed the main allocations and will just be looking at schools with places left over. That won't be the popular ones I'm afraid.

Heels99 Thu 02-Jul-15 13:34:12

Dolphin school - mixed state primary
Colstons girls school- girls only state school on same site as dolphin school, different entry requirements to other state schools, banded lottery
Colstons school- mixed independent (fee paying) school, if you are considering this school you are not going via the council

If you move here in May then your children will be allocated schools wherever there are places left. These may be at different schools. They may be at schools that you aren't keen on or they may be at great schools, it's difficult to,predict. You can then go in waiting list for schools you want.

Good luck with your move

catslife Fri 03-Jul-15 15:50:44

There is a state school primary school called Colston's primary on the border of Cotham and Redland see link on how to apply colston.schooljotter2.com/about-us/school-admissions.
A friend did send her children there but it's long time ago.
Other schools in the area you may wish to consider are St Peter and St Paul and St Michael's on the Mount.
Places may become available in this area because you are close to the university and main hospitals so the population is quite mobile.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Fri 03-Jul-15 15:56:26

I had no idea that Colston's existed blush

I had ruled out the girls school because the OP talked about a son and rashly assumed that, if you were looking at different schools for older and younger then it would be because you were looking for a 'through' school for the 9 year old.

Travasso Sat 04-Jul-15 05:38:39

Hi again. Thank you so much for all the input. I'm freaking out slightly now. ��
Didn't realise Colston was pvt school. I don't think we will consider pvt at the moment.
At what age does middle school begin? ie. Post primary..
I will definitely allocate 1 day for just the city council visit.
Are there any other nice areas in the north where we could consider living and have good school options? Primary mainly. We wilk be leasing an apartment for the 1st year. Till we know for certain what our long term plans are. Preferably north Bristol.
Also, really? No other school options in same area as the Dolphin school?

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 04-Jul-15 07:20:28

I think, to be blunt, you are overestimating how much choosing goes on in the state system.

If you move to a new area it basically goes : try to move somewhere with decent schools and hope that there are spaces for both children at one you are ok with
smile You have to bear in mind that schools fill their places with the admissions for yR (apply by mid January for Sept start) and to get a place later on or in higher years you are reliant on someone leaving (normally ).

Most areas don't have middle schools. I am not aware of Bristol doing so. Primary is 4 (year they turn ) to the year they turn 11. Secondary is 11-18.

Slightly confusingly, some primaries split into infant and junior. However often these are closely related schools on the same site.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 04-Jul-15 07:21:19

Sorry. That should say primary starts at 4 (year they turn 5)

bakingtins Sat 04-Jul-15 07:46:58

No middle schools in Bristol or South Glos. Primary is school years YR (age 4-5) to Y6 (age 10-11) sometimes split into infant (yr-y2) and juniors (y3-y6) but usually linked schools so no reapplying. Secondary school Y7 (age 11-12) to Y11 or Y13 if they have a sixth form.
Your older son would go into Y4 if he's about to turn 9, younger one would start reception YR just after he turns 4. You can't apply without a UK address and applications close in January. If you are applying in May all the good schools are likely to have filled their reception places. There is a class size limit of 30 for infants (also called key stage one) and most schools admit a multiple of 30, but will not squeeze an extra child in unless there are exceptional circumstances, late application/ moving to the area doesn't count. You may have more luck getting a place at that stage for your older one but dependent on which schools have a space because someone has moved. The LEA do have to allocate you a place somewhere, but it will be wherever is undersubscribed, and I don't think they have to give you the same school for both children. Find out whether there is sibling preference for the waiting lists, your best bet might be to get the older one in and go (hopefully to the top of) the waiting list for the younger one.

Travasso Sat 04-Jul-15 10:12:43

Hi. That was very helpful. Thank you so much. Sigh... this seems to be very stressful. Looks like i will have re think our may move and consider Jan. The email i got from the city council made it seem really simple. I guess they are sure to get out kids a place in some school or the other. But getting in where we want now seems doubtful.

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