My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

Bury St.Edmunds?

16 replies

Rosetip · 27/10/2007 09:39

Does anyone know anything about primary schools in the Bury/West Suffolk area? Thanks.

OP posts:
Butkin · 30/10/2007 12:12

Our DD (5 in Feb) goes to Reception in BSE.

What schools are you considering as we've looked at a few and are very happy with her current one.

Butkin · 30/10/2007 12:27

By the way Rosetip we work in Newmarket and Chevely so know schools out that way as well if you are considering them.

Rosetip · 30/10/2007 20:58

Thanks a lot Butkin. It's for a possible job relocation for DH, and we don't know the town at all except for a visit there last weekend (it seemed very nice).

The school system seems to be completely different from where I am now, as there are primary, middle and upper schools whereas here it is primary/junior to age 11 and then secondary school afterwards.

I tend to work backwards ie choose the best secondary school and then find the primaries that link into it. I was advised that the best secondary is St Benedicts, so we looked at St Edmunds and St Louis primary schools, but only from the outside. The problem is that they are Catholic schools and we are not so that may cause admission difficulties later.

We also looked at South Lee and Culford, again outide only, but not ideal as private!

Do you have any suggestions that I could start researching on the Internet? Newmarket area would be fine as well.

OP posts:
Butkin · 31/10/2007 16:05

Our DD is in reception at South Lee (they call it Kindergarten) having started there in the nursery 2 days a week from Sept 06.

We chose this school up against Culford (expensive), Barnardiston (quite expensive, run on military lines - would have been first choice for us with a boy) and Fairstead (Newmarket).

The latter was good value and a lovely school for small ones but South Lee won out because of fantastic sports facilities, the fact that they have pony riding teams and most importantly we were very impressed by Mr Whipp the headmaster. We know lots of children who have jumped ship to go there in pre-prep because of the excellent record in both academic subjects and sports. Kindergarten is now full (2 classes of 18 with 2 teachers in each) with a waiting list although we get a booklet with names and addresses of all pupils and some of the older classes are undersubscribed.

You can stay until 13 although we may move DD on at 11 so she gets settled in her secondary school. Culford does have the advantage that they take you right through and there is no doubt that it is an excellent school within lovely grounds - South Lee wouldn't win any prizes for its appearance).

All the children love their teachers and she is getting on really well with her reading etc. Pastorally they are excellent.

We have friends who send their children to St Edmunds and St Louis. We know that St Louis caters for children from about 9-13 and has a great reputation. They are Catholic but say that you don't need to be to attend. They could easily afford private but prefer St Louis which says a lot.

If you need more just let me know as I can ramble on for hours!

P.S. Welcome to Bury St Edmunds area - it is still a lovely old fashioned market city (with great markets twice a week) and has loads of new amenties such as the new cinema complex and of course they are build a shopping centre on the site of the old cattle market.

Butkin · 31/10/2007 16:16

I should have mentioned that if you are free to choose your location and have a child between 4-9 you may want to consider Risby. Risby SEVLP school (just type Risby School Suffolk into Google) has an excellent reputation. If we wanted to stay in the state system that is the one we'd have plumped for as a Primary School. You'd need to check the catchment area and go and visit though of course.

TheApprentice · 31/10/2007 16:16

My Mum and Dad live in BSE. There are lots of lovely villages all around, and its a very nice city in itself.

I think that Suffolk is getting rid of their current 3 tier system (first, middle and upper schools) over the next few years, though, in favour of the more usual 2 tiers.

Rosetip · 01/11/2007 12:25

I phoned Risby, but they are full for Year 2 which is the year my elder son would be going into. They are going to send me a pack though.

I will ring around the other private schools to get an idea about the fees.

Butkin- can I ask what secondary school you would be planning to send your daughter on to from South Lee? There don't seem to be many private secondaries in the Bury vicinity from what I can gather. Which are the best state ones in your opinion?

Also do you know anything about TheApprentice's comment re getting rid of the 3 tier system?

My DH is going up to Bury again tomorrow so all this is very helpful- thanks again for info.

OP posts:
TheApprentice · 01/11/2007 12:31

Sorry I couldnt be more helpful Rosetip, I just know that the 3 tier system is being phased out (Probably for financial reasons).

vacua · 01/11/2007 12:35

I was born in Bury St Eds and still live near by, so that in itself makes it lovely and Culford is a nice school but not terrifically academic - if you're thinking about state education look at as many of the little village schools as you can. I found one I really liked despite appearing fairly mediocre on paper, just a great location and nice mix of children with small classes.

floaty · 01/11/2007 23:56

We live in Ipswich and know a number of children who were at South Lee ,they go either to the Cambridge schools,Perse ,Leys or St Marys or possibly Kings Ely (long bus ride i think) or to Ipswich School.If you are East of BSE have you thought about Old Buckenham Hall?

floaty · 01/11/2007 23:58

Oh just thought there is also a prep in BSE called Cherry Trees which i think has quite a good name although i don't know anyone there

Butkin · 02/11/2007 23:03

I was just going to suggest Cherry Trees as well - also in Risby (a village with two excellent schools).

A work colleague has her two kids at Old Buckenham Hall but it is expensive and a long way away for us. Probably best as a feeder school to a boarding school.

The other private school in Bury is Moreton Hall - considered by many to be shabby and on the decline but liked by some because it is smaller than most schools and good for sport etc. Worth getting a brochure on.

I don't know about the change in tier system although I know we are already planning/worrying about where to send DD when she hits 11 (most likely) or 13.

For a D then the obvious choices are Perse in Cambridge or Ipswich High School if you want single sex, academically fantastic schools.

King's Ely is a great school and maybe would suit you from now to Uni time.

Framlingham College and St Felix Southwold are classic old buildings with good(ish) reputations. We like the latter but would need to weekly board as too far to commute.

It is a stress because there is no obvious school within commuting distance that isn't a boarding school. How I wish Bury had a good grammar school!

mega · 03/11/2007 15:35

Bury doesn't need a "good grammar " school, it has excellent middle and upper schools in the state system. Why the assunption that private or grammar is always best? My child has achieved excellent sats results from village primary and middle school. You can't get better than 100% in key stage 2 writing.
West Suffolk schools are in the early stages of re-organisation. In March the council voted to abolish middle schools against the wishes of thousands of parents and teachers. So all our primary schools will have to be extended to take years 5&6 and all upper schools will have to take years 7&8. Sixth form provision may have to move to separate sites.
The facilities available from year 5 in middle schools are excellent. They have specialist teaching for each subject, not one class teacher teaching the whole curriculum. They have science labs,DT rooms,art blocks, cookery rooms, specialist French,music and PE teachers. They serve a 'middle' stage in child development both emotionally and socially, preparing them well for the move to upper school in year 9.
With regards to state schools the closer you are to Bury, the longer middle schools will remain open. Newmarket direction will change sooner due to its proximity to Haverhill which is in the first phase of re-organisation.
Bury is in stage three.
I know many who educate privately here but I don't understand why. Our village primary schools serve their communities well and have a real family atmosphere. Bury has 6 middle schools. St Louis tends to get the best results. but you have to prove your Catholicism or explain why you didn't send your child to a deanery primary school to get in. St James is a C of E middle which is excellent [ 2 of mine there] Westley and Hardwick are also over subscibed at times and considered good.
Bury also has three good upper schools. St Benedicts is considered the best because of results and again is Catholic. King Edward V1 is very well regarded. The facilities are amazing, the results very good and the headteacher inspiring.[check his website- Geoff Barton]
The school was hugely oversubscribed this year even had several South Lee children trying to get in to avoid paying any more fees. They didn't get in [rightly so I think] and had to travel further afield for post 13 private schools. County Upper also gets good results. Built in early 1970's when 3 tiers were introduced, it is beginning to show it's age though.
If you choose the state system your year 2 child should just get a middle school education in Bury. Younger children may stay at primary till end year 6.

ThreeGs · 03/11/2007 17:00

Taught at Culford and was immensely impressed by the pre-prep, but saying that it has been a couple of years now. Equally, friends (at the school) actually removed their 4-year-old and sent him to the local primary, where he was much happier.

So, don't get caught up on the private/state thing - go and visit. It is a must. Only you know your child and know where they will be happiest. I remember a judge, years ago, did all the primaries (state and private) round Stoke-by-Nayland and her opinions were hilarious but very sound because she'd actually put the leg-work in. Also, things change so fast - I did teacher training at a couple of the secondary schools mentioned and disliked one, in particular. But saying that, a Head can transform a school.

Rosetip · 03/11/2007 22:04

Thanks a lot everyone. I have written down the names of all the schools mentioned and plan to google/look up league tables/phone and visit as and when DH's job situation progresses.

The Cherrytrees website was good and provided some useful links as to private secondaries. However, I would prefer to avoid the private route if possible, as we have 3 children and it seems such a long and expensive road ahead. Also some of the schools they mentioned were miles away. There does seem to be a gap in the post 11/13 private sector in Bury/Newmarket which perhaps is why Culford can charge such high fees (probably no different to other private secondaries though).

I do have some sympathy with Butkin's comment re grammar schools. I live in Kent, which has a lot of grammar schools, and it does give you something to aim for/aspire to especially with all the ongoing issues with regard to restricting school catchment areas and introducing lotteries etc. Having said that I know there is a downside to the whole grammar school debate.

Thanks very much, mega, for all your advice re the state schools and changes to the 3 tier system. I will investigate the St James/King Edward link as my next project.

OP posts:
LMRD · 27/09/2017 20:24

Hi all.
I know these messages/thread are a little dated but looking for some current advise.....
We have recently moved to the village of Great Barton and are struggling to get a school for my 7 year old son - Current year 3.
Although Great Barton is our village and most preferred school they are annoyingly full.
Please could any give some up to date advise as to which school is most regarded in the area and achieving well.

Many thanks in advance.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.