Local Talk

Schools close to bath

(24 Posts)
Tigerbath Thu 08-Nov-12 22:52:29

Can anyone help ? We are moving to Bath in summer 13 , we will have one Ds in bryanston and need to find a good school for two other boys one 10 one 7. We are going to check out coombe down and prior park. Anyone got children at either?? Did plan to live in a village up to 10 miles fom city but I now think 2 miles migh be better for us. Bit toooooo isolated otherwise. Heeeeeeeeelp please.

QTPieToo Sun 11-Nov-12 19:03:00

Hi

Also look at King Edwards (KES) - VERY academic (quite rigid academic selection to get in, especially at seniors) and very sporty. DS is signed up to begin there early next year, but at preschool (3 years old). Kingswood is another excellent one (more "public school"). Monkton and Prior Park are both very good, but slightly less academic (not bad, but not as pushy/rigid as KES and Kingswood).

I would stick closer rather than further away (depending on where tou work): getting in and out of Bath can be a 'mare...

QT

Are you sure you mean Combe Down and not Monkton Combe, Tiger?

I only ask because you mention Bryanston and Prior Park, which are both private, whereas Combe Down is a state primary.

I believe that KES is the least churchy of the options you have; Prior Park is RC, Kingswood is Methodist (I think) and Monkton Combe CofE.

Tigerbath Thu 15-Nov-12 00:23:23

Johnny, yes sorry I did mean monkton Combe . Thanks for your reply !!! Am feeling a tad worried about all options. We re not religious but would probably a say c of e . All Ds 's are very sporty but two are dyslexic. Don't know where we would have to live either . Any help with that would also be appreciated.

Thanks QT, I think KES sounds too academic for my crew. At least the two dyslexic one's . They need a more relaxed approach, bit quirky . Hope your Ds has a wonderful time there.

I know of three children with dyslexia who are at Kingswood. I don't know how churchy it is, but the families they're from don't strike me as being particularly religious. They're all bright, arty sorts.

As for where to live, I don't suppose that matters much in relation to schools if you're going private other than in terms of the school run (as you probably know, traffic in Bath is quite something). More important would be how rural or how central you want to be. Oh, and on what your budget is wink

QTPieToo Sat 17-Nov-12 15:20:08

Tiger, I would really look at Monkton Combe (if the CofE/churchy thing suits you - I thought it was lovely, but just too "against the grain" for Catholic DH... sad ). Monkton were certainly saying that they are very big on providing "extra/specialist help" for those who need it (so am sure that would include Dyslexia). Go along, look around and speak to them about your needs - I think that you will love it and the relaxed, "family" atmosphere and beautiful grounds/situation...

As for where to live, where will you and your partner work? Bath/Bristol/Swindon/London? So you need good motorway/train access? If you are looking at Monkton, then Combe Down is a good choice. Batheaston/Bathampton might be better for good access to the motorway/Bristol (Centre or West). Newbridge/Weston for Bristol (East). Various other villages dotted around Bath (Freshford, Englishcombe, Saltford or further afield). Really depends where you need to get to and what else you want from where you live. Personally I don't like being too far from Bath because we do like going into Bath a lot (parks, shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cinema...): we like easy access to a compact city...

Tigerbath Sun 18-Nov-12 23:26:22

Qt, thanks ...... I am definatelly going to take a look at Monkton it sounds like just what we are looking for. Must admit I am a little concerned about the churchy thing..... Not terribly churchy household .... Dh needs to get to reading and London most days. We would like to be quite close to the city still quite attached to our past life in london but would also like plenty of space around us. Would love to be part of vibrant local community .... Big ask I know , but need to dream.

QTPieToo Mon 19-Nov-12 08:17:11

It is very "modern church" in feel to me - certainly the head of pre-prep mentions "chapel" quite a bit. It didn't feel any worse, to me, than a CofE Primary School (which I went to). Infact it felt quite family-like because of it (very positive). I am not churchy, but it would have been fine with me.

Kingswood felt less churchy (despite being Methodist). KES is not churchy at all.

Sounds like getting to the train station is important to your husband. Assuming he travels early, that is unlikely to be a problem.

If I was you, I would stay close to Bath (within maybe 3 miles): I think that you will find yourself drawn to the city and its activities (being from London). Exactly where will depend on a lot if things, but budget and "wish list" for a house may narrow it down somewhat - Bath can be a funny property market ... and often comes down to compromise). Obviously if you go further out, then you get quite a lot more for your money, but you may feel more isolated. Lots to weigh up.

QT

3BoysFull Tue 18-Dec-12 09:56:27

Hi TigerBath & others - I am in similar situation, moving to Bath from London in summer '13. I have 3 DSs who by the time we move will be 7 (Year 3), 4 (Reception) and 1.

We've been on the whole house/school search game for a while now and have decided on the Paragon (junior sch of Prior Park) for our kids. From how you describe your needs, TigerBath, it would be worth looking at if you haven't already - we really loved the warm feel of the place and high standards whilst still letting children be children (there's lots of outdoor activity). Given your kids' ages they wouldn't be there forever but could then transition to Bryanston with your other son, or indeed to Prior Park college.

Previously we had been dead set on KES but in the end it just didn't feel right for us - our 7yo, although bright, is still pretty slow getting things down on paper and just would not be ready for a full academic assessment for entry a la KES. I have wrestled greatly with this question of whether an 'academic' school is 'good' or 'bad' (I use "s as it's all relative, of course, esp in the context of coming from uber-academic SW London) - I did very well academically at school and my husband is a high-achiever and we definitely want our children to be stretched and challenged, but it's really important for us that that be in an environment where curiosity is encouraged, and ultimately it's about 'education' in a much broader context. Basically a big driver for us moving from London, and in context of having 3 boys, has been to find a "nice, normal", well-balanced co-ed school where our kids will have a great education but not turn out as public schoolboy tosser types ;-)

KES is also 'each for him/herself' as I understand - they don't have a sibling preference policy, whereas Paragon/Prior Park do, and indeed there's a decent fee % reduction for siblings.

Anyway good luck and I am pimping myself out for new friends from next summer as I know no-one in Bath I would love if we met sometime esp if you end up heading Paragon-way!!

Tigerbath Thu 24-Jan-13 23:01:59

Hi threeboysfull, thanks for your reply. I hope your move to Bath is progressing. We are still on the fence somewhat but plan to visit the paragon and prior park very soon. Have you decided where to live that's another dilemma. I think I want to stay pretty close to Bath but I also would like to have plenty of space for the boys to do there thing, not quite sure how we will resolve that one. Fingers crossed. The paragon sounds lovely just the sort of place we are looking for.
Good luck relocating, I would love to hear how you are getting on .

outofbath Sat 26-Jan-13 18:04:12

I can recommend Prior Park, had a DC there, very caring, happy school, great lasting friendships, good fun and as academic as you need. KES was just too academic, really not a well rounded type of education, that is why we chose Prior. Although KES is brilliant for some so not to be dismissed. Didn't look at Kingswood but hear good things about it. Not too sure about Monkton, heard it is churchy. Prior is catholic but not rammed down your throat, however, the carol services and other services during the term are wonderful, you can't help but feel moved by the singing and atmosphere.

KatNicholas Fri 05-Apr-13 22:04:46

Hi, I'm very new to this, but I really stuck so I thought I'd give this a go and hopefully someone may be able to help!
I am also moving to (combe down)Bath from London ,this summer 2013 - well we have found a house , and I thought I would def find a school because there seems to be so many close by ,but my problem is one of my boys has processing issues - he's bright but just can't get things done quick enough . There is no way he would pass any entrance exam . I need a non selective school . I found the perfect school for him in clapham near where we were living - very small school 8 kids in a class , Non selective , artistic as well as academic.
I need something that can match this or I feel we have to stop this move . I really don't want this to happen though . Does anyone know of any little school that will give my child a chance . He's bright loves to learn so so artistic ! He's 10 !

QTPieToo Fri 05-Apr-13 23:54:49

Hi KatNicolas

Try Monkton (it is in Combe Down and will be very convenient for you). Monkton is not selective.

When I did the tour (twice) and they were very proud of their "educational support". I didn't go into any depth about it (DS 1/1.5 when I did the tour), but was very impressed with their caring and supportive ethos.

Suggest that you arrange to go to Monkton, take the tour and talk through DS's needs with them. Hope that helps.

Bath is lovely - hope it helps.

KatNicholas Sat 06-Apr-13 17:15:47

Hi QTPieToo , thanks for your reply, I plan on seeing Monkton in May . Very mixed opinions from people regarding this school ! The main thing I am concerned with is school on a Saturday. Husband away all week in London , so weekends are precious family time. Boys have been in state school up until now so it will lo be a bit of a shock to the system !!

QTPieToo Sat 06-Apr-13 23:47:29

Hi

The school seems lovely, honestly. We are not sending DS there because it doesn't work with DH religiously (he is Catholic and - although he doesn't want DS to go to a Carholic school - he finds an "actively Anglican" church too much against the grain for various ingrown reasons...). I would have had no problem with the religious aspect (I am CofE, but not actively practicing).

Monkton seems very friendly, pastoral cares seems great and has lovely grounds, but is not known for being pushy academically....

Saturday school (and or sports) are very common for private schools.

Have you looked at Combe Down state primary school? I haven't been there, but my Dentist's youngest goes there and he said it was good (no idea about class sizes or special provision). Dentist plans for the youngest to join the eldest at Monkton when we reaches secondary age. I know very little about state secondary schools here, but the popular choice tends to be Beechen Cliff (I know a few people with sons there): it would be very "mainstream" though.

KatNicholas Fri 12-Apr-13 05:13:43

Thank you QTPieToo, will definitely keep an open mind to them all ! Will go and see Combe Down Primary as school is steps away from new home !

Lua Sun 14-Apr-13 11:55:23

Kat,
I have children at Combe Down, an dlike any school is not perfect. Hoever, the community is lovely and the children adore it.
Interestingly, I recently went to visit KES and RHS, and was very surprised that they were covering exactly the same curriculum, and in some aspects Combe down had actually done more inventive activities. So, I have a whole renewed admiration for the place, and will save my money for secondary.

KatNicholas Mon 15-Apr-13 20:30:03

Hi Lua, really good to hear the community in combe down is lovely !
Going to Bath this week to visit as many schools around Combe Down as possible !

GrumpynParochial Tue 30-Apr-13 15:17:28

I came across this discussion only a few days ago while researching some dyslexia issues but hope to assist future relocators as the questions are common. My perspective is limited by having boys and living north of Bath.

To quote an erstwhile local prep school head: “Bath is not like the South East, it benefits from competition between 4 private schools that will educate your children from 3-18, & this keeps quality up and prices down. The outlier is Monkton, because of its fees it serves a different market.” Each is serving a slightly different niche. You really can pay your money & take your choice, and then you can change your mind, families frequently change schools. This even extends to the many good quality state primaries in Bath & families may have children at several schools.

There are dyslexic children at KES, I believe 6/7/8 in senior school year groups (i.e. 5-10%). Reading the SEND comments in the various schools latest inspection reports is enlightening. KES is a day school for bright (top 25-30%) high achieving children born of similar parents & this achievement applies equally to music & sport. If this is your demographic you may love it, if not go elsewhere.

On most quantifiable measures Kingswood tracks KES with a more comprehensive intake, albeit with a subtly different subject mix (it is worth reviewing the numbers of A level candidates by subject to get a flavour of ethos, e.g. the relative numbers studying maths vs theology). Kingswood also offers the great lifestyle choice of boarding, even on an ad hoc daily basis.

RHS has the highest value add from 11-15 and the most satisfied parents in the south west. If you have girls……

I have immense respect for both KES and Kingswood as I know they have both told families after assessing their children that they might be better elsewhere (& not because of a poor academic assessment!). Both children appear to have settled in to their new schools quickly & be much happier.

Paragon and Monkton both generally lag the other 3 in academic tables and are on the South side so I cannot say much more from personal experience but I do know happy and contented families at both.

Only KES and RHS appear in the recent table of the country’s c250 top schools for A level grades in “traditional” subjects and all similar robust analyses by subject performance such as the FT rankings tend to amplify these differences.

Bryanston ranks as a value adding independent coeducational boarding school, so does Kingswood. Relocators should beware that Dorset is a very slow drive from Bath & Bristol, travel around the South West can take a long time. I can get to Hammersmith more easily.

Tutu33 Wed 01-May-13 12:22:38

I have 2 Ds at Monkton, the eldest is 8 and has been there from 2. We have had an excellent experience throughout and would highly recommend it. Although C of E, I too worried about the 'churchy-ness' but it has not been an issue. The best thing for me is that the children are taught not just well academically, but also great values ie.self confidence and respect for others. As for Saturday school, starting in year 4, i believe they have 2 saturdays off per term as well as the holidays. (My D is looking forward to starting Saturday school she loves it there so much!)
Combe Down is a lovely area within easy reach of the city centre. Hope all goes well for you.

craftybaker Wed 22-May-13 13:06:30

Thanks to all for this thread. Interested in further views too please. Our DS 10, so looking at Yr7 for 2014 and keen to escape the South East. Have so far found it difficult to pick the right school. Never really intended to go down the independent route, but now happily so (though impoverished) after miserable state primary experience on two occasions. DS has had Ed Psych and OT assessment, upshot of which is, in summary: member of Mensa, bottom quartile processing, 6th centile handwriting, dyspraxic, but amazing visual / spatial, fine motor dexterity. Super bright verbally, coping well at school and working within range, but abilities compromised by challenges and therefore not a straightforwardly academic picture, although he is only 10, this may yet develop. He's certainly not top of the class though. Gifted at art, loves art and DT best of all and we want to run with that, but not close off the academic side as this may still yet develop. He is pretty dreamy, not sporty, tends to gravitate to other quirky types. We're settled on Bath, but ideally need to also be in catchment of good state as an insurance policy if we struggle with fees in future. Kingswood looked like the most obvious option on paper, but would you agree? Really beneficial to have the feedback, feel sick of looking at schools and thinking about and now also worried that maybe he won't get in as more children than places available...

lucyfer2000 Fri 24-May-13 11:47:40

Hello all. We are also thinking of a move to Bath (currently living in Essex). No firm dates yet and I don't know any schools at all. Scrolled through this and it appears that you are all discussing private schools? I wonder if anyone has any opinions on the local comprehensives? Is it a safe bet to assume that the majority in the Bath area are good?? I don't want to buy a house in an area only to discover it is in the catchment area of a dire secondary school! (kids all in primary school at the moment). Its a big worry as we have no choice but to move but my kids are really settled in their (small village) school. Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

lovinglapland Fri 24-May-13 21:25:02

The comprehensive schools in Bath are all okay - but like any area some are infinitely more popular than others. Bath traditionally had single sex schools, and this has only recently partially changed. The best co-ed schools would be Ralph Allen, and the recently girls turned co-ed Oldfield school. Beechen Cliff is still the top pick for boys and the only all girls is now Hayesfield, which is quite good.
If you are considering areas surrounding Bath, I would suggest Wellsway school in Keynsham, or Corsham school in Corsham has quite a good reputation.
If you are planning for a once only move - I would try and move close to a secondary of your choice and then look for primary places. Obviously you will have to be flexible with primary places as your children will be in year intake and so the LEA will have to find you places - although you can obviously go on waiting lists for any of your preferred choices if they don't have immediate spaces. The LEA is Bath and North East Somerset for all the above schools except Corsham - which would be Wiltshire.
I don't know much about the primary schools in Bath to help you - but I have heard Combe Down Primary is popular - which would also place you in the right area for Ralph Allen.

lucyfer2000 Fri 24-May-13 22:11:22

Thanks llapand. This gives me something to go on. I'm quite interested in the all girls school actually because my daughter is desperate to go to an all girls ( too much Enid Blyton!) had we stayed in Essex we would probably have tried to get her in to a girls grammar. I might give the LEA a ring soon and find out how and when to apply. I've heard Bradford on Avon is nice and has good schools - anyone have any opinion on this??

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