Local Talk

Secondary schools, Clifton and Redland.... help please!

(7 Posts)
Surfgirl16 Tue 04-Sep-12 07:57:55

We're moving to Bristol next summer with a boy who will be starting in secondary september 2013. Any advice gratefully received: most likely state, possibly private.

jo164 Tue 04-Sep-12 21:36:19

State schools in Bristol are not great - however if you can live within close proximity to one of the good ones you will be fine. Redland Green, in Redland is probably the best and most popular state secondary in Bristol - it is also the newest and situated in a good catchment area - expensive housing. Cotham has also always had a pretty good reputation and definitely worth looking at. Cotham is slightly closer to the centre of Bristol - but essentially next to Redland. Bristol Cathedral School, is an academy - previously a private school, but doesn't have a fixed catchment area. The places are allocated on an academic banding system where all children take an entrance test and they place them into 3 bands - they then offer equal numbers from each band I believe, so a bit of a lottery but worth putting down as a choice if you like it. These are the best of the secondaries in central Bristol but for the first 2 you would certainly need to be in very close proximity to ensure a place.
If you are not moving until next Summer will you have an address where you can apply from? If you don't, you will struggle to get a place at any of these schools as a late applicant next Summer.
Private schools are all good in Bristol and a few to choose from. QEH is in central Bristol and all boys, Bristol Grammar School is co-educational. Both pretty academic and obviously have entrance exams. Colstons School is another slightly less academic co-ed school a few miles out of the centre in Stapleton. Clifton College is the more traditional co-ed Public school - most expensive and a mix of day and boarding. All schools offer a lot of sport, music, drama etc.
As I said, if you are not able to apply until next Summer for a September start you would be very unlikely to get a place at a 'good' state school in Bristol. Secondaries around the outskirts of the city have much better reputations if this is an option? South Glos, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset all have some very good state schools worth looking at if this is possible.

Surfgirl16 Wed 05-Sep-12 08:17:06

Thanks, thats really useful. Our ds finds change quite difficult so we need to think this through carefully. Also have another boy who will still have 2 more years in primary - if you have any good tips!

exexpat Wed 05-Sep-12 13:09:16

I assume that you won't have a Bristol address until well past the normal application deadline for secondary schools, which I think is some time this autumn?

In which case I agree that if you're not moving until the summer and want a yr7 place for September, you're highly unlikely to get one at Cotham, Redland Green or Bristol Cathedral (which are the three closest state schools to Clifton & Redland), as they are always heavily oversubscribed. Only chance would be to move right next door to one or other of the schools so that you are top of the waiting list for the first place that comes up. And that wouldn't work for the cathedral school as it doesn't go on distance.

You don't mention being religious - there are a couple of good Catholic secondaries and one CofE, where baptism/attendance records could help you get a place, but again those schools are popular and oversubscribed, so you'd just be hoping to be near the top of the waiting list.

Otherwise you will probably be allocated a place at one of the least popular schools several miles away - and although they have been improving, a large number of Bristol secondary schools don't have a great reputation for academic results, behaviour etc.

Private schools would be a more reliable option, but for BGS or QEH you'd need to start the application process this autumn and get your DS to take the entrance tests for one or both in January, as they also have more than enough applicants to fill their places most years - it's got harder to get in at year 7 for both of them recently because they have expanded their junior schools, so more children are coming up from within the school.

Clifton College is on the traditional prep/senior school model, so the main intake is at ages 7 and 13 (year 9), though they always get a few joining at year 7. I'm not sure about entrance test dates. There is also Clifton High School, which was girls-only and is now mixed, though boys are still heavily outnumbered, which may put you off. Academic reputation is also considerably below QEH, BGS etc.

State primary places can also be hard to find, but there are more primary schools in the area. Clifton has St John's, Christ Church and Hotwells, Redland has Colston's primary (not to be confused with Colston's girls, which is a secondary academy, or Colston's School, which is a mixed private school), or Westbury Park (near the top end of Redland, and the local primary for a chunk of the Redland Green catchment area). You stand a reasonable chance of a year 5 place coming up at one or other of those schools because these areas have quite a mobile population, and also a number of children move from the state to the private sector in years 5 and 6. But it all depends on being in the right place on the waiting list at the right time when a place comes up.

All the private schools have junior schools as well.

crazymum53 Wed 05-Sep-12 13:23:29

Would suggest that you look at the Bristol City Council website for details of how to apply for a secondary place for September 2013. The deadline for applications is usually 31st October and places are allocated by the 1st March. Although it is possible to make a late application, the best state schools in Bristol are very oversubscribed and likely to be full for Y7. This Septembers intake was a relatively small year group so it is likely that schools will be even more oversubscribed for 2013 entry.
The faith school are St Bedes (Catholic) and St Mary Redcliffe (C of E).
The state schools mentioned by jo164 as "good" are actually classed by OFSTED as outstanding so am sad that she thinks Bristol schools are not that great. Bristol schools results have improved a lot over the last few years.
The only other school not mentioned here is the Bristol Free school in Brentry (North Bristol) which opened in September 2012. It therefore does not have any GCSE results yet but could be worth looking at.

jo164 Wed 05-Sep-12 18:10:11

It was 'good' rather than 'pretty average or awful' which a lot of Bristol schools are! Improving maybe, but not there yet in many cases! It was not meant to be a reference to anything OFSTED have to say about them, as indeed they say they are outstanding.

crazymum53 Fri 07-Sep-12 08:55:22

The following link contains information about applying for a (state) secondary place in Bristol for September 2013 Secondary schools 2013.
hope you find this useful. There should be similar links for neighbouring LEAs - South Glos, BANES, North somerset on their websites too.
Hope this is useful.

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