new move to Bristol, young family, children education, which area? how to enrol to a good school(5 Posts)
We will move from Australia to Bristol due to work arrangement this Aug (for Sep school starts). School choice is certainly not very promising, as good schools (eg. bishop, westbury park, ashley down - pls name more if you have suggestions) generally have no space left, especially by the time that we arrive.
I certainly do not want to end up with a bad school, far far away from where I live (I plan to move to bishopston, westbury park or surroundings, so that we could have a chance to get in), and only leave it to LUCK to decide, but I could not think of any way that I could change/improve the situation since we won't even have an address until Aug.
So my question is: how can a new family secure a place in good schools? (in fact I need two places as DD starting year 2 and DS starting reception). what normally people do?
My decision priority is their education. I do not mind how far to city, how difficult to get around, or how expensive the rental (but still can not afford private schooling though). Some people also suggested live out of Bristol, but I wonder how practical it is transport wise ( to work in Bristol) and if so, which town is generally considered?
when will you expect to have an address in Bristol? as there is nothing you can really do until then and also nothing really you can do about school allocation either unfortunately. If you are moving before school starts, you might be lucky as there still is usually movement then. Once the school year starts then there is generally only places if children move away from the area. The council might have some stats on that which schools have most movement historically.
All the good schools are oversubscribed unfortunately and it's the same story every year.
You could have a look at the acadamies. Or a faith school?
I can't answer about living outside of Bristol as I have no experience but would look at where the work is as if you have to go through Bristol, it can be a nightmare.
I would ring the council and see what they would advise...have you checked out the Bristol CYPS section on the council? There is a wealth of information there like furthest distance allocated on the oversubscribed schools and how to make an application.
In my son's school (he is in his second year) there have only been two spare places coming up since reception that I am aware of. More than that in the time between the first round of allocations and the start of the school year (for reception)
School place allocations for September 2013 Reception children happens this Friday (19th). Parent's will have a set period of time - a few weeks to accept/decline places. Once this has happened the Local Education Authorities will have a clearer picture of where there may be spaces available for your youngest. Although I still believe that until you have a firm UK address they will not actually give you a firm offer of a school place. You would then have to ask which of these schools has a place available for your eldest. If they are able to give you this information it may give you some ideas of where to start looking for a house.
Your other option is to move to the area you would like to live in, and put your children's names on the waiting lists of schools you are interested in. Obviously there is no guarantee that a place or 2 will come up anytime soon - the closer you are to the school the higher up the list you go, and once one has a place a sibling would also be moved to the top of the list. You could home school, accept places at alternative (maybe not so good) schools or pay for private school in the short term whilst you are on the waiting list - however there is obviously no guarantee how long it could be.
It is also worth noting that some areas of Bristol do not actually fall under Bristol Local Education Authority. The north of Bristol is actually South Gloucestershire, and areas to the South are North Somerset and to the East is Bath and North East Somerset.
South Gloucestershire is definitely worth a look in my opinion. Although 6/7 miles from the city centre there is a direct train from Bristol Parkway into the city (Temple Meads), and driving although usually hideously busy is not impossible, particularly if it is possible to leave for work slightly earlier (7.30/8.00am). There are some good areas such as Stoke Gifford (which is where Parkway station is), Bradley Stoke, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell which all have good primary schools. A couple of the schools have also increased their Reception intake for 2013 due to high birth rates, but consequently may have some spaces available too? (St Michaels, Stoke Gifford and Meadowbrook, Bradley Stoke). It is more suburban than Westbury/Bishopston areas, but family friendly with decent local facilities.
If you want to live in Bishopston/Westbury park I recommend moving very close to one of the schools of your choice. See which schools have shorter/no waiting list for your dd for year 2. This might sound a little crazy but if your son is not yet 5, he doesn't legally have to go to school so you can wait longer for him. Find a place for your daughter first then get your son on the waiting list for that school. I hear that reception is the toughest year to get into from the waiting list, as after that year people are less likely to move their kids.
Portishead would be your best bet if you need to live that side of Bristol. I live in Portishead and drive to Southmead which is near Westbury every day, takes me 20 mins but I leave at 7am.
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