Local Talk

Hmmn, Moving back to Cheltenham - Primary School thoughts

(8 Posts)
DitheringDad Sat 08-Jan-11 13:04:01

Hello and I'll start with a couple of apologies 1. I'm new so might be asking a question that has already been answered 37 times.
2. I'm a dad, not a mum.

Here's the thing. we're currently overseas but moving back to Chelt and my daughter will start primary school in Sep this year. Hatherley is the area we will be in. We are wondering about schools and would appreciate any thoughts. We did get back to visit and have looked at OFSTED reports (but I am not sure OFSTED is the be all and end all given the teachers we know). Just wondered if anyone here had some info. Our thoughts to kick off any debate:

Warden Hill. Great OFSTED but a big school which makes us worry DD will get lost in class sizes and the masses. On visit, Head was friendly enough but we got the sense the school was coasting as opposed to pushing forward with purpose.

Benhall. Like the look and feel, great OFSTED. Slightly concerned it only covers 4-7 yr olds - what next?

Lakeside. Very impressive Head who was looking to lead the school forward and work on the OFSTED identified weaknesses. But can he drag the school (and presumably teachers) with him? Needs to be improved, but much would seem to depend upon the relatively new head delivering?

St. James. Didn't get a chance to viist but have heard a couple of good things. OFSTED impressive.

I guess none are a disasterous option (Chelt is good that way). To be honest Charton Kings would be first choice but we live too far away. Grateful for anyt thoughts or a re-direct to a more appropriate forum. Oh and we need to get our choice in by the 15th

Cheers

D/Dad.

DitheringDad Sat 08-Jan-11 13:20:52

Oh, and Shurdington too please..

mrscolour Sat 08-Jan-11 21:05:18

Hi
We moved back to Cheltenham in the summer and we're living in Up Hatherley. My daughter started reception in September. Just to warn you - you may not have as much choice in which school your DD goes to as you think as numbers are pretty tight in that area. We were originally told that all the schools were full in that area and my DD had to go on waiting lists and we were preparing to go to appeal. But at the last minute dd was offered a place at Warden Hill.

We are really happy with Warden Hill. I am slightly biased as I went there as a child! There is a good mix of experienced staff and younger staff. I don't feel the school is coasting, I just think they don't necessarily jump head first into the latest fads. If you're worried about class sizes, your dd will probably be in a class of 30 in any of the schools in that area. My daughter's teacher encourages a lot of parent helpers to come in and they have full time TA support. I also like that the infants and juniors have separate playgounds which makes playtimes less intimidating.

The other schools your mentioned: I know mums who send their children to Benhall and are very happy with it. The junior school is St. Mark's. I haven't heard such good things about Lakeside, there have been a lot of staffing issues there. Don't know much about St. James or Shurdington. There is also Greatfield park which is a smaller school near Morrisons. We had a little look around and felt quite good.

Hope that is helpful

strandednomore Fri 14-Jan-11 16:08:27

Hi - I have friends with children at Warden Hill and they seem very happy with it. It is also bigger so you have more of a chance of getting in.

Unless next year is dramatically different from last you have a cats chance of hell of getting into St James from Hatherley. The catchment area is tiny this year as it was a very high birth year and a lot of families live very close to the school. I know people have come from as far afield as Hatherley in the past but a lot of newbuild family homes have gone up in the last few years.

I don't know much about the other schools I am afraid.

(of course this is all probably too late for you anyway!)

Vickles Wed 02-Feb-11 11:28:05

hi dithering dad,
sorry i didn't get to you in time for the 15th....
what did you go for in the end?
to be honest, you can't really go wrong with any of the schools you mentioned.. we're so lucky to be surrounded by such good primary schools here
my daughter (6) goes to warden hill, and we are extremely happy with it. i agree with you when you said, 'coasting along', especially from the head's point.. BUT, they are recruiting for a new head this month, as the head is retiring. we are all very excited about having a new head, much as we've all liked the current head.. but i think it would be good for the school, especially with a potential ofsted check coming next year (as the last one was 2007 - outstanding...in my opinion, and due to the recent changes in how they rate schools, i am doubtful of them keeping their outstanding with the current set up, but, with a new head coming soon, i am hopeful) but putting all that aside, me and my husband are extremely happy with warden hill. our daughter is loving every day there, and settled in super fast. mums and dad's are a good mix in the playground, and are all really friendly, no 'cliques' to be seen! it is a big school - 2 classes per year group.. but, the plus side of that, is that if, i mean 'if', there is ever a clash in personalities, teacher or pupil, you could, i understand, change classes... and like somebody who said above, the class sizes are the same at any other state primary school. and don't forget... the infant side of the school (reception, year 1, year 2) is seperate to the junior side of the school (year 3 +). and they have their own building with their own playground.. so don't worry about that aspect of it. but, (unlike benhall infants and the seperate junior school) - you do not need to re-apply to go the junior school... they just automatically go the the junior building, and they prepare them brilliantly for the move over.

benhall, is too a brilliant school. i know it well from working there recently... the head and the staff are simply brilliant.. and the building itself is brilliantly set up.. and it even has a nursery on site now. but, the junior school next to it, year 3 +, (is it called st marks? can't remember?) - i know nothing about, as it is run totally separately and you do need to apply to get into it... but, i hear there never is any problems getting in.. it's just more that it is totally seperate... but, it's not the only school in chelt/glouc that is set up like that.

lakeside, has had their share of troubles.. especially with heads and staff in the past... to be honest, it is a great school still and that's down to the teaching staff. i'm afraid i don't know much about it other than that.. i have some friends who work there.

charlton kings...? don't forget charlton kings has the largest council estate in cheltenham.. huge! and they have a their fair share of problems!!! but, still, a great school, great staff, great building.. but, hmmmmmm....

st james's - i know very little about, other than, is it a church of england school? not sure.. not a problem for us, but i've heard they can be quite religious. it too is a large school, but they split the year groups up i believe.. not too sure about that... but again, a great, solid school, great head and staff... popular choice.

i know nothing at all apart from shurdington school, other than it is quite small i think.

i hopee that helps, and again, sorry to have mmissed your deadline for the forms!

vickles!
x

ck78 Sun 27-Feb-11 16:07:20

Hi my daughter attends St James and its fab but seriously over subscribed. It depends on your postcode and daughters birth year intake i.e my daughter was lucky enough to enter in a low birth rate year or sibling intake. Depends where in Hatherly you will live, we are Loweswater Rd so pretty close and most children in this road and surrounding roads go there.
Good luck

ck78 Sun 27-Feb-11 16:09:24

St James is not at all religious for a church of England school.

EllenJane1 Thu 21-Apr-11 17:52:37

What rubbish about Charlton Kings having a big council estate! There is a small one at Ewens Farm, Whaddon/Lynworth is right by Prestbury and the largest estate is Hesters Way/Coronation Square. Lots of Coronation Square kids go to Benhall.

I have friends with kids all these: Benhall, lots of recent staff changes, say no more. Lakeside improving, Warden Hill consistent, Greatfield Park, not great! Charlton Kings very pushy.

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