Re-locating from USA w/daughter in S2, looking at Gillespie's and Boroughmuir - thoughts?(6 Posts)
I've been recommended both Gillespie's and Boroughmuir for my daughter who will enter S2 next year, transferring from the USA.
Can anyone please tell me about these schools, in an on-the-ground way? I can tell that Boroughmuir is a top Primary in Scotland (that Sunday Times rating in 2012), and it's an old but inclusive building, and they still have the "house" system. I can't tell from their website what their focus is, and specifically what the S3/4 and above course offerings are.
Gillespie's is highly musically based, from the look of it, though they have many course offerings each year. What is their reputation for Science, Math, and English minded students?
any thoughts would be most welcome!
Boroughmuir has the local Basketball cluster (DD was national school champion with them a couple of times) - Gillespie's is starting MAJOR building works this year which I imagine will be quite disruptive, since pupils will be "decanted" into another (old) school. Boroughmuir's new built will be completed just down the road while the students stay in their building, so less disruptive for them.
forgot: what sort of courses were you looking for?
Well, she is all As and A+s here in the States, she's at a Math and Science magnet school, so is at about, from what I can tell by Gillespie's curriculum explanations, S3 level already in Chemistry and Physics, there. I can't tell from the Boroughmuir website what their curriculum is like at all. Would they let her sit ahead in those classes, I wonder?
While she plays guitar and piano for leisure - and was taught them also in Primary school here - she is not at all a composer or performer. She also only plays softball, which I understand is just not offered in UK.
I like the look and feel of Boroughmuir, from what i can see, and I appreciate the inclusive building. It seems quite well-rounded. Gillespie's seems perhaps more serious - their music curriculum is through the roof! Have you seen it? So specific. Makes one feel as though its "Fame" type performing school. Is this so?
The construction issue is perhaps a deal-breaker though, I don't think she'd appreciate being stuck at a substitute school. Maybe Boroughmuir is the best choice? I think she would welcome the "house" system, as a way to get started socially.
What's your insiders take of these two schools, catherine? What's their reputations?
My daughter is currently finishing S6 there. When we picked schools, Boroughmuir "won" because of the Basketball and the fact that at the time, Gillespie's did not offer all three sciences (i.e. kids would have had to pick 2 of bio, chem, phys). Boroughmuir is very achievement oriented and does "react" to special abilities. Not sure about sitting in on higher courses, but extra course work is possible. They do offer music lessons (for free). DS is in S1, so he would be in your daughter's year next year He is getting violin lessons, which are quite serious as far as I can tell.
Overall, we have been very happy with them so far.
I'm not sure if you are aware how the (state) school system works here but the most important criteria is where you live. If you don't have a permanent address in the designated catchment area for a particular school then you have to make a special "out of catchment" application in the year preceding entry (closed now for entry in Aug 2013). Boroughmuir and Gillespies are both highly rated and as such attract a large number of out of catchment applications. These are assessed against a set of strict criteria- all explained on teh council website.
If you don't yet have an address in Edinburgh, then you won't be allocated a place at any school in the city at this point, and by the time you get here, the places for your year of entry may be full for your catchment school. However, as your DD is entering in a non standard year S2 (rather than the standard S1) then there may be more flexibility. You really need to contact the council education office as a priority to discuss your personal situation.
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