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See Bristol schools for yourself
Release date: Fri, 16/09/2011
Parents of children in year six at a Bristol primary school are being invited to visit the city’s secondary schools ahead of applying for a new school place.
In a recent survey of Bristol parents to look at how they are making school choices, 89 per cent said that visiting the school is very important and 67 per cent said that attending the open day is very important.
Bristol now has 21 secondary schools, nine of which are academies and one a new free school. Last year nine out of ten families were offered one of their preferred choices of secondary school and the number of children moving from a Bristol primary school to a secondary school within the city has increased from 78% four years ago to 88% in 2010.
All children currently in year six will take home secondary transfer information next week, with details of how to apply for a new school. The deadline for applications is Monday October 31.
To help decide which schools to apply for, children and their parents are being invited to go and see Bristol’s schools for themselves. Open days get underway this week and a full list of events is available on the council website at www.bristol.gov.uk/schooladmissions.
Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, said: "Before deciding which school to apply for, it is a good idea to visit a range of schools to see at first hand what they have to offer. Parents can meet teachers, talk to children already at the school and sometimes also meet parents who already send children to the school. Bristol schools are changing fast, so this really is the best way to decide which school will best meet your child’s needs.”
Chair of the Bristol Secondary Heads Association and head teacher at Henbury School, Clare Bradford, said: “I hope parents and carers will take this great opportunity to visit their local schools to see exactly what is on offer. Open evenings are a very good chance to talk with the staff, but perhaps even better is the chance to see the school in action during the school day, to get a taste of what it feels like, and talk to students. Many schools will be able to offer alternative dates, if you can't make those that are listed, so always feel free to ask.
“We are proud of what Bristol schools have to offer, and this is a great chance for families to have a good look for themselves.”
Bristol parent, Kate Hewings, has two sons at the Orchard School. She said: “When we started to think about a secondary school for our elder son, Sam, we visited a number of schools. Though the Orchard was our nearest school, it wasn’t initially top of the list. That changed when we visited - we were thoroughly impressed by the staff and facilities. Sam has now been at the school for two years. He is happy there and achieving well. Behaviour at the school is excellent and they keep on top of students’ progress with regular assessments. When we came to choose a school for our younger son, Charlie, we had no hesitation putting the Orchard School as our first choice.”
The last decade has been one of change for Bristol secondary schools. Standards have risen rapidly, with students reaching another new milestone this summer, when 50 per cent of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C including English and Maths, and 77 per cent of pupils achieved five or more good GCSEs overall. Behaviour has also improved - all Bristol secondary schools are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by independent inspectors, Ofsted, for behaviour.
Over this period, there has been a massive rebuilding programme. All of the city’s secondary schools have now been rebuilt or significantly refurbished and facilities are second to none.
It has also been a time of structural change and the city now has academies, trust schools, a cooperative school, schools working in federation and one of the country’s first free schools.