South Bristol Schools Crisis

Offers for primary school places have been made for September 2014 and we are delighted that the local schools were able to accommodate all children living in the area. Many families got their first choice. Thank you to the Council and schools for their hard work.

The area now has sufficient reception places for all the children in the area. There has been strong support from the Council, with the acquisition of land for Ashton Gate and Southville to expand, and from the local schools which have expanded or taken on "bulge" classes when needed. There are also plans to create a new school on the caravan site near Spike Island, which should increase choice for BS3 families and help with the lack of places in the Hotwells and Clifton Wood areas.

We continue to monitor these developments and keep the community informed.

South Bristol Schools Campaign is a community-led group initially formed when there was a lack of local school places in BS3. It seems that long term solutions are now in place, so our role will now be limited to liaising with schools and the Council to ensure the delivery of promised new places and new sites, and to share information with the local community.

For the latest information, join the mailing list - this will allow the campaign group to quickly and easily inform and keep track of all those concerned.

You can also email the campaign group:

Thursday, 1 September 2011

BS3 Primary Schools Shortage Public Meeting

14th Sept, 8pm. Bedminster Methodist Church.

Are your children approaching school age? Would you like them to go to a local school, within walking distance of their home? Join with local parents to discuss how we can come together to ensure that enough school places are provided for children in BS3 in September 2012, 2013 and beyond.

The story so far

In April 2011, many families in BS3 were notified that their children had not been allocated a reception place at either one of their three preferred schools, nor at a local alternative. Some were given places over two miles from home. Following swift action from parents, a one-off solution was found with bulge classes created at Ashton Gate Primary and South Street.

What happens next?

A permanent solution still needs to be found. BS3 has a large population of preschool-age children, which will need local school places in September 2012 and beyond. Local authorities are aware of this, but parents need to work with them to ensure there is a place for every child in the future.

What can I do?

Come to the public meeting on Wednesday 14th September at 8.00pm. Led by local parents, its aims are to provide information about the current situation, estimate the number of children who require schools places for 2012, and raise support for the campaign for school places in South Bristol.

Wednesday 14th September, 8pm.
Bedminster Methodist Church. British Road, BS3 3BW.


  1. Thank you for organising this public meeting, it is appreciated.

    However, having just got back from it I am fairly dissatisfied. I feel I've just been told that I need to lobby for money for a solution that the Council (and/or your campaign) is not at liberty to describe or discuss.

    And given the record of the Council over the last 12 months how am I supposed to have confidence in their 'plan' especially given they won't discuss what it is?

    Now it may be that finding a site to add an annexe to Ashton Gate (which I assume is their plan from reading between the lines) is they best solution. However, it would be nice to be treated as an adult and have the reasoning behind this decision making process explained, as well as some insight into why other options (a free school? a new local school? a change to admissions policy?) might have been considered and rejected.

    Would appreciate anyone else's thoughts on this, as well as the opinion of the 'campaign'.

    Best wishes


  2. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your comments.

    It should be made clear that this committee is made up of concerned parents like yourself and we have no political links at all. We have no inside information as to the councils plans. We are, however, trying to make sure that the council and government take our situation seriously and will continue to put pressure on them to do so.

    It should also be explained that the council informed us before the meeting that they would not have solutions to tell us about before the capital funding had been distributed. They understood that we wanted them to attend anyway to answer our questions and concerns.

    Sharing the details of some sites which they have been looking at might jeopardize the council's purchase of those sites which is possibly why they are holding back information at this stage. They have tried to assure us that solutions are being sought.

    South Bristol Schools Campaign

  3. Thanks for responding and your thoughts, it is appreciated.

    I'm still not sure that I buy the Council's position as being entirely honest and straigh up. For example, the reasoning the Councillor gave that disclosing sites they're interested in would lead to the site owners jacking up the price - well, unless the Council is planning to somehow purchase sites without telling the existing owners first, I think they're going to find out at some point in the process anyway aren't they? However, this is a minor point.

    More importantly I don't see why the Council couldn't give a hierarchy of its preferred options - ie find a site (doesn't matter where) and annexe to a school? Well, which school would they prefer to annexe? And why? And what are the implications of one school over another?

    Building new schools, or applying for funding for a free school, we're told, is 'not a preferred option'. Why not? What are the pros and cons of these approaches and how has the 'preferred' strategy been arrived at?

    And how do we - as in we the people who elect these councillors, and pay the wages of the council officers to serve our interests - feel about the preferences they are arriving at? Do we agree that their preferred strategies are the best way forward? Do we want them to give more effort to investigate other options?

    I must stress that I don't necessarily disagree with their logic or reasoning at this point - because I don't know what it is! However, given that in 2010 the Council's preferred solution was to send children in Southville to Knowle West, I feel it is fair to ask for some real clarity on the state of their present thinking. (Even if it's necessarily contingent on funding - cos, you know, I can handle the concept of uncertainty and flexibility, because I'm not five years old.)

    And I simply don't believe that the need to protect commercial confidences/positions makes it absolutely impossible to discuss the pros and cons of the different approaches in outline.

    Anyway, as I say, thanks for listening and responding to my ranting, and thanks again for the hard work - I do appreciate it.