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Former private schools now most oversubscribed in Bristol

July 14, 2009

Two former private schools have been revealed as the most oversubscribed state schools in Bristol.

New council figures show there were over 5 applicants for every place at Bristol Cathedral School, and 4 applicants for every place at Colston’s Girls School.

Both became state-run academies from autumn 2008, having previously been fee-paying independent schools. Both had difficulties attracting enough pupils towards the end of their time as private schools.
Now the picture couldn’t be more different: 521 families applied for 104 places at Cathedral while 445 girls wanted the 112 places at Colston’s.

They join Cotham, Redland Green and St Mary Redcliffe as Bristol’s most popular state schools. Cotham and Redland Green get three applicants for every place; St Mary Redcliffe gets twice as many applicants as it has places.

Cathedral School Assistant Principal Simon Antwis agreed many parents believe they can get a private education at his school without paying fees.

He said: “I couldn’t argue with that. But I think our strengths as a school are that we are small, allowing us to focus more on the students and look after their pastoral needs.

“They also enjoy our faith-based ethos. Now we are a state school we can make that available to all. The ethos at the school has remained very much the same.

“We hope to retain what we do well as an independent school, but to take on board the things the state sector and the academy system can offer us to help us improve.”

Cathedral used to select pupils partly on academic results. Now as an academy specialising in music it admits 10 pupils a year on musical aptitude.

Pictured: Bristol Cathedral School

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