Choosing the right primary school for your child is an important decision to make.
Today on Bishopston Mum a local mum whose child attends St Bonaventure’s Catholic Primary School shares her experiences of this school and explains why this school was her first choice of school for her child.
St Bonaventure’s Catholic Primary School is situated on Egerton Road in Bishopston and currently has an Ofsted rating of 2: Good (as of June 2105).
Was this school your first choice?
Yes it was, though we also really liked the Dolphin School when we looked around.
What qualities & advantages do you feel it has over other schools?
We love that it is a smaller school than some of the other local schools. It offers a really friendly community for the children, but also for the parents and families.
For us the Christian ethos of the school was really important, and is a strong element of the school, influencing the attitudes and behaviours that the children are encouraged to follow.
Children are given a strong sense of how they influence the world around them by caring and being part of a community, this seemed in stark contrast with some other schools which focus more on children being just individuals who need to know their own rights.
Another strength of the school is that it is a multicultural community, with many different languages and cultures represented and celebrated within the community.
What (if any) are weaknesses of this school?
We don’t see any real weaknesses of the school, and in general have been thrilled with it in all aspects.
What do you think of the school building and facilities?
When we looked around the school it was the old building, and it was the weakest point of the whole school. We realised though that children aren’t really aware of buildings, so it didn’t affect us choosing St Bon’s.
It was then an amazing surprise to see the school be completely re-built, and the new buildings are all so lovely, with fantastic facilities. The playground and school field on site, are being worked on, and we are excited about them being finished soon.
What do you think of the size of the school?
As I said, we love that it is 2 class entry.
What do you think of the staff?
The staff here are great. The headteacher is friendly and knows the families. We see that many of the staff have been at St Bon’s for many years, which to us shows that it is a good place to work, and if the teachers are happy, we figure that influences how they teach our children.
What is your opinion on communication between the school and parents?
This is something the school has been working on and this year there is a new website which has helped. The main form of communication is via the website and through the weekly newsletters from the school office.
The teachers are always available to talk though if you have any specific concerns with your child, and we also have regular newsletters from the very active PTFA.
What are the school’s values?
The school is Roman Catholic, and the motto is ‘Striving to be the best we can, guided by the light of Christ’. The school has many from the Catholic faith, but also many other Christian families from other denominations, as well as those of other or no faiths.
The Christian ethos influences the school in terms of prayers being part of the day, in the playground and lunch and at the end of the day. Throughout a child’s school life, they have the opportunity to be prepared for the Catholic sacraments (if they wish) as well as take part in a spiritual retreat in year 6.
Day to day though the school’s values go further in terms of influencing the attitudes and behaviours – ‘how have you shone your light today?’ I know this was something that the last Ofsted inspection was impressed with, that the children from all the year groups look after each other and interact well with adults too.
Do kids in reception receive homework/reading/tasks do do at home?
In reception the children have reading books (which they change twice a week) and they have to write their phonics in a small book. They are given also a simple maths related challenge to do in the week – something like ‘count how many windows in your house’ or ‘find out how may cups of water it takes to fill a saucepan’.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just to say again how thrilled we are with St Bon’s as a school. I would really encourage parents to come and have a look around for yourselves and consider it for your children.
Even if you are not Catholic, the school provides a wonderful caring and nurturing environment for your children to grow, develop, learn, and make their own choices about faith.
For more information about St Bonaventure’s Catholic Primary School and other local primary schools, please visit the Bishopston Mum Local Primary Schools Information Page.