Reception school places – a nervous wait

It is nearly that time of year when thousands of children across the UK will find out which school they have been offered. Back in January Gloucestershire parents hastily added their application for first, second, third, fourth or even fifth choice for Gloucestershire primary schools. With many hoping to get their first or at least second choice others are worried that they may get their fifth choice. School places are very sought after with only 1 in 4 children getting their first choice of school in some areas in 2017.

So, what happens on Monday 16th April when you receive that email or letter to inform you where your child of 3 or 4 has been allocated for their primary school place? Will there be elation because you have been offered the school that you wanted or will you be distraught as you didn’t get your first or second choice but your third, fourth or even fifth and you didn’t really want them anyway, or even worst you didn’t get any of the choices you made. Don’t panic, it may feel like the end of the world to you, but it’s not, there are several options including:

  1. Accept the school you have been given – many people find that once their child starts school they realise it was the best school for them.
  2. Decline your place and ask to be reconsidered for another one of your choices.
  3. Decline your place and ask to be added to the waiting list for your preferred school.
  4. Accept your place but ask to still be considered for one of your preferred choices.
  5. Appeal to the council for your preferred choice and go through the appeal process which takes place in June or July 2018 – more information about appeals can be found here: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/education-and-learning/school-admissions/information-on-admission-appeals/

When you are appealing remember there could be several people in the same position as you so it is key to think about the following:

  1. Consider the grounds upon which you want to appeal. Ensure your reasons are as strong as they can be, putting emphasis on the strongest argument first.
  2. Ensure you collate as much supporting evidence as you can to substantiate your appeal.
  3. Medical and Social Reasons which have arisen since the original application must be supported by evidence (e.g. doctor’s letter).
  4. Preparation is key, make sure you are fully aware of what you want to say to the panel and that everyone who is attending with you has the same idea.

All the options above are for the state system in Gloucestershire, have you ever considered an Independent school? Many parents are put off even looking at Independent schooling due to the perceived cost. However, many people fail to realise that there is a lot of support available for families who wish to consider Independent schooling for their children and the perceived cost is not always as much as you think. Hopelands Preparatory School in Stonehouse is exceptional value in comparison to many other Independent schools whilst still offering all the same added benefits. We also firmly believe that families should not be restricted by their financial circumstances and that a child’s attendance at the School should be an option for all and therefore the School offers a limited number of means tested assisted places, more information on our bursaries can be found here: https://hopelands.org.uk/hps/school-care-and-clubs/bursaries-and-public-benefits/.

Finally, we’d like to wish everyone the best of luck for Monday 16th April and hope you receive the school place you have been hoping for. If the result is not as you would have hoped we also want to reassure you that there are other options for you. As well as offering exceptional value at our small, happy school we are also dedicated to enabling each child to achieve their full potential. We create a nurturing, supportive environment that will enable all children to become resilient, confident young people. Our website www.Hopelands.org.uk has lots of information about our school including the Curriculum, History and Ethos, Pastoral and Enrichment and especially pertinent to new reception children information about the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Please do get in touch with us on 01453 822164 if you have any more questions or contact us to book an appointment at our Open Morning taking place on Friday 2nd March between 09:30am – 12noon.


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Let us reflect on 2017 and look forward to 2018

As we head into 2018 we can look back on a very happy and successful 2017 with lots of achievements, friendships and happy memories gained for both our current and past pupils, teachers and friends.

We firstly must sadly say goodbye to two of our staff members and one of our pupils. Mrs Preece our class 3 teacher and Mrs Thomas our TA in class 1 are both leaving us. We’d like to thank them both so much for all the hard work and dedication they have given to Hopelands. We are all going to miss them and their enthusiastic & fun ideas – thank you both!! We also say goodbye to Maria who joined us for one school term all the way from Bilbao on her own to learn English as well as experiencing life in a local, nurturing school. It was lovely to receive an email from her Mum to say what a wonderful, enriching experience it had been for her and her brother would now like to join us!

Our previous year 6 pupils headed off on their next journey in July with many going to Grammar schools and gaining scholarships to independent schools across Gloucestershire, some receiving sports scholarships. We were also delighted in October 2017 to find out that the current year 6 children all passed the 11+ exam that they sat in September 2017 – well done all!

So onto 2017 and all we have achieved in the last 12months, 365 days and 525600 minutes (yes there really are that many minutes in a year!)  We all know our Hopelands children are amazing and achieve so much every day but we’d like to look back on some of their achievements here.


We are very lucky to have a specialist teacher of sport Mrs McQuillian who gives the children fantastic experiences across all sports. They all get to participate in netball, rugby, football, swimming and hockey as well as cross country, lacrosse, shot put, tennis to even having water fights in the summer and Santa races in the winter!!

Tournaments are played across Gloucestershire and our children often come home with a trophy or two but always lots of smiles! Here are a few of our sporting highlights:

  • Tag rugby – we came 4th out of 12 schools (large and small) for tag rugby and received comments about the standard of our team.
  • Netball – we attended a tournament at Wycliffe college and Cheltenham Ladies college and came district runners up in both league and cup, for both large and small schools!
  • ESSA – English Schools Athletics Association – All children in KS2 have the chance to gain achievements for the ESAA badges with a selection of 8 athletic sporting events from hurdling, high jump, long jump, throwing etc no one goes without being able to achieve an award regardless of ability and it also means they learn the tricky art of baton relay theory and all techniques to a high level. It all pays off as we came 2nd in field and 3rd in track at the Tewksbury district competition.
  • County selection – we have had a great year with our track events and our Cross-country team where all 5 pupils who attended came in the top 15 of the Stroud districts cross country championships and 4 girls qualified for County selection – watch out for Hopelands future Olympians!
  • Archery – not usually something many schools participate in but our pupils attended an archery competition where they came fourth, this was a massive achievement as we were one team member down and one of pupils came first overall!
  • Swimming – We achieved a bronze medal overall at the Wycliffe and Tewkesbury swimming gala.

It must be exhausting reading about all their achievements but we mustn’t forget our amazing sports day where our children worked so hard and took part in all nominated competitions, each with an Indian theme following our Global Awareness work – the winners for the day were Dahl house.

Mrs Mcquillian commented that it is so nice that all children want to be involved in the sports teams and all support each other regardless of ability, the true meaning of sportsmanship and team spirit.

As well as sport our children excel in singing, dance and drama and entertain us all through the year from the Summer concert in May where they impressed us with their music and singing talents as well as the Christmas show we enjoyed this month. This year though we also came second overall in the Cheltenham festival of performing arts and were awarded the Stewards Cup. This is awarded for a Junior Themed Performance and requires the participants to show skills including singing, dancing and mime – as well as, obviously, acting. One of our pupils commented “It was the best experience ever, and I want to do it all again”.

At Hopelands we also like the children to appreciate the world around them and the school council chooses a nominated charity every year that the school will raise money for, this year they picked ‘Water Aid’ as well as ‘Toilet Twinning’.  It is great to see the children supporting our charity and thinking up innovative ways to raise money but it is also fantastic to help them understand their Social Responsibility for other people around them and for the world in which they live. As well as our chosen charity pupils ask to help other charities throughout the year including:

  • Race for life for cancer research – following our sports day we held a ‘Hopelands Race for life’
  • Cool Earth to help keep the rainforests intact – cakes sales were organised
  • Grand appeal for the Bristol Children’s hospital – Two of our pupils forfeited their birthday presents and asked for donations instead.

We are always busy at school and the teachers work so hard ensuring the children have lots of fun, enriching, educational experiences to support their learning, some of the activities from this year include:

  • Global awareness topic, India – The children created Indian themed art with Mrs Barrett and we all visited the Balti Spice Indian restaurant in Stonehouse where we all got to try lots of yummy food.
  • Mock trial – the children got to prosecute a very difficult case and were judged against other schools with Hopelands winning! The Celia Hardwicke Shield for the Best Small School was awarded jointly to us and Stone with Woodford C of E Primary whilst one of our children was named Best Reporter in the overall competition for her piece about the trial, which was written in the heat of the moment as the trial progressed. Mrs Sands said, ‘I am not just delighted to see all their hard work be rewarded in this way but I am genuinely touched by the way the whole class came together and embodied the spirit of teamwork to achieve a result for everybody’ Miss Porter was equally thrilled ‘We all worked together, teasing out ideas and coming up with questions and theories.

We’d like to say well done to all our pupils for their successes this year and we look forward to another fun successful year in 2018 and ensuring our current year 6 are fully prepared for their onward step to senior school with an I can, I will and I do attitude!

Have a lovely, relaxing Christmas to all our children, friends and their families.


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