Together aiming high

Redland: 0117 924 5796 | Red Maids': 0117 989 8282

Key questions

Background and merger activity

Why is a merger the best solution for our schools?

We share a common belief in all-girls’ education, academic excellence, promotion of creative and performing arts, sports and extra-curricular activities. A merger creates a one-off opportunity to build a bigger, stronger and ultimately more sustainable school with an enhanced curriculum and outstanding facilities for the girls of Bristol and beyond.

How will the merger benefit the wider community?

Redmaids’ High School will build upon our commitment to contributing to the wider community in Bristol, in the UK and internationally. We will build on our link projects with schools overseas and closer to home and develop outreach opportunities through charitable fundraising and giving, and service.

Why is a merger the best solution for Redland High?

Redland Court inspires great affection, but educational expectations have changed significantly and our confined city centre site and our beautiful but inflexible 18th century listed buildings no longer meet the demands of a 21st century education. Redland High has never had any endowment to secure its financial position and our current site constrains both the development of facilities and the growth of pupil numbers. We have concluded that our school is in a vulnerable position. A considerably larger number of pupils is needed in the modern educational world to create the strong balance sheet to be sustainable and to invest in the educational provision our girls deserve. We can never achieve that alone on our current site.

Why is a merger the best solution for The Red Maids’ School?

This merger creates a one-off opportunity to build a bigger, stronger and ultimately more sustainable school with outstanding facilities. It will strengthen our position as the leading academic school for girls in the region and enhance the opportunities available to all our students. This exciting venture gives us the opportunity to embark upon some major developments. Our exceptional facilities will be significantly enhanced, further educational objectives can be met and a greater range of subjects will be offered at GCSE level and in the Sixth Form.

Why were parents not consulted in the decision to merge?

We can completely understand that parents wish it had been possible for them to be made aware of these discussions beforehand. However the trustees of each school have given careful and detailed consideration to the school’s future and have taken professional advice. We have decided that this outstanding opportunity is the right way forward and that we are acting in the best interests of each charity – the staff, parents and students.

A decision such as this has to be researched and taken in confidence. No business decision of this significance can be opened widely for consultation at the point of investigation and agreement.

We have made great efforts to present parents with this exciting new development in plenty of time before it takes place. For most families the merger will take effect from September 2017.

The final agreement and decision was only made last week, and that therefore we have informed parents at the earliest possible moment as soon as we had certainty on the way forward.

What if you encounter delays to the merger or sale of the Redland site?

Based upon advice from experts, we are confident that there will be a substantial interest in the Redland site. The combined school is robust enough to manage any delays in the unlikely event that they should arise.

Will there be a transition programme introducing students to the new school?

There will be a carefully designed and managed transition programme for a full academic year. All pupils who move to Redmaids’ High will feel welcomed and at home in the new school. Although the first year of the new school will see the operation using both current sites, we are already working on the timetable that will allow as much flexibility as possible between the two, so that any feeling of having moved away from the familiarity of the original Redland High site will be minimised and the opportunities for staff to be involved in work both sites will be maximised.

How will you ensure that my daughter and our family can get to know the new people and facilities that she will experience before she moves site?

A full programme of transition events will be published shortly. Educational activities and events are being organised to help unite parents, pupils and staff across both schools.

Will there still be a co-educational infant school?

Our current proposal, announced in November 2016, is that from September 2017, Redmaids’ High Infants will move from Redland to the Westbury site, offering a provision for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. We expect that no more boys will join the provision, but the boys already within the Redmaids’ High family are welcome to join us on their journey to a Junior School.

What ideas are in place to ensure that the girls from each school get to know each other during the transition year?

We have been extremely impressed with the many and creative ideas that the girls have been suggesting over the past few days with how they can get to know each other. These range from mixed sports teams, supporting each other’s matches, social events, joint educational trips and more. We are thrilled with how girls at each school are embracing this opportunity. The way that the girls have dealt with this news has been an inspiration to us all.

Why is the new school going to be known as Redmaids’ High School? Please explain the significance of the term High School?

The ‘High School’ identity is part of both Redland High’s own heritage and is also part of a long and strong national tradition of leading girls’ only schools in England in the 1870s. These High Schools provide outstanding opportunities and rigorous academic standards to a wide range of girls. Well known girls’ High Schools include Guildford High School, St Albans High School, Oxford High School, Wimbledon High School and Durham High School. Both schools are delighted to be associated with the inspiring vision, strong values and excellent academic standards that the term High School represents in Great Britain.

Why are new girls joining the Redland Court site for just one year then moving to Westbury-on-Trym from September 2017?

Your daughters have been preparing to join Redland High for a long time now – they have attended taster days, team building events, got to know the surroundings, other girls and staff. We felt that it was important for them to have the opportunity to continue on this path that they had envisaged for September and the rest of the academic year. During the transition year, there will be many opportunities to get to know their partner year group at the Westbury-on-Trym site. These will include such things as trips, concerts, joint sports and drama events, music activities and many other opportunities for joint activities. We will have the chance to listen to the ideas and suggestions of the girls themselves and their parents to make sure that we are putting the best plans in place to ensure that the transition in September 2017 will be a smooth one.

What will happen to the Redland High School site?

We have reached a legally binding agreement under which the two schools will merge to form Redmaids’ High School. In due course, the Redland site will be sold and the proceeds invested in the new school. This exciting venture gives us the opportunity to embark upon some major developments.

Who is profiting from the merger?

Financial profits really are not the point of this merger. But the educational profits to the girls will be vast. Redland Court inspires great affection, but inflexible 18th century listed buildings no longer meet the demands of a 21st century education. This merger creates a one-off opportunity to build a better school with exceptional facilities and a greater range of subjects offered at GCSE level and in the Sixth Form.

Will we see a loss of the open green space at the Red Maids’ site to account for the new developments?

There are no plans in place to change the green, parkland feeling of the current Red Maids’ site and certainly no plans to build on the lawns in front of the 300 building or the rounders fields. Currently, the only development in discussion, other than the re-development of Denmark Hall, is a dance/drama studio to be adjoining the current sports hall. In fact, we will be gaining more space with the use of the Golden Hill Sports Ground, which houses all-weather surfaces, rounders pitches, an athletics track, two full sized football pitches and two smaller football pitches. There is also a pavilion which includes changing facilities and a teaching room.

 

Education and pastoral

Will the small classes at both schools be retained?

Yes, both schools benefit from small classes and this will continue to be an important feature of the new Redmaids’ High School going forward.

We anticipate a Year 7 group in September 2016 on the Red Maids’ site of four classes. The maximum class size after the merger will remain the same as it is currently at 24. They will be supported by an increase in pastoral staff with both a Head of Year and an assistant Head of Year. For the Junior School the class sizes will be no more than 20.

How will you ensure that my daughter at Redland High will continue to thrive at the new school?

The new school welcomes all parents and pupils currently at Redland High and is confident that they will thrive at Redmaids’ High School. We are committed to bringing all that is best from each school to the new school. This includes continuing the excellent working relationships that already exist between pupils, parents and staff in their current location. Nothing could be more important than the continuing progress made by our respective current pupils in the newly formed school.

I chose one school over the other. How can you reassure me that the new school will have what I have in my current school?

The merger is the combining and sharing of the best of each school. Many of the important elements of an outstanding education that are popular at Redland High and Red Maids’ will be retained. A larger cohort of pupils enables a wider choice of subjects and options. We are confident that the new school will offer a wider selection and the chance to enhance what is available is part of the reason behind the creation of the new school.

Will special needs support that my daughter receives at Redland High continue at Redmaids’ High School?

Yes, both Red Maids’ and Redland offer excellent provision for those with special needs, and this will continue to be available for all those who need it at the new school. If you have any specific queries, please do make an appointment to discuss them in more detail.

Will my daughter’s teaching be disrupted in any way?

The continuity of education for all of our students is our top priority. Two year groups will be moving to the Westbury site in September 2016, while the other Junior and Senior school students will be joining from September 2017.

When Year 10 2016 (Year 11 Sept 2017) transfer to the Westbury site, will they continue the curricula they were being taught at Redland and continue with their teachers in separate academic classes to their Redmaids’ High peers?

Over the course of the summer term 2016 the academic departments from each school will decide on whether or not a common syllabus choice can be made (where syllabuses have not yet already begun) for teaching at both sites from September 2016. More importantly, in September 2017, the intention wherever possible, is to keep the girls in their existing teaching groups with their existing teachers from Redland for the Year 11 academic lessons, in order to provide continuity. The girls will be mixed in other areas such as sport and other activities to help aid transition (alongside various social and other school events to be held jointly over the course of the next 18 months to help friendships form).

What will the future school size as a whole be?

Redmaids’ High will be a school for around 800 girls with an anticipated four-form entry in the Senior School. This is likely to include around 150 students in the Sixth Form.

What will happen to the teaching staff and how will you ensure continuity for my daughter?

A larger student body will require more staff. For the first 18 months there will be very little change in staff at all, apart from normal staff turnover. Following that any changes in staff will be based purely on merit. Some of the teaching staff from Redland High will, for the academic year 2016/17, begin to teach some classes at the Westbury site and will therefore be familiar faces to the girls who will have moved there, as well as continuing to teach the year groups that remain at the Redland site.

What conversations have been happening with the pupils at both schools about the merger?

Every year group has been spoken to separately by their Head of Year to give them the chance to ask any questions they have and explain to them in smaller groups what is happening. They have also been encouraged speak to Mrs Tobias at Red Maids’ and Miss Ferro at Redland High in private one-on-one meetings if they feel that would be beneficial.

How is a larger Sixth Form a benefit for girls who are sitting their IB Diploma or A Levels?

The Sixth Form will continue to be dynamic, well supported and will offer even more subject choices as a result of the merger. There will be a larger critical mass of pupils which means strengthened debate and conversation within the learning groups. We won’t ever lose that feeling that every girl is known individually, as that is such an important value to both Redland High and The Red Maids’ School. Having the expertise of two excellent sets of teaching staff will only bring advantages. For example, there will be more support for the UCAS process enabling girls to reach their potential whether it be Oxbridge, a Russell group university or elsewhere.

Why are Redland High’s Year 5 girls being asked to move across for Year 6 when they will have another big change to move to Senior School for Year 7? Might this impact upon their entrance exam?

Whilst we appreciate that a change of location may be unsettling, we also know how resilient, enthusiastic and welcoming of change our girls can be. Although moving to a new site for Year 6 may be scary, our girls entering Year 6 in September 2016 will have the opportunity to become accustomed to the Westbury site and will have made new friends with their peers before they make the step up to Year 7.

 

Admission/Terms and Conditions

Will fees be increased?

The fees are very similar at both schools already, so there will be no great increase as a result of harmonising the fee levels. Each school will publish next year’s fees during before the start of the summer term. From September 2017 there will be one set of fees for Redmaids’ High School. Both schools are providing exceptional value for money and this will continue.

Will any scholarships and bursaries at either school be continued?

All present bursaries & scholarships for families at each school will be honoured in the merged school. They will continue to be reviewed annually as they are already at each school. Scholarships are held by pupils throughout their time at the school.

Does the current notice period for Redland High parents (one term) still apply?

Pupils from Redland High will continue at the Redland site for another 18 months before joining their peers at the Westbury site, so there is time to take these important decisions.

If, after all of the meetings, you do not wish to continue at the Redland site from September 2016, one term’s notice would still apply. You would need to give this in writing to the school by the day before the Summer Term commences on 12 April 2016.

If you have not yet joined the school, you would receive a refund of your acceptance fee along with your deposit. If you are a current family, you will receive a refund of your deposit (less any outstanding expenses) remaining on the school bill as would normally be the case.

 

Would I be able to retract the notice at a later date and if so please advise me of the latest date I can retract the notices.

Should you give notice, then change your mind and decide to continue with the school, we would hope to welcome you to continue at the school. This is provided that there are still places available.

Will Redmaids High after school care be free of charge?

Current arrangements concerning fees and charges in place at each school will continue during the transition year. It is expected that from age 7 after school care in the new school up until 6pm will be free. At the current time a decision about charging for after school care for 3-6 year olds in the new school has not been taken.

Will Redland Rascals holiday club continue?

Yes, definitely for the transition year right through to the end of the summer term in 2017. We do not know about the long term future. We will consult with families on the demand for this going forward.

Will my daughter currently at Redland High be able to stay at the new school for her whole career?

The current pupils of Redland High senior school are guaranteed a place at Redmaids’ High for their entire school career if they would have been continuing it at Redland High, in accordance with the current terms and conditions agreed when the original place was accepted.

How does the progression operate from the Junior School to the Senior School?

There is a place in Redmaids’ High School for every girl currently in both schools. Currently, all girls at Red Maids’ are assessed for transfer into Year 7 when they reach the end of Year 5/start of Year 6 to ensure that they will be in the right environment to thrive.

Do we have longer to decide about whether to accept our place for September 2016 entry?

We would be delighted if you were able to accept the place by the end of this term if possible (Friday 18th March). However, we would completely understand if you need a little longer to arrange meetings with the school and to come to a decision. If you think you might struggle with this deadline, then please come and talk to the Head as soon as possible so that we are aware that you might need a little more time.

If you have already accepted but are now reconsidering and would like more time we completely understand. Please come and talk to us as if you had not already accepted and we will of course refund any money’s paid if you change your mind.

When do I need to let you know if my daughter will be starting with you in September?

We completely understand that you may need a little longer to come to a decision about your daughter’s schooling and therefore we have extended the deadline to 18 March. If you need the extra time, please arrange to talk to Miss Ferro (by emailing admissions@nullredlandhigh.com or Mrs Tobias (by emailing j_bell@nullredmaids.bristol.sch.uk) as soon as possible so that we are aware that your acceptance may be late.

What happens regarding fees for notice periods if I choose to leave?

We very much hope that you would wish to stay at the new school. However, if you do not wish to continue at Redmaids’ High from September 2016, you should give written notice by the day before the Summer Term commences, which is Tuesday 12 April. We will, however, look sympathetically at short notice for leavers. Should you give notice, then change your mind and decide to stay at the school, we will do our best to accommodate your daughter, provided that there are still places available.

Will girls who have been offered a place at Redland High and Red Maids' automatically be offered a place at Redmaids’ High School?

For future transition to Redmaids’ High Senior School, the same process as is presently applied in both schools, whereby parents are advised by the end of Year 5 if their daughter’s place in Year 7 cannot be confirmed, will continue. The Year 7 entrance examination for girls in Year 6 will also continue.

 

Traditions and values

How will you retain the heritage of each school?

Each school’s history is important to our students and staff both past and present. We will undertake extensive consultation to ensure that we retain and combine each school’s important and unique traditions.

How will you retain the values of each school?

Redmaids’ High will provide a friendly, vibrant and welcoming environment with the best opportunities in the region for a wide range of girls with high aspirations to achieve their full personal, social and academic potential. At the same time, careful organisation will ensure that the pastoral advantages often associated with smaller schools will not be lost in a larger one.

How will the new school continue to offer outstanding pastoral care?

Careful organisation will ensure that the pastoral advantages often associated with smaller schools will not be lost in a larger one. We will build on the strong house and year group structures of both schools, widen leadership roles and increase opportunities across the curriculum. The increased pupil numbers will enable us to organise teaching groups with a view to ensuring the best possible learning environment for each child.

Pastoral care is an area on which both current schools pride themselves. We know how important it is to parents and how much difference in achievement can be ensured when a pupil is well known, understood and supported. This is a crucial aspect of school life for us to continue to build and strengthen, just as we both strive to do currently.

What will happen to Founder’s Day (at Red Maids’) Commemoration Day (Redland High)?

The important, unique and distinct heritages and traditions for each school will be celebrated and retained. This is an important feature of the merger and combining the best of both schools.

Will The Red Maids’ girls still be ‘apparelled in red’? i.e. the uniform?

Both school colours will be reflected in the new uniform. The colour red will continue to be a very important part of the new uniform, as will the colour green and the daisy from Redland High.

Will John Whitson’s ships still be the house system at The Red Maids’ School?

The intention is to ensure that all pupils identify strongly with the new school. The transition programme and wider consultation will determine how the house system will work in the new school in the future. However, it is our intention to retain the history and heritage of each school so that the girls are familiar with an important aspect of its identity.

Will prize giving still reflect our heritage?

The new school will have a new branding to reflect the new name and colours, but retaining some of the symbolism of the current schools. This will be developed during the summer term.

Will girls from Redland and Red Maids’ be able to wear their existing uniforms in the new school, and if so for how long?

This is one of the many areas that we will be consulting with parents over. Eventually, there will be a new uniform for the new school which will represent the colours and emblems of both schools.

I have just bought new uniform for next year. Can I take it back and get the new uniform. Or can you confirm girls will still be able to wear existing uniform?

Until a new uniform is agreed, pupils should wear their current uniforms.

Transport

Will all the existing school bus routes be committed to?

Yes, we are committed to all of the current transport routes. Although there may be some changes to avoid any unnecessary duplication.

What are the transport arrangements for Redland students? Will there be extra buses for the Redland girls joining the new school?

Transport will continue to be arranged such that all girls can easily get to and from school each day. We will release full details of the transport arrangements soon into the summer term.

Will transport be provided for pupils to travel between the sites in the transition year?

This is in the planning stages and we are starting consultations with the relevant year groups to understand their needs and what will work for them.

Are there concerns around road safety with increased traffic to the site?

We understand and appreciate that a greater volume of pupils may lead to increased traffic and general environmental impact. As such we are investigating options including the promotion of car sharing, setting up walking partners, and laying on additional student bus services.

 

Governance

How will the two schools be governed?

Mrs Jane MacFarlane, currently Chairman of Governors for The Red Maids’ School, will be Chairman of Governors for Redmaids’ High School, and will be supported by a governing body comprising governors from both schools. The Honorary President of the new school will be Mrs Carol Lear, currently President of Redland. She is a former Headmistress of Redland from 1989 to 2002 and prior to that taught Classics at The Red Maids’ School.

How can you reassure us that the financial position at Red Maids’ High School is strong?

The finances of Red Maids’ School are healthy (see more here), and combined with the sale of Redland High’s buildings and the increase in pupil numbers, Redmaids’ High School will be in a very strong position to offer a stable foundation for your daughter’s education.

Why is Miss Ferro, the current Headmistress of Redland High leaving?

Miss Stephanie Ferro, the current headmistress of Redland High, has served with distinction since she joined in Sept 2015, leading the school community with wisdom, integrity and unswerving commitment. Miss S Ferro will remain head of Redland High until 31 August 2016. Mrs Perdita Davidson will then continue as Acting Head at the Redland site until the physical merger of the two schools in Sept 2017.

Miss Ferro is an excellent Headmistress, who relocated in order to lead Redland High School. She has chosen not to stay in the merged school as she will not be the Headmistress. She is whole heartedly committed to leading the Redland High community until the end of August and will in due course be able to look for a suitable Headship elsewhere.

 

Alumnae

How will the Old Girls’ Associations be maintained?

There are two separate and very active Old Girls’ Associations which will continue in the same way for the time being. There might well be opportunity for combined events on the new school site in the future.

Joining Redmaids' High
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