A year from now, it will all feel like a positive step - parent

March 29 2016

A year from now, it will all feel like a positive step - parent

THE announcement that Redland High School and the Red Maids’ School are to merge came as a complete surprise to parents, pupils and old girls.

Redland High School will sell its Redland Court Road site to raise funds for the new Redmaids’ High School, which will operate out of the current Red Maids’ site in Westbury-on-Trym.

Red Maids’ old girl, Valerie Peters, expressed her astonishment at the decision. She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard. None of us could. It is the oldest girls’ school in the country but it could be a very good opportunity for both schools.”

Plans for the merger have been in discussion since January, however, due to a confidentiality clause, parents were not informed until the merger was confirmed.

Caroline Hunt is the mother of a pupil at Redland High School. She explained that feelings have run high about the merger:

“If parents had wanted to send their children to a bigger school, they would have chosen it in the first place. I was initially disappointed that the school was merging, as I liked the fact that it is small, but I am relieved that the school isn’t closing down.

“We ended choosing Redland High School because my daughter didn’t get into Redland Green.

“That we have a place is a bonus and a year from now, it will all feel like a positive step.”

There is a feeling of sadness throughout the community about the news, especially for Redland High School, which will vacate the site where it has been located since 1882. Former pupil, Jane Bussell, has kept her links over the years with Redland High School through the Old Girls Guild. She felt very sad when she heard the news about the merger.

“It is the end of an era. It is a school with a great history and I feel that a lot of it will be lost. Redland Court is a great building and I wonder what will happen to it?” she said.

“It is a small school and that has a lot of benefits. When I was there, in the 1950s, it was big enough for education as it was then but perhaps not as it is today.”

The view from the past was shared by Pamela Stirratt, who attended Red Maids’ School from 1942-1947

She was awarded the school needlework prize and, until recent years, has been active committee member of the Old Girls Society. Pamela explained: “I loved the whole time I was there and was really sad when it was time for me to leave. I remember Queen Mary visiting the school and I looked forward to going every single day.”

“I was shocked when I heard about it. I think it will be a good thing but it’s going to be a massive school now. I was surprised that Red Maids need to do it.”

Girls from both schools have been forging links over the past few weeks and have made met together to make a video report about the new Redmaids’ High School for BBC School Report.

Mother of a Red Maids’ pupil, Anna KingtonMillar, reflected on her reaction to the merger. She said: “I think that everyone is really positive at Red Maids’ and we look forward to working with Redland High in a collaborative way.

“It won’t affect my daughter for a couple of years, until the current Year 7 girls merge in year 9, as not all the pupils are going over at the same time There is a buzz around the playground and it’s about what the new uniform will be like.”