Free school story: Cathedral Primary School

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Cathedral Primary School is already Bristol’s most popular primary school, receiving almost seven applications for every place available in September 2014.

The school was started by Bristol Cathedral Choir School, the most oversubscribed secondary school in the city, to help meet a pressing need for new school places and create a smooth pathway for children all-through their time in education. 

The school has a strong focus on the teaching of music, making the most of the Cathedral Choir School’s outstanding facilities and being situated next to the ancient cathedral where its choristers perform. The school provides opportunities for all pupils to sing and play an instrument from a young age, with the most talented encouraged to consider becoming choristers themselves. 

But it’s not all just about music; the school has high academic expectations for all its pupils and is able to use its links with the Cathedral Choir School to enrich their opportunities for learning. For example, with the help of the secondary school’s language teacher, they have the opportunity to learn French from Reception onwards.

The school’s breakfast and after-school clubs offer support to working parents and help to build strong relationships with them. The Headteacher, Sara Yarnold, told the Bristol Evening Post that the school's parents, “are a wonderfully supportive group and I have built up fantastic links with them since we first opened our doors”.

The school is set to grow in the coming years, moving into new premises right in the heart  of the city centre that were once a part of Bristol Central Library. Speaking about the plans, the school’s Executive Principal, Neil Blundell said, “We believe the proposals will create a wonderful and inspiring educational environment for our children, while at the same time persevering, and even enhancing, one of Bristol’s most architecturally significant buildings.”