to move out of London and to Herts?

(54 Posts)
bodgerthebadger Thu 14-Nov-13 13:46:26

Hi, posting here due to volume of traffic as i really need some advice smile

We currently live in London in an area where the school situation is incredibly stressful. Basically, unless you live on top of the school (which we don't) or attend weekly mass for 3 years with a letter of support from the Parish priest, you won't get in. We would most likely get a place at one school but it was on Special Measures recently and, as a personal choice, I would prefer not to send my kids there. That leaves the private schools which, when we have no.2 on the way, makes me feel shock assuming our children would even get a place at all. I also work FT in a very stressful job, with long hours and private school fees (whilst just about affordable) would make me a slave to my job, which is not what I want (I'm the main breadwinner in our household). Getting into a decent state school would leave me with a few more options to reduce my working hours and spend some more quality time with my family. If that means moving out of London, an area that my OH and I love, then that's a compromise we're willing to make.

We love where we are but the school situation is proving to be so uncertain and stressful, that we are thinking of moving to Herts due to the convenient connections to Kings X (since we both work in London and this is that station that works best for us).

I would be extremely grateful for any advice on where best to think about in Herts. We have a fairly healthy budget and would like a 4 bed house. The main priority is to have a good selection of primary schools (state) and secondary schools (would consider private) where we would stand a decent chance of getting a place. We don't want to live in a busy town - somewhere with a village feel without being in the middle of nowhere and with decent facilities, family things to do, access to countryside etc would be ideal if we could get it. I know it sounds like we're asking for a lot but we wouldn't be able to afford to move again after this so we're seeing this as a house for life smile I don't expect to tick all the boxes but it would be good if we could tick most!

Harpenden and St Albans strikes me as the most obvious locations but housing stock is in short supply and, even with a healthy budget, seems a bit beyond our budget! We considered Berkhamsted and Hertford since we heard lovely things about these places but neither go direct to Kings X. We visited Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin but we don't feel that these places are for us.

If anyone has any suggestions of other places within or near Herts that we could add to the mix, I'd be extremely grateful!

Sorry for the long post and for posting this in AIBU.

Thanks! x

LadyRabbit Fri 15-Nov-13 17:26:01

Where in London are your right now OP? Rather than leave London altogether, would you consider moving to an area where you might have a better choice of state school and not feel that private or a move out is the only answer?

newgirl Fri 15-Nov-13 17:43:11

What is your budget? If you have say 600k which is not beyond imagination for a l

newgirl Fri 15-Nov-13 17:44:42

Oops!

London seller then you could buy a 3-4 bed house in St Albans or harpenden near outstanding secondaries and primaries. Prob not city centre but sounds like you ok with that anyway

bodgerthebadger Wed 27-Nov-13 15:13:04

Thanks again for all the suggestions. This has definitely given me food for thought.

If schools are your motivator I'm a little confused. London schools are fantastic, truly, truly fantastic. Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country. Unless you have the money to move on top of one of the star schools in the county I'm not clear that you're really helping yourselves much.

Some London schools are fantastic. Some are average. Some are not great at all. The issue with London is that if you want a fantastic state primary, then you need a huge wad of money to buy in the catchment area. With the budget we have, we are definitely unable to afford these areas. Where we are now, we could get into a fantastic school so long as we keep up weekly mass attendance for 3+ years. Even then, that means pinning all our hopes on one school and, even to buy where we are now, we've had to compromise massively on house size. The alternative is to pay for private at primary stage. The private schools in London are fantastic but then it boils down to the money issue again! I'm not sure I can afford the commitment with 2 kids!

Reason I am thinking about Herts (or outside London generally) is that our budget will go further and, hopefully, we'll have more choices with schools too.

Agree with the posters that London is great and tons of stuff to do! Will miss it tons but I will continue to work in London so I'm not going for good! OH and I love the City but also love the countryside and, to be honest, our social life has slowed down a lot these last couple of years anyway so I think giving up City living for more space is a compromise we feel we'd be happy to make. In an ideal world, we'd stay in London and have enough money to buy the house we want in the area we want and send our kids to the school we want smile

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