Moving to England - Which area to live in..?? Which School To Choose...?

(132 Posts)
NewBee2011 Tue 12-Apr-11 16:54:19

Hi Everyone, We are planning to move to England from Thailand in 3/4 mths, but very confused as to where to live, as we want to live in a good and safe place, not too much fond of city live but not too rural as well and not going too far away from london..But we dont want the place to be too expensive either...Prefer newly built estate...My kids have to join in Son (Yr6) n Daughter(Yr8), they will join private school but which one to choose as I want a good school with good results over the past years n with good reputation. Every suggestion will be of gr8 help.

diabolo Tue 12-Apr-11 19:19:32

North Essex / South Suffolk? London just over an hour away via train from Sudbury. Very safe, gorgeous countryside, pretty towns etc.

Plenty of good Independent Senior schools in Ipswich (Ipswich School, Royal Hospital), Culford in Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham School, Woodbridge etc.

Mine is at prep which is only up to Year 8, but there are many good ones in Suffolk/North Essex.

Paul88 Wed 13-Apr-11 12:59:24

You say every suggestion will be of help...

I don't know if you need to live near London for work reasons, but if not, I would suggest living outside of the SE. It seems to be just in SE England that there are these problems getting into schools and the apparent need for private education. There are excellent state secondaries elsewhere in the country that aren't hard to get into. Choose somewhere with good rail links to London if you want - lots of places 2-3 hours away by train.

Save yourself a fortune.

meditrina Wed 13-Apr-11 13:01:08

Are there any places in UK you want to be near for work or family reasons?

NewBee2011 Wed 13-Apr-11 17:40:48

Thanks evreyone, No there is no place that we need to be near for work reasons as my DH will be working from home and also we prefer kids going to private school only. But I would still prefer staying not too far from London as my DH might have to travel there for work but occasionally. Please suggest good school names and good n safe place to live. I have no clue about England so every suggestion would help...Thanks

meditrina Wed 13-Apr-11 18:21:25

Try living in the middle of England then. Your DH could get to London in under an hour from Peterborough, and you might like to look in the area to the northwest of it. Leicester, Nottingham and Derby are all nearby, but the smaller market towns might suit you better.

There are some good boarding and day schools in the area in Uppingham and Oakham, Stamford, Loughborough, Oundle and Leicester. If you go over into Lincolnshire, there are also grammar schools.

Clary Wed 13-Apr-11 22:45:30

Yes I agree if you go for the East Midlands property prices are a lot cheaper than anywhere "near" London ie Kent, Sussex, Hertfordshire, and yet an easy day trip to London.

I live in Derby for example and the train takes about 90 mins on a good run. You would never want to do it ona daily basis but occasionally it would be fine.

Other towns/cities hereabouts are even nearer but houses etc still relatively cheap. Plenty of new building all over the place.

Wrt schools, I am not an expert on private sector, but do you want a big "name" like Repton (near Derby) or Winchester (in Hampshire, a lot more expensive), or do you just want the local private school IYSWIM, in which case there is one in most cities/towns?

cantspel Thu 14-Apr-11 00:52:57

How about the south coast, either east or west sussex. A little over an hour from london but not to rural but surrounded by the sussex downs.

For private schools you have Lancing College or Brighton College both co-ed and both rated outstanding this year by ofsted.

My son has a friend at Brighton College and his family cannot rate it highly enough.

NewBee2011 Thu 14-Apr-11 11:07:08

I liked Stamford Endowed School, looks quite nice from website, can anyone please advice about this school, also how is the place Lincolnshire/Stamford...Is it a nice n safe place to live. I hope its not a very rural types of place...How about shopping n all in this area...R there any shopping centres etc... Please pass your opinions about this. Thanks So Much for all of yours support here..

grovel Thu 14-Apr-11 14:38:50

OK. Winkfield Row. Carnation Estate. Lambrook School.
Get Googling, gal!

grovel Thu 14-Apr-11 14:40:17

After Lambrook your DCs can go to Wellington College (DS) and St George's Ascot (DD).

grovel Thu 14-Apr-11 14:43:37

And you can shop in Windsor. Or Camberley. The Thai restaurant in Egham is good.

LIZS Thu 14-Apr-11 14:45:21

Even with a private school you may struggle to find spaces for September now. Are they currently yr6/8 or is that what they would be then ?

minipie Thu 14-Apr-11 14:58:30

this book should help with schools - at least as a starting point.

NewBee2011 Thu 14-Apr-11 16:33:54

Thanks grovel, but I would prefer them to take admission in the school which goes upto age18yrs, as changing school again n agian effects kids devlopment.
LIZS: My kids will be joing there in sept. in Yr6 n Yr8...I understand some schools wld have no place but I must keep trying.
Thanks again everyone, please keep posting your opinons n suggestions.

meditrina Thu 14-Apr-11 16:54:09

I think what grovel means is that some schools start at yr8, so your yr6 child might have to go somewhere else until yr8. That said, there are also many schools which start at yr6 and have yr8 entry too.

The timing will be difficult though - schools have just made their yr6 offers, and although there are bound to be some vacancies they may be hard to track down. Yr8 entrance is often (but not absolutely always) by Common Entrance exam which will be sat this summer. Schools will already have a good idea about their likely numbers (it's a qualifying, not a competitive exam). I'm not saying this tom depress you, but to give you some idea about where you will be joining in the process.

The Good Schools Guide - as linked by minipie - is a very good starting place.

Stamford, btw, is a small rather pretty market town. It has a good range of shops, many of them small independents (and also a new Waitrose). If you want a shopping mall and the bigger multiples, you'd have to to Peterborough - an easy drive or short train journey away.

sugarfoot Thu 14-Apr-11 17:06:00

Surely most senior schools start in year 7 - and will just have made their offers - with many having a year 9 entry too, not years 6 and 8.

WMDinthekitchen Thu 14-Apr-11 17:09:44

I'm with cantspel - try Brighton and surrounding area - great schools, great countryside, good train service to London

NewBee2011 Thu 14-Apr-11 17:10:08

Hi Meditrina, Sorry I was bit confused...
You said that stamford is a very small is it good or bad..? I chose that as I liked the school there, but how about housing, r the houses too old there or...?
Can you suggest any other nice schools n/or good places to live thats safe n has something for kids to keep busy...

meditrina Thu 14-Apr-11 17:19:46

Sugarfoot - you' completely right. I am so* sorry! I must have been thinking of year 6 and 8 *leavers (for 7 and 9 which are the main entry points).

Newbee - there are a handful of schools which start at 10+. The Good School Guide might help you find them. Or you could look for a school which has a junior/prep department or a prep which feeds the senior school you want. Starting with a prep school might seem as if you are adding an additional move of school, but kept all their UK friends are making the same move, it won't seem so bad. Also, a year's exposure to the Uk system might help refine your thoughts on where you do want them to end up for the rest of their schooling. A location with a few reachable schools might be handy, in case you do end up doing that.

meditrina Thu 14-Apr-11 17:24:48

I don't know what went wrong with the bold, either!

Here's a link to the local newspaper, the Stamford Mercury which might help give you a feel for what the town is like and properties currently for sale.

LIZS Thu 14-Apr-11 17:45:36

Agree you'd probably ideally find one with a Junior/Prep (up to Year 6) and Senior school together to give them more continuity and avoid the need for CE. Trying to cover the material for CE in just one year could be really difficult (there are ongoing projects and much of Year 8 is revision and practice papers rather than teaching anything new). Many senior schools with a 11+ and 13+ intake now have their own assessment papers taken in Autumn term/January but aren't as stringent with their junior/prep candidates whose potential they would already know.

NewBee2011 Thu 14-Apr-11 17:51:11

Roedean school in Brighton seems to be very good, but its only girsl, so can anyone suggest any nice boys school in the area..?

Clary Thu 14-Apr-11 18:02:47

Newbee I know Stamford area pretty well, I wouldcall it semi-rural. No big cities nearby at all, OTOH you are not far from Peterboroguh which has OK shops.

Stamford itself is a lovely Georgian stone town witha nice community feel if you like that sort of thing (I do) but of course facilities etc (eg swimming pools, sports centres) will not be as good as in a bigger city like Nottingham.

Safety-wise, well most places in the UK are fine as long as you steer clear of certain parts of big cities. South Lincolnshire is fine. Not sure quite what you mean tho - thinking of DC walking home alone? Sure that's totally fine in Stamford, as in most places tbh. Is this somethign you have to be very aware of in Thailand?

LIZS Thu 14-Apr-11 18:02:52

Brighton College is co-ed.

LIZS Thu 14-Apr-11 18:07:16

Roedean used to be boarding only and I'd heard the Junior department ( a site they took over only a few years ago ) may be closing. Alternatively Brighton and Hove High takes day pupils (used to take boarders too, may still).

NewBee2011 Fri 15-Apr-11 12:57:40

Ohh Goshhh I am so so so confused now....
I cannot decide where to start from...
A good school + a decent place to live not too rural not too big city..
I think Stamford is not the place I wnat to be, but then where...?
Nottingham has no school to match my requirement...
Can I please request you all to please advice me with the place name..If you say South Lincolnshire..Its a big place n I would have no idea which place in there is good n which r not...
I choose Brighton Stenier School n then I was reading Blogs about Stenier schools in UK and was shocked, as I had no clue whats Stenier school..For me it was a normal school like any other....
Frankly speaking now I am getting more scared than confused, as I am worried I might end up taking a wrong decision..
Oh God, please help me here..

LIZS Fri 15-Apr-11 13:11:42

Do you know the UK well at all ? It sounds like you need to visit asap to get an idea of what areas might suit you , then narrow down schools from there. South Lincs (Grantham, Stamford, Rutland - with Oakham School) is still a good hour and half by train from London , is that close enough for you ? Also it has a flat landscape rather than rolling hills etc. Brighton/Hove itself is urban but there are some areas along the coast(Worthing, Seaford) or inland (Haywards Heath, Lewes) which are easily commutable for secondary aged school kids and more residential.

NewBee2011 Fri 15-Apr-11 13:41:39

Thanks LIZS, I am not much concerned about the distance from London as thats going to be ocassionally, but my main worry is to pick up a good school and then a good/safe place to live where my kids are happy enough in terms that they wont be able to adjust in too rural atmosphere..a plane or a landscape is not a bother for us at all as far as I get the best suitable school and a decent place to live, not too expensive..Thanks again everyone..Please posting your opinions/suggestions

isthismadness Fri 15-Apr-11 13:53:25

Oxfordshire is gorgeous. Oxford is an hour from both London and Birmingham. Abingdon just south of Oxford is a smaller very attractive Market town. Schools in Oxford are some of the best in the country (eg magdalen boys, Oxford high for girls and headington for girls)

Abingdon also has great private schools - Abingdon for boys and at Helens &st katharines for girls

cantspel Fri 15-Apr-11 13:57:20

as is lancing college.

Both really good private schools and lots of choice of areas to live close by.

LIZS Fri 15-Apr-11 14:04:48

Just to throw another factor into the mix - what curriculum have your dc been educated in until now ? Do you want a traditional British curriculum or one which works towards the International Bacclaureate instead of A levels ? Private secondaries (and many preps) are often academically selective , but the standard required and level of competition can vary hugely. Many kids get specifically tutored to achieve a place at the one of their choice.

Flowerduet Fri 15-Apr-11 14:11:38

just a thought but is living in a multicultural place important to you? I'm asking because some parts of U.K are very multicultural and others aren't.

I personally like a cosmopolitan place where you have interesting mix of shops/restaurants etc. I want my dear child to grow up in a place experiencing different cultures.

I live in a village and I miss that aspect of living in/near larger city.

Just something to bear in mind.

isthismadness Fri 15-Apr-11 14:25:37

What sort of budget had you for for a house?

NewBee2011 Fri 15-Apr-11 15:58:44

Hi Flowerduet, Yes I would prefer a multicultural environment if possible, please suggest such places...
Hi Isthismadness, For the moment, we will just be renting to start with n then buy at a later stage, but for the rental too, I would say not too high..
Back to LIZS: At the moment my kids are following American Curriculum, which is very low n I am not happy with that, so I assume any curriculum in UK would be far far better than here..
Please keep suggesting as this is making my confidence stronger n would definately help to make the right decision of our life.
Thanks Everyone

isthismadness Fri 15-Apr-11 16:15:44

Yes but what do you mean not too high? High to one person is not high to another
How much per month?
And when you eventually come to buy?

mebaasmum Fri 15-Apr-11 16:37:28

A colleage of my other half moved to Bracknell from overseas which he found suited him and his family well. It is a modern city./town but stll leafy. Not too far from london. a school in the area to look at is Licenced vistulers school (might be spelt wrong) Goes from age 4-18. Certainly cheaper than West london but not far out .

LIZS Fri 15-Apr-11 16:42:20

"Not too high" in Thailand will be very different in UK. Agree about American curriculum btw and you may find it hard for your dc to get into many schools without some sort of academic preparation. How much can you afford in fees btw - senior schools vary from £10k pa up to 25k+, day plus uniform and extras.

MABS Fri 15-Apr-11 19:07:58

lancing, hurst,brighton, ardingly are all good. year 9 for day puils around 19kp/a and prep schools are around 13/14k for day pupils.

Clary Sat 16-Apr-11 00:54:05

OP I agree with others, to offer any meaningful advice we need to know how much you are prepared to pay.

For example, in the pleasant suburb of small city (Derby) where I live, renting a well maintained 4-bed detached house would cost about £800-£1,500 a month. Buying similar house would be about £300,000 to £400,000. That any good to you?

I am no expert but I would imagine you could double those figures in Oxfordshire, for example. But in South Lincs it could be a lot less.

Equally private school fees can vary so much. What are you expecting to pay? <trying to be helpful, not nosy, here!>

NewBee2011 Sat 16-Apr-11 04:09:10

Hi Everyone, Thanks for your posts.
I was looking to pay an yearly school fees of abt 10-15K and the rental budget I have is abt 700pm. The figures can move little bit up n down, but thats the base line I would like to work on.
So far I haven't found a suitable school.......)):
I have actually contacted many schools, some dont have place for this year n some are too expensive or are in too remote area...
Its not easy for sure..

lljkk Sat 16-Apr-11 05:53:33

700 pounds per month for renting a house? Too low, I fear. But you'll be okay if you can raise that to closer to 1k/month.

What about Loughborough? Very multi-cultural, very good private grammar school (highly thought of locally), with private school feeder for the Yr6 child (although some of the state schools are highly rated there, too). Medium size town with most local amenities people want; good access to some of the best of English (and Welsh) countryside. Direct train lines to London. And you could probably get rent a house there for the price you want.

NewBee2011 Sat 16-Apr-11 07:19:20

Oops...may be then I would have to go up to 800-900/pm for rent.

Can you please suggest any school name in Loughborough...?

Is this place considered as a rural area...or as a small township.? As I heard that Wales is too every aspect...May be I got wrong information.

lljkk Sat 16-Apr-11 09:08:11

Egads, my links in last message totally failed.

Loughborough Grammar for the Yr8 child:

Fairfield for the y6 child:

Loughborough (Lboro) is a town of about 60,000 residents, it is 15 miles roughly away from Nottingham or Leicester (small cities)

Loughborough is bang in the centre of southern half of England, about 1hr 20min. from London on the train. I would NOT ever plan to drive from Lboro to London, though, M1 is a killer motorway for terrible traffic (but then most UK motorways are bad that way).

LIZS Sat 16-Apr-11 09:36:07

Sorry but you won't find even a small 3 bed for 700pcm in much of the South East or near a major city in UK = £900-1000+ might be a better starting point, £1200-1500+ for a small 4 bed. I hope that is £10-15k fees per child otherwise a private education is pretty unrealistic I'm afraid. When you say you haven't yet found a school , have you spoken to any direct (many will be on holiday now until after Easter/May day) or are you still at the googling stage ? What have you ruled out and on what basis, to give us a better steer as to what you might find suitable ?

LIZS Sat 16-Apr-11 09:40:14

oh and bear in mind places may still come up for September if parents give their term's notice on the first day back of the Summer term. So any you have ruled out soley on that basis might be worth a call again in early May.

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-11 09:49:20

Newbee: have you had a chance to look at the link minipie posted?

If so, what schools in your price range do you think might be a good fit for the DCs? This might help with either suggestions for other schools like them, and places to live within easy reach.

Word of warning about hiw they quote school fees in the Guide though, it's based on information the schools make readily available - it doesn't necessarily include uniform, lunches, trips, equipment etc, so always allow a bit above the price unless it's clear it's inclusive.

NewBee2011 Sat 16-Apr-11 11:30:55

Hi There, Yes I did look at the link mimipie posted and I have actually contacted many schools directly, although on easter break, but still I did get response from most of them just waiting for few more to reply.
The problem is that my kids are presently going to a very big school with big school area and all modern facilities, you know all show off stuff, and if I put them in a small school though may be private then I beleive they will get a set back, so it has to be like Stamford Schl, but I am sure they wont love to stay in Stamford as it seems not to be of our types, so I am trying to get a catch of both good school + right place..
Please suggest more.

omniscrambles Sat 16-Apr-11 11:43:39

What about here its co-ed from 7 and not as expensive as some.

But you would need to stretch the rental to 1300 because you are commutable to London which obviously you dont need but it was one of the first co-ed to 18 schools that sprung to mind.

LIZS Sat 16-Apr-11 14:24:53

I think you may be better employing a relocation agent to narrow things down a bit, combining your different requirements. What works for someone on here may not work for you and you can't move half way around the world on the basis of website opinions. Even "good" results are subjective - you can look at the league tables for gcse and A level results but these won't take everything into account.

clfs is a good school with Ashtead, Leatherhead and Dorking provincial towns within a reasonable driving area but definitely not cheap places to live. UK is not a cheap place to live atm, can you realistically fund this move and lifestyle while your dh sets himself up. However anywhere close to M25 will be similar I'm afraid so you may need to look further afield.

Clary Sat 16-Apr-11 14:31:28

newbee Loughborough is a town (not in Wales tho!) in East Mids. Near to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, all cities with good facilities.

Not sure if you want to be living in a city or not. L/boro not rural, also quite central, quick to London by road or (better) rail. Lboro GS wel rate by those who know (not mea really - I am more yr woman for advice on places to live! grin)

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:41:20

Move to Gloucestershire where there are still 6 excellent grammar schools! Including co-ed 'Pates' for your doubtless mega gifted and academic child. Royal Gloucestershire also has the advantage of being only 2 hours from London and two hours from several decent seasides! And is in the glorious Cotswolds.

Clary Sat 16-Apr-11 14:45:53

candleshoe Gloucs is surely out of OP's £800 rental price range tho?

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:48:19

Nah - my mortgage on a 4 bed in a small market town is £465! The house next door is identical and rents for £625 pcm. Depends where you want to be. Like anywhere there are cheap bits and pricey bits!

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:50:02

If you can afford private school OP - why not put them into excellent 'free' grammar schools and spend money on a nicer/bigger house?

Cambridge is lovely and ticks your boxes. Lots of excellent schools - The Perse if you want private or Parkside Federation if you want public, but very tough to get into Parkside.

naturalbaby Sat 16-Apr-11 14:57:44

Wow what a difficult job you have! My family moved to UK years ago when I was a small child and chose the south east (surrey), then moved to Oxford and loved it but it's very pricey there, and now in the West Midlands near Birmingham airport. Looking back they say they should have moved to the West Midlands in the first place. I live in Warwickshire and I am so happy here - I feel really safe here and there are great schools. I would really like private school for my children too but the state schools are all really good so if you are really struggling to find a private school place you still have plenty of choice in the good state schools. Some of the state schools can be better than private schools! The Times Parent Power website is good for searching for schools - type in an area and it will list all the schools in the area on a list according to their results. you have to pay to subscribe to the website to get at it though.

goingroundthebend4 Sat 16-Apr-11 15:04:30

Ok I live in east Hertfordshire very good primarys and secondry school state wise infact there's quite bunfight to get into them .Also somegood private schools to

30 mins by train to London .But for £700 a month your looking at either a 2 bed flat or 2 bed small house.3 beds rent around £1000-£1100.Worth looking at prices of rentals and then work out if there's good state schools could you increase your rent ? .There's a good state school here that also does borading to last years results was 92% passing national averages is about 45% I think
.also another very good one up the road state school bit only has 400 places that's a secondry dd school primary is outstanding offstead regulary scores well above average has 84 pupils in total

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 15:05:29


Excellent independent schools in Kent, cheap housing and also excellent transport links to London.

bitsyandbetty Sat 16-Apr-11 15:38:40

I would go for the Midlands too. We live in Birmingham and it is close to everywhere. I travel to London quite regularly for work, £48.50 return in 1 and a half hours. Cheaper housing. Solihull is nice with two good private schools and plenty of private schools in Birmingham. Also agree about Oakham, lovely area or Bambury/Oxford.

LIZS Sat 16-Apr-11 18:07:03

Which schools are you thinking of Onky ? Think many would be out of op's budget and very selective as those that can go to state grammars.

bitsyandbetty Sat 16-Apr-11 18:20:05

Birmingham/Solihull probably about £900 per month for three bed in nice area. Much cheaper to buy though than in the South East I would have thought. 4 bed in nice area about £250-300k.

Private schools about £10-11k per annum per child for day only. I was in Gloucester last night at the Guildhall, nice part of the World. I love Ross on Wye and Tewkesbury. Not sure how the train lines are. Most of my colleagues who work in London but travel live in Milton Keynes which is quite reasonable price-wise but know nothing about the schools.

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 18:33:36

Virtually all the best private schools are in the SE.

Their order in terms of best results is at

If your children would be clever enopugh to pass the entrance tests start at the top of the list depending on sex of chilren and work your way down. Somewhere like Herts would give you Haberdashers boys and girls for example.

As said above tehre are standard entry points however and in these schools the better ones most who apply don't get in.

beanlet Sat 16-Apr-11 18:34:41

I would suggest somewhere on the East Coast mainline if your DH only has to be in London occasionally. NOT Peterborough - it's a dump. Stamford is gorgeous, though you have to change trains at Peterborough to get to London. Grantham and Newark both good choices, reasonable distance from Oakham school which is very good. But my choice would actually be York - only 2 hours on the train from London, but gorgeous town in beautiful countryside, with excellent nearby schools.

Otherwise, Oxford and Cambridge, while expensive, are both commutable to London (under an hour) and both have excellent private day schools for boys and girls.

TaffetaPaques Sat 16-Apr-11 18:39:51

Sevenoaks. Sevenoaks school superb. Short commute to London. Bluewater shopping centre, one of largest in Europe within 20 minute drive. Safe area, lovely countryside. Good community feel in surrounding villages.

Downside is its expensive.

TaffetaPaques Sat 16-Apr-11 18:43:42

Oh and Sevenoaks School does the IB which is why it doesn't show on lots of A level results league tables.

beanlet Sat 16-Apr-11 18:46:36

....but your rental budget is way off beam for SE. At the moment you can get a decent 3 bed terrace close to the station in Cambridge for 1200, but not much less.

Do your kids HAVE to go private? If you rent really close to an outstanding state school you'll save a lot of money. Outstanding state schools are academically often better than mediocre private schools in England. Don't assume that state equals bad in the UK - 93% of the population are state educated.

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-11 18:51:01

Xenia: the children are making the transition from the US system. You idea of the "best" schools is not necessarily the right one, and certainly nit the only one.

beanlet: there aren't any private schools within reach of Grantham, and securing grammar places might be too uncertain a prospect. But if they can go as far as York, there's St Peters.

MollieO Sat 16-Apr-11 18:53:56

If you are relocating from Thailand it may be worth contacting a relocation agent for assistance. They could advise you on what are suitable areas for your budget. We are 30 mins west of Heathrow in a good school area and for your budget you would be lucky to get a 2 bedroom flat in a not so nice area.

michaelaB Sat 16-Apr-11 19:01:14

I suggest you try Ashford in Kent. Lots of new housing next to great countryside and at reasonable prices (4bed house for less than £300k) and all within 37min of central London on a new high speed train. Ashford School will accommodate both your children and is Independent School of the Year 2010/11. Great results, great opportunities and the best value for money in the region.

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 19:28:10

LIZS - Perhaps King's Rochester or Kings's Canterbury?

Fees at King's Rochester are £15,000 per annum and there are plenty of 3 bed houses with gardens to rent in Rochester on a budget of £700pm

school fees


Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 19:33:56

Or perhaps Bedford.

It has good independent schools and property is cheap to rent.

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 20:51:50

med, don't agree. My list on the link is the UK's best schools. Parents all over the world try to get them into them. Chinese, Russian Indian - they come here to go to those top schools. So let's not con her into thinking the local state secondary might be anywhere near that league.

Wormshuffler Sat 16-Apr-11 20:58:04

I agree with the Stamford and Oakham suggestions. Not Peterborough it is an absolutely awful place. The villages between there and Stamford, for example Wansford area are absolutely beautiful, and very friendly too.

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 21:08:25

Try and get hold of the FT's "top 200 schools" it is published each year in their paper (you might be able to get it via Google) and they have a very good way of cutting through the league table nonsense and comparing schools which do A levels with schools that do the Pre-U and schools that do International Bac or any combination.

Good luck.

How old are your children?

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-11 21:12:26

Xenia: you're missing the point - she isn't coming here for an internationally renowned education. She is looking for schools that will suit her DCs, and the ones which appeal are of a completely different style to those you suggest. As is her budget.

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 21:38:59

About £10 - £12k a year are the good London day schools I am mentioning although I accept a few of those in the top 20 on the FT list I link to above are boarding schools. I think it is very important to have the list of best schools otherwise you can be conned into thinking XYZ is good because the grounds are nice or some other mother says so and then realise it isn't good in the sense of getting good exam results at all.

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-11 21:40:59

Which London schools are in that price bracket?

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 21:47:57

I think she didn't want to live in Central London so I suggested Herts. The ones some of mine went to Habs - girls schol 9500 juniors which I think is usually in the tiop 10 - 15 schools in the country, seniors. Seniors 11 490.

North London collegiate often no 1 in the UK, usually top 5 of all schools of all kinds I think about £11k juniors and £13k seniors. YOu can pay a lot more and not get a school in the top 10.

lljkk Sun 17-Apr-11 10:07:50

She can't afford those fees and the housing costs in the areas near them. She can't afford to live in the SE or Shire counties at all, I reckon.

NewBee2011 Sun 17-Apr-11 11:42:52

Hi IIjkk, its not just the matter of affordability, but the money cannot just be spent on school fees and housing only, there are other aspects of life which have a vital role in life and have to be considered as well, plus I beleive if we invest in education plus extra activities for kids in a balanced way then its better for the kids as well. Also I beleive that if my child will be attending a school which has a fee of 6k per term then the children with whom my kids will be studying will also be coming from rich families and most of those kids are high headed(not all), but I prefer my kids to grow up in a middle-class atmosphere where most of the kids have a thrive to study hard to become something in life and they have an ambition of life to become.X or Y or Z.....So that the main reason/bottomline of me setting up a budget for school fees. Affordability comes the last.

lljkk Sun 17-Apr-11 11:50:25

So... does that mean you have more money for the housing, if needed?
What do you mean by "middle class"? Do you mean "not Aristocracy"/filthy rich, or... what?
I presume that you realise that "middle class" in Britain may mean things that it doesn't mean elsewhere in the world.
"Middle class" American is very different from "Middle Class" British, for instance.

NewBee2011 Sun 17-Apr-11 12:12:34

By middle class of soceity I mean for the families which have more of professional lifes- where parents have a working atmosphere and they have enough to have a comfortable life but not necessarily luxurious life like a person from rich/business class will have, so the kids from middle class family understand that they cannot expect anything to be bought by parents on demand, everything goes within budgets etc. and most of the kids from such families have an ambition and they have that to focus on....
Its no offence to anyone and nothing more than my beleives, and I think this is more or less the same all over the world..And I will be happy for my kids to grow up in such atmosphere...
Pardon me as I am not commenting to anyone here in particular, its just my thinking..

magicmummy1 Sun 17-Apr-11 12:19:04

OP, I think you're mistaken to assume that your kids will mix with a better class of people at a private school - this isn't necessarily the case. One of my best friends attended one of the most famous private schools in the country, and there were loads of problems with drugs etc. Each school is different.

For what it's worth, I agree that you should look at the midlands as a place to live, over and above the south east - and I have lived in both!

NewBee2011 Sun 17-Apr-11 12:24:38

Thanks Xenia, your link is quite helpful, I will be going through it keeping in mind the suggestions posted here by other mums, I highly appreciate all of yours support here and heartly thank you all for being so considerate and kind. I very strongly beleive now that with all these suggestions I should be able to find a right school and right place to live.
But keep every bit will be of gr8 help to me...
Thanks Everyone on mumsnet..

NewBee2011 Sun 17-Apr-11 12:27:41

Ohh magicmummy, You have scared me now.....I never thought that can be the case as well.....
Please all mums - can you please please advice me on the schools that I must keep away from and the areas that must not go n live....You guys know that place far far more than I can see on internet...

Insert1x50p Sun 17-Apr-11 12:40:25

NewBee- it's impossible to do that because all parents have different opinions on schools and most towns have good and bad areas.

I would buy "The Good Schools Guide 2011" available on Amazon and have a good read as that is as objective as you're going to get. It also gives up to date information on fees and curriculum.

Insert1x50p Sun 17-Apr-11 12:41:07

Also, look on to get an idea of rental prices in different towns

magicmummy1 Sun 17-Apr-11 13:09:35

I don't want to mention the school name, newbee, not least because I don't think the problem is confined to one particular school. Suffice to say that it is one if the schools in xenia's list. I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

I was at university with a disproportionate number of people who had been privately educated. I didn't find them to be any more or less motivated than my state school peers, but I did find that many were more "troubled" than the kids at my comprehensive school. Coincidence, perhaps, but I certainly don't believe that a private school offers any guarantees about the social environment to which children may be exposed.

Regrettably, my friend got into the wrong crowd at school, and wasted a lot of her potential. I feel fortunate that I didn't have the same distractions.

LIZS Sun 17-Apr-11 13:15:32

It would be naive to assume any senior school(private or state) in any area is immune from the likes of bullying, drugs, alcohol abuse, disruptive behaviour etc. What matters is how such behaviour is handled. tbh that is why you should employ someone to do the homework for you to eliminate those schools and areas you could not tolerate or that are incompatible with your hopes and ethos. Coming from such a different region and education system wherever you choose in UK could be a culture shock.

Onky Sun 17-Apr-11 15:05:08

How old are the children - is your Yr 6 and and Yr 8 the UK equivalent or the AMerican system? If it's the UK, your Yr 8 child is too late to sit common entrance as that's all been decided for entrance into Yr 9 months ago and you might find it extremely difficult to get your child into one of the better schools as an irregular year entrant -- schools normally take pupils at 11, 13 and 16 for sixth form. Similarly, your other child in Yr 6 is too late to start another school this September unless they happen to have a place.

Habs, St Albans and Merchant Taylors run waiting lists but they have to have sat the entrance exam and passed with an acceptable mark.

beanlet Sun 17-Apr-11 15:17:38

My DH (ex Oxbridge Senior Tutor) jokes about avoiding private schools that begin with S... Apparently all of his worst behaved undergraduates over the years came from three such schools. His state school students generally behaved angelically. One of the old posh colleges too.

Xenia Sun 17-Apr-11 15:29:03

Midlands? No. It's awful parts of it and in terms of future job opportunities the SE is better. As for "better class of person" depends how you define those things. In very academic day fee paying schools I don't think they particularly are very posh although most are not made up of those on bursaries so the parents obviously avhe a spare £12k a year or whatever for fees.

Nor do I agree private pupils are more social problems, often the converse. However I am not a great fan of boarding schools because you lose influence over the child and that can lead to more peer influence than perhaps you want.

beanlet Sun 17-Apr-11 16:02:24

There are awful bits of the SE too, Xenia, and some very nice bits of the Midlands. The point, surely, is that the OP would actually be better off employing a relocation consultant because the variables are just too many for us on here to help with.

Besides, with 700 per month for rent, the SE isn't an option, really, unless she lives in a truly awful bit.

magicmummy1 Sun 17-Apr-11 18:10:00

It wasn't my intention to suggest that private school pupils have more social problems, merely that they don't necessarily have fewer.

And honestly speaking, some parts of the southeast are truly awful too - I have lived in some of them! Parts of the midlands might well be rubbish too, but parts are beautiful. And the cost of living is definitely less!

Xenia Sun 17-Apr-11 18:50:59

Yes, that's less than I think one of my children pays for a room in the middle of London. I hadn't read that bit. I do think she needs to take some expert advice.

Clary Sun 17-Apr-11 19:49:58

Xenia I have to say that I have lived in London and I have lived in th eEast Mids and I know which one I would rather live in (and bring up children in).

Frankly, I wouldn't live in London again for a gold pig! but that's just me, obviously it works well for lots of people. I think to suggest to the OP that anywhere but South East is no good is misleading, frankly.

Also the money is a big issue. I think OP you need to follow some of the reading suggestions on here before you go much further.

Xenia Sun 17-Apr-11 22:35:05

Wages can b e much higher in the SE. I thougth she'd said she wanted to be near London anyway or nearish.

LIZS Mon 18-Apr-11 07:52:45

I think op's husband is planning to be self employed and home-based so this is perhaps financially less sensitive to area than fulltime employment but presumably would take some time to establish. The dc would apparently join year 6/8 in September.

Average cost of a private school has topped 10k pa day (higher for secondary), that is the best part of 35k gross income minimum plus extras such as uniform , music, trips, sometimes lunch, books .... Add to that cost of rent, say 15k net and the household income needs to be around 60k before other basic living expenses and luxuries. Inflation is currently around 4-5% and school fees often rise above this. op, you really need to check whether you can fund this move, perhaps using savings to tied you over while the business builds, then brief someone to do a search for you specifically.

ChateauRouge Mon 18-Apr-11 14:38:43

As a self-employed person, will he get a visa to come to the UK? Or is he British? (sorry, not clear what citizenship any of the OP's family hold)

I am laughing at your comment Xenia about the awful midlands... but everywhere has it's terrible bits.

NewBee- I really think the best strategy is to make a shortlist of areas you fancy, approach some schools, and come over for a week- do a quick tour of each, and have your children assessed by the schools concerned- all the suggestions upthread are academic if your children are not of an academic standard to gain a place in any of them. Timing will make things awfully difficult, as I cannot imagine any decent school having vacancies for September fee-paying or state.

Is it possible to do the groundwork now, with a view to moving them a year later?

NewBee2011 Tue 19-Apr-11 15:55:13

Hi, Can you please advice how is this place called- Bolton, Theres a school - Bolton School- Is it a nice school and is Bolton a good place to live and is it a safe place...? Please advice...Thanks.

LIZS Tue 19-Apr-11 16:04:10

Would n't be my choice of area to live tbh (if from a SE perspective lol)- some nicer towns a little further afield but property not especially cheap (Footballers' territory)

LIZS Tue 19-Apr-11 16:07:00

You can find data on crimes etc here and here

NewBee2011 Tue 19-Apr-11 16:07:02

LIZS - I saw another school - Queen Ethelburga's - York - England, what you say about this....?
Is Bolton a very muslim oriented I can see on the web...?

NewBee2011 Tue 19-Apr-11 16:08:20

I did a search on these websites for crimes...Thanks

LIZS Tue 19-Apr-11 16:14:48

It sounds like you are clutching at straws. York and Bolton (Manchester) are poles apart, physically and culturally. Not come across QE tbh, St Peters seems to be the one highly regarded academically. Nice area and touristy city but anywhere not central is rural.

NewBee2011 Tue 19-Apr-11 16:21:50

I am just following someone's suggestions given here in Thailand...So thats why wanted to confirm...I did not see the location on the map...But thanks for your advice..

LIZS Tue 19-Apr-11 16:28:13

oh I see , it just all comes across as a bit random ! Have any of the staff currently teaching your dc got experience of teaching in Uk so could advise which may suit them ?

NewBee2011 Tue 19-Apr-11 16:35:20

No, my kids are going to a school that follows american curricullum n most the staff is from USA + Canada, no one from UK, thats why seeking a help here on mumsnet.
TBH I feel I cannot make it for Sept.2011, may be I should postpone things for next Term - Jan.2012, so that I have enough time to find out everything and may be visit myself to see what is what..

Seeing is Beleiving - They Say..

diabolo Tue 19-Apr-11 18:21:33

Also NewBee2011 a lot of MNers are pointing you in the direction of where they live (if they like it) - I am guilty of that. There's nothing wrong with it per se, but you are going to get some very diverse opinions.

York is a lovely small city, Cheshire is lovely (around Hale / Altrincham), so are most of the Home Counties (but more expensive to live).

Use the Good Schools Guide, perhaps buy a property guide to best places in England to work / live / be happy, and see them for yourselves.

The relocation companies someone else suggested would also be a great idea (for a fee of course).

beanlet Tue 19-Apr-11 20:49:43

According to news today, South Cambridgeshire is the happiest and best place to live in the country...

ChateauRouge Tue 19-Apr-11 21:39:51

York is very lovely <<sighs>>

If I could choose anywhere in UK... I would choose to be a millionaire, and choose Central London I think. smile

Harpenden 2nd maybe- v good schools, v easy access to London. £££££ for housing though.

Clary Wed 20-Apr-11 00:50:23

YY I agree with diabolo, we are all sayign "ooh come and live here where I live" which is understandable.

I think you need to consider how near to London (ie how many hours away) you need to be, as this will make your options clearer. York to London and back I would not personally want to do in a working day. Possible tho I'm guessing. Does it need to be a driving commute for your DH?

It's just that the nearer you are to London, the more the house will cost to rent or buy. More or less anyway.

Please don't worry so much about the safety aspect - despite what you may have heard or read, most people in the UK are not witnessing drive-by shootings on a daily basis. In other words, most towns and cities here are pretty safe (tho of course all big cities will have areas you may prefer to avoid).

beanlet Wed 20-Apr-11 09:39:07

Clary, OP's DH only needs to be in London occasionally. And yes, York is a doable commute in a day, and plenty of businessmen with families do it (though usually not every day I'm assuming!)

A particularly irritating man gets on at my station in one of the leafier bits of Yorkshire at peak time and asks the conductor ostentatiously for an open first-class return to London ("that will be £400 sir"). Must be on expenses.

diabolo Wed 20-Apr-11 11:42:53

beanlet my MIL lives in a gorgeous little village on the East Herts/South Cambs border.

It is utterley gorgeous, but SOOO expensive house-wise.

Good schools nearby like Haileybury too.

bitsyandbetty Wed 20-Apr-11 12:35:01

OH xenia! You do make me laugh with your extreme views.

Newbee I use relocation specialists and they are OK so worth a short. Quite reasonable fees. As mentioned early not all private schools are worth paying for and may be more suitable for your child than others based on academic, music or sports interests. It also depends on how much life you want. Some parts of Lincolnshire are quite cut off. York is easily commutable by train to London. I know somebody who does it every day.

Madsometimes Wed 20-Apr-11 14:00:11

When my friend relocated to the UK she chose the school and then found accommodation to fit around it. It is only possible to do this with private schools. She made a short list of schools, checked about vacancies and came on a whirlwind tour of them.

Private schools often do have occasional vacancies and are happy to take students on at unusual times. They also allowed her dc to take the entrance exams at their own overseas school.

My biggest question is whether the OP can afford a private education. It seems that housing costs here are much greater than she is accustomed to paying.

NewBee2011 Wed 20-Apr-11 14:21:08

Madsometimes, Thanks as I am trying to do exactly the same as your friend has done, looking for a good school and then a decent place to live around there...Even I have been offered an entrance exam at the present school my kids are going now....But its easy to say doing all this n really very hard to actually do it..I know how I sit pulling my hair everyday...

And for the affordability, I would say, if something has to be done then there is always a way for it, where theres a will...theres a way...

Very truelly said - No Pain No Gain...

grovel Wed 20-Apr-11 14:24:28

You've got the whole country to choose from and you consider Bolton? Crikey.

NewBee2011 Wed 20-Apr-11 14:38:32

Grovel, that was a suggestion given by someone, not my own choice...But its out now.

cory Wed 20-Apr-11 14:40:40

Relocation agent may well be the way to go.

Also, I think you and your children are going to have to accept that there will be a culture shock, things will be different, you may not be able to give them exactly everything they had at their old school- and at the end of the day it is still their responsibility to work hard and do well.

A private school with big grounds and state-of-the-art facilities is going to be very expensive in a small overcrowded country like the UK, and living near such a place is also likely to be expensive. So look for the best you can manage- but be prepared to compromise!

Safety, I would say, is not usually a big issue (unless in some very run-down areas). Mostly, the UK is a fairly safe place to be.

I myself live in an urban area which many Mumsnetters would probably turn their noses up at, and where the local schools are not particularly good. But even so, my children are safe to go into town or off with their friends, and they are getting an education which will enable them to access higher education if they themselves choose to make the most of it.

Best of luck with your school hunting!

NewBee2011 Wed 20-Apr-11 15:49:08

Cory, Thanks and I highly appreciate your kindness...

cory Wed 20-Apr-11 16:48:02

First I would sit down with a spreadsheet and think about expenses. Your budget seems quite modest, so I would start thinking about areas where cuts could be made. If you are unwilling to give up the idea of private education, then maybe you could save on housing, by looking for a smaller house. The house prices some posters have mentioned have been of 4 bedroom houses- do you actually need a 4 bedroom house? A 3 bedroom is often considerably cheaper, and semi-detacher, or even terraced, is cheaper than a detached house. How decent does the place you live in have to be? On the whole, in England houses tend to get more expensive the greener the surrounding area: could you cope with a dull suburban street? And so on and so forth.

NewBee2011 Tue 05-Jul-11 09:22:36

Hi Everyone, I am back again. I would like your opinions about Milton Keynes - Buckinghamshire..How is this place. Also any reveiws about - Bury Lawn School in Milton Keynes....Please advice...Thanks

NewBee2011 Tue 05-Jul-11 11:53:12

Please Reply......Thanx

sue52 Tue 05-Jul-11 15:43:54

I don't know the school but Milton Keynes is not an attractive town.

Milton Keynes

there are a LOT of roundabouts (although that matters not unless you get dizzy easily!

Not the world's most attractive of places

Clary Thu 07-Jul-11 01:04:13

Milton Keynes not lovely, it's a New Town created several decades ago.

OTOH it has wonderful shops and good facilities. Depends what you want really. A pal of mine lived there in her early 20s and raved about it. It's a bit of a joke in UK with concrete cows etc but I reckon unfairly so.

No idea about school.

ScatterChasse Thu 07-Jul-11 10:00:11

Don't know much about Milton Keynes I'm afraid, but have you thought about South of Manchester/ Cheshire (not Bolton, seriously!).

There are some very good private schools there, Withington Girls' School, Manchester Grammar, Stockport Grammar (neither are actual grammars), Cheadle Hulme etc. but I think you will find the entrance exams hard work. It might be best to put your DS into the Junior section of the school you would like for the seniors, as it probably would improve his chance of getting a place.

flagging Thu 07-Jul-11 10:06:37

I'd suggest two places that aren't extortionate and where there is a really good quality of life.

The South West (i.e. Wiltshire along the M4), very good train routes into London, good cities along it (Bath, Bristol), and lovely Cotswold towns which are fantastic for kids, great communities- very safe and laid back

Another would be the town of Buckingham. Great town, v nice atmosphere, lovely centre and modern estates too. Near Milton Keynes which has absolutely everything anyone would ever need (shopping, cinemas, restaurants, snow dome, theatre, train to London etc etc)

mumzy Thu 07-Jul-11 21:23:16

Milton Keynes is definitely commutable from London by car or public transport takes about 40minutes to 1 hour. The pluses are you get more living and outdoor space ,housing tends to be new build ( less maintenance) and affordable than most areas of the south east. The downsides are you need to be able to drive as buses are not that frequent and shops restaurants Milton Keynes is definitely commutable from London by car or public transport takes about 40minutes to 1 hour. The pluses are you get more living and outdoor space ,housing tends to be new build ( less maintenance) and affordable than most areas of the south east. The downsides are you need to be able to drive as buses are not that frequent and shops restaurants entertainment venues are all in one central location. It feels quite characterless and unsociable. The only private school I know in that area is Stowe school which is expensive.
My choice if I was in your shoes would be a pleasant commuter town to London just outside the M 25 such as Epsom, Maidenhead, New Malden,Chelmsford all have good fast connections to London, decent state and private schools and large enough to have Thai people living there and being able to buy Thai food. venues are all in one central location. It feels quite characterless and unsociable. The only private school I know in that area is Stowe school which is expensive.
My choice if I was in your shoes would be a pleasant commuter town to London just outside the M 25 such as Epsom, Maidenhead, New Malden,Chelmsford all have good fast connections to London, decent state and private schools and large enough to have Thai people living there and being able to buy Thai food.

NessaYork Sat 09-Feb-13 07:57:26

So what did you decide in the end?

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