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Good prep school areas within an hours commute to Piccadilly Circus

(69 Posts)
Nitig Wed 12-Dec-12 08:36:46

Hello Moms
I NEED help and probably loads of it.
We are soon moving to London from Singapore on a rather short notice! I expect us to move by end of January 2013.
I have two daughters 10 (year5) & 6(year 2). I have been recommended, that I send my girls to a prep school, so that the older one can try for a grammar school at 11+. As we are moving in the middle of the school year, our options for schools seem to be really limited.
My husband's work place is close to Piccadilly Circus. We haven't decided the area we want to live in, for everything would depend upon the school. I am hoping to find a 4 bedroom house in a decent area for about 3K per month.
Could you ladies please recommend suitable schools, residential areas, helpful websites etc for me to get going.
As of now, I am completely clueless!
Thanks in advance.

Virtuallyarts Thu 13-Dec-12 16:33:05

I expect pseudo private state schools is how some people refer to grammar schools - you get a selective education, but non fee paying. (Just my guess though)

LIZS Thu 13-Dec-12 16:38:13

ah ok. op's dd would only have 9 months or so to adapt and prepare, and would depend on moving into one of the grammar areas, passing 11+ well and possibly being in the right catchment. Sounds like a lot of pressure on everyone to make right choices. How easy are your dds likely to find this move ?

JoanByers Thu 13-Dec-12 16:38:48

I was more thinking the comprehensives where the catchment area is half-a-mile and houses cost £1 million.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 16:51:42

JoanByers
your list of eateries ...
"we dine with four and twenty couples"
wow, how things have changed in 200 years.

JoanByers Thu 13-Dec-12 17:02:59

TalkinPeace, and those are just the places that deliver, online, from one website...

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 17:04:50

sorry, not everybody knows Pride and Prejudice verbatim (I'm sad I know)

JoanByers Thu 13-Dec-12 17:10:51

unculchured me innit

Xenia Fri 14-Dec-12 18:22:22

I didn't think choice of restaurant was on the original post. Do people really eat out a lot? Don't they like their own homes? Isn't that one reason the British are fat and those from Singapore are healthy and slim because we go out far too much and eat 3x what we need?

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 18:56:35

its worse than that Xenia - that list was delivery takeaway ! Not even have to get off one's well padded posterior :-)

but then again in the US, cooking supper involves heating up pre prepared enormous portions!

JoanByers Fri 14-Dec-12 19:06:56

Have you ever been to Singapore? Firstly land is very expensive and homes consequently small, secondly the weather is warm 365 days a year and therefore people go out a lot, thirdly food there is very cheap and widely available at hawker centres, etc. I would imagine they eat out far more than we do in the UK.

Anyway, though you won't find bak kut teh or hainan rice in the UK much, one advantage of London is you can buy the ingredients to cook them yourself more easily; outside of London not so much, though there is a moderately sized See Woo in Reading.

Areas with high immigrant populations tend to stock fresh vegetables and meat in their convenience stores; areas with high White British populations tend to stock fags, booze and long-life junk food.

JoanByers Fri 14-Dec-12 19:08:42

And obviously areas where there are Russian, Caribbean takeaways, etc. will be areas where you can buy the ingredients to cook it yourself.

But just-eat gives a quick handle on diversity/choice/amenities/population desnity.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 14-Dec-12 19:11:16

checked it for my town

the hot spot is also the red light district ....

JoanByers Fri 14-Dec-12 19:14:59

Of course if you can find a village sufficiently up itself wealthy, you may find that they've successfully excluded the likes of Tesco, and you can only buy your organic vension loin at £60/kg from the local butchers, and your carrots direct from the greengrocers, which are closed for lunch, Wednesdays, and on Sundays.

Xenia Fri 14-Dec-12 20:55:53

I don't think my suggestion of Radlett (very fast train to London ) and daughter at Haberdashers is going to be back of beyond with insufficient selection of foods. Do people really buy places based on the types of restaurants and take always? There is a pretty full range of most basic food stuffs even out here in NW London and into Herts.

Chewbecca Fri 14-Dec-12 22:17:18

If you want grammar schools the Southend area is a consideration. Some of the catchment areas are nice, some not so nice.

How about this house (and saves £1k a month) is 5 minutes walk from Chalkwell station which is 40mins from Fenchurch street with this prep school which is 39th on this year's Sunday Times good prep schools list and gets a large % of its pupils into the local grammars such as Westcliff High School for Girls. (though the 11+ preparation will already be well underway by year 5 so not sure the stats/results would necessarily be likely to be relevant to someone joining so late. You'd probably want a tutor)

breadandbutterfly Sun 16-Dec-12 18:05:24

Radlett is not an hour into Piccadilly, or at least not reliably - it's on the First Capital Connect Line, which is notorious for its awfulness - expect a commute of 2 hours+ at least once a week, when the train breaks down. And parking v v expensive at the station - will eat into your 3K a month, Xenia.

The OP's daughters may very well not get into Habs or North London anyway.

breadandbutterfly Sun 16-Dec-12 18:06:18

By the way, OP, to get into a selective school, having 3K a month to spend on rent and the prep school fees is not enough - are you sure your dds are sufficiently academic?

breadandbutterfly Sun 16-Dec-12 18:06:54

If not, there are plenty of private schools around for the rich but dim.

Xenia Sun 16-Dec-12 19:18:45

Radlett to central London is a 22 minute train ride though. I doubt most people spend 2 hours door to door on it. NLCS and Habs are some of the best schools in the UK for girls. I still think that's a good option. Or move near Edgware for NLCS and get the tube to London from there or Stanmore.

breadandbutterfly Sun 16-Dec-12 20:47:33

My dh used to do the commute regularly (well, actually one stop nearer) and I can assure you it took him way longer than an hour to get to work - never less than hour and a half. It is the most unreliable line - my MIL still uses it from St albans, and even though there are double the number of trains going there (fast trains too) she says the service is still abominable. I am so glad we moved and are now on the tube and not subject to the whims of First Capital Connect!

The Northern Line from Edgware is not much better though - not known as 'The Misery Line' for nothing.

itsallinthememories Sun 16-Dec-12 23:06:56

Breadandbutterfly clearly this is not a debate about trainlines but I use both first capital connect and the northern line most days. In the last 2 years I have been delayed getting into the city on first capital connect once and delayed getting home twice. It is, overall, excellent. 10 years ago it was shocking but is generally it runs to time with no more than a 2-3 minute delay. The northern line is miserable and grey and my worst line but I have used it several times a week since september and am yet to be delayed. I can only assume that you are not a daily user.

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:28:17

Thanks for excellent advice. I now am calling up schools and checking vacancies.
Young Singaporeans do eat out a lot but people with kids, like me are suddenly more conscious about what we put on our kid's plates. So it does help having stores that stock Asian groceries, but then its not my prime concern right now. Wait till we start getting home sick!!
My girls are pretty bright academically and have been excelling at their current school but as someone rightly pointed out, the whole stress of the sudden move might throw them off- balance. So, though I am hoping that the older one would be able to do well at 11+ entrance exams I am not ruling out the possibility of her pursuing education at an independent secondary school.
From some of the posts I gather that 3K rentals sound too huge, then why is it that i don't see anything decent within London listed at that price on any website! Am i missing something here?

LIZS Mon 17-Dec-12 18:40:34

Depends what you consider "decent" and where you are looking . You probably won't find much with a garden in the inner London zones for that, hence most suggesting the suburbs/ Home Counties closer to M25 .

You certainly could get somewhere reasonable in Surrey (1500 would get a 3 bed house) and fund a commute (30-40 minutes to Victoria, 5 mins to Green Park on underground then a short walk along to Piccadilly Circus. Not a grammar area though, although there are some in South London (Wallington, Sutton, Nonsuch etc ) and Kent. How much do you expect to pay in fees as 3-4k a term in the South East is not unusual for Prep plus extras.

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:41:45

Also, I checked Habs and NLCS and though NLCS has offered to assess my younger one for an upcoming opening, they dont have vacancy for DD1. Habs is full and highly over subscribed as I was told. I am still trying to get them both in one school if possible. A couple of schools in Croydon area are offering to test them both. Thanks for giving me leads on specific schools. I still look forward to getting to know about more schools from parents.
I can assure you that its not only 3K rentals and International school education that is able to get them in any of the better independent schools. Its a lot of past records and doing rather well at assessments that might do the trick!

LIZS Mon 17-Dec-12 18:52:34

But not all preps are equal, some have far better facilities and broader teaching methods with others lacking investment and very traditional - just being a "Prep" is no guarantee of quality and you need to choose what suits your dds and has an ethos you can work with . Also ask which schools their leavers go on to and what awards they achieve. Having said that I've recently heard of a couple of smaller schools in Purley I didn't know existed which sound fine. Generally if they have a place they will assess if they don't even the brightest on paper may not get a look in.

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