Canterbury/Faversham state + independent info for my VERY different DSs please!

(18 Posts)
savantista Wed 16-Oct-13 19:13:20

You might also want to follow the eleven plus threads here: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=31406. Because Whitstable does not have a grammar they sometimes experience problems getting into first choice grammars. I have heard of this before.The reason we chose Faversham over Whitstable was the poor quality primary and secondary provision in Whitstable. Good luck.

savantista Mon 14-Oct-13 15:14:13

Hi - I wondered what you decided to do. My child is just finishing at Luddenham. Over the years they have worked very well with a number of SEN children. Notwithstanding the fact it is a school which regularly appears in the top 100 primary schools (this year in at 20) it is possible to get in there as an occasional place. Standout local schools are Luddenham, Ethelbert, Selling and Sheldwich - all of which you would be delighted to get into. Luddenham is a little marmite for some parents - a lot of creative types prefer Ethelbert and rural country dwellers prefer Selling and Sheldwich - about 75% of Luddenham's YR6 pass the Kent Test and it is a socially more diverse school than some of the others.

I live in one of the Victorian houses nr town and from YR2 onwards have been happy to let my children go into town on a Saturday to swim etc without any worry - so it is a great 'free range' kid kind of place. Good library, lovely cheap cinema with a weekly film club, great pool, arts centre, lovely tennis club all 5 minutes walk from the centre of the town. I am aware of the reputation for chavs etc but I have never seen or heard of actual problems with kids/youth in the evening - apart from a lovers dispute that ended badly a few years ago but that is another matter.

Good luck

singinggirl Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:07

Pm me again, happy to give an opinion - love property details!

CloudyBayDrainageSystem Tue 03-Sep-13 21:19:08

(Have name changed, BTW, am satdown).

CloudyBayDrainageSystem Tue 03-Sep-13 21:16:37

Ooh yes, I love a bit of property porn. PM away!

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 03-Sep-13 21:06:16

We watched Southcliffe. Didn't put us off! I do have an unhealthy crush on Sean Harris though; back in the day we were regulars in the same East London pub and he is rather gorgeous imo. And polite, humble and down to earth irl.

Soooo, we are currently torn between two places; one between Boughton under Blean and Selling so more rural but lovely space and garden. One in town; amazing space inside but a tiny yard and backs onto the railway. So one means the DSs won't be able to be so independent and the other means no garden. We go round in circles discussing it.

Am happy to PM more deets and purleeesse we'd love your POV. grin

TheOldestCat Sun 18-Aug-13 20:38:44

Hallo hallo!

I don't mind at all, Isatdownand wept. I live in Fav central, MissBT, and I'm happy to chat. Really busy at the moment though - trying to finish a bit of work before I watch Southcliffe (filmed in Faversham, tho' we don't really have gun maniacs on the loose).

So please PM me or I will be organised and send you one.

Isatdownandwept Fri 16-Aug-13 22:15:53

yes, boughton is same as b-under-blean. houses crop up quite regularly. Theres an oast with apartments to rent if you want to try before you buy. we all call it the black oast - not sure if thats it real name - you may find it if you google.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 16-Aug-13 19:03:42

Again, more amazing information! thanks

We did consider Whitstable but DH works overseas every weekend and is dead set on that area around Faversham because he can get into East London for meetings with clients by car in just over an hour (with good going) and he's got the high speed if he needs it. We weren't too keen on Sittingbourne; Faversham the the town the nearest in that we liked.

Somewhere like Boughton (is Boughton under Blean the same? <ignorant> ) may work well. Isolated is not good for me, I'm way too townie to be organised enough to live somewhere without a Spar! Also, DH's requirements for his work place are... exacting to say the least so as soon as we see somewhere that suits we'll have to take it.

Anyhow, best get the DCs to bed now. I shall forward this entire thread to DH so he can read up! Thanks again.

Isatdownandwept Fri 16-Aug-13 13:19:25

Cricket is on a Wednesday evening, all year round, at the Canterbury cricket ground itself. Also in the summer on Saturday mornings in a village called Bridge. There are others, but these two are the well known ones.

Places... Well. Faversham has some very nice places, but if you have a good budget then Abbey Street is the place to go for (on the street itself, living round the creek at the end of the street is far less desirable). Advantage is that QE school is on the doorstep. If your budget is not that generous but still fair-middling then there are still some beautiful Victorian streets in the area. If you PM theoldestcat she can tell you more (am sure she won't mind my mentioning her).

Villages - Boughton has the convenience factor (7-11 shop, post office, local pub won the shepherd neame gastro pub of yr), also good bus route for when kids are older, and less than 10 mins drive to KC juniors. But it is less 'posh' than other villages. Hernhill is considered posher because more rural but it is also more isolated - getting a pint of milk can be a pain. Houses in Hernhill can take a while to sell because of the isolation.

Selling has a community feel about it and houses go quite quickly because of the ease to get to M2 and catchment for the primary school. Again not considered a 'destination' village to live in.

The 'desirable' villages, by the way, tend to be south and west to Canterbury not Faversham way. Bridge/wingham/littlebourne are the kind of places where people like Hugh grant, brad and ange, etc have at times been spotted (oh yes. And no school waiting list issues for them, apparently..).

Ospringe, well, no.

Oare hit and miss, personally I wouldn't. Shottenden has lovely houses but no bus routes/shops. Chilham lovely but a pain to commute to London from (high speed link ok but don't think there are many trains that stop at Chilham).

The road from Faversham to ashford has some really good value homes coming up quite often but the hamlets along it are a bit soulless and apart from a really fab riding school not much happening along that belt.

Blean is nice, as is rough common, but if you are coming for a lifestyle change you won't get the authentic 'country' feel (saying that, I grew up near there and the freedom of playing in those woods was great).

From Faversham toward sittingbourne there are some small villages which all seem beautiful, but the commute to anywhere is a pain, so I'm a bit biased against these.

If you are thinking of Kent college, then why not Whitstable as palace to live? Lots to do, characterful houses, quirky shops and very popular ( it's nicknamed 'islington-on-sea for a reason). My DCs love the place. crabbing when they were younger, sailing now they are older... Very easy to get to KC senior and almost as easy for the junior school. Best bus route in the area, too. One stop on train to fav to pick up high speed. But if you want other primary school options aside from KC then you may be limited.

DownstairsMixUp Fri 16-Aug-13 12:34:28

Sturry in canterbury is not a nice area, IMO, some might say it is nice, but I have no nice experience of it. Herne Bay again, not nice. Whitstable is a good area and I'm pretty sure you'd still be in the catchment area for the good secondary schools like Langton and Barton Court.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 16-Aug-13 12:20:47

Arf @ naice ham sandwich! That's making me guffaw my coffee into my laptop! I know what you mean though!

Which areas might you steer clear of? Or are they pretty obvious? (PM me if that's better)! We're going to spend a couple of days down there at half term I think; my mum's coming so DH and I can have a little recce at which areas become filled with puking fighting hoardes of 17 year olds. I think it's like that everywhere now though. My DM lived in Sevenoaks for years and that town turns from naice ham to wild west every Friday and Saturday night too. grin

DS1 loves cricket, despite not being very good at it (!) , and he's found that a good way to make friends outside school too.

Thanks again for sharing your lovely, honest knowledge!

Isatdownandwept Fri 16-Aug-13 12:02:07

Sorry, for some reason I thought the bookworm was a DD not a DS. As a boy, either QE or Langton boys or indeed BC would all work, depends really where he falls academically come the time.

It is lovely here and very down to earth (has to be when you are sandwiched between Thanet and the Medway towns). Fav is nice but there are areas to steer clear of (as in all places), some of the surrounding villages are great, some are a bit 'closed' with not much going on. Checking out the local pub on a Friday night/Sunday lunch will give you a good pointer if you have your eye on anywhere in particular.

KC head (and indeed staff) are all lovely AFAIK - I know a few of them but not many because my own DCs are in one of the other schools (and in different years from yours). One of the huge advantages of being round here is that the 'pool' of kids is quite small so even though my kids are at another school we know around half the children in the same year as my DC in KC. The parents tend to hunt in pack with their kids - hockey & rugby in Canterbury clubs on Sundays, swimming lessons & footie at JKS recreation centre on Saturday mornings, tennis at Polo farm. If you join in on those you will get to know just about every naice ham sandwich family in the area.

MissBetseyTrotwood Thu 15-Aug-13 17:36:26

That's so useful, thank you. Went down that way yesterday and had a look at some houses!

Kent College seemed about right online. I was a bit nervous about the prospect of meeting the head teacher though. It seems as though Open Days are coming around quite soon so I might see if I could get down with my DM as my DH works most weekends.

Once again, thank you so much. It seems like a nice part of the country to live and so different to West Kent (where I grew up)!

Isatdownandwept Wed 14-Aug-13 13:45:58

Forgot to say that the Indie schools (other than st christophers) do not prepare your kids for Kent test (not in their interests to do so - common test is where it's at for them), so you will need to also bear in mind that extra tutoring may be required.

Isatdownandwept Wed 14-Aug-13 13:37:37

Selling has one of best rated primaries in area and does brilliantly in terms of Kent test (though kent test is changing at the moment with a new test coming in).

Blean has a good reputation, too, as does luddenham, and friends of mine rave about Eastling. The other places you mention I would not have on a shortlist.

Sounds as if QE in Faversham would suit your daughter down to the ground, and lots of Canterbury parents are starting to look at it as it has a reputation for simply being full of lovely, nice kids. The more competitive kids aim for the langton schools.

With your DS its a bit more complicated. I don't know how the primaries I've mentioned do on SN but in terms of the indies I would say that your best bet is going to be Kent College. They don't do that we'll in league tales because they are not selective, but they have good SN provision and I know a number of families who have successfully switched their kids from the two other main indie schools into KC because of SN. Bear in mind however that going private can lock you out of some LEA access to support so can become very expensive (With costs of £6k plus on top of fees if your son needs 1:1 help).

St eds seems to be going through some kind of unsettled period at pre-prep level from what I can gather. I know a fair few families who have switched into the other schools. As a result junior kings (the best known school) is full I think with waiting lists.

If Kent test is non-negotiable (ie you can afford prep but not senior fees) then you may want to look at st Christopher's who coach solely for the Kent test and have amazing success rates (90% plus I think). From what I have heard it is like a state primary (ie none of the bells and whistles of normal private education) but with great results. Personally not my kind of school and lots of others feel the same, but it does what it says on the tin.

Getting kids to school in Canterbury from far afield is fairly straightforward. Some of the schools have their own minibuses and all the secondaries have bus pick ups, so you are ok to live in fav and educate in Canterbury so long as you are not far from the main bus routes. There used to be a catchment issue with Langton boys but that has gone away since the Langton turned super-selective. Langton girls may have a catchment that excludes fav - not sure - but doesn't sod like the right school for your dd anyway; QE and (Barton) probably better.

singinggirl Tue 13-Aug-13 14:59:51

Hi, I have pm'd you.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 13-Aug-13 13:28:11

Considering the move down there for lots of reasons.

DS1 (about to enter Y2) is pretty academic but not sporty really. Loves settling down with a good book.

DS2 (about to enter Y1) has SN - hearing impairment, S and L delay, not really reading or writing yet. School have their eye on him for dyslexia testing as soon as it's appropriate. Possible emerging issues with behaviour too.

We are looking in Faversham primarily and the villages around. Selling, Boughton under Blean, Ospringe. However, there is obviously more choice in Canterbury schools wise so might consider a move closer to it for schools.

I think my real eye is on secondaries, though I know getting to a good primary is instrumental in terms of the 11+.

ALL information is fish to my net. TIA thanks

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