Dilemma - choosing where to live based on schools

(13 Posts)
Evasmum88 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:18:54

Ok I hope this doesn't turn into a long post. We currently live in a small town with pretty awful schools (both primary and secondary) so definitely want to move before our daughter (2yrs) goes to primary school. I changed primary schools a lot when I was young and it really affected me so I am really fixated on making sure my daughter (and next one due aug) establish roots somewhere and makes friends at primary and then all go up to secondary together.

The issue we have is that we currently live in a tiny new build house which makes us miserable every day, just existing with 2 adults, 2 big dogs and soon to be 2 children is so so hard. We have the option of doing a house swap into a close relatives house which has lots of potential and in nearer bath and bristol so fab location but still in a nice village. It's a bigger house and we could move within the next 6 months. Only problem is the primary school in the village is great but the secondary school it feeds in to is ok but not amazing by any standards. The secondary is also in a bit of a dodgy area which worries me a bit. We could move in to the village then move again before secondary to a better catchment but then that defeats the object of my daughter making friends that she can take to secondary school.

Our other option is just to stay put in this tiny house and slog out 3 years as we are then try and save enough to move to a lovely town just east of bath which has fab schools both primary and fab secondary. However the house prices there are really high and if we can afford to move in 3 years (which we might not) it will be to a house marginally bigger than this.

I feel so so torn, I want to do what's best for my children. I really don't know if I'm putting too much importance on not changing schools or whether that would really cause them huge upset. I also don't know whether I'm putting too much weight on choosing a school based on results/ofsted. Both secondary's (the one in the nice town and the one in the catchment of the house we could swap with are rated as 'good' but basically (and please don't judge me) but one is in a quaint well to do town and the other is in quite a rough one. And the rough one has average grades whereas the quaint town one has high grades.

If I could choose where to live (and won the lottery! It would be the quaint town over my relatives village, even though the village is nice! Mainly cause I like the idea of living in a town with facilities more than a village, but one doesn't stand head and shoulders above the other for me.

Oh the other thing is if we move into my relatives then we will be a couple of hundred pound better off a month.

I feel so torn, we could in theory move into my relatives, then move to the quaint town in 5 or 6 years when we could comfortably afford to do so but again I'm worried sick about putting my daughter through what I went through unnecessarily. (I had 5 different primary schools though so it is a bit different).

Any opinions would be gratefully received.

tiggytape Fri 14-Mar-14 22:24:58

I can understand you positioning yourself now for a good primary but you are nearly a decade away from needing a secondary school place - it is just too soon to be able to plan precisely for that.
So much can change in that time. Not just how good the schools are but whether they will even have catchment areas by then - a lot already have some sort of lottery / fair banding system so there's no guarantee that even if the local school is still excellent in 10 years time that you'd get into it. The same is true of reputations and results. One might be significantly more desirable than the other in 10 years time and it isn't always obvious which way that will go.

I also think you might be a bit too focused on continuity. Attending lots of primary schools would be unsettling for many children but it is much more common to go to a different secondary school from primary school friends. That isn't too much of an issue. And even if she stayed in the exact same area and schools for years, that doesn't mean her best friend/s won't move away in Year 4 or go to a private secondary school miles away. It is nice to have stability but most children can cope with changes at the usual times i.e. Year 6 to Year 7 changes.

It is good to have some school options in mind but perhaps sort the primary school out first (as long as you don't totally cut yourself off from all secondary options) and then when you know more about money and school options in 5 or 6 years, you can decide what to do then?

Glasshammer Fri 14-Mar-14 23:19:04

Have you looked at other areas? Where do you need to work? Wotton under edge might be cheaper with great schools at both levels. I'm also told thornbury schools are good.

Glasshammer Fri 14-Mar-14 23:21:26

Look around for some good secondary's, then find good primaries that feed into the schools. Accept things may change but at least you have given it your best shot. I agree its nice to have continuity if poss

Glasshammer Fri 14-Mar-14 23:22:53

What about some if the towns south of Bristol. Wells etc? Not been there but thought I'd mention

perspective Sat 15-Mar-14 06:49:46

Continuity might be good, but things can change so much in 9 or 10 years. When we bought our house it was a stones throw from an outstanding primary. Ds loved it there, we were very happy. The plan always was to move for secondary but by the time we got around to applying our nearest school had changed beyond recognition and was oversubscribed. So we ended up staying!

Ds went up to secondary with a few others but friendships have also started to change too.

basildonbond Sat 15-Mar-14 07:43:48

You also have no control over your dc's friends so although they might start out with lots of local friends it's perfectly possible that they all move (happened to two of our three dc)

I would concentrate on house and decent primary for now and leave secondary out of the equation

HolidayCriminal Sat 15-Mar-14 08:21:42

I'd house swap now & deal with future when it comes.

BattyBarbara Sun 16-Mar-14 21:57:17

We moved to be in catchment of an outstanding secondary.

Unfortunately, we were less than impressed when DD1 started there - which was backed up when the next Ofsted put it in Special Measures. DD1 now goes to a school in the next town...where we used to live!

A lot can change in 10 years. Go with what feels right for now.

Theas18 Mon 17-Mar-14 08:41:01

Your DD is 2, don't choose house/location for what might happen in nearly 10yrs time.

bruffin Mon 17-Mar-14 08:57:38

Schools change quite rapidly, it only needs a change of head to make the difference.
DC's secondary school was failing 10 years ago, they got a new head and it is now a lovely school and results shot up and they were one of the most improved schools in the country

Clobbered Mon 17-Mar-14 09:04:02

Do what's best for you now - sounds like your everyday life would be immediately improved by moving to your relative's house, and the primary situation is the only one that need concern you for now. My kids all went to three different primaries and moved quite happily between them. Knowing how difficult it was for you, presumably if you were forced to move your kids for any reason, you would handle it carefully and they would not be as traumatised as you were. Stop fretting and go for it!

maillotjaune Mon 17-Mar-14 20:04:14

We bought our house years before having children, and back on to a secondary that was appalling. Now it's in the top 100 performing schools in England or some such.

These things change. Do try not to project your experiences here - easier said than done but your daughter won't necessarily feel the same as you did.

DS1 isn't going to the secondary at the back of our house even though it's so much improved - he and we preferred the one 20 minutes walk away. So even if you move to be near a school that is good on paper, it might not be the right one for your child.

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