moving from London to Kent (good choice???)(19 Posts)
I'm in the process of selling my house and am looking to move our of London. My 2 areas I'm considering is Kent and Milton Keynes. I've already put up a post about mk but wanted to know what anyone thought of Kent (Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Edenbridge areas). What are the schools like in the area primary and secondary. Catchment areas, transport links. I currently have dc starting yr 8 in Sept so looking for possibly in year transfer depending on transport links from there to Bromley. Also have a dh due to start reception next Sept so trying to get everything sorted before the deadline in applying
This is a popular topic over on the Mumsnet Local Kent talk board: local.mumsnet.com/Talk/kent/local-active
I'm sure some local mumsnetters will be able to help with your queries about those areas in Kent! If you decide on East Kent then I can help a bit more
Good luck with selling your house
The trouble with Tonbridge/T Wells/Edenbridge is that it's a grammar system. So the grammar schools are excellent but hard to get in to; some of the secondaries are ok but hard to get into, with the rest not having great reputations.
It's a lovely place to live though
The areas you have mentioned are nice places to live. If you are going to move to Kent I think you need to be willing to accept the grammar school system as it doesn't look like it will change in the next few years. Personally I am a supporter of grammar schools having been to one myself and will definately educate my children through them if they are of the correct standard. I know that the system also puts people off Kent as well though. Unless you can afford to go private you need to at least be able to accept it. There are some really good schools in the areas you have mentioned, both state and private.
Re the grammar school system in Kent, it's useful to be aware that there is a shortage of grammar school places in West Kent, but a glut in East Kent.
Another thing to be aware of is if you're planning on your yr8 catching the bus to school, Kent county council are reducing the amount of subsidy. For 2014/15, it costs £100 per half year for a child's school travel season ticket (not a lot when considering the costs of moving house, but something to consider nonetheless).
(second hand anecdotal gossip now: I have a friend who is a primary teacher in Edenbridge, and she moans about the somewhat lacklustre parenting skills of some of her students parents; but don't let that put you off, that may have just been one particular year group!)
Thanks for all your comments but don't quite understand the grammer system. What does that all mean. Is it likely for my son to get into any of these grammar schools with him being in year 8 as I'm assuming they may be probably full up as with many outstanding schools.
Wasn't aware that children had to pay to travel as it's free for under 18's in London.
In year 8 he would be too old for 11+ so would probably do an internal school test or 13+ if it's offered. The Tonbridge and tbw schools are great but are heavily subscribed. Some are super selective so only take the very top scores in 11+ , some are locstion dependant. Well worth a look as some of the best schools in the south East. My daughter got a place Tonbridge Grammar as an out of area candidate and has had the best education and school life would could have hoped for.
Just a thought you might stand a better chance going into year 9 as some leave after doing 13+ to go to places like Cranbrook
Thank you. To be honest I wouldn't say my son is overally academic compared to others so unless getting in at yr 8 if possible would be unlikely for him to gain a place in year 9 unless he is able to get a high score in the exams. Of course there is no harm in trying in which I would do.
Is there any non grammar schools that are really good. Preferably ones that either specialises in sports or maths or do a lot of sports as my son is very sporty
Essentially the grammar system means that it takes the top 25% ability of pupils and the other 75% go to non selective schools. This means that the many comp schools are not true 'comps' as they are meant to have a grammar stream but all the grammar ability students will have gone to the grammar schools. The comp schools do not have the same mix of children that an area with no grammar schools would have.
You would need to contact the LEA and see what schools have spaces as most schools will be full.
I spoke to Lea today and the following schools have spaces
The Knoll academy
St Gregory catholic
We are not Catholic so the last option is not really applicable to us. Does anyone have any feedback regarding the other schools.
Also I forgot to say sackville in West Sussex.
miller599 We are not Catholic so the last option is not really applicable to us. If the Catholic school has places available you may well still be able to get a place there (unless you specifically don't want you DC to attend a faith school). You may well be able to contact them directly to establish if this is the case.
We are Christian and I want my daughter to go to a church of England school. I wouldn't really want on in a church if England and the other in a Catholic but of course would consider it as a last option if that option is available to us
Name changed as this will out me completely.
I am from Tonbridge and currently considering secondary options for DS who is just going into year 6 (he's torn between St Gregs and Tunbridge Wells Grammar for Boys) I'm also from a large family so have experienced most of the schools through younger siblings and their friends.
Skinners Academy is apparently improving since becoming an academy but still isn't a very good school, I went there when it was still Tunbridge Wells High and it was dreadful. The Knole Academy is also improving but has a long way to go, I wouldn't even consider either of them for my DS.
Trinity school in Sevenoaks is very new so i don't know anyone who has sent their DC there.
Hugh Christie is a technology specialist, they teach quite differently to the other schools in the area using something called REAL which I don't really understand but it generally has a reputation for being good for the less academic children.
St Gregs is a fantastic school, it is a specialist in Mathematics and computing and is one of the only schools in the area that really caters for all abilities (it even has a dedicated grammar stream) my eldest brother went there and youngest brother will be starting in September.
The big problem in Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells is the slightly above average children who aren't quite academic enough for grammar have very few options, apart from St Greg's or Bennet Memorial which is CofE (or Hill View, which is all girls so no help to your DS).
Also I'd call and check what is available for DD as the good primary schools are very oversubscribed and some of the bad ones are appalling, I know quite a few people who didn't get any of their preferences and you get a lot of people every year who suddenly find God to get into schools.
Thank you charilla, the info you gave was very informative. I have read up and looked at the websites for all school. Hue Christie - I don't really like the way the curriculum is taught, good that it is a small school but don't think it is a school my dc will fit or adapt very well in. Trinity I'm thinking it seems quite far although it generally looks and reads like a good school.
I've also heard lots of positive reviews on St gregs and think this will be the one to consider.
As for church, we go to church anyway so that wouldn't be a problem it's just ensuring living in the right area for a good school. We were previously thinking of moving close to chiddingstone school but we have to think about transport for the oldest into getting to school
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Hugh Christies does have a good academic stream for its able students, of which it has quite a few. My son is now in Year 9 and has done very well, so much so that our bright Year 6 is not taking the Kent test and going to Hugh Christie. Certainly worth a look.
Kent has 11+. In Bromley borough you have the super selective grammar schools Newstead Wood and St. Olave´s which are both fantastic and some excellent comps such as Bullers Wood and Darrick Wood.
The rest of Kent has a range of grammar schools e.g. in Dartford, Tonbridge, etc. plus some decent independent schools.
For primary I know Bromley has some good ones (state and independent), not sure about elsewhere, I´m afraid.
Great transport links to London and generally a pleasant place to live. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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