Does anybody live in/know Reigate, Surrey?

(58 Posts)
OzzieinLondon Sun 24-Jan-10 10:42:39

Would be interested to hear current thoughts on good primary schools in and around this area.
(+ places to live and places to avoid?)

Have seen a few old one's here but would love to know more.

Thanks,

LIZS Sun 24-Jan-10 11:57:59

Most of the Reigate ones are much of a muchness but most sought after are still Holmesdale and Parish. Bear in mind you then switch at Year 3 and have to reapply for a junior school. Sandcross and Dovers Green, both South of the town centre, tend to get a bad press but even these are improving.

OzzieinLondon Sun 24-Jan-10 16:07:00

Hi LIZS,
Do you know much about areas outside of Reigate?
How about secondary schools? (for foward planning)

What areas within Regiate would you recommend living in?

LIZS Sun 24-Jan-10 16:49:39

Most of the other primaries in the area seem ok with the odd exception. Secondaries are very variable to be honest. St Bedes in Redhill is one of the best in the area but has strict entrance criteria based on practised religion and closeness to school, Royal Alexandra and Albertis getting ivestment for sports facilities and its results have improved massively in recent years. Now hard to get into (state boarding school with has limited places) and you have to live very close by. From Reigate you can easily get to Ashcombe in Dorking to but I don't know the arae west or north of Reigate that well tbh .

fabhead Thu 04-Feb-10 17:54:46

also bear in mind primary school admissions in Reigate in a bit of a crisis situation at the moment due to large influx of young families and large new housing development that hasn't been factored in. All schools are now at maximum size and in teh last few years tehre have been extras classes at one or other school put in to try and cope (also this year at the most popular junior - reigate priory). You have to live very, very clsoe to the school of your choice to stand a chance. This is also the case with the pre-schools. We live just under a mile from the 2 popular ones mentioned, a 2/3 minute walk from the high st and my son could not get into either pre-school or reception. In fact he didn't get any of our 3 choices last year. It is a great place to live but the school situation is a nightmare imo and most people have to consider private at some point.

fabhead Thu 04-Feb-10 17:56:24

and everywhere in Reigate is nice to live really, proximity to schools you like should be top priority I think. Anywhere walking distance to the park great for children.

pugsandseals Thu 04-Feb-10 19:17:07

Haven't been in the area for 10 years now, but I used to visit all the local schools as part of my job. I didn't like Sandcross or Salfords at all. My favourites were definately Meath Green Juniors (Horley) & Wray Common Primary! The only local secondary I visited was Oakwood which wasn't bad back then, but I hear it is improving. Ooh, and the Warwick- that was a friendly school but not highly academic.

Hope I've helped!

pugsandseals Thu 04-Feb-10 19:18:47

Wray Common is the feeder to a very good secondary if I remember rightly? Can't remember what it's called though

swill72 Thu 04-Feb-10 23:22:37

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swill72 Thu 04-Feb-10 23:39:26

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gaelicsheep Thu 04-Feb-10 23:40:20

I don't know about schools, but Dorking is much nicer than Reigate IMO.

pugsandseals Fri 05-Feb-10 17:07:31

swill72,
I think you may have misread the post. Ozzie was asking mainly about how friendly areas were which IMO is best judged by how friendly the local children and their parents are! That's all I was suggesting, was that in my experience Meath Green & Wray Common parents were by far the most supportive and friendly people I met 10 years ago. I can't imagine the whole neighbourhood will have changed since I've been away!
It's not all about academic results!!!

fabhead Fri 05-Feb-10 21:46:05

Reigate Priory is having an extra class this year in September 2010 to accomodate the extra class moving on from Holmesdale, as I said - Wray Common had one last year. Having been to appeal for Reception last year and met in the region of 45 other sets of parents, I think you are very lucky to only know people who got their first choice. I think I know 2. I have been in the area for 5 years (wasn't even in the country 20 years ago, haven't got a clue what the schools were like). Broadly speaking, the only thing that has changed is the distances have got tighter (there is no such thing as catchment area in Reigate, as you must surely know?) and Sandcross, Reigate School and Dovers Green have massively improved. Otherwise, it is still Holmesdale, Parish and Reigate Priory that are most desirable, rightly or wrongly, and are increasingly hard to get a place at (appeals for Reigate up 35% last year). Not sure there is much of a difference between 3/4 of a mile and half a mile away in terms of realism, but either way, the furthest distance offered out to last year for Reception was 0.46 miles for Holmesdale and 0.33 miles for Reigate Parish so if you want one of those schools, you need to be very close.

swill72 Sun 07-Feb-10 20:46:58

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schilke Tue 09-Feb-10 09:27:08

Dorking has lots of lovely primary schools and The Ashcombe School for secondary which is fab.

swill72 Wed 10-Feb-10 23:09:37

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ilovestrictly Fri 26-Feb-10 11:14:28

Not much to add really as Swill has covered it all very well! Would echo her thoughts on Dovers Green - we looked round and loved it.

The Priory will have an extra class in Sept 2010 to cater for the bulge moving up from Holmesdale. I expect Holmesdale will keep their temp classroom for Sept 2010 as Wray Common took the bulge last year.

Other good schools in the area include Earlswood Infants (Earlswood/Royal Earlswood Pk) St John's (meadvale/stjohn's), St Joseph's (catholic school in Redhill), Merstham Primary, Nutfield Primary. I don't know Meath Green Juniors in Horley but I have heard it is in special measures at the mo.

If it was me, I'd live south of the town centre to ensure you are in the Reigate School catchment - if you do attend church regularly (every week), then you should be ok whereever you live in Reigate to get into St Bedes. The Ashcombe is no longer an option for people living in Reigate the catchment is too tight - even for those living in Dorking! The Warwick is what you would most likely end up with if living north of railway line or even Oakwood in Horley.

I think SCC seem to be more organised now and are at least planning ahead when they know a 'bulge' year is coming. My child was part of the initial 'bulge' and we didn't get any of the three schools we chose (they were our three closest!) - thankfully, once the extra class at Holmesdale was organised, a place became available at our 1st choice due to some children moving to Holmesdale instead.

By the way, the latest admissions round is released tomorrow. Surrey CC do publish the breakdown for each school on their website along with the distance catchment for that year - it may help you plan a bit when looking at houses!

cath1974 Tue 02-Mar-10 17:32:29

Does anybody know if and where there will be a bulge/extra class in reigate area for Sept 2011 intake?

ilovestrictly Wed 03-Mar-10 10:37:50

Hi Cath - I have just answered the question above on a separate thread. I meant to add that the only guarantee for a school place in Reigate is if you attend church regularly as Reigate Parish School has a high proportion of 'church places' - I think it's 40 from memory. You have to live very close to the Parish to get a community place - .3/.4 mile max.

fin35 Wed 03-Mar-10 23:02:37

I live in Reigate and despite living 613 metres away from my local school we didn't get the place....

fin35 Wed 03-Mar-10 23:09:00

I would also add - all schools are excellent with the exception of Sandcross infants which I am told is under special measures and is one reason why the other schools are over-subscribed. Naturally this will be improving but not enough for me!!
The Council hasn't done anything to accommodate the growing population.
I have lived in Reigate for 10 years and the yummy mummy numbers have exploded! I have spoken with a few friends who were the Clapham set to find out why they put Reigate on their radar and it is all down to the schools. So if you are seriously interested live within spitting distance of the school or as my estate agent warned me - pay or pray!!!

swill72 Thu 04-Mar-10 00:25:32

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fabhead Thu 04-Mar-10 15:05:42

Sandcross primary was in special measures 08/09 when it was Orchards. It changed to Sandcross Primary for the Sept 09 intake. We looked round it for that year (as well as every other school within a 10 mile radius) and it really wasn't anywhere near good enough in my opinion, esp compared with the standard of all the other local schools - no prospectus, no breakfast club or after school care, no ofsted reports (all terrible ones from before mysteriously disappeared), no clubs, no reading schemes, no stated aims etc etc. However, the Sandcross people had just taken over and had a lot of plans to turn it around - as I believe it is pretty much acknowledged they have done at the junior school previously. I also looked round the junior school in case my child went to the infants and it was a lot more impressive. I don't know how much they managed to achieve since last September but they can only have improved it. The staff were very comitted to doing so, but it wasn't ready in time for us. However, the council's stated aim of using this school to ease the lack of primary places in Reigate ('the Reigate Review') seems a bit unlikely in the short term, even if they went up to 3 form entry, as this school is only ever going to appeal to people that live in the very local area as it is quite geographically distinct from more central parts of Reigate and is a feeder for Sandcross Juniors, not the Priory.

As a previous posters have said, the reason there is such a problem in Reigate is that they need more places, the existing schools are full to bursting, and the only place they have any slack left is a school that does not well serve the non-local areas and has a bad reputation to overturn before it becomes more attractive enough for people to drive their kids in from out of the area. Their models are also crap - predicted birth rate as mentioned which doesn't take into account rental properties with kids, infill, new housing developments such as the one in Merstham (which alone is predicted to add another 2 classes of kids into the mix within a couple of years). They know all this (they have consistently been unable to provide places for all the children on the waiting lists for the last 3 years and appeals increase each year) so the situation will only get worse unless they provide a new school imo.

Parish has 30 church places and 30 community places, not 40/20, and nobody who does not qualify for a church place will get in as a church place, so I don't see why anyone would expect it. Anyone who lives within a small radius of the school (north or south of the highstreet, don't understand why this should affect expectation - it is about radial distance around the school) should expect to be able to get one of the community places, tho abviously after siblings there are only 20 odd places every year so you have to be extremely close.

The other thing you have to remember is that it is not about catchment area, the places go to the applicants who are closest to the school using radial straight line distances (irrespective of whether you live north or south of the high street), once all special needs and sibling places have been filled. Siblings account for at least one class a year. This is further complicated by the fact that they have a "child's nearest school" criteris which is higher than the "other" criteria. Hence you get the situation where a child is offered a place that lives further away from the school than you do because they don't live closer to any other school. It is all about 3D geography for non sib/sn kids so you need to check in advance which school you are closest to - this is the one you are more than likely to get.

I personally think you should take all forms of information into account when trying to negotiate the schools minefield in reigate and make your own decisions - "school gate gossip"/other parents experiences/opinions can be just as useful as the ofsted reports, league tables, visits etc as long as you take it all as opinion and form your own after visiting the school. I have to say that pretty much all of the gossip I heard seemed to pretty much match what I saw at the schools, heard from other parents and read in ofsted reports.

My own personal rant about Reigate and schools is a) the people constantly banging on about catchment areas when no such thing exists across the whole of Surrey. So they say in one breath, well you can't expect a place where you live but we can because we're in the catchment area/live North of the high street when such concepts are completey irrelevent. It is about radial straight line distance and which school you are closest to, only, after siblings and special needs. If you live just south of the fabled hight street you could quite easily be closer than a child living well North and vice versa. And b) the inverse snobbery of the anti-yummy-mummies who accuse anyone of wanting their children to go to what they consider to be a good school for them of being middle class snobs, particularly if this happens to coincide with where the "school gate gossip" rates (really, I wonder why? Perhaps it is generally right!), yet wouldn't dream of sending their kids anywhere else.

swill72 Fri 05-Mar-10 00:05:20

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fin35 Wed 17-Mar-10 23:16:58

Fabhead - thanks for the confirmation re Orchards! I was given my information by a teacher not by playground gossip!

What is incredibly frustrating about the Orchards is that the old Ofsted report, that was so damning, has been withdrawn from the Ofsted website due to the amalgamation to Sandcross.

Therefore as a Mum you cannot make a fully informed decision on whether you should put that school on your list of preferences. Hence you will listen to playground gossip - there is nothing else to go by!

Sandcross junior has a very good reputation. Hopefully the infants will get there. It is just a shame that the Council has let the children down by not providing a level of education that is sufficient.

I have heard whispers of a school being built on the Redhill / Reigate borders. Not much help for the next 5 years though...

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