Relocating - Schools in Maidenhead - help please!

(43 Posts)

Hi all,

I haven't posted for ages, but am worrying myself into a frenzy about moving from Notts to Maidenhead or nearby as my husband has moved there for a new job, and I am jobhunting there too.

We have 2 primary age children, and are looking to rent a house from September, but I am worried about choosing the right area for schools. We have found a house in Bray which I think is in catchment for Holyport, but over 1 mile from Oldfield, which has a better ofsted. How easy is it to get into Oldfield this year? Anyone with experience of either school?

We live in a great area, full of outstanding schools at the moment,and all I see about the school system in Maidenhead is worrying me. I want my children to go to an outstanding school, if at all possible, but we can't afford to live in the most expensive areas.

Any advice gratefully received.

Morning, hopeful bump at a better time!


tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 09:55:46

wombling - I don't know the schools you have listed but, as a general guide to moving to a new area, living in catchment doesn't necessarily mean you will get a place at the school.

If you are applying 'in year' (eg if your children are already in Years 1 and 3 at school), you will only get a place if the school happens to have a vacancy in that year group or if you go to appeal and win (very hard to do unless a child in in Year 3 or above because of the law on class sizes for younger children).

If you move to a new area and rent a house close to a very good school, they are not obliged to find a place for you. If they are full you will be allocated the nearest school which does have a place available. It might be that Maidenhead schools aren't as crazily oversubscribed as other areas, but generally outstanding schools can be hard to get into unless you are lucky and someone happens to be leaving just as you are looking for a place.

Give the local authority a ring and find out about in year admissions and which schools have vacancies at the moment.

Hi wombling - I'm in M'head.

I'm not sure why are worried the school in M'head, a lot of them are rated as Good or Outstanding apart from a few in, sadly, more deprived pockets of the town.

What age are your children ?

My DD went to an outstanding infant, Boyn Hill Infant School and I would highly recommend it. She now goes to a Junior, All Saints, they are Good ( I think they really didn't struck lucky with their Ofsted as the head mistress is absolutely brilliant and the teaching staff are very good and approachable ) and the community is lovely. Both are CofE. Another great aspect of those is that they have a great wrap around care system comprising of a Breakfast and an After School club.

You also have St-Edmund Campion, which is a Catholic School and also an outstanding school. I'm not sure how easy/difficult it is to get in that one as I think you have to attend the church ?

DSD has a friend who went to Oldfield and she really enjoyed it.Furze Platt is another good area with great schools.

Our oldest is in Newlands Girls' School, which is an outstanding over-subscribed Secondary School.

I don't know much about the schools in Bray as I'm near the Boyn Hill area. Bray is lovely but you might be limited in choice of schools.

I would avoid St-Lukes and Ellington Schools.

In year application have to be dealt directly with schools so you will need to contact them.

PM me if you need more details.

More info on here


tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 11:07:34

It is actually the local authority who deal with in year admissions. That is the same everywhere and is outlined here for Maidenhead

Yes- absolutely right tiggy it was different when we moved here as it was prior to 2010.

Just read it ! Sorry

tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 11:13:41

It's all changing again soon anyway I think!
In 2010 the government put their foot down and stopped schools doing their own admissions in year. Now there are plans to revert back again
The LAs have sometimes been incredibly slow getting people placed (cases where the school say they have a place, the parents know there is a place but the LA aren't ready to allocate straight away).

Oh well. I'm just glad we're in the system now. Most pleased we got a place a Newlands as it means youngest DD will be most probably allocated a place with the sibling rule. That's if they don't change it !

Cox Green was our second choice of SS - They have massively improved in the last few years and we were impressed with their Arts department. Both DDs are very Artsy/Media type of girls so that was important for us. Newlands has a music recording studio and I think this is fantastic.

Thanks for input everyone, we have done a transfer application a few weeks ago and are waiting to hear, we should have had a response last week.

Everybody knows, thanks, that's useful. My dd is 7 almost 8 so yr 4, and my ds is 5 so yr 1

I will check out the links this evening when I am back from work, thanks for your help!

Does anyone know Holyport or Oldfield?

Thanks again.

EBDTeacher Tue 24-Jul-12 13:03:31

Oldfield has a great local reputation and you did have to live incredibly close to get in. However, they are expanding and it seems to be causing some ructions. Last I read it was up in the air whether they would have Infants on the current site and a new site for Juniors or have both Infants and Juniors on two sites- so effectively two federated schools or to try to squeese a school double the size into the current site. I think they are trying to get their hands on the bildings of what was the Winbury Prep school in Bray, no idea if that is going ahread or not.

Neither the current parents or staff seem to be pleased about the expansion.

I've heard good things about White Waltham and it might be a bit cheaper to rent there than in Bray?

Your DD might be OK for more schools than your DS because the infant class size regs (max 30 in a class) only apply up to Y2. If your DD gets offered a school you really like and your DS doesn't, check if the school gives preference to siblings in its admission criteria. If there is sibling priority then your DS could be pretty much top of the waiting list for the next available place in his yeargroup because his sister is already at the school.

True EBD- We were thinking about White Waltham too at the time but chose M'head because of the easy commute for DH and more choice of shops/cinema etc without the prices of Windsor and Marlow grin

Hii all,

Thanks for the extra info.

Had call from DH, apparently get news from LEA tomorrow. Fingers crossed. We loved White Waltham, but have found it impossible to find a house to rent there that we can afford. That is/was our no 1 choice.

Hoping we get them into the same school too. Will keep you posted.

This is all really useful, so thanks again.


Does anyone have any info about Datchet or Cookham Dean?

Thanks in advance

EBDTeacher Tue 24-Jul-12 19:54:15

I don't really know the schools but Cookham is delicious. I would love to live there.

I know EBD, it's lovely isn't it. I think we might be on the waiting list for that school, might find out tomorrow.

No idea about Datchet but yes Cookham is lovely. No idea etiher about schools.

Rats, our council haven't had a response from wi
Windsor and Maidenhead council, and won't tell us over the phone either!

We have to wait for a letter, and are due to complete the paperwork for the bray property on Friday - aarrrgghhh!

Not sure what do do, we've struggled to find a rental we're happy with that we can (just about) afford.

So stressful!

wombling- the Council should speed up the process once you have your house letting sorted out as you will have an official addy in borough ?

It is strange that they wouldn't discuss with you on the phone.

Anyhow, I work near the Town Hall so if you need help, just let me know smile

Crapola, got letter for DS when we got back at 2am this morning, none of the 6 preferences we indicated have got a place available. Not sure what we can do now. Just don't need the stress, and have no idea about DD yet.

This is so worrying.

tiggytape Sun 29-Jul-12 14:46:46

Sorry to hear you haven't got a place as yet. When you get DD's letter you might have more options available. For example if DD gets a school offer, DS may well go tot the top of that school's waiting list in September.
And if DD doesn't get a school from those you have picked, you can appeal with much higher chances of success since she is Year 4 (which in turn might help DS move right to the top of the waiting list).

Have they offered you an alternative school for DS? They will be obliged to find him a place although not necessarily at one of your listed schools. If it gets to the stage though where no school at all has a space for him, then the LA will have to force one school to make an extra space under Fair Access Protocol. But that only applies if absolutely no school within a wide area has any space at all.

I suspect you will have to keep on at them a bit to ensure they find places.

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 15:14:58

Cookham has three primary schools - Holy Trinity, Cookham Rise and Cookham Dean. Holy Trinity reputation has gone down in recent years with a change of head and most people I know with dcs there aren't happy. Cookham Rise was fab, head retired, new head rubbish, special measures, temp head, now permanent head and school has improved a lot. People I know at the school are very happy with the head and the way the school is going. Cookham Dean is small and has old buildings but good reputation. Depending on size of school year birth rate it can be ok or completely impossible to get into. I can't put my finger on it but I didn't like the atmosphere. However that was four years ago so it may well have changed.

If I were picking now I would chose Cookham Rise over the other two, which is a very different decision to the one I made 4 years ago.
Oldfield didn't even take everyone in catchment for this Sept.

Alwyn is a very good infant in Maidenhead and feeds into Courthouse, which is a good juniors. Alwyn also takes dcs out of catchment.

goGBTeacher Sun 29-Jul-12 16:10:14

Also would it be worth trying for Dorney or St Nicholas CofE. Don't know if they take DC from out of catchment but the area around St Nicholas is not very densely populated which makes me think they might?

Thanks for replying everyone. We applied for Cookham Dean, white Waltham, Bisham, Datchet and Knowl Hill and st Edmund Campion. Not sure what they will offer us now. We are in Holyport catchment I think, so no chance of Oldfield I'd guess.

Thanks for the extra detail about the process Tiggytape. That's a good idea re Dorney and st Nicholas goGBteacher.

The waiting game is nerve wracking!

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:09:14

Here is the allocation info for 2012/2013. Knowl Hill has space according to this (I think that is because it isn't a very good school).

If you are practising Catholics then St Edmund Campion and St Mary's may be your best bet.

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:10:57

This is a catchment map.

This tells you your catchment area.

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:18:44

I'd also give the LEA a call and ask them where there is space. If they won't tell you then call the individual schools. Last year I thought I'd have to move ds and called some of the local schools. All were happy to tell me whether they had space or not. I'd also call the LEA a few times if you don't get info the first time. It very much seems to be whom you get on the phone at any given moment. Some there are very helpful whilst others act as if they work for MI5.

Thanks bisjolympics, I think we will have to be really persistent. DH is getting on the phone first thing this morning. They do contradict themselves regularly, and everything seems so secret squirrel!

tiggytape Mon 30-Jul-12 09:26:31

wombling - if you are applying in year, catchment areas and last distance offered don't really apply. They only tell you how places were allocated when hundreds of children were applying for spaces at the time every school had places to offer.
When you are applying in-year, you can sometimes end up with a place at a school which you wouldn't have been offered had you applied at the usual time. Basically, assuming each school doesn't have spare capacity in every year group, you get sent to the closest school with a space which isn't necessarily the same thing as one of your closest schools.

I agree about being persistant though. They do have to find you somewhere and you don't want it to drag on. I would be ringing them very frequently for updates and information. You especially need to know where your DD will be offered and whether this will help your DS on the waiting lists (or where your DS will be offered so you can try to get your DD in on appeal).

The schools can tell you if they have spaces but, since the LA allocate these, they won't necessarily know if there is anyone above you who will get priority for that space by virtue of distance or sibling rules. The schools won't know whether the spaces they have could be allocated to you or not.

Thanks Tiggytape, DH has been told to contact again with proof of address, but I am not waiting until we are in situ. I will get the rental agreement for proof of address and me or DH will call regularly until we get some answers, for both DS and DD.

Really good info and advice, so thanks again.

WA thanks

goGBTeacher Mon 30-Jul-12 17:43:33

On the plus side, after the stress of all this I think you will love living in Bray. It's a great area round here. grin

Hi, Bray is lovely, as are lots of areas there. I am looking forward to spending some time by the river!

Any more feedback on local schools gratefully received.

Thanks again


Still waiting to hear about DD. apparently there might be a place at my least preferred school, (based on ofsted and area only). Not sure what to do about that.

Until we get decision officially, still nothing we can do. This is painful, the waiting!

To cap it all the gas engineer has shut off my boiler for at least a week while he gets parts and has time to do it so no hot water!


bisjolympics Fri 03-Aug-12 22:08:16

Which school is that?

Knowl hill I know you said not v good, sI worried. Still need to hear about the other schools. Not Catholics, so that would be difficult.

Hoping that she gets another school too, aargh!

Just had detailed conversation about call with LEA yesterday, so I know a bit more now.

There may be a place at Knowl hill for DD, but won't find out til 4th Sept or after. DD and DS are moving into Bray with DH end of August. Don't know what to do about childcare for that week. Asked MIL and PIL, they have said yes from 4/5th for that week. Any suggestions for childcare options in m/head?

I will be working my notice back up here until end Sept, so can't help. Also need to sort before and afterschool care, but don't even know where to look until we know where the schools are!

Help please! Thanks

Hopeful desperate bump re childcare options?

Thanks very much.

Bump (fingers crossed!)

toomuchicecream Tue 07-Aug-12 22:48:29

Either Missing Link or Wise Owls (google for them). Without wishing to give too much info and identify myself, I can say that I observed Wise Owls after school club at very close range over a long period and would have been very happy for my son to be there. Their website says they pick up from Knowl Hill and take the children to Oldfield (which would be ideal for you to pick them up from if you are in Bray). If you do get allocated Knowl Hill, don't be too down-hearted because of the reputation as in my experience the reputation of a school and what it's actually like often bear little relation to each other. (Once taught in a school with a very good reputation and would have done anything possible to avoid sending my own child there, in fact I left as soon as I could after I worked that out).

Thanks so much toomuch, that's massively helpful. I will get on to them tomorrow. Thanks for the reassurance re: schools. My two are in a great and outstanding school now, so don't want to lower my standards for them with this move IYKWIM. I am sure it will all get sorted, and we will prob need to appeal for one or both of them we'll see. The reccomendation is fab. Thanks

Elenus Wed 14-Nov-12 20:55:56

womblingalong, hope you got the places you wanted!

Wanted to ask about M'head pre-schools in this thread. We live in catchment of Oldfield, hoping to get in if they expand. But they do not have pre-school... what would be your recommendation? where should we go once DS and DD turn 3?...#many thanks

Elenus, just seen this, sorry!

Yes we are here, the DC's got into knowl hill and seem to have settled in well.

I am not sure about per school locally however, there is a play group at Bray village hall. Have you looked into that?

Good luck smile

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