Reigate area schools?

(51 Posts)

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shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 12:21:35

We will be relocating to the UK (from overseas) and I'm trying to get my head around where to live to have the best chance of securing places in decent state schools. Private would be a stretch for 2 kids, so hoping we can go state.

We like the look of the Reigate area, to commute from Redhill/Earlswood into London Bridge. That said, we really don't know the area at all...

We will most likely need school places for Jan for yr 2 and yr 5, so I know we'll be allocated whatever happens to be available at the time.

For next year's application for secondary, do we just need to focus on staying well within the last year's furthest admittance distance? So, last year for Reigate School it was 1.4ish miles (I think), does that mean everyone who applied from within that distance got a place? What about the child's nearest school thing? If, for example St. Bede's or Warwick were closest school but we were still within the 1.4ish miles (or whatever it was in the given year) and applied to Reigate school would we get in or be automatically allocated closest? We will rent for the first year, so do have flexibility on location thankfully. I'm just trying to find out how far we can push it.

Primaries, I guess it's a case of taking what we can get. It seems, from what I can glean online that there's a serious north/south divide going on both in schooling and living on the right side of the tracks. We should have an address by the time of junior school applications in Jan, so I guess we can apply elsewhere if we're close enough for my youngest for yr 3 and up. It'll be a while before we can get over to have a look around, so I'd be eternally grateful of any local opinions on schools (particularly Sandcross & Dovers Green) and places to live/avoid.

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 12:33:58

You will find that Sandcross and Dovers Green are probably the least well thought of schools in the area. iirc DG is only infants and many schools in Reigate and Redhill have an infant/junior transfer at Year 3 for which you reapply centrally. Your dc2 would probably get sibling priority into wherever dc1 went but do check the deadline for applications as your dc1 may need to have started by then for you to get this priority.

If you applied to Reigate ahead of the others and qualified for a place you would go there even if others were nearer and also had space. For St Bedes most places are allocated on faith grounds (220/240 iirc) with very few on distance so need to live very close by anyway.

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 12:38:25

Thanks. Yes, unfortunately probably the most likely ones we'd be allocated too... Are there any specific reasons for this or would you be happy for your kids to go there?

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 12:43:23

I think it is largely historical as that part of Reigate has a relatively high level of social housing and Reigate parents can be pretty snobby. Sandcross in particular has new buildings, combining infant and junior on one site, and head in recent years and is up and coming. You could also consider St Johns and Salfords as they are both primaries so your dc2 wouldn't need to move again next September.

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 17:22:54

It all feels more complicated than a proper overseas posting!

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 17:47:17

Where would you prefer to live - why Reigate in particular ? Not all Redhill trains also stop at Earlswood and how would he get to/from the station.

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 17:51:23

And have you visited or do you know the area at all ?

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 19:24:06

No, totally done by recommendation from friends/commute etc! Will get a trip over before we take the plunge. Planning to bike to Redhill station as main option. No idea if this is really possible at all... Main criteria is a good and accessible school for secondary, primary too if possible of course. Want a nice town to live in/near with plenty if facilities. Because we've been missing uk life, we would love a naice town so we don't regret jumping off the expat wagon. Any thoughts on alternative areas if Reigate doesn't sound like this? Commute has to be into London Bridge too.
At this stage we've done a ton of online research but just need to get a look see on the ground.

LIZS Tue 03-Sep-13 09:12:40

Cycling is feasible , there are lockable racks at Redhill station. Reigate is a nice town but whether you would find somewhere you like near a good school really depends on budget and expectation. What facilities are you looking for and bear in mind it doesn't take long to drive around form one town to next?

shanghaismog Wed 04-Sep-13 10:44:05

Thanks smile Going to firmly bury my head in the sand until we can get over to explore a bit...

flatmum Thu 05-Sep-13 11:52:31

We recently moved from Riegate to an area a few miles outside and both the school and commuting situation are much better (also go to London Bridge - now a 30 minute journey down from over an hour from Reigate). I'd advise you to look at some of the areas surrounding Reigate - Merstham, Caterham, Bletchingly maybe, Coulsdon even (excellent for commuting to LB, bit of a dull town). These areas are also much easier to get back to after a night out in London smile

Reigate is a very nice town with a vibrant high street but is rubbish to commute from. Redhill looks ok on paper but you have to get there (traffic) and park (I believe station carpark is still oversubscribed). Some people go to Merstham instead (slightly easier to park). Also, everything is very oversubscribed - particularly the schools. Mine are in private as we were not able to get them into a state school in Reigate. House prices are also very inflated and fiercly competitive - unless you have a very healthy budget (almost London levels) you may struggle to get a decent family sized house that is within the very small catchment areas for the primary schools. Even things like Cubs, GPs, dentists are nearly always full.

I have been pleasantly surprised how much better quality of life is in the surrounding areas to Reigate if you are interested in this area (taking into account house prices, commuting time and being able to pop into the supermarket without having to drive around 5 times trying to find a parking space).

shanghaismog Thu 05-Sep-13 17:24:05

Flatmum that is great advice, thank you! I guess going private allows a bit more freedom than within the teeny catchment areas. We will definitely be looking around the area when we come over to explore. I would love to avoid private schooling, so that we can actually travel a bit and enjoy life. It would be a struggle to put 2 the whole way through... Are there any state schools outside of reigate you would recommend? Secondary important as we'll have to apply from wherever we rent first of all. Total minefield!

Flappingandflying Thu 05-Sep-13 18:40:28

Have Pmd you. There is just the place, not centre of the universe but has what you need just south.

shanghaismog Mon 09-Sep-13 12:29:18

Ok, so I keep getting the feeling that Reigatebis pretty much over capacity in everything. What about Oxted? Anyone know anything about schools/living there? We are v open to other areas with decent commute to LB & good schools. How are the secondaries in Oxted?

LIZS Mon 09-Sep-13 15:30:45

There is only one secondary in Oxted but it seems ok. There have been some changes to admissions policy in recent years, with pupils at certain primaries getting priority so you may want to investigate that. Commute isn't hugely reliable though (East Grinstead line), Redhill has a more frequent service.

shanghaismog Mon 09-Sep-13 17:18:39

You're a star. This is all such a headache... Seriously any of our expat moves have been much less stressful than this. Maybe we should call Kirsty & Phil - they'd sort us out!

Beccadugs Mon 09-Sep-13 17:38:10

Hello!

We love near there and I work in education, so can advise if you like.

Have a look at stops on the Horsham line out of LB Merstham, horely etc. easy to get to Reigate for naice outings, but usually lots of nice things going on too.

You could always consider the royal Alexander and Albert school. You pay minimal fees (for the extras) but its non selective and very inclusive with tons of bursaries, etc. people find it a good compromise between state and private.

Please feel free to PM me if you want any info about particular schools!

Beccadugs Mon 09-Sep-13 17:42:29

Live not love, but do also love it!!

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 16:51:02

It's all looking like it's going to happen sooner rather than later, so need to get something sorted! What's Salfords primary school like? The ofsted report (2011) is a bit worrying with numerous references to Travellers and much work on social behaviour etc. I'm really trying not to be a snob, but that does concern me... I'm still focussing on Reigate, specifically to have a state secondary option. Any other state secondaries that are highly thought of (assuming RS is)? We're not religious, although kids go to a Catholic school at the moment, so St Bedes is unfortunately out of the equation.

mummytime Belgium Tue 10-Sep-13 16:57:29

I would consider the Waterloo line too to be honest, because lots of people do go to LB from there, its a quick commute via Waterloo East station. Or have you looked at Kent?

LIZS Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:03

I don't think Salfords is particularly problematic. Travellers are prevalent across the area so that is an issue in many schools. Reigate is a good school but possibly not as good as you might assume given the area as there is also Reigate Grammar which is private. Has Surrey LA given you an idea of schools with places for both ?

Beccadugs Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:49

Have you considered Dorking (not sure about trains) both the Priory and Ashcombe schools are good.

The Warwick and Oakwood are probably the ones to avoid.

If you are still thinking earls wood, earls wood infants and juniors are lovely (based on supply I did, not looked at ofsted).

flatmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:06:52

I think Warlingham School in Warlingham (more or less in Caterham though) and Riddlesdown in Sanderstead (bit further over) both have pretty good reputations and are used as "the state option" by people whose children were at privates preps in the surrounding areas. Both on the train line I use which is less than half an hour direct to LB (stations Upper Warlingham and sanderstead)

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 17:10:27

Will check out Waterloo line, thanks. Had ruled out Kent as we need to be close to airports and for ease of getting to m4 for visiting family in SW. We figured this was as far west we could go whilst still getting a decent commute to LB. We've been incredibly lucky in various places over the last 10 years to have a 15min commute (this last one by bike), so any kind of London commute will be a shock to the system!

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 17:14:36

Also, in normal admissions process if a school is our closest but we're further away than the published furthest admitted figure, we'd still get in assuming no other school was closer to us. Is that right? The published distance is for those allocated after the nearest school kids have been allocated?

SCC have told me waiting lists for the schools I asked. All waiting lists, not sure how much movement is to be expected.

flatmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:16:06

good thing about east Surrey in general is access to the M25 and gatwick whih is really easy. possibly the weak link is the secondary school choice unfortunately. good journey to London, great access to the countryside and the coast, really has go a lot going for it, wish they'd sort the school situation out though! to be fair and to warn you it is pretty bad throughout London and the southeast in terms of over subscription. you are doing the right thing in identifying the school you want before you move as you have to be very close.

flatmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:18:48

I wouldn't rely on being anything other than "nearest school kids" - many classes are taken up entirely with siblings and them. I have never heard o anyone getting in on a waiting list unless they were top three - this is for primary though, may be easier at secondary?

Beccadugs Tue 10-Sep-13 17:21:15

There is usually quite a lot of movement, so don't worry too much. I think you are right about the published distance thing.

LIZS Tue 10-Sep-13 17:21:38

in normal admissions process if a school is our closest but we're further away than the published furthest admitted figure, we'd still get in assuming no other school was closer to us. Is that right? The published distance is for those allocated after the nearest school kids have been allocated?

No I don't think so necessarily. You apply and applications re put into priority order ie. looked after, siblings , distance (can vary so check each school). There is no "nearest school" criteria in Surrey afaik. So whatever spaces are left after the first two categories are allocated in order of distance, those nearest first. You could however express a preference for a school further away and still be allocated a space there if you met the criteria .

flatmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:29:45

I thought there was a child's nearest school category above any other child on distance? there was a few years ago but my knowledge is a few years out of date. this is why in the year that my ds1 got none of his 3 reception "choices" in Reigate even though we were 0.9 miles from our first choice, because we were 0.8 miles away from a school we didnt put down. (and neighbours behind us did get in because they were equidistant to both)

they can change it annually with consultation though so I guess this may have all changed.

mummytime Belgium Wed 11-Sep-13 06:31:12

"Fourth priority: Children for whom the school is the nearest to their home address"
This is the distance criteria in Surrey, it doesn't matter if you live 300m from school A, if you also live 200m from school B (and it isn't a faith school on Surrey's list of excluded faith schools or out of county schools, because "normal" applicants do not generally get admitted) you will fall into the fifth priority category.

mummytime Belgium Wed 11-Sep-13 06:32:18

Sorry, however OP. Not everyone in category 4 necessarily gets into their chosen school, it depends on just how oversubscribed.

LIZS Wed 11-Sep-13 08:02:10

ah, has changed since we applied , so op may be correct. See here If I read this correctly it means that 4th priority is for those who name the school as a preference and for whom it is nearest to home. 5th are those who name it, with places allocated in order of distance.

LIZS Wed 11-Sep-13 08:17:39

I believe the recommendation is to put the nearest school as one of your preferences so I don't think you would automatically get allocated your nearest school over someone who named it if you didn't. However you might if all your preferences were full before they got to your dc's name on the priority list and it had still had space.

mummytime Belgium Wed 11-Sep-13 08:48:12

We have only been talking about schools you name as a preference for the main intakes. If you don't name a school you will only be offered it if there are places after everyones preferences have been allocated.
If you apply in year you will only get a place if a) there is a place available and you are the highest preference to apply for it, b) you win an appeal, c) if the LA applies the fair access protocol.

flatmum Wed 11-Sep-13 08:52:14

exactly. we put out nearest school at application time as first choice so would have been category 4. this was the year they then changed the way they measure distance from using roads and pathways to radial instance so we became, in actual fact, 46m closer to a different school that we hasn't put down and hence ds slipped down to category 5. school was full with category 1-4 by the time they got down to evaluating category 5. so he then was passed to second choice school, same thing, and at third.

if have thought you stand a good chance of getting in as a category 4. Never rely on being a category 5, 1 or 2 get in if lucky.

so basically, you have to live very close to the school you want and not be closer to any other suitable school.

I imagine, though dont know, that the distances must be breather for secondary schools and more cat 5s get I. as they are so much bigger?

flatmum Wed 11-Sep-13 08:53:08

larger!

tiggytape Wed 11-Sep-13 09:10:01

mummytime is right - a person in category 5 who names the school will get priority for it over a person in category 4 who didn't name it even if the category 4 person doesn't qualify for any of the schools they listed.

You have to be careful therefore when listing options as it is not the case that if all your choices fall through, you'll be sent to the nearest school to your home. Unless you name a school you will not be considered for it. You could still end up with a place if it is the type of school that has vacancies left even after all the allocations are over but if it is a school lots of people will list, you will miss out.

You cannot argue that you would have qualified for it more than some of the people who got offered it if they listed it and you didn't.

AfricanExport Wed 11-Sep-13 09:35:27

I have to agree with F atmum

I would not move to Reigate unless I could afford private schools. The traffic in both Redhill and Reigate is horrendous in the mornings so I would have to be walking distance to station and school. ..ie. sooo very expensive. ... but very nice. Reigate school is in South Reigate and although a good school its the traffic again.

Unless you're a practicing Catholic you have next to no chance of getting into st bedes. Warwick school is not great. Not sure about the primaries but there is nothing to feed into.

I would look at Caterham, Merstham, Kenley or Warlingham. Riddlesdown, Warlingham or Oxted are probably your best state schools in the area. Well that and RAAS which you really need to live in Mersham for or meet other criteria.

good luck

LIZS Wed 11-Sep-13 09:43:22

Often nearest available secondary to Merstham is Warwick and De Stafford in Caterham is similar results and reputation-wise. Very few get admitted to RAAS from local area although I think you'd stand a better chance at Year 3 than Year 7. Demand has been high since introduction of flexi boarding. Traffic in the area is slow but not gridlocked unless there is a problem on M25 or by the station at around 5.00/5.30. For some reason particularly slow in mornings on A23 too atm.

flatmum Wed 11-Sep-13 09:58:49

but you can live near to de Stafford as your nearest school and get into warlingham or riddlesdown as many do because the schools aren't as badly oversubscribed in Caterham as they are in Reigate. So presently thousand a chance I getting in a a cat 5 as these schools are big and have wider catchment areas. I believe you can also sit an entrance exam for Riddlesdown if it is not your nearest school. De Stafford locally has a slightly better rep than Warwick I would say and does seem to be improving. (my neighbours daughter got 11 A* at gcse there so it must be at least possible to do well there). I drive past on the way o the station and I have to say that I have seen a marked improvement in the behaviour and appearance of the students in recent years (used to see kids smoking for example, never see that now).

sandyballs Wed 11-Sep-13 10:25:01

Coulsdon isn't far from Reigate, very good links to London bridge and Victoria/Waterloo. Excellent primary schools, Smitham, Woodcote, St Aidan's and Chipstead Valley (which has recently become 'outstanding'.

Some if these kids go on to the grammars, Wallington. The state secondary is good - Woodcote high school. Not such a good Oftsed recently but when you read it properly this is mostly due to problems in the 6th form which is new for the, and is being addresses. GCSE results this year were excellent, way above average for a non selective state secondary. Oasis academy had a bad reputation but is rapidly improving, in old coulsdon.

Lovely house surrounding woodcote high.

sandyballs Wed 11-Sep-13 10:25:52

Excuse errors, dodg iPad.

flatmum Wed 11-Sep-13 11:28:47

I was going to mention Oasis Academy too - lots of positive "noise" recently

shanghaismog Wed 11-Sep-13 12:32:55

Really, you lot are fab! Thank you so much. I'll have a look at the other schools mentioned. So basically, we need to live somewhere with our preferred school as nearest school, list it as no 1 preference, then list others nearby by distance as next preferences....making sure to live close enough to no 1. Easy, that leaves about 4 streets... Nightmare.

Hoping any of the other options are ok! AND that's not even considering primary places, which I've basically written off. We'll just have to take whatever's going by the look of it.

Flappingandflying Wed 11-Sep-13 20:50:53

Oakwood got better results than st Bede's last year... Not sure what Burstow school in Smallfield is like as a primary. Really I think the only thing to do is to go look round schools. What about Haywards Heath area? Warden Park School and Oathall are both good. Horsham? Milais for girls is outstanding and the mixed school there is said to be good. Think its called Tamworth or somesuch.

LIZS Wed 11-Sep-13 21:34:47

Oakwood got better results than st Bede's last year... ? www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/education/school_tables/secondary/12/html/936.stm

Oakwood School 65% got 5 GCSE A*-C but only 9% Ebacc
St Bede's School also 65% 5 A*-C but 41% Ebacc

Suggests to me that Oakwood offer a number of non-core GCSEs (General studies, Citizenship etc) which are more coursework assessed. Might be worth looking achievements at subject level within each schools.

holidaysrcoming Wed 11-Sep-13 21:58:20

sometimes they are also GCSE 'equivalents' as well......there should be a gcse for understanding gcse tables.

i used to commute to london bridge from a station going into waterloo - not so bad, you just walk to waterloo east, trains come one after the other and less than 5 mins to LB. Most people face the tube and this was far easier.

You could then consider a number of other towns in Surrey with good secondaries and easy access to M25/M4 and airports.

IsabellaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 13-Sep-13 10:16:45

Hello, we have a Local site for Surrey in which there are listings for schools and a Talk section, which is a good place to ask locals about local stuff such as schools.
Go here: local.mumsnet.com/surrey and click on Talk or Childcare & Education.

shanghaismog Tue 08-Oct-13 11:22:01

Well, all progressing well! Moving to Oxted in a couple of weeks and looks like we have school places in lovely schools. Fingers crossed we all have a nice easy transition!

Pixiedust1973 Tue 08-Oct-13 16:37:15

Only just seen this thread. Too late it seems. We relocated to Reigate about 20 months ago & my youngest went to Sandcross school. Cannot speak more highly of it. My eldest got into Warwick in Redhill because we moved mid year. Again, cannot speak more highly of Warwick. It has a historic bad reputation & there is some snob factor because of where it is & it's intake, but anyone with kids that actually go there knows how great it is. My youngest now goes to Reigate school because it's walking distance of our house. It is also very good, but communication isn't as good as Warwick. If you change your mind about Reigate feel free to PM me. Best thing we ever did moving here. smile

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