Schools in Scotland (Stirling area)

(88 Posts)
Jo121Cambridge Sat 01-Feb-14 19:00:39

Hi all

We are hoping to move to Scotland this year, my husband will be transferring to Stirling. Ideally we would like to live in a village, but as we have 2 young schools - this is our priority!

So if any Scottish mums can help out in recommending nice areas with good schools that would be great. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old (due to start school next year).

I have no knowledge at all of Scotland (i'm in England) and would really appreciate any help at all!

Thanks, Jo

TeacakeEater Sat 01-Feb-14 19:46:32

Villages are not the same thing in Central Scotland as they are in SE England.

I don't know Stirling schools at all, perahps you could post in local page too.

North of Stirling,Dunblane is a nice small town with well-regarded primary and secondary schools.

Minicreamegg Sat 01-Feb-14 19:51:31

I stay in Stirling, the popular schools are Dunblane Primary and Bridge of Allan.

ThistleLickerIsGoingToBeAMummy Sat 01-Feb-14 19:54:11

I suppose it
Depends on which village you stay? Do u have an idea where yet?

StoorieHoose Sat 01-Feb-14 20:01:12

Yep what minicremegg said

Jo121Cambridge Thu 06-Feb-14 13:47:29

Thanks - its ridiculous but I haven't got a clue where to start our search! Hubby's work will be in Stirling thats all I know for sure.

I have it in my head that I want to be within an hour away from Edinburgh (the one and only place I have ever visited in Scotland!)

I don't want to be remote, but like village life really - you know less built up etc, but not too far aware from the towns.

I will research Dunblane - thats a start! We are coming up in a few weeks just for a couple of days to drive around as many places as possible to start getting an idea where we can get a house (near good schools)

Thanks everyone

Jo121Cambridge Thu 06-Feb-14 21:46:15

Think we are narrowing down now towards Bridge of Allan and Dunfermline!

Hopefully we will find some new schools in these areas (and some houses!) Im hoping the property prices won't be too expensive in these areas.

Minicreamegg Thu 06-Feb-14 21:58:05

Bridge of Allan is a lovely place, lots of wee cafés, shops on the high street etc everything on your door step basicallysmile

Waggamamma Thu 06-Feb-14 22:08:19

Dunfermline is a bit of a commute to Stirling, and it's a large town not a village.

Bridge of Allan and Dunblane are both lovely and much closer to Stirling. Dunblane has some of the best state schools in Scotland.

For village feel also look at Linlithgow. Or for thr cheaper alternative Polmont. Both within 20-40 mins of Edinburgh and Stirling or less by train.

Preferthedogtothekids Thu 06-Feb-14 22:58:19

Have a look at Culross on the Fife coast, very close to Kincardine. Very olde worlde and pretty with a good primary.

Jo121Cambridge Wed 12-Feb-14 22:00:03

This information is fantastic, thank you so much! I have made a note of all these places to visit next week.

Rockdoctor Thu 13-Feb-14 12:13:41

We are in a very similar position Jo121. Next week, if you see another English couple with two children in tow, then please come up and say hello! We may be scouting the same areas.

Another voice here for Linlithgow, a town of about 12,000 people. I honestly think it's the best place to live between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It has a very good high school - top 10 in Scotland on Higher results, if that's of interest - and five good primaries. You're on the train line for Stirling, but also for Edinburgh (20 minutes) and Glasgow (30 minutes). You're a 15 minutes drive along a good motorway from Edinburgh airport too.

But better than all that, it's a lovely place. At the heart of the town is a really beautiful loch overlooked by Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. The Union Canal runs through Linlithgow on its way from Edinburgh to Falkirk, where the Falkirk Wheel connects it to another canal all the way to Glasgow. The town is full of life too, loads of active societies and clubs, lots of stuff for children to do. A pretty decent high street with lots of good pubs and shops, and a few good restaurants. Always winning Scotland in Bloom awards too. The countryside round about is pretty, with Beecraigs Country Park at the back of the town.

I could go on!

Dunblane's very nice too, but for me Linlithgow tops it.

Take a look at to see what goes on here.

Jo121Cambridge Tue 18-Feb-14 22:54:19

Hey RockDoctor how funny! where abouts are you staying? We are staying at Best Western in Dunfermline from Friday til Monday.

Does anyone have any opinions on a place called Denny? Seen a nice house online and it appears to have a few schools nearby!

We are defo gonna check out Dunblane, Bridge of Allen, Falkirk, and Polmont. I have already looked online at Linlithgow and decided to not even visit it - as I will probably fall in love with the place and have already seen that I can't actually afford it ha ha. We are prob looking to spent about £250k and want to have 4 bedrooms if possible with a decent (ish) garden (although struggling to find anywhere with much garden!)

Linlithgow I think I would need a much bigger budget unfortunately.

RockDoctor - how old are your kiddies? Ours are 3 and 5 but they aren't coming with us on the trip (my mum is looking after them for us)

We lived in Linlithgow for 4 years from 2000, moved a few miles away for a bigger family house when we had our DS, regretted it, and moved back in 2008. We're in a much smaller house, but we couldn't be happier with our choice.

If the house is that important to you, and you're not minted, avoid!

Jo121Cambridge Wed 19-Feb-14 16:23:41

ha ha thank you! I figured as much. I looked online and I would have to get a smaller house than I have now to live in Linlithgow. I don't mind going a bit smaller but as I work from home I do need a bit of space really. I figured as much so its best I don't visit the lovely Linlithgow.

StoorieHoose Wed 19-Feb-14 16:27:29

I'm originally from Denny and unfortunately the local authority have all but abandoned the town. The town centre is a disgrace and the regeneration planned is cheap and shoddy.

St Pats is a good school that feeds to St Modans in Stirling however the other primary's feed to Denny High which I don't think does great on exam tables

7to25 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:35:21

My friend is from Denny. I am an English woman in Glasgow. Avoid Denny. I would suggest Dunblane.

Jo121Cambridge Thu 20-Feb-14 13:56:42

OK thank you very much, we want to make the most of our time so now I know to not bother visiting Denny! Brilliant.

So far I plan to visit:
Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Dollar, Larbert, Polmont, Kincardine, Dunfermline (thats day 1)

day 2 I want to visit Edinburgh and surrounding suburbs

If anyone has any strong opinions on these places or suggest I don't bother then please just tell me!

We are on our way tomorrow morning (Friday). But I shall check mumsnet for updates on the journey :-)

I really am so grateful for the insight ladies x

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:05:35

I am 2 minutes away from denny. Bonnybridge Primary is a good school here and St Josephs Primary in Bonnybridge is a tremendous school with a nondominational nursey and they also accept non catholics into the primary if they have attended their nursey. My dd1 attends the nursery, she starts their primary in august. Great sense of community and solidarity at the scho and very welcoming staff especially dd1s nursery staff

Hope this helps

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:07:43

I agree completely...... avoid denny. I attended Denny High and it was an awful school.

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:08:59


Denny looks horrendous just now with their half demolishing process. Makes me feel horrible driving through it

StoorieHoose Thu 20-Feb-14 14:09:24

(wonders if she knows midwifeandmum) I was at Denny High from 1985 to 1990.

bloody awful school I agree

StoorieHoose Thu 20-Feb-14 14:10:28

The town centre is really depressing and when you see how it used to look before they knocked all the wee old shops down and put up the blocks it!

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:11:11

I must add. That st josephs will still accept non catholics into the primary even if they havent attended their nursey. The headmistress would be best to speak too

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:12:03


I attended denny high late 90s till early 00s

Jo121Cambridge Thu 20-Feb-14 14:13:08

Thank you - so are Denny and Bonnybridge both small towns or villages? Are they both part of Falkirk council?

babyboomersrock Thu 20-Feb-14 14:15:25

Not sure you'd like Kincardine either, OP.

If you're going to look around Dunfermline, try West Fife villages - Culross, Limekilns, Saline etc - all are small friendly communities with local shop/PO etc. Local primary schools in those places seem good and secondary education in Dunfermline (Queen Anne?) good too.

StoorieHoose Thu 20-Feb-14 14:16:01

och your just a young thing Midwife!

Yes Denny and Bonnybridge are small towns and within the Falkirk Council area.

babyboomersrock Thu 20-Feb-14 14:22:03

Has anyone mentioned Dollar? Very pretty small town, 20 mins from Stirling and less than an hour from Edinburgh. Lovely countryside around.

BankWadger Thu 20-Feb-14 14:25:48

If you want to be close to Stirling you could look at Cambusbarron. It's as nice little village only separated from Stirling by the motorway. It has a good school and playgroup. Terrible bus links though. I nice mix of

BankWadger Thu 20-Feb-14 14:28:58

A nice mix of locals and not locals that should say.

Jo121Cambridge Thu 20-Feb-14 14:30:20

So for Day 2 - Edinburgh: I haven't done as much research for this yet so this will be a bit of a "wing it" day lol.

Anyone have any knowledge of nice surrounding suburbs? Don't really want to be right in the city as I like things a bit quieter!

midwifeandmum Thu 20-Feb-14 14:50:31

Yes Bonnybridge is part of Falkirk Council. So is Denny. I went to bonnybridge primary and that was a terrific school.

My body doesnt feel young stooiehoose lol

If you find Linlithgow prices steep for what you want, then I suspect you'll find the 'nice' Edinburgh suburbs also out of your prive range.

McKTastic Thu 20-Feb-14 15:28:50

Depends on how 'villagey' you want/ style of house. Callander, Doune & Auchterarder are all within 1/2hr commute of Stirling but along more rural roads (or up the A9 to Auchterarder) All have new build style homes that would give you 4 beds & garden for your money (traditional builds tend to be pricier). Out of these three I'd plump for Auchterarder. Good school (incl secondary), DH can commute to Stirling, feels rural but enough amenities/going on for families & you could get yourself a gym membership at Gleneagles wink Good Luck.

Jo121Cambridge Thu 20-Feb-14 15:47:12

right the list just got longer :-) i'll check it out

Yes when I say Edinburgh, I mean about 40 mins outside really (just a commutable distance I guess)

WeeClype Thu 20-Feb-14 19:05:56

I stay in Stirling but I love Callender, very busy in the summer tho.

TeacakeEater Thu 20-Feb-14 22:34:31

Larbert and Polmont have lots of houses, a train station apiece, but small to non-existent high streets as they are near to Falkirk. Both in Falkirk District for schools. I think Polmont feeds into Braes High School.

Yes AMumInScotland I know friends who moved from Edinburgh to Linlithgow for cheaper housing. Outside Linlithgow there is the village of Torphichen.

Maybe take a look at Auchterarder, a teacher I knew was v happy with the High School for her kids.

Preferthedogtothekids Fri 21-Feb-14 20:21:44

I've been in Dunfermline for 11 years and love it here. My dc have done very well at their primary and secondary schools (their secondary is very highly rated by the Inspectors). There are lots of small villages on the outskirts, like Cairneyhill and Crossford, which provide primary schools and offer bus transport into the High School.

Jo121Cambridge Sat 22-Feb-14 21:47:03

Thanks for the info, we aren't going to look near Edinburgh tomorrow. Instead we are going to look more around the Dunfermline and villages/fife area.

Today we travelled 150/160 miles and made a short list of places we like which are bridge of Allan, dunblane, dollar, and auchterarder. So already 4 places we are very keen on!

Tomorrow we will look around Dunfermline then re visit the places we liked today.

I need to find out things like, where I can take the kids for swimming lessons, where I take the kids for fun etc (indoor play areas if any) etc.

All things plus school info will help us narrow places down further.

I can't thank everyone enough for all the suggestions!

Preferthedogtothekids Sat 22-Feb-14 23:30:35

Dunfermline is well-served for swimming lessons, with the Carnegie centre and several High schools in the area which have Community use (out-of-hours) activities. McLean, Commercial, St Margarets and Townhill Primary schools all seem to be well-run. There is a gorgeous park in the centre of Dunfermline as well as a couple of dance schools and martial arts facilities.

It's a nice town and I have enjoyed living here :-)

babyboomersrock Sun 23-Feb-14 10:08:53

If you're interested in Dollar, I see that Dollar Academy (private school) has a swimming pool which is open to the public.

Good luck - it's windy and wild up here today (Dunfermline/Dollar area)!

Jo121Cambridge Sun 23-Feb-14 12:56:24

Oh my! What a weekend I picked hey, it's so windy. Thanks that's good to know re dollar. Back at auchterarder now having lunch.

Been to Dunfermline. I think I like it to "shop" but bit too busy to live maybe.

Favs are still dollar, auchterarder, dunblane and bridge of Allan.

McKTastic Sun 23-Feb-14 12:58:19

Def wet,wild & windy up here today! Hope you're having a good look round Dunfermline area today - different to the four you looked at yest.

Wrote you a long post last night then it vanished! Of your four from yest -All have pretty well thought of Primary Schools. Bridge of Allan Primary (incl nursery), Dunblane has Newton, Dunblane Primary & St.Mary's (all with nursery), Dollar has Strathdevon Primary ( incl nursery) & Auchterarder has The Community School of Auchterarder (from nursery too). You can look up all of their latest inspection reports on the HMIE website. If you lived in Dollar the nearest secondary is Alva Academy (about 15 mins drive), Dunblane has it's own High School, The Community School in Auchterarder includes secondary provision & Bridge of Allan feeds into Wallace High School which is on the outskirts of Stirling & a short walk.

Many of those living in Dunblane, Dollar & BofA send their kids to Dollar Academy, there is also the private option of Beconhurst in BofA & Morrison's Academy (in Crieff) if you lived in Auchterarder. All three of these private schools have nursery /primary & secondary provision & all three would be commutable from any of the four places you mentioned depending on how long you we're prepared to travel. All of the schools (state & private) mentioned have their own websites too.

Posting before I lose it again then will think about activities!

McKTastic Sun 23-Feb-14 13:21:59

Just seen your update. It's a horrible day up here!

All of the four places are reasonably similar in respect of sports activities/scouts/brownies/things on for preschoolers etc I regularly do things in all of them so it depends how much on your doorstep you want stuff/how prepared you are to travel to places within half an hour.

Auchterarder - am pretty sure private swimming lessons run at Police respite home, lessons a short drive away in Crieff, a bit further north in Perth (but a fab pool) or down to Stirling for The Peak or pool at the University.

Bridge of Allan/ Dunblane you'd probably opt for lessons at The Peak/University (but can easily head to Perth if you've more time for a fun swim or The Time Capsule in Monklands....).

Dollar Academy does allow limited public access to its pool but you could also do ones mentioned above or The Leisure Bowl in Alloa.

All four are easy enough commutes to Stirling & also lots of activities there for kids. BofA/Dunblane obviously closer. All except Dollar have train links but Auchterarder at Gleneagles station so bit more remote (despite it being revamped for Ryder Cup!) I've known all except BofA challenging to get to in really bad snow but that rarely happens!

Dunblane Centre has lots of activities for Pre Schoolers/kids, Stirling University has lovely grounds & activities on at The MacRobert Arts Centre. Some wee indoor play places locally but lots of friends head to Cumbernauld - Broadwood or Adventure Planet. If you're happy driving for days out too Edinburgh/ Glasgow/Perth all pretty accessible (as are things to do in Falkirk/Linlithgow/even further afield like St Andrews!). If you want to be right in the Central Belt focus on BofA or Dunblane. Dollar & Auchterarder are both lovely places to live but I think you'd travel more often to do stuff (& your kids def would when they get to the teenage years!).

Apologies for typos/lack of punctuation/spelling. Have just rambled but if there's anything more you'd like to find out about pm me & I'll try & help.

Good Luck!

McKTastic Sun 23-Feb-14 13:29:55

Look up Sheppardswimschool for info on good private lessons in the area (In addition to the others as Stirling Uni/The Peak/1:1 tuition at the Leisure Bowl in Alloa etc are all pretty good too!)

Must get off mumsnet now!!!

oohdaddypig Sun 23-Feb-14 13:44:24

In terms of surrounding villages to Dunfermline, check our crossford just to the west. Nice wee primary, park etc and only a bus ride to Dunfermline.

If I was in your position though it would be bridge of Allan for me. Lovely lovely place. Dollar is great too but that bit further away from bigger amenities.

The weather is unusually awful today smile

Jo121Cambridge Sun 23-Feb-14 21:20:27

Wow amazing information there so thank you! We are pretty tired, travelled over 200 miles in 2 days and then a 8 hour drive home tomoz!

Out fav location is bridge of allan I think, really liked dollar too but like u say it's a bit further out.

I think we are going to sleep on it now but I may pm you at some stage, thanks for that!

My husband is very keen but I'm scared of moving the kids so far and feeling isolated. Also wonder if in 10 years we would potentially move closer to Edinburgh to give the kids best employment opportunities.


Jo121Cambridge Thu 27-Feb-14 13:31:16

Hi ladies

Just wondering if any of you have any opinions on the west side of Stirling? So Balfron, Killearn and Drymen?

They look a bit more rural and further for hubby to commute but wondering if that means I would get more house for my money?!

Trying to give myself another option from my favs so far (Bridge of Allen/Dollar/Auchterarder)

thanks :-)

WeeClype Thu 27-Feb-14 13:52:05

Nice places but very little to do for the children I would imagine, lovely in the summer but not so great in the winter.

I'm in Stirling (bannockburn) and used to travel to those places for work every so often, I don't think I could make that drive everyday.

TeacakeEater Thu 27-Feb-14 16:33:35

Bridge of Allan is a good central location which keeps you on the rail network and futureproofs you somewhat. Personally I think rural loses it's charm as kids get older. I know nothing about the schools though!

haggisaggis Thu 27-Feb-14 16:43:31

WE moved from a village between Dunblane and Auchterarder fairly recently. It was close enough to Stirling for soft play etc when the dc were small. Swimming at Crieff (Crieff Hydro runs lessons as well as the public pool). The small village primaries around there were all good - feedered into either Crieff or Auchterarder. I know people with their dc at Crieff High now and they seem happy.

beatricequimby Thu 27-Feb-14 20:11:23

Balfron, Drymen and Killearn are all within commuting distance of Glasgow so prices reflect that. I love Drymen fab for getting to Loch Lomond. Balfron might have some cheaper houses and its where the very good High School is. Killearn is very pretty but a bit too affluent and perfect for me. Others feel a bit more like real villages. All of them are fine for driving into Glasgow where there is loads to do. There is a bus but think its only once an hour.

kingaelfred Sun 02-Mar-14 23:16:38

Hi, we moved up from the south to Dollar last August. Lots of incomers in the village attracted by the Academy so easy to make friends. It's well placed for access to both Edinburgh,Glasgow and Perth. It's a 15/20 minute drive into Stirling which is good for shopping. The local primary also has a good reputation as does the nearby secondary at Kinross. Renting here (in Dollar) is not easy as lots of people going after the same house and not much decent stock. There is an old railway line that is now a cycle path that runs all the way to Stirling and also beautiful walks up the Glen to Castle Campbell. The village has coffee shops, hotel, beauty parlours, Italian deli, several takeaways, dentist, library, health centre, co-op, florist, post office, bakers, pharmacy and even a fine art gallery.
Dunblane is nice and great state schools but not great for access to Edinburgh. Bridge of Allan is okay, a few nice shops but not much of a village/community feel. A lot of people live there for the access provided by the train station. Also worth noting that you are at the western end of the Ochil hills which seems to get a lot more rain than further down the valley in Dollar. Hope this helps!

McKTastic Mon 03-Mar-14 21:54:27

Kingalfred from Dunblane there's a direct train service to Edinburgh (almost every hour), it's about 5mins from the M9 which is a direct motorway & Citylink even run a
'fastbus' (the 909) between the two wink

cazzyg Tue 04-Mar-14 16:05:27

Transport is a bit of a nightmare from the smaller places you mention.

I'm in Falkirk. It's not the prettiest place in the world but we moved here for a few reasons including transport links, motorway, rail and bus to edinburgh, Glasgow and stirling all within 30 mins by train. Also your money goes pretty far in terms of housing. There's also lots to do for children - we have 5 swimming pools within a 10 minute drive. There's also quite a bit of investment starting to come to the town on the back of the helix park and the kelpies. I work in Edinburgh and my husband is in Glasgow and it's ideal for commuting.

In terms of activities for children, there is dancing, swimming, football, rugby, martial arts, gymnastics, childrens theatre, soft play. Shops aren't great but there's an M&S, Next, large Boots, small Debenhams and Waitrose in stirling is only a 20 minute drive smile.

It isn't as picturesque as BofA, Dunblane, Dollar etc but is considerably cheaper.

Jo121Cambridge Fri 07-Mar-14 13:30:14

All very helpful thank you! Hubby is still in discussions with work so I still don't know when this may happen yet. I know his employer are keen but the package hasn't been decided yet! So I don't know if we will buy or rent initially. I am seriously considering renting as it may be easier!

I know it sounds superficial but I want to live somewhere a little pretty, even if it compromises size if house. As long as I can get to places for kids within 15-20 min drive then I don't mind.

From what you have all said, perhaps I shouldn't bother with Balfron etc as they maybe too remote as the kids get older. At least dollar, dunblane and bridge of allan aren't too far from Stirling and Edinburgh as kids get older.

Interesting what you say about the rain too! Dollar is becoming more appealing if that is the case lol. The weather does concern me slightly anyway!

I still like auchterarder area too, which if I remember rightly is not far from dollar!


Nothingtosay Fri 07-Mar-14 14:47:08

If you are used to Cambridge the places now on your list are the nearest we've got within your stated radius that loosely compare - maybe aside from some of the upmarket Fife villages.

Are you viewing this as permanent resting place or as a five year stay before you head somewhere else to move up the employment ladder? The phase of having two little people at 3y and 5y zooms by so fast and I think you are right concentrating on what they might need in terms of schools and facilities in a few years' time. However if you don't quite get the area right with your first Scottish rental house (partly due to housing stock and what's available) you can always fix it 9-12 months down the line. I'd imagine it easy to move a 6 year old out of school in Scotland without awful consequence.

My advice would also be take a smaller rental house in an area that you are drawn to rather than going for 'better value' in a less pretty place.

Jo121Cambridge Tue 11-Mar-14 18:23:26

I think initially we should rent as I'm a bit nervous about the different buying system too. Then I would be looking for a very long term home, even if hubby moves on from his job then I would hope we are in commutable distance for him to get to Edinburgh maybe, so that we don't move again.

Out if interest, what are the upmarket villages in fife?

Preferthedogtothekids Wed 12-Mar-14 10:20:42

In Fife? I say Culross and most of the coastal villages heading in towards Dunfermline.

Nothingtosay Wed 12-Mar-14 10:49:59

As Prefer says... I was specifically thinking of Culross and Limekilns.

The East Neuk Fife villages of Crail, Pittenwe'em , Anstruther are also lovely but much closer to St Andrews so outwith your radius.

Twighlightsparkle Wed 12-Mar-14 10:55:28

Dunning in Perthshire ois lovely, I think the further north you go from Stirling the more villagy the villagers are! I can't explain that.

Dunning is about 20 mins from Stirling and is just off the A9. It has a fab primary and the secondary is in Auchterarder is fabulous.

Just been slightly further north takes you out the central belt .

Dunning is also about 20 mins from Perth, a city, but with a big town size and feel.

Twighlightsparkle Wed 12-Mar-14 10:56:22

It would just be commutable to Edinburgh as well. Lots df groups in dunning and a lovely pub and restaurant, village shop etc.

Twighlightsparkle Wed 12-Mar-14 10:58:26

DreamingAlice Wed 12-Mar-14 11:02:21

I think the OP said her budget was about �250,000? Is that still right?

I'm a bit of a latecomer to this thread, but I live in Stirling (just on the border with BofA and have children at Dunblane High. I'm originally from Edinburgh and briefly lived in Denny. I've lived various places in Edinburgh and also in Penicuik just to the South. We moved into the area when the children were toddlers. Looked right across the area including the Hillfoots villages, moved to Denny, didn't settle at all, then looked at every available property in the North half of Stirling City, BofA and Dunblane!

Dunblane High is academically the best rated in the area you are looking at, living in the catchment for it is not completely necessary. Academic achievement tho is not always the only measure of a school but it does mean that there is a premium to be paid for housing there.

So, if you want any local info, just give me a shout smile

I would also point out that from your OP you said you have a 3 year old about to start school? When is their birthday? It may be that you have another year to wait as the cut of dates in Scotland are not the same as those in England.

Jo121Cambridge Sat 15-Mar-14 09:42:17

Thanks all, I will look into all the options. Yes I think to buy a property we only want to spend about £250k really. Limekilns was nice but it felt too quaint for us as I have to do things with the children. We briefly saw culross and looked nice, but by that point we had over done it I think and too tired to explore anymore lol. I will google dunning and see where that is.

Yes my youngest would start next year, she doesn't turn 4 til this November. I believe that means she would start school next year in August I'm scotland?!

Picking the right area is so difficult when I'm so far away. I expect I will need to visit again and see couple of new areas and re visit the areas I liked from last time.

Jo121Cambridge Tue 18-Mar-14 16:00:18

Does anyone know if Alloa is an ok area? Seeing some nice properties on rightmove, and I can see it's not far from dollar and other places I like?!

Never lived there but it's not that far from me. Like most places it has it's good and bad bits. Two huge supermarkets, a pool/leisure centre, a train service into Stirling. You definitely get more for your money, but then again there is usually a reason for that. It comes under Clackmannanshire council (known as the wee county) rather than Stirling but they are merging more and more services together. Definitely not in the same league as BofA I would say, but not awful - the town centre for what it is could do with a bit of a facelift. They have a good beer festival. That's me about done smile

There are a few houses for sale in budget near where I am in Stirling - I could PM you. It is right on border with BofA has a nice primary locally but some kids do go up to BofA primary which isn't far and then most go on to Wallace High but mine go to Dunblane. There is also access to Catholic High School too in Stirling.

I could PM you details of the houses if you are interested.

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 16:33:16

I always end up on these threads as I have direct experience of all your short listed places. I was brought up in Dunblane, married DH who is from bridge of Allan, have lived in dollar for fifteen years, in laws live in auchterarder and sister lives in Linlithgow.

by the way, Kingaelfred Dollar I'd definitely NOT drier that BofA!

Dollar is the most villages of your choices, really good for preschoolers and primary age kids, a bit rubbish for teens as secondary school choices are not straightforward. You would not be unusual being English.

Alloa is cheap for a reason, it is much more working class than your other choices! harder to fit in as a non-local.

Dunblane is the sensible choice, good for all ages, teens and little ones, good community spirit, quite expensive, good transport links.

Auchterarder has some nice bits and a good school and high street but is worse for transport, gets more snow in the winter, when the A9 can be dodgy.

BofA, is very pleasant and has a nice primary school, residents can be a bit more " materialistic" than in your other choices ( in- laws sold two houses to footballers!). The catchment high school is not as well regarded though.

Large character properties are at a premium in all these places and you would struggle on your budget, seventies and eighties houses on estates could be found in all places for around your budget as long as you are not too fussy about architecture!

basically, if you see a lovely Victorian villa with four bedrooms in Central Scotland on your budget it will be in a rougher town or a remoter area.

Scotland is generally better at small towns than villages, many of the villages near Stirling are ex mining or mill villages.

Have you tried Gargunnock or Doune?

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 16:37:17

Out of catchment high school places are relatively easy to sort out in this area at the moment so if you like one town but prefer the school next door! it can be straightforward to change, this can have transport implications though, I have to drive mine three miles to a bus stop everyday!

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 16:40:25

Dunning is nice.

Groovee Tue 18-Mar-14 16:40:28

A lot of people we know are moving or have moved to Milnathort. Seems to be the new in place to go.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 18-Mar-14 16:47:56

South Queensferry!

Dunblane High which is in the top 5 or 6 state schools in the country is actively encouraging placing requests from out of area children. Rubbish for public transport now though you can get the train from BofA or Stirling stations. I drive, takes about 10 minutes.

Tabby1963 Tue 18-Mar-14 17:28:20

I am biased in favour of Polmont area, OP. We moved here nearly 20 years ago, brought our kids up here, and love it. Ten minute walk from train station, and right by fab canal system, a bit rural but close to lots of amenities. Stunning view of Ochil Hills from our house (and from many others). The Kelpies are here too! Cheaper house prices than Linlithgow, which is just about five miles walk along the canal path, great walk with kids, dogs or cycling.

Nothingtosay Tue 18-Mar-14 17:35:33

Yes of course, South Queensferry!

I agree with Wiggily Beezer's comments wholeheartedly. A very good assessment.

Slender is right IMO too about Alloa - I lived there from the ages of 4 -10 years and I hardly ever choose to revisit.

Wiggily you haven't said much about Linlithgow. Wouldn't you put that high up on Jo's list? My nomadic parents lived there for ten years up until 2005 and they should never have left.

Jo it can't be easy for you being 350 miles away and not being able to check these locations for yourself with lots of randomers like me coming up with place names...

For what it's worth, I vote 1) Linlithgow and 2) Dunblane. Linlithgow is my top choice because it is so accessible for Edinburgh, has a nice vibe and has highly rated schools, and importantly lots of incomers. I would rent for a bit first even if it meant a smaller home.

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 17:55:57

Yes, I would, the only thing that puts me off is my sister 's slight smugness about her choice, she likes it even though she was living in New York before she moved there, her English DH likes it too. ( my house is more interesting than hers though!)

I contemplated moving from Dollar at one point, to solve the high school issues but didn't want to leave my good friends and lovely neighbours so found a workable compromise.

I know someone from Dollar who has just got her son into Dunblane on a placing request, I told her they had been very negative about the idea when I suggested it a few years before, implying places were like hens's teeth but there seems to have been a big change.

wiggly, yes, it used to be hard to get into but falling school rolls etc has put it in the situation of needing more pupils in order to be able to keep funding for staff and the timetable running. There are only 6 classes in one of my son's years and only 5 in the other ones year. I think about 160 in one year and 140 in the other.

We applied for eldest with fingers desperately crossed and got a place no bother and didn't worry about the younger one at all.

Council website is misleading as it still says that places are hard to come by. Driving there is no bother at all though and actually Dollar might be on the public bus route through BofA though it doesn't go right up to the school anymore afaik.

Jo121Cambridge Tue 18-Mar-14 18:11:05

It seems to me my budget isn't enough for the areas and size house I want lol. If this goes ahead and they offer my husband a lot more money then perhaps we will need to review the budget!

Thanks for all your input it's very helpful!

Jo121Cambridge Tue 18-Mar-14 18:12:09

Soontobeslendergirl - thank you that would be great if you could pm some houses so I can get a more "real" idea of what I would be looking at.

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 18:16:24

Another thing to bear in mind is if you move somewhere attractive and accessible it's easier to get people to visit you!

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 18:21:25

You would have to change buses in causewayhead I think, plenty going the other way taking kids from Dunblane to dollar academy!

I think I got the deputy head on a bad day when I visited Dunblane high! she was very negative! it was before the new head mind you. it really put me off, which is a shame as it's my old school.

My boys are all at Kinross now, which is fairly similar anyway.

wigglybeezer Tue 18-Mar-14 18:26:10

Must stop talking about high schools the OPs DD is only three!

lol wiggly - yes, I think there were real issues before the change of head. The only issue I currently have is the assumption that everyone is a practising Christian but don't get me started on that one!

High school comes round so quickly though and you don't want to leave yourself in an awkward position for a few years hence. I think the Dollar bus goes near me too. Previous occupants of my house went there.

cjg4 Mon 07-Apr-14 14:52:05

Sorry to jump on this thread so late on - We have moved up to Stirling from down south. We have been here nearly 3 weeks now. I am a qualified secondary school teacher but due to the timing of our move (due my to husband's job) and the registration process to teach in Scotland I am now a stay at home mum. I was hoping someone on here would be able to point me in the right direction for a friendly toddler group I can take my little ones to?
My daughter is due to turn 4 in June and my son will turn 2 in the same week. Unfortunately there is very limited nursery school places at the state nurseries so come August I still cannot get them both in full time. It would be good to try and establish a friendship base with some local mums as until they both reach Primary School age it looks like I won't be able to go back to work with private nursery fees coming in at nearly £1400 per month for the pair of them full time!!
Like I said sorry to jump on board but many of you seem to have really good local knowledge.
Any advice on good groups would be very much appreciated.

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