Choosing between the New Forest and Farnham - can you help me?

(4 Posts)
surreyagain Sun 30-Sep-12 23:17:43

Hi there,

I am going around and around in circles and can't think straight anymore. And so here I am turning to strangers to help me try and work out which path to take (sad but very much needed : /)

We are returning to the UK in the next few weeks with our two children, 8 and 5. We have looked all over the UK trying to decide where to go. We have been to several places and homed in on two places - the New Forest area (for its beauty) and Farnham (for its school).

We love the New Forest but felt only one school was suitable - Milford. But the waiting list is a nightmare as expected and the village just felt a little too remote, rural and claustrophobic. This would obviously not be a great start as we would need to park up on the doorstep to get a chance of admission. We also wondered if the whole area of the New Forest would be slightly too aged for us at this point in time, but is so so friendly I might add! Nethertheless, my children loved the school, loved the area and the ponies : ) and we would be willing to wait and home-educate.

However, the biggest problem for us is my son. He is extremely academic and was put in a year above him at the private school he has been attending abroad. He gets extremely frustrated when not pushed and although I know many primary schools would be able to accommodate this to some extent, I feel he would still not flourish and would not reach his potential.

So here we turn to South Farnham School - listed as no. 1 out of 500 schools. It is a very academic school with a very high academic reputation, followed by a very good senior school. The waiting list is acceptable but we would have to live very close by. We are not so sure about Farnham - mainly due to the traffic congestion we see every time we visit and having lived in another part of Surrey I am worried that people will be unfriendly. My son is also keen to go to a bright and happy school having hated a previous school - South Farnham is a very old building and very focused which lessens the warm feeling you might get from other schools. I did visit the school and worried a little that it might be a bit cold and too much focused on academic performance. But that was just a vibe a got and may not have been accurate. He would certainly not be bored and they would be able to cater for him individually. The facilities do not compare one bit to those in the New Forest school - they are amazing! Farnham as an area to live also ticks the boxes for being a little younger. But then we lose the wonders of such a gorgeous area, near the sea/forest, lovely people etc. etc.

So then my head starts turning to other areas in the country - can I find a really academic school in a fantastic area that is perfect - and then there I go again. I know it is time for us to make a decision and stick with one of these choices rather than keep seeking utopia which doesn't exist : ))

So, what do I do? Go for the nice area - coast and forest - which has the less academic school which I feel sure won't accommodate him as well, and which already worries us about the ageing population (but again, very very friendly)

Or do we go to a busy town that lacks the wonders of the New Forest but has a great school which will certainly push him. And then although he will do better academically, will he be as happy as if he went to a more relaxed average school.

I apologise for rambling. I just don't know now which path to take. We have four weeks until we move. If anyone has any words of advice, I would be extremely grateful. I have only mentioned the names of the schools incase anyone has any direct experience and consequently some knowledgeable input to provide. Thank you so much!

Emmamix Fri 12-Oct-12 08:28:04

Let me chuck somewhere else into the mix... What about Winchester. Many of the schools have good academic reputations, and you can drive to the Forest and coast quite quickly.

surreyagain Fri 12-Oct-12 23:02:23

Thanks Emmamix,

We love Winchester and have seriously considered it. However, house prices are the same as Surrey and the only school which I really like the look of is St Faiths. But you are quite right, it is a great place!

surreyagain Fri 12-Oct-12 23:02:35

Thanks Emmamix,

We love Winchester and have seriously considered it. However, house prices are the same as Surrey and the only school which I really like the look of is St Faiths. But you are quite right, it is a great place!

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