Thanks to both for the great input. We had looked at St Eds but for some reason neither of the children took to it (nor did I). I'll have a closer look at Amesbury!
And thanks for Helen Arkell lead. We visited them in October during our first school search and I was really relieved to hear their take on our children's "profiles". I'm not sure I'll enrol either DD or DS straight away as I'm concerned about overload, but I'm interested in some of the courses for teachers/parents.
I hadn't realised The Royal had a "less academic" profile. DD is actually quite academic, just not very competitive (which is why we weren't pulled towards St Cats). I was very impressed that The Royal had been in the top 2% for value add since 2003 and 53% had A*-A on GCSEs... Seemed impressive in that they're not selective at Junior or Senior.
Sadly as we don't yet have a local address we weren't able to apply to any state schools...
But I confess, while my husband and I both lived in the UK for many years before moving to Switzerland, he is French and I am American, so the British system is quite confusing at times!!!
Anyway, thanks for the very valuable feedback. Once I get schools sorted Ill be back for guidance on where to live... Advantages of Haslemere as hub vs Godalming...
I know the school via friends rather than personally. It is meant to have been a great school for girls who are less academic or if you don't want a super academic environment like the Guildford day schools. The website outlines their plans, diamond model is fairly new but as your DC are fairly young by the time they are older it will be going more strongly hopefully. I'd be unsure about putting DS into a fairly female environment where most year groups currently have only girls, but do like the idea of diamond once it is up and running and all filled out. I haven't personally looked at the school though so not much evidence to back up my opinions in fairness!
I'd also look at St Edmunds in the area if you are looking for co-ed all through. Meant to be good at supporting special needs as well as a great, fun traditional prep. Also Amesbury is co-ed, it has good leavers destinations and is co-ed all through. These two will have more sport for boys.
Also if you are open to single sex look at St Ives (girls) and Haslemere Prep (boys) (although both a little more academic than Royal I believe). Can also speed up the A3 via the new tunnel to Godalming area schools St Hilarys which is fab for girls (and boys up to 7+) but quite academic. Or Barrow Hills which is co-ed, catholic and v traditional prep.
Or also up the A3 to Guildford schools (single sex generally) but GHS and Lanesborough are quite tough to get into and maybe not the best for dyslexia at this stage, by DC went there and we loved them. Tormead is a lovely girls school. St Cats prep is also really great for girls. These would all involve longer journeys and different schools for DS and DD.
There are several schools in Hindhead/Haslemere area so I would also look at the others. The Royal seems like a good school, from the pupils I have known there, and from my contact with staff they seem good at talking to children. (Not all schools are.) If you live in that area, it will be useful to know of the Helen Arkell centre just up the road in Frensham, which provides specialist Dyslexia advice and courses, including help with tuition and summer courses (you could also ask them for some unofficial advice).
They are not a coed school in the traditional sense, they operate a diamond model whereby only the youngest and oldest children are coed, the rest are single sex, with the boys being on the junior school site in Hindhead and the girls by senior age on the Haslemere site.
They don't yet have any secondary aged boys, but their sample timetable IMHO had very little sport on it.
I've also listed this on "Surry local" but as I'm fairly inexperienced at posting I think the question may be better posed here....
We're moving back to England after having spent the last five years in Geneva. DD is 8 and DS 6. I'm wondering if anybody has experience with The Royal School (Junior) in Haslemere.
Specifically, I'm wondering how well they accommodate boys - I think it is only a few years since they went co-ed so wondering whether existing boys feel at home and fully accommodated. DS isn't big on footie or anything ball related but is a typical boy with loads of energy and loves legos and cars playing outside, and building forts, etc.
Also, wondering how comprehensive the learning support. DD has mild dyslexia and DS has moderate, although we've had great support in current school so they're both coming along nicely.