All a bit of a mess : (((36 Posts)
My head is swimming and I need some other thoughts - mine have become very erratic!!
We have moved back from abroad for a normal life for the children!! They have been in private up to date and are doing extremely well. We have three school-age children aged 4, 6 and 7 and are looking at state schools. We looked all over the country having no roots and have camped down in Farnham, Surrey. Really happy here but the children have no school and the only school offered is a failing school and not an offer we will take up. We are waiting for South Farnham which seems a very good school. But I have some concerns eg. would much prefer the simplicity of a a primary school rather than schools in different locations. The other main problem for us is that we have been waiting for a nice house to come up since October and there has been nothing. We have been moving to holiday houses every few weeks and with four children at home I am totally drained.
I want to stay somewhere and never move again : )). But now I have just discovered that Weydons has no sixth form. This has put a spanner in the works as I feel quite strongly that the children need stability at that stage. So now with no house and some concerns about South Farnham school and no school anyway and now thinking about secondary schools, we are thinking of moving again. But where?
We used to live near the Howard of Effingham secondary school so that would be a possibility. Not surprisingly, the primary schools have waiting lists so that would be the same as here. The other secondary option I am thinking about is George Abbott and getting on the waiting list for Pewley Down or Boxgrove. I just want to settle now and make the right choice so the children can live a normal life at last! I know secondary is 3 years away but I would not move the children if they are happy so it needs to be thought about now.
And then my mind starts wandering to grammar schools. We did consider this as the oldest two are very bright and I am confident they have a good chance. But I think I would be grey before my time with the stress of trying to get all four into grammar schools. And are they a better education anyway? I read one thread last night and thought no way could I go through all the stress. But is it something I should be considering.
So what do I want help with? I am so confused I don't even know. All I know is we have no house yet, no school yet and four very bored children at home. Should I stick with Farnham despite problems - nowhere is utopia. Or should we go back to Bookham or even Guildford? Or are there other great secondary schools and primaries I should consider?
On another note I have been teaching in private schools and want to go back soon. So Guildford/Bookham would be better for that. But that's not so important - my children's happiness is.
I think in your situation you need to stop thinking about secondary just for a while.
Your main priority should be this...choose where to settle...find a house...find a school.
Obviously the choosing where to settle will be influenced somewhat by the schools on offer but you should not let it lead everything.
When you say you think of moving again to another area, do you mean within Surrey? Have you family anywhere else?
Thanks for replying. I think you have a point. It's just that I don't ever want to go through this again. I have four children at home with none at school and I don't think I will want to move again and go onto waiting lists all over again even if I realise secondary school is not the right choice. So I was trying to do everything at once : ((. We could move anywhere at all. But I do like Surrey/Hampshire areas.
I would look for slightly rural schools with space...and move near to them. That's what we did (Cheshire) we found a school 15 miles from where we were and it was outstanding but no waiting list...we moved within a mile to a village nearby which is not so rural in feeling...and got in. We ride bikes to school in summer and bus or car in winter.
It might not be so simple for you but unless you're IN LOVE with the exact area you are in, it's possibly a good route.
Is work dictating where you need to live?
No, not really. We need to be near an airport and to date I have taught in private schools.
If you don't need to live in that area then look at other much wider areas? There are always threads about schools from "down south" being so over subscribed etc (I'm from the north so apologies for generalising but most severe over subscribing I've seen on here is in southern areas).
Near me I don't know anyone who hasn't got their 1 st or 2 nd choice school and as an example, in my area of lancashire our options are mainly outstanding or very good schools with no problems of getting into them or the very good secondaries. No massive house prices either or having to play by the book to move next door. Have you considered totally different locations as most of the schools near me are not full and other towns across the country must be the same?
It must be so stressful living in these areas - near me, you live in a town, you go to the school. Even if good, you're pretty much guaranteed entry as population density not as bad.
Sunnyday - thanks for such a kind lengthy reply. What you say does make sense. We have considered other areas although if I am honest the furthest away we have looked at is Oxfordshire. I think our main problem is we are living in very temporary housing and have to make our decision within the next few weeks. I know around here extremely well and I just don't think I have the time or ability to start all over again. It's a real mess : ((
If I recall correctly, Trafford has some of the best state schools in the country and that would put you a very short drive from Manchester airport. There are also plenty of private schools around Manchester as an option for your DC or your career.
I wouldn't worry about the lack of 6th form, hardly any Hampshire schools have 6th forms so it is totally usual for the highest academic achievers to do their A levels at the college and standards are high. The volume of kids doing A levels all together means there is lots of choice e.g. history you might expect a choice of 3 syllabus rather than 1 and there is more scope for streaming e.g separate maths A level group for the best ones.
That said, much as I like Hampshire, if I had no family/job ties I would look further north, for the reasons others have stated.
Would it be worth ringing the LEA to ask which schools have places for your children and then go from there?
I don't think LEAs will tell you Ruprekt....if I were you, I would get a list of schools in a ten mile radius and check the ofsteds..then call schools directly and ask them if they have a waiting list
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks for the replies. I think I am starting to feel a little happier about no sixth form. I thought it was a show stopper being an ex-grammar school and seeing lots of friends leave to go to college and sink. But perhaps that is a rather narrow view.
I have rung the LEA and there are no spaces anywhere except satisfactory or worse schools in not so nice areas which I won't be sending the children to. So it will be a case of choosing an area and camping up outside and home educating in the meantime. That is exactly why I only want to do this once. With four children it would be incredibly painful/impossible to move. So stressed : ((
The LA will tell you, just ring Hampshire school admissions and ask. How far south are you able to move?
Oh Befuzzled I went through a similar thing....maybe it's easy for me in retrospect but I honestly think that a satisfactory school combined with tutors or a learning platform that you pay for children to attend is fine.
Home education however does bring it's own benefits. You could, with four children find that one or two of them are school-less for a major part of primary school.
It took me 3 years to get DD into her school....places in outstanding schools come up rarely.
I can think of at least one Outstanding school in Surrey that has spaces. But it isn't in a naice area, although having seen inside I would send my children there.
What about West Sussex?
No grammar schools but v good comps, lots of nice village schools, has an airport, also lots of private schools to teach at.
A friend of mine moved to our village simply because the school had spaces - she wanted to move to the area in general, looked at schools and spaces first and then went house-hunting
I do think however you may find a problem with trying to find a school with three spaces that is also a thunderingly good school. However if you live in a villagey area and are prepared to drive you could get them into two schools between the three of them.
Bishops Waltham/Swanmore is a nice village area in Hampshire. There are 4 outstanding schools and 1 good school within 2-3 miles of each other. 4 of the schools are primary phase, then there is a linked-site infant/junior school. They haven't been oversubscribed badly in recent years.
It's about 4 miles to the nearest train station, which can take you to London. Southampton airport is around 8 miles.
Within a 10 mile radius you can get to Eastleigh, Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Thanks for the replies. We did consider Sussex for a while - Haywards Heath and Horsham. As usual the waiting lists were long. I think it was the distance from main towns/airport that scuppered that one. Will look in
Oops. Sorry. Will look into Bishops Waltham. Thanks for that. Neo - I so hear you. The children have lost all this year from school and I need to sort it out before another year flies by : ((
Alverstoke village? Gosport probably not your first choice but bay house school has 6th form and I believe is a great school, as is alverstoke junior and infants not sure about ofstead reports. There are two grammar schools in Portsmouth, just over the ferry.
Please don't dismiss schools on the basis of ofsted reports. DD2s school is ofsted satisfactory with some good elements but it is a superb school. Contrast that with DD1 school ofsted outstanding school - I hate the place and reluctantly will have to move DD2 there next year because the only other school I may get a place at is even worse (and has an ofsted good report). Please find out which schools have places and go and visit the schools and get a feel for them. That is the only way you can really tell what a school is like.
Have you thought of Epsom? Great primaries and secondaries - Rosebery for girls & Glyn for boys. You can also go to the Sutton Grammars from here too.
How about Dorking? Most primaries are good and Ashcombe good too? Don't know about waiting lists though
Could you move back towards Howard and wait for Great Bookham/Eastwick/Effingham but enrol at Manor House/St Teresa's etc until a place comes up?
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