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 would get a 6month house rental to give yourself time and a base.
Then I would work out what the critical things are - are you stuck on the SE or can you go further afield? For instance, North Yorks has a good reputation for schools in general, and there are also some private schools and grammar schools that might be suitable for you.
I do agree that you need to think about 2ndary at this stage and not leave yourself with another move in a few years time that will disrupt the younger children then
Oh how maddening. I wrote a really long message on my iPhone and lost it all. I was just thanking everyone for taking the time to post. We spent the whole of easter driving around after your comments. One day in Freat Bookham which was nice. A morning in Burpham which we felt was too busy for us. A morning in West Sussex which we felt was perhaps a bit too far out for us from places we need to get to. We are still loving Farnham which is so friendly and has a lovely community feeling. Thanks also for the thoughts on sixth form college. I feel much better about that now.
Some suggestions if you were to look at moving back to Surrey near the Howard. You would do well to try some of the Bookham/Cobham schools. St Andrews in Cobham is a fairly large primary and has been asked to take on an additional class in several year groups. As a result it often has places as the extra classes are not always totally full. They have a well deserved Good Ofsted, lots of space and a pool. St Matthews in Downside is an infants school and also sometimes has places. Again has a great reputation. St Lawrence in Effingham and the Dawnay in Bookham are also worth considering. Both these schools are partner schools for the Howard in their admissions policy. On paper these schools dont have as great an OFSTED report, however, I know plenty of children from them who have enjoyed their time there and gone on to do well at secondary, so I would not get too hung up on the reports. Frankly all the schools in this area are pretty good.
Fleet? Good schools, less pricey housing than Farnham and no further away from LHR.
DS is currently in Y4 and we are debating the hassle of a move to Fleet to get to the less variable schooling than in our bit of Surrey
Would second those saying not to worry re lack of 6th forms, it's very standard to move to colleges for A levels round here and not something which marks students out as drop outs (I know that's not what you said but I'm aware that that view is not uncommon in some areas)
Can you do a short term 6 month rental?
I your shoes, I would choose a few good secondary schools and work out which primary schools are in catchment for them. Your eldest DC is 7 and so it's best to settle somewhere with good secondary schools, it will come round fast!
I would have another look at West Sussex, maybe the Surrey/Sussex borders. You are near to Gatwick but not on top of it, and almost all the village schools are very good or outstanding, although you may struggle more with waiting lists in the towns. The state secondaries are exceptional. And you would be close enough to work in the Guildford area if you got a job in a private school near there.
Oh no, not again. Useless with iPhone!!
For this school.
Again, some very valid points - thank you. You are quite right about Weydon. It's no deal breaker. Yes, we could move towards Epsom although I do prefer being a little further from London. Just me. My daughter used to go to Manor House and would love to go back. But I can't afford to put three of them in private. Plus I want them to have some stability, not settle them in and let them make friends and then pull the rug out once more : (((.
IHeartKingThistle. Interesting. I have heard this a lot recently and some negative comments that the school isn't so caring. I really like the look of Waverley Abbey too. If anyone has any thoughts on South Farnham I would be most grateful. We are totally keeping our lives on hold f
There's more to a good primary school than results. My DC are happy and thriving at a Farnham school that is very average on paper. No way would I send them to a school that only cared about results, and I have heard that about South Farnham (no experience though, don't flame me!). Have you been round the other school?
Weydon is meant to be good though. And all the children go on to sixth form elsewhere, so it's not like leaving a school that has a sixth form.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 : ((
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The LA will tell you, just ring Hampshire school admissions and ask. How far south are you able to move?
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 : ((
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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
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