Sussex: Looking for a lovely primary school

(18 Posts)
PlacesToSee Sun 05-Jun-16 14:22:36

We're planning to move to Sussex. One of the top things on our list, and hopefully a way to narrow our search, is that we want to find a lovely, friendly primary school that does well in the league tables (so not much then...wink).

We are planning to look at independent, probably selective, for secondary, so doing well academically is important. We also want the primary school experience to be fun and happy. Extra curricular activities and sports are also things we value.

We'd prefer rural or semi-rural to town, but will look at anything that ticks enough boxes.

Any suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Sun 05-Jun-16 14:40:25

East or West Sussex?

mummytime Sun 05-Jun-16 14:40:51

Sussex is two long thin counties! So I'd suggest you list at least a town: eg Chichester, Bognor, Arundel, Horsham, Billingshurst, Brighton, Lewes, Rye, Crowborough etc.

PlacesToSee Sun 05-Jun-16 15:01:47

Yes, I know I'm leaving it very broad, sorry. At the moment we have a slight preference for West, but also like areas in East Sussex.

We can move anywhere. We haven't narrowed it down... I'm pulling my hair out about trying to!! We are open to any suggestions, will research all recommendations and will create a short list and then go and look at all primary schools in the short list. Happy to base house choice on the school catchment area for now - we can move again later if necessary!

Lewes is nice, but further east might be more difficult for commuting (which we don't need to do daily). I don't know much about schools in the area.

I like Arundel and surrounding areas. Pethworth also looks beautiful. But we don't know what the schools are like or what it is like to live there.

We've also looked in areas around Haywards Heath (but would prefer outside the town). This area is good because schools like Brighton College and Ardingly are within striking distance post primary (and yes, I do know both schools have preps, but we'd prefer a good state school initially for a number of reasons).

Not too keen on living in Brighton or Hove, although it's lovely there, as the whole point of this is to get away from city living. Villages outside would be fine.

We've had day trips to areas around Forest Row/ East Grinstead - some lovely villages in that vicinity but we don't know what schools are like.

We don't know Chichester at all. But very happy to consider recommendations around there too.

mummytime Sun 05-Jun-16 15:32:48

Do you want to be close to the sea? Is a station important?
How old are your children?

PlacesToSee Sun 05-Jun-16 15:49:13

We don't need to be close to the sea, but have no objections to being close (anywhere in Sussex is closer than London grin!).

We commute, so stations are important; having said that neither of us needs to commute daily so we are happy to travel a few miles to a station if necessary on days we would commute.

We have primary aged children.

I'm really just looking for recommendations on what, in the experience of other parents, are really nice primary schools - I can research whether they would work for us in terms of location etc myself. I can look at league tables and search for outstanding Ofsted inspections. But it's not helping.

Nothing beats the knowledge of parents who have been to a school. That's what I'm hoping people might help me with! smile

merlottime Sun 05-Jun-16 16:45:48

Are your DC already school age? If so your challenge is more likely to be finding a school with two spaces in the right year groups. If they are not yet school age then just bear in mind the deadline for admissions, and the need to be living at a local address if you are applying to oversubscribed schools (assuming your DC don't fall into a higher admission category which may make distance irrelevant).

PlacesToSee Sun 05-Jun-16 17:45:59

Thanks, yes I'm aware of all of this. We will cross those obstacles once we have a starting point. One thing at a time!

Any specific suggestions of schools and why you'd recommend them?

NorfolkEnchantsToday Sun 05-Jun-16 17:48:03

I live in West Sussex, there is some lovely primary schools in Rustington X

Didiplanthis Sun 05-Jun-16 19:39:19

Hello,
It so complicated moving with children ! We live in 'east' east Sussex and our local station is only 1hr 10 mins into Charing Cross so don't exclude it on that basis - it is still pretty rural compared to much of west Sussex ( I have lived there too ) and often cheaper to live. Many small rural schools struggle to achieve outstanding status due to size, resources and diversity but still provide an excellent education in a nurturing environment so I would strongly suggest visiting even if they don't appear to meet your criteria on paper

PlacesToSee Mon 06-Jun-16 00:29:01

Thanks NorfolkEnchants. I'll have a look. I don't know that area.

Thanks Didiplanthis; we have already looked in parts of 'east' East Sussex, and indeed Kent too. We've really liked some of what we saw there, but think that overall we'd prefer to live further west. As I said, however, we're still happy to consider any area, so if you have particular schools or villages to recommend, then I will check them out.

I agree with your point about Ofsted 'outstanding' ratings and I certainly would not discount a school that was not rated outstanding. It would be easy for me to just focus on 'outstanding' schools, but we value other things more. That's why I'm here - I would really appreciate the views and opinions of parents whose children have attended great primary schools in Sussex.

t1mum Mon 06-Jun-16 15:57:45

The primary school in Slinfold in West Sussex is really, really good (has it's own swimming pool) although this year its Ofsted doesn't reflect that. You are in striking distance for senior schools in Hurstpierpoint, Brighton, Ardingly but also Guildford, Reigate and Cranleigh there. And the state secondaries are very good if you have a change of heart/finances.

handmademitlove Mon 06-Jun-16 18:55:39

The area between Horsham and Chichester has lots of good village primary schools. Look at Pulborough, Wisborough Green, Slinfold and surrounding villages. The commute is also ok from there.

PlacesToSee Tue 07-Jun-16 07:54:18

Thanks t1mum and handmademitlove, that's really helpful. I'll have a look. smile

t1mum Tue 07-Jun-16 09:08:32

Wisborough Green is my favourite village in the world, but Slinfold probably better for the commute. Warnham also near to Horsham for the commute but I'm not sure about the primary there.

PlacesToSee Sat 18-Jun-16 09:13:15

I've looked into Wisborough Green and Slinfold and the both look lovely. I think Slinfold no longer has a pool - it was filled in, right? Plaistow and Kirdford is also a local school in that area - all three seem friendly and have lots out outdoor activities. We have not visited yet.

Does anyone know about the primary schools near Lindfield, Scaynes Hill or Ardingly?

botherednothot Sat 18-Jun-16 09:37:28

Ardingly primary (St. Peter's) is a small village school and "blends" year groups to make up the numbers (so reception children in with the youngest year ones; older year ones in with younger year twos etc). While this works for some it doesn't for all and there have been a few leavers this year lower down the school. I hear great things about lindfield primary (much bigger with three form entry) and blackthorns in lindfield. If you are catholic, st Joseph's in Hh is also meant to be very good. To be fair most of the primaries around Hh and the villages are pretty good and if I was doing it again I'd prob avoid the blended years style approach that a lot of the smaller village schools have. HTH.

CleanHankie Mon 20-Jun-16 20:49:26

If you are looking at around Haywards Heath, I would echo what someone else has said, not many of the village schools have places left.
They are all great schools and none have bad reputation. People new to the area tend to choose schools on what feels best for them following a look round. Schools are always happy for you to visit but they might put you off if they don't have space. West Sussex Admissions can help tell you those with space. Might narrow your list down. More people are moving to the area than moving away so waiting lists are stagnant

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