staying in london post dc - experiences please?

(92 Posts)
tricot39 Mon 19-Nov-12 19:38:06

We are in a quandary. We were looking to move near to dps, to a city with a good job for me, 15/20min walk to work and great state comps. Unfortunately the economy looks like it will put a spanner in the works. We get the above, but with a 20% pay cut and probably scant job security. Staying put looks sensible but with the avalanche of families/friends leaving london we wonder if we are making a mistake by considering staying. We dont need to move for space. We live in a fairly deprived/up & coming part of london and the schools are improving but not great. Neighbours' kids all seem bright sensible types who went to.cambridge or are heading that way. Am i fooling myself that things could be as good for our kids? (or at their equivalent level). Any advice? What did you.do?

Gravenwithdiamonds Tue 27-Nov-12 22:31:00

I went to a comp that sounds similar to yoursme. As a very spoddy child, who was desperate to learn, what helped me was :
-streaming - all the academic subjects were streamed from year 7, which meant my classes were with like-minded children and discipline was less of an issue
-parents who were involved in my school (governors) and very strict re. school discipline and performance (I was expected to get As for effort in all subjects, they were not worried about academic performance so much)
-home environment that encouraged and supported learning etc eg, lots of books (not necessarily high-brow), parents who are interested in learning themselves and encouraged stuff like learning an instrument
-some excellent teachers with a real enthusiasm for their subjects - this directly influenced what subjects I did well in but is something you don't have much control over as a parent.

Coconutfeet Wed 28-Nov-12 11:18:38

Sorry I haven't had time to read the whole thread.

Tricot - You helped me a few months ago with recommendations for surveyors and you mentioned the area where you live. Not sure if your dcs are boys or girls, but my nieces both went to primary school in your area. They then went to the girls' school and thrived there socially and academically. They have both turned into well rounded young women.

crazyhead Wed 28-Nov-12 20:34:33

Interesting thread.

I went to an average comp like you tricot, without much culture of learning and not something I'd particularly want for my son. Although there are loads of people on this thread who actually did really well in an average school so perhaps we should have more confidence in the system!

However, my comp was in the Home Counties where I grew up, and what bugged me (and what I'd like to avoid for our boy) is how beige and boring a lot of the kids were - about one non-white kid in the whole school, hugely conservative. I really struggled with it.

The bad thing about London is that we all get very anxious and achieving a decent standard of living is getting harder all the time, but let's not forgot that the good side is that at least it is diverse and interesting, and a broader experience of life.

Also, my OH and I are really well educated, so I'm sort of assuming that having us around more because we aren't commuting is going to provide him with at least some educational benefit.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 28-Nov-12 20:53:13

As far as I can see from the Ofsted league table, London's secondaries are 80% either Outstanding or Good, and London has the highest proportion of outstanding seocndaries in the country.

Bad teaching, and bad attitude would be a worry to me, but on the experience of our local schools I see neither a high level of FSM nor EASL as being factors to beware of per se.

Schools aren't (necessarily) the bear pits of our youth, and schools need their academic pupils to do wll, in these target dependent times.

If I were you I would make the decision on your lifestyle preferences and work prospects, not schools.

EldonAve Wed 28-Nov-12 21:01:28

our local secondary is "outstanding" but the staff do spend a good 30 mins every morning rounding up pupils from the high st

RCheshire Wed 28-Nov-12 21:13:41

Ofsted Outstanding only tells you so much. I've looked at a couple of 'outstanding' primaries which were highly rated largely because the outcomes wre great relative to the average child's entry capability.

However I'm not commenting on whether London schools are good or bad - I don't know.

shartsi Wed 28-Nov-12 21:32:19

I live in London and was worried about schools too. However a friend of mine told me something that really helped. She said that it did not matter which school her child attended because "any child of hers will excel academically because she will make sure of it. It will not matter how bad the school is but her input as a parent will make up for any shortcomings of the school.
I hope to do the same.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 28-Nov-12 21:56:13

"I've looked at a couple of 'outstanding' primaries which were highly rated largely because the outcomes wre great relative to the average child's entry capability."

Well, exactly - that shows you that the standard of education is good. If they get good results but hardly make any progress relative to the child's entry capability it shows you that the parents are doing all the work!

Presumably a school that gets great outcomes relative to entry ability are offering that standard of education to ALL children and stretching high ability ones, too?

RCheshire Wed 28-Nov-12 22:01:47

No, what I meant was the outcomes ok to good in absolute terms, but great relative to starting points, so that doesn't tell you whether those starting at 'good' are going to reach 'excellent' at that school. They might well do, but the results didn't show that.

ellerman Wed 28-Nov-12 22:04:02

London is a great city, as is Paris, Tokyo, New York but the sheer effort of working (in a median waged job) to afford to live well with children in these cities is not worth it. I have lived in the south east but for me its no contest! Edinburgh is a wonderful city, free museums, you can walk everywhere, its cosmopolitan, beaches and countryside are less than 30 minutes away, the Scottish school system is less stressful. Over subscribing at primary school level is very very rare.....I wouldn't even worry about that. There is absolutely none of the angst I hear about regarding secondary school places, if you go to the primary within the catchment you get into the local secondary. People often chose to go to the local catholic secondary school rather than non-denominational as they often have better reputations. ( that's allowed!) .

Taking 5 Scottish Highers allows young people to study at depth and breadth rather than limit it 3 A levels. Good quality education at secondary and tertiary is well established here, and its free of tuition fees.

In fact it takes so long to travel across London, in the same St Andrews - all within 90 minutes or less, and you get to see the rest of Scotland.

You also miss out on the (daily or twice weekly) time with grandparents. I know of 2 sets of grandparents who have moved here from the SE and SW to be near growing GC.

Leave and breathe! Seriously I don't envy your decision, but when I lived in the SE I was astonished at people's myopic attitude towards the rest of the country, and almost shocking ignorance of the treasure that is Scotland!!

ellerman Wed 28-Nov-12 22:05:36

Sorry it should have said in the same time it takes to cross London you can see all the museums and cultural sights of Glasgow, Stirling , Perth, St Andrews

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 28-Nov-12 22:08:16

oh, I see, I think!

If you look at a school on the Dept of Education website tells you how many high, medium and low ability students are in each year, and how they perform (as a group, not individually) against entry level ability.

The overall average result tells you very little about the prospect for one individual child in a school, for better or for worse!

RCheshire Wed 28-Nov-12 22:09:44

Ha, very passionate ellerman. I worked for 18 months in Edinburgh (living in the New Town) and agree that it's the city I feel has the most going for it out of all those I've lived in/spent time in. Unlikely to be somewhere we'd ever consider for family reasons but I understand where you're coming from.

RCheshire Wed 28-Nov-12 22:14:45

CarlingBlackMabel, you've just reminded me about those DoE website pages, which I had looked at, but forgotten about! Thanks.

Yes, my only point really was that Ofsted Outstanding doesn't tell you everything in itself, but I suspect everyone knows that

To be honest I think most people (myself included) spend too much time comparing schools when deciding where to live. My OH went to a secondary which was the pride of the town. Within 12 months the head and several teachers had left, and it experienced a subsequent steady decline.

(of course if your school sees a pupil knifed every 6 months you might be right to think again...)

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 28-Nov-12 22:28:47

DS is in an outstanding secondary with the best results in our borough, but is not enjoying the teachers of his 2 favourite subjects, and is becoming disenchanted with them sad.
I went to a very academic private school and it took me 3 years at Uni to clear the stuffiness out of my mind and think creatively and bravely.

Where can you find the narrative about the provision in different councils - this new Ofsted report?

Woodlands Wed 28-Nov-12 22:31:37

Ooh Tricot I live in t1he same area as you, I think. We are just moving house within the same area so we are definitely settling in for at least primary age (our DS is 2).

tricot39 Thu 29-Nov-12 22:12:11

"Ofsted Outstanding only tells you so much. I've looked at a couple of 'outstanding' primaries which were highly rated largely because the outcomes wre great relative to the average child's entry capability."

Quite rcheshire. One of the schools we were looking at in Scotland had an inspection report that said that their teaching was good but not outstanding and that they did not do enough with their intake. Their results were 3 times the national average but the inspectors thought that the mc professional intake kids should be doing better!

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