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?

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!

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).

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?

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...)

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.

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!

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

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!!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

We're Londoners. We have moved further out of the centre for better schools and more space, but still in easy commuting distance. Cannot imagine living anywhere else, so great to have so many options for the kids to do at weekends, and the older they get I think the more we will appreciate t5hat

tricot39 Tue 27-Nov-12 22:10:35

Graven having Highers myself I don't have any particular concerns about transferability or uni applications. It is a bit of a non issue. We had checked out oversubscription in our target areas, so didn't have to worry about that too much. Notwithstanding your sister's problems, the vast majority of scottish kids get in to their catchment school. The schools are mainly local authority and there is one model of governance. Less choice = less stress. I find that very appealling. For me more choice = more stress - but with the added confounders that choice doesn't guarantee better provision, or that the choices are not actually available to all! Having said that tho, the difference in systems between the 2 countries is not going to be an overriding factor in our decision to move. It will come down to employment and job security. If a good job came up, we would probably go (for all the reasons above rather than just being about schools), but in the current climate, I can't say that this is looking terribly likely.

Which is why I started this thread. If we don't move to Scotland, and we can't do grammar or private, then what options are left to us? How do we make the best of schools rated "good" by Ofsted, but with average, or worse, results and high proportions of FSM and EASL. I am sure that these schools are far from failing, but I went to a comp with a similar profile and frankly it wasn't pleasant. There just was not a culture of learning for about the first 4 years. I really do not want the DC to have to suffer the same if they are keen and want to learn. Does it come down to how they manage discipline? and Limit disruption? Because my school was not great at that.

The good news today tho was that the annual Ofsted report scotched the idea that all London schools are terrible. Surprisingly it also revealed that teaching quality is unrelated to economic prosperity - Oxfordshire did not come out too well. Unfortunately the bad news is that my local authority is close to the bottom of the table for having a decent number of good, or better, primary schools. I am pretty sure that the situation is the same for the secondaries. Grrr.

Xenia Tue 27-Nov-12 12:10:45

Children's ages matter too. I think it is rarely kind or wise to move teenagers even if they are still just 13 before GCSE as their friends are terribly important to them, more than their family so psychologically moves well before then are wise.

Gravenwithdiamonds Mon 26-Nov-12 22:57:43

Over-subscribed schools in Scotland are still over-subscribed, whether or not they are Scottish - my sister is in Scotland and has had issues with getting into primary schools at least so I would question slightly whether the system is that much simpler. They also start school a year later (which can affect childcare options if you work), plus you may want to consider Highers vs A-levels - not that one is better than the other, just different, with a potential impact on university choices. No fees is a very attractive prospect...

RCheshire Mon 26-Nov-12 22:46:06

We had this discussion 5 years ago. Slightly different from many of you as neither of us are from London (or even the South).

We've also lived in quite a few places between us (Lancashire, Derbyshire, Bristol, Surrey, Leeds, York, Manchester & London (Wandsworth & Clapham). The range of places we've called home perhaps means we've looser ties to any one location (geographical tarts!)

Staying in London as a family wasn't remotely appealing to either of us. I can understand why people do (even more so if that's where you're from/family is) and we have a couple of friends with children who've chosen to stay long-term (all for career reasons). We are both able to both work in many locations (although earning ~60% of what I could earn in the City) which helped.

I don't remember us having a single reason for not considering London. We hadn't got as far as thinking about schools, so I guess it was more about the space/garden we could afford, pollution, crime and simply wanting somewhere a little less densely populated/greener.

I certainly have don't believe there is a commonly held view that London schools = bad and rest of the country = good. There are certainly geographical pockets of exceptional schools in various areas of the country, but even if you moved just outside London, there are average/poor schools in Hertfordshire etc.

Each to their own and all that!

tricot39 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:38:15

Gosh so many points. sorry if i miss bits.

the local kids that i know have done well either were in the grammar or home ed! some coming through the local comp but it is still early days to know how it has been. there is also no 6th form which is a shame. i found role models at school quite inspiring.

the simplicity of the scottish system is what attracts me. also free uni fees! none of the english stress. if you live in catchment, you get a place. catchment maps are fixed and published. changes are widely consulted and infrequently made. having said that, the independence prospect is pretty unappealling so it is not all a bed of roses.

in relation to our current area, it is nice enough. one of its best features are its great transport links, proximity to central london and nearby green spaces. most streets are.tree lined but the high street is populated by bookies, pound and pawn shops. there are a few nice restaurants but limited local facilities. residents travel to other boroughs for typical uk high street chains, cinema, etc. a casual visitor might think that locals were engaged in a permanent festival of litter!

the area is changing a bit though. but with lots of young families leaving before or by mid primary there is a collective lack of confidence in the place. particularly the schools. In the last year 2 youths were separately killed running under busses to escape gangs. it is a worry.

thanks Noobo. i think i needed to hear that things might be different by the time we get there.

Xenia Mon 26-Nov-12 17:46:54

It is often said that in 80% of cases women determine schooling actually so I was just testing the theory. If it is the woman usually plus in your case you earn more perhaps even more likely you decide as in a sense it's your money that's spent on school fees or would be. Although sometimes it depends on who has the strongest views which can be issue if an female atheist marries a Jewish man etc.

There was a fascinating article in a weekend colour supplement this week about a man who married a Muslim lady in London and their son goes for an hour to the mosque after school every day where his grandfather works and how the white English father copes with in a sense his young son changing - either Times or Telegraph.

GreenBeer Mon 26-Nov-12 17:09:59

Ah yes Xenia, you are making a lot of assumptions there. My DH and I will both make the decisions on where to send our DC to school, and the final say doesn't go to the one who earns the most, what a weird thing to assume!

I am in a different situation to most on this thread, as we will leave the country when we move out of London.

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