Panicking about moving to Poole!

(35 Posts)
sausagematters Fri 04-Jan-13 18:24:49

Hello! Desperately seeking some advice...

We (me, dh and ds who is 5) will be moving to Poole - or somewhere nearby - in mid-Feb (during spring half term). We know NOTHING about the area - I visited it briefly when I had my job interview, and as yet my husband and son have not been there. It was a rather impulsive decision to move there - we had vaguely thought about moving to Dorset a while ago, and then when I got offered the job, we thought, well why not?! Now reality is starting to hit... overall we are excited but also there are just so many unknowns.

We will be visiting at the end of next week. However, we are starting to panic as we keep reading lots of really negative things about different areas of Poole. So we feel a bit stumped about schools, where to look to rent a house/flat (we don't own a house and we won't be either).

When I called Poole council, they said that their Reception classes are generally really full, many of the schools are oversubscribed and are unlikely to have spaces in them. Out of the schools that have current availability, none have ofsted ratings of 1, and only two have an overall rating of 2 which is fine, but when we searched for info on the local areas, the first hit in Google was just about how chavvy and horrible it was!

We're just looking for some advice really - areas to avoid, other places to consider (e.g. Bournemouth - but again, all the schools that have space there are all around West Howe which is apparently quite rough).

What about other areas nearby?

HELP! We need reassurance and advice...

soverylucky Fri 04-Jan-13 19:18:12

You need to think about how much you can afford and where your dh needs to be for work as it can be a nightmare to get from one place in dorset to another. On a map it might not look that far but it can take ages just to get about.
West howe - well I would definitely avoid that area but things vary from person to person and budget to budget. What some folk in poole think is a terrible area others don't think is that bad. It is worth looking further to the west of the county if possible as there are cheaper homes and some great schools.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 04-Jan-13 19:21:11

Whereabouts in Poole are you going to be working? and how far is an acceptable commute? Wareham, and surrounding areas have very good primary schools, with availability. we live near wool and can get to Poole centre in 25 minutes.

Lots of villages or quiet suburbia within 20 minutes drive of Poole, eg Wimborne, Colehill, Verwood, Holt (depending exactly where you need to get to).

BlablaSos Fri 04-Jan-13 19:31:04

I live in Poole centre and there are some lovely areas. Basically the most expensive areas by far are where the best schools are, it really depends on your budget. Best areas in Poole in my opinion are:
Lower parkstone (better than upper) and, Lilliput (but both expensive), broadstone is nice, also quite pricey, and Corfe Mullen in the outskirts which is a little cheaper but not close to much. There is Wimborne which is a nice town but it depends how close to Poole town centre you need to be. Hamworthy doesn't have good ofsted schools but is much cheaper, some nice areas and some awful. Branksome has a couple of nice first schools but traffic there can be a real pain. If you are looking in estate agents just remember that the cheaper places will be cheap for a reason, and visa versa!
Visit Poole quay and the beaches and you will be sold on the place.

sausagematters Fri 04-Jan-13 20:33:05

Thanks for all your replies!
Is upper Parkstone really bad? There are a lot of rental properties there in our price range. We're basically capping it at £1000pm for a 2 or 3 bed property with a garden.
We live in Brighton at the moment so we're used to a bit of rough, and personally I think I'd prefer a little more diversity than somewhere totally white middle class.

sausagematters Fri 04-Jan-13 21:01:43

Just been researching Wimborne and similar places, but we really need to be near a train station as we only have one car. My husband works freelance and needs to get about, but I use the car for work, so we'd be stuffed in a village, I think!

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 04-Jan-13 21:04:18

Wareham and Wool both have train stations to get into Poole.

Unfortunately Dorset and Diversity are two words that don't really go hand in hand.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Fri 04-Jan-13 21:10:10

Canford heath has brilliant first and middle schools and would be within budget and buses to train station go regularly. It's a proper mixed area ranging from very nice houses to the housing association ones. There are a lot of families in the area so good facilities. Easy drive out of Poole. The schools are big so you could go on a waiting list in the hope someone would drop out in first few weeks.

littlecloud Fri 04-Jan-13 21:34:05

I used to live in Poole in Hamworthy for two+ years, one half is lovely by the beach (Poole Park) Lovely park by the beach with massive outdoor paddling pool, lots of green land fab park equipment. Lots of beach huts. Million pound properties facing onto the sea and then there is Turlin Moore which is a dire estate just down the road which you want to stay well clear of. Schools are crap though full stop.

We moved three years ago to a village outside of Dorchester because the boys were coming up to school/pre-school age. Schools in Dorchester are fab in general (so are the ones in the village we live in luckily) and it's a lovely small town with lots of money being pumped into it with the new brewery square and Poudbury shooting up fast as you like. You can get to Poole in 20 mins in the car and 20-30 mins on the train and they are very regular every 30 minutes or so.

Good things about Poole

Shopping isn't too bad
Lovely Beaches
Good Parks
Lots to keep kids occupied
Public transport is regular if you don't drive

Bad things

Schools aren't great unless you go private some great private schools
Very, Very chavtastic
Not a particularly nice looking town iyknwim

It's by no means awful by any stretch of the imagination but I wouldn't choose to live there again. Hope that helps smile

BlablaSos Fri 04-Jan-13 21:36:01

No, upper parkstone isn't really bad, its fine, the schools just aren't as good as the other areas mentioned. You will get a place around 40k cheaper than a similar place the 'south' side of the road, just because of the catchment, but to be honest even if you are in the right catchment area you still aren't guaranteed a place at the school.
When you come down have a good drive around, and don't necessarily believe what the estate agents tell you. I've lived here all my life and when I was buying somewhere new they tried to tell me all sorts of crap
about what 'good' areas were.
Also you may want to avoid Boscombe, may look pretty with the beach and gardens but it's pretty druggy.

BlablaSos Fri 04-Jan-13 21:39:04

By the way where will you be working?

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Fri 04-Jan-13 21:39:26

Some very good schools in Poole -especially the grammar schools but also st. Edwards, Lytchett and corfe hills. Several outstanding primaries.

But yes. Also some not so great ones.

littlecloud Fri 04-Jan-13 21:42:32
PenisColada Fri 04-Jan-13 21:45:53

You really want to get into the Baden Powell catchment if you can. Probably the best middle school in Poole and lots of the children get into Gramamr.
Near the beaches and train stations too.

PenisColada Fri 04-Jan-13 21:47:25

Oh and Blabla is giving you some great advice

< wonders if we are neighbours>

BlablaSos Fri 04-Jan-13 22:31:31

PenisColada, if you are in the Baden catchment then we aren't quite neighbours but close. When my dd is ready for school we are down the road from Poole old town first school, which seems like a lovely little school.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Fri 04-Jan-13 22:43:52

Poole old town isn't our catchment either but I believe is a lovely school :-)

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Fri 04-Jan-13 22:48:05

We're thinking of moving within Poole and looking at oakdale (longfleet school) and canford heath at the moment. Love the area though -easy access to the purbecks for walking, the beaches, the parks. Moors valley, farmer Palmers, etc. Bournemouth for shopping. Lighthouse for shows and mini bso... Lots of family activities. Like all areas it has its down sides but its a good place to live.

PenisColada Sat 05-Jan-13 07:37:27

Oakdale is good and more affordable than where we live. We are planning to move to a cheaper area now we have got all the dc into Baden Powell.

I have heard very good things about Poole Old Town school.

It is just a shame that we still have the grammar system as the senior schools in Poole are not great unless you get into grammar. In Wimborne / Corfe Mullen / lytchett the senior schools are much better but there is no grammar system.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sat 05-Jan-13 09:41:46

Its difficult isn't it? We're in the position of buying a bigger place so schools are a big factor, but not got the income for liliput or Baden Powell catchments. Part of their good results will be backgrounds of those going so I've been trying to bear intake in mind when looking at results.

I've looked at a few schools but without knowing people at them it's hard to know. We're also trying. To think about secondary. What are you planning on doing if they don't get into grammar?

sausagematters Sat 05-Jan-13 11:03:27

To be honest I feel like a bit of an idiot - we didn't even know about the grammar system in Poole, plus I don't really know how the system works - it's entrance exam isn't it?

Also seen a few nice places in Creekmoor online, what's this area like?

PenisColada Sat 05-Jan-13 11:05:20

There are some places in Parkstone in BP catchment that are affordable.

We just found out dd passed the grammar test. Phew. Poole high have an academic stream that is good but again it is tested.

I was shocked at the last BP parents evening to find out that it as to be better than other schools due to the area something called 'added value' so that is why so many get into grammar. It makes it even more of a postcode lottery.

If my ds does not get into grammar I don't know what we will do. A lot of parents tutor but we could not afford that and just did the practice papers but not many as she hated doing them !

PenisColada Sat 05-Jan-13 11:07:40

Lytchett minster and Corfe hills schools are near Poole and do not have entrance tests.

The grammar system is good if you get into grammar ! Unfortunately there is no guarantee and the middle school is really important to help them pass it.

PenisColada Sat 05-Jan-13 11:09:05

Creekmoor is ok. Not sure what the schools are like and wherever you live in Borough of Poole or Bournemouth it is the grammar system.

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