Hastings - shall we move there?

(97 Posts)
migratingsouth Wed 04-Jan-12 23:44:06

DP has been offered a job in Hastings (we live in London and want to move out).

Does anyone know anything about the place?

We've visited and I loved the Old Town, the coffee shops in the centre of town and being by the sea. I'd love us to be near to DP's work as they work strange / unsocial hours in his industry, and it would be really nice if he could easily pop home during the day. Also I'm very keen on the fact we could actually afford a house there.

However I'm aware that Hastings / St Leonards has a bad reputation for having social problems (as has the bit of London we're moving from, mind you!)

We two pre-school DCs.

If it was just for me, I could happily live in a place labelled "socially deprived" - I have done all my life. However is this fair on our DCs? We're leaving London precisely because we feel it's not fair to bring the DCs up in our bit of it (and can't afford the "nice" bits). Would a move to Hastings be out of the frying pan, into the fire?

Can anyone tell me, what are Hastings / St Leonards like really?

heylottie Thu 05-Jan-12 12:11:54

Hello there
I am Hastings born and bred but - disclaimer! - I don't live there anymore, I live in Devon.

I bloody love Hastings. I grew up in the Old Town (before it got all coffee shops and antique-y) and only have great memories of it. Went to an excellant primary school (still there, and still excellant) and then to secondary school in Bexhill (still there, top rated). Can't talk for the standard of other schools at the moment, am sure it is a mixed bag as it is everywhere.

If you are moving from London I would imagine you could afford somewhere in the 'nicer' parts like the Old town. Hastings and St leonards are wierd because the nice areas co-exist in close proximity to the areas of social deprivation. (For example, my mum lives in St Leonards now in a beautiful Georgian crescent, near funky, independant shops, but also a couple of roads away from what we used to call 'Drug Row'.) So I guess this makes the area much like London in that respect?

I know that there has been an influx of Londoners moving into Hastings in the last few years and this has really made the town much 'funkier' and up to date. So you won't be alone!

The talk has been of super speeding the rail link between London and Hastings for as long as I can remember but i dont think it will ever happen. Nor will the bloody A21 ball ache ever improve. So I don't think Hastings will become the new Brighton in that commuter-y way,a nd therefore I dont think it will ever fully eradicate its (sometimes deserved) reputation for being a bit 'troubled'.

But on the up-sode if you need a London fix it is only 90 minutes on the train.

I say go for it. Me and DP talk all the time of a return to Hastings in the future. Hastings has more going for it than going against it. And nothing beats picnics on the beach after school.

let me know if you need any more info!
x

LaTristesse Thu 05-Jan-12 13:32:24

I left Hastings a couple of years ago to be nearer DH's work in London. I'd been there 5 years and it changed loads (for the better!) in that time. I miss it no end.

There are iffy parts as there are everywhere - get some advice before you go and look as to where to avoid. And the social problems are definitely improving due to investment, more local pride in the area and the influx of Londoners / Brightonians I think.

I always found it to be a creative and bohemian place. The sea is fab, and even in the winter its blustery bleakness is quite inspiring!

I would agree that access (road and rail) is a bit naff, but imo the benefits far outweigh those. I wish I could return - I'm hating the city!

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 13:41:21

Well.... there are massive social deprivation problems in Hastings, it is also very economically depressed, especially in the winter months,.. but as in all large towns, there are some lovely areas, some good schools and of course,the sea.
You could of course, move to a village within commuting distance of Hastings, there are some beautiful villages and small towns surrounding it, like Battle. Also you might want to consider schooling in the future, Kent is 11+, East Sussex is not. We live near Tenterden, lovely small town, with grammar catchment and a good comp, that is about 30 mins drive from Hastings.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:31:52

Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate it smile

It's sounding great! The more I look at it the more I think it could be the place for us.

"I always found it to be a creative and bohemian place." that's a big part of the attraction tbh. We also looked at Eastbourne and actually the schools look great there, but although very pretty it felt a bit too middle-of-the-road (sorry to any Eastbourners reading this!)

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:39:35

heylotte your post is very reassuring, you're the first person who actually grew up in Hastings I've spoken to who liked it.

I've met a couple of others who said they hated growing up there, and said "don't do it!"

But this sounds lovely! "nothing beats picnics on the beach after school" smile

Unfortunately we can't afford the nicer bits (hopefully in a few years) - well not for a 3 bed house / flat anyway, which is what we want ideally.

Which bits do you think we should avoid?

Where's "drug row"? I live in a street in London which until recently was the "frontline" (i.e. where the crack dealers and their punters hung out).
You might not notice at first though as on the surface it's all nice victorian houses. I'll be gutted if we move into exactly the same type of road in our new town!

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:41:09

Ingles I agree the villages look absolutely gorgeous - unfortunately we can't afford them though (yet!)

Which schools do you think are the good ones?

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 14:46:32

PSML

Just found this on a forum about Hastings and St Leonards

"I agree, Hastings and St.Leonards have a lot to offer with some great left-field energy and off centre creativity ... Having worked with the drug addicts at Southwater Advice Centre and Addaction for several years I can also say that Hastings has some of the nicest drug addicts in the country. They have often offered to steal things to order for me from Debenhams for a very small fee. They have excellent personal hygiene and lots of interesting stories to tell."

grin

heylottie Thu 05-Jan-12 16:24:04

Kenilworth Road was Drug Row - it might not be the same now of course!
Areas I would recommend (although I am slightly out of the loop) are Old Town, West Hill, Alexandra Park, up towards Ore without getting to Ore itself. I would steer clear of roads towards Bohemia, anything too close to Warrior Square station and anything in the town centre.

but as I say, these are more historical recommendations than absolutely current!

good luck with it!!

VerityClinch Thu 05-Jan-12 16:38:13

Ooooh, as Ingles2 says, move to Tenterden. We are moving there from London in three weeks time and I need to make new friends!!! [needy]

noddyholder Thu 05-Jan-12 16:39:42

It isn't that nice tbh. A bit rough and lots of social problems etc. There are lovely bits with nice houses so if you can afford the old town then maybe.

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 17:10:08

Are you sure you can't afford a village south? Give me your budget and I'll look...
Hi Verity... Where in Tenterden you moving too? I can always be bribed to be friends with coffee found in Cafe Nero or Costa. grin

I love living in Hastings having been born here and lived in lots of other places too. Nice areas are Old town if you can get somewhere with parking, Clive Vale which goes from the Old Town up towards Ore (this is probably your best bet), Blacklands is OK and Alexandria Park as well. There are quite a lot of funky London types people on the West Hill overlooking the Old Town, but also a lot of troublesome ones too, if you get a gorgeous view the trouble may be worth it. You'd need to check out your neighbours before you bought there.
Bexhill is quite nice too and the outlying villages.
Do think about the schools before you move as they are pretty dreadful at the moment unless you are Catholic.
It can be rough, but also having lived in London, I know I prefer Hastings roughness grin

silverfrog Thu 05-Jan-12 17:21:31

I wouldn't.

I grew up there, and yes, it can be an interesting town. a bit arty, a bit bohemian. but bloody depressing and loads of deprivation. I am aware it has had a lot of improvement recently, but I lived nearby until about 3 years ago, and would not live there with young children if I had an alternative.

disclaimer: I did live in one of the worst bits for some of my time there, so that may have coloured my judgement. but I have also lived in the 'nice' bits, and tbh, I wouldn't choose those either. one of the last jobs I had there involved working with teenagers, and the number of times I ended up dealing with random nutters harassing them in the evenings, and the amount of time I spent up at the police station/hospital after they had been randomly assaulted (I was only 21 myself, and quite a petite person - not really ideal for having to get involved in the shit I was dealing with) was unbelievable.

the rail links are shocking, and the roads are worse.

Tenterden is a good suggestion, if you have to be nearby-ish.

LaTristesse Thu 05-Jan-12 17:23:09

I'd also avoid Hollington. Like the plague...

VerityClinch Thu 05-Jan-12 17:24:58

Ingles - right on the High Street, by the war memorial. (sorry for the hijack) I'd love a coffee. And a cake. wink

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 18:58:57

Can't afford Tenterden!

Our budget is small - looking at places on the market for around £150,000 asking price.

We'll probably be ready to buy this summer (if we go for it we'll rent for a bit while we look for somewhere).

So, if we were lucky and they'd take an offer, maybe somewhere like these ...

Battle Rd near Silverdale school

Silverlands Road also near Silverdale

Grovesnor Crescent wonder if we'd get into West St Leonards from there?

St James Rd Near Elphinstone and Blacklands

(I'm just learning where the schools are and reading their Ofsteds etc. Haven't worked out if we like any of them yet!)

silverfrog Thu 05-Jan-12 19:04:07

Battle Road is the edge of the Hollington estate. I really wouldn't (from experience)

St JAmes Road not great either, although close to the park and town, i suppose.

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 19:25:22

Ok what about Westfield?
Just outside Hastings...
Decent primary
Can you go up any more price wise? 150-200 would get you a house House 169k

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 19:26:12

PM me Verity I do anything for cake.. grin

bananafanana Thu 05-Jan-12 19:33:17

Crikey, we went to East Sussex late last year and visited Hastings. Both thought it was a total dump.

Areas inland are lovely though. Might be worth looking further afield?

brandysoakedbitch Thu 05-Jan-12 19:37:32

We had a look around Hastings a while ago and to be honest I found the deprivation bit of it all too much and we decided against it - also the schooling is terrible (we are Catholics so had good options open to us but otherwise it was dire) - The houses look amazing I agree but when you see them in context it is all a bit depressing. That said I live in a nice area now so it was all a bit of a shock!

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:03:30

We absolutely can't go up any more price-wise unfortunately.

We can't get a mortgage right now as DP has just changed finished retraining after a career change, and is currently working freelance, and I'll be a SAHM, until our DCs are a little older.

We reckon we have about £145K equity in the London flat (and may be able to scrape a little more, but not much) so this would be a cash buy. We've had it valued, and our upstairs neighbour just sold his flat just before Christmas, after being on the market for only a few weeks so we're pretty confident on the figure.

The next time DP and I have both been in permanent employment long enough for the mortgage companies think we're a good bet, then absolutely I'd love to get somewhere in the surrounding countryside, but it's just way beyond us at the moment.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:06:00

VerityClinch and Ingles2 coffee and cake? You're talking my language grin

If we do end up in Hastings could I join you sometime?

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:17:16

Can't afford Westfield!

I should say also that I can't drive, and so as I'm going to be at home with two little ones for a while, I need to be somewhere which is within fairly reasonable walking distance of at least one shop, and also places I can go to with DCs. So being by the sea or a park really appeals for example.

Robsack school looks absolutely lovely on paper at least, and is Ofsted outstanding. However all the housing around it is acres and acres of new build with no shops or amenities. Like this
I spent 20 minutes really trying to convince myself to like it because of the school, but I just can't!
It's an area for people with cars, not me, I'd feel trapped.

If I'm going to move to the coast I might as well be fairly near the sea I reckon!

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:30:47

Great to get some local info, thanks smile

How about these?

St Helens Road near Blacklands primary

Marina, St Leonards - maybe West St Leonards at a push?

Ingles2 Thu 05-Jan-12 22:38:50

How about St Leonards? I know a couple of people who have moved there from London, so can pick their brains if you want?
and you're welcome for coffee and cake too grin

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:44:44

Thanks (mmmm, cake) grin

We're considering St Leonards too, sorry I should have said!

iFailedTheTuringTest Thu 05-Jan-12 22:45:41

Opened this in case you were asking about Hastings, New Zealand. It's lovley there, but alas can't help you with the UK one !

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 22:56:40

iFailedTheTuringTest I couldn't help having a look

this would be feasible

or this

Forget the UK, I'm sold! grin

(If only it were that easy!)

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 23:03:38

I think what I'm coming round to thinking is that Hastings / St Leonards are definitely places DP and I would feel happy, I'd love living there.

I grew up in a deprived area, so I have my eyes open on that score I think. However the arty / alternative side to the place really appeals and the sea too.

But ... the only thing holding me back is I'm really not sure if it's the right thing for the DCs. None of the schools are really leaping out at me (at least not in the areas we can afford / want to live). I appreciate I need to do more research on the schools front before making my mind up though!

I'm pretty sure we'll move again before secondary, so it's really primaries I'm looking at.

Does anyone know about any good schools in Hastings / St Leonards?

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 23:06:46
TuftyFinch Thu 05-Jan-12 23:26:11

We moved from South London last year. Initially we were looking at Hastings/St Leonards. Our budget was a bit bigger at £180,000 but still not massive. Our primary reason was for schools but also space, different way of life etc. We discounted Hastings/St Leonards in the end because we didn't know enough about the different areas and having lived in Brixton/ Catford for 20 years didn't want to move and find it was all too familiar. We bought a house in a lovely village 15 mins away from Hastings, we are surrounded by countryside, have a local shop and pub and a lovely village school.
I really like St Leonards but you would need to go down and look around to get a feel for it.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 23:29:41

"We bought a house in a lovely village 15 mins away from Hastings, we are surrounded by countryside, have a local shop and pub and a lovely village school." Sounds lovely!

"having lived in Brixton/ Catford for 20 years didn't want to move and find it was all too familiar" I feel exactly the same.

We'll be going for a visit soon. It's all very exciting grin

TuftyFinch Thu 05-Jan-12 23:30:02

I couldn't find a school I was happy with. Ultimately that was why we came a bit further inland. There is nothing to stop you applying to schools in the villages a bit further inland and getting the bus. There's very little traffic outside of Hastings and journeys are quite quick (compared to London). if your DC like being outside they would love it. We go to the beach in all weathers.It's lovely especially in winter.

TuftyFinch Thu 05-Jan-12 23:31:06

It is exciting. I am so,so glad we moved. smile

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 23:41:27

"I couldn't find a school I was happy with." This is where we're getting to I think sad

Did you look at Blacklands / West St Leonards / Little Ridge / Churchwood or Robsack (I think that's all the schools rated Ofsted 2 or 1)?

Eastbourne is another option I suppose. It's nice, and a choice of really nice primaries, but I'm not excited about it in the same way.

migratingsouth Thu 05-Jan-12 23:42:38

"There is nothing to stop you applying to schools in the villages a bit further inland and getting the bus." That's an interesting idea.

Would be nerve-wracking putting a school so far away down on the form though! I wonder what our chances would be?

TuftyFinch Thu 05-Jan-12 23:53:47

Eastbourne is nice, in a nice way. Bromleyish nice? It'slovely but Iknow exactly what you mean. I didn't physically look at any of the schools because this house came up, the school was lovely and that's what made our minds up. Looking at Ofsted reports was getting me in such a tangle. I'm a teacher (although adults) and I wouldn't go by the grade. A grade 1 school can still be crap in someone else's opinion.Our local school in south London was Grade 1 and I really couldn't see why. We didn't want DCs to go there. It was quite SAT focused. When looking at Ofsted reports I would look at what it says about 'pastoral care'. I want my DC to be happy at school. and think if they are happy and included they will learn. The school DS goes was a grade 3 when we moved here. It is a lovely, happy, inclusive school.
Go and look at the schools because I think that's the only way to get a feeling for their ethos. I would also hang a fair amount on the initial phone call when you ask to visit.Are they helpful, happy etc or grumpy and rude?

Sorry, this is all just my opinion! You're very welcome to PM me.

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 00:02:28

grin I'll forever think of Eastbourne as Bromley-by-sea now!

Interesting what you say about Ofsted grades. I wouldn't assume a 1 graded school was better for my DCs just because of the number, but I had assumed that schools rated 3 were really not that great, but I'm aware I'm totally out of touch on this stuff! So I was just guessing really.

Perhaps I should take another look at the grade 3 ones then.

Thanks very much for your opinion, I really appreciate it! smile

StickyProblem Fri 06-Jan-12 18:02:26

Hi Migrating
St Pauls C of E Primary in St Leonards just had its Ofsted and was awarded a 2, the report may not be up yet.
We moved to St Leonards, near Warrior Square, 4 years ago from Brockley and we really like it. We are in a nice quiet road off the rough roads smile Totally agree with FortiesCromarty about preferring Hastings roughness! Having been in London for ages I wouldn't fancy a village, particularly if you don't drive.

PaigeTurner Fri 06-Jan-12 18:54:35

Sounds like you have made up your mind but I'm in the 'no' camp. My family moved there when I was a teenager - it's too easy to get into a wrong crowd - probably worse than London as there are no other distractions. The place is so, so depressing as well. IMO Hastings should be raised to the ground!

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 19:05:58

Thanks Sticky, I'll have a look at it - is your DC at the school?

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 19:08:47

Paige, thanks for the reply. I've not made my mind up yet - it depends on whether it feel right for our DC too.

I think we'll most likely move out of town by the time our DCs are teenagers - I doubt we'll be looking at secondary schools there.

Hypothetical I know, but do you think you would have liked it as a younger child?

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 19:15:47

Does anyone know anything about West St Leonards school by any chance?

reup Fri 06-Jan-12 19:42:42

My friends boys go to Dudley infants just outside the old town towards ore and then the linked juniors. She had been v happy with them both. She can walk to the old town and beach.

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 22:14:13

I just found this site, which gives you a really easy way to compare highlights from OFSTED rerports - it's great [http://schooloscope.com/results/845/primary/happiness schooloscope]]

... but about to shut down, unfortunately.

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 22:14:46

Thanks for that reup, I'll check it out smile

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 22:32:01

Haven't read the whole thread yet (I'll check out your links in a mo!) but we live in Hastings, have two young children and absolutely LOVE our town.
Loads of stuff for young children, a beautiful park, the Old Town & beach is great, and the deprivation can actually be a bonus (!) because there has been lots of extra funding given to the town. There are lots of free or subsidised playgroups, sports activities etc.

Avoid Hollington (although we lived there for a couple of years and it was fine) but agree with a previous poster that the nice and less-nice areas of town are often quite close.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 22:33:32

West St Leonards is a good school, but has a big catchment with some rough areas. Has a great SEN unit attached to the school.

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 22:36:40

Thanks for the reply TeamEdward smile

Can I ask which other schools you think are good?

I think I'd better learn where Hollington is so we can stay away!

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 22:36:56

(You're not the first to mention it!)

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 22:48:55

The Grovesnor Crescent property is in a good position - opposite end of the seafront to the Old Town though. There is a row of shops nearby, so you wouldn't have to shlep into town for bread and milk. And amazing sea views!

The flats on the Marina can be a bit dodgy, by reputation anyway.

I'm a teacher in a v.small village school, but have a few contacts in the Hastings schools. From reputation I would say:
Good - Dudley Road, St Pauls, Silverdale, Blacklands, Little Ridge (although I think it's a bit cramped)
Not so good - Hollington, Elphinstone, Red Lake, Castledown, Sandown

The secondary schools are ok. The boys school William Parker and the girls school Helenswood have good reputations but I don't think they deserve them. The three other schools in the town have recently become two Academies and have had a lot of money thrown at them. New buildings, new leadership, new uniform - I think they'll be excellent.

CuppaTeaJanice Fri 06-Jan-12 22:49:14

I've found the fact that Hastings is considered 'deprived' to be a good thing as a parent of preschoolers. It means that it has been allocated a huge amount of funding so provides far more free activities, courses with creches, clubs, fun days etc., than most other towns.

As for schools, Blacklands, Silverdale, St Pauls, Little Ridge, Dudley Infants all have good reputations. I don't know much about the others, but Hollington and Elphinstone are traditionally ones to avoid, largely because of their locations.

You'll probably get more accommodation for your money if you look at flats rather than houses. Hastings and St Leonards have large numbers of huge converted Victorian properties, containing beautiful flats with large rooms, high ceilings etc. Nice areas near good schools within your budget are anywhere near Alexandra Park, Silverhill, Horntye Road area, Old Town, Clive Vale and the Little Ridge estate (newer houses). Areas that aren't so nice are Hollington, the Malvern Way estate, central St Leonards, Bexhill Road (congested), Farley Bank area and the upper bit of Ore, although as one poster above said, you can get a lovely street right next to a grotty one.

I know several people who have moved to Hastings from London. All love it, and don't regret their decisions. smile

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 22:55:11

Hastings is full of DFLs and AFBs! grin
(Down From London, Across From Brighton)

Oh yes, not to Malvern Way & Bexhill Road!
I'm going on a property search for you. I can recommend Smart and PCM estate agents in Hastings.

CuppaTeaJanice Fri 06-Jan-12 22:56:35

My friend's gran used to live on the ground floor of that St Helens Road place you linked to!! It's in a nice terrace with good on-street parking, a fantastic nursery just round the corner and a lovely park opposite.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:02:53

This is edge of Hollington area but you do get a lot of room for your money, and it's near Silverdale, and walking distance to the shops at Silverhill (including a new Asda)

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 06-Jan-12 23:03:47

Surely someone here has mentioned the truly fantastic crazy golf courses on the sea front. 3 of them.

This needs to be considered as an advantage.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:08:20

Not bad for 149k. Not a great road for parking though.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:11:33

I don't think you'd be able to beat that St Helens Road flat tbh. It's directly opposite the park, easy to get into the town centre, on a good bus route, great area.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:16:22

oh yes! the golf!
Crazy golf, a putting green AND Pirate Golf! Has to be seen to be believed.

This property is on one of those streets that could be great or dodgy.

Previously would have said stay away from this area, but it is really changing at the moment. Maybe worth a look. I have a friend who lives here.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 06-Jan-12 23:18:17

I wonder if they do a season ticket for residents?

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:28:58

No, but they do have a Happy Hour, and you get a free game voucher if you get a "hole in one" on Lucky Hole 19

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 06-Jan-12 23:31:35

Hmm. How do they know if you get a hole in one???

We live 180 miles away but, that's irrelevant, I neeeed to know these things.

TuftyFinch Fri 06-Jan-12 23:34:21

TeamEdward I'm a weirdo but I just looked at your profile. Do you make birthday cakes?

Sorry for de-rail.

My DS is desperate to go to the crazy golf but every time I say we'll go, it rains.

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 23:41:57

Ooh I really like the Pevensey Road one smile

What's Pirate Golf? Sounds right up my DS's street! grin

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 23:42:36

(mmmmm cake grin)

migratingsouth Fri 06-Jan-12 23:44:19

CuppaTeaJanice what a coincidence smile That really is local knowledge!

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:47:17

Hole in One - One hole, one shot. A big buzzer goes off if you win! Last time we played, DH & I both got a hole in one. (Actually was where he took me on our first date too many moons ago!)

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:47:45

I do make cakes for family birthdays, but not professionally.

TeamEdward Fri 06-Jan-12 23:50:02
TuftyFinch Fri 06-Jan-12 23:50:39

They look great. I love the Batman one. DS has a birthday coming up, that's why I asked.

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:02:51

Batman?

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:03:42

<checks profile>
Do you mean R2D2?!

TuftyFinch Sat 07-Jan-12 00:14:02

I thought I saw a grey castle with blue turrets?<books optician appointment> blush

I best avoid any crazy golfness too. Sorry.

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:25:16

It's just a castle. grin I used chocolate finger to make a gate, ice cream cornets as turrets, and stuck indoor fireworks on the top!

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:28:03

The trick with a castle cake is to make square cakes, and then stick shop=bought swiss rolls on the corners as towers. Ice the whole lot (with easy buttercream or even easier Betty Crocker) and stick the cornets on top.

Aerobreaking Sat 07-Jan-12 00:31:01

Can't beleive there are so many fellow Hastings-ers around here!

I have grown up in Hastings and in nearby villages and would thoroughly recommend it. Yes, it does has have some social deprivation problems but if you are currently in an area of London with problems as well (as I am now) then it is no worse in Hastings. Plus you don't have the same gang issues, and get to be by the seaside!

I agree that the biggest issue is schools. Like others - I would avoid Hollington like the plague - I know numerous teachers in the local primaries in the Hastings and Rother area, so am fairly up-to-date with the schools situation. Churchwood is another that I would try to avoid, it may have a decent ofsted but I certainly wouldn't send a child there. I would probably not pay too much attention to the ofsteds tbh, I would much rather focus on the feel of the schools when you look round. I know not everyone agrees, but I tend to think that for primary school, it is the home life that is far more important to the child - I went to a deprived school in the area and did not suffer in the slightest. The school managed to sort of stretch me and my parents did the rest; but I learnt a lot of other lessons there, I may well get flamed for this but I don't necessarily think that going to a school in a middle class enclave is always the best thing for a child. However, secondary schools are the main issue in the area.

It's a shame you don't drive as agree with others that the village schools are generally a lot nicer, have you tried looking at Battle? It has a fairly decent (but large) primary school but you get the massive advantage of Claverham for secondary. It is by far (imo) the best non-religious secondary in the area, one of the best in E.Sussex I would say. Prices are higher than Hastings though, especially as it is on the the train line.

As someone above said, three local schools (Filsham Valley, the Grove and Hillcrest) have now merged to become two academies instead, this has only just started, so results are not yet available. I think it will probably improve things, but they are improving what is currently a fairly dire situation so it still may not be great. However, if you have young children then it may be that in a few years time things will be much better. Certainly at the moment there would be no way I would send a child to any of those three schools - would home educate instead (as my parents had planned to do if my school had not worked out!) The final thing is the potential to use the Kent grammar system. Some of the grammar schools have a number of out of catchment places, or some operate a super-grammar system with no catchment - I am unsure of the current admissions criteria having sat the 11+ ten years ago. It is a very long day if you send your child to a school in Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge (I got the train at 07:15 and returned at 17:00 if I had no clubs) but I got a fantastic education that I could never have got otherwise - as we could not have afforded to live in West Kent. Lots of children from the Hastings area attend these grammar schools for 6th form, as the Hastings schools don't have sixth forms, there are only sixth form colleges, which are another good for some and not for others, depending on maturity etc.

Sorry for the mammoth post, if you have any more questions about specific primaries I will try to answer them for you, but I encourage you to move to Hastings! I love it, it will always be my 'home' even though I no longer live there. Yes it has its problems but it also has a beautiful old town, the West Hill is fabulous, you can go to the beach and swim in the sea, fly kites up on the cliffs, it has the railway on the cliff, three crazy golfs, as well as beautiful rural countryside nearby. What's not to like?!

TuftyFinch Sat 07-Jan-12 00:38:46

TeamEdward thank you, smile I am not a natural baker but I'm going to try and make one. DS would be so happy if it worked. He's always asking me to make cakes. I do try but a fair few end up in the bin grin

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:39:14

I'm going to disagree with you on the secondary schools.
Claverham is seen as the school to get into (for non-Catholics anyway) but I hear lots of shocking pastoral issues and it has on of the highest rates of teen pregnancy. It seems to value results over the child.
Similar issues in Hastings with Parker & Helenswood. Often children with issues (behavioural or educational) are suggested/told they might like it better at Hillcrest/Filsham/The Grove and basically rejected.
Hillcrest has had the best value-added scores of all the Hastings secondaries from several years. Now it is the Hastings Academy, and is having around £4m spent on a complete new school and resources.

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 00:40:24

Tufty - if you slather on enough icing, and decorate with lots of sweets, no one cares what the actual cake is like!

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 00:59:52

Aerobreaking thanks for the post, I really appreciate it smile

I'd be very keen to know if you can recommend any of the community primaries in Hastings / St Leonards?

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 01:02:47

Interesting difference of opinion about secondaries smile Good to get different views!
We've got ages to go till then (8 years!) so I'll be keeping my eyes on them (assuming we do go for it!). But there's a good possibility we'll move again (out of town) before secondary anyway.

Carlitawantsababy Sat 07-Jan-12 01:05:51

Was excited to see this thread, DH and I have just bought a (3 bed house on the west hill for £133,000) house in Hastings and will be moving from north London in about 3 weeks with any luck! grin we cannot wait, we absolutely love it there (my mum lives there so we visit often and know it quite well) and think it'll be a great place to bring up children (DS1 due in 11 weeks) we don't know anyone though so if any of you are willing to adopt us let me know! smile

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 09:10:56

Well we've made a decision (sort of!)

DP is going to take the job, so we're definitely going to move south. However not 100% sure whether Hastings / St Leonards or possibly Eastbourne (HSL definitely winning at the moment).

Hoping to start having a look at schools in a couple of weeks.

Thanks everyone for your posts and opinions, I appreciate all the comments both good and bad - useful to know areas to avoid, and to have our eyes open about the not so nice points. However I'm happy as we are most likely going to move before the DC are at secondary, as long as we can find a good primary then it'll be a positive move for our DCs - their quality of life will be great with a nice house to grow up in, and life by the sea of course!

Still up for advice! Got a way to go yet I think (got to put the London flat on the market now!)

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 09:14:29

Hi Carlita, lovely to "meet" you.

I'd definitely be up for meeting up once we're there, shall I PM you?

It's all very exciting smile

Can I ask a cheeky question? grin (As your budget is very similar to ours). Would you mind telling me - what was the asking price on the house you bought?

CuppaTeaJanice Sat 07-Jan-12 09:44:35

Here is another house, about 2 minutes walk from Silverdale school, and 5 mins walk from the local shops and Asda.

Team Edward your cakes look delicious, although my appetite was slightly deminished by the picture of the chicken poxy child above them!! grin

Maybe we should all organise a Hastings meet-up, as there are so many of us on here!!

Carlitawantsababy Sat 07-Jan-12 10:13:48

Yes please migrating and janice to meeting up!
Not cheeky at all migrating, the similarity in budget was the reason I included what we had bought! It was on at £140,000 so no great discount but this may vary from area to area, the west hill is very popular (house was only on the market for 2 weeks) shame our reasons for the small budget aren't the same as yours grin

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 12:36:59

Wow two weeks is fast! If that's typical it doesn't look like any of these places will still be around by the time we're ready to buy!

Still it's really useful to get to know the areas and what places go for and I -love nosing at houses anyway grin

migratingsouth Sat 07-Jan-12 12:37:25

I'm up for a Hasting meetup I think that's a great idea!

TeamEdward Sat 07-Jan-12 13:39:37

There are a lot of houses in your price range on the market in Hastings right now, and the market isn't moving very fast (West Hill being the exception!)

Ingles2 Sat 07-Jan-12 19:18:29

Great to see you getting lots of support south smile
I hope everything goes well for you

migratingsouth Sun 08-Jan-12 16:41:34

Thanks Ingles2 smile

It's been very helpful getting all these views from people, I really do appreciate it. Mumsnet is great grin

We're going to look at schools, hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll update when we do.

migratingsouth Sun 08-Jan-12 16:42:56

And I almost forgot to say, the Pirate Golf looks great! grin

totemgirl Sun 08-Jan-12 23:04:30

I am also hoping to move to Hastings/St Leonards this year and have found this thread very helpful. Many thanks

migratingsouth Mon 09-Jan-12 14:32:20

Let us know how your move goes smile

MrsJKat Mon 11-Feb-13 12:42:42

Hi, I know this thread is a year old, did any of you move to Hastings? If so how did it go and do you still reccommend it? We are thinking of moving from London to Hastings very soon too

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