Do your dcs attend a happy and decent mixed comp? Can you buy a 4 bed house for £300,000 within walking distance?

(172 Posts)
SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:31:00

Hi, name changer here so I dont out myself and fuel local (smallminded here!) gossip.

We have decided to move away and after months of discussion we know exactly what we want but are not sure where we can find it.

We would like dcs to attend a decent HAPPY properly comprehensive school - so preferably a grammar-free area. DS12, is so unhappy at his current school sad. We are really disappointed with the lack of provision (mild SEN) and lack of care (that's a whole different thread).

We want to move from the snooty area we currently live where the neighbours are so up their own arses noone speaks to anyone else! We run an internet-based business and dh works 16 hour days and more to meet mortgage payments on our house. I want us to be mortgage free so we can actually spend some money enjoying life. We can move ANYWHERE but would like to be in a friendly neighbourhood with a sense of community. Maybe in a market town? Our budget would be around £300,000.

Ideally I would like dcs to be in walking distance of school - its healthy , sociable and good for independence.

Any ideas?

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 11-Jan-13 09:34:42

Good luck and well done for considering such a big move for very good reasons. Could you start by searching offsted reports?

You can just get a one bed flat here for that money and no good comp school either <helpful>

RillaBlythe Fri 11-Jan-13 09:35:12

I'm interested to see responses. I live in a grammar area myself & dd is only in Rrcrption so not my dept myself.

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:40:41

Sunshines smile. I lost a very close relative last year and it made me evaluate exactly what things I want from life. Being broke every month cos of the mortgage isnt one of them!

Rilla, I live in a grammar area and can see how polarised the school system becomes! Ds is currently at a private school because the non-grammar schools here are awful (or single sex or Catholic). Lets hope we get some answers!

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 11-Jan-13 09:46:22

I think your search is also a bit broad. You say you can move anywhere, but do you really want to - Northumberland? Shropshire? Do you have any family you need to be near to rather than the other end of the country?

veryworried29 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:49:30

Interesting thread! You'd need to pay £850,000 for a 4 bed in the catchment of our closest "happy" co-ed comprehensive school. Poxy system.

7to25 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:52:24

East Dumbartonshire.
Would you move that far?

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 11-Jan-13 09:53:14

Yes, market town.
Mine smile

But you'd probably have to get a 3 bed for just under your budget & convert the loft or the garage.

Oreocrumbs Fri 11-Jan-13 09:53:24

Yes up here - North East - a whole host of areas that meet the criteria.

You will be able to get a nice 4 bed in most areas around here for that price. So you could start by looking at the schools, see which ones you like the sound of and work from there.

PeskyPiskie Fri 11-Jan-13 09:56:49

Yes in my area,not the town I actually live in, - because the school is not that good - but in a nearby small town, Soham Village College.

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 11-Jan-13 09:57:27

Walking distance to everything.
Excellent outstanding school.
Free parking everywhere
Good commute to major cities
Excellent cycle routes
lovely people, me included

Negatives are tiny small minded town
The countryside
Lack of public transport, only nfrequent buses or expensive train a short drive away.
Lack of facilities. Lovely pool open to the public every third Wednesday, with cold showers as the boiler is broken, again.
No where to buy tights!

Goodwordguide Fri 11-Jan-13 09:58:15

I was going to say north-east as well - eg, east Newcastle or Hexham if you want a market town.

Alternately, east of Edinburgh eg, north Berwick - beautiful and good schools.

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:59:01

It is a broad search I agree! That's because we have nothing holding us where we currently are. Family not close, work portable, friends spread around the UK and further. Our plan is to spend the next couple of months visiting any areas that might tick all our boxes. I quite fancy somewhere North of England or Midlands.

Veryworried shock at £850,000, bloody hell! . The system is so flawed. Expensive catchments, grammars and faith schools leave collectively exclude so many children (including mine arghh).

7to25 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:00:20

Bearsden Academy.
Excellent school, friendly and community minded place, and plenty of lovely 4 beds within easy walking distance.
Ignore "offers over" if looking at rightmove.

rubyrubyruby Fri 11-Jan-13 10:06:31

Mine go to a brilliant secondary - recent outstanding ofsted in all 5 areas.
We have brilliant facilities all within walking distance and a bus every 30 mins into a beautiful city (30 min journey). We are also near to a fantastic hospital.

You can buy my 4 bed detached for £300,000. We are moving (but staying local) wink

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:08:46

Crossed posts then with lots of people. Thank you.

North East is such a massive area, I dont know where to start. A decent school will be key (not necessarily one with an outstanding ofsted, just one where dcs will be happy). I will look at Hexham and Newcastle on Rightmove. Oreo, can you name any schools?

Iseesmallpeople, where do teenagers go? What do they do? That worries me with many small towns.

I am visiting Scotland for the first time at Easter blush. I am ashamed to admit never travelling that far. In fact, I havent really been far north of bristol, how crap is that?! I want to show my dcs there is a whole world to explore outside our provincial little town.

NightLark Fri 11-Jan-13 10:10:21

South West Sheffield. It would have to be a fairly characterless house to fit the price criteria, but excellent secondaries, no grammars, on the doorstep of gorgeous peak-district countryside and a stable and friendly community ticked all our boxes.

plantsitter Fri 11-Jan-13 10:12:48

Have a look at Ilkley.

Mrskbpw Fri 11-Jan-13 10:13:26

My children are small but I do know the schools locally very well as I grew up in the area.

We live in a suburb of SE London - we paid £290,000 for our house, but it's 3 bedroom with an extra bedroom/playroom downstairs. Lots of the houses locally have different extensions though so there are many 4 beds around for just a bit more.

There are no secondaries within walking distance, but many just a short bus ride away. One is a mixed comprehensive, or there are two really good single-sex schools. There are also two single-sex selective schools (not grammars - they have an exam but you only take it if you want to) nearby. I went to the girls' selective school and hated it, but it's a very good school.

It's very friendly. Our neighbours are lovely. There's lots to do. Countryside is not far, there is lots of green space. And it's zone 5, so London Bridge is 21 minutes on the train, slightly longer into the West End.

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:14:04

ruby where are you? Sounds great!

7to25, that looks perfect! just looking at a map now. I know this is probably a very stupid question but would we fit in as southerners? (Im embaressed to ask blush sorry)

Cheeseswept Fri 11-Jan-13 10:14:43

I'm in a Midlands market town with good schools (some outstanding) and on Rightmove there are loads of 4 bed houses under £300k. Lovely countryside and good transport links. I've also had relatively good experiences with SEN support.

rubyrubyruby Fri 11-Jan-13 10:14:55

I will PM you wink

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:20:17

Mrskbpw, can you give me an idea of area? Maybe the nearest station?

plantsitter, can you think of a specific school? I know they have a grammar there which can have a negative impact on other nearby schools.

Nightlark, can you be more specific about SW Sheffiled? I am not sure where to look on the map!

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:21:36

ruby, thanmk you smile

Cheeses, sounds ideal. Which town re SEN support?

Oreocrumbs Fri 11-Jan-13 10:23:08

The school my dsd is in is a cathotlic mixed sex 'comp'. She isn't catholic (we are), and there is not much emphasis on studying religon, of course it is taught though.

The school's pastoral care is excellent. Dsd is a very shy and quiet child and has really flourished there. Only downside to this school is that I wouldn't want to live in walking distance (I am being a snob about that).

There are some nice enough areas in walking distance. Dsd's mother lives in the town that the school is in, and we live about 10 mins drive away. There are excellent bus links.

All of the comps I am personally familiar with are catholic, but are very much like a fab, happy comp rather than a 'catholic' education.

I'll PM you the name of DSD's school, but I would also really recomend (and will probably be sending my DD to) I went to that school, and it still has an excellent reputation for meeting needs across the board.

Washington will give you easy access to the main roads in the region making Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland all about 20 mins away.

penguinplease Fri 11-Jan-13 10:26:27

Ruby can you pm me too?! sounds like just where we are looking for, we are currently east mids though and don't want to move too far.. although very open minded.
sorry to hijack post op!

Pootles2010 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:28:14

I don't think Grammar always impacts negatively. I went to Arthur Terry in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, its one of several really good comps in area as well as quite a few grammars, and you'd get an alright 4 bed for 300k. Buses/trains into centre of Birmingham very regularly.

Its a great school, very good results, and very happy I think.

MissPB Fri 11-Jan-13 10:31:02

How about East Anglia area? Lots of good schools and homes for that price around there? North Bedfordshire, East Bucks or south northamptonshire are very nice too!

rubyrubyruby Fri 11-Jan-13 10:31:29

Penguinplease - have copied PM and sent it.

wonkylegs Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:49

Gosforth in Newcastle upon Tyne.
£300,000 will get a decent house (although not in the top roads but def a decent 4 bed in one of nice ones - central wouldn't necessarily have much of a garden but a bit further out would)
My DS is only in reception but neighbours and friends at the middle school & high school (operate 3 tier system here) say they are good, friendly and I believe they are Outstanding. All walkable distances with generally good crossing points.
Although part of the city (walkable to city centre + buses + metro), has it's own high street and loads of amenities.
If you a running an Internet business it might also be useful to know it's a cable broadband area (I work online from home)
Friendly, nice & Newcastle although a long way north is well connected to London (east coast mainline) & has a fab airport too. Easy to get to coast & countryside too.

Cheeseswept Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:51

Have pm'd you

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:34:52

Pootles, that's interesting to read. I have been avoiding areas with grammars because of my experiences here. Ds has 2 sisters who are both much more academic and might well suit grammar. I will have alook now. Thanks.

MissPB, can you identify specifically any schools in those areas? I wouldnt know where to start!

HelpOneAnother Fri 11-Jan-13 10:36:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnotherPoster Fri 11-Jan-13 10:39:58

Yes, I've just checked on RightMove and there are loads of 4 bed properties for sale in my area for £300,000 or less. My children go to a very well regarded mix comp. South Gloucestershire.

Startail Fri 11-Jan-13 10:41:42

Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford reasonable schools in all of those. Lovely bit of the world.

7to25 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:51:59

An increasing number of southerners here. I am one, but in Scotland for 30 years.
I think that many people are doing the same as you and having a big rethink of their life options. You could have a very good life here. Scots are very "fair minded" on the whole.
Bearsden is not like an island or a small village.
The weather is a huge negative.

Mrsladybirdface Fri 11-Jan-13 12:36:20

Charlton Kings in Cheltenham. This is a grammer school area but the local comp is really one of the best smaller Comps. Houses to come on the market in your price range but there doesn't seem much atm.

Really is a top notch locationn

fresh Fri 11-Jan-13 13:31:36

There are 4-bed houses here, and we've got a good comp. Wiltshire, any good to you, or is that where you're trying to get away from?

fresh Fri 11-Jan-13 13:32:15

Forgot to say, market town too.

SunnyUpNorth Fri 11-Jan-13 13:45:42

We moved from London to Stockton Heath which is in the north west early last year. I grew up near here but dh is from Kent and has had no probs fitting in.

My kids aren't secondary age yet but the local mixed comp is supposed to be great, it's called Bridgewater.

We love the area as we are close to Manchester and Liverpool. Stockton Heath and surrounding towns are lovely. We are also right in the heart of the Cheshire countryside and the coast is close too. There really seems to be the best of both worlds here. You would get a small 4 bed for £300k here. There are a few threads on mumsnet about moving to Cheshire,there are lots of good places ranging from large towns to small villages.

Good luck with your move!

5madthings Fri 11-Jan-13 13:49:43

I was going to say east Anglia, we are in Norwich my ds1 goes to a high school that matches your op and is good for sn's (have van outstanding dyslexia unit) and its small. He gets the bus but depending on where you live you could walk. Pm me smile

WildThong Fri 11-Jan-13 13:51:00

Newton Mearns or Clarkston in East Renfrewshire

The best schools and easy reach of countryside or seaside

I'd say gosforth in Newcastle upon Tyne too. Schools are great (and DS1 is happy a school for the first time in years) and the SEN provision is good (in his middle school at least). You can buy a 4 bed within walking distance of the middle schools/high schoolfor well under £300k. It's a lovely place to live.

Or you could go with clarkston/mearns as the previous poster said. Or Eaglesham if you're looking for a sense of community. It's a village just beyond clarkston. You get the same schools (school buses are provided, so not being in walking distance isn't a problem)

Mosman Fri 11-Jan-13 13:54:14

I have researched this extensively and concluded Sutton cold field in the midlands or I think it's Taunton the school is called kings.
However getting a place in year 8 could be a whole different matter. We were all due to move to Cheltenham and missed a date by a single day and that was it no place, even at appeal.

Mosman Fri 11-Jan-13 13:56:17

Arthur Terry was the school I was thinking about in Sutton, it is a grammar school area though

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 11-Jan-13 13:58:45

South London?
The 4 bed house is modest, though - but on the edge of one of London's best parks here

ScallyFloss Fri 11-Jan-13 14:27:52

Richmond, North Yorkshire. Great schools, picture postcard place and full of generally nice people.

Nice 4 bed cottage for £295,000

Pootles2010 Fri 11-Jan-13 14:31:55

Arthur Terry is excellent, also Fairfax & Plantbrook to a lesser extent I think.

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 11-Jan-13 15:27:16

Well they sit around on the swings discussing French art films smile
Theres a regular bus to a big town not far away, where there is a cinema & proper shops. Pubs that take underage drinkers too. And a crappy niteclub.

lalalonglegs Fri 11-Jan-13 15:28:43

Doesn't Ilkely have a grammar school though and the children who don't get in there tend to go to the ones in Skipton or elsewhere?

PandaG Fri 11-Jan-13 15:34:06

Sheffield. Ofsted outstanding school a 10 min walk away, with a good w outstanding features primary next door to the secondary. We moved last year into a 4 bed semi which was <300k. 3 min walk to local shops and bus stop with frequent service to city centre.

Badvoc Fri 11-Jan-13 15:40:05

Where I am!
Will pm you details if you like...

LoopsInHoops Fri 11-Jan-13 15:42:15

Have pmed you smile

Primrose123 Fri 11-Jan-13 15:45:41

These houses are all within walking distance of this school. Or is that too far away?

LadyofWinterfell Fri 11-Jan-13 15:48:43

I live in Halesowen, West Mids, and there are some fantastic schools here. If you go a little further out there are lovely villages (eg Hagley) with decent transport links to Stourbridge, Kidderminster and Birmingham.

Ludlow, Kinver, Bewdley, Clent, and Romsley are well worth a look too.

Bewdley house

cantspel Fri 11-Jan-13 15:50:12

I am in a non grammar school area.
I have my older son in a very good sen school. He is doing an extra year before college.
My younger son is year 10 and in a catholic secondary school. We are catholics but it is not a super selective letter from your priest type of school. Very happy with his education and its wider links with the local community.
We are on the south coast so always something going on, safe for children to play out, go to the parks or into town and lots of activities for them.
£300k would buy you a decent house with a nice sized garden and plenty of choice of styles. There is everything from victorian to modern build estates.
Good transport links, good local colleges for further education and generally a lovely place to live.

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 15:58:40

How do you know if a Comp is "happy"?
Our local comp has typical GCSE pass rates around 50%. MNers probably consider that abysmal not decent. I think I need "decent" defined, too.

This is in catchment of an Outstanding rated high school with GCSE pass rates near 80%. Sheringham, too, would fit your bill.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Fri 11-Jan-13 16:07:17

Solihull has good comps, and 4-beds under 300,000.

drjohnsonscat Fri 11-Jan-13 16:07:39

This is all making me feel a bit envy only because I am in London and can never leave because of work (only London-based), all family are here, I was born here and also love London. many nice options. I like the sound of a market town in Herefordshire or somewhere like that. <daydreams>

Melissakitkat Fri 11-Jan-13 16:11:47

Come to Bedfordshire! I live in a 4 bed in a lovely little village - market town within 10miles and nearest comp is outstanding and only 1mile down the road! X

Melissakitkat Fri 11-Jan-13 16:13:02

Btw we are just over the border from Hertfordshire - trains into London every 10mins and £300k buys lovely big houses here in the villages! X

anniebunny Fri 11-Jan-13 16:19:41

Have PMed you!

Live in a village - Google Bradon Forest. Am a govenor at the school. can buy in thsat range in village and you can walk to school - there is also a primary next door. Its in village outside a quite major town, near M4 but you can get to naiice palces quickly plus fairly decent facilities in the bigger place.

Oh there's a Royal connection nearby too wink

Oodhousekeeping Fri 11-Jan-13 18:06:17

Am in Cumbria. Dd1s school is v good AND OFSTEd likes it. Loads 4 + beds under 300k. Don't want to say the town on here but if you fancy Cumbria pm me

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 18:12:35

I live in South Yorkshire near a market town that has a comprehensive school that DD goes to. She is happy there. The school has been graded as satisfactory from ofsted, but they are on the up. You could easily find a 4 bedroomed house for £300k.

Mutt Fri 11-Jan-13 18:23:17

Durham is a really lovely place to live.

And we are very lucky to have this school with properties nearby within your price range.

SusieP40 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:32:10

Just back here after work, school runs dinner etc. Brilliant to have so many messages. I am so excited to see different places around the UK. It makes me realise how expensive our current hometown is. (and how brilliant some schools are, unfortunately not here).

lljkk, good question - what makes a school 'decent'. I wish I knew! Ds (lots of aspergers traits and some SEN) doesnt fit in his current school at all. It is an independent school, very competitive and sporty. Its an excellent environment for many children but trying to force ds to conform to the schools expectations is like forcing the proverbial square peg into a round hole. To me a 'decent' school would be one that allows ds to be himself and not feel inadequate about it. His needs are key to our move because his schooling has been a disaster so far sad. He has 2 sisters who are very different (one is extremely academic) and a decent school would also provide them with an appropriate education. (I have seen very poor and very good differentiation in schools when I was a secondary school teacher pre dcs).

Back to rightmove. thanks again everyone. I am slowly working through the list of suggestions, checking each one and compiling a spreadsheet (how proud dh is of me and my spreadsheet!)

DeafLeopard Fri 11-Jan-13 18:35:11

I've PMd you smile

DeafLeopard Fri 11-Jan-13 18:36:12

Sorry forgot to add, whilst I linked to properties in the village, the catchment covers lots of villages, to which coaches run, so the search potential is wider if walking isn't a major issue.

Awks Fri 11-Jan-13 18:36:33

We live on the N Yorkshire coast in a 3 bed detached overlooking the sea and similar go for around 225k. Both kids went to the local comp, it's a nice school on 2 sites with an upper and lower school which we liked as the young ones dont feel too overwhelmed at 11 as there are only years 7 and 8 in lower.

Youngest is still there and eldest is at uni now.

Town is lovely - we won the most enterprising town in Europe award so there is a nice vibe. We are 40 miles from York which is 1hr 58 from London. I love it here.

Awks Fri 11-Jan-13 18:38:13

I went to the Durham Johnston! I was happy but it was centuries a while ago!

KellyMarieTunstall Fri 11-Jan-13 18:41:54
Mutt Fri 11-Jan-13 18:45:19

<high fives Awks> grin

The school used to be on two sites but was recently completely rebuilt (finished in 2009) at a cost of £24M and now offers really excellent facilities as well as fantastic teaching.

harbingerofdoom Fri 11-Jan-13 20:30:13

OP,I know just the place. It's fully comprehensive in the town BUT There are two schools (both comp) that are single sex. The girl's school is very well thought of and academic. The boy's school looks after it's pupils whatever they want to do. These two schools are within walking distance of the town centre and seafront.
Should you want co-ed there are at least two other schools.

vj32 Fri 11-Jan-13 21:18:37

Do you really want to move anywhere??
If your kids have a noticeable accent or you move to an area with a strong accent then you kids will be at best a curiosity and at worst bullied relentlessly. Also in some areas if you are not local you won't understand the local dialect. (I famously didn't realise I was being offered drugs on a trip to Leeds) Family in Yorkshire think I am posh because I am from the south and so don't have an accent. If you move to Wales your children will almost certainly have to learn Welsh. If you move to Scotland they have a completely different education and legal system.
Do you want to be by the sea? Are you used to hills?
I can't live away from the sea, even though I never go to the beach and Norfolk is wierdly flat to me.

I think you need to narrow it down a bit.

Incidentally, Hampshire has some great schools. I work at a school that is really friendly, welcoming, and truly comprehensive in having every nationality and every class represented. But often you don't know that until you have lived in catchment and spoken to parents and local people. Its very hard to get the feel and atmosphere of a school from its website and Ofsted report.

Mutt Fri 11-Jan-13 21:25:45

vj32 - are you for real? Bullied relentlessly purely for not having a local accent?

I'm from the south and moved to the North-East twelve years ago. Neither I nor my DC have been bullied, alienated or anything else for having a different accent.

RosyRoo Fri 11-Jan-13 21:43:27

The NE and Newcastle in particular is great and cheap. Overall cost of living is lower there as well as house prices, so your money will go further in all ways. If you can work anywhere then I think it's a good bet. There's loads to do, great public transport, friendly people, countryside and coastline all within very easy reach (less traffic than in the congested south). However, it is very cold in winter and do not expect any type of summer.

wonkylegs Fri 11-Jan-13 21:50:38

Rosy that's not completely fair - it is cold up here but we have also had plenty of lovely summers in Newcastle. The year I had my DS it was sweltering, and the couple of years after (he's 4) his summer birthday has been nice enough for outside parties in the park. It's not as hot as the S but it's not non existent. It was rubbish this summer but I think that was nationwide.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 11-Jan-13 21:52:02

wow - lucky you to have such choices

we live in a fairly unfashionable but utterly normal, pleasant suburb of greater manchester. when we moved from London we could have chosen to move into an 11+ area, but i disagree with selective education, so here we are.

300k would get you near good comprehensives in all but the most fashionable South Manchester suburbs. In fact, in most parts of the North, if you look away from the obvious areas to which newcomers are instantly attracted, you could find something to fit your brief.

wonkylegs Fri 11-Jan-13 21:55:43

vj32 sorry but that's rubbish.
I'm another southerner whose been in the NE for a long time with no issues. When I was in the south I also moved from SE to SW (as a child) without problem.
I have many many friends who have moved around (both nationally & internationally) as both adults and kids with no problems.

MegBusset Fri 11-Jan-13 21:57:55

We are ten minutes' walk from great, mixed comp school (like you we purposely moved away from a grammar area), on the edge of a fab city (Norwich). Our four-bed detached house cost 2/3 of your budget.

Mutt Fri 11-Jan-13 21:58:08

I also moved from London to Wales before the Northeast and lived there ten years with no bad experiences due to being from outside the area.

Certainly don't let worries on that front put you off a move OP smile

TalkinPeace2 Fri 11-Jan-13 21:58:22

You'll hate Noth Baddesley and Rownhams then
let alone Cuperham or the Cleveland bay end of Chandlers ford

after all we only have some of the best comps in the south feeding into Peter Symonds

and at a push there is always Ringwood

this area is so dire
and only an hour from London grin

East Renfrewshire (Scotland) regularly has the top 2 comp schools in Scotland. Excellent extra-curricular activities and support for all kinds of learners.

House prices start at about £200k and up.

Crikeyblimey Fri 11-Jan-13 22:02:34

We live in a small rural village near the Fylde coast in Lancashire. Excellent schools, beautiful countryside, 4 bed detached for 300k very doable.

Come live here - we are dead friendly too! smile

Lots of nice places in Leicestershire would meet your criteria. We're in South Leics and the SEN support is excellent where we are (though DS1 who has ASD is still in Primary School) there are several Ofsted outstanding high schools - though 'high school' here means middle school - Yr 6/7-9, with colleges from Yr10-13... weird system hmm

nkf Fri 11-Jan-13 22:08:12

Yes. And £300k would buy a two bed flat. But there will be places. Probably in the north? Maybe East Anglia. But if you can work from home, you're sorted.

GinghamChic Fri 11-Jan-13 22:13:06

I promise if you consider the NE you would could get lovely house/MC area AND great sought after school for that money. Here are the best options:
- Morpeth (northumerland) - king edward school
- Hexham (northumberland) - QE school
- Ponteland (edge of northumberland - close to city) - Ponteland High
- On the coast: Whitley Bay/Cullercoats/Tynemouth - Whitley High/Marden High/Kings Priory
- Gosforth - Gosforth Academy
- Durham - St Leonards/Durham Johnston
- Catholic - all good in and around Newcastle

Primrose123 Fri 11-Jan-13 23:21:07

A poster above mentioned that in Wales, your children would have to learn Welsh. That is true, but they would go to an English-speaking school, and learn Welsh as a second language. They wouldn't have to do everything in Welsh!

CaptainNancy Sat 12-Jan-13 00:51:41

You will not have much choice of a 4-bed for 300k in catchment for Arthur Terry, Sutton Coldfield! 3-beds galore, but 4 beds usually more pricy, or out of catchment.

Ditto Solihull.

It's possible, but very limited choices.

Mosman Sat 12-Jan-13 00:58:07

I used to have a sales job in north Wales, of say hello in English and they would respond in welsh. These were so called professionals. Only spoke back to me in English when I stood my ground. Happened more than once.

You can do that in York. You'll need to pick your house fairly carefully to get in to the better catchments but it's absolutely do-able. Our house is 4 beds and one like it would cost 70-80 thousand less than your budget. Catchment is for an ok secondary but the one my dds attend is actually closer (they walk)

Clary Sat 12-Jan-13 01:35:07

East Midlands has lots of good schools - in Derby, Nottingham, countryside around etc.

You can easily buy a 4-bed house for £300k too.

Clary Sat 12-Jan-13 01:37:53

Sorry I meant to post a list of schools rated outstanding or good - West Bridgford on edge of Nottingham, also Toot Hill in Bingham.

In Derby, Littleover School and Chellaston School, Landau Forte college tho that has very different term times; in Derbyshire Kirk Hallam College and Ecclesbourne School.

Melissakitkat Sat 12-Jan-13 07:45:59

Check out Robert Bloomfield middle school in shefford!

popserinis Sat 12-Jan-13 07:52:57

Milton Keynes. We relocated there to a new development. Real community feel and some great schools. Loads for kids to do and as lots of peopl mew to town, everyone is friendly and open to meeting new people.

poshfrock Sat 12-Jan-13 07:54:43

We live in a small town/ large village with a happy comp and lots of lovely independent shops, library, leisure centre, pool, pubs, cafes and nice people. We are less than 10 mins from nearest motorway. Our 4 bed detached with views of open countryside cost £165k 6 months ago. We're in North Lincs. Nothing is more than a 15 min walk from my house and we live on the edge of the village. There is another house 2 doors down from mine up for sale at £190k at the moment.

poshfrock Sat 12-Jan-13 07:55:24

Also nearest train station is 10/15 mins.

sassytheFIRST Sat 12-Jan-13 07:59:31

North Worcestershire - I see a house in my town has already been linked to. Schools good and comprehensive, though not v ethnically diverse, town small but has most amenities and close to bigger places/ forty mins from Birmingham. Transport links pretty good.

Yes-York. You wouldn't get a massive house for that amount of money, but if you're not too fussed you'd get a 4 bedroom. And even York's 'dodgy' areas are lovely!

tiredemma Sat 12-Jan-13 08:01:40

walking distance to one of the best comps in the country (Arthur Terry School)

Great area, great links into bham city centre.

(Four oaks - sutton coldfield)

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 12-Jan-13 08:01:54


Do you think Tulse Hill sounds like what the op is after?

South Cheshire,fantastic comp my two attend. Get plenty with your budget too.good luck,excited for you.

orangeandlemons Sat 12-Jan-13 08:17:59

I would second south west Sheffield. Local comp excellent, just got Ofsted outstading

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 08:31:44

attractive Alwick - well known for a nice quality of life near the sea - market town a train ride from newcastle. Not sure about the schools.

Also Berwick upon tweed near the scottish/english border and by the sea.

Don't know about schools sorry

I'm also an incomer to the NE. It's been no problem at all. DS1 (who has a Glasgow accent like me) hasn't had any trouble at school. The kids have been very accepting and he's made some lovely friends. DH is southern and hasn't had any problems with his accent.

I'd disagree about Milton Keynes. Absolutely awful place. We hated just about everything about it. And DS1 was bullied for being Scottish there. You couldn't pay me to move back there.

LemonBreeland Sat 12-Jan-13 14:17:33

Not where I live now but where I grew up. Ryton. It is between Newcastle and Hexham.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 12-Jan-13 14:24:41

Look at West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. South of Nottingham, really an adjoining small town with high street and very good local facilities. West Bridgford and Rushcliffe schools are both good. You can buy a nice 4-5 bed Victorian house within catchment for that. The Lady Bay area is a bit cheaper (Rushcliffe catchment). Walking distance depends how far you want to walk, could be a mile as the comps are both on one edge of the neighbourhood but depends where exactly you buy.

ElsieMc Sat 12-Jan-13 14:27:03

I don't know where you are so it is a bit difficult. What about the North West? Cumbria for example has beautiful areas but very reasonably priced housing so long as you stay away from Windermere etc.

Where we live there are very good houses for £300,000. It could buy you a good sized four bed detached (new home) or a very large Victorian property of character in a leafy area, but probably on a busy road.

The main industrial town here has an academy that is not too good, but towns within five miles both have grade 1 comprehensive schools, one of which is in the UK top fifteen. One town is a market town.

The villages are okay and prices not too bad also. You would need a car as public transport is abysmal. PM me if you want more info.

CocoNutter Sat 12-Jan-13 17:31:49

Leamington Spa or Kenilworth. Really, really lovely area, good schools (especially Kenilworth), sense of community, good transport links (road, rail and air - Birmingham Intl Airport only 20mins away), fab restaurants, lovely countryside. Just generally great!

cantspel Sat 12-Jan-13 17:34:26

I would also be looking a job opportunities as children will grow up one day. Maybe not so much if you see all 3 going on to university but if not it is something that needs to be considered as often areas that are cheap are only cheap as they are areas with few jobs.

insancerre Sat 12-Jan-13 17:47:02

This is where DD goes
The pastoral care is excellent. The school is outstanding according to ofsted
We live within walking distance. We paid less than £200,000 for our 4 bed house.
St Annes and Lytham are thriving towns and the M55 is close so Preston, Leeds, Manchester, the Lakes etc are within driving distance. Blackpool is far enough away so that you can choose whether you want to go there or not.
The train station is within walking distance too s is the beach.

NamingOfParts Sat 12-Jan-13 17:50:12

Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

this school

there are a couple of 4 bed houses in your price range

iseenodust Sat 12-Jan-13 18:00:24

Market town of Beverley in East Yorks regularly in top ten of best quality of life for money surveys. There are is a mixed comp, a girls comp (highly rated) and a boys comp (despite being called a grammar). Walking or biking to school is the norm. Surrounded by rolling countryside and coast only 20 mins away. Nice community definitely. Down to earth but if posh is sometimes your thing Michelin starred restaurant in near village.

old property
modern property
wiki says!

Oodhousekeeping Sat 12-Jan-13 18:14:44

elsiemc sounds like we were suggesting the same area. Are you local?

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 12-Jan-13 20:01:30

im in east anglia, south lincolnshire, and you'd easily get 4 bed detached with good gardens in the market town i live in with good schools close by. the town i live in has two grammar schools (still do 11+ here) but about half hour drive away is a lovely town close to mixed comp with very good reviews. pm me if u want to know exact location smile

Springforward Sat 12-Jan-13 20:12:46

Sorry if mentioned upthread as I have only skimmed, but I think you would manage this in most Shropshire market towns.

SusieP40 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:25:39

Just checking in to thank everyone for responses and messages. It's fantastic, so so helpful. You are all brilliant! My spreadsheet is now organised into colour bands by county. Its a thing of beauty grin.

SusieP40 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:29:53

Some of the areas suggested are outstandingly beautiful but also very rural. Those of you in rural areas, what do your teenagers do? How do they meet up with friends? I presume you would have to do alot of ferrying around in evenings? <worries about regular glass of wine with dinner>

MrsPnut Sat 12-Jan-13 20:41:57

We live in a rural area but we have 2 buses serving our village, so 4 buses an hour until 7pm or so.
After that we work on a system of sleep overs, sharing lifts and favours. I also usually make DH do late night pick ups.

not our village but a brilliant school.

Oodsigma Sat 12-Jan-13 20:54:06

We live in a small town in a rural area. 2 mins to town centre!

Springforward Sat 12-Jan-13 20:54:55

Shrewsbury would be fine OP, big enough to have stuff to do and a good bus service in the evening.

Springforward Sat 12-Jan-13 20:57:48

Also places like Bridgnorth or Ludlow....

absentmindeddooooodles Sat 12-Jan-13 21:01:28

have you thought about cornwall? i love it down here, very friendly some great schools around, and everyone knows everyone :p truro is a great area. Although could also recommend falmouth. good luck with everything! smile

ElsieMc Sat 12-Jan-13 21:01:50

Oodhousekeeping - Yes, I'm a local and I think we are suggesting the same school (s).

Schooldidi Sat 12-Jan-13 21:03:51

I recommend Cumbria, Northumberland or Tyne and Wear. I've been to/worked in happy comprehensives in all three counties and people up here are generally amazed that you could have problems buying a 4 bed house for £300000.

In Cumbria Trinity school in Carlisle, Nelson Thomlinson school in Wigton and Cockermouth school in Cockermouth all have excellent reputations.

Northumberland has a different system with First schools (up to year 4), middle schools (year 5-8) and high schools (year 9-13). Every one I attended or worked in was happy and truly comprehensive, although obviously some are better than others.

hatgirl Sat 12-Jan-13 21:05:50

anywhere in the upper north west avoiding the lake district national park. Cumbria has a mainly comprehensive system, Lancashire's comprehensive schools are generally okay. The Kendal - Lancaster - Settle - Barrow area (approx 50 sq miles) has quite a few techy businesses.

Clary Sat 12-Jan-13 22:12:10

oooh coconuts I went to school in a S lincs market town with two grammar schools and lots of cheap big housing... wonder if it's where you live!

Is the lovely town with the comp famous for starring in a TV adaptation as it has such beautiful stone buildings???

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 12-Jan-13 22:15:55

clary sounds very similar!

hatgirl Sat 12-Jan-13 22:31:24

and as Schooldidi says £300k makes you a mansion owner up the west Cumbria coast, Carlisle and through to the North East.

Preferthedogtothekids Sun 13-Jan-13 00:44:11

I live in the East of Scotland, in Fife. My kids go to a reasonable comp and you would get a very decent house for £300k. St Andrews has a very well-regarded High School, but housing is more expensive and Edinburgh/East Lothian have some good schools and you budget would buy you an adequate home.

The very best comps are in the West of Scotland, in East Renfrewshire. The housing in pricey, and it rains, but Glasgow and surrounds is definitely an area of opportunity! I would also rate Gryffe High in Bridge of Weir. A really good school in a lovely small town with access to stunning countryside and coast.

What a lovely opportunity for any family :-)

AphraBehn Sun 13-Jan-13 10:19:41

Don't rule out Essex!

You'd be struggling to get a 4 bed house in catchment for a decent high school in Edinburgh with that budget. Edinburgh is horribly expensive. Some friends of mine just sold their 2 bed flat (one bedroom is a box room) for more than we paid for our 4 bed house (in a different city). And the flat was in the catchment for a school you'd definitely want to avoid.

shockers Sun 13-Jan-13 11:26:37

DS goes to a fabulous mixed comp in NW England. You'd get a pretty decent house for £300,000 too. It's in a small city surrounded by market towns and villages.

zeeboo Sun 13-Jan-13 11:37:39

Lovely market town here, 2 secondarys, 1 Ofsted outstanding and 1 Good with outstanding sixth form.
4 bed house for £300k disolves into hysterical laughter

Adversecamber Sun 13-Jan-13 11:38:37

DC can be picked on for different accents. DS says grass and bath in a southern way so has been called a snob where we live.

Agree West Bridgeford is very nice but is not some kind of utopia, thinking of friend who lived there and didn't like it so has moved away.

Branleuse Sun 13-Jan-13 11:38:59

yes, in my area, although we do have a grammar school too. Colchester. If you moved to Lexden or Prettygate areas you'd be in the catchment for philip morant which is the local one that people move to get in catchment for, although they do have an entrance exam for non catchment people, and they have an alpha stream for people that passed 11+ but didnt get into the grammar or girls high.
Also have the very good st benedicts if youre of the religious persuasion, pref catholic, but they will take other faiths

Branleuse Sun 13-Jan-13 11:41:22

Oh and WRT to SEN, my ds has SN and thats why i chose the school. Excellent SEN department because they also have a hearing impaired unit. The senco is amazing

Branleuse Sun 13-Jan-13 11:44:44

NaicePig Sun 13-Jan-13 12:03:10

This is why mumsnet the internet is fab. Imagine trying to figure this one out twenty years ago, where the heck would you start?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:12:35
TalkinPeace2 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:35:19

Oh bugger.
While searching that list for you I've found that one of my wish list houses is back on the market but I still cannot afford it.

north east sheffield is even cheaper than south west, lovely area's good schools, very close to peak district, very close to city centre, 4 bed probably about 250, 000. you can get a lovely 3 bed for 150,000.

ivykaty44 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:57:13

coconutter has suggested a great area in Kenilworth, and leamington - not rural but very close to the countryside, two large cities and plenty for teens to do at the weekend

youth clubs
5 decent secondary schools - nearest grammer 12 miles away and other grammer 15 miles away
atheltics clubs
running clubs things like park run and cross country
dancing clubs taps etc
dramas clubs with motion house dance and dramas for teens
football clubs
four rugby clubs in area with decent social clubs adjoining the clubs
three large swimming pools and a 50 m pool 10 miles away
decent cycling clubs - three in the area
trains to london take 1.20hrs and trains every half hour to b/ham
decent shopping in both solihull and b/ham
god theatres in cov, brum, stratford of course has two, then small local theatres int he smaller towns
good business links
good restaurants kept going by the influx of business
two castles
houses decent rice in towns this type it is walking and bus distance from town for teens at weekends

stoatie Sun 13-Jan-13 18:08:30

To add to CocoNutter's suggestion of Leamington Spa or Kenilworth - also Warwick. Myton School is very popular - currently expanding. Warwick small market town.

ivykaty44 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:59:15

myton school is really awful for anything SEN related. Whereas there are other schools in Leamington and Warwick that are good with SEN

sleepdodger Mon 14-Jan-13 23:58:35

Shripshire- shrews bury
Good state comps
Excellent sixth form
Houses at 300k a plenty
Pretty countryside on doorstep
Hr to Brum
Train links all over
Hr to bhx airport or 1.3hr to Manchester

SusieP40 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:07:01

You are all absolutely brilliant and I have had a fascinating tour of the UK sitting here in front of my pc ignoring my rapidly expanding work pile!

I have spoken to quite a few of the schools recommended and they tend to be oversubsribed with waiting lists. This is tricky as we have to give a term's notice at ds' current school and wont necessarily have a place guaranteed in a new school. I have started new thread here asking more speicifically about schools that are good for SEN and undersubscribed!
Hoping for a miracle!

higgle Tue 15-Jan-13 14:00:25

Gloucestershire has lots of nice places and good schools. Wotton Under Edge and Dursley are both small market towns. Dursley has Rednock Comp, leisure centre, in the midst of beautiful counryside. Wotton is even better, arts centre, excellent GPs, NHS dentists and nice individual shops. Katherine Lady Berkley school is a former grammer than has been comp for generations now, founded in 1300 ish (I think) You can walk everywhere and again, lovely countryside. I moved to this part of Gloucestershire fron London when I got married and have been very happy here. There are grammar schools in Stroud/Cheltenham/Gloucester but they are well away from the two towns I've just mentioned and don't afect the intake. Very easy journey to Bristol/Cheltenham and trains from Stroud and Stonehouse to London, or Cam&Dursley station to Bristol and points beyond. You would get a nice detached house with a garden well within your budget here.

jeee Tue 15-Jan-13 14:09:54

My parents live in the North Cotswolds. The two local secondary schools near to them both seem brilliant - Chipping Campden School (okay, I'm biased about this school, because I went there), and The Cotswold School. They are both genuinely comprehensive. They have great facilities. And frankly, I wish my children could go to them.

You should be able to afford a four bedroomed house in catchment as long as you don't expect a picture postcard cotswold cottage. My parents live in a 1960s four bedroomed number that would sell for less than £300K - and it has good sized gardens.

SusieP40 Mon 21-Jan-13 23:16:16

jeee, the ofsted for the cotswold school is astonishing! I have had another recommendation for bournside school. they seem to have very good schools around the Cheltenham area.
Do you have any idea about SEN in either of the schools you recommended? Thanks.

Hmm may struggle with a 4 bed but there are a few.
schools excellent .
Fab public transport (trains and buses )
Good shopping
Swimming all in walking distance
Airport on bus /train route
Same 30 mins London /40 Cambridge

In short I love it here and will never ever move

Google hockerhill school , Birchwood , or single sex options . Boys high or Herts and Essex

Oh and Birchwood has fab Sen policy's to

jojane Tue 22-Jan-13 08:11:33

We are Chepstow, comp with sen department, there is a private boardin school but no framers in area , 4 bed house wod be about £300000, close to cardiff and Bristol for anything you might need, concerts, shopping, etc

Yes, Matlock, Derbyshire

SusieP40 Tue 22-Jan-13 09:46:56

Thanks alot for more responses smile. Any information re SEN in any recommendations will be gratefully recieved!

FantasticDay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:53:47

Hi, South Liverpool has a lot of family homes for well less than that. (Ours is a three bed terrace in a for £134K). Lots of 'outstanding' and good schools - though high proportion have a religious affiliation. One grammar - but it really is a super-super-selective, so the comps still get about 80% plus 5 or more good GCSEs.

auntpetunia Tue 22-Jan-13 11:15:31

ok you don't mind where you live then try Crosby north Liverpool, we have 15 minute train to Liverpool city centre and all the history that entails. We have one of the lowest crime rates in the country (google it it's true!) schools St Michael's local comp which is just getting better all the time, fabulous SEN provision.

Houses this is 5 minute walk from the school and the local shopping centre, Sainsbury's etc. Walking 20 minute the other way you have ironmen and the lovely beach.

LedaOfSparta Tue 22-Jan-13 12:07:09

Catchment for Crofton School in Stubbingtonsmile

Lovely big village, v friendly and good access to bigger cities on south coast.

GotAnyGrapes Tue 22-Jan-13 21:03:57

Posted this on the other thread but just in case you're checking this one instead now:

Hi Susie, I know you are ideally looking for state schools but the area we have recently moved from has one or two excellent independent schools who specialise in HFA/dyslexia/dyspraxia. I know of 2 children whose parents sent them to the same school after their state schools failed them spectacularly. One has dyslexia and the other has aspergers. Both are thriving!

It's a fairly pricey area though you do get a few 4beds within your budget. However, as it's a densely populated urban area, living just one postcode along (thus adding 5 mins to journey) gets you a lot more for your money.

Good infrastructure too and easy into Manchester. Excellent state schools too especially primary. I was sad to leave but DHs job rules our life.

Anyway, here's a link to the school. Good luck! here

mumzy Tue 22-Jan-13 22:09:54

Sheffield would be a city I'd consider it has very few indies and no grammars so the majority of dcs attend comps some such as Silverdale and Tapton which are outstanding. As a city it has loads going for it and easy reach of the Peak District and 2 hours by train to London. The houses look pretty good too I'd say the south of the city is more des res

SusieP40 Wed 23-Jan-13 10:58:36

Great - more food for thought! Thankyou smile

Auntpetunia, Have spoken to St Michaels in Crosby (2 people have recommended same place!). I t has places so will look further into that one as a possibility.

Will look into other suggestions this morning.
Mumzy, do you know of any shffield schools with a good record of SEN provision?

Sunnyshores Wed 23-Jan-13 19:49:08

This is something I've looked at alot for DS (currently private, but wondering why!!). Anyway I looked at counties around the M3/M4 and the best remarks I had were from parents in Chippenham of 2 (yes 2!!) schools Hardenhuish and Sheldon. Many parents from local preps send their children to either of these.
Chippenham isnt exactly picturesque, its nice enough though and the area is lovely. If you didnt want to be in walking distance their are some beautiful villages 10 minutes away and both schools run buses.

NewFerry Thu 24-Jan-13 17:40:47

Shhhh, please don't go telling people that wiltshire has good schools! Next you'll be talking about how reasonable the house prices are, or the excellent quality of life, or the fact we have very low crime rates, and are close to 2 world heritage in Bath & Stonehenge.
Just stop it! grin

SusieP40 Thu 24-Jan-13 17:42:32

grin NewFerry, I wont say a word!
Do you know anything about good SEN pracrice in Wilts secondary schools?

SusieP40 Thu 24-Jan-13 17:49:06

Sunnyshores - I think Hardenhuish are full (in year 8) but quite a few Glos schools had spaces including some very good ones. I can let you have the list if you want. Our ds is also currently in a private school but we are not getting much value for money from them! Its a high achieving school and I think they have written ds off as he performs so poorly academically. As we are completely mobile, our search is broad. So far Glos, Rutland, Lincs and Leicester seems to have possiblities for us. I am quite surprised at the property prices in areas that I assumed would be cheap!

NewFerry Thu 24-Jan-13 18:09:17

Hmm, I understand that John Bentley in Calne is good for SEN. I have a friend who is a governor there, her DC is Y8, and she is very happy with his progress, though not SEN.
The villages round Calne are lovely, and its pretty close to Swindon for teenage stuff.

jo164 Thu 24-Jan-13 18:27:42

Another vote for South Gloucestershire area. Katharine Lady Berkeley in Wotton Under Edge, Castle School in Thornbury - both market towns with good access to Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham. Winterbourne International Academy, in Winterbourne which is an area in the very north of Bristol so not as rural, easy to get into centre of Bristol for all city amenities.

Sunnyshores Thu 24-Jan-13 22:28:24

NewFerry - plus Avebury, beautiful medieval Salisbury, wonderful local farmers markets, farmshops, Love it here Whoops.....

NewFerry Thu 24-Jan-13 22:45:38

Yes, yes, Avebury so much better than Stonehenge.
But remember, don't tell anyone, it's a secret!

mumzy Thu 24-Jan-13 23:01:56

Susie I'm not sure about the SEN provision but if there are any areas you think are possibilities post in education and I'm sure local posters will be able to advise

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