Winchester - Moving in time for year 7 application...or waiting until daughter finishes year 6...

(31 Posts)
ConfusedofHerneHill Fri 08-Feb-13 19:26:26

We are planning a move to Winchester, but are unsure whether to move this year to be in place for October 2013 secondary applications ( daughter currently in year 5 so we'll be applying for September 2014 entry), or move in summer 2014 and cross our fingers that we get a place for her. Our plan in either instance would be to rent initially, while we look for our forever home in Winchester and sell our London house, so in theory we could find a place close to Westgate, Kings School or wherever. I probably slightly favour Westgate from my limited knowledge, partly because I like the look of the associated primary schools (my son is currently in year 2).
I know it probably makes more sense to move sooner rather than later, but my daughter (who is pretty resistant to the idea of moving) would so love to finish year 6 where she is now, so I am (weakly) wondering whether it would be possible to do that, and then hope to get in to a Winchester secondary on the waiting list. My son is currently in year 2, so we'd be doing an in-year application for him whatever happens, plus he is VERY easy going and keen on moving nearer to green open spaces.

guineapiglet Fri 08-Feb-13 19:48:50

Hi again have written on the other thread about this. DO check primary admissions for your year 2 child, as I know the pressure is really on re school places in Winchester. Contact Westgate about the changes in 2014 as there may be a place inthe new 4-16 system. Hants CC went way beyond the call of duty for us, they were really helpful.

Re year 5year/year 6 move, we had exactly the same dilemma, (but were constrained by the fact that daughter was in the middle of GCSEs and therefore couldnt be moved until they were complete). You have got to consider that Yr 6's main focus ( sadly) is SATs, and if your child would be better staying put to do them. As I said, in hindsight, if I hadn't been constrained, I think it would have been better for him to move at the end of year 5, make new friends, and go up to HS with them - the transition would have been smoother for him, and also your position re school applications would be much simpler!

Gingerandproud Fri 08-Feb-13 20:01:41

Hi confused, I am new to mumsnet and this is my first post so here it goes.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Winchester and only recently left the area. I went to Westgate and honestly loved it there. Although I left about 10 years ago it still has an excellent reputation and the local guides I still help with all go there and really rate it. They seem to provide for all academic abilities and leave no one out - or at least that was my experience.

The feeder schools into Westgate (mainly Western, st Bedes, Weeke etc) are all excellent too (although western is right next door to Westgate!) The secondary schools tend to be over subscribed and many of the families I know that have moved from London move before the end of primary school for this reason.

Winchester can be a great place to live with lots of parks and a lovely town center. If you want to be close to Westgate I would consider moving to Fulflood (western primary) or Hyde (st Bedes) or St cross (st faiths primary I think). All are lovely, but pricey areas. I grew in Fulfllod and there are local shops, good schools, only 20mins walk from town, the station is in this area and there is a big park called orams Mount with quite a nice play area for children.

The other thing to consider that Westgate run a 'summer camp' for incoming year 7 pupils that DD may find useful and make some friends at.

Good luck in whatever you decide and if you need any info on Winchester please let me know.

ConfusedofHerneHill Fri 08-Feb-13 20:23:18

Thank you ladies. I think really we will need to bite the bullet (and ignore the moaning) and make the move this summer instead of next year. We are coming down for a few days over half term with the children to have a look around (I know Winchester a bit, having grown up in the New Forest, but my husband and kids don't at all). Fully expecting daughter to spend the whole time saying how much she dislikes everything!
Any tips on where to eat?

Gingerandproud Fri 08-Feb-13 20:43:28

There are plenty of the normal chain restaurants in Winchester: Pizza Express, Zizi, Ask (but think this is closed for refurb ATM), slug and lettuce in the square is quite child friendly during the day (having taken friends children in there) and is half price off food on Mondays. There is also a Mcdonalds, Subway and KFC if need be. My personal favorite is Cafe Monde in the square - kind of think shabby chic cafe - do a great milkshake!

On Jewry street there is Dim T, Prezzo and a few other less chain restaurants.

Your DD sounds just like i was - we moved when I had not quite finished year 7 due to my fathers job at the time. I really resented it, lost all my friends and was determined to hate it. Actually I made some lifelong excellent new friends, much preferred Westgate to my old school and soon grew to love Winchester. It also got my sister away from the girls that had been bullying her relentlessly for years. I thank my dad for making us move as it was the best thing we ever did.

Good luck!

ConfusedofHerneHill Fri 08-Feb-13 20:54:53

Thank you Ginger, that makes me feel a lot better! Thanks too for the restaurant recommendations.

Gingerandproud Fri 08-Feb-13 21:06:15

no problem, If you have a car there is also a Tesco in Winnall, Sainsburys in Badger Farm (small one in town) and Waitrose in Weeke if you want to pick up snacks etc.

Enjoy visiting!

ISingSoprano Fri 08-Feb-13 21:11:20

If you are coming this way in half term come and have a look at Alresford. We have great infant and junior schools (on the same site) and a terrific secondary (Perins) which rivals the Winchester schools.

ConfusedofHerneHill Fri 08-Feb-13 21:15:50

Winchester is about the furthest commute (to London) my husband could cope with, though I don't know about Alresford. Is it commutable?
Winchester has been chosen less for schools (thought they will be a factor in where we choose to live within it). More for a combo of vaguely feasible commute/ close to grandparents/ I know two people who live there!

Lostonthemoors Fri 08-Feb-13 21:19:15

Definitely don't listen to her about finishing yr 6. I moved very late in yr 6 and it made it very hard to meet people- was an awful first year of secondary sad much better to have a whole year to make friends

ConfusedofHerneHill Fri 08-Feb-13 22:18:59

That's what I have been thinking. I know she feels like she'll miss her friends terribly, but I am worried about her not having the time to make new ones before moving to secondary.

ConfusedofHerneHill Sat 09-Feb-13 08:55:26

My cunning plan, when we come to visit over half-term, is to pretend that I would prefer to live somewhere other than Winchester (even further from her friends!) As she always says the opposite of whatever opinion i express, she should LOVE Winchester.
By the way, my daughter's wishes are not dictating whether, when or where we move! But it will be a hell of a lot more comfortable if she is onboard.

ConfusedofHerneHill Sat 09-Feb-13 08:56:54

By the way, I am presuming that it will not be possible to visit schools at half-term. Am I wrong about that? Obviously even if they could show us round, it would only be the site/ buildings that we got to see.

guineapiglet Sat 09-Feb-13 09:55:15

Hi again! We had this problem, you really do need to see the schools in action so to speak to get the idea of what it is like on a normal day, but we had a look round during hols just to get an idea of facilities and location and then booked appointments during term time. _ginger is local to area so her advice is brilliant and lovely to have recommendation about school....

ConfusedofHerneHill Sat 09-Feb-13 10:08:08

Hi guineapiglet
Did you have to book to look around the school buildings at half term, or were you able to turn up and just wander around?

guineapiglet Sat 09-Feb-13 15:56:51

Yes - we made appointments with the Head of year at all the schools we looked at, and were given personal tours round on a couple of sites, although you get to see the buildings and campus facilities etc, it really is not the same as when the school is open. Westgate has several open days, so definitely worth signing up to one which suits, am sure the other HS do, (Henry Beaufort and Kings) - worth finding out when they all are so you can organise a 'tour'. We did take the kids out of school for a couple of days ( as it was a 500 mile round trip!) in order to see the school/college in term time, plus you get to meet all the relevant staff and your kids can see how the school feels. The admissions staff at Westgate were really helpful to us, as we were travelling from so far away, which was much appreciated. If you are nearer, and can get down for a morning or afternoon, I would do that.

ConfusedofHerneHill Sat 09-Feb-13 16:54:26

You have been so helpful - thank you!

Gingerandproud Sat 09-Feb-13 17:56:34

Confused - although I prefer Westgate (Biased i went there!) I would def take the time to see all three schools in Winchester if possible as suggested. All three schools have excellent reputations and all quite different in their styles as it were.

Are there any clubs your DD is in in London? Could you look with here whilst you are here at what is avaliable to show her there is life outside London! If she is involved in Guiding there are many units in Winchester (I help run one of them!) there are also dancing clubs (at river park and one called the florian school of dance, stage coach, a tennis club, the list is endless!).

ConfusedofHerneHill Sat 09-Feb-13 18:10:21

My son has group tennis lessons at our local tennis club, but daughter not keen. He'd also like to do karate. They both have swimming lessons. My daughter used to do stagecoach and ballet, but neither were really her thing, though she loves drama club at school, I think she felt that stagecoach was a bit too pushy. Apart from piano lessons, she does nothing outside school, but does drama, strictly ballroom, and steel pans at after school clubs at school. She'd love an art club, or a craft club. She's the arty crafty one (like me) and my son's the sporty one (like my husband)!

Gingerandproud Sun 10-Feb-13 10:37:18

River Park Leisure centre have most of the things your son does and there is another tennis club on Bereweeke Avenue. I guest looking at school clubs is a good way forward.

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 16:51:49

Watch out for the catchment reorganisations coming Winchester's way! Don't know if this will affect you, but they are making Westgate into a 4-16 school which will impact on Western primary, next door; they are putting, allegedly, a Free School in as the primary in the new 2000 house estate at Barton Park/Farm (?); and people living within sight of St Faiths primary have had to send DC to South Wonston primary.

Do consider Perins at Alresford, or Thornden at Chandlers Ford, too!

ConfusedofHerneHill Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:04

Thank you

ConfusedofHerneHill Tue 12-Feb-13 13:05:54

I've just spent a morning talking to some VERY helpful ladies at various Winchester primaries, particularly Western. The lady there gave me loads of useful info, and offered to show us round when we are down in Winchester over half term. We hope to see a couple of others, if possible. I think I now have got my head around the whats, wheres and whens. Phew!
Do you think Westgate and the other secondaries would mind showing us round, if someone is there? My daughter is in year 5, so won't be applying until October and obviously we will attend all the open days around then. However the secondary school we like best will partly determine where we end up renting/buying, so I feel we hould look at them earlier.

guineapiglet Tue 12-Feb-13 13:36:58

Hi again - you have been busy.

It would certainly be worth ringing round the HS and ask their respective admissions teams for their best advice re looking round, we managed it with a couple of the schools, Westgate is literally next to Western. ( and Kings only just up the road a bit. HBeaufort is a bit further out) - it would be possible to do all the HS quite easily,( In a drive round to see the areas) others would be able to advise about other primary schools to consider ( neighbours of ours send their kids to Sparsholt Primary, and St Bedes is very well thought of). As I said before you will get an impression of the layout and location, but still better to come during term time to get the full on picture. I imagine with the primary school expansion, property around HS is going to get even more expensive than it is now which is not a happy thoughtsad

ConfusedofHerneHill Tue 12-Feb-13 13:42:44

Which area do you live in guineapiglet? Was it the same area where you were renting?

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