Moving to Woking - advice pls

(104 Posts)
refizade Mon 11-Nov-13 11:23:35

Hi there
I already posted this under primary education but thought i'd try here too.
We are thinking of moving (from Dubai) to Woking and need advice on schools and areas to live.
We will consider state and independent but may not be able to afford independent for more than 2 years...
We have boys who will be going into year 10, year 5 and year 4.
I havent had much luck finding good secondary schools in Woking and other than RGS no recommendations for Guildford either. Someone did mention Winston Churchilll tho...any others? Fullbrook? What is Freemantles? is Philip Southcote any good?
so much to consider!
many thanks in advance!

Unexpected Mon 11-Nov-13 11:57:41

Do you mean two years of private for one child or for all three? Assuming your children are coming from an international school in Dubai, you could consider private for your Yr 10 child who will be starting GCSEs. In fact, many schools will have stated the course work already in Yr 9 but, particularly if your children are in the UK system abroad, I think it is perfectly possible to step in in Yr 10. RGS is very selective academically, do you think your child can pass the entrance exams? Other private options in the area for a boy are St George's or Reeds. Yr 10 is not a normal entry point, however, so you would have to call the schools individually to find out if they have space and how they assess for entry at that stage.

Both Philip Southcote and Freemantles are SN schools, Freemantles is for students with autism, so unless this is relevant to you, you can disregard them in terms of choice.

The best state secondary school in Woking is Saint John the Baptist but it is a Catholic school so unless you are Catholic your chance of getting a Yr10 place is very small. Winston Churchill is popular and ok-ish. Fulbrook catchment does not really extend to Woking, to my knowledge, so for attending there you need to live more towards West Byfleet, New Haw, Pyrford. It is large and also ok-ish. In fact, both schools are considered good by lots of people but bear no comparison to private options.

For primary, it is more difficult to advise without knowing exactly where you will live in Woking. The fact that you have mentioned schools from Guildford to Addlestone suggest that you haven't exactly narrowed down an area which matters much more for primary with their much smaller "catchment" areas.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Mon 11-Nov-13 17:27:13

If you move to Pyrford the primary there is outstanding and in my humble opinion bloomin fantastic .Fullbrook is a good state school with excellent Pastrol care.
Be very carefully where you move .Consider the secondary options .

AliceInSandwichLand Mon 11-Nov-13 18:53:01

I'd agree very much with unexpected. I also have a friend who teaches at Woking High and says they make a big effort especially with their most and least able students. The thing about Woking state schools is that with the exception of SJB they don't have sixth forms, and a much higher proportion of local children are in private school than is the case nationally. Both these facts affect the schools to some extent.
George Abbott in Guildford and Howard's in Effingham are both fairly local state secondaries with very good reputations.

refizade Mon 11-Nov-13 19:36:02

Ur right, we havent narrowed down an area to live yet.

What independent schools are good in Woking/Guildford. If we manage to move to pyrford and get the younger 2 boys into the primary school perhaps the year 10 could take a school bus? or the train to guildford?

We will consider independent schools for the younger 2 as well.

thanks so much for info so far smile

springrain Mon 11-Nov-13 21:09:56

Why not look at Bookham/Effingham - lots of good primary schools in the area that feed Howard of Effingham, then Howard of Effingham for your older son.

refizade Tue 12-Nov-13 18:42:08

Hi again

dont know anything about those areas, will look into it smile

I called a few of the ind schools in the area today and as expected no spaces for my year 10 boy sad

One registrar suggested "Halliford and St James might be more suited to your needs..."

I called Halliford and found the lady very helpful and they may have a space. However, when I checked again on mumsnet i read some comments that suggest it is more for the less academically able kids. This has me worried and puzzled as my son is in top set for all subjects, as well as being in the school swim squad and doing well in his piano exams. I'm not saying he is a genius and would definitely get into RGS etc but certainly not "less able"

What do people feel about this? I do want him to keep up the momentum as such and continue to do well. He is confident that he can get at least 3-4 As or A*s at GCSE

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Tue 12-Nov-13 21:55:19

Ring St George's at Addleston .They might have places .best of luck.

refizade Wed 13-Nov-13 08:34:25

thanks smile

I did call St George yesterday, no spaces sad

Any views on Halliford School? I got a good feeling from chatting to the registrar but concerned about them being "less academic"

Unexpected Wed 13-Nov-13 10:33:56

My feeling is also that Halliford is less academic but that is purely anecdotal and I would not base any decisions on that! Have you spoken to his current school about where they feel he is academically? To be honest, the capability for 3 or 4 A/A* grades at GCSE will not get him into a competitive indie school so it could be that somewhere like Halliford will be perfect for him. On the other hand, if he is underestimating his abilities, you need to know. Have you phoned any of the state schools in the area?

refizade Wed 13-Nov-13 11:38:52

Thanks Independent. You're right, if RGS and the like are expecting 10 As for GCSE I'm not sure he will achieve that...there was a parent's evening recently which my husband attended but he didnt ask about which grades they would predict...
He is great at Maths, Sciences, Art and DT and has recently been getting level 7s in English and History etc so am not sure...will speak to the teachers again.
He is the youngest in his year, so i was also thinking maybe Halliford for GCSE as it will help him settle in and IF he gets fantastic results at GCSE, he can apply to a more academic school for A levels

refizade Wed 13-Nov-13 11:49:32

As far as the younger boys are concerned, which do u think is better: St Andrews or Hoe Bridge? Any views?
Any other good preps?

refizade, Hoe Bridge and St Andrews are pretty similar. Both are trying to encourage girls to even out their distribution; having said that my kids are now both at secondary so this may not still be the case. I know Hoe Bridge play rugby as well as football but dont think St Andrews do; if that is any help! Again, it depends where you live; If you live in West Byfleet or Pyrford; Hoebridge is a better option; St Johns/Hook Heath/Horsell - St Andrews. Traffic through town at school drop off time can be a nightmare!
There is also Greenfield which is co-ed, a little smaller than the other two...
In terms of Secondary, it's worth applying to RGS and the like as there have been 2 or 3 kids come from abroad into my kids classes over the past few years as some parents move abroad. There is also Reeds in Cobham? Another option may be the International School in Woking which has just started to cater for Secondary age and does IB?
I agree with your comment that you could look at St George's or RGS for 6th form should he achieve excellent grades at GCSE.
In terms of State; you need to be in catchment for George Abbott; which means pretty much living in Guildford not Woking. As another Contributor mentioned, SJB is fabulous but they have strict criterion which you can find on their website; in their case, catchment is less important than religious background etc.
Good luck!

refizade Wed 13-Nov-13 17:40:41

thanks so much for the info harrison1999purple smile
Will look into Greenfield too.

What's Pyrford like to live in? We're not sure yet where in Woking to move. Thanks esp for the traffic info. We're used to driving 20 mins to school (on the motorway) but the shorter the trip the better of course.

Unfortunately RGS have no spaces in the current year 9 which is the year my oldest son would be going into. Neither do St George's not Reeds.

mary21 Wed 13-Nov-13 17:56:49

Halliford isn't a super selective school. That said it is selective and picks boys aiming at A levels and university. The boys we know there's parents picked it because it is a smaller more nurturing school. All the boys we know there are very happy. It,s worth going to look.

surreygoldfish Wed 13-Nov-13 19:06:30

Hi - I've got DC at RGS and St Andrews. No rugby at St Andrews. The children from here go to lots of different schools and a lot to RGS, St Georges and Reeds. I don't know anything about Halliford.. St Andrews have children joining different year groups from abroad each year. I know families with children at Woking high and they seem to be very happy with it. There are also lots of very good 6th form colleges in reach. The guildford state secondary schools have stronger results overall but you'd need to live in Guildford. There are lots of options at primary level - Secondary is more tricky. If you're looking at being in the area longer term IMO I'd start with Secondary options for all 3 and then work back to location - particularly if you think Independent sector might not be viable for more than 2 years.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Wed 13-Nov-13 20:21:09

Pyrford is seriously bloody lovely.Especially near the primary school .

Unexpected Wed 13-Nov-13 20:51:28

Yes, Pyrford is lovely and you could send your children to Pyrford Primary , which has just received an Outstanding OFSTED, although I suspect there are no spaces. Otherwise, I think the next nearest primary is West Byfleet Primary, also Outstanding, but I don't know how far their catchment extends. Not sure where else to suggest after that. Secondary is turning out to be your big problem though. Don't have any personal experience of Fulbrook, maybe someone on here can advise? Problem is if you don't find an indie with spaces and all the popular states are full, you risk ending up somewhere like Bishop David Brown or Jubilee High - neither are a good proposition.

refizade Thu 14-Nov-13 06:02:10

Thanks everybody for all the help smile

That's exactly my worry Unexpected sad I really dont want him to end up somewhere rubbish and undo all the good work so far.

Halliford def sounds ok. I had another chat with my son yesterday and he said he is confident he can do 10 GCSEs and get at least 7-8 As and if Halliford is not challenging enough for him I guess i can get him a tutor. Halliford dont seem to have a pool or swim outside anywhere which is disappointing as my son is in the school swim squad here and trains 3 times a week. But just googled Woking Swimming Club and they seem very good. Any views on that?

Or would it be better to try to get him into an indie further away that does do serious swimming?

Sounds like Pyrford is a good place to live especially if the boys or even our youngest (18 month old girl) can go to the primary there...

Its so tricky not being on the ground. We would have to register the younger ones at St Andrews and maybe Hoe Bridge as well without even seeing them! Same with Halliford as well.

We will be coming to the UK at xmas but of course the schools will be closed, though at least we can check out Pyrford, West Byfleet and Hook Heath area and maybe Guildford too.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 14-Nov-13 08:18:28

Hampton School runs buses from Woking with LEH if you want to try another academic school. Is your son at one of the more academic Dubai schools? You could equate these academic schools to somewhere like Dubai College from what I gather.

However don't dismiss schools like Halliford and St James's. Just because they are not in the league of schools that can be very selective does not mean they do not enable bright kids to do well. The most academic schools get good results because they select the most able pupils but you really need to look at whether these less selective schools enable their brightest pupils to get the 10 A*s. For some pupils, especially if your son has a move to cope with, a less competitive, possibly more supportive and encouraging, environment might actually enable them to do better than they would in the very selective schools.

refizade Thu 14-Nov-13 09:18:51

Thanks for the suggestion Shootingatpigeons smile How far is Hamptons?

I agree with what you're saying re Halliford and St James. He is a very happy, quietly confident kid. He does make friends easily but I am concerned that coping with the move will be hard for him. He has only ever really known Dubai and if he finds himself at the bottom of the class academically in a very tough school and all the other boys are into Rugby and Cricket rather than swimming and Art then he might be unhappy

He is not at Dubai College, he is currently at Repton. At 10 years old (he is the youngest in year) I was not sure if he would get into Dubai College as they are very selective and he was not in the top sets back then, nor was he in the swim squad yet, so I didnt bother entering him for the exam. I think that if he tried to get in now, he probably would as he has really improved academically as well as taking his piano exams etc

Btw am really confused about Salesian: is it IND or not? And is it Catholic that admits other faiths?

St James seems quite far from Woking tho. An hour's drive?

I've come across King Edwards in Godalming. It says they do IB only in 6th form. But what about GSCE? or is it IGCSE then?

mary21 Thu 14-Nov-13 11:44:48

A lot of senior boys schools don't have pools but most towns do have good swimming clubs that train seriously.(and swim against other clubs) I think schools are more likely to have pools if they have boarding. not an absolute rule. Hampton don't have a pool but LEH girls school next door do. don't know if the boys get to use it??

Unexpected Thu 14-Nov-13 12:20:15

If you mean Salesians in Chertsey, that is a state Catholic school. In theory, they admit non-Catholics, as do SJB, but I don't think they ever get that far down the admissions criteria these days. It is also a very good school, the Head there was deputy at SJB beforehand. Have you actually called either of those schools? SJB is certainly permanently overflowing but each year there are a few kids who arrive in various forms, so there is some movement. No idea if they are all Catholic or not.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 14-Nov-13 13:13:37

Woking to Hampton will be around 10-15 miles but it is straight up a traffic free m3 and so a reasonably fast journey, I guess the same would be true of Halliford except it is via the M25 which is more traffic prone. Certainly the Woking bus to Hampton is not one of the ones that is notorious for taking an hour plus, those tend to come from London suburbs that get choked with traffic. I think the bus stops at other places around Woking as well including Pyrford and Byfleet.

Swimming tends to be an activity serious swimmers pursue outside the indies, LEH is quite unusual in having a pool, which the boys swim team do use, and that isn't exactly Olympic, 30m? There are national schools galas but with the exception of Millfield I can't think of an indie that you would call a serious swimming school. I think Hampton had an Olympic hopeful though, and LEH a couple. You may also find your expat swimmer may find it a less attractive proposition when it is dark and cold, and they are in some dank slightly mouldy public pool, or at least my delicate little flowers did angry

Catholic state schools tend to be highly selective, the good ones at any rate, not on academics but on church attendance, early baptism etc, even whether the parents clean the church hmm the independent ones though, like St George's make a point of being inclusive, even more hmm

St James has quite an idiosyncratic ethos, pupils learn Sanscrit for instance, but I know parents who have sons there who say it really succeeds in creating a supportive community and is actually a strength.

refizade Thu 14-Nov-13 14:36:37

thanks once again everybody smile This forum has really proved useful smile

Yes, you're right Shootingatpigeons, swimming is much more fun here, my middle son is already complaining that the water here has turned cold! Its still 25 degrees outside! Lol!

Also the out of school options do seem better in UK from what you've said. My only experience of swimming in the Uk is taking the kids to the local leisure centre in the summer hols so I wasnt sure if there would be clubs in the area.

btw what do DS, DD and DH stand for? something son? sth daughter? Still a newbie to all this!

I have just been on the phone to the lady at Pyrford Primary. If we were offered a place for our sons, do you feel it would be equivalent to sending them to a prep school as they were rated outstanding? Or do people feel that a prep is still the better option.

We can prob afford to see the boys thru junior school at an ind and I am concerned about my year 4 son as he is behind in his reading and spelling although he's very good at Maths...

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