Moving to Woking - advice pls

(101 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!

ChippyMinton Thu 14-Nov-13 22:46:51

Salesian, Chertsey is RC and state (and massively oversubscribed).
Salesian College, Farnborough is RC and independent.

mary21 Fri 15-Nov-13 08:55:33

One danger of starting your younger boys at a prep is there will be an expectation they will continue to an independent senior school. Most of their classmates will. The schools will be prepping them for this and the mums playground talk will be about this.
I don't know Pyrford but most State primaries aren't prep schools. They maybe equally good or better in some instances but different. You hear a lot of people saying prep schools work 2 years ahead of state, but the top groups at state usually work two years above. But the bottom groups who wouldn't be in many prep schools are behind.
Many from state primaries go on to private senior schools so you aren't burning your bridges.
With regard to over subscribed schools it really depends if they have space on the day. If you move into an area and kids have just left that fantastic school you live next to the places will be yours. If they are full the local authority will find you a school but it might not be one you want. My sons oversubscribed school has seen a lot of movement as people move around the world .If you pick an area with lots of good schools there is a fair chance spaces will arise at a school you would like. No guarentees. If you find a state school has spaces today nd you aren't ready to start as not here yet and someone else moves in tomorrow the places will be theirs
Sorry that's giberish

refizade Fri 15-Nov-13 09:00:23

Aaaah! Now it makes sense! Thanks for that ChippyMinton smile Will an Indie that is RC consider us, as we're not christian?

Am also concerned about how to get my oldest to school and back for those schools that dont have school buses to Woking...I dont have a Uk license and if my husband is at work...Does anyone know about public transport routes? Especially for schools that are in Godalming, Egham, Ashtead, Farnham?

mary21 Fri 15-Nov-13 09:08:33

Try transport direct

Preciousbane Fri 15-Nov-13 09:18:43

Whatever you do don't put any of your dc in an independent school and then put them back in to the state sector.

We had a lad who moved in to our state school for sixth form it really was like briefcase wanker from the Inbetweeners, the poor bloke.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 15-Nov-13 09:35:23

Yes in contrast to the state schools the Catholic indies are inclusive providing you are happy with the Catholic ethos and have the money. I really liked St George's, it seemed a very happy family, and I have friends whose DDs did very well there. (Darling Daughter, child, husband etc. I think there is a thread with all the terms somewhere, don't know all of them myself wink)

The prep / state primary issue is quite complicated and preps are in any case far from homogenous. It is probably more about, given you have enough money, what school is right for your child. If you have the chance of a place at an outstanding primary (we didn't) then a lot of parents, even if they have money for private education, do choose that route on the basis most children will be happy and learn to love learning in a good state primary, and they can tutor for selective (state and private) secondaries. Some preps are hothouses for selective indies, some are more child focused. Selective indies like Hampton do have a high proportion of pupils coming in from state schools (though most will be tutored, though the degree to which you need to tutor is the subject of much debate on threads here and personally having a child who sat the 11+ overseas with minimal preparation I think it can be a bit of a racket trading on parental anxiety, the schools are interested in potential not cramming).

Sorry can't help on public transport around Woking.....

refizade Fri 15-Nov-13 10:00:25

Wow! Info overload! lol

Thanks so much everybody.

Preciousbane, do you feel that was the case becos this boy moved so late tho? What if i got the younger boys into St andrews and then had to move them to state secondary?

If i get them into an outstanding state primary I think that's the option we will go for as we dont know how far our savings will stretch and would rather spend the money to keep the oldest in an Indie through 6th form (if I get a place anywhere for him!!!)

Shootingatpigeons, thanks for your helpful advice smile

Mary21, not gibberish at all, thanks. I think ur right

Preciousbane Fri 15-Nov-13 11:02:56

Basically because this lad had been to the posh ie private school it indicated to the other dc that he had money and privilege.He actually didn't, his family withdrew him because they could no longer afford fees. He was picked on for not being cut from the same cloth I suppose, he did become a friend to me though not a close one. The poor bloke really did turn up with a briefcase because that is what they had at his old school. At one point it was wrestled from him and thrown out of the sixth form common room window three storeys up!

Unfortunately dc will often pick on anything that makes someone different.

mummytime Fri 15-Nov-13 11:28:59

You didn't mention Guildford before. It has 5 state schools, two are extremely good, one other is on the up from good, and the other two have fans.
You need to look at the train lines for an idea of where is possible from Woking (or where ever you live).

A lot of students in Surrey do transfer from private to State, especially at Sixth form. I have known families who intended to educate their children although at private, and financial issues hit or their first born wasn't up to RGS standard and they were so pleasantly surprised by the State alternative that they sent the rest of their children that route too. I also know one boy at state school who used to go into school on mufti days in a 3 piece suit.

refizade Fri 15-Nov-13 17:59:03

well, my DS1 wont be seen dead carrying a briefcase, nor in a 3 piece suit smile

Mummytime, which state schools in Guildford? I havent seen Guildford, you see. I have a close friend in Woking and I have been there a few times so I know Hook Heath, the town etc. Also, I believe its better commute into central london?

Any views on International School of London? The Good schools guide says they have a year 10 and are adding a grade each year. Its so close to Pyrford etc so am wondering if I should try to get all 3 DS in...They do IB rather than A Levels but thats what DS1 would have done here anyway...

Also, anyone have views on which of these are better: City of London Freemens, Halliford, King Edwards, Salesian College?

Greenfields has no spaces either for DS2 and DS3 sad

How often do Ofsted inspect? How do you know if a good school is moving towards outstanding or the other way?

thank again everybody smile

RandomMess Fri 15-Nov-13 18:04:47

Unless you can afford for them to go to private secondary school I'm not sure why you are stressing so much.

If you are going to need state secondary school decide which one you want and then live near it now IMHO.

International school is great but the fees are huge.

surreygoldfish Fri 15-Nov-13 19:27:20

Agree with RandomMess - work backwards from secondary and locate yourself near those schools now. As someone else has said there are good primaries but they are different to the preps. IMO it doesn't make sense to start them in the prep system here if you are going to move to State - just make sure you're in the catchment for secondary. It must be very difficult trying to sort this all out when you're not here.

refizade Sat 16-Nov-13 06:26:36

I agree with what Randommess says about working backwards. If I knew for sure that I wont be able to afford Ind secondaries for all of them, then I would have to move somewhere where there are outstanding secondary schools. That doesnt seem to be Woking tho which is really where we want to go sad

It's just that we're not sure, we may be able to afford it depending on job situation, my dad helping out, selling an investment etc. And the move is going to be a big deal for all of us after 10 years in Dubai, so I dont want to move twice.

At the moment I do need to consider both state and ind options for all of them tho becos there are no spaces anywhere. I dont want DS1 to end up in Bishop David Brown and I dont want the little ones to end up in a state primary that is rated unsatisfactory.

It is really hard, surreygoldfish, especially as I dont know much about the Uk school system. My mum is a retired primary teacher, but only taught in state primaries (40 years ago!). I went to a private German school in Turkey and the boys have been to British ind schools here becos there is no other option!

Then there is the question of IB or A-Levels? confused

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 09:15:38

I get these places confused but how about Sunninghill/Sunnigdale - the one with the fantastic secondary school or living in the catchment of Gordons in West End?

There are plenty of independent primary schools on that you could use if you knew you were going to get into a great secondary.

Is Heathside in Weybridge not "good enough" for you?

Why do you particularly want to live in Woking???? It's not that great a place?

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 09:16:54

IB provision is on the increase. Fullbrook is another decent secondary school and the West Byfleet as lots of fast trains into Waterloo if that's a consideration?

Shootingatpigeons Sat 16-Nov-13 10:19:36

Are you aware of the process of applying for places in state schools, it really isn't friendly to those returning from abroad. You have to be resident at your new address to make an application so you cannot arrange places before you return. I don't know what the school place situation is in Woking but in the London suburbs places in good schools are like gold dust. When a place arises it goes to the person on the waiting list whose place of residence is closest in terms of distance. So you have to take the gamble that a a place will come up / be available after you move and that you have rented or bought the house close enough to the school to be offered that place. Your local authority may or may not be a little more flexible about when in the process of moving back they accept your application but ours would not accept it until we were back in our house even though we owned it and had proof that the tenants would be leaving and we would be moving back in. In contrast the private schools could not be more flexible, letting you sit the entrance exams overseas etc because they really value the contribution expat pupils can make as a result of their experiences.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 10:32:18

I missed the eldest child in the OP!!!

I would move somewhere that "guarantees" you a good state secondary school for the youngest two and if need be pay for your eldest to go private as you may not get a place anywhere and if the primaries happen to be awful (unlikely) finish the younger 2 off at independent.

SEcondary Day fees at International is around £18k per year each, ST georges are around £14k at year 7 but higher for each subsequent yeat - a huge huge financial commitment for 3 dc.

refizade Sat 16-Nov-13 13:29:38

I agree, shootingatpigeons, its a nightmare applying to state schools if ur abroad sad I know that Pyrford and West Byfleet are both rated outstanding but we cant even put them on the waiting list until we move back in the summer.

I have heard that Heathside is v good and yes of course that would be good enough, randommess. Its just that i dont even know where Weybridge is and what its like.

We will have to drive down (from Liverpool) at xmas and just drive around for 2 days to understand where everything is smile As I said, I dont even know Guildford yet...

Woking is just because we have close friends there and its a quick commute to London. Also the houses seem to be cheaper than in Guildford.

Thanks to all of you for info and advice smile

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 13:39:03

Ah okay.

Well Weybridge is considered very desirable very small town, fast trains into London.

Weybridge and West Byfleet on the same train line as Woking so definitely worth considering and a quick drive to Woking too. Guildford secondary schools a bit of hit and miss I think.

I would seriously decide which secondary schools you would be happy with, find out (from the school or it may be published on line) their catchment for the current year and look at living well within that. Finding school places when you first move over may mean you have to resort to independent for a few years for all of them but I would look longer term and secure a "good" state secondary for them as a priority. This is certainly the least expensive option over the longer term.

What is your budget to buy a house?

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 13:40:49

This entire area is chock a block on the roads during rush hours so my priority would be living walking distance to the station if possible especially if there is a daily commute into London.

refizade, Woking Swimming Club are excellent. Both my boys swam there, my eldest now swims at Wey Valley as he's at RGS and needs to tone down the hours of swimming to concentrate on his GCSE's but defenitely look at Woking!
I have no personal experience of Pyrford but only heard good things. In retrospect, wish I'd gone state at Junior, then Indie at Senior, but it's a personal choice!
the Salesian you refer to may be the one near Farnborough? It is private but much cheaper than other Indie's. Personally didnt like it as it was very 'religious' and stuck in the middle of a housing estate. That said, I know a number of boys who have thrived there..
DS - son, DD - daughter, DH - hubbie!
PM me if you need anything specific particularly re swimming.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 17:00:10

I think it would be worth looking at the international school for your eldest, the classes are very small and they are focused on each child reaching their potential so he should do absolutely fine there.

It sounds like Pyrford/West Byfleet could be an excellent location for you. Hoebridge for the boys if no state places, International for your eldest back road to Woking Swimming Pool so not a bad journey. Your husband could walk to West byfleet station and make use of the fast trains. Woking would still be your local shopping town.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 17:01:28

Also the international school is used to a transient population so good and settling in newcomers and the children again are used to making friends with newcomers etc - that could be much more difficult in established classes where many have been in friendship groups for several years if not most of their school life to date!

cece Sat 16-Nov-13 17:05:48

Fullbrook - dd is doing well there anyway!

Waves to random.

cece Sat 16-Nov-13 17:15:05

Although if I were in the OPs position I would move to Burpham area of Guildford (in the catchment of George Abbot) and send the younger dc to one of the local primary schools (they all seem pretty good).

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