Where to live in the uk that has excellent state schooling?

(63 Posts)
Shark74 Tue 26-Mar-13 06:54:34

We may be moving back to the uk from living abroad for the last few years. Two daughters age 8 and 6 so am more concerned about secondary schooling. We do have a house in the uk but we will simply sell and move anywhere in the south of England as we have family there. Any advice/opinions would be gratefully received.

frazmum Tue 26-Mar-13 07:14:49

Bath - very good choice of mixed, single sex and church secondary schools. None are grammar schools. I have children at both Hayesfield Girls and Beechen Cliff (boys) but know the others are all good. Having had the oldest at a secondary in West London and the battle we had to get her into a semi-decent school we feel spoilt for choice here.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 26-Mar-13 07:26:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

7to25 Tue 26-Mar-13 07:28:26

The "UK" is not the "south of England"

Shark74 Tue 26-Mar-13 07:30:20

Point taken 7to25.(smile)

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 07:30:46

Hampshire & Buckinghamshire.

chicaguapa Tue 26-Mar-13 07:32:29

Winchester and Chandlers Ford in Hampshire have great state schools. Thornden in Chandlers Ford comes out top in the league tables for Hampshire (once you take out the Indy schools) and King's in Winchester isn't far behind. Nice places to live as well - on the M3 for quick access to other places, with the New Forest in one direction, the South Downs in the other and see if you head south. To me it has the best of everything. And we don't have any snow at the moment!

weegiemum Tue 26-Mar-13 07:34:13

I came on to say there are many excellent schools round Glasgow. Obviously not appropriate!!

Eve Tue 26-Mar-13 07:35:03

Second winchester.

If you've got a train commute, look at Trafford. It is in Greater Manchester, but is a shorter commute than much of the South, due to the West Coast Main Line, and impending HS2.
Schools are great, lots of choice and grammar schools. You'd also get a lot more house for your money.

pegster Tue 26-Mar-13 07:44:11

I second Bath, excellent schools though many still single sex which you may or may not like. Bristol however is crap hmm

eatyourveg Tue 26-Mar-13 07:57:12

Another vote for Winchester

jo164 Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:05

Parts of South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire. Thornbury, Winterbourne, Wotton Under Edge areas. Close to Bristol but some good schools. Gloucester, Stroud and Cheltenham have Grammar's if of any interest. Would also say Bath, and Wellsway school in Keynsham which is between Bath and Bristol.

SavoyCabbage Tue 26-Mar-13 08:13:46

I thought I had written this and then forgotten! Except I want to go to the North.

Savoy, Trafford

FriedSprout Tue 26-Mar-13 09:21:05

Can second Chandlers Ford, nice area, very good schools.

Probably try for Hiltingbury junior catchment and then Thornden.

Winchester is also good for schools, but very expensive housing.

Easy to access motorways, local airport, near continental ferries, railway in Eastleigh just up the road, halfway between Wnchester for great history and Southampton for good shopping and nice countryside nearby.

MarjorieAntrobus Tue 26-Mar-13 09:21:13

There are good spots in the midlands, some of them only an hour (or a little more) from KX by train, but they don't fit your brief so I cannot tell you! grin

(I might tell you though, if pressed. wink )

I also might hint that housing costs are relatively low too.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 09:26:45

Isn't the Midlands considered middle England and not technically north?

Yorkshire seems to have quite a few comp schools in the secondary schools top 1000 rankings, more so than Lancashire. Best to have a look on the tables and cross check on maps to find best regions.

Shark74 Tue 26-Mar-13 09:28:16

Actually half of our family lives in Nottingham so we are quite open to other suggestions.... Thank you so muc to everyone here you have mentioned places I have never even heard of so this is such a great place to start.... Thank !.... smile

lainiekazan Tue 26-Mar-13 09:29:21

The downside of Winchester is that you need a Big Wallet to buy a house. London prices for period family houses. There are a lot of families renting with cash in their hot hands waiting to swoop on any overpriced pile of bricks that comes up for sale.

Blu Tue 26-Mar-13 09:54:52

Streatham Hill.

eminemmerdale Tue 26-Mar-13 09:56:03

Cambridge - again though, London house prices, not London wages grin

Lilymaid Tue 26-Mar-13 10:07:18

Cambridge(shire) schools of variable quality - so you have to choose right area of city/village.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 10:13:41

If east is an option do check Norfolk/Norwich too.

holidaysrcoming Tue 26-Mar-13 10:16:23

If you want to face Surrey house prices - grammars in kingston/ewell/cheam; several outstanding Catholic schools; or Howard of Effingham (effingham!); George Abbott (g'ford) All top 500. If we didn't have to commute to London though, I'd fly further away ...!!

Blu Tue 26-Mar-13 10:25:41


Which just goes to show, really that there is no one simple story to tell on whole areas with great state schools. Favoured schools may not be the same as 'good', children may be happy and do v well in schools considered not good....

MrsExcited Tue 26-Mar-13 10:28:52

Pates in Cheltenham is a state grammar and is one of the best schools in the country (independents included) it offers more than just a good academic mix it has a lot of ex curric going on, again though Cheltenham is an expensive place for a house!! Also very competitive to get in, there are other grammars in Stroud and Glos, and some very good non selectively all around the Cotswolds.

Personally you will find good schools all over the country, I think you need to set a more localised search, then look for the best schools in that and go from there.

ISingSoprano Tue 26-Mar-13 11:13:28

Another vote for Winchester. Excellent secondaries and a sixth form college/FE set up which is outstanding.

MarjorieAntrobus Tue 26-Mar-13 12:01:53

Personally you will find good schools all over the country, I think you need to set a more localised search, then look for the best schools in that and go from there.

Yes, exactly what MrsExcited said ^^.

minesawine Tue 26-Mar-13 12:10:06

London is not south, I know. But Ealing schools are really good at the moment. wink

Befuzzledagain Tue 26-Mar-13 14:31:23

Oh, I am in EXACTLY the same position as you!!!! Isn't it hard!!! I have four children aged 2,4,6,8. Have done SO much research. We have just got back and camped up in Farnham because of South Farnham school (stuck on waiting list). We have been looking at Weydon Senior School but have just found out there is no sixth form. So now we are confused again. I can tell you that Surrey was our choice after hundreds of hours of research. The Howard of Effingham and George Abbott also have great reputations. We dismissed Perins in Alresford because the area was too small for us. We also dismissed Winchester as we couldn't find a state junior school which compared to the ones we saw in Surrey (just our own personal thoughts). Good luck!!!!! Perhaps see you in Surrey ; ))

Befuzzledagain Tue 26-Mar-13 14:33:52

Wow, you have got a good response on here. Hope it helps. I hope people help me as well - just posted too : ))

Karoleann Tue 26-Mar-13 14:38:05

Buckinghamshire, good primaries and grammar (although the alternatives if you don't get into grammar aren't great).

We live near beaconsfield

dumbelina Tue 26-Mar-13 14:41:14

Wokingham has across the board a good standard of both primary and secondary schools

ISingSoprano Tue 26-Mar-13 15:22:23

befuzzledagain Surrey is like Hampshire in that they have a system of 11-16 schools and separate sixth form colleges.

lateSeptember1964 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:24:59


Moved up here early 2000 and love it.

lateSeptember1964 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:26:02


lateSeptember1964 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:26:47

I can't get the link to work!

holidaysrcoming Tue 26-Mar-13 16:01:16

That is not correct about Surrey schools having separate sixth form colleges. There are a few but most are schools. George Abbot, Howard, St Peter's Gford, St Bede's Rehill all have sixth forms.

ISingSoprano Tue 26-Mar-13 16:10:43

sigh ok - most Surrey schools do not have sixth forms but some do.

malinois Tue 26-Mar-13 16:25:07

befuzzledagain A lack of sixth form is nothing to worry about. Godalming, Farnham and Farnborough Colleges are excellent and seem to produce more mature and independent students than many school sixth forms.

JenaiMorris Tue 26-Mar-13 16:31:56

I know bugger all about Surrey but I do know that an awful lots can change in 8 years, befuzz so I wouldn't even begin to start thinking about sixth forms!

re Bath secondaries, there were four single sex but now one each of the boys and girls schools have become co-ed, so there are now (at last) 3 co-ed non-denominationals, one boys, one girls, one co-ed RC and one co-ed CofE (these two have recently come together and will share a brand new sixth form - this was finalised ever so recently just to add weight to my opening comment re a lot changing in a few years).

JenaiMorris Tue 26-Mar-13 16:33:15

And as mal says there's nothing wrong with sixth form colleges.

Horsham has an amazing girls secondary, Millais. And a great mixed school, Tanbridge House.

I'm a bit perplexed about the Ealing comment. Drayton is good, but not sure where else would be considered 'excellent'?

mummytime Tue 26-Mar-13 16:51:15

Not all of Surrey is 11-16, Waverley (Godalming Farnham is), Guildford isn't, neither is Reigate I think.

mumsneedwine Tue 26-Mar-13 18:09:17

Ascot. All good primarys and a great secondary. It's not all silly expensive. Forests, space and good transport links. Well, I like it !

Mendi Tue 26-Mar-13 20:27:46

Just to point out re the Surrey 11-16 thing: Farnham is in Hampshire hence follows the Hampshire protocol of 11-16 then separate sixth form. Farnborough is also in Hampshire rather than Surrey.

All the schools I know in Surrey go through to 18 but then I only know about Guildford schools.

daisydoodoo Tue 26-Mar-13 20:31:50

Wokingham borough. Mostly very good/excellent schools. A good choice of secondary as well.

TCOB Tue 26-Mar-13 20:39:20

North Cotswolds - three outstanding primaries and two outstanding secondaries I. about a fifteen-mile radius. It's the only reason we pay through the nose to be here smile

twooter Tue 26-Mar-13 20:45:05


mummytime Tue 26-Mar-13 22:57:13

Farnham schools are Surrey. Godalming schools also go to 16. I think most Woking schools are also11-16.

chicaguapa Wed 27-Mar-13 07:20:27

Having grown up in Surrey, I can't think of a single good reason to live there over Hampshire. confused The people are so rude, stressed and obsessed with house prices. I wouldn't move back even if I won the Lottery tbh. <runs and hides>

If the eight year old is very academic and likely to do well in an 11+ type test then you could look at SW Herts. Several partially selective comprehensives which are among the best state schools in the country; if the first child gets an academic place then the second gets in on the sibling rule.

According to the Guardian this is the best place to buy in Britain. At secondary level there are grammars but good comprehensives as well. And a large surplus of secondary school places (with more being opened - free schools). Depends on your age group but certainly at the moment you're pretty much guaranteed your first choice non-grammar school whether you live on the doorstep or not.

Might be too out on a limb though.

mummytime Wed 27-Mar-13 10:14:36

Chicaguapa having not grown up in Surrey, I find the people welcoming and friendly. smile

malinois Wed 27-Mar-13 14:20:29

Mendi Farnham is in Surrey! - in Waverley Borough to be precise. There are no sixth forms in schools in Waverley, so sixth formers go to Godalming College, Farnham College and Farnborough College (over the border in Hants)

The problem is that there aren't whole areas which have only good schools really. Much depends on the very specific spot where you buy a house within that area.

JenaiMorris Thu 28-Mar-13 08:04:26

Another point - how are you defining 'Excellent'?

Nailsea, North Somerset has 2 excellent secondary schools and Bristol on the doorstep...

Shark74 Thu 28-Mar-13 09:13:44

Good question jenaimorris..... As a teacher myself i do not determine a school as excellent through exam results and ofsted reports..... Having been through lots of inspections in my time I know they are most certainly not a true indicator. So I suppose in posting here I was looking for other parent perspectives....the parent voice is an important one...... I can look at data and reports but wanted ideas/opinions from parents who are currently living in these different locations from around the country. Many of the places that have been suggested i know nothing about. Added value is a good indicator but local reputation is important in terms of reports of bullying, students hanging around outside schools etc......I have subscribed to the goodschoolsguide.com but felt it was very data driven and rather like a needle in a haystack. Thank you again to everyone.....

JenaiMorris Thu 28-Mar-13 09:31:49

There are a couple of schools near us that ds could have got into who look far better on paper - but I didn't like the atmosphere when we visited. I'm happier with his Good-rated school and its OK-ish GCSE results than I would have been with those (although obviously it's impossible to know for sure).

I agree re local reputation, but often it's out of date unless you're talking to people with children at those schools currently. And even then, I can't think of a single local school that someone I know hasn't either loved or loathed!

KatAndKit Thu 28-Mar-13 09:54:42

I'm from Cambridgeshire - it's a lovely place to live. Schools are variable but mostly well above average - I taught in one which was really good - I think its now good to outstanding according to ofsted. Impington and Comberton are two really good village colleges and i'm sure many of the others are at least good. Hills Road sixth form college has extremely impressive A level results. It's commutable to London and there's lots of things to do in the local area. Like anywhere there are good areas and bad areas and good schools and less good schools so you'd have to do your research. The villages to the north of Cambridge (Girton, Histon, Impington, Oakington) are nice if you don't want to be in a town and in general, the north side is cheaper than the villages to the south.

MrsGrowbag Sat 30-Mar-13 17:36:12

KitandKat , I agree about the secondary schools around Cambridge, most are excellent. Comberton VC just got rated (again) as "outstanding" in it's Ofsted, and Swavesey VC is also very good. Hills Road 6th form is one of the best in the country. Cambridge has loads of excellent facilities, and is less than an hour by train to London. Loads of great village primaries as well.

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