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...

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).

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 17:17:47

It's just that issue of where the eldest on can get into secondary now confused

Waves back.

Also Burpham to Woking swimming club, or does Guildford have a good swimming club????

Oh and a daily commute into London from Burpham. Much to consider grin

My dc refused to go to Fullbrook!!!! <<rolls eyes>>

refizade Sat 16-Nov-13 18:03:16

thank you so much again all of you.

Randommess, I think u really understand my predicament smile I need to get DS1 into an indie (somewhere not too far hopefully), then if no state places for DS2 and DS3 I can prob manage to pay for them to go private till year 6 or poss year 8. Then if we can afford it we carry on down the indie route and if not then like u said there needs to be a good state alternative.

West Byfleet sounds ideal. Or Weybridge. Like I said we need to see these places. Will be tricky at xmas when its freezing cold and with toddler in tow but needs must.

harrison1999purple, thank you so much for the info. I did find woking swim club online and they seemed serious. Am hoping DS1 will have time to continue swimming...will take u up on PM offer, thank u.

Am slowly getting with the jargon! ;)

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

Weybridge to Woking swim club - forget it - traffic is bloody horrendous!!! Although there is a pool in Walton near the borders with Hersham but not sure if it has a swim club as such? If you may have to transport your eldest to the International School - it's a fairly long walk from the station, again the traffic bloody shocking.

If you want to go State secondary then you need to move at the end of year 6 to take up the place for year 8. It would also mean that you could afford indie 6th form if you felt it appropriate.

Bizarrely I would rather live in West Byfleet than Weybridge (tho Weybridge more prestigeous) more of a community feel perhaps. There are several decent junior/primary state schools close to West Byfleet so hopefully at least one will have spaces for both boys.

There is a shortage of school places in the area which means if you didn't take up state at the end of year 6 I don't think there would be any places at all in Year 9!!!!

What sort of budget to you have for a house, I love looking at property on right move grin

mummytime Sat 16-Nov-13 19:20:10

Guildford has one extremely good swimming club, and another good one.

refizade Sat 16-Nov-13 19:40:31

thanks for that randommess. budget to buy around 800k. to rent upto 3k per month? have been checking rightmove all week smile

I'd prefer to put DS1 on the school bus (International school do have one to woking/weybridge/west byfleet) at least for the first term. I dont have a uk driving license and may take forever to get one as i drive like an Arab smile But the nightmare traffic is from Weybridge to ISL, right? Not from West Byfleet?

Thank you mummytime, will def consider Guildford (not just cos of the swim club of course!)

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 19:45:28

Yes Weybridge to ISL is a nightmare!!!

Anywhere to do school drop off is awful so the nearer you live the better wink

Def research Burpham to Guildford station as an option - how long the drive takes how much parking costs as well as the commute time.

£800k is a healthy budget to get something decent, may not compare to what you have now but you will certainly have a choice - I can't even afford to live in WB let alone Weybridge live in the horrid area in between them wink

cece Sat 16-Nov-13 21:48:37

From Burpham it may be easier to drive to Woking station than into Guildford, as the traffic is queueing all the way in the morning. Parking is £135 pm at Woking station car park.

Random. My DD begged me to go to Fullbrook. I wanted her to go to Woking High!

cece Sat 16-Nov-13 21:50:40

This is a very naice address. My friend lives in this road.

cece Sat 16-Nov-13 21:52:38


And yes Guildford has a good swimming club.

RandomMess Sat 16-Nov-13 22:00:51

I let dd choose in the end, I figured over riding her wishes would only work against me. At least it has saved me in bus fare! Next one is following to the same school in Sept, wonder what the youngest one will choose to do - wouldn't be surprised if she upsets the apple cart and decides she wants to go to boarding school like my eldest did!

The thought of having to drive to any station around here in the morning and then commuting makes me shudder. Quite happy with my 10 minute cycle ride grin

refizade Sun 17-Nov-13 08:21:19

Thanks again randommess smile Which schools are your DCs in? Do you also have 4 kids?

10 mins cycle ride sounds so nice...I guess not that great in Winter in uk. Then again here that would be a nightmare in the summer!

I light of what all of you have said, I think it makes sense for us to rent for a year, maybe in Pyrford/West Byfleet. Put DS2 and DS3 on the list for hoe bridge, St Andrews, Greenfield but also Pyrford Primary and West Byfleet Primary and try to get DS1 into ISL or another Indie that has a school bus.

Having said that we will def look into Burpham and also Weybridge, hopefully at xmas. We have close friends in Guildford but not sure where in Guildford they live...

My DH is saying we should consider Kingston but have had a look on rightmove and even 900k doesnt get sth really nice...Any views on that?

Cece, I told my DH that as soon as i mention the budget, you would appear with suggestions! Lol!

Education for the kids is DEF priority but at the same time moving to a not nice area or living in a shoebox will be quite depressing for all of us and make the move seem like a disaster. The kids are already worried about leaving their friends behind and I am worried about safety, them being bullied etc sad You do get used to leaving the back door unlocked in Dubai or leaving my handbag on the shopping trolley and walking off down the aisles! I once left my car engine on in a car park for hours!!! By mistake of course! But dont think that car would have still been sitting there in most countries...

We're not expecting anything as nice as what we have here in Dubai, but the other house we have in Liverpool is also very big with garden etc so I dont want to have to squeeze 6 of us into a 3 bed.

Dont know what is "the done thing" on this forum but maybe mums with similliar age kids in the area might like to meet up once we move? Am sure everyone is busy with their own lives and routine tho

refizade Sun 17-Nov-13 08:33:23

I liked the 2nd house you sent me Cece smile Had a look at schools map and although its very close to George Abbot, there dont seem that many primary options for DS2 and DS3 other than that any good? Loads of options for DD but she's the last of my worries as she's only 18 months smile

I think we can assume we wont get into the Catholic state schools...

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 08:39:15

Personally I wouldn't want to live in Kingston especially not if you want state primary for your youngest - huge shortage of places. Nice town but just crowded unless you could afford to live in the very very nice areas. Like you said you don't get much for your money there.

Also worth putting their names down for the primary schools in Byfleet and New Haw Juniors in New Haw - both an okay drive from where you would be driving and get good results.

Yes I have 4 dds, the eldest went to boarding school, #2 is at the JHS which is much improved on what it was 6 years ago (yes it was truly shocking) the intake has changed radically in recent years due to the catholic diocese changing their criteria (if you're not catholic you don't stand a chance!). It's never going to have fantastic results across the board due to the intake however those who work do very well and it is on the up. Youngest 2 are at Ongar Place primary which is fantastic - still growing into it's primary status but very nurturing and is long term focused rather than just getting high SATS results.

This area is also suffering from a shortage of places at all primary levels the sort of overspill from London I guess!

Certainly I would be looking to live somewhere that is well within good secondary school catchment, you can apply for places and then go private if you decide finances can afford. This is an area of huge economic variety - real poverty and multi millionaires all living side by side.

Actually cycling in the winter isn't an issue - by the time you've de-iced the car (no garage!) and queued the whole way to work in a cold car it's quicker to hop on your bike and get it over with. I just don't like cycling when it's very windy or chucking with rain in the morning. Free exercise and overtaking all the cars has it's advantages grin

With having a toddler you are sure to meet people and make friends easily, also if you put your eldest into the internaional school I would anticipate them being very open to getting to know new people as they are used to having to move regularly IYSWIM.

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 08:43:29

Although Send is in the catchment for George Abbott I've heard some awful things about the primaries in Send and Ripley so perhaps an area not to consider until you're already here and have the opportunity to look properly. Mind you would also be a drive to the station etc.

Yes forget the catholic schools!

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 08:53:43

Weybridge has a lovely playground at the back of the high street - parking is behind the library, but watch out the parking warden is hot on issuing fines!

Another great place for all ages (as has adult gym equipment too) is this one and usually has a little kiosk open and quieter than Weybrdige one

Is it Charters that is the fantastic secondary school near there? Is that somewhere to consider buying in the catchment area of?

Other thing is Merlin passes - eldest can go to Thorpe Park, younger ones Chessington and Legoland and you can all go and do various things in London with them grin

refizade Sun 17-Nov-13 09:02:41

yes, that was my feeling about Kingston too. Although we hope we can afford ind schools, I would prefer to go with an outstanding state primary for DD if poss. And if by the time she's due to start school, we realise that we will be able to afford it I can put her in Halstead or St Andrews etc. As I said she's the least of my worries for now smile

Yes, New Haw is on my list of schools to call 2moro, as is West Byfleet Primary.

Was gonna ask about Ongar Place! So glad u mentioned it cos I'd forgotten the name and couldnt even remember how I'd found it! Will look into it. Thanks.

Thanks for tips re Send and Ripley as well.

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 09:15:53

Ongar is highly unlikely to have spaces - it is now only a one form entry. Surrey well and truly messed up by closing down schools and converting to primaries, completely ignoring the opposition from Runneymede borough council and the facts and figures about the rising demand for places due to increased birth rate.

Sayes Court is good too - again a more mixed intake but great results for any dc that want to work. My eldest went there and the next 3 would have done had they not changed both Ongar (was infant) and Sayes Court (was junior) to primaries - very annoyingly we walk past Sayes to get to Ongar, still after 8 years (they went to pre-school there) only 2 years left!!!

I think really it's just Sheerwater itself to avoid but again if you want multicultural that is the place to go! It's more that it is one huge council estate (although lots privately owned).

refizade Sun 17-Nov-13 10:09:09

totally confused now! Isnt junior and primary the same thing? Dont have a problem with multicultural (mixed family as it is) but dont like the sound of council estate...Havent come across Sayes Court yet, will check, thanks.

mummytime Sun 17-Nov-13 10:26:12

Guildford has a lot of primaries, and most of them good (regardless of Oftsted, who has been hitting Guildford primaries hard). In the Burpham area you can walk to: Burpham, Boxgrove, Bushy Hill and St Thomas of Canterbury (these three via the subway under the railway line, which is very safe and busy at school times); I also know people who walk/scoot to Holy Trinity from there.
If you go to the Station before 8 am, the traffic is fine, after the traffic builds fast with parents doing the school run. You may also want to consider London Road station.
The only boys Prep is Lanesborough, but I believe there are buses to Cranmore and Belmont (and maybe others).
If you lived in Send you would also be in George Abbots catchment BTW.

If St Peter's has room it is willing to take non-Catholics, and as a school would prefer more non-catholics (the diocese has other ideas).

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 11:08:42

Infants is R, year 1 & year 2
Juniors is Years 3,4,5 & 6

Primary is R through to year 6

Secondary is 7 through to 11

Surrey had loads of seperate infant and juniors but their current policy is to convert them to primaries.

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 11:13:48

Don't get hung up on the Ofsted rating - they recently overnight changed their criteria and lots of primaries that were good/outstanding are suddenly only satisfactory. Ofsted rating is a waste of time - read the ofsted reports for the last 2 years and see what they actually say about the school. Long time ago Sayes Court failed because it was in debt (whilst waiting to sell some land to pay for major work) - everything else was great...

Generally I would avoid Sheerwater/Ripley and Send juniors/primaries down to personal experience of people I know. I know nothing about the Guildford schools. West byfleet/Pyrford/New Haw/Byfleet/Sayes Court/St Pauls/Ongar all fine.

holidaysrcoming Sun 17-Nov-13 12:12:17

haven't read the whole thread and you may be up to your ears in suggestions but one more for the pot - Horsley. Good state primary, catchment for outstanding secondary and easy access to lots of indie secondaries, by school bus or train. 15 mins drive to g'ford and easy train access when they are teens. not too expensive to park at station and lots of commuters cycle there as well. St John's in Leatherhead may well have space for your older ds. Lots of indie preps/jnr schools as well.

cece Sun 17-Nov-13 18:43:40

Random talks sense

cece Sun 17-Nov-13 18:47:25

This is a nice address in West Byfleet. Short walk to the school as there is a cut through and easy for DS1 to get to Fullbrook.

RandomMess Sun 17-Nov-13 19:50:14

Yes cece, very naice, I can dream, I can dream grin walkable to the station too.

refizade Mon 18-Nov-13 09:37:13

Randommess, thank you once again. I was actually just looking at the Ofsted Rating! Have just read the full report for a school rated good and to me it sounds much better than just good smile Its a primary in West Hosley called Raleigh...any views on it?

Its not far from Howard of Effingham which I understand is an Academy that was previously outstanding?

Does anyone know much about ACS Egham? It offers IB but is it an American school with a proper American Curriculum? Or do they do IGCSE?

I dont think I'm going to get DS2 and DS3 into the same school, whether I opt for state or Indie sad The 3 Indie's I've called have at least 3 on waiting list for each year and the state one told us we would move to the top of the list if we move to the catchment area but top of the list still means one kid from each year has to leave before my 2 get in...

Will read reports now for those other Primaries you mentioned in West Byfleet/Pyrford

refizade Mon 18-Nov-13 09:57:15

Any views on Broadmere Community School and New Monument? They are both previously rated good?

Unexpected Mon 18-Nov-13 10:25:05

All I know about ACS Egham is that it is extremely expensive! And there are a lot of extras for transport, trips etc - all of which seem to be at the upper end of what other schools are charging. However, it is a "typical" international school and your son would probably feel quite at home there and they are very used to integrating students at non-standard entry points.

ISL in Surrey which has been mentioned several times and which would be convenient (if you lived in Pyrford your son could probably walk to school) is a very different kind of school. For starters it is tiny and every time I drive past (which I did this morning), I wonder what kind of facilities they can offer in this one small building from age 3-16. In 2012, they apparently had 146 students in the entire school so you would need to speak to them very carefully about everything from facilities, subject range, team sports etc.

New Monument is a school which has had huge problems in the past although seems to have improved dramatically in the past couple of years. It is predominantly Muslim. I don't know anything useful about Broadmere.

mary21 Mon 18-Nov-13 10:29:49

You mentioned Hampton school previously as a possible for your older son. Their feeder Denmead seems to often have space and shares buses with Hampton.
If you are thinking Kingston ,Radnor House in Twickeham says it has space in current year 9 and 10 on its web site. Relitively new school

holidaysrcoming Mon 18-Nov-13 11:42:18

Howard of Effingham is still outstanding I think...Raleigh is fantastic, prob missed outstanding by a whisker under new ofsted criteria. Those who don't go on to Howard successful at getting places at selective Gford indies.

I would have thought Ripley Court school has vacancies - indie prep to 13.

mummytime Mon 18-Nov-13 14:18:49

For State school, Surrey CC will have to find you a school place for each of your children! regardless of whether the schools are "full". Also after Key stage 1 eg. After year 2, classes can have more than 30 pupils. So you may well get into a school on appeal. Some schools operate with up to 33 as a normal class size (it may sound horrendous but in my experience it means they have money for TAs and extra teachers).
Howard of Effingham is a great school, and for your younger children it may well move to a new site and maybe even expand.

This is the sort of thing which would be ideal.
Near Woking High and Horsell Junior/St Andrews. Lovely village atmosphere and walkable to Woking town centre...Swimming Club on other side of town, but remember that woking dont just swim at Woking, Pirbright/Notre Dame Cobham/Cranmore are all used..
btw you will get more for your money in Woking than Guildford plus better train service into London.

refizade Mon 18-Nov-13 17:54:49

Oh dear sad ISL was kind of my back up plan, possibly for all 3...thanks for the tip Unexpected. Do you think it would be ok as a temporary measure for the younger 2? Pyrford, West Byfleet, New Haw have no spaces and neither do the Indie Preps in the area sad Would it eg be better to put them in ISL initially rather than putting them in a not so good state primary?

I agree harrison1999purple, re Guildford vs Woking. I dont want a smaller house just cos its near fancy shops. Def no Dubai Diva! ;)

Not sure I like the sound of New Monument...even tho we're muslim

City of London Freemens sounds good but seems a nightmare journey from Woking (no school bus, 2 trains etc) Any views?

Hamptons also far but at least they have a school bus to Woking.

Heard mixed things about Radnor...but will check

holidaysrcoming, which outstanding secondary in Horsley?

refizade Mon 18-Nov-13 18:05:30

p.s. love the house harrison1999purple smile That little country lane looks amazing! Read the report for Woking High and it sounds quite good of the criticisms is that kids who wear already weak in maths are not getting enough help...def not a problem for DS1 as Maths is his strength.

holidaysrcoming Mon 18-Nov-13 19:23:11

not in Horsley - but Horsley is catchment for Howard, which is outstanding secondary. Children travel quite far for City of London Freemens I'd be surprised if they had space in year 10. Quite competitive academically they usually have wait lists for each year, any place going to whoever scores highest in exam.

I can't remember if they've been suggested but doesn't St Andrews in Woking have space at prep level? or Ripley Court? I have friends with children at both extremely happy.

on a different note, I really think Woking town centre has really improved....!

mummytime Mon 18-Nov-13 19:34:45

Just to add if you are Muslim then Woking's Mosque is a real architectural gem, one of the very first Mosques in the UK.

cece Mon 18-Nov-13 20:15:05

That house is nice and I like that road - it is called Cheapside but it isn't iyswim. Walkable to Woking High - probably has playing fields to the back of the house. Plus you can walk to Horsell Common rom that road really easily. I liked Woking High when I visited - really nice atmosphere.

cece Mon 18-Nov-13 20:15:58

The only thing I know about Broadmere is that it is in the middle of a council estate...

RandomMess Mon 18-Nov-13 20:43:16

I know parents of pupils at ISL and are exteremely happy with it. There is a massive building programme going on so the facilities will improve. Certainly good enough as a back up plan.

Yes the shortage of school places is dire...

How much would a tutor be for all of them - LOL!

RandomMess Mon 18-Nov-13 20:57:22

I think with moving into year 5 you may find people above you on the waiting list may not want to actually move their child at that point in their education.

AliceInSandwichLand Tue 19-Nov-13 21:45:03

New Monument has a catchment which is predominantly Urdu speaking, to the point where the classroom assistants are all bilingual to help the teachers with new arrivals that don't yet have much English. It's very good at what it does by what I've heard, but it's directing its resources at particular needs.

refizade Wed 20-Nov-13 13:14:27

thanks for all the info again smile

randommess, fingers crossed that you're right re year 5...

mummytime, I do like Woking mosque smile one of my best friends got married there. Its the first purpose built mosque in england i think...Local mosque is not a must have to be honest but its a nice bonus

City of London Freemens have said they do have a space for DS1, provided he passes the assessment. its just so tricky to get to and no bus...if I had a uk license and no other kids to worry about then I'd happily drive him there and back every day. Anyway, he's got to actually get an offer first...

Salesian don't offer D&T which is one of the subjects he is confident he can get an A* in sad

mummytime Wed 20-Nov-13 17:35:36

If you lived conveniently for the Horsley's your son could get train to Ashtead and lots of pupils walk from the station to school (or I think there is a minibus too) - for City of London freeman's.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Wed 20-Nov-13 22:05:36

Fullbrook match Heathside exam results and Heathside has just lost its outstanding in Ofsted.

cece Thu 21-Nov-13 21:56:56

Has it now?!

Had DD's parents eve tonight at Fullbrook and it was all glowing. So a happy parent here this evening.

springrain Fri 22-Nov-13 17:48:01

What subjects is eldest looking to do at GCSE? Re Horsley/Howard, there are school buses from Horsley to Howard so you only need to worry re school run for the primary school. Raleigh is very popular, but it has 2 classes per year and there are some expat families so there is some movement as a result. If you didn't get DS2 & DS3 in straight away then they would most likely be offered places in Effingham or Bookham and provided a seat in a shared taxi for this.

Have you tried calling Howard re eldest? It is a large school and so does have some movement as well. Plus being large it has a very broad range of subjects including D&T. You might actually find that it would get you a closer fit to the subjects eldest needs than some of the indies, and it would involve far less travel. Whilst they would not be able to give you an offer now if you are moving in summer next year, you would get an idea of what is achievable.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Fri 22-Nov-13 18:02:55

Nice to hear cece

refizade Sat 23-Nov-13 12:45:13

Will do springrain, thanks

At the moment its looking like DS1 may have a few options (indie and state) if he passes the assessments for the indies...fingers crossed!

Am really struggling re DS2 and DS3 sad

Are Sythwood Primary, Barnsbury Primry and Goldsworth Primary any good? Am moving away from Pyrford/West Byfleet in my search but perhaps I can still move there if any of the above have spaces for kids outside catchment area...

Would sending the younger ones to ISL with a view to moving them to St Andrews be an option do u think? As randommess was saying I will struggle to find a year 5 space in a school that only goes upto year 6 but as the prep schools go upto year 8 it might be worth putting them somewhere for now with a view to move them...just worried about ISLs curriculum being too different.

A friend suggested homeschooling till I get the school i want! Am having nightmares thinking about that!!!

cece Sat 23-Nov-13 13:41:51

Sythwood Primary - I think this are of Woking isn't really to be recommended.
Barnsbury Primary - don't really know about this one

Goldsworth Primary - very difficult to get into as very popular I believe. I know some boys who go there but never spoken to their parents on their views on the school.

springrain Sat 23-Nov-13 13:58:10

DS1 needs to be the priority given his age and GCSEs looming, so that is great to hear. When will you hear whether he has passed assessments - as might be better to wait for that info, as would inform where you are likely to want to live and therefore choices for DS2 & DS3. I don't know the primaries you mentioned above - I live in Howard catchment so know that area (Horsley, Effingham, Bookham and also Cobham) best, plus Guildford a little. If you end up looking in this area I can help you more.

For state school places for the 2 younger boys you will get places, as the ages you are looking for are not constrained by infant class sizes and as someone else said, once you live here the council must allocate you a place. I would suggest aiming for an area where all the primary schools are pretty good and there is a good secondary as your back up in case you can't fund indi secondary for 4. But work this bit out once you know DS1's school.

refizade Tue 26-Nov-13 08:57:50

Thanks again cece and springrain smile

DS1 is now registered for 3 schools and will prob register him for 2 or 3 more...assessments can be anytime for the schools who have agreed to send the papers to his current school. For the school which is insisting on him being on site, it will be 2nd week of Jan...fingers crossed!

sharemisc Sun 07-Sep-14 17:10:05

Hi All,

I know this thread has been inactive for a long time trying all my options. I really need some advice regarding buying a house in Woking. DH and I work in London. We do not have any children but am in the middle of my first IVF cycle and hoping for the best.
Our main priorities are access to the station- a short walk or a short bus ride as I do not drive, having a convenience store and surgery nearby, good day care and schools.

We have identified a house in Denton way (Knightswood) Woking and I wanted some advice on this area. Goldsworth park is so big that it is hard to figure out the suitable parts (if any). There are mixed reviews all this a good place to buy. Horsell sounds nice although there aren't many properties in that area. Are there any other areas in Woking within easy reach of the station?

I would be grateful for any advice.
Many thanks

Mumtogremlins Thu 18-Sep-14 22:41:12

I would be wary of Goldsworth Park, not the best part of Woking. Horsell is lovely but very expensive and not much to buy. Do you have to be in Woking? St Johns is slightly further out but better. We used to live in Knaphill which is ok, good schools, local amenities and Brookwood station is one stop on from Woking. West Byfleet is another option

sharemisc Sun 21-Sep-14 09:26:30

We opted out of buying this house in GoldsWorth park, the search is still on. Woking is the most preferred option just because of links to London. Will keep St Johns in mind as well. Thank you Mumtogremlins.

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