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to move out of London and to Herts?

(57 Posts)
bodgerthebadger Thu 14-Nov-13 13:46:26

Hi, posting here due to volume of traffic as i really need some advice smile

We currently live in London in an area where the school situation is incredibly stressful. Basically, unless you live on top of the school (which we don't) or attend weekly mass for 3 years with a letter of support from the Parish priest, you won't get in. We would most likely get a place at one school but it was on Special Measures recently and, as a personal choice, I would prefer not to send my kids there. That leaves the private schools which, when we have no.2 on the way, makes me feel shock assuming our children would even get a place at all. I also work FT in a very stressful job, with long hours and private school fees (whilst just about affordable) would make me a slave to my job, which is not what I want (I'm the main breadwinner in our household). Getting into a decent state school would leave me with a few more options to reduce my working hours and spend some more quality time with my family. If that means moving out of London, an area that my OH and I love, then that's a compromise we're willing to make.

We love where we are but the school situation is proving to be so uncertain and stressful, that we are thinking of moving to Herts due to the convenient connections to Kings X (since we both work in London and this is that station that works best for us).

I would be extremely grateful for any advice on where best to think about in Herts. We have a fairly healthy budget and would like a 4 bed house. The main priority is to have a good selection of primary schools (state) and secondary schools (would consider private) where we would stand a decent chance of getting a place. We don't want to live in a busy town - somewhere with a village feel without being in the middle of nowhere and with decent facilities, family things to do, access to countryside etc would be ideal if we could get it. I know it sounds like we're asking for a lot but we wouldn't be able to afford to move again after this so we're seeing this as a house for life smile I don't expect to tick all the boxes but it would be good if we could tick most!

Harpenden and St Albans strikes me as the most obvious locations but housing stock is in short supply and, even with a healthy budget, seems a bit beyond our budget! We considered Berkhamsted and Hertford since we heard lovely things about these places but neither go direct to Kings X. We visited Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin but we don't feel that these places are for us.

If anyone has any suggestions of other places within or near Herts that we could add to the mix, I'd be extremely grateful!

Sorry for the long post and for posting this in AIBU.

Thanks! x

srslylikeomg Tue 10-Nov-15 11:08:28

Oh blush zombie thread!! Doh

srslylikeomg Tue 10-Nov-15 11:07:23

Have you thought about going out to Kent? There is a high speed line. Ashford has great schools, you can get a lot of house for your money or live rurally drive in and then Kings X in 37 minutes. It's not exactly cultural but the countryside and coast are right on the doorstep. Might be worth a look!

lakmalisri Tue 10-Nov-15 10:54:21

Hi , we are moving to st. Albans (wheatleys, marshalewick) and I need some advice please. We have to apply for a primary school for our son and Oakwood primary is the nearest school, then skyswood. Which one is better? Tnx

bodgerthebadger Wed 27-Nov-13 15:13:04

Thanks again for all the suggestions. This has definitely given me food for thought.

If schools are your motivator I'm a little confused. London schools are fantastic, truly, truly fantastic. Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country. Unless you have the money to move on top of one of the star schools in the county I'm not clear that you're really helping yourselves much.

Some London schools are fantastic. Some are average. Some are not great at all. The issue with London is that if you want a fantastic state primary, then you need a huge wad of money to buy in the catchment area. With the budget we have, we are definitely unable to afford these areas. Where we are now, we could get into a fantastic school so long as we keep up weekly mass attendance for 3+ years. Even then, that means pinning all our hopes on one school and, even to buy where we are now, we've had to compromise massively on house size. The alternative is to pay for private at primary stage. The private schools in London are fantastic but then it boils down to the money issue again! I'm not sure I can afford the commitment with 2 kids!

Reason I am thinking about Herts (or outside London generally) is that our budget will go further and, hopefully, we'll have more choices with schools too.

Agree with the posters that London is great and tons of stuff to do! Will miss it tons but I will continue to work in London so I'm not going for good! OH and I love the City but also love the countryside and, to be honest, our social life has slowed down a lot these last couple of years anyway so I think giving up City living for more space is a compromise we feel we'd be happy to make. In an ideal world, we'd stay in London and have enough money to buy the house we want in the area we want and send our kids to the school we want smile

newgirl Fri 15-Nov-13 17:44:42


London seller then you could buy a 3-4 bed house in St Albans or harpenden near outstanding secondaries and primaries. Prob not city centre but sounds like you ok with that anyway

newgirl Fri 15-Nov-13 17:43:11

What is your budget? If you have say 600k which is not beyond imagination for a l

LadyRabbit Fri 15-Nov-13 17:26:01

Where in London are your right now OP? Rather than leave London altogether, would you consider moving to an area where you might have a better choice of state school and not feel that private or a move out is the only answer?

fairylightsintheautumn Fri 15-Nov-13 17:13:58

East Herts is cheaper than West Herts. I would agree that Stevenage secondaries are not great but what you save on your mortgage compared to St Albans you could go private!! Its perfectly decent place to live, though nearby Knebworth or Datchworth are nicer. Generally Herts comps are perfectly ok and the ones in Harpenden are excellent.

bodgerthebadger Fri 15-Nov-13 17:07:55

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I have a lot more research to do I see and I can foresee spending a lot of weekends in Herts exploring. I love that I can count on Mumsnetters to come up with fab advice smile

thegreylady Fri 15-Nov-13 11:57:14

St Clement Dane's comp is one of the best in the country!

Damnautocorrect Fri 15-Nov-13 11:57:08

Goffs oak?
Barnet feels more like London now so if your wanting the greener life I think you need to move further out.
Loads of lovely places mentioned already
Rickmansworth lovely lovely lovely
So is Welwyn garden city, codicote, st Albans lovely but traffic central.
If you follow up the a1 there's lots of lovely places as that train line is brilliant and reliable.

girlywhirly Fri 15-Nov-13 11:30:54

Be aware for your commute that village stations will have less choice of trains departing from and stopping at your station, than if you go from a town station. You will also have to factor in parking charges unless you are within walking distance of the station. Also consider how snow might affect your travel if stuck in a village and cannot drive to a station. (I suspect that you have been spoilt with plenty of travel options in London) Do not expect buses to run late at night to villages either, I used to live in Codicote (between Welwyn village and Hitchin) and the buses stopped early evening.

My next door neighbours moved to Hitchin from Knebworth because they wanted their DD's to go to the girls school, in Knebworth the secondary options were in Stevenage. Also he can walk to Hitchin station to commute now. A fast train from Kings Cross is around 30 mins to Hitchin and you have different options i.e. the Cambridge train or the Kings Lynn train or the Huntingdon train can all have stops at Hitchin.

I live in Hitchin and can walk into the town and to the station. Don't dismiss it just yet.

CarolineKnappShappey Thu 14-Nov-13 22:11:43

What is your budget?

BonaDrag Thu 14-Nov-13 21:03:09

Kings Langley is lovely. I second the other poster. Trains to Euston.

HairyGrotter Thu 14-Nov-13 20:56:28

I live in the mighty Albans, horrendously over priced, but there are plenty of places on the outskirts, depends if you want a walk to a station or a drive. Nice villages, like Wheathampstead or Sandridge dotted around

Herts is great wink

averywoomummy Thu 14-Nov-13 20:09:55

The secondary's are not amazing but not terrible either

And there is loads to do in Herts!

averywoomummy Thu 14-Nov-13 20:00:45

Digswell or Welwyn Village or Lemsford are all lovely places with a village feel but within about 10/15 mins drive of a station that takes you into Kings Cross.

Old Hatfield is quite nice too but not so sure about schools there

Or Sandringham (I think near St Albans)

ThePlEWhoLovedMe Thu 14-Nov-13 19:52:28

Have you considered Barnet / Potters bar ?? Great schools

SparklyFucker Thu 14-Nov-13 19:35:58

What was it about Hitchin that you didn't like? Because on paper it ticks every single one of your boxes, and there are some really great areas in the town that are in catchment for the prestigious Boys and Girls schools. Avoid Stevenage at all costs, it's nasty, and Letchworth is rather 'cold' though has a couple of great independent schools.

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:34:45

Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country.

Really? I'm not sure this is true of the whole of herts is it?

southeastastra Thu 14-Nov-13 19:33:15

hertfordshire's comps are the worst in the country??

i'd stay in london, hertfordshire is boring. grin i miss london so much. nothing to do in herts unless you are very loaded and like the boring mundanity of it all

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:31:23

I would totally avoid stevenage and the surrounding villages as unless you are catholic the secondary schools are pretty dire I think.

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:29:58

What about cuffley? Lovely village, but with more than one shop, train station straight into kings cross, nice primary school an then you have goffs secondary school which is 'good'. Amazing houses there if you have the budget, but also lots of more realistic houses as well.

CommanderShepard Thu 14-Nov-13 19:13:25

Friends moved from Kilburn to Stevenage and from there to Welwyn Garden City and are very happy - one works in Hatfield and the other in Chiswick and the commutes are fine.

ALittleStranger Thu 14-Nov-13 18:45:17

If schools are your motivator I'm a little confused. London schools are fantastic, truly, truly fantastic. Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country. Unless you have the money to move on top of one of the star schools in the county I'm not clear that you're really helping yourselves much.

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