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Good school & village locations from NW, W, and SW of the M25?

(38 Posts)
99redballoons Fri 01-Apr-11 11:30:24

We have two children at primary school, one in Reception and one in Y3. We want to move away from our current London location to a more rural setting. Due to Dh's work we have to stay on the West side of London and are looking from as far NW as Chorleywood and as far SW as Surrey Heath. Finding an area with housing we can afford plus a good school is quite a problem. It's unfortunate we are limited as to where we can move because of Dh's commute.

We love Chorelywood and would potentially be in the catchment area for St. Clement Danes, which is a partially selective high performing state school. The downfall is that housing is very expensive (of course!) and we are looking at 650K for a small detached or reasonable semi.

The other area we like is Horsell, west of Woking, which has much more affordable housing (comparitively 650K would get you a spacious 4 bed detached property), however, Woking High is more of an average school matching the Surrey LEA avg exam results, which are only slightly above the national average.

We are torn between going for the 'great' school vs the 'OK' school. We could stretch our budget considerably to buy in Chorleywood, but I'm nervous about over-stretching ourselves, especially as my income is practically nothing atm. My arguement to DH is that we could afford a nice house for much less in Horsell and would still have money to maintain our current lifestyle (which is nowhere near extravagent, eg we have SKY tv, eat out every couple of weeks and the kids attend a number of after school clubs). However, if we have a huge mortgage I would want to cut back on those little luxuries. I feel we could always get extra tuition if we felt the 'OK' school wasn't good enough.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it better to be happy and comfortable (financially) with the kids at an 'OK' school, or stretch ourselves for the better education? I think my head is going to explode trying to make this decision!!!!

PS. Other areas we've looked at include Denham (no state schools nearby), Sunningdale (too expensive, may as well choose Chorleywood) and Lightwater (no secondary school nearby). We're avoiding the Heathrow flight path areas.

99redballoons Mon 04-Apr-11 12:52:04

Can anyone help with this? I'd be most grateful to hear your thoughts.

mummytime Mon 04-Apr-11 13:18:01

If you are looking at Woking, I'd go further and looks at Guildford. Also I wouldn't describe Horsell as a village, except in Estate Agent speak.

Fiddledee Mon 04-Apr-11 17:29:47

Raleigh school west horsley for primary, secondary Howard of Effingham can commute to London from East Horsley train station.

Ripley (bit noisy due to M3), secondary George Abbott in Guildford.

Live next door to Gordon School, West End near woking but very expensive as very good grammar school

Fiddledee Mon 04-Apr-11 17:39:21

sorry ripley a3

Sam100 Mon 04-Apr-11 17:45:47

If you want good state secondary school then consider West End for Gordon's secondary school (very small catchment area though changes constantly as based on distance to school gate!) and Holy Trinity for state junior or Valley End for Infants. Gordon's is not a grammar school - rather a state boarding school with a very small number of local day pupils. There is also Charters in Sunningdale which has a good reputation. I think the catchment area for this school goes further than Sunningdale. Windlesham is a lovely village and has a goode infant school. Lightwater pupils go to Collingwood College in Camberley which has good results but mixed reputation.

99redballoons Mon 04-Apr-11 20:38:40

Thanks all for the posts. I did look at Gordon's and thought it very unlikely we'd buy something near enough to gamble on getting in.

I also looked at Charter's, but wasn't sure if Windlesham was in their catchment. I have looked at housing nearer the school, but it's out of our budget.

Unfortunately, Guildford is too far away for my husband's commute.

What are you thoughts on going for a more average school so that we can afford a nicer house and live more comfortably (nice holidays etc) versus buying a small house with a big mortgage to get into a very good school? I'm torn with what's best for the kids.

Vicky2011 Mon 04-Apr-11 21:22:42

I think some Windlesham children do go to Charters but it's very much a lottery as across the county boundary. Certainly not worth Windlesham prices with no guarantee of being in the right catchment. Though as Sam100 has said the infant schools there are great.

Most of the Lightwater children go to Collingwood but some to Tomlinscote in Frimley - Tomlinscote has the better rep but I have to be honest and say I think that is largely down to local snobbery. Both have good OFSTEDs with "Outsanding features". Collingwood is in the middle of a massive council estate which feels very very different to the local villages and I think people are wary because of that. Something to bare in mind is that Tomlinscote is currently being considered for merger with the local "failing" school, Kings, which was recently in Special Measures and this may well have a an effect on the local perception of the two schools. Certainly there is general fury within the Tomlinscote catchment! All I can say is that if I was looking at a house in Lightwater, the schools would be a "neutral" factor for me - not something that would draw me to the area but certainly not a concern - there are many parts of the country which would be delighted to have the two comprehensive options.

mummytime Tue 05-Apr-11 08:00:35

My husband used to get to London in 1 hour door to door from Guildford. I would look carefully at train times. Especially if you compare the time to get from Knaphill or somewhere to the station with the time in Guildford. Even more so for somewhere like Godalming.
Otherwise why not look more Epsom/Reigate way, there are some nice villagey places and some good schools, although I don't know that area well.

BTW avoid Ripley, as its now popped out of George Abbot catchment again, this issue will go on for a while I think.

grovel Tue 05-Apr-11 10:23:54

What about Winkfield Row?

99redballoons Tue 05-Apr-11 12:43:36

Thx Vicky, it's good to have the local knowledge about Tomlinscote and Collingwood as I did drive around those areas the other day.

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't actually work in central London, but near Heathrow on an industrial estate. No trains nearby at all, so he is 100% reliant on the drive, which is why we're limited to the West side of the M25.

Grovel, not heard of Winkfield Row... off to take a look :-)

I still think I'd rather have more money in my pocket and be able to broaden my kids knowledge in other ways than just through the school, so I am erring towards a more average school (at least one that performs slightly better than the national average and no less than a Grade 2 ofsted). Not sure my husband agrees!

Fiddledee Tue 05-Apr-11 12:47:04

My DH works near Heathrow, we live in a village near Guildford takes 35mins door to door by car

99redballoons Tue 05-Apr-11 12:57:38

Really Fiddledee? That sounds a possibility then. My husband's work friends don't travel in from that far down (Woking the furthest and he said 35mins) so had ruled it out. We assumed rush hour from Guildford would be at least an hour and he's already doing over that atm. We had hoped to decrease it with the move.

Pls can I ask which villiage? We love all that area, but again needing both a decent infant, primary and then subsequently secondary I'm finding it hard pinpointing areas in the right catchments for all three!

99redballoons Tue 05-Apr-11 12:59:25

Sorry, meant Infant & Junior (both my kiddies are currently in Y3 and Recpn)

Fiddledee Tue 05-Apr-11 13:10:14

we found that all the villages to the east of guildford quicker to get to the A3/M25 so you don't have to go through Guildford or to the north of Guildford where the traffic bottlenecks appear to be. I would look at Merrow/Burpham suburbs of Guildford to be in the George Abbott cathchment area. If you want a village I would look at west/east horsley to be in raleigh school then howard of effingham for secondary. My village has only an infant school, and uncertain catchment for secondary so I wouldn't recommend it if you are going state!. Not sure which secondary schools the Send and Ripley primary schools feed into (Ripley has been George Abbott some years) Downside of the area are house prices although Burpham the most reasonable out of all the areas.

99redballoons Tue 05-Apr-11 14:10:02

Thanks Fiddledee. Will research all of that.

crazycatlady Tue 05-Apr-11 14:37:19

Just a word of warning about Woking state secondary schools... they are very very segregated in terms of intake. It's representative of a huge cultural divide in the Woking area.

It's very much white middle class all try to cram in to St John the Baptist (but tbh most go private) and almost exclusively the Pakistani children attend Woking High. It's been that way for years and I don't know why. Nothing to do with where people live either as the Pakistani community is mostly centred around Maybury which is a good 30 min walk from Horsell. It's a shame there isn't more mixing between communities really.

I grew up in Horsell and both myself and my brother were victims of racially motivated attacks (while wearing our poncey private school uniforms...). It's an odd area with very expensive housing and lots of social problems, and Woking town centre is quite violent at night around the Chertsey Rd.

I'd go for Guildford area and take the extra commuting time any day!

MollieO Tue 05-Apr-11 15:12:13

What about Maidenhead and surrounding villages. Fast trains into London and grammar school catchment if you live north of the A4. Or Beaconsfield area?

PrettyCandles Tue 05-Apr-11 15:24:13

What about Wokingham? Small town, but very nice, and lots of small villages around it. In catchment for Reading grammar schools (one boys', one girls'). The schools in Wokingham town itself are mostly 'outstanding'. Very easy access to M4. No flightpath issues. We went from 2b2r flat in London to 4b3r detached in Wokingham.

mummytime Wed 06-Apr-11 08:54:42

Loads of aircrew etc live in Guildford, as do people who work for: British Airways and the big food company. Its pretty quick up the A3 to M25, or for the villages to the east (which I would also recommend, for Howard of Effingham) along the country lanes to A3/M25.

Maidenhead is also a good choice, I used to drive from there to Heathrow, and despite M4 hold ups, its a quick drive. You could also look at Windsor if you would prefer middle school.

mummytime Wed 06-Apr-11 08:59:18

Oh just to add, Send at present is solid George Abbot catchment, the junior and infant school are merging and changing (for the better?). Ripley used to feed into Send Juniors but now has its own Junior classes. For a while this year it was in George Abbot catchment, but is now out again; so the seniors school is uncertain and its with the schools ombudsman; so beware. Okaham and Cobham used to be able to go to Howard of Effingham, but that catchment is shrinking, so beware.

PatriciaHolm Wed 06-Apr-11 09:45:39

We're in Epsom, which has very good state secondaries (a girls, a boys and a mixed). Drive to heathrow is max 45 mins unless something goes very wrong on the M25!

PatriciaHolm Wed 06-Apr-11 09:46:19

Oh and very good primaries too!

DeWe Wed 06-Apr-11 10:53:49

The Tomlinscote/Kings issue is more that they are proposing a split site.Years 7-9 would be at Kings which is 3 miles away from Tomlinscote main site which would have years 10-13. Traffic around there is bad enough without that! They are meant to be making the decision by September.
Kings currently is a very small school, only 2 class entry I think, and Tomlinscote is 9(?) class entry.
Collingwood is currently becoming an academy, I think. And is larger 13(?) form enty.
They're both considered good by people around and there's also Farnborough 6th form college, which is one of the best 6th form colleges in the country.
Lightwater infants and Hammond (the juniors) are considered to be very good too.

99redballoons Thu 07-Apr-11 15:11:38

Hi All, thanks so much for the additional feedback. It's invaluable!

Wokingham sounds lovely, but unfortuantely it's too far away as far as DH is concerned. I used to work in Maidenhead and have always loved it round there, but it would be very low on our list as DH would like to have a 'back roads' route as well as motorway if possible.

It's good to have the additional info about Guildford, Send and Epsom.

There's nothing like the local school knowledge which is really helpful.

Crazycatlady, can I ask how long it's been since you lived in Horsell? My sister is there atm and has not had any issues to be concerned of. Though she's not frequently in Woking at night.

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