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Moving to England - Which area to live in..?? Which School To Choose...?

(132 Posts)
NewBee2011 Tue 12-Apr-11 16:54:19

Hi Everyone, We are planning to move to England from Thailand in 3/4 mths, but very confused as to where to live, as we want to live in a good and safe place, not too much fond of city live but not too rural as well and not going too far away from london..But we dont want the place to be too expensive either...Prefer newly built estate...My kids have to join in Son (Yr6) n Daughter(Yr8), they will join private school but which one to choose as I want a good school with good results over the past years n with good reputation. Every suggestion will be of gr8 help.

Clary Sat 16-Apr-11 14:31:28

newbee Loughborough is a town (not in Wales tho!) in East Mids. Near to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, all cities with good facilities.

Not sure if you want to be living in a city or not. L/boro not rural, also quite central, quick to London by road or (better) rail. Lboro GS wel rate by those who know (not mea really - I am more yr woman for advice on places to live! grin)

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:41:20

Move to Gloucestershire where there are still 6 excellent grammar schools! Including co-ed 'Pates' for your doubtless mega gifted and academic child. Royal Gloucestershire also has the advantage of being only 2 hours from London and two hours from several decent seasides! And is in the glorious Cotswolds.

Clary Sat 16-Apr-11 14:45:53

candleshoe Gloucs is surely out of OP's £800 rental price range tho?

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:48:19

Nah - my mortgage on a 4 bed in a small market town is £465! The house next door is identical and rents for £625 pcm. Depends where you want to be. Like anywhere there are cheap bits and pricey bits!

candleshoe Sat 16-Apr-11 14:50:02

If you can afford private school OP - why not put them into excellent 'free' grammar schools and spend money on a nicer/bigger house?

WildhoodChunder Sat 16-Apr-11 14:56:09

Cambridge is lovely and ticks your boxes. Lots of excellent schools - The Perse if you want private or Parkside Federation if you want public, but very tough to get into Parkside.

naturalbaby Sat 16-Apr-11 14:57:44

Wow what a difficult job you have! My family moved to UK years ago when I was a small child and chose the south east (surrey), then moved to Oxford and loved it but it's very pricey there, and now in the West Midlands near Birmingham airport. Looking back they say they should have moved to the West Midlands in the first place. I live in Warwickshire and I am so happy here - I feel really safe here and there are great schools. I would really like private school for my children too but the state schools are all really good so if you are really struggling to find a private school place you still have plenty of choice in the good state schools. Some of the state schools can be better than private schools! The Times Parent Power website is good for searching for schools - type in an area and it will list all the schools in the area on a list according to their results. you have to pay to subscribe to the website to get at it though.

goingroundthebend4 Sat 16-Apr-11 15:04:30

Ok I live in east Hertfordshire very good primarys and secondry school state wise infact there's quite bunfight to get into them .Also somegood private schools to

30 mins by train to London .But for £700 a month your looking at either a 2 bed flat or 2 bed small house.3 beds rent around £1000-£1100.Worth looking at prices of rentals and then work out if there's good state schools could you increase your rent ? .There's a good state school here that also does borading to last years results was 92% passing national averages is about 45% I think
.also another very good one up the road state school bit only has 400 places that's a secondry dd school primary is outstanding offstead regulary scores well above average has 84 pupils in total

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 15:05:29


Excellent independent schools in Kent, cheap housing and also excellent transport links to London.

bitsyandbetty Sat 16-Apr-11 15:38:40

I would go for the Midlands too. We live in Birmingham and it is close to everywhere. I travel to London quite regularly for work, £48.50 return in 1 and a half hours. Cheaper housing. Solihull is nice with two good private schools and plenty of private schools in Birmingham. Also agree about Oakham, lovely area or Bambury/Oxford.

LIZS Sat 16-Apr-11 18:07:03

Which schools are you thinking of Onky ? Think many would be out of op's budget and very selective as those that can go to state grammars.

bitsyandbetty Sat 16-Apr-11 18:20:05

Birmingham/Solihull probably about £900 per month for three bed in nice area. Much cheaper to buy though than in the South East I would have thought. 4 bed in nice area about £250-300k.

Private schools about £10-11k per annum per child for day only. I was in Gloucester last night at the Guildhall, nice part of the World. I love Ross on Wye and Tewkesbury. Not sure how the train lines are. Most of my colleagues who work in London but travel live in Milton Keynes which is quite reasonable price-wise but know nothing about the schools.

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 18:33:36

Virtually all the best private schools are in the SE.

Their order in terms of best results is at

If your children would be clever enopugh to pass the entrance tests start at the top of the list depending on sex of chilren and work your way down. Somewhere like Herts would give you Haberdashers boys and girls for example.

As said above tehre are standard entry points however and in these schools the better ones most who apply don't get in.

beanlet Sat 16-Apr-11 18:34:41

I would suggest somewhere on the East Coast mainline if your DH only has to be in London occasionally. NOT Peterborough - it's a dump. Stamford is gorgeous, though you have to change trains at Peterborough to get to London. Grantham and Newark both good choices, reasonable distance from Oakham school which is very good. But my choice would actually be York - only 2 hours on the train from London, but gorgeous town in beautiful countryside, with excellent nearby schools.

Otherwise, Oxford and Cambridge, while expensive, are both commutable to London (under an hour) and both have excellent private day schools for boys and girls.

TaffetaPaques Sat 16-Apr-11 18:39:51

Sevenoaks. Sevenoaks school superb. Short commute to London. Bluewater shopping centre, one of largest in Europe within 20 minute drive. Safe area, lovely countryside. Good community feel in surrounding villages.

Downside is its expensive.

TaffetaPaques Sat 16-Apr-11 18:43:42

Oh and Sevenoaks School does the IB which is why it doesn't show on lots of A level results league tables.

beanlet Sat 16-Apr-11 18:46:36

....but your rental budget is way off beam for SE. At the moment you can get a decent 3 bed terrace close to the station in Cambridge for 1200, but not much less.

Do your kids HAVE to go private? If you rent really close to an outstanding state school you'll save a lot of money. Outstanding state schools are academically often better than mediocre private schools in England. Don't assume that state equals bad in the UK - 93% of the population are state educated.

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-11 18:51:01

Xenia: the children are making the transition from the US system. You idea of the "best" schools is not necessarily the right one, and certainly nit the only one.

beanlet: there aren't any private schools within reach of Grantham, and securing grammar places might be too uncertain a prospect. But if they can go as far as York, there's St Peters.

MollieO Sat 16-Apr-11 18:53:56

If you are relocating from Thailand it may be worth contacting a relocation agent for assistance. They could advise you on what are suitable areas for your budget. We are 30 mins west of Heathrow in a good school area and for your budget you would be lucky to get a 2 bedroom flat in a not so nice area.

michaelaB Sat 16-Apr-11 19:01:14

I suggest you try Ashford in Kent. Lots of new housing next to great countryside and at reasonable prices (4bed house for less than £300k) and all within 37min of central London on a new high speed train. Ashford School will accommodate both your children and is Independent School of the Year 2010/11. Great results, great opportunities and the best value for money in the region.

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 19:28:10

LIZS - Perhaps King's Rochester or Kings's Canterbury?

Fees at King's Rochester are £15,000 per annum and there are plenty of 3 bed houses with gardens to rent in Rochester on a budget of £700pm

school fees


Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 19:33:56

Or perhaps Bedford.

It has good independent schools and property is cheap to rent.

Xenia Sat 16-Apr-11 20:51:50

med, don't agree. My list on the link is the UK's best schools. Parents all over the world try to get them into them. Chinese, Russian Indian - they come here to go to those top schools. So let's not con her into thinking the local state secondary might be anywhere near that league.

Wormshuffler Sat 16-Apr-11 20:58:04

I agree with the Stamford and Oakham suggestions. Not Peterborough it is an absolutely awful place. The villages between there and Stamford, for example Wansford area are absolutely beautiful, and very friendly too.

Onky Sat 16-Apr-11 21:08:25

Try and get hold of the FT's "top 200 schools" it is published each year in their paper (you might be able to get it via Google) and they have a very good way of cutting through the league table nonsense and comparing schools which do A levels with schools that do the Pre-U and schools that do International Bac or any combination.

Good luck.

How old are your children?

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