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Relocating - Schools in Maidenhead - help please!

(43 Posts)
womblingalong Tue 24-Jul-12 00:15:20

Hi all,

I haven't posted for ages, but am worrying myself into a frenzy about moving from Notts to Maidenhead or nearby as my husband has moved there for a new job, and I am jobhunting there too.

We have 2 primary age children, and are looking to rent a house from September, but I am worried about choosing the right area for schools. We have found a house in Bray which I think is in catchment for Holyport, but over 1 mile from Oldfield, which has a better ofsted. How easy is it to get into Oldfield this year? Anyone with experience of either school?

We live in a great area, full of outstanding schools at the moment,and all I see about the school system in Maidenhead is worrying me. I want my children to go to an outstanding school, if at all possible, but we can't afford to live in the most expensive areas.

Any advice gratefully received.

womblingalong Fri 28-Dec-12 18:22:13

Elenus, just seen this, sorry!

Yes we are here, the DC's got into knowl hill and seem to have settled in well.

I am not sure about per school locally however, there is a play group at Bray village hall. Have you looked into that?

Good luck smile

Elenus Wed 14-Nov-12 20:55:56

womblingalong, hope you got the places you wanted!

Wanted to ask about M'head pre-schools in this thread. We live in catchment of Oldfield, hoping to get in if they expand. But they do not have pre-school... what would be your recommendation? where should we go once DS and DD turn 3?...#many thanks

womblingalong Tue 07-Aug-12 23:29:28

Thanks so much toomuch, that's massively helpful. I will get on to them tomorrow. Thanks for the reassurance re: schools. My two are in a great and outstanding school now, so don't want to lower my standards for them with this move IYKWIM. I am sure it will all get sorted, and we will prob need to appeal for one or both of them we'll see. The reccomendation is fab. Thanks

toomuchicecream Tue 07-Aug-12 22:48:29

Either Missing Link or Wise Owls (google for them). Without wishing to give too much info and identify myself, I can say that I observed Wise Owls after school club at very close range over a long period and would have been very happy for my son to be there. Their website says they pick up from Knowl Hill and take the children to Oldfield (which would be ideal for you to pick them up from if you are in Bray). If you do get allocated Knowl Hill, don't be too down-hearted because of the reputation as in my experience the reputation of a school and what it's actually like often bear little relation to each other. (Once taught in a school with a very good reputation and would have done anything possible to avoid sending my own child there, in fact I left as soon as I could after I worked that out).

womblingalong Tue 07-Aug-12 20:01:44

Bump (fingers crossed!)

womblingalong Sat 04-Aug-12 10:06:28

Hopeful desperate bump re childcare options?

Thanks very much.

womblingalong Sat 04-Aug-12 08:23:59

Just had detailed conversation about call with LEA yesterday, so I know a bit more now.

There may be a place at Knowl hill for DD, but won't find out til 4th Sept or after. DD and DS are moving into Bray with DH end of August. Don't know what to do about childcare for that week. Asked MIL and PIL, they have said yes from 4/5th for that week. Any suggestions for childcare options in m/head?

I will be working my notice back up here until end Sept, so can't help. Also need to sort before and afterschool care, but don't even know where to look until we know where the schools are!

Help please! Thanks

womblingalong Sat 04-Aug-12 06:48:22

Knowl hill I know you said not v good, sI worried. Still need to hear about the other schools. Not Catholics, so that would be difficult.

Hoping that she gets another school too, aargh!

bisjolympics Fri 03-Aug-12 22:08:16

Which school is that?

womblingalong Fri 03-Aug-12 22:06:52

Still waiting to hear about DD. apparently there might be a place at my least preferred school, (based on ofsted and area only). Not sure what to do about that.

Until we get decision officially, still nothing we can do. This is painful, the waiting!

To cap it all the gas engineer has shut off my boiler for at least a week while he gets parts and has time to do it so no hot water!


womblingalong Tue 31-Jul-12 14:42:29

Hi, Bray is lovely, as are lots of areas there. I am looking forward to spending some time by the river!

Any more feedback on local schools gratefully received.

Thanks again


goGBTeacher Mon 30-Jul-12 17:43:33

On the plus side, after the stress of all this I think you will love living in Bray. It's a great area round here. grin

womblingalong Mon 30-Jul-12 16:53:50

Thanks Tiggytape, DH has been told to contact again with proof of address, but I am not waiting until we are in situ. I will get the rental agreement for proof of address and me or DH will call regularly until we get some answers, for both DS and DD.

Really good info and advice, so thanks again.

WA thanks

tiggytape Mon 30-Jul-12 09:26:31

wombling - if you are applying in year, catchment areas and last distance offered don't really apply. They only tell you how places were allocated when hundreds of children were applying for spaces at the time every school had places to offer.
When you are applying in-year, you can sometimes end up with a place at a school which you wouldn't have been offered had you applied at the usual time. Basically, assuming each school doesn't have spare capacity in every year group, you get sent to the closest school with a space which isn't necessarily the same thing as one of your closest schools.

I agree about being persistant though. They do have to find you somewhere and you don't want it to drag on. I would be ringing them very frequently for updates and information. You especially need to know where your DD will be offered and whether this will help your DS on the waiting lists (or where your DS will be offered so you can try to get your DD in on appeal).

The schools can tell you if they have spaces but, since the LA allocate these, they won't necessarily know if there is anyone above you who will get priority for that space by virtue of distance or sibling rules. The schools won't know whether the spaces they have could be allocated to you or not.

womblingalong Mon 30-Jul-12 06:50:32

Thanks bisjolympics, I think we will have to be really persistent. DH is getting on the phone first thing this morning. They do contradict themselves regularly, and everything seems so secret squirrel!

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:18:44

I'd also give the LEA a call and ask them where there is space. If they won't tell you then call the individual schools. Last year I thought I'd have to move ds and called some of the local schools. All were happy to tell me whether they had space or not. I'd also call the LEA a few times if you don't get info the first time. It very much seems to be whom you get on the phone at any given moment. Some there are very helpful whilst others act as if they work for MI5.

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:10:57

This is a catchment map.

This tells you your catchment area.

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 23:09:14

Here is the allocation info for 2012/2013. Knowl Hill has space according to this (I think that is because it isn't a very good school).

If you are practising Catholics then St Edmund Campion and St Mary's may be your best bet.

womblingalong Sun 29-Jul-12 22:49:25

Thanks for replying everyone. We applied for Cookham Dean, white Waltham, Bisham, Datchet and Knowl Hill and st Edmund Campion. Not sure what they will offer us now. We are in Holyport catchment I think, so no chance of Oldfield I'd guess.

Thanks for the extra detail about the process Tiggytape. That's a good idea re Dorney and st Nicholas goGBteacher.

The waiting game is nerve wracking!

goGBTeacher Sun 29-Jul-12 16:10:14

Also would it be worth trying for Dorney or St Nicholas CofE. Don't know if they take DC from out of catchment but the area around St Nicholas is not very densely populated which makes me think they might?

bisjolympics Sun 29-Jul-12 15:14:58

Cookham has three primary schools - Holy Trinity, Cookham Rise and Cookham Dean. Holy Trinity reputation has gone down in recent years with a change of head and most people I know with dcs there aren't happy. Cookham Rise was fab, head retired, new head rubbish, special measures, temp head, now permanent head and school has improved a lot. People I know at the school are very happy with the head and the way the school is going. Cookham Dean is small and has old buildings but good reputation. Depending on size of school year birth rate it can be ok or completely impossible to get into. I can't put my finger on it but I didn't like the atmosphere. However that was four years ago so it may well have changed.

If I were picking now I would chose Cookham Rise over the other two, which is a very different decision to the one I made 4 years ago.
Oldfield didn't even take everyone in catchment for this Sept.

Alwyn is a very good infant in Maidenhead and feeds into Courthouse, which is a good juniors. Alwyn also takes dcs out of catchment.

tiggytape Sun 29-Jul-12 14:46:46

Sorry to hear you haven't got a place as yet. When you get DD's letter you might have more options available. For example if DD gets a school offer, DS may well go tot the top of that school's waiting list in September.
And if DD doesn't get a school from those you have picked, you can appeal with much higher chances of success since she is Year 4 (which in turn might help DS move right to the top of the waiting list).

Have they offered you an alternative school for DS? They will be obliged to find him a place although not necessarily at one of your listed schools. If it gets to the stage though where no school at all has a space for him, then the LA will have to force one school to make an extra space under Fair Access Protocol. But that only applies if absolutely no school within a wide area has any space at all.

I suspect you will have to keep on at them a bit to ensure they find places.

womblingalong Sun 29-Jul-12 10:48:34

Crapola, got letter for DS when we got back at 2am this morning, none of the 6 preferences we indicated have got a place available. Not sure what we can do now. Just don't need the stress, and have no idea about DD yet.

This is so worrying.

EverybodyKnows Wed 25-Jul-12 15:38:57

wombling- the Council should speed up the process once you have your house letting sorted out as you will have an official addy in borough ?

It is strange that they wouldn't discuss with you on the phone.

Anyhow, I work near the Town Hall so if you need help, just let me know smile

womblingalong Wed 25-Jul-12 13:59:37

Rats, our council haven't had a response from wi
Windsor and Maidenhead council, and won't tell us over the phone either!

We have to wait for a letter, and are due to complete the paperwork for the bray property on Friday - aarrrgghhh!

Not sure what do do, we've struggled to find a rental we're happy with that we can (just about) afford.

So stressful!

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