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Good prep school areas within an hours commute to Piccadilly Circus

(69 Posts)
Nitig Wed 12-Dec-12 08:36:46

Hello Moms
I NEED help and probably loads of it.
We are soon moving to London from Singapore on a rather short notice! I expect us to move by end of January 2013.
I have two daughters 10 (year5) & 6(year 2). I have been recommended, that I send my girls to a prep school, so that the older one can try for a grammar school at 11+. As we are moving in the middle of the school year, our options for schools seem to be really limited.
My husband's work place is close to Piccadilly Circus. We haven't decided the area we want to live in, for everything would depend upon the school. I am hoping to find a 4 bedroom house in a decent area for about 3K per month.
Could you ladies please recommend suitable schools, residential areas, helpful websites etc for me to get going.
As of now, I am completely clueless!
Thanks in advance.

hatsybatsy Fri 21-Dec-12 09:30:51

an hour's commute to central london can take you almost anywhere.

you mention that you are considering grammar school at 11 - so that narrows your options? grammar school are only in certain areas around london - south east, south west and north west are 3 that I can think of?

to prepare for grammar school, you need a prep school that stops at 11 - others (eg habs/NLCS) that go on til 18 have no interest in prepping kids to leave at 11.

I'm in the south east and would suggest the following as possible options with grammar as a potantial 11+ choice -

Blackheath - Heath House, Blackheath Prep and Pointers all go to 11.

Sevenoaks - Sevenoaks Prep, St Michaels

Chislehurst - Braeside

Eltham - St Olave's, St Christophers

there are also excellent independent choices near all of these. HTH

JoanByers Thu 20-Dec-12 22:36:52

I believe a lot of parents who were offered grammar and private would take grammar. Many of these parents would perhaps not consider a comprehensive school.

However this can be misleading. As the DFE website shows, the performance of 'high attainers' at some comprehensives can be better than at some grammar schools. Parents say 'look at this, only 65% GCSE passes, the grammar has 100%', but overlook the fact that the 65% includes some bottom sets who, with a little luck, won't go anywhere near their darlings.

Although of course the purpose of the grammar school might be to attempt to exclude the scrotes from their children's lives entirely.

I would note however that private schools, especially around London, where fees and standards are very high, that are similarly selective as the London 'super-selective' state schools perform a lot better than the grammar does. The grammar schools, by virtue of excluding all the low ability children, really don't have to do much to impress.

On that basis I would say that a comprehensive with a high number of 'high attainers' and good outcomes for them (I imagine the two go hand in hand to be honest), would be every bit as good as a grammar school. But neither, obviously, is the equal of a private school with three times the expenditure per pupil, but then when you are finding that expenditure directly, yourself, then you have to think twice....

Xenia I would imagine the Governor would probably have some sort of City pad in the week and then a nice mansion out in the country somewhere. Although £2400/week buys you surprisingly little.... This appears to be some sort of nuclear waste dump:

Xenia Thu 20-Dec-12 15:29:15

stillfeel, my suggestions of Haberdashers girls and North London Collegiate would be in the same category - get them in young so at 11 they are likely to be secure.

Grammar schools obviously do have more parents who cannot afford fees. It is definitely the case that the parents for whom fees are a struggle are the ones very keen to get into grammars in the few areas of the UK with state grammar schools.

On the £3000 a month rent the Governor of the bank iof England - the new one from Canada with 4 daughters want to live near work as he does ni Canada so needed £250,000 before tax income extra as his housing allowance which is subject to 45% upper rate tax when that rate is the top rate in April plus 2% NI. In other words £125,000 after tax = about £2400 a week rent central London house. Actually I suspect if his daughters are sporty they would all much prefer to live a bit further out in a detached house with garden than stuck close to the Bank right in the centre.

givemeaclue Thu 20-Dec-12 14:14:21

Grammars are not full of people who can't pay fees! Quite the opposite!

TotallyBS Wed 19-Dec-12 23:13:25

Leave the GSs for those who can't afford private and/or £3k per month rent??? Why stop there? Why not tell the OP to pay for a 1st class train ticket so that you can get a seat?

Karoleann Wed 19-Dec-12 20:59:24

How about maltmans school in gerrards cross, train to marylebone and then baker loo line to Piccadilly circus. Great grammar schools at secondary school. There is also high march school in beaconsfield.

JoanByers Wed 19-Dec-12 15:33:50

you don't need to tutor for years if your child is really in the top few %.

A couple of practice books will do the job.

If your child isn't that bright, then the prep school approach will help.....

stillfeel18inside Wed 19-Dec-12 14:44:45

Also meant to say - from these West London/Surrey areas you have the option of trying for Tiffin Girls which is one of the superselective grammar schools. Does only take the top few per cent, though, so it's a bit of a lottery however academic your DDs are (also people tutor for years....but that's probably another thread. Just type Tiffin into the search engine on mumsnet and you'll get the picture!)

stillfeel18inside Wed 19-Dec-12 14:38:36

For schools, I agree with the person who suggested finding a school that goes all the way up to 18 as that should minimise your daughters' disruption and on that basis I would aim to live in Putney/Sheen/Richmond/Wimbledon/Surbiton and go for one of the GDST (girls' day school trust) schools. They're private, have more reasonable fees than many private schools, and go from 4 to 18 - Putney High, Wimbledon High or (don't think this one is gdst, but good anyway) Surbiton High. I think there are others - Sutton High? No I don't work for GDST (have two sons) but I did go to one and I think they're good schools. Or for mixed schools, in Richmond you have Radnor House, a new school which also goes from 4-18 and is meant to be good - small and family-oriented, or in Sheen, Ibstock Place (also 4-18).

breadandbutterfly Wed 19-Dec-12 10:18:03

Oh, but that's just a tiddly little house, Ewe. the Op won't get ANYTHING more than a tiny flat for her 3K. Posters have said so above. wink

Glad that prep school parents can 'buy' all the places at the top state schools as well, in that area. Sounds absolutely charming. So, so glad I don't live there.

EweBrokeMyManger Tue 18-Dec-12 20:53:03

Oh and you'll be just a hop and a skip from Wing Yip on the Purley Way for shopping.

EweBrokeMyManger Tue 18-Dec-12 20:48:40

Ok OP here you go
here a smidgeon over an hour door to door but good prep schools that get all the children into the super selective grammars and a multicultural but not scary area.

breadandbutterfly Tue 18-Dec-12 20:43:10

joan, true that selective private schools require more than cash - but cash will not get you a place at a superselective grammar, either, which have no catchments, nor guarantee a place at a normal grammar - which were the options the Op was intererested in.

The OP did not appear interested in a good comp or faith school - here, her money would buy her dds a place, it is true.

Xenia Tue 18-Dec-12 07:22:23

Yes, and the very selective private schools are based on how well you do in the test. They do not that often have places because someone has moved but they sometimes do. Certainly outer London areas tend to get you a bigger place, garden, more space to play. I still think it is worth looking at living out sort of Stanmore way and trying to get a child into Haberdashers or North London collegiate or at least asking the chances of an occasional place when someone leaves.

JoanByers Mon 17-Dec-12 21:50:39

Lots of cash in the bank is EXACTLY what you need to get a place at a top state school.

At least for the ones with the tiny catchment areas. Buy/rent a house near the school, job done.

There are plenty of top state schools that operate on this principle.

There are other ways of course, religious hoop jumping, and ability for selective schools, but the main thing is lots of money to live in the right area.

It's private schools where lots of cash in the bank won't guarantee you a place at a top school.

breadandbutterfly Mon 17-Dec-12 21:47:20

Rental prices vary a lot across london - but in zone 3 and beyond, except in a few 'exclusive' areas like Hampstead or Richmond, 3k a month will get you avery nice home indeed.

itsallinthememories - no, we moved from the First Cap Connect line 2 years ago, and my MIL still uses it daily - my info is certainly not out-of-date. I have no idea what time of day you travel, but it is certainly not normal commuter times. Prior to that I lived on the Northern Line - i wouldn't recommend it as tube lines go - though it is still better than First Capital Connect by a long way.

If you are commuting to Piccadilly Circus, the the Piccadilly or Bakerloo Lines are your easiest bet.

OP - your dds may be bright but so are lots of other people's - lots of cash in the bank does not guarantee them a place at a top state school.

LIZS Mon 17-Dec-12 19:19:20

Comprehensives would n't be relevant at year 5. St David's was one , sorry don't recall the other but there are several around that area, some less well thought of than others though I believe. You might want to look at Old Palace and Croydon High as those go through to 18 so would give you an alternative option at 11+ if grammar turns out to not be an option.

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:59:19

Thanks LIZS, would definitely try to find out more about leavers and awards. Also, would it be possible for you to give me names of schools you mention in Purley?

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:53:12

Hey LIZS, I am looking and liking the suburbs mostly. The houses that I see in inner London (within my budget) look very cramped. I would like to rent some house where the kids would have a bit of space to be kids.
You are right, most of the schools are falling in 3-4K per term range and we have braced ourselves for lean times ahead, having paid for house and education! Most of the good comprehensives have no openings mid-term and are again very heavily over subscribed so that doesn't leave us with many options.

LIZS Mon 17-Dec-12 18:52:34

But not all preps are equal, some have far better facilities and broader teaching methods with others lacking investment and very traditional - just being a "Prep" is no guarantee of quality and you need to choose what suits your dds and has an ethos you can work with . Also ask which schools their leavers go on to and what awards they achieve. Having said that I've recently heard of a couple of smaller schools in Purley I didn't know existed which sound fine. Generally if they have a place they will assess if they don't even the brightest on paper may not get a look in.

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:41:45

Also, I checked Habs and NLCS and though NLCS has offered to assess my younger one for an upcoming opening, they dont have vacancy for DD1. Habs is full and highly over subscribed as I was told. I am still trying to get them both in one school if possible. A couple of schools in Croydon area are offering to test them both. Thanks for giving me leads on specific schools. I still look forward to getting to know about more schools from parents.
I can assure you that its not only 3K rentals and International school education that is able to get them in any of the better independent schools. Its a lot of past records and doing rather well at assessments that might do the trick!

LIZS Mon 17-Dec-12 18:40:34

Depends what you consider "decent" and where you are looking . You probably won't find much with a garden in the inner London zones for that, hence most suggesting the suburbs/ Home Counties closer to M25 .

You certainly could get somewhere reasonable in Surrey (1500 would get a 3 bed house) and fund a commute (30-40 minutes to Victoria, 5 mins to Green Park on underground then a short walk along to Piccadilly Circus. Not a grammar area though, although there are some in South London (Wallington, Sutton, Nonsuch etc ) and Kent. How much do you expect to pay in fees as 3-4k a term in the South East is not unusual for Prep plus extras.

Nitig Mon 17-Dec-12 18:28:17

Thanks for excellent advice. I now am calling up schools and checking vacancies.
Young Singaporeans do eat out a lot but people with kids, like me are suddenly more conscious about what we put on our kid's plates. So it does help having stores that stock Asian groceries, but then its not my prime concern right now. Wait till we start getting home sick!!
My girls are pretty bright academically and have been excelling at their current school but as someone rightly pointed out, the whole stress of the sudden move might throw them off- balance. So, though I am hoping that the older one would be able to do well at 11+ entrance exams I am not ruling out the possibility of her pursuing education at an independent secondary school.
From some of the posts I gather that 3K rentals sound too huge, then why is it that i don't see anything decent within London listed at that price on any website! Am i missing something here?

itsallinthememories Sun 16-Dec-12 23:06:56

Breadandbutterfly clearly this is not a debate about trainlines but I use both first capital connect and the northern line most days. In the last 2 years I have been delayed getting into the city on first capital connect once and delayed getting home twice. It is, overall, excellent. 10 years ago it was shocking but is generally it runs to time with no more than a 2-3 minute delay. The northern line is miserable and grey and my worst line but I have used it several times a week since september and am yet to be delayed. I can only assume that you are not a daily user.

breadandbutterfly Sun 16-Dec-12 20:47:33

My dh used to do the commute regularly (well, actually one stop nearer) and I can assure you it took him way longer than an hour to get to work - never less than hour and a half. It is the most unreliable line - my MIL still uses it from St albans, and even though there are double the number of trains going there (fast trains too) she says the service is still abominable. I am so glad we moved and are now on the tube and not subject to the whims of First Capital Connect!

The Northern Line from Edgware is not much better though - not known as 'The Misery Line' for nothing.

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