Please advice......(21 Posts)
Hi! We will be returning to the UK this year and have lived as a couple in South Harrow before. Our 2 boys 5 and 6 years old will be starting Kindergarten and Year 1 next month in US. Ideally we wanted to move in the summer so our kids could settle and get into the schools but it isn't happening.
We don't want to move them from school to school as I believe all good state schools are over subscribed. We will be looking for work in London and is most likely we will end up finding something in the city/central London. So please can you suggest areas with good schools and transport to London? Our budget is max 425K and looking for a 3 bed. We may rent for 6 months in the area to get into the school of our choice.
I understand lot of parents in the past have asked something similar. So can you let me know which area you picked please.
I can't help you with your questions about London, as i live a long way from there. London has a general reputation of being difficult to get your kids into schools in. I wonder how many people will be sharing the information they have gleaned by being on the ground and doing a lot of research with you...
You may also have put a lot of people off by suggesting that you would catchment rent. It is considered immoral by many mumsnetters.... Not many people are going to reccomend an over subscribed local school if there is a chance that you might bump.them by moving in next to the school gate for 6 months!
Also in general it helps if you put some detail about your issue in the title. I only read it because I am a pedant.
If your children are 5 and 6 on 1st September then they would be moving into Year 1 and Year 2 in the English system. This is a tricky time to move as class sizes are capped to 30 with a few exceptions. Once you reach year 3 your chances of gaining a place increase.
At this stage of schooling you will be limited to what schools have vacancies in those year groups. Potentially your best hope would be to get a year 1 space, so that your older child will get a place in year 3 at worst.
In terms of travel, will both of you be working? If so you will want to be more central. If just one you can go further out.
Frustratingly you may find that the borough education departments will not talk to you until you are here - in fairness London has a lot of movement, and you can't reserve school places so any information they give you will be out of date pretty quickly. You may find it easier to hone in on a job first (because commuting to the wrong side of London is a pain) and work from there.
Tricot39, how do you know of my intentions? Can you get admission in a school without a postcode? After getting to UK can i buy a house asap? Also when i specifically mentioned we both will be looking for work. How will we get mortgage approval ...honestly before classifying people in the same category. Be patient and read carefully what they are requesting for. I thought this forum will be helpful but think otherwise now. We are going through a stressful time moving again with no jobs in hand, and kids needing in-year admissions. All I requested was for the areas to move to and look what help i have been offered. I wish admission system was as simple here where you are only assigned the school in the town you live. Fyi, we have been renting here for last couple of years.
Hi megkha, sorry you have bumped into some grumpy people on your first visit.
I don't know London that well but there are some great places to live in the commuter belt. Wokingham has great schools and good commuter links. Marlow is also a lovely place and has good schools. Guildford is another place to consider although the house prices are higher than in the other two.
Of course it is reasonable to rent when you first arrive!!
I just think you have decided to do something which will require a lot of research and patience, and it is not realistic to think that people who have already put immense amounts of effort into getting a school place for their kids will see your post and say, oh look here's someone who wants to just land in London, I think I'll give them all the information I worked hard to find.
It does come across in your post that you would be happy to rent a house next door to a school to have a chance to get in, and then move out of catchment. You may not be aware that people do do this as a strategy, and if your plans were in effect different from that, it would be a good idea to make it clear.
There are now a few things that don't add up in your story. Neither of your have jobs, you require a mortgage to buy a house, and yet your budget is £425k? That is not (admittedly from a northern perspective) a starter home budget.
A good way for you to get information on here is to read other people's threads about admissions in London. You may find some really interesting background, like the fact that some of the children your children will be in school with were not allocated ANY school place despite being resident in London during the admissions for reception places. their parents had to appeal, and fight and wait to get any place at all.
You may find people on here slightly more sympathetic if you actually reveal some of your intentions.
As the children will not be going into reception they have missed the usual application dates. You need places in year 1 and 2 and these might be full in a lot of areas, finding a school with a space in both year groups will be nigh on impossible in any popular good school.
The best thing to do is read the ofsted and league table results for the schools in your interested areas, look at the schools websites and then arrange to visit the schools that interest you whilst you are house hunting.
Nobody can really recommend a school when they don't know what area you want to live in and don't know your children and therefore can't judge what sort of school would suit them.
As you will need places for year 1 and 2 and have missed the normal admission process you might like to consider buying a cheaper property and using the rest of the money to fund a private education as this might be the only way that you will get any choice in which school your children attend.
I have assumed that your intentions are as you have stated:
We may rent for 6 months in the area to get into the school of our choice
As Fraxinus says, you may not have realised that you were treading on sensitive ground, but my post was really only to help you realise that. Please don't shoot the messenger.
I'm afraid that I can't offer you any advice (although you would get a family home in our area for your stated budget) because the schools around here are rubbish and I was blatantly hanging around on your thread for some advice myself!!
I live in southwest London and have a DD going into Y2. I think the issue you have is, as others have said, you are reliant on in-year admissions into state schools which are almost universally completely full. In this situaton, you simply can't "rent for 6 months to get into the school of our choice" as your OP says since the the schools will be full so you will join a waiting list. Of course, if you rent next door to the school, then you become number one on the waiting list but you still need a child to leave. So, rather than asking for areas which have good schools and easily commutable into city (which, lets face it, is probably what the majority of people living in London are after), I think you need to be considering areas with a highly transient population, I.e. in which a reasonable number of children will be leaving each term. For example, at my DD's (outstanding state) school, about 7 children (out of 90) left during course of Reception year and same again during Y1 because we have a lot of expats here on 2 or 3 year postings. Whereas in another state school less than a mile away, nobody has left in either Reception or Year 1.
So, alien attack, are you going to reveal which borough you are in?
Good point alien.
We were looking to move to another part of our existing borough and discovered that we would have to keep our kids in their existing school and wait for a place to come up. The school secretary revealed that this rarely happened and the Admissions Dept at the local authority revealed that there were 70 on the waiting list for this September's reception class..... Moving into or around London once children have started school is not at all straightforward.
OP needs to be careful with transient populations unless she finds out sound reasons for them moving. In our area there are lots of families leave when their kids reach Year 4 because of their worries about the secondary schools.
The technical term, I believe, is 'churn rate'.
You also need to be aware that if you rent for 6 months, get the school of your choice, and then move further away then the council is within their rights (and in London may well do this) to take the place away even if your children have started at the school. This is entirely to stop people renting short term to get a choice school.
DeWe, she is not going to be renting just to get into her choice of school and them move back to an existing address though, is she? This will be her family home, even if only for a short while. If the LA look at her previous address and it says 'Somewhere Ville, USA' then they won't think 'Aha - they are just trying to cheat, so we won't award the place'.
Once you have been awarded a school place your circumstances - rental agreements, change of job etc. - can force a change of address within a few months and the LA doesn't take the place away if it was legitimately awarded in the first place.
First of all, how long would you commute and what sectors do you work in? If you work in finance for instance, you should look at places with easy travel to the City - so Kent.
fraxinus I'd be happy to say which borough I am in if I thought it relevant to OP's question . It isn't. Sadly a budget of £425k would not buy you a 3 bed house here so I haven't suggested it as an answer to OP's question. My point was trying to be more helpful advice in general regarding moving into London, I.e. that for in-year admissions, an understanding of waiting lists and how fast these move (which will vary by school) is essential.
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