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Reigate area schools?

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shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 12:21:35

We will be relocating to the UK (from overseas) and I'm trying to get my head around where to live to have the best chance of securing places in decent state schools. Private would be a stretch for 2 kids, so hoping we can go state.

We like the look of the Reigate area, to commute from Redhill/Earlswood into London Bridge. That said, we really don't know the area at all...

We will most likely need school places for Jan for yr 2 and yr 5, so I know we'll be allocated whatever happens to be available at the time.

For next year's application for secondary, do we just need to focus on staying well within the last year's furthest admittance distance? So, last year for Reigate School it was 1.4ish miles (I think), does that mean everyone who applied from within that distance got a place? What about the child's nearest school thing? If, for example St. Bede's or Warwick were closest school but we were still within the 1.4ish miles (or whatever it was in the given year) and applied to Reigate school would we get in or be automatically allocated closest? We will rent for the first year, so do have flexibility on location thankfully. I'm just trying to find out how far we can push it.

Primaries, I guess it's a case of taking what we can get. It seems, from what I can glean online that there's a serious north/south divide going on both in schooling and living on the right side of the tracks. We should have an address by the time of junior school applications in Jan, so I guess we can apply elsewhere if we're close enough for my youngest for yr 3 and up. It'll be a while before we can get over to have a look around, so I'd be eternally grateful of any local opinions on schools (particularly Sandcross & Dovers Green) and places to live/avoid.

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 12:33:58

You will find that Sandcross and Dovers Green are probably the least well thought of schools in the area. iirc DG is only infants and many schools in Reigate and Redhill have an infant/junior transfer at Year 3 for which you reapply centrally. Your dc2 would probably get sibling priority into wherever dc1 went but do check the deadline for applications as your dc1 may need to have started by then for you to get this priority.

If you applied to Reigate ahead of the others and qualified for a place you would go there even if others were nearer and also had space. For St Bedes most places are allocated on faith grounds (220/240 iirc) with very few on distance so need to live very close by anyway.

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 12:38:25

Thanks. Yes, unfortunately probably the most likely ones we'd be allocated too... Are there any specific reasons for this or would you be happy for your kids to go there?

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 12:43:23

I think it is largely historical as that part of Reigate has a relatively high level of social housing and Reigate parents can be pretty snobby. Sandcross in particular has new buildings, combining infant and junior on one site, and head in recent years and is up and coming. You could also consider St Johns and Salfords as they are both primaries so your dc2 wouldn't need to move again next September.

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 17:22:54

It all feels more complicated than a proper overseas posting!

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 17:47:17

Where would you prefer to live - why Reigate in particular ? Not all Redhill trains also stop at Earlswood and how would he get to/from the station.

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 17:51:23

And have you visited or do you know the area at all ?

shanghaismog Mon 02-Sep-13 19:24:06

No, totally done by recommendation from friends/commute etc! Will get a trip over before we take the plunge. Planning to bike to Redhill station as main option. No idea if this is really possible at all... Main criteria is a good and accessible school for secondary, primary too if possible of course. Want a nice town to live in/near with plenty if facilities. Because we've been missing uk life, we would love a naice town so we don't regret jumping off the expat wagon. Any thoughts on alternative areas if Reigate doesn't sound like this? Commute has to be into London Bridge too.
At this stage we've done a ton of online research but just need to get a look see on the ground.

LIZS Tue 03-Sep-13 09:12:40

Cycling is feasible , there are lockable racks at Redhill station. Reigate is a nice town but whether you would find somewhere you like near a good school really depends on budget and expectation. What facilities are you looking for and bear in mind it doesn't take long to drive around form one town to next?

shanghaismog Wed 04-Sep-13 10:44:05

Thanks smile Going to firmly bury my head in the sand until we can get over to explore a bit...

flatmum Thu 05-Sep-13 11:52:31

We recently moved from Riegate to an area a few miles outside and both the school and commuting situation are much better (also go to London Bridge - now a 30 minute journey down from over an hour from Reigate). I'd advise you to look at some of the areas surrounding Reigate - Merstham, Caterham, Bletchingly maybe, Coulsdon even (excellent for commuting to LB, bit of a dull town). These areas are also much easier to get back to after a night out in London smile

Reigate is a very nice town with a vibrant high street but is rubbish to commute from. Redhill looks ok on paper but you have to get there (traffic) and park (I believe station carpark is still oversubscribed). Some people go to Merstham instead (slightly easier to park). Also, everything is very oversubscribed - particularly the schools. Mine are in private as we were not able to get them into a state school in Reigate. House prices are also very inflated and fiercly competitive - unless you have a very healthy budget (almost London levels) you may struggle to get a decent family sized house that is within the very small catchment areas for the primary schools. Even things like Cubs, GPs, dentists are nearly always full.

I have been pleasantly surprised how much better quality of life is in the surrounding areas to Reigate if you are interested in this area (taking into account house prices, commuting time and being able to pop into the supermarket without having to drive around 5 times trying to find a parking space).

shanghaismog Thu 05-Sep-13 17:24:05

Flatmum that is great advice, thank you! I guess going private allows a bit more freedom than within the teeny catchment areas. We will definitely be looking around the area when we come over to explore. I would love to avoid private schooling, so that we can actually travel a bit and enjoy life. It would be a struggle to put 2 the whole way through... Are there any state schools outside of reigate you would recommend? Secondary important as we'll have to apply from wherever we rent first of all. Total minefield!

Flappingandflying Thu 05-Sep-13 18:40:28

Have Pmd you. There is just the place, not centre of the universe but has what you need just south.

shanghaismog Mon 09-Sep-13 12:29:18

Ok, so I keep getting the feeling that Reigatebis pretty much over capacity in everything. What about Oxted? Anyone know anything about schools/living there? We are v open to other areas with decent commute to LB & good schools. How are the secondaries in Oxted?

LIZS Mon 09-Sep-13 15:30:45

There is only one secondary in Oxted but it seems ok. There have been some changes to admissions policy in recent years, with pupils at certain primaries getting priority so you may want to investigate that. Commute isn't hugely reliable though (East Grinstead line), Redhill has a more frequent service.

shanghaismog Mon 09-Sep-13 17:18:39

You're a star. This is all such a headache... Seriously any of our expat moves have been much less stressful than this. Maybe we should call Kirsty & Phil - they'd sort us out!

Beccadugs Mon 09-Sep-13 17:38:10


We love near there and I work in education, so can advise if you like.

Have a look at stops on the Horsham line out of LB Merstham, horely etc. easy to get to Reigate for naice outings, but usually lots of nice things going on too.

You could always consider the royal Alexander and Albert school. You pay minimal fees (for the extras) but its non selective and very inclusive with tons of bursaries, etc. people find it a good compromise between state and private.

Please feel free to PM me if you want any info about particular schools!

Beccadugs Mon 09-Sep-13 17:42:29

Live not love, but do also love it!!

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 16:51:02

It's all looking like it's going to happen sooner rather than later, so need to get something sorted! What's Salfords primary school like? The ofsted report (2011) is a bit worrying with numerous references to Travellers and much work on social behaviour etc. I'm really trying not to be a snob, but that does concern me... I'm still focussing on Reigate, specifically to have a state secondary option. Any other state secondaries that are highly thought of (assuming RS is)? We're not religious, although kids go to a Catholic school at the moment, so St Bedes is unfortunately out of the equation.

mummytime Tue 10-Sep-13 16:57:29

I would consider the Waterloo line too to be honest, because lots of people do go to LB from there, its a quick commute via Waterloo East station. Or have you looked at Kent?

LIZS Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:03

I don't think Salfords is particularly problematic. Travellers are prevalent across the area so that is an issue in many schools. Reigate is a good school but possibly not as good as you might assume given the area as there is also Reigate Grammar which is private. Has Surrey LA given you an idea of schools with places for both ?

Beccadugs Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:49

Have you considered Dorking (not sure about trains) both the Priory and Ashcombe schools are good.

The Warwick and Oakwood are probably the ones to avoid.

If you are still thinking earls wood, earls wood infants and juniors are lovely (based on supply I did, not looked at ofsted).

flatmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:06:52

I think Warlingham School in Warlingham (more or less in Caterham though) and Riddlesdown in Sanderstead (bit further over) both have pretty good reputations and are used as "the state option" by people whose children were at privates preps in the surrounding areas. Both on the train line I use which is less than half an hour direct to LB (stations Upper Warlingham and sanderstead)

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 17:10:27

Will check out Waterloo line, thanks. Had ruled out Kent as we need to be close to airports and for ease of getting to m4 for visiting family in SW. We figured this was as far west we could go whilst still getting a decent commute to LB. We've been incredibly lucky in various places over the last 10 years to have a 15min commute (this last one by bike), so any kind of London commute will be a shock to the system!

shanghaismog Tue 10-Sep-13 17:14:36

Also, in normal admissions process if a school is our closest but we're further away than the published furthest admitted figure, we'd still get in assuming no other school was closer to us. Is that right? The published distance is for those allocated after the nearest school kids have been allocated?

SCC have told me waiting lists for the schools I asked. All waiting lists, not sure how much movement is to be expected.

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