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Advice on Schools & Life in Whitstable/ Herne Bay

(15 Posts)
SlingMomma Thu 19-Nov-15 11:19:37

Hi there, do any of you live in Whitstable/ Kent? We are thinking of moving there and would like to hear about the schools and the community especially in the Whitstable/ Herne Bay area. Are people there friendly/ down to earth? And are the schools very good? All info gladly received!

zgaze Thu 19-Nov-15 11:34:01

I'm in Whitstable, absolutely love it here. The primary schools are all great, not really a bad choice to be made there. Secondary gets a bit more complicated as we have the 11 plus (the Kent Test) so depending whether your child sits and how they do they'll either go to grammar or secondary. The nearest grammars are in Canterbury or Faversham (and some even travel to Thanet) and are pretty much all very good, the nearest secondary is in Whitstable and hasn't been great in recent years but they've just suspended the head so hopefully that will play out and initiate positive changes.

It's an incredibly welcoming and social community because it does tend to be a place that people move / relocate to (south east London to Whitstable is a particularly well trodden path). Because of this there is some tension between the 'DFLs' ('down from London'!) and the locals but this is mostly lighthearted, a few vocal moaners on the local Facebook groups but nothing more serious. It's really a wonderful place to live especially in the summer of course, people's social lives revolve around the beach.

Feel free to send me a PM if you want specifics! There's also some very active Facebook groups - Whitstable Mums chat group is one - which are worth joining.

zgaze Thu 19-Nov-15 11:35:28

Herne Bay - lots of lovely, big and well priced properties but it has a very different feel to Whitstable...

SlingMomma Thu 19-Nov-15 18:44:20

Ooh thank you, guys! This is so positive!

SlingMomma Thu 19-Nov-15 18:51:20

Zgaze, can you elaborate on Herne Bay? And whether the comp in Whitstable has been OK for some kids? (most comps are to some extent, right? Although of course grammar entry would be like a lot like a lot to win!). Sorry only just realised it's just you and I here right now!!

FuckinNamechange1 Thu 19-Nov-15 18:53:51

Whitstable is great, would echo everything zgaze said, primary schools brilliant and even the local non grammar secondary that people occasionally moan about is way better than our top rated local secondary when we lived in London. A little bit of anti-Londoner stuff about, but more aimed at people with holiday homes who only come down for weekends and holidays. If you make the effort to become part of the community you will be more than welcome. And great pubs and restaurants too. We moved here seven years ago and have never regretted it.

SlingMomma Thu 19-Nov-15 19:06:48

Ooh thank you, namechange! Would you say Canterbury is a doiwn to earth place, too? I mean...in comparison to, say, other towns nearer to London? And do older kids run around Whitstable in relative safety? Could anyone comment more broadly on Kent, too?

FuckinNamechange1 Thu 19-Nov-15 19:13:20

I love Canterbury, it has that university town vibe, great history, culture, river with punts!, etc, but don't go that often as parking is extortionate, and can get most stuff I need in Whitstable. My oldest has been going out to play and walking to and from school on her own since she was eight, we have the usual concerns and occasional crime but generally feel pretty safe. And going back to the local comp., ours are all still at primary but friends who have kids there in years seven and eight are very happy with it.

SlingMomma Fri 20-Nov-15 09:31:13

Ahhh thank you NameChange that all sounds v positive!

Anastasie Fri 20-Nov-15 09:49:08

HB is a bit crap compared to Whitstable, though it is MUCH cheaper - it has an older population and also a lot of renters, single people, there is a bit of an antisocial vibe after dark in the town but the outer bits are really nice.

The town centre has lots of small shops, which is great in one way but there's a lot of junk shops and so on. It's quite poor.

Prices however are rising significantly as Whitstable becomes overpriced and people look along the coast. I don't like the vibe in Whitstable any more - it started off arty and interesting and unpretentious, we loved it when we were students...now it's been 'taken over' and got uber trendy and is well up its own arse (sorry!).

I would suggest you visit before you decide - if I could afford Whits I'd still live there as it is slightly safer, and has a more educated population and nicer shops, but HB is very down to earth and most people here are alright. Our street has loads of children, a proper mixture of elderly, retired, young families, our neighbours are headteachers, lawyers, and so on. It's quiet at night and the houses are beautiful and big.

We commute for schools, not far, and there is a huge high school here which no one has mentioned that is far nicer than the one in Whitstable, has a good reputation, great facilities and most kids go there. (we couldn't get a place - vast waiting list).

I have to say HB has a lot going for it... it doesn't have the same highbrow feeling as C'bury but tbh that got on my nerves a lot when we lived there. And the traffic is appalling.

You can actually drive to places here and not be stuck in a queue for an hour. Quite refreshing - same with post offices and so on.

rosiewhit Mon 23-Nov-15 11:29:10

Love living in Whitstable but it has become very trendy and expensive in recent years. No experience of Herne Bay. In terms of schools I have two DS at local Whitstable schools. Infant schools are excellent, Westmeads and St Alphege although St Alphege more creative and nurturing of the two. Junior schools in centre both rated good by Ofsted although some parents are not happy with the local endowed school; new head, very strict, not particularly exciting curriculum, lots of parents noticing change not for the good in the past year or so. Whitstable juniors looks like the best of the two. Also primary school on Joy Lane considered good and a catholic primary school. Always be aware of the Kent test, we still have selective education and it can put a lot of pressure kids at an early age.

SlingMomma Wed 25-Nov-15 08:32:27

Wooow. Thank you, guys.

Just had a quick look at Whit Community College and Herne Bay's GCSE results...look prettydiure, actually. Then had a hunt about the Kent Grammars and turns out in the popular areas getting into grammar actually similar to a lot to win- only 20% get in!!! Blimey. Is this common in all in all of Kent?! Looks like the discrepancy is HUGE between grammar and everything else (except private which I'm not going to be able to afford).

SlingMomma Wed 25-Nov-15 18:41:31

Anyone out there feel like commenting on experiences with the Kent grammar school system whether your kids/ those of ppl you know got in or not? Bit shocked now by the stats on the super uneven terrain in Kent.

TheBlessedCheesemaker Wed 25-Nov-15 23:22:41

Its not just kent, thats how all grammar authorities work. Top 20-25% creamed off at 11 and get superior academic educational focus, the rest get secondary modern and much poorer results. Great if your kid passes (fabulous schools on the whole) but really, really shit if they fail.

If you want a good choice of properly good comprehensives then you need to avoid all the remaining Grammar authorities like kent, because the secondaries will never is equal the results of good comprehensives (how can they when the clever kids have already been skimmed off?). Its a really really shit and devisive system (and i say that as a mum whose DC passed the 11+). Theres nothing quite like watching kids being totally crushed because they got relagated to second class citizen status at the age of 10. It turns your stomach.

SlingMomma Fri 27-Nov-15 09:23:24

Thanks, Cheesemaker. You're really making me question it. Second class citizens at the age of 10. YIKES!!!

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