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Keen to move to Bucks - need advice re. Independent schools please

(13 Posts)
macbook Wed 16-Dec-15 19:22:24


Must confess to finding the subject baffling therefore would really appreciate some advice - apologies in advance for my naivety!

I live in London with DH and two DDs aged 3 and 5. Both attend an Independent with nursery wing. Although I love London I can't face living here for another 15 years. I should have thought this through much earlier before DDs started school however forward planning never my strongest suit sad

Am keen on Bucks, not far from London and offering plenty of prep and grammar schools. We really want to move and I can see us living there after the children leave for University - forward planning at last!

We are fortunate to be in a position to afford school fees and are only seeking Independents.

What I don't understand it how can I apply for school places if I am not living in Bucks? The schools operate catchment areas and no doubt give priority to local children. My preference is a girls only school e.g. Berkhamsted, Godstowe, Heathertonhouse, Highmarch, Maltmans, Pipers Corner, St Mary's. However will consider co-ed if it means we actually get accepted somewhere!

I haven't contacted any Bucks schools yet, was planning to do that tomorrow - assuming someone is still there to answer the phone. However would really appreciate some advice so I don't sound like a complete numpty!
And I realise most if not all will have waiting lists so am prepared for the shock.

So what are my options? Moving house now wouldn't work as daily travel to current school would be impossible.

We are planning to sell up in a few years, sooner if necessary. Luckily we are mortgage free and the plan is to rent a family home in Bucks while we look for a house. The rationale being as a cash buyer we would negotiate a lower purchase price that would offset the extra rent - well that's the idea! However this plan requires the children to have already miraculously secured school places - and this is the area I don't understand sad

Please help - thanks!

nanodragon Wed 16-Dec-15 20:04:32

Not sure I understand your question - these are independent schools so do not operate catchment areas?

WildStallions Wed 16-Dec-15 20:09:54

Private schools don't have catchment areas.

I think you've got a very good chance of getting a place at one of those schools.

TurnOffTheTv Wed 16-Dec-15 20:16:58

I don't know any independents that have a catchment area?

toobusytothink Wed 16-Dec-15 20:38:34

As others have said, you don't need to be in bucks to apply for prep schools. Please don't feel pressurised into making a choice based on where you can get in! Bucks is not london and you are early enough for most of them I would imagine. Take your time and go to a few open days or most schools would be very happy to give you a private tour. Is there any reason why you are thinking of all girls other than personal preference? I can recommend a super co-ed prep school which goes from 3-13. Someone will definitely be there to answer the phone. Teachers get holidays off but not those in other roles, including HM. There may be some form of assessment day though, but that could be arranged for early next term I'm sure if you are in a hurry.

macbook Wed 16-Dec-15 21:39:23

Thank you so much I had no idea about Independents not having a catchment area. Feel so much better now!

Girls only is just a preference - keen to reduce any distractions. Which co-ed are you thinking of?

toobusytothink Wed 16-Dec-15 22:02:41

Ashfold school in dorton. Not sure where you are thinking of moving to in Bucks, but you mention possibility of grammars and if you moved to one of the nearby villages, you would still be in catchment for Aylesbury grammar schools, although many do go on to Oxford day schools or boarding schools.

macbook Wed 16-Dec-15 22:24:45

Thanks - will take a look. Not really sure where to live yet, will begin researching over the weekend. Based on Godstowe I imagine High W and it's surrounding villages. That said, need to first review all prep schools as Godstowe may not come out on top when all our criteria have been applied. Have purchased a Street Atlas on Amazon so a busy w/e beckons!

toobusytothink Wed 16-Dec-15 22:50:10

Happy hunting

fluffypenguinbelly Wed 16-Dec-15 22:54:44

Go less High Wycombe, more surrounding villages.

SisterViktorine Mon 21-Dec-15 18:53:41

In your situation you could easily be moved for next September- it would probably be easier for your older DD if you do it sooner rather than later.

Personally I would book visits to the schools on your list and choose that first, then pick a house to rent that gives the best possibly commute to both school and work.

GloriaHotcakes Mon 21-Dec-15 18:56:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notquiteruralbliss Tue 29-Dec-15 23:41:25

In your position, and assuming work us in London, I would look at the commute. Do you want to go into Marylebone or would you prefer the Met line? Also, are you aiming for a girls grammar? If so, you will be looking at areas around Beaconsfield, Amersham, Wycombe or Aylesbury. We moved out to Bucks with 4 DCs and found it much easier to get prep school places than in London. Our main criteria were that we wanted co-ed and fast paced and we found a pretty much perfect prep school in Great Missenden.

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