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How to cope with house move/school move simultaneously

(35 Posts)
ks Thu 09-May-02 10:40:25

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Pat Thu 09-May-02 14:23:32

No experience myself but if it was me, I would talk with the estate agents. Going by the London property ads you will typically see them include blurb on 'close to X school', 'in catchment area of X school'. They should be the local area experts and thereby know the 'good' schools. That's if you have the time for a trip round the various estate agents.
Just a thought (and apologies if you have already done this!).

SueDonim Thu 09-May-02 18:42:24

Just a word of warning about asking estate agents. They don't always tell the truth. There has been a case near me where an estate agent was badmouthing one particular school (for a reason known only to themselves). A visit from an offical soon sorted it out, but do take any such advice with a pinch of salt.

Can you take a day off to go and visit a few schools? If you explain you are considering putting your child there, I can't see that they should refuse you. Good luck!

ks Thu 09-May-02 19:09:26

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tigermoth Fri 10-May-02 10:35:14

Ks, we faced a similar situation to you - new house, new area - though still within the same borough, so our son continued to go to his old primary for a few months after we moved.

Anyway, I think visiting local schools in advance is a great idea.

Have you also thought about contacting local pre school and toddler groups, especially those run by parents. As a rule of thumb, the parents who organise these groups probably have lots of interest and knowledge of the local schools - they may have older children who attend them.

You could also contact parent-run clubs for primary age children, like Cubs and Brownies, football clubs and dance classes.

I, too, would shy away from taking estate agent views of local school as gospel truth, though you many strike lucky of course.

Lastly, once you move and gain direct knowledge of your local schools, it may be possible to move your child from the primary school you initialy chose, to another. We did this - we put our son's name down on the waiting list for an over subscribed school once we had moved to the area - he then got a place a few terms afterwards. Obvioulsy it's not the ideal thing to move a child from one school to another, but IME, a surprisingly high number of children move schools during their primary years.

ks Fri 10-May-02 10:42:02

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Copper Fri 10-May-02 11:50:21

we relocated from Cambridge to London. What we did was first of all decide on roughly the area we wanted (Brighton is a big place, so try to pin it down a bit: do you want to be near the sea, the downs, the racecourse, the athletics stadium, the station, a park etc)and then we went and looked at all the local schools to see which ones we liked. You may be lucky enough to find a cluster of good schools in your desired area, so that it doesn't matter too much which one you go to. We had a choice of three.

I wouldn't trust the local estate agents unless they have direct experience of the schools as parents - many of them are pimply youths not long out of school themselves! Also estate agents pick up on the obvious signals about schools (over-subscribed = good - but do you really want your child hot-desking?: good OFSTED - but OFSTED often are out of date or don't pick up on atmosphere - some are even - dare I say it - just wrong).

I think a personal visit to the school is much the best way to judge. You can tell an awful lot about a school by watching it at work. If they don't want to show you round, then they are obviously not very welcoming - why should they be any better with your child?

I looked at and I can see why you are confused! What an unhelpful site! What you really need is a map of where all the schools are - maybe they have one in hard copy.

Best of luck. We found our area, found a school we liked, then hung about waiting for a house. At least your child is not in rception, which is where the real pinch point is.

I was born and brought up in Hove - Brighton and Hove are great places to live. Lucky you.

Enid Fri 10-May-02 11:56:37

You have to have a fixed address before any schools will take you ks, so find your house first.

Read ofsted and visit, visit, visit. Write down the top three locations that you want/can afford (brighton is an expensive place!) and then look up the local schools on ofsted and go and visit them. I think you'll have to spend many weekends in Brighton before you decide anything.

Barca Fri 10-May-02 11:59:52

Try and put in Brighton. Has details on schools etc.

Janus Fri 10-May-02 12:06:38

ks, we are in the middle of a similar thing, our flat is on the market and we are moving to the other side of London. We have decided that our best way to making sure we end up in the right area, near a good school, etc, is to sell our flat and then go and rent for 6 months. It is an absolute buyers market at the moment (cheap interest rates, etc) and so this has made renting much cheaper than recent years. Also, it means we can wait until we get a reasonable offer for our place, ie not forced to sell up quick because we have found somewhere. It is also pretty much standard now to have a one year lease but with a break clause at 6 months, where you can give one months' (sometimes two) notice to move. So we plan to roughly rent in an area we think we are going to like and then research like mad. You will also be in a favoured position when you do go to buy as you will not be in a chain and so may be even able to get your desired house for a few grand less.
We know that for those 6-8 months we will be 'throwing money away' by renting but we think it is worth it to then get it right when we do buy as it is a major decision. There is the added nightmare of moving twice in a year and possibily putting some of our furniture into storage while we rent (but this is cheaper than you think too).
It may be worth considering?

tigermoth Fri 10-May-02 12:24:26

A word of warning on visitng schools:

When I've asked to visit primary schools, I have found that the ones most welcoming and eager to set up an individual visit are the ones which are not over subscribed. The more over-subscribed ones tend to hold group parent visits - you sign up for the next available slot.

The school my son attends now - very good local reputation - was reluctant to even put us on the waiting list when I first approached it. I was told that school visits were only possible if a place was offered - there were so many parents eager to send their chlidren there, that ad hoc visits were not really allowed.

So, Ks, if you feel the school is not welcoming your initial interest, don't let that alone put you off. Also, when you phone, it is likely you will be put through to the school secretary. They are usually very busy people, IME, and can be a bit dragon-like. Not the best ambassadors for their school!

philly Fri 10-May-02 12:59:10

We are also in the process of having to contemplate a move to the Cambridge area,but are put off by the extortionate cost of living there and also by the fact that we have 2 children in school with quite different needs plus a baby.To be quite frank I am finding the whole thing terrifying.We could stay where we are but this means a commute by car in excess of an hour for my husband ( who already works very long hours),and I cannot help feeling that although in the short run a move will be traumatic in the long run it will be better for my 3 boys to be able to have Dad around a little more?A move halfway seemed like a good idea but in effect makes commuters of us all.Can anyone make me feel a little better about this?

Also any information about schools both independent and state would be helpful,they all seem frighteningly competitive to me at the moment,does anyone also have info on Ely schools?

ks Fri 10-May-02 15:52:43

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KMG Fri 10-May-02 18:17:33

It's such a nightmare, isn't it? 30 yrs ago, my mum told me we moved when we were 5 and 7, and she just phoned up the school when we arrived, and took us along next day!

We are moving in summer. We put the boys' names down in February for school (Yr 1 in Sep), and nursery. The youngest will have a place, but the eldest is on a waiting list, and may have to go somewhere else, hopefully temporarily.

Good to hear your experience Tigermoth, as we'll probably have to move our son from one school to another. But I'm sure it will be worth it in the long run.

Strongly echo the need to visit schools - the impression you get is so 'real', compared with reading Ofsteds, prospectuses etc. Our school of choice is a big one, and over-subscribed, so very busy Head, but I think she quite enjoyed the opportunity (excuse) to walk in unannounced into every classroom, and see what was actually going on!

ks Sat 11-May-02 08:13:16

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MalmoMum Sat 11-May-02 10:34:55

I'm watching this thread from afar but very aware of the situation you are in. We have moved around in the UK and now abroad quite a bit, partic recently (and there is always the future to consider).

I, like Janus, would recommend renting as it gives you such a better feel for an area and what is priced correctly. Plus it leaves you ready to pounce when the right thing comes along. We moved from London to my home town, so we already had the background knowledge you are still looking for, and initially tried buying from afar but soon gave up and in despite even having a willing mother to nip around a view houses for us. If it's half decent and at the right price, you need to be the first to see it.

You are taking some risks but the alternative is worse.

Got one friend staying next week who had the removal men booked to move back to a house in the UK, resigned her kids from school, got new tenants for the house,sold her car etc and 2 days before the move the sale fell through and left up the Swanee. Which is pretty rough (don't give up your rental until you have the front door keys to the new place).

crispy Sat 11-May-02 11:57:14

Philly - I live just on the edge of Cambridge, have 2 children in local schools, and will have happily have a chat with you about it. Ask the mumsnet technical team to pass my email address on to you.

Copper Sat 11-May-02 12:19:43

Cambridge is a great place to live, and we still really miss it. There are lots of really nice villages around it which are a bit cheaper, and the schools are good. Why not go and have a look at somewhere like Great Shelford or Harston - you'll probably not have heard of them, but they are really good places to live, very pretty, good schools and communities and not too far into Cambridge - though in Cambridge you really do need to be in cycling distance to get anywhere fast!

Alibubbles Sat 11-May-02 15:13:57

Philly, I loved Cambridge, both DH and I went to school there. I lived in a village called Oakington, DH, Trumpington.

My parents live near Ely ( Haddenham) Ely is very nice but a pain to get to Cambridge, it can take forever if stuck behind a tractor! Plus everyone is heading for the new Science park. House prices have shot up,( although my parents can't afford to move back to St Albans after only 5 years there) There is a new village being built called Camborne,(alright if you want a new house) lots ofprofessional people with young familes are moving into that are, again because of the science park.

Copper is right about the villages, SIL lives in Foxton, most have good village schools. A bit far ahead, but the sixth form colleges get some of the best results in the country. My DS went ti Impington Village college, Histon, another nice village. Stay away from Cambridge, a real pain to park and expensive, use the brilliant park and ride!

Good luck!

ks Mon 13-May-02 19:44:39

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Jasper Mon 13-May-02 22:57:25

ks does that matter? Won't that be reflected in the price?
I saw a documentary once about a woman who bought a farmhouse next to an electricity substation and whennthe interviewer asked her about it she said "We love it, because without it being so close we could never have afforded a house like this!"

ks Mon 13-May-02 23:12:01

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ks Mon 13-May-02 23:12:38

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Jasper Tue 14-May-02 03:19:30

It had not crossed my mind about emissions and things but I guess that is not so good.
Mind you I live next to a big pylon...might account for some stuff

ks Tue 14-May-02 12:37:56

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