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Looking for London suburbs with good primary and secondary state schools

(17 Posts)
mchbl Fri 22-Apr-16 14:01:01

We are currently looking where we could move outside London for getting a decent education for our little kids (3+4) and having a survivable commute into London. Currently living in Central London which ticks the short commute box but nothing else really. So we are dreaming of a bit more green (and being able to afford a decent house with a garden), a lovely, down to earth community and a nice town centre with a few decent independent shops. My other half works on Fleet Street and hates the tube and always points out that we won't see him for bedtime if he commutes over an hour. Am I asking for too much?

Wincher Fri 22-Apr-16 14:04:46

You might need to give a budget...

I am in Walthamstow. My children go to an Ofsted 'outstanding' state primary and there are lots of others with equally good Ofsteds. For secondary, Walthamstow School for Girls is excellent. For boys it's a bit tougher but the schools are definitely improving. Our nearest mixed comp has recently been rated Good.

You can get a 3-4 bed terrace with garden for £500k-ish. It has both tube and train into central London, good for if one option is out of action. Takes about 20 mins on the train.

Looby4 Fri 22-Apr-16 14:06:51

Muswell Hill - both Fortismere and Alexandra Park School are Outstanding and all the primary schools Good or Outstanding

Clavinova Fri 22-Apr-16 16:20:28

Sevenoaks in Kent is just over 30 minutes to Charing Cross by train then a 12 minute bus/20 minute walk to Fleet Street if your dh doesn't like the tube. You would be looking at grammar schools for secondary though. Nice town centre and beautiful countryside.

DarkBlueEyes Fri 22-Apr-16 16:21:14

Elmbridge, and Richmond if you have £££

PettsWoodParadise Fri 22-Apr-16 17:21:44

Petts Wood / Orpington is still technically London but good commute into Charing Cross or Blackfriars for Fleet Street. Great community feel. Good primary and secondary - both called Darrick Wood. Crofton is also a good primary. You also have the superselective grammars of Newstead and St Olaves which as try only take a small slice don't negatively affect the other local schools unlike in Kent. 3 bed semi in 1930s house about £500k, for a 1960s build you get more for your money and £390 would get you the same number of beds and a bit more space but maybe a smaller garden.

Wigeon Fri 22-Apr-16 17:31:33

Your thread title says Lonodn suburbs but your OP says outside London - do you mean outer London as well as outside London? Some places outside London are quicker to get into London than some London boroughs,

You might find this website useful: as it shows how quick a commute into London it is from various places.

Finally, what's your budget and what kind of house do you want for that? That is going to massively affect the answer to your question!

In terms of Hertforshire, where there are loads of good schools, some towns in order of affordability are:

Harpenden or St Albans
Hitchin or Welywn
Watford, Hemel, Luton, Stevenage

As well as all sorts of villages which are more or less expensive depending on location / niceness/ closeness to train line etc! For nice town centre with a few independent shops, suggest Hitchin, St Albans, Rickmansworth or Berhkamsted.

mchbl Fri 22-Apr-16 23:12:18

Thanks for all the towns to investigate. Being busy looking them up online and discussing through all the options you listed with my husband. We heavily considered Alexandra Palace (schools are def amazing over there) the past few weeks. We drove around up there and it is indeed lovely. (Is there any community up there? Any independent shops nearby?) I suppose after making the mental switch about moving we started thinking about just really going for it and go completely out of London as some towns have such excellent commuting links that it doesn't take any longer to commute out of London vs to places around Central London.

The budget is as you all say quite a determining factor. It would be £1m and at a push maybe £1.3m. A lot of money but in some areas maybe not enough for a good 4 or 5 bed with a decent garden?

Liked the sound of Harpenden. How is it to live there? Do you get anything nice for £1m nearby a good school and nearby the station?
How is life and how are people in Orpington or Sevenoaks?

ChalkyC Sat 23-Apr-16 06:17:14

I'm not really sure I would recommend Orpington for anything other than an OK commute (well it should be once the London Bridge works are complete) and a relatively nice housing stock in some areas. The town centre is pretty awful. Sevenoaks is nice enough but quite a long commute. Good for access onto the M25 but no grammar secondary of its own (yet) and I believe primary catchment areas are quite small, but the schools are good. It does feel quite provincial though.

With your budget you could maybe look at Chislehurst but you would have to consider schools carefully. How about further in? East Dulwich/Herne Hill/possibly Sydenham. Still green but still very much London and quite easy to commute by bus/train/bike? Again the schools catchment areas are tight, but they are about to build a new secondary school in east Dulwich...

(We moved from East Dulwich to just outside Orpington - I very much prefer ED!)

Kennington Sat 23-Apr-16 06:44:24

Muswell hill
Gerrards cross
Old Amersham

FishWithABicycle Sat 23-Apr-16 07:17:43

With a child already 4 you will need to be prepared for the situation that all the good schools in the area you choose are going to be full. You may need to bank a chunk of your budget to pay for private education if this happens or you will be spending £££ to pay for someone to transport your children from #lovelyleafysuburb to #inadequateundersubscribedhorribleschool in awful area 5 miles away every morning while you commute into central London.

tartanterror Sat 23-Apr-16 20:01:55

Those Walthamstow prices above look optimistic to me. It's about £500k for a 2 bed house. £1m would get you a nice 4 bed house off Church Hill with 15 mins on the train to Liverpool St but it might be a bit gritty for you as Epping Forest starts further out - in which case Highams Park might be worth considering.

Also look at Redbridge. Some of the best state schools in the UK and a handful of private options. Optional 11+ for state superselectives. Nice high street at Wanstead with 2 stations on the central line straight into the city/fleet st area although a longer commute than E17/E4.

mchbl Sat 23-Apr-16 22:43:36

Awesome tipps. I am overwhelmed by all in the time given by yourselves to give me some good solid advice. Thanks for this.
Liked the looks of Amersham from the pics. Will look into that further. How is life like there?
Like the idea of Epping Forest. Will look into that as well.
My older one is not due until Sept 17 as he is 4 end of this year. Sorry wasn't very clear I suppose.
I would imagine a good strategy is also to work your way out on the train map or the commuting website sent. Did a bit on the later yesterday night.
My "short list" is now around 10 towns long....

FishWithABicycle Sun 24-Apr-16 06:09:11

My older one is not due until Sept 17 as he is 4 end of this year - phew, you have just about enough time. You will need to be resident in your new home (many LEAs won't accept an address if you have bought but not yet moved) by late December 2016/early January 2017 to be included in the normal admissions process. Plenty of time so long as you get your skates on.

HalleLouja Sun 24-Apr-16 06:18:56

Harpenden is lovely. Look around Roundwood, the Avenues and off Station Road. At the moment they have enough primary school places but are waiting for a new secondary which shouldn't be a problem for you as it will hopefully be built in time.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 24-Apr-16 20:58:52

With that sort of budget then I would I would be tempted by it has my dream pool but if outside budget you can get some amazing properties for your budget and nearby Petts Wood has a great community (come by the May Fayre on 2nd May and make up your own mind) with independent shops, boutiques and a country wide award winning micro pub One in the Wood. We have Petts Woodstock in August and lots of family events, nearby woodland, parks and sports facilities.

MissTurnstiles Mon 25-Apr-16 19:51:11

Amersham is lovely and could tick a lot of your boxes. You might just squeak under an hour to Fleet Street. Schools are selective at 11+, however, and non-selective options are of varying quality.

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