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Grammar schools and where to move to in UK

(191 Posts)
Thegirlisnotright Thu 21-Sep-17 14:39:15

Where is a nice area to live with free grammar schools? Quite simply we could move anywhere, but know nothing about most of the UK 😂

Clavinova Thu 21-Sep-17 17:33:45

Tunbridge Wells in Kent is very nice - 3 grammar schools in the town plus another 3 in Tonbridge which is 5/6 miles away/less than 15 mins by train. Expensive area to live in though.

Xennialish Thu 21-Sep-17 17:37:14

Why not somewhere with great comps? Hampshire's have a good reputation I believe. I accidentally live in a grammar area and rue the day! That aside, Penrith looks lovely and has a grammar that doesn't look as competitive as some other areas.

poddige Thu 21-Sep-17 17:37:56


LIZS Thu 21-Sep-17 17:38:55

There aren't that many state grammars left - Kent, Bucks, parts of Essex, Manchester(?), SW London, Lincolnshire - all of which tend to attract a premium to live nearby. Many fee paying schools have a grammar name so you need to be careful.

Breadandginger Thu 21-Sep-17 17:44:02

Bournemouth has grammar schools. So does Poole.

BeyondThePage Thu 21-Sep-17 17:44:45

Gloucestershire. (7 state grammars)

On M5, near enough M4, Bristol down the road, Birmingham further North, edge of (pretty) Cotswolds, Forest of Dean nearby, Cardiff not too far for a shopping trip - quick and cheap by train, easy access to Heathrow and Birmingham for flights..

eddiemairswife Thu 21-Sep-17 17:45:23

There's no guarantee that your child would pass the test to get into a grammar school.

Breadandginger Thu 21-Sep-17 17:53:31

Good point. Be prepared to start tutoring well before the exam(s).

PettsWoodParadise Thu 21-Sep-17 19:01:28

Orpington is popular (although I vastly prefer Petts Wood as you might guess) The Borough of Bromley has only two superselectives so most of the comps are fairly true comps. People remove into catchment for a comp like Darrick Wood but also try out for nearby grammars. Kent is within reach as are the Bexley grammars, so a child could sit three tests and not have all their eggs in one basket, plus a good comp to take the stress out of the process. Good rail links into London in the Oyster network.

catslife Thu 21-Sep-17 19:55:57

If I could live anywhere in the whole of the UK, then I don't think that I would make grammar schools my main priority as this would be too limiting.
I would consider good schools of any type and wouldn't limit myself to either grammar or comps. It would also depend on which schools would best suit my child's needs.
Depends on what you consider to be a "nice" area and why you are thinking about grammar schools?

poisonedbypen Thu 21-Sep-17 19:59:09

Keep away from grammars! A terrible idea! What if your children don't pass? I believe there are 137 grammars left in England, but Kent & Buckinghamshire are the only fully selective counties.

Sodaface Thu 21-Sep-17 19:59:46

Northern Ireland?

Fantastic Grammar Schools, cheap housing & an all round great place to live.

MumTryingHerBest Thu 21-Sep-17 20:05:21

Thegirlisnotright how old are/is your DC(s)?

BWatchWatcher Thu 21-Sep-17 20:06:47

NI has loads of grammar schools!

iklboo Thu 21-Sep-17 20:15:41

Trafford in Manchester has about 4 grammars and is a nice area.

ReadingIsFundamental Thu 21-Sep-17 20:15:41

Agree with others who say Northern Ireland - lots of Grammars with great track records in exams.
Houses very good value, Atlantic coast is stunning and the food culture is getting really, really good.

JustRichmal Thu 21-Sep-17 22:41:50

It depends on your idea of a "nice area". Is it a rural village or a tube ride from central London? A school you know will be right for your child when you visit it, is a good school.

LoniceraJaponica Thu 21-Sep-17 22:44:16

We live near a good comprehensive school. I am so glad there is no grammar school angst round here. The MN threads about grammar schools are quite an eye opener.

CamperVamp Fri 22-Sep-17 05:38:23

Look for good comprehensives! Getting into grammar means beating the others on scores, on one day. And in a fully grammar area like Kent that means if you don't get in you may end up with a school with less academic choices.

A good comp will offer academic students the same education as a grammar.

What sort of area do you want? Coastal/ rural / small town / city / hills and mountain areas / close to an airport.....

user327854831 Fri 22-Sep-17 05:44:07

Find a good comp, we have one locally with a good track record of high a level results and good university entry.

KathyBeale Fri 22-Sep-17 06:03:24

I live in a grammar area. It's foul. My son is in y6 so we are going through applications at the moment. We are lucky in that he goes to the top primary school in the borough and he is top of his class so in theory he should pass the tests. In practice I'd be surprised - we have done some prep at home but couldn't afford tutoring (£50 an hour in some instances).

I don't think he can compete with the kids who have been tutored since y4 or even y3, some as much as three hours a week. They are all so savvy about the exams and the different types of questions and their strategies, and my son isn't.

If you've got the money to tutor then go for it, but I would say don't believe the rhetoric about 'if your child is clever enough they will get in without tutoring' because it's simply not true.*

I am so envious of my friend who lives walking distance from a good mixed comp where her daughter and all her friends will go.

*I reserve the right to change my view on this if my son passes!

Clavinova Fri 22-Sep-17 08:42:02

I am so envious of my friend who lives walking distance from a good mixed comp where her daughter and all her friends will go.

You could easily live in the catchment of an outstanding comprehensive school in your borough (there must be at least 5 to choose from - several have 95-100 high attainers in the year group) and still apply for one of the super selective grammar schools. Not being able to afford a house in the school catchment of your choice would be the same wherever you lived. In fact you would have fewer options if you didn't have super selective grammar schools within reach.

I still think Tunbridge Wells would be a good choice - at least the top 30% of dc gain entry to one of the grammar schools, either in TW or Tonbridge - probably more as the secondary modern (also rated outstanding) only shows 2 high attainers in the year group. There are 2 'outstanding' faith schools as well - one Catholic, one C of E.

The op may also be able to afford private education as an alternative to grammar school.

OCSockOrphanage Fri 22-Sep-17 09:02:21

Plymouth, Torquay and Colyton in Devon have grammar schools. Colyton is super-selective, the others a bit less but it is commonplace for kids from the private prep schools to take the 11+. The downside is that the comprehensives are not very comprehensive.

Thegirlisnotright Fri 22-Sep-17 09:37:44

Fascinating stuff. I didn't realise there was quite such a divide of opinion about grammar schools. We don't live in England so it's all new. I went to a selective school though, so for me it feels normal.
Want to live somewhere close to transport links/an airport and where a decent size 4 bed family house is less than 400k.
Eldest child is 8.

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