Where to move for good schools in London?(66 Posts)
My family is returning to London from many years living in America and I have two primary school aged daughters who will need to find a good school. Private school not an option financially and we want to live in London, not the country. Any advice on areas with good overall school standards in which we are likely to be able to transfer our daughters? Looking at Richmond Upon Thames (though wishing Hampstead would seem an option.) Any advice on schools or paths to take? Areas to consider that might not be the obvious choices? Want to be on a tube line and in an area that has overall good schools so SOMETHING will be possible. Help!
I think the problem you will find is that everyone else wants the same! Good state schools are usually VERY oversubscribed and often you will have to live within 50 metres to get a place!
The Boroughs are large too, so if you don't get the school of your choice you could end up being allocated one right at the other end of the borough.
theres a great primary in hampstead garden suburb called brooklands junior i think and then there is henrietta barnett (girls only)as a secondary school. both are free and highly sort after . the primary is done on how close to the gate you are, but you could rent somewhere to start then buy later. the secondary is entry on test (v. high stds but excellent reputation/high listing on results tables). east finchley nearest tube? i have friends in wandsworth who rave about schools there. (honeywell or some name like this???)similair catchment issues as before though. as titchy says all the best are fought over, house prices are higher the closer you get to the gate.
have you looked at any ofsted reports etc? although there is a problem here with sschools being ranked by results it might give you a steer?
Oh just realised your children are already at school - in that case you'll just have to keep phoning the schools you're interested in until they have a place. Unfortunately everyone else will be doing just the same.
That's why we moved out of London!
Check out Ofsted and SATS results as a first step assuming you can't yet visit individual schools. Then look at the borough to find out how oversubscribed that school was which will give you an idea of how many other parents will be depserately hoping that a child leaves school so that theirs can take their place.
Good luck - you'll need it!
If you home educate you can live wherever you like!
Richmond's good for primary schools but (I think) far more dodgy when it comes to secondary schools.
Richmond has excellent primary schools. Provided you are not after a reception place for your child, it may not be as bad as people say to get a place. Especially if you have a child in year 3 or 4, as many local children end up going to prep school and even the extremely popular schools end up with spaces. Once you get 1 child in the sibling should also be top of the queue to get in when another space comes up. Good luck !! Richmond is a great place to raise kids :-)
we used to live in Chiswick which had very good primary schools.
Look at www.chiswickw4.com
Agree with Brooklands - have heard it's excellent.
Muswell Hill has an excellent primary - Tetherdown - and secondary - Fortismere - but they both have tiny catchment areas because demand is so high and house prices are very high because of that. Although house prices are probably equivalent to Richmond so you could look into it, then you wouldn't be too far from Hampstead!
Furzedown in Wandsworth has an 'outstanding' primary (Penwortham) and an 'outstanding' secondary (Graveney) - catchment areas for both at traditional entry times are miniscule, but the further you go up the school in KS2, the smaller the classes get. Lovely houses which are much cheaper than Balham and you've got Tooting Common and the Lido nearby. Downside is it's not particularly near a tube - Northern line is closest - lots of people either bike or bus it to tube, or cycle in or use overground from Streatham Common or Tooting
Sutton. No tube but excellent train service and the majority of schools are very, very good.
Have a look at the ks2 league tables. Look for a high overall % Level 4 passrate on which the schools are judged, plus the number of Level 5s scored in English and Maths.
And this links to the GCSE scores for secondary schools.
If you went further afield, say Bromley, you then enter grammar school land, eg St Olaves (sp?) which presumably has good feeder primaries.
Richmond good but the schools are v oversubscribed (though worse at reception level). Putney is lovely, green and pretty with great schools and lots of choice (though dominated by church schools, there are a couple of great non-church schools, Brandlehow and Hotham). Secondary more difficult however. But it's a nice place to live and it has tube, buses and overland.
Agree with all that has been said about Richmond. Because so many primary schools there are really very good, there is less stress about getting in to your second choice initially. But the secondary choice is less exciting, unless you are ready to pay at that level.
I hear state secondaries in Kingston are good.
St Olave's in Bromley is a foundation grammar which sets its own entrance exam. Anyone can apply for it and free places are awarded on that basis. It does not have feeder primaries as such and the boys are sent from all over London...for example, Harriet Harman's son went there from Peckham.
Newstead Woods, also in Bromley, is a similar set-up - for girls. Excellent grammar school, places are hotly contested.
LB Bexley has a number of good coed and girls' grammars, but it is so not Hampstead, or Richmond.
It's Zone 4 with no tubes. It depends on where you want to make your compromises tbh.
Richmond is good - like others have said and it is a lovely leafy suburb to live in
Most of the primary schools in Kingston upon Thames (just down the road from Richmond) are outstanding but oversubscribed as people have realised it's far cheaper to buy a house there than Richmond but the schools are just as good, if not better.
Secondary provision in good for girls but not so good for boys at the moment, although there is talk of a new secondary school in the next 5 or so years.
Kingston also has the riverside and Richmond Park, which we use a lot and wouldn't be without. Oh, and great shopping.
Kingston has three excellent grammar schools, only one of which is fee-paying.
Wow. Thank you all for the responses. What a great primer. Keep up any and all suggestions. I'm most grateful. The education in London is the one thing I think could learn more from America. Here you just move into the town or area that has good schools and you are guaranteed a spot in the one appropriately close to you.
Keep the ideas coming! Many thanks. It warms my heart about joining the Mom community in London.
At the much less suburban end of the scale, there is Camden School for Girls.
My step-daughter left that school last year with a bunch of good A levels. She absolutely loved it - she rather misses it now, as she's found her first year at college less inspiring and challenging. It says a lot about the expectations of the school and the quality of its teaching.
Though non-selective (they ensure there are girls of all abilities in the school) it has been consistently excellent for decades and continues to produce hordes of strong, confident and academically brilliant young women each year.
The location is not for the faint hearted (Amy Winehouse territory!) but Camden girls are famous for their street wisdom and sharp wits.
I can't praise the school highly enough. The leadership is outstanding and the teaching is at least as good as that of the most prestigious private schools in London. They prepare their brightest students extremely well for admission to elite universities - in fact, their 6th form attracts a very large proportion of privately educated pupils who come to it to increase their chances of entry into Oxford and Cambridge.
What's interesting about Camden is that it has a pretty good bunch of primaries as well, so if you are interested in London 'proper', rather than the suburbs (), it's worth a look.
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