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Moving to headington?

(9 Posts)
Forthcoming Tue 16-Aug-11 17:59:24

We are thinking of moving to Oxford (or Winchester - long story, dh has diff job options wine!
Is headington a good choice with a 2yr old and 3 month)? What are playgroups/ activities/schools/nurseries like? Does it have a good community feel? - looking for that after living in London for so long!
Looking for a decent size 4 bed with garden too. Dh will be commuting to reading. Loved the look of summertown but don't think we can afford it! (prob about £450/500k when we buy, renting first).
Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Saracen Wed 17-Aug-11 01:27:40

Well, I like it. There are lots of things to do with small children and the buses are good. There are plenty of shops, banks etc and a lovely big park on your doorstep. It's also not too far from the edge of town, so it's easy to get out.

Oxford city centre is not a pleasant place to go with small children, with narrow, busy pavements and cramped shops. My friends and I only brave it with little kids when we absolutely have to. Everybody I know prefers the shopping districts in Headington, Cowley or Summertown and goes farther afield to other towns (Abingdon or Bicester, say) for those hard-to-find items. I quite like the town centre on my own or with older children, but not with little ones!

There is a scramble to get into schools, with some people initially being allocated schools which are unreasonably far away, but if you are willing and able to sit tight then places do free up because people move around so much. A number of people I know were on the verge of keeping their kids at nursery or home for part of the Reception year while sitting on waiting lists, but all did get offered reasonable schools before September.

In Headington your school choices are wider if you drive since you can consider village schools too. I realised that if I wasn't going to send my dd to either of the closest two schools then I may as well take her to a village six miles away; that was quicker than going by foot or bus/car for a mile or two through heavy traffic to another city school.

There are several highly regarded private schools if you are planning on that.

With several hospitals and a university, Headington has a very mobile population, which I find means that people are quite friendly. On the other hand, it means that you do have to keep making new friends as the old ones move away.

I can't advise on availability and price of property of the type you are after, as my friends and I are on smaller budgets. However, be aware that estate agents like to mislead people by using the word "Headington" to encompass a very large area, some of which you may find less desirable. You'll need to have a good look round to decide exactly where is acceptable to you so as not to have your time wasted when looking at houses.

bagelmonkey Wed 17-Aug-11 01:51:24

We loved living in Headington. DD was 0-6 months while we were there.
Bury Knowle park is great and there are lots of smaller parks in the area too. There are a lot of community activities if you want to get involved.
Buses into town are great and the buses to London and the airports pass through too. (great for visitors & you)

Forthcoming Wed 17-Aug-11 13:19:25

Great thankyou Both
Saracen - which village schools are good? Am wondering if we just go straight to a village!

Saracen Thu 18-Aug-11 16:30:45

This isn't a comprehensive list of good village schools, just the ones closest to me which I considered. I was specifically looking for a small school:

Horspath gets excellent results and is very popular. I hated it on sight, LOL. The kids were too quiet, the headteacher too strict, the work displayed on the walls too perfect for my liking.

My dd went to Marsh Baldon and I thought it was a really lovely school. Everyone was quite friendly. It's on the road to Reading too, so that might suit you well.

Beckley is well regarded but I didn't visit it just because it was a bit bigger and less convenient than Marsh Baldon for me.

You'll certainly have a better chance of getting a place if you live closer. I am a city girl myself and couldn't fancy living in a village!

Atwaroverscrabble Thu 18-Aug-11 18:15:52

The thing to watch in Headington is that you don't end up in a row of student houses, alot of property here is multi occupancy and you may have nice students one year but ones from hell the next...

It is a lovely place though and i love beibg a ten min walk from all the shops and they have built lovely new play equipment in bury knowle park!

Forthcoming Sat 20-Aug-11 20:18:23

Thankyou - I will investigate! Been for another drive round and it's lovely but hardly any 4 beds coming up..
Will keep looking

Atwaroverscrabble Sat 20-Aug-11 21:00:08

Thats the problem here, 3 bed + tend to be snapped up by landlords to rent out at £300-400 per room per month!

wearymum200 Tue 23-Aug-11 21:12:59

I love Headington (now have DS1 age 5 and Dd2 age 2, been here since DS1 6m). We only have 1 student house on the road, so we're lucky, but it can be a bit of an issue (Brookes uni is just building a large student residence not far away from us)Risinghurst has fewer students (but is also a bit less convenient). Headington Quarry has good community, but not many of the bigger houses.
If you do want a primary school in the city, then check your catchment areas carefully before you buy....

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