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Possible relocation to Basingstoke

(48 Posts)
lifeistooshort Wed 12-Oct-11 14:51:03

Hi fellow mumsnetter

I have been offered a job in Basingstoke and will have to relocate. I am now in questions overdrive and would be so grateful if you could attempt to answer some of them and share your experieces with me. - My very long list is:

- which areas would you recommend;
- which areas are to avoid;
- which are the best school;
- which are the ones to avoid;
- are there any romain catholic schools and how do they fare compared to other ones;
- DS is supposed to start reception next year, are school oversubscribed;
- when is the deadline to apply for a reception place;
- Do you enjoy living in Basingstoke and if so what makes it special.
- If you do not enjoy it, why not.

Anything else I haven't though of yet that I should?

I would be so grateful for any information.

Thanks in advance

lifeistooshort Wed 12-Oct-11 15:31:21


lifeistooshort Thu 13-Oct-11 12:00:39

Are no mumsnetters living in Basingstoke??? Booohoooo sad

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 12:36:16

I'm here! Name changed so everyone doesn't know who I am. I have lived in Basingstoke nearly all of my life and I like it here, especially for young families, lots to do and easy to meet people.

Primary schools here are pretty good on the whole. Happy to let you know about particular ones if I know about them. I picked my house partly because it was in catchment for St Marks, Hatch Warren and very good chance of getting in Kempshott, then when the time came, went and looked and picked the one best suited to us. The vast majority of people get into their catchment schools. You can sometimes get into schools out of catchment. There is plenty of info on the HCC website. Oversubscribed doesn't necessarily mean good, it can mean dire school not far away...... There are at least 2 Catholic primaries, I think they are popular but only because they help you get into the Catholic secondary.

Secondary schools are much of a muchness and not much to get excited about. The Catholic one is better in terms of results but I would say it depends on the personality of your DC if you would choose it.

As for areas, I think the town has a lot less variance in areas than a lot of other big towns, mainly because it is all fairly modern. If you give a rough idea of budget even big, small, medium then I can comment further.

lifeistooshort Thu 13-Oct-11 13:26:30

Ah lala my saviour! Thank you so much for the useful information.

At the moment I was interested in St Anne (because DD is in RC school at the moment). But the areas surrounding it doesn't seem very nice.

I saw some nice houses advertised on Rightmove in beggarwood, Kempshot etc which would seem like the place I fancy the most (you neck of the woods really). But the only problem is I would be working on the otherside of town at the hospital and I am wondering if the commute would be really long/horrible.

In terms of budget it is difficult to say (because we need to see if our house sell and how much for) but we would be looking betwee £250K and £375K. Might need to have to rent first but the rents seem extortionate and I don't know how we'll manage to pay rent and our mortgage at the same time.

What do you mean about the personality of your DC re secondary RC school? Are they really competitive?

Sorry for lots of ignorant questions but it is so hard to get a feel for a city when the only time you set foot in town was for an interview!

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 20:23:53

Yes my neck of the woods then! I think it is fairly easy to get accross town. Harder in the mornings than in the evenings due to school traffic. I pick my sister up once a week from the hospital area at 4.30 and it takes 15 minutes to get there from Hatch Warren.

If you are going to be at the hospital, you could consider Rooksdown, then you might be able to walk and not have the whole hospital parking issue. They go to to school at Castle Hill primary which is much desired.

I love Hatch Warren area, we have a lovely big Sainsbury's, post office/chemist/doctors/dentist at Beggarwood, nice play parks, decent kid's activities and holiday clubs on at the community centre. Hatch Warren is probably seen as more desirable than Beggarwood because of when it was built (1980s/early 1990s). It has a bit more space between properties and sensible parking. Beggarwood is newer and can be a nightmare for parking. It also has it's allocation of social housing. Kempshott is nice, older population than Hatch Warren in general and you could find a more individual type house for the top end of your budget there.

St Anne's is in South Ham, and given your budget you probably wouldn't want to live there. It is not the worst part of town but there are definately places I'd rather pick!

Catholic secondary is not particuarly competitive. I can't think of a diplomatic way to put it other than it is a bit sheltered and nice. Once at the sixth form college (no schools here have 6th forms) they were the ones that went wild with the freedom. Also seems to be very academic focused with fewer opportunities than some other schools. Would suit some DCs and not others.

lifeistooshort Thu 13-Oct-11 20:45:29

lala thank you so much again for all the feedback. It is so useful, you have no idea. Glad to know your neck of the wood would be doable for the hospital as DH told me it would be at least 45mns in the car morning and evening which I was a bit hmm at. Will aslo look at Rooksdown. I saw a house on rightmove that looks really nice but the only houses to rent there are way out of my budget!!

I need to find another school for DD anyway as phone St Annes today and apprently they are full.

If you are not fed up with my questioning just yet, may I ask how the villages around Basingstoke are, how the schools are there and if they are easily commutable?

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 21:17:23

The villages around Basingstoke are lovely. Good sense of community and picturesque. Very quick drive to town. Some very posh people out there too!

I like North Waltham as it is a decent size, has a good school and a duck pond smile Dummer is very close to North Waltham but is very pricey and not that much there.

On the other side of town there is Sherbourne St John, I don't know that village but have heard very good things about it as a base for young families. They have some great community events on.

Some people would call Old Basing and Oakley villages, they probably have the best schools in the town. They are very close to the town. We didn't move to Old Basing because it is used as a rat run and there are no pavements which bothers me as I walk a lot and the newer houses, which is what we could afford are seperated from the school side of the village by a very busy road. I like being nearer amenities too. Oakley has more amenities and has a nicer feel (IMO) but I didn't like the drive out to it as I am not a confident driver. There are decent sized and priced houses in Oakley though (and a nice cafe as it happens).

If you are thinking villages then look at the catchment for The Priory school. This seems to be much coveted and those villages (they seem to blend into one, it is all semi rural that way) are just north of the hospital and an easy drive (says the nervous driver).

I like wittering on about my home town smile

lizhurleytaraptfergie Thu 13-Oct-11 21:37:34

hello! To answer your questions...

- which areas would you recommend; What lala has said really. I was bought up in Kempshott and there's loads of space for kids to run around and you're right on the edge of town (unless they build houses on the fields). The commute wouldn't be too bad, 20 mins max I reckon.
- which areas are to avoid; Buckskin, very small estate but not that great.
- which are the best school; Kempshott and Old Basing seem to be popular.
- which are the ones to avoid; Don't think there are any really.
- are there any romain catholic schools and how do they fare compared to other ones; St Annes in South Ham and St Bedes in Popley (near the hospital).
- DS is supposed to start reception next year, are school oversubscribed; I think Old Basing is a bugger to get into now. Some siblings didn't get in this year.
- when is the deadline to apply for a reception place; Start of Jan I think. My DS started reception this term.
- Do you enjoy living in Basingstoke and if so what makes it special. It's not bad really. Only an hour to London but not too far from the south coast, major airports and we can get to Cornwall for summer holidays. No really awful no-go areas, town centre parks are nice, library recently refurbished which is a huge relief in this day and age, good sports centre. Nightlife is a bit dull but there's a few nice chain restaurants. And the villages all have pretty country pubs if you want to get out of the town. I've lived here all my life and quite like being based here.
- If you do not enjoy it, why not. Houses are too bloody expensive.

Rooksdown is nice, modern houses (possibly 15yrs old) but AFAIK they haven't even built a corner shop yet, which would drive me mad having to get in the car all the time. I think it's in the works though, I'm sure I saw something in the Gazette a while ago. You could walk to the hospital from there though smile.

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 22:00:51

lala suspects liz is her friend and waves smile

Meglet Thu 13-Oct-11 22:21:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 22:29:03

I think I'd like to be a teletubby grin

lalanamechanged Thu 13-Oct-11 22:30:32


lifeistooshort Fri 14-Oct-11 09:37:56

Thank you so much lala and Liz Hurley Please carry one wittering, it is soooo helpful. Offer came through yesterday so it is very likely that we will be joining you soon. I wanted to come on an exploratory expedition this weekend but we had loads of stuff booked so we'll come the weekend after.

I called St Anne's yesterday and they are fully booked for a transfer mid year. I called the LA and apparently I will have to call every school to see which ones have vacancies! That should be fun. So I guess I have a week to do that and then I guess that should reduce the search area as I cannot imagine many schoools will have year 2 places.

I think my requirements are similar to lala, I can drive but if I can avoid it, it would be great so pavements are a must! And walking to work would be such a luxury!

And if you think the prices are high for the houses in Basingstoke, you should see here in Bristol absolutely extortionate! (that is one thing I won't miss about it!).

If you think of anything else that might be useful please let me know, I am a sucker for information. And thank you again for taking the time to produce such full replies!

Despite all the aggravation of moving (again!) I am starting to feel more than a tweensy winsy excited about it grin

lalanamechanged Fri 14-Oct-11 12:38:16

Well done on an offer on the house! Hope that all works out.

Let us know where has spaces.

Strangely I kind of like moving house. We are a bit strange though, this move (a year ago) we only looked at 3 houses and bought the first one we saw.

lifeistooshort Sat 15-Oct-11 08:09:15

Hi lala

It is the offer of employment that came trough! At the moment we still don't know where to live but I am wondering about Andover.

Current schools with places are:

-Bishopswood infant schoo
- Chalk ride
- Chiltern primary school
- Village Ecchinswell and Sydminton,
- Kings Furlong infant;
- Manor field;
- Merton infant school;
- Park view Infant school;
- Rustall Primary;
- South View infant school;
- St John CE primary;
- St Mark CE;
- Tadley primary;
- Verham Deane and Gillum;
- Witchurch primary;
- Winklebury

Any views? Any to avoid? Any which are ok?

lalanamechanged Sat 15-Oct-11 20:19:58

I'll tell you what I know about the ones that I have heard stuff about:

St Mark CE - my DS has just started here. Has a new head 2 years ago now who is very well respected and came from an Outstanding school. Traditionally has had behaviour issues, I am trusting that these are being dealt with and time will tell. Is now full in year 1 and R. Lovely grounds and resources. DS has had a good start with a decent mix of learning and fun stuff and is happy. The staff have dealt compassionately with children that need some extra help or reassurance and have come down hard on bad behaviour to date. I picked this school over the two outstanding options a short walk away.

St Johns - becoming popular, again a new head. Seems a small, sweet school. Has just started taking 45 kids instead of 30 a year. Mixed catchment area.

Chalk Ridge - spoken well of, plenty of out of catchment children. In a middling type of estate.

Kings Furlong - run of the mill, infants spoken well of, juniors not as well. Manor Field - run of the mill.

Winklebury I think is ok but has the outstanding Castle Hill very near and so ends up having the children that couldn't get into Castle Hill so people are disappointed to get it.

I would avoid Chiltern, Merton, Park View, Ruckstall, South View. Not surprised they have spaces.

lalanamechanged Sat 15-Oct-11 20:20:33

The rest are more rural and I don't know about them.

lifeistooshort Sat 15-Oct-11 22:34:58

Hi lala. Again you have no idea how much I appreciate and am grateful for your advice. We are in basingstoke this weekend after all for exploratory mission. Went to Andover which is quite nice but really too far. So we are now back with my preferred option of Hatch Warren and Beggarwood. I am quite lucky it is your patch. With regards to the schools you said to avoid, I had gathered that from the BBC league, but it is usefull to know about St Marc and Ruckstall as I was going to avoid St Marc but thought from the leagues that Ruckstall was ok. Ruckstall is probably the furtherst any way so looks like it will be St Mark, Chalk or St John (but again possibly a bit far).

We'll go and have a look at them tomorrow.

Thank you again!

lifeistooshort Sun 16-Oct-11 18:40:53

Well we are back from an exhausting but useful weekend. We have had a look at schools, villages, areas etc etc... At the moment it looks like we are most interested in St Mark and ....Hatch Warren/Kempshott!

lalanamechanged Sun 16-Oct-11 21:19:50

Well that's a small enough list now that you can go and visit the schools and see what might fit your family. I would be interested in an 'outsider' view smile

lifeistooshort Sun 16-Oct-11 21:37:41

Hi Lala

I think that's what we'll try to do as reading the league tables and ofsted reports just confuses me even more! But as you said, at least the list is much shorter now!

Thanks again for all you help, I'll keep you posted with regards to the next installement.

One thing is sure is that we'll be moving to your neck of the woods, watch out for a family with three very noisy little children grin

lifeistooshort Sun 16-Oct-11 21:40:29

I forgot one more question if I may, does St Mark have an after school and breakfast club?

lalanamechanged Mon 17-Oct-11 20:15:25

It has a breakfast club, from 8am I think, in the school hall. When I am back at work I suspect my kids will be in it.

There is an after school club, it is run from the community centre accross the road by a third party. My DS keeps asking to go to it.

3 noisy ones here too grin

lifeistooshort Tue 18-Oct-11 10:29:04

Thank lala. Looks like Chalk Ridge is full after all. So it leave St Mark's and St John.

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