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Moving to Aberdeen: good primary schools?

(42 Posts)
SallyfromSA Tue 15-May-12 10:27:43


Strong chance my husband will be taking up a job in Aberdeen within the next 6 months. We will be coming from Australia (tho' he was born there and mother-in-law in Portlethen.)

My son turned 4 in April and I'll need to sort out schooling.

Which to do first: find good school and move into that area or are all the state schools generally of a good standard?

Any tips on decent affordable areas within 45 mins drive of the city? I wouldn't mind being in the countryside.

Can't wait!

Any input would be fab. Thanks.

wrathomum Tue 15-May-12 20:57:28

Cults, Peterculter or Maryculter are lovely.
Good luck.

DonnaLid Mon 21-May-12 14:56:02

Hi Sally,

Airyhall primary school is excellet and it is from P1-P7 children. Local areas for this school would be Airyhall, Northcote, Mannofield, Hazelhead, Cults - all are lovely smile

JayelleBee Wed 23-May-12 23:22:14

Just be aware that it is a myth that Mile End Primary school is a good school. It is a lovely new school but other than that very poor.

deste Wed 06-Jun-12 20:32:39

Your son won't go to school this year, he has to be 4 before the last day of February. He will go 2013.

FrauGrau Sun 01-Jul-12 11:22:34

Your child MAY go to school in 2013 if he is 4 before end of Feb 2013; he MUST go to school in 2014 if he is 5 before end of Feb 2014. If in doubt, keep him out - you cannot request a repeat year for children at state schools in Scotland, so any decision to put him in full-time education is irreversible. My advice would be send him to the nursery class of the the school you intend to admit him to. He can spend 2 years settling in, in a much less formal (part-time) environment and you can be sure he is ready for formal schooling AFTER his fifth birthday. The trend for sending children to school before 5 is much more prevalent in England than in Scotland. Most European countries start formal schooling at 6 or even 7.

SallyfromSA Sat 28-Jul-12 03:17:30

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Fraugrau, great advice. I feel much more relaxed about it now. We will be over in September for 3 weeks holiday, although we will be based in Perthshire but will make a few trips up to Aberdeenshire. My husband will be seeing people re. job so hopefully we can finally button down a timeframe for when the move will happen.

At this rate I'm thinking December. (Will be a good introduction to winter!) Will it be an issue if he needs to start nursery after Xmas?

We will be renting initially and I really am looking forward to getting involved in a nice friendly community where we can watch my son can make lifelong friends with local children.

I have found here that people are quite closed and don't really just stop for idle chit chat/invite you into their homes. It has made it feel like SUCH hard work getting to know people and even after 4 years I feel like an outsider despite my best efforts. I really am hoping for a change. I want to embrace local life and all local customs etc. and make new friendships just even for a laugh and a chat...

Oh, and I hear such wonderful things about the schooling there esp for little ones which will be fantastic for my boy too.

Thanks for all your contributions above, ladies. I just can't wait for this to all become reality.

SallyfromSA Sat 28-Jul-12 03:20:59

PS: I left out the bit that I was actually born in Cape Town, South Africa where I met my hubby and then we moved to Australia where my son was born.

Ashvis Tue 31-Jul-12 07:31:11

Hi Sally, shouldn't be an issue with your son starting after Christmas, schools here are pretty relaxed about that. When you visit Aberdeen it could be worth contacting the schools in the areas you are interested in. The head teachers will probably be very happy for you to visit so you can see for yourself which schools you like best. If you're there when the school comes out you'd be able to have a wee chat with some of the parents at the gates too. To be honest, I'm hoping to move house soon and will be visiting schools in the areas I like even though my lo is only 8 months old! (some of them in mile end area too shock)

SallyfromSA Tue 31-Jul-12 12:04:29

Thanks Ashvis. Well done to you for starting early! Perhaps contact JayelleBee to find out why she doesn't rate Mile End?

deste Tue 31-Jul-12 22:20:26

Your son won't start school till next summer.

SallyfromSA Tue 31-Jul-12 23:12:38

Thanks, deste.
Quick question: if he goes to a Nursery attached to a primary school (for example) just a couple of hours per day, what are the options for a mum who needs to work a few hours on the afternoon?
A childminder?

deste Thu 02-Aug-12 21:31:34

I think it would be a childminder. I know Mile End has an after school club but that is when they are at school. If you could get him there, there are plenty of private nurseries.

JollyHockeyStick Thu 02-Aug-12 21:38:02

Sally, if you're looking to live outside Aberdeen, Inverurie and Insch are nice.

Also be aware in Scotland that the school allocations policy is very different to England's. Most children go to the school that they live in the catchment area for. Secondary probably more important than primary. If you're going to live in the city, highest achieving Secondaries are Cults, Aberdeen Grammar and Harlaw, and you really need to live in the catchment to get a place in any of these schools.

Ashvis Sun 05-Aug-12 15:38:17

Sally, most of the private nurseries would take your child to a school nursery and pick them up afterwards.

I have a friend who teaches at Mile End who raves about the place. I'd be very happy if she taught my son. When I asked, she said that when she has kids she would send them there. Having taught with her, I trust her judgement.

Another friend's children both went to Skene Square. She and the children loved it. The kids are both very bright and were well challenged. It's another school I'm keeping in mind for my boy. Heard lots of good things about Ashley Road as well.

deste Sun 05-Aug-12 18:53:00

I work from Mile End school three times a week and would have no hesitation sending a child there.

SallyfromSA Mon 06-Aug-12 02:22:58

Thanks ladies, great to have word of mouth recommendations and advice to go on!

DappyHays Mon 06-Aug-12 15:15:34

Check the Ofsted report for Mile End, and other schools you are interested in.

SallyfromSA Tue 07-Aug-12 12:56:59

Thanks Dappyhays, been looking at the Scottish equivalent to Ofsted (?) ie "hmi" reports. Altho' some seem to have been done quite some time ago.

DappyHays Tue 07-Aug-12 15:08:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

SallyfromSA Wed 08-Aug-12 03:13:28

Good grief, DappyHays, those stories could keep a mother awake with worry at night.
I'm probably going to wait until we get over there then and go to the schools in the areas we'll hone in on to stay in. Best to meet the teacher, get a gut feel and then come over HERE to the forum and find out the lowdown!!!!!
I'm thinking we won't end up being too central just looking at property prices? More likely to be a bit further out of city centre but no more than a 45 min commute I guess. Anyone got kids at Banchory schools. I guess Torphins a bit far. Don't want to be too isolated, tho. Need good neighbours & families with yound kids.
Any school reviews welcome in the meantime!

DappyHays Wed 08-Aug-12 23:06:03

There maybe are good stories, almost definitely. Only I haven't heard any.

Torphins is a lovely wee village. Friends of mine who are there, love it. They moved from Aberdeen city centre when their kids were little. My cousins moved to Banchory about a year or so ago and like it a lot. Westhill is bustling these days, they even have a Marks and Spencer!

deste Thu 09-Aug-12 17:28:40

Banchory has an excellent secondary school with good results.

noni1711 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:58:30

Kemnay Primary is a great school

StoneAge Thu 15-Nov-12 19:57:27

No I would definately avoid Kemnay Primary School. You always need to look at the Academy these schools feed in to so anything for Cults Academy, Banchory or Alford are all good. I have moved away from Kemnay Primary catchment. Lots of building but not great schools and Kintore and Kinellar are overflowing. Westhill Academy also gets good reports although no school uniform and things which is not for me personally. If you are on Deeside/North Deeside route and opt to go private there are good bus links with the city.

ostrichtheoyster Sat 09-Mar-13 11:27:17

Hi. Im also looking to move to Aberdeen. Im looking for a good independent school for an 8 year old. Ill be working in the AB15 area and Im a single mum. Can anyone give me advice please?

AberdeenQuine Sat 16-Mar-13 22:05:06

The independent co-ed schools are

Robert Gordon's College
Hamilton School
The International School

There's also an independent girls' school, St Margarets.

My kids are at RGC and I'm more than happy with it. DD1 did nursery and reception at Hamilton. She enjoyed it but I've since heard not so good reports about it. I've never fancied Albyn. The International School is lovely (my DD attended a summer club there) though I think, not sure, they follow the American curriculum. St Margaret's is a great school though limited in subjects for seniors.

RGC is in the centre of town. St Megs is to the west of the centre but still very central. Albyn & Hamilton a little further out and The International School is just outside town, to the west.

My personal order of preference would be

1) RGC
2) The International School
3) St Margarets
Joint Last, by a mile) Albyn/Hamilton

SallyfromSA Mon 06-May-13 11:00:25

Thanks to you all for your advice. We hope to end up in Aberdeen some day BUT latest news just in is that we are moving to...Glasgow...

RinaWS Tue 14-May-13 07:22:45

Hello, I am from Indonesia. We are moving to Aberdeen in September. My 10 year old is worried she will be the only Asian in school! I guess there must be families from all over the world because of oil industry? But I wondered if there are primary schools with more ethnic mix than others? Appreciate any advice.

Mom2twoTexans Sat 12-Oct-13 04:53:20

We are moving to Aberdeen this winter and are looking for an area to buy in based on good primary schools as well. My oldest won't start P1 until Fall 2014. Inverurie is high on our list from internet searches. Does anyone know what schools it will feed into? We are coming from the States, and I'd love to find a preschool attached to the primary but mostly care about a very good primary rating!

tinatulip78 Wed 01-Jan-14 19:17:40

Hi there,

I am moving to Aberdeen by June 2014 and need as much advice as possible, I am totally clueless. I am coming from Swansea. My hubby is hoping to secure a job there, I have children in primary and secondary Please can anyone help me with the best areas and a rough guide to rental costs. Preferably would like to live in or close to Aberdeen city. And finally which schools would you recommend, I understand that the scottish curriculum is completely different to the welsh one.

Thanks in advance.

julzie Fri 03-Jan-14 09:00:16

Hi, I am moving back to Aberdeen hopefully at some point in the summer, we currently live in the shire. My ds is due to start school in Aug. I have no experience about schools yet but for people asking about rentals Aberdeen is very expensive! Check out the aspc website for an idea of rental prices. For information about schools and catchment areas you can look on the Aberdeen City council website. STV news published the league tables for the Secondry schools too, i normally google to find them. Hope this helps a little. I have only been away for 4 and a half years but it will be very strange coming back even though i only moved an hour away and still go back regularly hmm

maturemum1 Wed 08-Jan-14 16:27:13

It is possible to work in Aberdeen City and live in Aberdeenshire. Because of the A90 even Stonehaven which looks a long way away on the map is only a 20 minute drive from Aberdeen City Centre. Large family Rentals are few and far between check as someone else said.
There are loads of newbuild houses going up all around Aberdeen City and much of it is actually in Aberdeenshire (e.g. Portlethen). A whole newtown is planned at Elrick (next to Newtonhill).

julzie Wed 08-Jan-14 18:47:04

Does anyone know what areas are popular with renting? We are hoping to buy back in Aberdeen again but are only planning on staying a 1-2 years before (fingers crossed) going overseas. We would like to buy then rent the property when we are go. We used to live in Bridge of Don so i think thats an option. Was wondering about Portlethen? We are keen on the city centre but will be down sizing on this move and we have a lot of stuff so we need to find a property with storage which is why we are also considering the burbs. Am starting to find the stress creeping in now we have a ds in tow. confused

icekarma Sun 19-Jan-14 10:56:38

Avoid the Hamilton School, there are many far better Schools available in the City.

Here's why,

And look at the upheld complaints from the official inspectorate..

NOSANENE Wed 26-Mar-14 12:09:16

Hello everyone, does any one know of any nurseries that currently have space, just moved to Aberdeen and all the nurseries i contacted currently do not have space and would not even have until next year.

Babyfish1105 Sat 26-Apr-14 21:28:34

Hi! We are moving to aberdeen soon. St Joseph's and Ashley Road school are within in catchment area, which school is better? Thank you x

areluctantborderer Sat 26-Apr-14 21:36:15

You CAN repeat a year in a Scottish Primary.
We have done it.

Mesembryanthemum Fri 09-May-14 10:00:16

Hamilton has been closed as had all sorts of problems. Waldolf is closing as also had problems which drove folk away so no longer viable but not as bad as Hamilton which was closed by the inspectors/government.

Not sure why Aberdeenquine didn't like Albyn as they have better exam results than RGC or St Margaret's. I know quite a few folk very happy there but maybe it is just personal taste. RGC is a lot larger (with larger class sizes). All the private schools have waiting lists. The international school is more expensive, does the IB, has a very mobile population and I think is now hard to get into if not an oil company expat (it is owned by oil companies). Looks nice and has brilliant facilities.

Banchory, Cults, Aberdeen Grammer and Westhill are good secondaries so would aim for one of their feeder primaries. You probably won't get into any of these unless you are in catchment. But they also reflect the catchments (lots of professionals/private housing) and there are lots of other reasonable schools in less expensive areas! St Joseph's and St Peter's are Catholic schools.

Nosthemum Fri 06-Jun-14 18:48:15

Any thoughts on the Banchory Primaries? Hill of Banchory v Banchory primary? Is it difficult to get in if out of catchment? Strachan primary: anyone any experience here?

Mothershipof5 Sun 21-Oct-18 22:05:52

Hi all,
We hope to move from London to Aberdeen next year. Looking at areas around Aberdeen. We will need both a secondary and primary school. Any thoughts or change to the chats above.
Thanks in advance for any advice 😊

Medee Mon 19-Nov-18 13:32:47

HI, I think a lot of the advice is similar. There are no really bad schools, but if you are in the city, the nicer areas are to the west - Cults and westwards, Airyhall, Mannofield. You can go further afield and be in the country quite quickly, so choice of location will often depend on where your work is.

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