Have posted this on the main Mumsnet site but found this local site so am trying this too!
Anyway, we live in a lovely part of the Cotswolds but DH is unsatisfied in his job. A potential role has come up in Herts, and we lived in that part of the world before so are thinking maybe we could live in Harpenden. Our quality of life here is wonderful but the ongoing job issue for DH is so major that we may have to make sacrifices as a family.
He would get a payrise, maybe quite substantial but we are aware cost of living is higher in Herts being closer to London. Our childcare costs for example atm are £40 per day including lunch (8.15am -5.15pm). I believe that costs could be more in Harpenden. We also rent a four bed here for £1800 and looking briefly on Rightmove it seems this would be unrealisitic in Harpenden.
We have a DD who is 3.5yrs and a DS who is 20months. I have no idea about primary schools so if anyone has advice on best areas to live within Harpenden that would be great. I have briefly looked at the ofsted reports and all of them seem good!
Have a look at some of the villages just outside Harpenden as they are less expensive for renting and offer a better quality of life - Kimpton is particularly nice with lots of community stuff going on and a fantastic primary school.
The main areas of Harpenden are West Common (multi million territory), Roundwood ( family orientated), Kinsbourne Green (posh and a bit out of town), Poets Roads (estate agents think it is a selling point), Batford (bit less posh), Aldwickbury (suburban -old folk and families).
All the primary schools in Harpenden are well regarded. According hertsschoolguru Manland is the one that gets the most applications per place. You look here to see the catchment distances and no of people who applied to each school in Harpenden last year.
With Harpenden you are paying a premium for a fast train link into London that you don't need if your husband works in Herts and will therefore probably drive to work. As other people have said there are othe cheaper alternatives.
Childcare is probably more like £80 a day round here in St Albans for under 2. I was paying £61 for a 4 year old and £49 on days with funding.
The school places are like hen's teeth, so I'm afraid that it's not always a case of what you would like, rather where you could get. All the primary schools have their plus points - would not say that Manland is the one that stands out.
I second the advice of anyone who says look at the villages if you don't need to be in the town. Wheathampstead is lovely, with good schools.