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Ibstock Place School but where to live? v Kew Gardens with small independent preps

(22 Posts)
Lottothink Wed 10-May-17 20:13:28

Hi all

I have been reading some discussions here about similar topics and found them very useful. However, they are either old discussions or did not answer some of my questions.

Can anyone tell me actually where can we live to send our little one from kindergarten to Ibstock Place? shuttle buses from Barnes starts at secondary and the traffic is very bad to drive apparently. Anyone leaving in Barnes? then Richmond or East Sheen would be good if we use the park but again the park closes to drive early in the evening and we might not want to walk at dark. Putney seem to be less traffic but still drive away and we like Barnes more than Putney.

Kew Gardens (which we like more than Richmond) seem to be a nice community and we would drop our child off easily as we are both working parents and at primary level we think it would be good for our child too. Also it would give us more options come 11+ since Ibstock does not prepare for 11+ exams. So Kew seems to be a winner but we haven't finished visiting the schools in Kew Gardens - what if we don't like any? If we like one and move to Kew Gardens (we are buying) we would do this also to make home for us and meet friends to become part of a community. On the other hand, come secondary stage all the schools I would prefer (at this time ) for secondary are e.g Latymer, st pauls, and even ibstock will be left on the other side near barnes and putney - so would it be better to live in Barnes as part of a longer term plan? I hear that it is not as friendly as Kew Gardens though and not as strong network and community for families with small children. is this true?

Lot of questions there - any insight would be very helpful. It is important to get the school right but for us also the area right (for logistics and also to have playdates etc. where do most prep Ibstock pupils live for example?

Many thanks in advance - first time on mumsnet as a poster so hope I put this in the right area to get some response.

propitia Wed 10-May-17 23:16:13

Apart from Ibstock, I believe most independent schools have coach services. Not St Paul but it is well served by public transport. Things change all the time, not least heads moving about. Barnes & Kew are both lovely environments to bring up children, with the river & Richmond Park in common, plus the Barnes wetland Centre vs Kew Gardens. You need to spend a little time in each area & continue looking at the schools. There is more choice of state primary in Kew than Barnes, simply because catchment areas are v small in Barnes so you can't easily sit in the catchment of more than one. State secondary options are problematic from both areas but as you are looking at independents, I'd look closely at the Kew preps.

Lottothink Thu 11-May-17 08:06:55

thank you - both areas a lovely indeed . I cannot put Barnes to the mix when I think about the commute to school though. they have Harrodian but dont think its us. St Pauls if you are luck starts at 7+ so for primary stage it seems cut off. i hope someone would give some assurances that it works for ibstock at the least or that there are many children going there so play dates wouldn't be a problem and for Kew that all those schools are well linked so that it is not as bad as it looks ob the map smile lot to ask!

twick13 Thu 11-May-17 18:24:21

Kew has good prep schools, Kew college, unicorn and Brookfield, falcon boys is just down the road and there is Kew Green. State primaries are good too Queens and Kew Riverside. So lots of options without having to drive.
For senior school it would be easy to get to Latymer upper, st Paul's, Goldolphin, St Benedicts, Radnor,and Kingston Grammar.lots of others will be going the same way by public transport. And off course there is Kew House. I believe Hampton / LEH have a coach from Kew.
Ibstock also possible with there Barnes pick up.

Lottothink Fri 12-May-17 14:31:21

thank you - it seems if we go for kew gardens, come secondary wouldn't be an issue. it would be good to hear views of those who live in Barnes and send their children from prep stage to Ibstock. are there any?

Temperance15 Fri 12-May-17 22:22:46

We have good friends who send their kids to Ibstock. They are happy with the school, the facilities are amazing and the kids are reasonably challenged. Historically it has not been the most academic school but it is getting more so now. It works for them because they have a boy and a girl too and they are both working parents. Be mindful though that being in prep school does not guarantee you a place in secondary school. In fact they let you know by the summer before the 11+ exams if your DC will be offered a place or you will have to find another school. So I would suggest you focus on finding a good primary and worry about senior school later, there are very few schools (Harrodian being one) that will not require an exam or minimum performance to enter the senior school.

When we were looking to buy our place, we looked in Sheen, Kew, and Barnes. We ended up in Kew and in hindsight I am so glad we did. (this was a few years ago and before my DC was born). I have friends in Barnes and unless you live right next to Barnes Primary, there are good but not outstanding schools (state or private) to go for (except of course St Paul's but it is boys only and you still need to find a prep to do the 7+ exams). In Kew, you have many great options both private or state, as you do also in Mortlake/Sheen and Richmond. Quite interesting because Barnes can be so expensive to buy!

Lottothink Sat 13-May-17 11:55:31

thank you . for raising a child and from schools perspective Kew is becoming more attractive . You are right, we can think about secondary later. I just dont want to move to an area where we know we have to move for secondary.

Two additional questions for Kew please :

1- for adult life - as when you have children you kinda need everything on your door step (yoga or gym - always on new year resolution and blaming where we live now for not doing it) . does it bother you that except a few shops and cafes/restaurant not much going on at your doorstep. or is this not the case?

2- for city commute: is that district line a pain or blessing to have ?

Unfortunately not many houses on sale in Kew in that triangle or near ..

QuintessentiallySW Sat 13-May-17 12:02:43

Save your money and send your children to one of the great schools in East Sheen/Barnes. Live on sheen parkside or in barnes, have everything on your doorstep, chose sheen mount, east sheen primary, barnes or st mary magdalen (if you are catholic). Add interesting activities, stimulate your child, and add a tutor and/or kumon from year 4/5 and seek entry into Ibstock for secondary. Fab neighbourhood with great primaries.

Lottothink Sun 14-May-17 19:29:48

its tricky.. if we go to those schools we have to be by the school. more expensive houses .. small houses and not many on sale . as we have a house to sell then buy it, it would be so annoying after paying a premium to the house not to get in to those state schools. I think we would rather to be in Barnes due to proximity to the stations compare to east sheen. I read that a lot of people who were disspointed when they couldn't get in 300/400 m. It is a shame that Barnes primary don't seem to do tours until it is near to admissions but I am planning to visit sheen mouth for what is it worth - I also read a lot that it is bit of a close community.

CountessDracula Mon 22-May-17 18:15:10

I think you'll find that Sheen has got better for primary school access - Sheen Mount and East Sheen have both gone 3 form entry plus there is now Thomson House in the middle of the two, so as far as I am aware there is not so much pressure on places.
I may be wrong, but that's what I've heard.
Sheen has way more in the way of useful shops etc than Kew or Barnes, you would find yourself having to get in your car a lot in either of those I would think. Otherwise not a lot to choose between them really, depends on the vibe you like. Kew is cute and pretty, Barnes is a again looks nice and has pond etc, shops great if you want to pay £5 for a sausage roll smile Sheen a bit rougher round the edges but much more practical wrt everything on your doorstep (other than, weirdly, for mobile phone shops, there are none!)

Lottothink Mon 22-May-17 19:55:49

thank you for writing . I think we need to see east sheen as I think it of mortlake but it seems not. I want to be near to the river . in a sense Putney has it all - shops, river etc. but it seems like a transit area and people move a lot after primary school. we are looking for somewhere that we can make friends for life etc. people live in Kew talks about that and the great community .

we are looking at independent schools too . kew has very good independent schools but east sheen and barnes has very good state schools..neither seem to have both ..

Putney has some state schools but not on the barnes side as we dont prefer CoE .

if we were not moving .it would have been an easier choice to go for the best option near you . I think we are trying to tick all the boxes which is probably not realistic.

I like it very much when people share their views here - it helps a lot . thank you again.

keely79 Tue 23-May-17 11:34:33

Is your child a boy or girl? You could look at Tower House in East Sheen if a boy.

Also, we live in Sheen and DD goes to Putney High school (which goes up to 18) and DS to Merlin (up to 8 which works as most boys' schools start at 7 or 8 so Merlin will prep him) - as working parents, we combine school drop off with commute so get bus along to Putney to drop them off then continue our commute into town. Putney High and Merlin both share a bus that goes from Barnes as well.

We are within catchment for East Sheen primary but opted private because didn't like the 3 form entry.

Just FYI, if you're walking over from Sheen, there is a footpath that cuts through Palewell Park and then along wall of Richmond Park (without entering Richmond Park) and ends up at Ibstock.

I love Sheen (I grew up there as well) and it definitely isn't a transient population - wouldn't really describe it as "rough around the edges" either.... compared to, e.g. , Roehampton though perhaps not as quaint as some parts of Barnes.

propitia Tue 23-May-17 14:55:37

As another who grew up in Sheen & have family still there, I echo Keely79. Sheen isn't rough around the edges - try Putney or North Sheen with distinctly rougher edges!

Sheen historically had excellent primaries and middling to poor secondaries. The main reasons for going private at primary in Sheen is for prep for public schools/ common entrance & serious sport. Class sizes are less important than you might think, if a class doesn't have a huge ability range eg LEH with class sizes of 28-30 in seniors.
And a larger year group can reduce social problems by giving children a larger friendship pool.

Please also note that many children cross sectors at 7+,8+ &11+ with some tutoring.

I'm sure you'll have a great educational outcome for your children, wherever you choose. Parental support counts for a lot. At primary, I'd look for what makes your family life easiest, in terms of your commute (s) & your children's commutes, plus ease of meeting up with friends. In the end, don't just look for somewhere that goes through 3-18 or most of it, because you don't necessarily know what will suit your children best right now, & external factors like changes in school leadership, or change in your job, can happen.

Hope this helps smile

Lottothink Wed 24-May-17 09:09:20

keely79 - thank you; you actually made me to consider places more on the route to our commute to the city and to see both working parents manage schools is great. what time do you leave your house for school drop and take a tube/train to work? just to give me a general idea.I am so interested to hear more about Merlin or any other prep for 7+. My fear is that my son will still be very young to perform at that age and change of schools after settling in and getting used to friends might be emotionally a bit much. what do you think? I have a son, but I rather mix school for at least prep school. but Tower House looked really good too when I looked on their website and must say it made me think .

from what I am reading Putney seems to be a bit transit and rough and not much residential to raise little ones ( i thought having everythign on your doorstep would be useful too when you have limited time with children and defo commute is better to the city). Is this a fair impression? Keely79, for example you must know parents from these two Putney schools live in Putney. what are their views? If you didn't grow up in Sheen would you consider Putney for ease of commute etc.?

and Propitia - again very very useful post. thank you for sharing your views. maybe you can also comment on my questions to keely79. I think now we are moving towards prep schools instead of Ibstock.

Kew offers min 3 of these - for commute (not bad) and easy access to schools .. Kew seems to be the winner on that front . However, the small popular triangle does not have many houses on sale in our budget and my worry is that your nearest amenities is in Richmond - not so much of a 10 min walk. weekends would be lovely to go to the river but on the other hand Richmond can be a bit touristic and very busy. prettier than Putney but busier I would say.

I guess this is true for Sheen too (a bit near as you go to Mortlake I guess?).

Like you mentioned , anything can change in life - should I also look for a backup state school but then it gets really complicated.

Btw - when you say Sheen or East Sheen which streets are we talking about? Sheen Mount catchment area? or anywhere in Mortlake.

We loved the Barnes but it seems unless there is a school on the route that we can take the same bus - still it might be a bit of a track - (maybe Hurlingham? mixed or if I feel comfortable up to age 7 -Merlin) it would not work. I also wonder though if we do Merlin for example and aim for Latymer (or St Paul's - which seems unlikely for most) Barnes would be a good location.

Putney - not residential enough and seems transit

Kew - not many houses on sale,. planes are louder, very limited amenities

Sheen - I should check the roads you will tell me. I read some comments that it is very closed community - would English and another European mix couple would be welcomed?

Thank you all - your views are very very helpful more than you think. .

keely79 Wed 24-May-17 11:00:28


We leave house around 7.45 if getting the bus - that gets us to Putney High by about 8:20 - school starts 8:25 and then Merlin starts at 8:30 so it works well. Then I get tube or train to the city to arrive by 9:30. My DS is thriving at Merlin - was a bit of a rocky start (he wasn't really into the idea of structured education) but they have worked with us and with him and he has made great progress over the year. Class sizes are very small there (14-15 per class with a teacher and teaching assistant) which has been beneficial for him given his tendency to do the minimum if he can get away with it.

I personally prefer Sheen to Putney as I think shops are nicer and I love having Richmond park on the doorstep, but other parents equally like Putney and you do have the common. Putney houses actually more expensive than Sheen I think because of the tube and station. Putney roads between Sheen and Putney are all very residential.

If you're looking at Sheen, look at the parkside (i.e. side of the high street which richmond park is on rather than Mortlake side - I think the houses are nicer). Catchment areas are quite small for the state primaries, if that's still a consideration, but sounds like you're leaning towards private anyway. There are loads of local buses so you can get to Richmond from Sheen in about 10 minutes on the bus (there are 3 different buses which run between the two).

I don't think Sheen is that closed a community - I'm from a mixed race/nationality family and grew up in Sheen happily - you will get to know parents at whatever school you go to in any event. At my childrens' schools there are a mix of people from all over the world.

You could also look at Wimbledon perhaps - they have Squirrels pre-prep which then feeds up to Kings College prep I think. If Wimbledon, I would look around Wimbledon village/common rather than Wimbledon High Street.

You could also look at Prospect House in Putney if you don't want your son to move before 11 and also want mixed - but they only go up to 11 which can be an issue for boys as boys' private schools are structured generally to 4-7, 7-13 and 13-18 so they then (unless they stay mixed) end up joining in the middle of a period when other boys are more settled.

Lottothink Wed 24-May-17 17:11:26

thank you . Prospect House looks good but thought it is more like southfields than putney. it is much more expensive than others too. I couldnt see the leaver destinations at Merlin's website. where do they normally end up at age 7?

we started with wimbledon but you are very limited in terms of schools there. it is a gamble to go there just for kings we thought . also we want to be near the river .

keely79 Wed 24-May-17 17:24:51

Prospect is walking distance from most of Putney and there are several buses which go up Putney Hill to save little legs if necessary.

Variety of school leaver destination for Merlin - girls often go to Putney or Wimbledon High, or Falcons. Boys to Colet Court, Kings, Latymer prep, Harrodian, Shrewsbury. You might find this helpful:

Just to note - you may need to put your son's name down for more than one school - most of them have waiting lists and while there is some movement (as most parents put names down for more than one) - how old is your son at the moment?

Lottothink Wed 24-May-17 22:51:07

thank you - we already put his name down for kew ones and ibstock but not on any putney ones . he is 2 years old . i like the ones that start at age 3 too as it would give us certainty earlier to move . I will check Merlin and Prospect House too. thank you again and for the link ;)

Lottothink Wed 24-May-17 22:55:49

a bit off topic but how deal with after school ? clubs ? are there nannies or childminders that would do pick ups for some days ? that will be another research for me after we finally decide on the area and school .

keely79 Fri 26-May-17 11:45:02

I'm very lucky as my mother has always done it for me...

Other working parents I know either use au pairs, nannies or before and after school childminders.

Lottothink Fri 26-May-17 12:56:22

yes - we will be one of those ;)

Lottothink Fri 26-May-17 12:56:23

yes - we will be one of those ;)

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