Looking to move to Southwark(7 Posts)
Hello! We're being relocated from Texas, US to London this summer.
We have two sons, ages 5 and 7. Which schools should we look into?
Any and all suggestions or advice are welcome. I have always lived in Texas. We are excited for this move, but this is all new to me.
I would strongly recommend researching the local schools and seeing which appeals to you most. State primary schools in London are rated on a four-point scale of "outstanding" to "needing improvement", and you want to go no lower than "good". The better schools will be impossible to get into unless you live literally on their doorstep. Don't just look at the academic stuff. See what you think about the school's own ethos and the feel you get from their websites. Really hard to get a proper feel without arranging a visit - could you come over to have a look on an autumn weekday when they do this?
I haven't researched all of Southwark because it's huge and in the UK you tend to only get into schools you live very close to. I knew we were staying in Borough, but Borough is known for having exceptionally good primary schools. Moving to the heart of Borough itself (close to the river, Borough Market, London Bridge and lots of play facilities) will give you a chance of getting into Charles Dickens or Cathedral Schools (both outstanding and compare well with the best primaries in London, but hugely different from one another). But it is a nerve-racking experience making an application, and you will find that the waiting lists are very full! Some people use LCS nearby as a back-up plan (fee-paying, similar Christian ethos to Cathedral).
Personally, I think you should do your best to find a flat in the same street as the school you like best. Get onto it now, researching the schools and their Ofsted reports, find out deadlines asap by googling in year primary school application, contact estate agents and if possible write to the head teachers.
As I don't know anything about you, I can't offer further advice, except to say that schools finish here at 3:15pm and childcare for pick-ups is expensive/unreliable (only students available to do jobs that involve a couple of hours, and they're usually liable to forget those from time to time). Find out which schools offer lots of after-school care/clubs (these will only be schools with two-form entry usually - Charles Dickens is fab) and that could help you massively, unless one of you is staying at home and that is no problem for you.
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Do you get an education allowance that would pay for private schools?
Whereabouts will work be? Is there any reason to head for Southwark particularly?
I ask as Westminster is the only borough in London with too many primary school places, so you are more likely to be able to find places quickly. (Primary school is up to age 11).
With state schools you will only be able to apply once you have a fixed address in London. That probably isn't the case for private schools,but you'd need to get on the phone to registrars now to guarantee places.
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