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St Albans school recommendation

(18 Posts)
Raffey Sun 03-Sep-17 01:07:44

Hi all,
My family are relocating to St Albans from Australia in Jan 2018. Girls are 8 and 12 year old and we're looking for primary/secondary schools. Understand it will be almost near impossible to get a place in a school of choice (ie Beaumont for secondary), particulary mid-term entry. Currently there are vacancies at Samuel Ryder (secondary) and Mandeville (primary) and wanted advice/thoughts? Though academic aspect is important, we would love a school that provides a positive and nurturing environment to assist with the girls transitioning into new school and country. Any other suggestions?

We are visiting in Oct and plan to visit as many primary and secondary schools as well as possible locations. Should we avoid any particularly locations or schools?

Also wanted to ask, is Herts CC likely to offer school places outside of St Albans if there are no places as schools? Plan on contacting them this week to discuss. I understand we can apply for schools 4 weeks before we arrive in UK - though there is a possibility my husband will be relocating in Nov.

fucksakefay Sun 03-Sep-17 09:41:14

Could you save money by relocating to a cheaper area or does it absolutely have to be St Albans?

fucksakefay Sun 03-Sep-17 09:41:25

Sorry save money and look at private schools that should say!

Raffey Sun 03-Sep-17 11:00:40

Oh I actually hadn't thought about that...narrowed down to St Albans as transport is convenient for my husband, may need to commute between Nottingham and London initially but will then be based in London. Any suggestions?

fucksakefay Sun 03-Sep-17 11:04:31

St Albans is hugely expensive because the commute is so good to London! But there are other easier commutes with a cheaper price tag.... I know Herts but I'm not sure about Nottingham connections - does he want to be on train line to Nottingham or would he be happy to drive there ?
Are you looking to buy or rent?

fucksakefay Sun 03-Sep-17 11:05:51

Other *easy commutes to London.... not necessarily easier.... also whereabouts in London does he need to get to?

Raffey Sun 03-Sep-17 11:08:31

Also St Albans seems a great option for great state schools and lovely community.

Raffey Sun 03-Sep-17 11:10:01

Thanks, he needs to get to Victoria station, and was planning on commuting to Nottingham by train.

Squeegle Sun 03-Sep-17 11:36:01

All I know is that Samuel Ryder has a growing good reputation. It was revamped from an old and failing school, and has had a lot of investment and new leadership. People seem very pleased with it now.

Squeegle Sun 03-Sep-17 11:37:05

Agree with PP though about house prices in ST Albans, depends on whether you have plenty of £££ or not.

fucksakefay Sun 03-Sep-17 12:24:25

I think repost on the main mumsnet board, try the schools topic or even just the _chat topic as you'll get a lot more replies from people who know that area and hve done the commute

SymphonyofShadows Sun 03-Sep-17 14:28:42

Samuel Ryder is the same management team as Sir John Lawes in Harpenden, which is excellent. It should get outstanding next time it has an inspection. It suffers a lot from the bad reputation of its previous incarnation, which is unfair.

Wigeon Sun 03-Sep-17 17:06:51

Did you know the council publish info by school about any vacancies in each year? It's here - you can either click on the name of each school, or look at tables for primary and secondary which show you all schools at a glance, with vacancy info by year. That might help narrow things down a bit, although of course the vacancy details change all the time as children move in / out of the area.

Wigeon Sun 03-Sep-17 17:17:16

Mandeville gets a very nice Ofsted report but is in a relatively deprived area of St Albans, with higher than average levels of "pupil premium", the additional funding schools get if they have higher proportions of deprivation.

I think it would be pretty unlikely that you'd be offered a school place completely outside of St Albans - as you can see from my link above, there are some vacancies in some schools, they just might not be your preferred schools.

In terms of areas to avoid, St Albans is overall a very prosperous, nice town, so even the 'bad' areas aren't that bad, to be honest. Mandeville is in one of the poorer bits, but it's all relative...If you look on the Dept for Education school performance tables, the schools with the better reputations, in the nicest areas, are basically the ones with the better results...Performance tables here

Raffey Sun 03-Sep-17 21:30:40

Thank you! Info has been really helpful. I will repost under schools.

Thank you Wigeon, I checked your links - very helpful. I have been keeping an eye on school vacancies, seems they change frequently as children move.

Thank you all for your honest advice.

TurquoiseTranquility Tue 10-Oct-17 18:06:52

Sorry to resurrect an old thread. If you're still looking, I would avoid Mandeville TBH. I used to work there and despite a glowing Ofsted, the atmosphere inside isn't great. Staff turnover is insane. Head spent 7 years trying to get rid of a caretaker who'd been there for decades (and was good) just because she was approaching retirement. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad school, but that lack of care towards staff is the same for kids. When i was there, there were several kids with behavioral difficulties. No talk of anger management classes for them, no talk of special needs assessment, no how do we best support them. All the talk was, can we get permission to use physical restraint hmm Misdemeanours were punished with loss of playtime (which is common) served in the most public space within the school (which isn't but sadly does still happen in many schools). What sort of a positive lesson does a child learn from being publicly shamed? None.
Perhaps things have moved on since, but seeing as the head (now "exec head") and deputy (now head) are still there, I doubt it.

Raffey Tue 10-Oct-17 20:26:03

Thank you TT. Sounds like you had a horrible experience and it was a difficult place to work! Great you've moved on, hopefully to a better place.
We are in the UK at the moment and have visited a couple of schools in St Albans. Really liked Fleetville PS - had a lovely tour with the head teacher. Hopefully we will have a place later in the year when we relocate.
Really appreciate your insight and advice, thank you for taking the time to share.

Squeegle Wed 11-Oct-17 20:02:26

Fleetville infants and juniors are very good schools, hope you get in alright and find somewhere nice to live :-)

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