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How do Northfields schools measure up?

(10 Posts)
Beanz80 Fri 15-Sep-17 09:21:28

Our family is emigrating to the UK in Jan and despite many, many hours researching schools, property, and areas in Greater London and SW London, we have yet to make a decision about where to live... So would really appreciate any local advice!!

A bit of context: DD is 4 and will go on the waiting list for an in-year reception vacancy next year, and DS (2) will start Nursery in September. Wherever we choose to live, we'll need to be on the doorstep of our preferred (and likely oversubscribed) school to stand a chance of getting DD in next year. We'll be renting so budget isn't really a factor, though it might be if we decide to buy in a few years (not worrying about that now though). We're only considering state primaries, but would be open to independent/grammar schools for secondary. And we'd prefer not to have to uproot again when that time comes.

As a WFH mum, I'd love to be part of a community of friendly, down-to-earth (sub)urban professionals, and DH needs to be a commutable distance from London Bridge. We currently have 2 cars and spend our lives schlepping kids between school and activities, so I dream of a car-free existence where good schools, station, everyday grocery shopping, green spaces, coffee shops and a few decent restaurants are all within easy walking distance.

My search keeps bringing me back to Northfields because it seems to offer all of this, and Fielding Primary and Little Ealing look like great schools.

So my question is, how do these schools in particular measure up to the primaries further out of London? What do places further south, eg in Wimbledon/Surrey, have that Northfields/Ealing doesn't (apart from bigger houses, of course!)

Would love to hear from anyone living in Northfields/Ealing or even someone who's left the area with children – what are your reasons for staying or leaving?

Thanks! smile smile

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Fri 15-Sep-17 10:31:54

We moved to Hanwell from Brixton in part because the area has a reputation for good schools and several well rated ones around. Northfields is a lovely family area and both those schools are popular and well thought of. Are they the best primary schools in London? Who the hell knows. The only official form of rating is Ofsted and that has its many problems.

Honestly I think it's more about finding the right area generally and then you target your preferred school within that area. I don't think people are flocking to Wimbledon (which is certainly very naice) because of a specific primary school and I don't know of any real advantages of schools further out. The advantage of being further out is generally cheaper property, but that isn't true for Wimbledon generally anyway.

MothershipG Fri 15-Sep-17 14:09:16

Hi, I live in Northfields, my kids went to Little Ealing and the Elthorne Park High School.

I love it here, we moved from Shepherds Bush when we had the kids so we could afford a bit more space. Ealing is certainly the Queen of Suburbs!

Obviously it's a good few years since mine were in LEPS but it still has a good reputation and the parents I know who have children there are happy with it. The majority of them go on to Elthorne but with the increasing house prices in the area a slightly larger percentage are going on to private schools, there are a reasonable selection that are commutable but I have no experience of them. There is also a new free school, Ealing Fields, just taking it's second year intake.

You could certainly manage to be car-free as long as you didn't mind using public transport which is generally ok. A friend of mine used to commute to London Bridge which takes about an hour in the rush hour, it's doable but no fun.

Personally I find Northfields/Ealing is a great balance as it's not too urban and not too suburban. grin

I have no experience of schools in Wimbledon/Surrey so I can't really help, I can guess that they would probably have more outdoor space? LEPS has virtually none but Fielding has a field. smile

MothershipG Fri 15-Sep-17 14:11:10

Incidentally the local boards can be very quiet you might get more traffic in the property section.

Beanz80 Fri 15-Sep-17 14:27:45

Thanks for your responses! We're going to visit next month to try and get a better feel for the place. That balance between urban/suburban is what we're after and Northfields really does appear to have a lot to offer families, and it all seems fairly close by.

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Fri 15-Sep-17 15:31:52

There's a very active Facebook group called Northfields Friends where people will be more than happy to answer questions also, although like all local FB groups it has a tendency to get obsessed with local marginalia (bins, minor crime, parking).

Beanz80 Fri 15-Sep-17 15:49:32

Will take a look, thanks TQF smile

GiGiraffe Sat 16-Sep-17 09:34:31

Hello, I don't live in Northfields, I live in Hanwell and commute to London Bridge. Firstly, it's a pain of a journey. I have a choice of via central line or via Piccadilly line (from Northfields) neither is a good option particularly but the advantage of Central line is you get a seat (mostly). The change at green park for the jubilee line is also a bit of a mission.

Anyway, getting to the point, depending on how long you are staying for you might want to consider being closer to a cross rail station, as eventually it is going to cut this particular commute to less than 30 mins. Appreciate it is some time away, but the tube commute is pretty unpleasant and in the summer hideous.

Runningoutofusernames Wed 04-Oct-17 22:22:53

This is a bit old now but wanted to lost in case helpful as we also emigrated to the UK with a 4 year old 2 years ago, and chose Northfields! It's turned out really well for us.

Both schools are very good - little Ealing is maybe a bit more hippy (no uniforms, no required homework beyond reading) while Fielding is quite strict (firm on uniforms, lots of stern warnings about absence risking your academic future), but in practice the children are a similar bunch and end up with very similar academic results. We have ended up at Fielding due to proximity and my ds has been happy at the nursery and now school - the staff are lovely and the big size means it has lots of clubs from rugby to gardening and its own green playing field.

Do think of where you would want to live for schools as well as commute, as you have to be within about 0.2 miles of either Little Ealing or Fielding to be sure of a place. Coming from overseas helps here, as you can choose a house to rent based on catchment.

My husband commutes to the city and it is relatively long, but the Piccadilly line is generally reliable, and on Monday he drops off suits then a few days a week he commutes in running gear, hops off and runs to his office where he showers and changes, so he's actually got fitter, and skipped on some tube pain.

In terms of area, Northfields has a nice villagey feel, and is getting fancier, with a cheese shop, a new microbrew pub and now a second bakery coming soon, and is convenient for lots of places. If we had the money, we would still likely choose somewhere with a little more action/shopping and maybe a little less suburban, like Wimbledon, Richmond, or Chiswick, however we could never afford anything like our lovely big house in any of those places. We do also like the mix of people around, it's quite comfortably off overall (especially with all the people who've moved for school) but down to earth and not as homogenous as some of west London..

There are tons of kids activities on and lots of parks, and easy buses and trains or driving to get other places.

We originally looked at West ealing / hanwell for the crossrail link, plus it's a bit cheaper, but we didn't enjoy the feel anywhere near as much, and are ultimately are happy with our choice. We also looked at places nearer South Ealing station, but be warned that the Northfields side is better as you'll never get on a rush hour train from south ealing!

That's a lot of info, but I know it would have helped me, so hopefully will you too!

Beanz80 Thu 05-Oct-17 13:10:08

Hi Runningoutofusernames, thank you so much for this! Funnily enough, we're in Northfields this week exploring schools and properties and were really impressed by the facilities, quality of teaching and all the extracurricular activities on offer at Fielding. There was another mum on the tour who was a past pupil at Fielding and chatting to her also put my mind at ease! We're visiting LEP later today...

You're right about Northfields – it seems to be a really special area with plenty to offer families. We're about to put an offer on a rental property two roads down from Fielding, so fingers crossed there's a spot that opens up in reception early in the new year! The idea of home schooling in the interim isn't too appealing grin

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