Moving to Birmingham from London - where do I start

(52 Posts)
lilyblue82 Mon 18-Sep-17 13:56:58

Hello Mumsnetters,

Happy Monday! My husband has accepted a position at the University of Birmingham so the family (we have a 3 1/2 and a 5 1/2 yo) will move there. We need to wait until the school ends now but I don't know what to do for primary school applications for reception for my 3 1/2 yo sad.

We have a budget of 380k (for a mortgage free home) but we can push for the dream home (with a little mortgage).

I've never been to Birmingham myself, my husband has been but only around the university so for me it's all new.

Best areas for that budget? Best areas for primary schools? International areas?

I will mainly be working from home, we don't mind an area outside the city but we don't know where to start sad. Birmingham is a big city with many areas. We will definitely be renting but we at the same time want to focus the search into certain areas.

Thank you so much for your help, sorry in a bit of a crisis

OP’s posts: |
lilyblue82 Mon 18-Sep-17 14:31:21

I should have said, sorry this must be the thread 193720 so thank you for your comments!

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Mon 18-Sep-17 15:01:07

Firstly, Welcome smile
Birmingham is a lovely City and I hope you will be very happy here.
almost 50% of the population (of 1.2million people) is under 30 and almost 50% of the population identifies as being something other than"white British".. There are lots of staff from all over the World at the University.

There is a thread here about someone else who is moving to Birmingham University too - although her circumstances are different.

Essentially, Birmingham University is in a place called Edgbaston, which is a weird area with some wonderful £million + houses, and also some quite run down areas. Quite a lot of Birmingham suburbs are like this - just naming the suburb doesn't mean 'That's lovely' or 'don't live there' as there can be quite different a few roads apart.
What you (your dh) probably don't want to be doing is crossing the City Centre each day, so I suggest you look at Southern and Western parts of the City.
There is a cross City Train line (see other thread for detail) which has a stop at the University, which your dh might want to think about as parking is at a premium. The university shares its site with the Med school and the Women's Hospital and the giant QE hospital. There is also a canal towpath which runs alongside the cross city line, which a lot of folk cycle in to work along.

My suggestion would be to look at Bournville. Has everything you want. It is the land where the Cadbury family set up lovely homes for the staff at the factory, and is a much sought after area with good schools.

Quite a few folk at the University live in Harborne, which is expensive niace and has good Primary schools but little in the way of secondary provisions which comes round sooner than you think.

I'll try and find you some links to houses in a bit.

KingsHeathen Mon 18-Sep-17 15:46:35

I agree with aiming for Bournville/Cotteridge/Kings Norton area, and him commuting in by train.
Schools are Bournville infants, Cotteridge, Kings Norton Primary, St Joseph's RC, St Francis CE. There's a lovely house just gone up this week on Northfield rd, at £440k, I want it myself! Not 100% sure you'd get Bournville infants from there though (it's only certain numbers on Northfield rd in catchment).
Another option is Selly Park, and he could walk/cycle to work. St Edwards RC is your only option for school though, and no secondaries, and it's 100% Catholic intake.
Harborne is nice, but the schools are v oversubscribed, worse that Bournville even, and you have to live v v close to get into the primary school there. No secondary options either. (Lordswood girls, but none if you've sons). There are some nice big family homes for sale in Greenfield rd at the moment, one on Vivian Rd, but it's next to a pub garden. Some on Ravenhurst and Park Hill too, which would be in catchment. But further for DH to walk/cycle. No trains in Harborne.

lilyblue82 Mon 18-Sep-17 16:16:21

Wow, thanks for the info and for the welcoming messages. That means a lot. I must admit, I'm feeling a bit lost as I won't have a lot of time to get familiar with the areas before making a decision. The hope is to make the right decision as I can't afford to make the children moving to another school if the location for the house we buy will be different sad.

Is renting an expensive option? Do councils have catchment areas?

I agree, I need to think about secondary as well as the time will come very quickly.

OP’s posts: |
KingsHeathen Mon 18-Sep-17 16:57:07

Almost no schools in Birmingham have catchments, it's purely done on distance from school (but some schools have exceedingly small circles, and indeed, some schools find all their places taken by siblings). Bournville is one that has listed catchment roads. They will be on the LA schools admissions page though. So long roads such as Linden rd and Selly Oak rd, only certain numbers are in the catchment, check before you sign a rental agreement. I think the cut-off date for primary is December, it will be on BCC website (it's a while since I did primary admissions!).
Tbh, around half the academics I know send their children to independent schools. Several more live in Moseley/Kings Heath, and have a hellish commute. Your budget will give you more options than most in the state sector.
Beware with secondaries though- many schools in Birmingham are single sex (as a non-Brummie I find this so, so odd!). May we ask what your children are?

minimalist99 Mon 18-Sep-17 17:02:04

We just moved from Birmingham to London. I would suggest looking at bournville and harborne they're really nice areas and are close enough to your husband to commute to work. There are private schools in edgbaston that are really good and go up to high school.
Though Birmingham is different to London I really do miss it and I hope you and your family settle into life there smoothly.

BackforGood Mon 18-Sep-17 17:13:49

Willow Rd This one is right next door to where they are building a lot of really nice Executive homes - building work will be finished quite soon though - don't be put off by that. Not that close to the train but actually your dh could walk into the University from there - probably a mile (depending on which part of the University he is based in) and you'd be in catchment for Bournville Infant and Junior Schools. Bathroom is downstairs though and is in Bournville's conservation area so really unlikely to get planning permission to extend / alter much.
Foxes Meadow Relatively new build in Cotteridge. Handy for train + buses + catchment areas for Kings Norton Girls and Boys. Lots of young families in the area and things going on
or 5 bed in Foxes Meadow if you wanted to have a mortgage
Weoley Park Rd He could walk into Univ from there. St Mary's is a nice little Primary and you'd be right in catchment for new University of Birmingham School for secondary. (Quite fancy that one myself grin)
South Rd, by Northfield Station - Plenty of Primaries you could choose from around there. Nice and spacious, even if you might want to redecorate Another one in South Rd
Hay Green Rd Odd photos grin Nice Rd, although houses quite small and no individual parking
Teazel Ave This is a really sought after road. A lovely Primary school called St Francis is at the end of the Rd - very good reputation. Road is surrounded by 2 different parks. Would highly recommend this for a young family, although more of a trek to any train or bus, but no distance at all on a bike or driving etc.
Bungalow although bit further out from Bournville Infants. Which reminds me - Bournville Secondary (school 1 on the checker) has opened an Infant school - don't confuse this with Bournville Infants, which is a totally different school. The new Infant school is too new to have a reputation either way, but it is a pretty big secondary school it is on the site of.
Wychall Lane would be well worth a look - looks like it needs a little TLC, but what a fab kitchen dining area! You'd walk across the park to Kings Norton Primary, and your dh could get the train at KN Station. Be in catchment for Kings Norton Girls and Boys for secondary.
Nice area of Northfield You;d get into St Laurence Infants + Juniors from there and the KN secondary. Nice parks nearby and dh could drive or walk to A38 and catch bus or walk to Northfield station from there

BackforGood Mon 18-Sep-17 17:16:39

Sorry - big post blush. Been enjoying myself on Rightmove grin

lilyblue82 Mon 18-Sep-17 21:17:30

Wow backforgood your advice is amazing! It's comparable to a professional agent service smile. We have the same taste smile.

I had a look at the properties and they are all very very nice and they gave me an idea about the areas I should look into. Qq: what happens if the schools are oversubscribed? Would a private school be an option? Are they as expensive as London (e.g. 15k a year)?

Also what about the outskirts of Birmingham? I've only been to Leamington, Stratford and Coventry which are quite far.

@minimalist I would love to hear more from you smile.

Thank you all

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Mon 18-Sep-17 21:28:12

Thank you.
I love mooching at houses for sale grin
There are a lot of private schools in the Edgbaston Area - near the University. I don't know a lot about Private Education I'm afraid, re costs etc., but I believe (and this is definitely not my area of special knowledge) that they have waiting lists.
Bluecoat School is nearby, as are The Priory, Hallfield, Norfolk House, West House. I know nothing about them though so couldn't recommend or 'not recommend' any.

If you want to live on the edge of Birmingham and travel in, then, on SW you have Blackwell, Barnt Green, Lickey, Alvechurch, or round to places like Clent and Halesowen.
Halesowen is a bit cheaper, and nice, although the traffic on the Hagley Rod in to B'ham is a bit of a nightmare.
The others are more expensive areas.
Bromsgrove is a nice little town easily driveable if you wanted to commute.
Leamington, Stratford and Coventry would be a heck of a journey.

SellFridges Mon 18-Sep-17 21:48:48

As always, I recommend the Cotteridge/Bournville area. Great for families and commuting to the uni. I know many of the houses posted up thread, a couple personally!

DD is at Cotteridge school which we really like. Your DC may find they have a place in Y1 at the moment - there's sometimes movement. Feel free to PM me for our experiences.

Renting can be relatively expensive around here. I've seen a few recently but they've both been well over £1k a month.

KingsHeathen Tue 19-Sep-17 00:00:51

All Birmingham schools are oversubscribed!
Independent schools are less expensive than London, but not much. So still £12k p.a. rather than £15k. Many will have very long waiting lists. Some have an assessment to gain a place (e.g. EHS, Hallfield, Blue Coat) but it's not like London 4+ in any way! Mainly does the child cry when left? Can they recognise what a jigsaw is and how to tackle it? Can they sit down and listen to a story with others? Etc.
None of the Birmingham "preps" go past 11 though, or prepare for CE. Bromsgrove is all age, so that could be an option.
Is dh starting next academic year? Or must you sort this all out sooner?

lilyblue82 Tue 19-Sep-17 15:12:16

@kingsHeathen dh may be able to start quite soon but my eldest goes to Y1 and my youngest will go to reception next year so I was thinking of moving by July/August. Would you do otherwise?

@Sellfridges will pm you! Thank you so much!

OP’s posts: |
KingsHeathen Tue 19-Sep-17 17:37:43

Well, I was wondering if DH was renting up here, and puts in application for dc2 from his address. Dc1 will then be applying as a sibling, and have priority, once dc2 starts in September. It's a little risky though, and there's no guarantee that whichever school dc2 gets would have spaces at all in Y1. It could be a very long wait, even if you were top/second on waiting list.

KingsHeathen Tue 19-Sep-17 17:40:33

But if you're thinking seriously about independent, you need to get registration forms in for both children asap, especially if you want them in the same school! They will already have filled up Y1 from waiting lists for this year, but you need to make sure you're under consideration for any future spaces.

MC92 Wed 20-Sep-17 00:19:21

I moved to Birmingham in March from Wales. I'm not a big fan of birmingham. I would recommend living on the outskirts somewhere like Sutton Coldfield or Solihull.

KingsHeathen Wed 20-Sep-17 06:44:43

Which would be lovely... if her husband didn't have to get to the university every day. How many times this year has the cross city line had no trains, or the Aston expressway been closed?

MC92 Wed 20-Sep-17 07:45:17

I work in Edgbaston and haven't had a problem getting in. I travelled by train from Wylde Green.

Personally I think those areas are worth it if that was the case.

KingsHeathen Wed 20-Sep-17 10:18:30

Ah, but you haven't lived here through a winter of "leaves on the line" yet... grin

lilyblue82 Wed 20-Sep-17 11:01:51

Thank you, some very useful info. Northfield seems the area to go if in Birmingham. Funnily enough, I live in an area of London called Northfields!!

I looked into properties but obviously I have no clue about areas (if they are good or not)

My dh loves this one

And this one

I LOVE this one

What about this one?

OP’s posts: |
KingsHeathen Wed 20-Sep-17 13:54:13

Dh's I'd be sniffy about. No1, you'd likely want to be north of Middle Park Rd, and £400k is too much to pay for that area, even though it's extended to 5 bedrooms. No 2 is on a new build housing estate in rubery and a long way from the station.
Your No1 is great, nice road, good gardens. But he'd have to walk/cycle/bus to work (it's not horrifically far). No2 though is completely overpriced for that side of the B4121, and nowhere near the train. There are buses up to university though, I think x64 goes near that way.

KingsHeathen Wed 20-Sep-17 14:00:01

Plus, with DH's choices, you wouldn't get good schools. For secondary you'd get Shenley. Not even sure about primary from his 2nd. 1st would get Northfield Manor, not a good school. Green meadow is near, but very oversubscribed. With your 1st you'd get St. Mary's primary, then UoB school. Your no. 2 would also get Shenley.

KingsHeathen Wed 20-Sep-17 14:07:45

There's one on Weoley Hill for a little less than the Swarthmore Rd one (which I hadn't realised but one of those bedrooms is Downstairs), which is the right side of Middle Park Rd, probably getting st. Mary's for primary.
Perhaps look at the ones in b30, on willow and Franklin too. Those would be better primary, likely better secondary too.

KeiraTwiceKnightley Wed 20-Sep-17 14:23:14

I used to teach in the school that serves Great Park - there are primary and secondaries literally next door. Colmers. Good schools but v mixed intakes including some real problem families, if that bothers you at all.

I wouldn't do Northfield/Rubery to be honest. If you want more value for your money, and are prepared to commute I'd suggest you go out to Worcestershire where you'll get a good house in a nice area. Or stay further in to the city, avoid the commute and have a more vibrant area but a smaller house. Areas like Bournville, Kings Norton all much nicer than Northfield and close to the uni.

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