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Moving to Leeds and need primary school advice

(5 Posts)
coachruth Sat 01-Sep-18 17:23:21

We are planning to move to Leeds from London (to be closer to our northern family) and having visited are looking at the buying in Chapel Allerton, Roundhay (though probably too expensive), Moortown area. We need to keep it Central as DH will be doing regular travel to London by train.
I understand there's no catchment areas and school admission is based on who is nearest, so for popular schools you need to be very close. Our daugher will be starting school in 2020.
Gledhow and Talbot are clearly very popular but Kerr Mackie seems to raise more odd comments or doubts from people we've spoken to without us getting a clear idea why. Does anyone have any thoughts about why? I think this approach, of finding a school we like and focusing our house search on that area, seems the best approach to move to an new area or am I missing something? I'd appreciate local expertise!

OracleofShelf Sat 01-Sep-18 17:45:15

Interesting- Talbot is very popular and has been for a long time. It's difficult to get into even if you live very close. Gledhow has long been a great school but has recently expanded massively, and at the last Ofsted went from Outstanding to Requires Improvement. Friend with kids there still rates it so it may be teething problems with the extra classes, new head coming in and so on. Kerr Mackie has historically been the poor relation, but they got a new head a few years ago and things seem to be improving. Moor Allerton Hall has always been seen as the one to avoid, and there is talk of turning it into an 'all through' school by merging with nearby Allerton Grange High. If that happens there will be even more disruption!
The big thing to be aware of is the 'black hole' of primary places, where kids fall out of all the catchment areas and end up being bussed to schools miles away. This is ( very roughly) north of Street Lane between the park and up close to Moortown primary. I would be very wary of buying there as things stand at the moment.
If I were looking to buy, subject to budget of course, I would look south of Old Park Road, so around Lidgett Lane, Gledhow Lane, Jackson Ave- that way you'd have a good chance of getting into either Gledhow or Kerr Mackie, and importantly (looking forward) be in the catchment for Roundhay High.
Hope that all makes sense!

coachruth Sat 01-Sep-18 18:03:02

Oracle of Shelf, thanks so much for the detailed info. You summed up what I was worried about; getting into the 'black hole' and moving all the way from London for a new, calmer life, to find our DD is then having a big commute and not making new friends who live near us. I get the impression Kerr Mackie has been well thought of by new parents over the past couple of years so it could be the historical issues are slowly being addressed.
Thanks for taking the time to answer.

whatsthecomingoverthehill Tue 04-Sep-18 15:16:17

Chapel Allerton primary is decent enough, though St Matthews (if you can get in given it is a faith school) seems to have the better reputation, despite being the same in ofsted terms.

I do get confused with the admissions around Roundhay. And as Oracle alludes to, depending on how long you want to stay then secondary schools are quite a big thing. Would you consider Alwoodley instead? Or for good access to the train and good schools, Horsforth? (I'm not just saying that because it's where I am!)

coachruth Thu 06-Sep-18 08:10:38

Thanks, there’s plenty of food for thought here. Horsforth seemed lovely when we visited. A lot will depend on where I can get work as I work in the University Sector at the moment and will be trying to find at least part-time work. It would be helpful if I can keep my commute as short as possible as DH will probably be away a couple of days a week. Thanks for your thoughts!

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