Advice on moving to Ramsbottom - schools and where to live

(34 Posts)
EandA Mon 16-Feb-15 10:25:38

Dependent on DH getting a new job in Manchester there's a chance we will be moving to Ramsbottom this year (from north London). We've chosen Ramsbottom as I was brought up in north Manchester and want to be close(ish) to family. We did also consider Prestwich but have been warned it would be very difficult for five year old DS to transfer into a school place in year two as the schools are oversubscribed.
Anyway I know Ramsbottom is small but would like some advice about schools and the nicest bits to live in. I don't drive and we want to keep our budget manageable (and DH will be getting the bus into Bury to get the tram) so currently we would like to stay close to the town centre.
Also any other general tips would be great. Will the commute to Manchester drive DH mad? Are there plenty of places to meet people? I also have a three year old but she's getting a bit old for toddler groups so advice about playgroups would be great!
Thanks very much x

intreatment Tue 17-Feb-15 08:04:59

So much to say! I think where you love depends quite a bit on which school you are after. Some of them (Stubbins, Hazlehurst) are consistently oversubscribed and you'll only get in if you live very near. Having said that, all the schools are good so there's a lot to be said for just living where you want and not worrying too much about schools.
I'd definitely recommend living in walking distance of town centre. There is a fair bit going on (especially restaurants, bars for those child free nights!) and it's great to be able to walk down. How many bedrooms are you after? That's going to be the biggest factor as 3+ bed houses in walking distance of centre are hard to come by (especially those with a garden).
The commute into Manchester is ok, it's definitely worth getting public transport. There is a commuter bus that goes all the way from Rammy into Mcr with very few stops - it leaves quite early in the morning (think 7.30ish) but easier than getting bus and then tram.
The sad part to report is that the children's centre is closing sad so that's going to limit playgroups etc but they are looking at keeping on some of the groups.
PM me if you need anything else. You will love it here!

intreatment Tue 17-Feb-15 19:06:17

That's weird, my post has been posted under a different username that's not even mine (on my phone it appears that way anyway)?!

intreatment Tue 17-Feb-15 19:06:52

No wait! That must be my mumsnet local username. Had forgotten about it!

EandA Fri 20-Feb-15 21:19:35

Thanks so much for replying. Do you live in Ramsbottom then?
We are looking at a three or four bed house and agree there doesn't seem to be much on the market. Definetley want to be close to the town centre though, having lived in London for about 15 years we are very used to having everything on our door step and moving to somewhere on the edge of the moors - or somewhere tiny like Summerseat - would be a step too far!
Also I don't drive and am wary of being isolated in somewhere without regular buses.
About schools most of them bar Hazelhurst seem to have current 'requires improvement' by Ofsted. I take Oftsed reports with a hefty pinch of salt but do you know or have a sense why so many have been downgraded recently?
Major downside of the current distance is not being able to visit often and get a feel for which bits we like the most. We are visiting again in early march and I'll PM you after that if that's okay. It's so much to think about - and all dependent on DH getting a new job! x

itsahen Mon 16-Mar-15 19:27:50

I know the area and I suspect the schools are find but got a kick for being complacent

BuryBlackPudding Mon 16-Mar-15 19:35:03

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BuryBlackPudding Mon 16-Mar-15 19:38:53

Just checking my local name smile

if op is still around I live nearby and have lived in Summerseat and my sister in Holcombe Brook, Tottington and Rammy

the primary schools don't do as well for Ofsted scores as the high school which I think is the more significant

itsahen Mon 16-Mar-15 22:46:39

Didn't St Andrews used to be excellent? Holcombe brook has always been average. Emmanuel was a lovely small school. Peel brow excellent SEN but more challenging intake

EandA Wed 18-Mar-15 13:27:00

Hello again!
I am coming up in a couple of weeks to check out schools.
It looks like where we choose to look for houses will be dictated by schools as much as it will be by DH's commute.
Couldn't get an appointment at Hazlehurst and they told me it was unlikely because of the waiting list. Also that's a bit further out than I want to be so going to see Emmanuel Holcombe, St Andrew's and Peel Brow. Also Holcombe Brook Preschool for DD.
I think I can guess what you mean by more challenging intake at Peel Brow but attracted by the fact that it has a nursery and also the SEN as my nursery age DD has significant speech delay and may have hearing loss. I have never even been into a a school as small as Emmanuel so it will be interesting!
From what I can tell from the Oftsed report St Andrew's used to be outstanding but has been downgraded recently. I take Oftsed reports for primary schools with a large pinch of salt; DS's own school got downgraded last year but it's still a great school.
I think he would thrive in a small school but it would be a massive change. His current school is bursting at the seams and is a Nigel Farage nightmare - kids all of cultural backgrounds and from all over the world. Very very different to what he will experience in Rammy, if we get there!

EandA Fri 03-Apr-15 21:20:50

Had to a trip up this week to look at schools and have more of a walk around potential areas to live and apart from the horrendous weather (horizontal hail!) I am convinced about wanting to live in Rammy but rather confused about schools.Only got to properly look around two so going to have to take another trip up before the end of the school year.

itsahen Fri 03-Apr-15 21:50:04

What are you confused about? Which have spaces? I am sure they are all fine in reality

EandA Sun 12-Apr-15 15:06:13

The only two I could get to see were Emmanuel Holcombe (one space) and St Andrew's (one or two spaces, they were a bit vague about how many more pupils they could take on).
EH felt like a lovely school but logistically getting there without a car could be tricky because it's at the top of the hill (can see it being a nightmare in winter) and it doesn't have much outside space.
The staff at St Andrew's seemed very nice with a huge school field but the building felt rather tatty, tired and a bit of a maze. Some of the classes are big (35 pupils) and I couldn't quite follow their arguments about how they choose kids for their mixed classes.
Peel Brow has got plenty of spaces but was closed for the day due to a flood. It is not really on the right side of town for where we want to live. Holcombe Brooke also has spaces but we don't want to live in HB.
I couldn't get an appointment at Hazlehurst but had a quick nosey and chat to the office manager and really liked what I saw - it looked very clean and bright and with fantastic outside space. But we would have to be on the waiting list for there with obviously no guarantee of getting in.
It's hard because I don't know anyone in Ramsbottom to get first hand experience and can only make occasional visits.

itsahen Sun 12-Apr-15 18:15:47

Tough call. EH is a steep walk but then so is PB as the town in in a dip in reality. It will be snowy in winter. I don't have first hand knowledge but StA was the most popular for ages but seems to have lost its sparkle. PB was always a good school with more challenging catchment - think council estate not the £300k houses near StA. Hazelhurst seems to be shining out recently but as you know prob has long wait list. HB may be quite easy to get to due to direct bus route ever 15 min or so. It's an ok school but always seemed to cruise a bit. They all feed into Woodhey High so it probably doesn't matter too much in that respect. Have you looked at Stubbins?

EandA Sun 12-Apr-15 20:21:45

I haven't looked at Stubbins as it feels too far out. I walked to both Peel Brow and EH and the former is definetley more manageable - I made the mistake of walking The Rake up to EH and it nearly killed me, though there are footpaths which are an easier and saner way of getting there. However there are few (larger) houses near PB and I want to avoid a long walk to school; I would love whichever school we use to be within a ten minute walk, like we are lucky enough to have at the minute. The challenging intake does not worry me so much (DS's school has a real mix of backgrounds, it reflects the area we live in, reallly) as the fact that no one seems to want to go to it at the moment!
HH currently has four children (DS being the fourth) on the waiting list for his year so in reality he would not be likely to get in.
Lost its sparkle is a good description of St A's, that is definetley how it felt. It felt tired and cramped, whereas HH, though i did not see the classrooms, felt raring to go and just a better environment. Of course it helped that the sun had momentarily come out....

itsahen Sun 12-Apr-15 21:55:31

I guess you could move very close to HH and try to get to the top of the list ?!? I suspect there is a degree of snobbery about PB and it's not as close as the others for most people due to where the residential areas are ??? Did you look at St Joseph's RC? They used to take non RC and was well rated. Downside is most then go to Catholic RC high in Bury.

EandA Mon 13-Apr-15 14:26:55

Didn't look at St Joseph's; we are (well I am, the kids sometimes) CofE churchgoers so if they did go to a church school I would want it to be a CofE one. I think you're right about PB. If we wanted to buy a terrace or live on the Shuttleworth side of town we probably wouldn't think twice about sending DS there.
Do you live in Ramsbottom?

itsahen Mon 13-Apr-15 14:37:29

I don't live there now but lived in HB for 25 odd years. I have a work colleague whose eldest went to Stubbins and younger then to StA (there now). I know people with DC at various schools in the area. All are ok in relation to schools in other areas

EandA Wed 15-Apr-15 11:26:15

Do you know how your colleague finds St A's? I'm aware I might be over thinking this!

itsahen Wed 15-Apr-15 13:22:14

As far I know she's perfectly happy. She was quite heavily involved with the PTA etc at one stage.

Chetwynd Tue 21-Apr-15 22:25:56

I don't know much about the local schools in Ramsbottom but my friends have moved to Stubbins partly to be near the primary school there. My daughter has just turned two so we haven't started to think about it yet. I thought I would post because we have also just moved here from North London too (we have been here since last July). We came for similar reasons (husband from North Manchester). We are enjoying it but it has been a much bigger shock than I thought it would be to move somewhere so different. Ramsbottom is lovely though and it is really good being so close to hills for walking. Anyway, good luck with the move.

EandA Wed 22-Apr-15 10:57:37

Thanks Chetwynd! Whereabouts in north London were you before? I think I will find it a massive shock too - if it comes off - as where we live now is quite run down but we are very spoiled at the minute with loads of shops and transport links on our doorstep.
Maybe we could meet up if we make the move? I won't know a soul in Rammy which is a bit terrifying. My mum isn't that far away but I don't plan on spending every day with her!

Chetwynd Wed 22-Apr-15 17:46:34

Hi We lived just near Tufnell Park and were both teachers at an islington school so very different to here. Yes, let's meet up if you make the move. That would be great. I've got to say that having my husband's mum nearby is pretty amazing for babysitting and we didn't have anyone like that in London. Let me know if you make the move and hope to see you in Rammy! Also, let me know if you've got anymore questions and I will try to help. I remember how hard it was organising things from somewhere else. Good luck.

EandA Thu 23-Apr-15 10:31:41

Hi Chetwynd wow that would be a change! We're in Wood Green. Meeting up would be lovely, as of this week it's looking more hopeful! I now have to work out how I am going to visit to see the schools again, find somewhere to live, get out rather tatty flat in a decent shape to sell and overall move in time to get DS a school place for September!
Hopefully I'll be back here to report DH has a new job in a few weeks and then have to work out how to house hunt while living at the other end of the country! Actually, presumably you were confined to weekends and school holidays too so how did you manage it?!

Chetwynd Wed 29-Apr-15 22:14:14

Hi we were confined to weekends but we are renting so it was easier ialthough we did end up losing our deposit in London which was painful. We raced up one weekend and took the first house we saw because we had to really. Getting jobs nearish home was harder but we managed. Keep in touch and good luck

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