Move to Brighton - what schools for DD's?

(45 Posts)
looloolollie Thu 03-Mar-11 18:50:59

I am currently living in West London with 2 dd's as a single parent(7 and 12). Am planning a move to Brighton/Hove area but a bit confused about what schools could be good - I would probably base my search for rental around good schools. Currently oldest DD is at a very good CofE school (girls) which gets great GCSE results so I want something hopefully of similar standard to apply to and then hopefully little one will follow although tips on good primary schools would be really helpful too. I know Brighton quite well but nothing about the schools and some of the reviews I've seen have been quite poor! Any ideas? Thoughts? tips?!! :-)

SimplyTes Thu 03-Mar-11 19:03:33

I am afraid that schools in Brighton and Hove can be over subscribed.

Are you Catholic? My old school, Cardinal Newman, in Hove is excellent and there is also a junior school called Cottesmore but you have to be Catholic (DC's) from one years old and documents will need to be shown - letter from priest etc.

Dorothy Stringer (Brighton) has a great reputation as has Blatchington Mill (Hove).

If you have pots of money Brighton College and Lancing College are very academic with outstanding sports. Roedean is an option if you have even more pots of money too!!?? Maybe if they are v v bright you chould look at a scholarship.

Good luck

ps my 2 DSs attend a v small independant school in Shoreham where DH used to go, serious financial commitment which is pretty tough at the moment sad

nurseblade Thu 03-Mar-11 19:07:11

Patcham primary is lovely, not sure about the senior school

looloolollie Thu 03-Mar-11 19:38:03

Thanks SimplyTes - really helpful for me - no money (!) but will have a look at Dorothy Stringer and Blatchington Mill. Am not catholic - CofE, but not sure if that will suffice for catholic school.

Thanks also nurseblade, thats really useful to start my searches - I'll have a look at Patcham Primary.

cantspel Fri 04-Mar-11 00:19:06

Dont forget that brighton has the lottery system for secondary schools so even though you live 5 minutes way from a good school you could still find your children being bused miles away to a sink one.

threefeethighandrising Fri 04-Mar-11 01:18:21

What cantspel said.

You actually have no choice at all for secondary, it is decided for you by lottery at 11.

I have no idea how it works if you transfer in later though.

looloolollie Fri 04-Mar-11 07:37:00

Thanks threefeethighandrising and cantspel, that's the case in some schools round here but not the majority. Not much fun! What about sibling policies?

Its a bit scary as they're both in really good schools here but I do plan to move out of London ASAP. confused

cantspel Fri 04-Mar-11 13:09:33

No siblings policy either. It is a straight lottery. You can get lucky and get them both in as my friend has just managed it but it is all down to luck and if the school is over subscribed.
If you want to be in sussex how about west sussex? as it is only east that has the lottery system.

haggis01 Fri 04-Mar-11 15:01:27

You need to phone the LA and speak to them. They can tell you which schools have spaces and the latest on the entrance policies (when we moved newcomers were given some priority).Question them closely - they are very helpful but sometimes the advice is a bit off. I was told that all new comers had to go to Falmer which put me off moving to Brighton, but when my DP phoned a few months later he was told that we may be allocated Falmer as it had most free spaces but that we could apply for the schools we wanted and if they had a vacancy or we had a special reason for needing a particular school we could be allocated it.
We tried to get DD into Dorothy Stringer as that was closest to where we were moving to and we liked it and it had the best reults in that area (this was 3years ago) - but they were already totally full for her year (year9)with 7 other people active on the waiting list, moving was also complicated for us - a vacancy came up in Varndean School which we were not so keen on but we took that.
You can only formally apply to the school once you have a tenancy contract (renting)or a copy of your exchange of contract (buying) so you have to move quickly if a space in a school you really want becomes vacant.We had trouble with our buyer pulling out late in the day and it was tricky co ordinating things.
MY DD was very happy at Varndean (which I think is considered ok )and made lots of friends - she got all A* and A's in her GCSE's . Varndean has worse league table results than Stringer but students are streamed in the core subjects for year 9 and at GCSE.
With primaries for our younger children we were offered one that was quite far away (too far to walk, although we were told primaries would always be allocated within walking distance)and then spaces in 3 different schools - in the end we home educated for a while until spaces came up in the nearest primary (balfour) which they are/were very happy at. The LA were helpful and lots of children stay on waiting lists and move school- quite a few in my sons primary started off at Hertford and in Varndean quite a few have moved from Patcham High.
The sibling link for secondaries is ending and all state schools are allocated through the lottery. Varndean and Stringer are in the same cachement so most people seem to apply to Stringer and if unsuccessful they will get Varndean, any spare places at Varndean get given to those outside the cachement who listed it in their choices - some areas only really have one school in the cachement and not much hope of allocation at a good school elsewhere in Brighton - check cachements for where you are planning to move to as it will affect your younger child eventually - unless the system is changed again (originally there were plans to make the lottery city wide)- if you rent you may be more mobile than if you buy.

Good luck - I don't really know Hove well, but know older teens who did well and were very happy at Blatchington. I also know people who are really happy with St Luke's Primary (Hanover/Queen's Park), Stanford Primary and Downs.

There are discussions of this sort in the archives if you scroll further down and back on this local list.

BluddyMoFo Fri 04-Mar-11 15:04:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BluddyMoFo Fri 04-Mar-11 15:05:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpeedyGonzalez Fri 04-Mar-11 15:17:18

For primaries in Hove, Goldstone is great (formerly struggling, now amazing), as are West Hove and Davigdor. Also Westdene, Balfour, Carden, Hertford and Stanford - all in Brighton, all have either good or outstanding OFSTED reports AND parents love them. But for all except Goldstone and Westdene, you'll need to live pretty close to the school to get in - check the council website for their Primary Allocation Factsheet, as it will show the distances of the furthest allocated places in 2010.

St Andrews is an excellent C of E school in Hove but highly oversubscribed, and you'd need to be at the church for 2 years to get a place. Same goes for Aldrington and St Luke's.

Get in touch with us all when you move! It's the BEST PLACE!! grin

threefeethighandrising Fri 04-Mar-11 17:40:37

"it is only east [sussex] that has the lottery system"

I thought it was just Brighton. It's not all of East Sussex, is it? confused

raiseaneyebrow Fri 04-Mar-11 20:39:58

I didn't know the sibling link for secondaries was ending...when's that happening? What a nightmare!

haggis01 Fri 04-Mar-11 21:45:51

I think the sibling link ended this year (with the recent allocation of places for this September) with the current year 10. When the lottery was introduced the sibling link was due to be kept for 5 years until all the children who started secondary just before it was introduced were through to the end of GCSE's(as the link may have affected school choice) but was then to end so that the social mix at the schools would be more even (on info I was given when applying a few years back. However, perhaps my info is out of date and the link is being kept. Perhaps someone has checked lately.

Sorry if I am wrong and have startled anyone.

looloolollie Sat 05-Mar-11 10:43:23

WOW! Thanks everyone for very helpful responses, I am encouraged by the good stories of successful moves but the system seems much more complicated than London!! Lots of tips which will help me start my search - interesting about the speed it all goes at Haggis as I dont think I would be in a position to home school. Will have to think of how I can plan it all. Its a shame about the sibling policy as I was relieved once I had gone through all the hurdles with the oldest to think I probably would have an easier time sorting out the youngest! Oh well, I think ultimately its a better move for us to get out of London and live by the sea!!

smile smile smile

scarlotti Sun 06-Mar-11 21:50:49

The lottery is still catchmented though - so you can move to one area with just one school allocated and there's no choice so they'd end up in the same one. The two supposed best senior schools are Stringer and Blatchington Mill - both are in the lottery as there are also Varndean and Hove Park allocated to the same postcodes.
Cardinal Newman will take you as CofE but you will be lower priority than any catholics, or any pupils that went to catholic primary schools.
Patcham High school isn't that good. DD went there for a while then we moved - we got her into Blatchington Mill - best thing we could have ever done for her. Patcham had a 22% pass rate (5 gsce) and Blatch had 78%.
Phone the council admissions and chat to them, they are very helpful and will explain which schools are allocated to which postcodes.

looloolollie Mon 07-Mar-11 18:20:14

Thanks Scarlotti - I had a look at catchment areas which has focussed the mind a bit!
My DD's school has about 95% A-C pass rate so its a bit of a worry changing that and taking a risk, however my friend was talking to me today and reminding me that the pass rate is only one element and actually if you have switched on parents and an enthusiastic child, they will most likely do well in most schools.


scarlotti Tue 08-Mar-11 12:09:57

I agree, however peer pressure is a remarkable influence in high school. I would caution against Patcham if you can - DD is/was very enthusiatic but was one of very few bright ones there. However, having said all that the lottery and catchment system is balancing out the schools so there are more able pupils in all schools. It was the lack of other able students that DD suffered from as there was no challenge for her - she was always finishing her work with plenty of time left in lessons.

Good luck with your decision and your move, it is a lovely place to live!

melodyangel Wed 09-Mar-11 11:07:24

Brighton and hove sibling link policy

looloolollie Sat 12-Mar-11 13:19:10

Thanks loads. xx

impossible Tue 25-Oct-11 12:57:41

Hi Looloolollie - just wondering how you got on in Brighton re schools (if you have moved there). We are in very similar circumstances and are terribly worreid about moving dd (yr 8) and ds (yr 5) from thriving local London state schools and particularly worried about them making friends (especially my ddd going into secondary school late and maybe not getting a local school). Any thoughts welcome.

javo Fri 04-Nov-11 10:34:27

We moved from London a few years ago. My DD1 was in year 9 and started at secondary in February .Making friends was fine - a group of girls "adopted" her on day one . My DD3 had a slightly harder time in year 5 of primary - but this was because she really didnt want to be there - so it was hard for the children who had been organised to buddy up with her - she did make 2 very good friends after a month or so - who were quiet and disliked school in general like her and the school was very proacative in helping her.

Keep phoning the LA and hold out for local schools that you want - we were told if we moved to Brighton that we would be automatically offered Falmer ( now Aldridge Academy) although it was nowhere near where we were going to live, but after further chats it turned out that newcomers are (controversially) given priority for in year moves.

upthealdi Sun 06-Nov-11 09:57:01

How does that work? Do you mean they keep some places back for newcomers? Or that when a place becomes available it is given to a newcomer rather than someone on the waiting list?

pinkhebe Sun 06-Nov-11 10:06:33

The lottery is to be abolished

as long as you live in the catchment area siblings will be linked.

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