Moving to Tunbridge Wells

(15 Posts)
Lillylu Tue 07-Jan-14 04:07:55

Hello there, just wondering if anyone can help me? We are moving to Tunbridge Wells in June this year. I have no clue about the area, community or schools but have managed to do a little research. Although, don't know how accurate the information may be on primary schools. I have two daughters both will require primary school placements for September this year. My findings have highlighted that Langton Green, Claremont and Groombridge St Thomas are the top three in this area. Can anyone share their thoughts on this or advise me otherwise pls. Eternally grateful for any feedback. Many Thx.

ucallihaul999 Tue 07-Jan-14 18:40:45

Hi Lillylu. Although I'm not 100% au fait with the Tunbridge Wells area, a couple of great sites to visit would be
I hope this proves to be of some help. Kind regards, U Call I Haul.

EJMum Tue 07-Jan-14 19:01:39

Don't mean to be a grump but it exceptionally difficult to get school places (particularly at reception level) at schools generally in TW, but particularly Claremont. You will need to make sure you are within catchment to have a chance. It might be easier higher up the school but there is a huge pressure on primary school places. That said I don't think there are many terrible schools - Temple Grove Academy on the Sherwood Eaate doesn't have a great reputation and neither does St Matthew's but I think they are working hard to turn them around. St Johns is another large primary whoh has a good name around here as personally I thought the ethos of St Barnabas was lovely. People also really rate St James'. I would contact KCC as soon as you have a firm moving date. My kids are a village school just outside TW but don't underestimate the traffic; it's gridlock most days so adds to where you choose!

Generally the town is a great place to bring up kids; lots going on for families, lovely parks and relatively safe.

jaundicedoutlook Tue 07-Jan-14 22:19:57

You need to live right on top of Claremont to get in at present, as it is packed with siblings. Otherwise many/most of the good primaries close to the centre are church schools, if that's your thing...

jaundicedoutlook Tue 07-Jan-14 22:22:35

...and btw, the Kent 2014 intake for primaries shuts in a week or so, for those already in the area. Check out the KCC website, which will also explain about late entry from outside the authority.

Dunwhingin Tue 07-Jan-14 22:34:28

St John's and st James are well spoken about and we have friends kids at the schools.
You do need to move quickly, there is a big problem with over subscription as previous posters mentioned.
Welcome to the town, you will love it, so much going on and great things to do with kids

Lillylu Thu 09-Jan-14 02:32:27

Thank you all for your advise. I phoned around six schools in the area today and yes you are correct even with us being only 0.06 miles away the waiting list at Claremont is very high. What are your thoughts on Broadwater Primary and The Mead School as they appear to be in my catchment area?

buskeroo Thu 09-Jan-14 18:15:34

Hi there - and welcome to TW. The Mead is private, I expect it's lovely but commensurately pricey! Broadwater is our local primary but my kids are pre-school so I don't have personal experience - yet. Some people are a bit sniffy about it but I have heard good things - that it's welcoming and friendly etc - and my childminder's kids both went there and have gone on to get Grammar school places; she speaks highly of it.
Groombridge St. Thomas' is supposed to be excellent if you can get in (apparently easier than Claremont where there are something like 8 non-sibling places this year) and are prepared to drive there.
Hope that helps a little bit... And good luck with the move!

Lillylu Fri 10-Jan-14 13:48:08

Thank you buskeroo. I feel a little better knowing that someone has gone to Broadwater and speaks highly of it. I will have a year or just less than that to prepare my daughter for 11+. As in Sept 2014 she will be in year 6. So, my only two options seem Claremont and Broadwater. They are the two closest to our address. I contacted the other recommended schools and those performing highly but we don't stand a chance being further away from them and therefore, lower on their list of priority. How long ago did your childminder's children go there? Ofsted report on Broadwater is good or satisfactory and stats are very low in comparison to other popular and higher performing schools.

jaundicedoutlook Fri 10-Jan-14 23:04:32

Not sure on precise fees for Mead, but the general going rate at most of the preps, once up to full fees by age 7, is c.£1k per month. If going that route there is also Rose Hill, Holmewood (which has a rather pushy parent rep) and the schools over towards Tonbridge, such as Somerhill and Kent College.
With the local schools, Pembury has decent reports and had a larger catchment, so could also be worth considering if Bwater doesn't suit...

kriiss Mon 13-Jan-14 09:17:22

Hi Lillylu, my DS will also be in y6 in Sept. He's in Groombridge and I know they have a number of vacancies for that year. The question is whether you can get your other DD in. It's a 10 min drive from T Wells. Happy to make some enquiries for you. It's a lovely school that challenges them academically but is in East Sussex so doesn't prepare them for the 11+. You'll want to get a tutor anyway and/or home tutor. Exams for Sept 2015 secondary entry are at the beginning of Sept 2014. A number of schools in the area offer really good 11+ summer camps that you may want to consider once you've moved. Once you have a schools shortlist you should come to visit them. At the end of the day we all just want our children to be happy and have a positive school experience. Most of the schools in the area are good so it's a question of finding somewhere your DD's will feel happy in and whose ethos fits in with yours. Good luck!

debtwells Mon 13-Jan-14 21:45:28

Hi lillylu, just thought I would add, it could be worth looking at Frant primary as you will be on that side of town. Or the new Tunbridge Wells Free School for your youngest.

Frantmum Fri 24-Jan-14 08:53:06

Hi, both my kids have been at a variety of local schools, so here's my view....they were at Holmewood House...overpriced/overrated and good luck with the pushy parents...they moved to Frant (you will have to live in the village to be in the catchment area) sweet but packed and overrated:teaching is patchy-some great teachers, some questionable. From my friends...mixed reports on The Mead but Somerhill/Rose Hill/Groombridge fab.....Claremont private has good reports and I'm a massive fan of Bethany School- highly underrated with fantastic pastoral care. The 11+ saga is a nightmare...and worse if you are out of county, but you've a good chance of getting your girls into the grammars if you are in Kent and they're bright....Weald of Kent if not TOGs ...TWGS I think has a very small catchment area. Good luck!

Lu13 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:00:27

How old is your youngest Lillylu?

MrsY Thu 06-Mar-14 16:56:26

Pembury has gone down to two form intake this year, so I doubt the catchment will stretch that far. My daughter is in reception there and (mostly) loves it. Communication is v. poor though.

I hated TWGGS, but everyone is differnet. TOGS is very academic, very intense. Weald of Kent is popular, and Mascalls in Paddock Wood is improving all the time, I believe. Also Skinners Kent Academy has turned around hugely in the last few years and is now many people's first choice.

My sister went to Bethany, and loved it.

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