Considering Relocating...(17 Posts)
Hi. I'm looking for some advice. We currently live in the south west of England with DH working away for 2 weeks at a time. We are considering relocating to Scotland next year to all be together as a family. We have a DD who is 12 yrs old, so understand that this could be difficult for her but she's happy to consider a move.
DH originally comes from Fife and all his family still live there. We are considering Stirlingshire area but not too sure where to start!
We currently live in a small town very close to the sea. Not close to shops or big supermarkets, which I miss! I would like to be closer to these things but not right in a city as we would miss the space around us. Also want to find a good secondary school for DD.
Is it hard for an English child to settle and make friends in a Scottish school? Would be welcome? I'm in such a muddle over what to do and where to go!
I lost my mum very suddenly at Christmas and this has left me finding it very hard to cope and needing a fresh start for all of us.
Thanks for any advice offered xx
An English child will be fine. Pretty much every school in Scotland will have English children or the children of English parents. It's not unusual.
Stirlingshire is lovely with lots of nice places to live.
If you were particularly looking for somewhere with a good mix of people from elsewhere somewhere like Dunblane might be good. Great schools at both primary and secondary, excellent transport links to Glasgow and Edinburgh, not far from lovely scenery and lots of history. Its house prices reflect all that though.
If you want to be closer to Stirling itself the Kingspark area of Stirling is nice but secondary school may be an issue.
Clyde properties or Slater Hogg are the big estate agents in the area.
I'm English living in Scotland and while I hate to sound like a snob I'll do it anyway: in some of the rougher council estates I'm scared to open my mouth because my accent will get me abuse. But it's only the fairly run down ones and even then abuse is pretty rare. To be fair my accent would get me abuse in some of the rougher estates in England too lol. If you're looking at a reasonable area you'll be fine and she won't have any more problems than a 12 year old would anywhere ;-)
One thing to remember is the school year splits differently here - it runs from 1st March to 28th Feb, and kids start school when they are between 4.5 and 5.5. 7 years at primary school and then on to high school, meaning they start high school when they are 11.5-12.5 (there are exceptions). Not sure if that would affect your daughter, but for March to August birthdays moving might put a child into a different year group from the English one. There seems to be a bit more flexibility about school years here though so it's unlikely to be a problem, just worth bearing in mind and checking with the school when/if the time comes.
Lots of nice bits of Fife, including ones near the sea. You might want to avoid the ex-mining towns, they struggle a bit. Would it make sense to look near hubby's work, if the point is to be with him?
In your boat I'd look for decent high schools in your chosen area and then use rightmove to scope out the type of housing. It might be worth checking whether your preferred school is oversubscribed first (sorry I don't know how but there must be a way??) as it would be awful to move because of a specific school and then not get into it.
As BenLui says if you want somewhere nice and with commuting links then you have to pay for it but it's still nothing like southeast England (not sure how it compares with the SW). Nice places without commuting links are often very cheap.
To be fair slb my accent would garner a "mouthful of abuse on some of the rougher council estates" and I'm undeniably Scottish.
One of the enormous benefits of Stirling is that you as an hour from the centre of two major cities and then a similar distance from proper countryside.
Stirling is a small university city so has a greater variation in its population than you might expect for its size. My DH is English and 20 years ago he got a few comments. Now nobody would bat an eyelid. Similar to another poster, my Scottish accent would get me a hard time in some of the most challenging areas. Although, we lived in one of the most notorious areas for some years and no one blinked at either of us so I am to sure that is something to worry about at all.
Bridge of Allan, Dunblane and Dollar are all very smart little towns but expensive. There are all a range of private schools locally if that was an option for you.
The actual county of Stirlingshire is very large and quite varied so if you wanted to narrow it down there are many of us could give you the low down.
I work in fife as well so could help a wee bit there as well if you like
Thank you so much all of you. Dunblane and BofA seem to come up quite a lot so they are definitely worth looking at. I think next step will need to be a trip to Scotland to get a feel for the area. Dh comes from Kirkcaldy but i know that I don't want to live there and neither does he. DD is 12 and will be 13 in January. Down here she is in Y8. Our budget for a house is around 250k.
It's reassuring that an English accent shouldn't stand out any more than anyone else's! I come from Sussex in SE England but now live in Cornwall.
I had a very bad experience once in Burntisland due to my southern accent! A particularly locals pub was extremely unwelcoming until my husband and 2 lsrgw BiLs stepped in and told everyone that they were with me and everyone in the pub knew them! For a minute or 2 it was scary!
Please don't let that experience put you off. I can think of places now that I wouldn't advise you to go but that will be the case UK wide. I know Kirkcaldy and Burntisland very well - I can well imagine the sort of experience you had.
BofA and Dunblane are terribly expensive so you may not get much for your cash. I have noticed that threads on here tend to focus on these areas very much but they are not the be all and end all. There are lots of nice parts of Stirling itself.
At 13 in January your DD would be in S2 currently so would be amongst the youngest in her year. Probably not a problem though. She would be starting S3 in Juneish which is when she would be starting to think towards Nationals.
Thank you guys. I appreciate all the advice so much. 😊 Is there any parts of Stirling that are (a) recommend and (b) best avoided? ☺
Avoid Raploch. But that'll be fairly obvious the first time you drive through it or look at rightmove. To be fair it's a lot better than it was!
Depends on what type of housing you are looking for and how close to town you want to be.
It's always difficult to tar a whole area with one brush as there can be mixed bits and sometimes it can make a difference just what side of a road you are on.
For me i'd avoid some just because they are a bit far out, so i'd cut out Whins of Milton and Bannockburn - Bannockburn High is also one of the least academic of those in Stirling itself. imo if you wanted to stay in Stirling i'd go for Stirling High catchment. Look at the Torbrex area - mostly 1960's style houses. If you can afford it then Kings Park area. Laurehill is nice. Riverside area is a real mix of council/ex council and private and flats - quite a quirky area and near for the town. cambuskenneth is nice I think but the level crossing to get in and out by car is a bit of a pain. Then you have Causwayhead , mostly nice and Bridge of allan which is more or less connected to Stirling. Bits of Cambusbarran are nice. You can mostly tell by looking on google maps. Braehead again is quite mixed with some nice private estates and council/ex council mixed but again Catchment high is Bannockburn but Stirling High not far away.
Unless of course you were looking for Catholic provision and you'd be looking at St Modans?
"Rougher" areas include Cultenhove, Some of St Ninians, Cornton, Raploch and Top of the Town (mainly flats). However there are a couple of much desired newish build estates in the Cornton area that sell like hot cakes. Catchment High is Wallace- not the most academic but particularly good for sports and seems well run. Although not overall academic, bright kids can and do do well (know people who have got straight As).
You can of course make a placing request to any of the schools and as far as I know they are usually able to accommodate - even Dunblane though the council website makes it sound as if they do turn people down. That hasn't happened since 2009.
Most days you can drive from Bridge of Allan at one end right to Bannockburn at the other in about 15 mins. It's not a big place.
Top end of budget and needing a bit of updating, but suburban living at it's finest:
one of the new build estates in Cornton
This is the lower end of the scale in the other new build estate just so you can get your bearings:
Quirky property near castle
Needs updating but good area:
You need look no further than Wax's amazing breakdown.
I would add that Wallace high has previously come out poorly in favour of Stirling high but actually my feeling is that it is actually a great school. It has challenges thanks to its incredibly varied catchment but it does a great job with what it gets.
Dunblane high school also used to put a bus on for kids in Stirling - not sure if they are still allowed to do that.
If you wanted more property for your money you could consider the hillfoots villages. They are off the train line and quite varied but some nice properties and Alva Academy is an excellent school
Thank you all so much for your amazing info and details! I've obviously found the right site for people with tons of local knowledge. I really appreciate your help.
When I do property searches for a 5 mile radius Alloa comes up a lot with lots of new builds within our budget. What is Alloa area like?
Alloa has been a little down at heal but still has its nice areas. It is on the train line and has plenty of lovely properties. I don't have intimate knowledge of the town itself but worth looking at.
Alloa does indeed have the railway line now which is good for getting back after a night out I believe However, i think most of the new builds are on the outskirts - this could be both a good and a bad thing depending on your outlook
My view is that I'd rather be in Stirling in a smaller house than in Alloa but I'm not really basing that on any particular intel., just my personal thoughts. I'd rate the hillfoots villages above the mining villages and there are some nice bits but again, hill views aside, my personal opinion is that I'd rather be in Stirling.
Oh and there is no bus that goes from Stirling to Dunblane at school times. There is a bus that runs from Kinbuck to Bannockburn but the timing is completely wrong. You either need to be somewhere within easy reach of the the road between the Uni and along BofA to catch a bus or take the train from Stirling or BofA. So if you wanted Dunblane High but to live out of catchment then you need to consider those travel options or be prepared to drive. Loads do though and there are various car shares that go on plus taxi services etc. Only one school service from Dunblane High and that's for pupils in Ashfield etc that are in catchment.
Not much to add... but just wanted to say that imo Stirling and Stirlingshire is fabulous; a great place to live. There are no high schools to avoid in Stirling Council (again imo...and i say that as a mum and as a teacher).
All the very best with your property search!
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