Advice on primary schools in Reigate & Redhill pls!

(87 Posts)
Gracelimsh Tue 20-Sep-11 15:09:37

We live in London at the moment but have bought a house in Redhill/Merstham (Watercolour development). We are looking to move only in spring next year due to existing work commitments but are mindful that we have to apply for a place in reception for my son who turns 4 in April by mid January. I have been told by Surrey County Council that we have to be resident at our house in Redhill at the time of application. I wondered if this is correct (I'm seeking written confirmation from Surrey County Council at the moment)? We can prove that we own the house in Redhill.

Also, I wondered if anyone has any views on these schools - Merstham Primary, Furzefield and St Matthews CofE. Merstham has a good Ofsted report but is oversubscribed and I think we may be just outside the nearest school distance as per last year's Published Allocation Numbers. Furzefield and St Matthew's Ofsted ratings are only satisfactory, but the inspections were carried out a while back, so I wondered if anyone has a view on them?

The last thing is, does anyone live in the Watercolour development in Redhill and if so, which school do your kids go to?

Many thanks!

SparklePrincess Wed 28-Sep-11 16:58:40

Thanks Gracelimsh. smile Fingers crossed all goes to plan.

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 17:52:31

Hi there we live central Reigate and mine go to the one I mentioned which is v good I have to say, even as someone that is a but sceptical about private schools. We are planning to move to caterham in the new year. Th traffic my way, Reigate to caterham is fine really, takes about 20 mins. Watercolour to Reigate would be ok too, maybe a bit longer, traffic is not really that bad, compared to London. Does sometimes snarl up if there is a problem on the m25.

Bizarrely, I work in Lewisham and actually it is quite easy to get to from redhill, that is what i do! 25 mins train from redhill ( or merstham might be nearer ) then quick change at london bridge over the top o the platforms and 10 mins to Lewisham. I sometimes drive too if dropping the kids off, J 6 m25 round to J 3, takes just over an hour in the mornings, 50 mins back if I leave at 5.

Gracelimsh Wed 28-Sep-11 20:33:13

So yours go to Oakhyrst? Will give them a call tomorrow to see if they still have spaces for reception next year.

How bizarre that you work in Lewisham too! How long does it take you door to door if you take the train? Also, do you park at the station? Maybe moving earlier is possible then. We always thought that the commute to Lewisham would be a nightmare.

Thanks for the useful information!

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 09:17:18

Oakhyrst is full for reception 2012!

SparklePrincess Thu 29-Sep-11 12:14:48

I don't understand how they can be full for a Sept 12 intake when primary admissions haven't even taken place yet? Or is this a private school?

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 14:24:02

Yeah, it's a private school. I'm not optimistic about getting into Merstham primary and the next two nearest schools aren't great, so I'm trying to line up some private options, but it looks like my choices are very limited!!

befuzzled Thu 29-Sep-11 15:21:19

Hi There. I think every year group is full now sad - all the private schools round here fill up really quickly in the early years because state primaries are so massively oversubscribed. I have just registered my 9m old for the Nursery class! there is a waiting list and you get movement sometimes in Y1/2 and 3. One child left my eldests class after reception as moved away. Have you tried Hawthornes? I think RSm and Micklefield are doable distance wise but you may find they are also full for reception as fall out from this round of admissions (i know 3/4 famillies in my other dc preschool class who went this route as didnt get the schools they wanted). where is your nearest school straight line distance? you will get this ime. Hope it works out! and you will enjoy living in the area once you get the schools sorted out.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-11 15:49:05

Hawthorns likely to be full too (they have is a nursery which feeds vast majority of Reception places) but you never know. There is an open day there next week so definitely enquire before then !

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:06:22

Befuzzled, no, I haven't tried Hawthornes as the fees are quite a fair bit more than the other private schools. I guess we will see Micklefield on Monday - they seemed to indicate that there are spaces but wouldn't commit - maybe they want to see if we are the sort of people they want to have in their school!

The nearest school to us in a straight line is Merstham Primary, which is just over 0.9km. Next nearest is Furzefield (yikes), which we will definitely get into easily but I'm not happy with. And then nearest after that is St. Matthew's. We wouldn't qualify for St. Joseph's as the child needs to be baptised, etc, etc and we aren't Roman Catholic.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-11 16:14:07

Have you visited Furzefield ? You may be surprised. Certainly don't rely on Ofsted reports alone. Surely Hawthorns is a similar cost to RSM ?

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:31:42

Lizs, you are right! RSM's fees are the same as Hawthorn's! Not sure why I thought they were cheaper! No, we haven't visited any of the state schools yet.

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:41:10

Hawthorn's is full too!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 16:50:41

Hiya Gracelimsh... I live in Redhill, we've just done our application for ds. I live 900m from St Johns and last year the furthest applicant lived 800m away and there were 17 siblings (they only have an intake of 30) shock I've applied anyway because ds goes to pre school there. I have also heard bad things about St Matthews. One of the mum's at ds's pre school is actively trying to move away from it because it has a reputation for bullying.

Sorry I can't help about applying before you've taken up residency in your new house. It's all been a bit of a blur for me too. I just to say hello to another Redhill mum who's looking for a reception place next year too! smile

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:59:16

Hi there, Headfairy! Good to hear from another mum looking for a reception place! What were your other two choices, if you don't mind me asking? I think there is definitely no harm applying as the furthest distances vary from year to year, depending on how many children there are entering reception that year.

Thanks for the information on St. Matthew's. I did read a section in the Ofsted report about bullying and thought that that did not sound good!

Good luck and I hope you get the school of your choice!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 17:06:53

I put down Earlswood and Wray Common as my third choice. I'll probably end up at Wray Common. It's not terrible. Our builders children go there, and he said it's fine, they do lots of extra activities and involve the parents a lot. He did say it was a bit chavvy (his word, not mine grin) but so long as I stick to a rigorous routine of elocution and polo matches at the weekend we should be able to avoid the worst influences wink grin

Our nearest school is St Josephs' but we dont' meet the criteria, although ds is baptised (dying wish of great granny) we don't go to church much beyond Easter and Christmas so we wouldn't get the referral from the priest.

As for St Matthews... bullying in primary school is scary. Puts me waaaay off. I rang the Surrey Admissions people and they said if I didn't put it down on my application then we probably won't be offered a place there (phew!)

I'm dreading doing this all again for secondary schools.. it's even tougher! <starts saving hard for RAAS> grin

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 21:02:30

Earlswood and Wray Common are both good choices. They would be my second and third choices, but I know that we won't get in by a long way. Did you apply online? What docs did you have to submit?

Can't believe what a minefiled this whole school application thing is! Ironically, we wanted to move out of London so that we could have a better choice of state schools, but at this rate, it looks like we will end up going private and having to pay an arm and a leg for school fees!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 23:01:02

I did apply online, purely to allow me to change my mind if open days change my views on a school. I wasn't asked to provide any documents, though I was asked my council tax number. As I was doing the application at work I didn't have it with me, but the application went through any way... I must remember to add it in later before it's too late!!!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 23:06:44

Could you apply as soon as you complete your move and get on the waiting list even if your dc does one year or term at a private school - I know one friend who's son is on the waiting list for St johns even though he's at earlswood... She said she'll decide if and when a place comes up whether to move him or not. She's right next door to St johns so it would be more convenient for her, but they like earlswood too.

That's one of the reasons I put St johns down first... If we end up at wray common I will go on the waiting list for a place St St johns as it was my first choice and then if a place comes up we can decide whether to move ds over...

befuzzled Thu 29-Sep-11 23:49:05

If merstham is your nearest you may get it you know. You generally get your nearest school in surrey due to the priority system if your child is not a sibling or doesn't have special or social needs.

LIZS Fri 30-Sep-11 08:38:58

I think you really need to visit these schools, meet staff, get a sense of how they are run and the areas from which the kids come. Also broaden your search to the local village schools as I mentioned before. They are as easy to drive form where you will live to as any school in Reigate or St Johns.

LIZS Sat 15-Oct-11 07:21:59

How did you get on ? Drove through Watercolour last week and spotted 3 in Nutfield uniform and one in Furzefield (Red Oaks nursery bookbag!).

dawnpreview Sat 03-Dec-11 13:50:00


I have put down Wray Common as first choice for my twins for next Sept. My closest school is St Johns, but I just didn't get as nice a 'feel' for it as I did for Wray Common. It is so important to go and see the schools, as until I looked round I would have automatically put St Johns as it is nearest.

Gracelimsh Thu 08-Mar-12 13:08:17

Hi Lizs, sorry for the long silence! We put in our application for state schools and are awaiting the outcome - we have put down Merstham Primary as a first choice, Wray Common as second and Earlswood as third. Very unlikely to get into any of them, especially Merstham Primary as the head there said that NONE of the kids at the school live at the Watercolour development!! Anyway, we have secured a place at Micklefield, so will probably go private and work until I'm 80!

headfairy Thu 08-Mar-12 13:19:45

Good luck Grace... St John's announced on Monday they're taking a bulge class this year. Many of the parents of children already there are not happy as they feel the school hasn't got the space and can't cope with a two form entry so everyone will suffer. I don't know if this is true, it might make the difference for me to get ds in though. I do hope he gets his place, if for no other reason than dd will be going to the nursery there from Sept too!

I'm surprised you got that dawnpreview. I liked Wray common and it's on my list, but I felt St John's, being smaller, felt more friendly. Mind you, everyone gets a different vibe don't they? I might be regretting our choice when I see Wray Common's amazing new pool! grin

Gracelimsh Thu 08-Mar-12 13:48:56

Good luck, headfairy. If St John's is taking a bulge class, that will improve your chances of getting ds in! I haven't even gone to see Wray Common although I've put it down as second choice!

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