New to area - advice on schools please

(12 Posts)
Olicesca0811 Wed 30-Jul-14 05:03:21


We are an Australian family relocating to Guildford, Surrey. We're looking at the Merrow area. Is anyone able to give advice on the area as far as schools are concerned? My son is 6 years old but has only completed half a year of our "prep" - equivalent to year one, so I am hoping he can start in year one to be with children his own age. We also have a 2 year old daughter and would ideally like them to attend the same school in the short term. I have briefly looked at St Thomas Catholic school, does anyone have any insight into this school and it's strengths or any of the local primary schools in the area? We're hoping to avoid going private straight away as would need time to research once we 're on the ground.

Any advice much appreciated!

LIZS Wed 30-Jul-14 10:47:04

If he is already 6 he would go into year 2 There is little if any flexibility within the state education system but ability range at this age is such that he should be fine.

Olicesca0811 Thu 31-Jul-14 03:55:41

Thank you. I should have mentioned that he has on,y just turned 6, not sure if that changes things at all?

LIZS Thu 31-Jul-14 07:29:19

No , the cut off is August 31st so still going into year 2.

Bekabeech Sun 03-Aug-14 09:24:36

The schools in that area are all very full, so I wouldn't set your heart on one, but be prepared to take whatever gives you a place. He will go into year 2, and it will be fine. All the schools in that area are fine, as are most schools in (if not all) in Guildford.
There is no need to go private if you can get into Guildford state schools, but there are good ones if you decide that is the route you want to follow.
Are you Catholic? That will push you up the waiting list for St Thomas of Canterbury.

Olicesca0811 Mon 04-Aug-14 08:43:37

Thank you. Yes, we are catholic and children baptised. Can I assume that the local primary school we are zoned for will be obliged to take us if we're not able to get a place at church school? The other area we are looking at is Bramley, if anyone has any recommendations or pros and cons between schooling in Bramley vs Merrow, I'd be most grateful!

Bekabeech Mon 04-Aug-14 11:23:13

Bramley is a village with limited transport, it is a very different place to live to Merrow, which is in a town. As Catholics if you live in Bramley you would still be eligible for the same Catholic secondary (if you stay that long).

Schools in the UK do not work by zoning or any school having to give you a place. Sorry.

When you are in the UK with a UK address you apply to the LA (Surrey) for a school place. On this form you can express a preference for up to 6 schools. If you first choice school has a place, you will get it (and so on down your list). If no schools on your list have a place, the LA has to find you a place "within a reasonable time and reasonable travelling distance", reasonable travel can be a lot further than you might expect.
If there are no schools with a place, then the LA can force one to give you a place. However this may not be a school you have chosen.

You can ask to go onto the waiting list of any schools you have applied to (and maybe others), and you will be put in a position on that list dependent on the entry criteria - so are likely to be towards the top for St Thomas's.

St Thomas's may be a Catholic school but it has to go through exactly the same admissions procedure as any other state school. It is considered part of the state system.

Finally you could appeal for a place, but until your son is 7 and in year 3, it is unlikely to win; as there are legal limits on class size in years R to 2.

Olicesca0811 Mon 04-Aug-14 11:45:00

Thank you very much for this, very helpful indeed. It sounds as though there isn't much we can do until we have our confirmed address.

Bekabeech Mon 04-Aug-14 12:24:02

There isn't. But don't panic, it normally works quite well, and it is an area where people do move so places do come up.

france14 Wed 06-Aug-14 16:26:39

HI, I live in Caterham and am looking for a local childminder who does whyteleaf school drop off and pick-up, can anyone help me?

Bekabeech Wed 06-Aug-14 17:47:49

france start your own thread - then someone might know. Its a very different area.

Olicesca0811 Thu 04-Sep-14 13:56:27

Search has taken a slightly different turn and we are moving to Godalming; would be grateful for any advice on the schools in the area?

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