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Location for best primary and grammar school within London/greater london?

(23 Posts)
countrysidemuffin Wed 19-Sep-12 15:16:15

My husband and I moved to the UK 3 years. Our daughter is about 2.5 years now. We can?t afford private education but would like the best education the state can provide ? both primary and grammar school.

Which places should we consider to more to? Our situation is:

1. I work in Liverpool Street and husband works in Canary Wharf. We would like to keep the travel time to less than 1 hour (max).

2. We would like to buy a 3/4 bed house. Our budget is about 450-500K. We can cut down on number of rooms - our most important consideration is that the place should have the best primary and grammar schools.

3. Kent seems to have most of the state schools. What are the rules regarding grammar school admission ? if someone is from outside Kent can he/she still apply for grammar school in Kent (any priority given to applicants who are within the catchment?).

Any suggestions ?

Thank you for reading my post.

countrysidemuffin Wed 19-Sep-12 16:01:51

no posts. Wondering why?

Farewelltoarms Wed 19-Sep-12 16:06:26

What might be worth bearing in mind is that Kent overall is one of the worst performing counties in the country. Yes fine if your daughter gets into a grammar (although many are not brilliant), but you're a bit stuffed if you don't. There's a poster on here with a son who on paper was sure fire grammar material but messed up on the day and there's no second chances. Personally I'd find somewhere with great comprehensives so you're not faced with this division at 11.
I live in central London so can't be much help, but in terms of grammars and your commute, then Essex is a better bet isn't it?

JamieandTheMagicTorch Wed 19-Sep-12 17:23:11

Southend has Grammars - Southend and Westcliff High Schools for boys and girls. Southend itself is on the Liverpool St line, or nicer places to live are Leigh-on-Sea/Westcliff, which are on the Fenchurch St line - 40-50 mins journey time. In your position I'd look there. But I come from there - don't live there now.

JamieandTheMagicTorch Wed 19-Sep-12 17:24:04

Those places I mentioned are in Essex.

Blu Wed 19-Sep-12 17:34:50

You cannot possibly know whether your child of 2.5 will get into a grammar school, especially one of the so-called 'super selective' grammars.

Better to choose somewhere that has good primary schools, good (properly good) comprehensives which provide a good education in streamed or set subjects for all abilities, and the option of grammars close by should she turn out to be a top performer academically.

It would be disastrous to move somewhere with good grammars and terrible comps and then find that your dd does not get a place in the grammar. It isn't simply a matter of passing the 11+, the comptition is so great that they have to be in the top tiny% of children who have passed the 11+. Not every child who passes the 11+ gets a place at a grammar.

Grammars have the highest ability intake - good education is also available in many good comps.

And anything could happen to any school within the next 8 years.

For your budget and good primaries and secondaries look at Streatham / W Norwood. Excellent travel connections (fast Thameslink to London Bridge) and if you buy in the right roads you can be in the catchment for a great school like Julian's primary and then Dunraven secondary. Or Streatham Wells Primary and then Dunraven. With the option of trying for Graveney selective streams. Or go to Catford and look at Kilmorie and then Sydenham (the girls state - not the private).

JamieandTheMagicTorch Wed 19-Sep-12 17:41:33

Ironically, I live in a "rough" Olympic borough with really good Comps/Academies and primaries. You could get a flat for your budget

suburbandream Wed 19-Sep-12 17:48:10

I disagree about Kent schools - Kent has some great state schools, grammar and comprehensive.

I don't understand your point 3 - Kent has most of the state schools?? There are state schools everywhere smile. Yes, you can apply for grammars if you are outside Kent - we have a friend who goes to a Kent grammar from central London.

I agree with others that at 2.5 it is a bit soon to be thinking about grammar schools for your DD, lots can change in the 8-9 years you've got before you have to face those decisions.

When we lived in central London and were planning to move out, we looked at areas by commute and school ofsteads initially - if you go on Rightmove you can find homes within your budget and then it also shows you the schools nearby, train stations etc. and links to ofsted/school results. That's where I'd start.

Blu Wed 19-Sep-12 17:50:32

Jamie: not ironic at all - London is full of really good comps academies and primaries. The things to watch are being in a catchment for one and having an open mind about our fellow Londoners. IMO.

Farewelltoarms Wed 19-Sep-12 17:59:55

Kent might have some great state schools (though I'd argue that they don't have any comps, only grammars and secondary moderns, whatever they call them), but statistically it performs very badly - something like the 55% of the poorest pupils in the county get results in the worst 20% nationally.
See Chris Cook of the FT for hard facts on this. He's also very good on how London, whatever people might say about moving out 'for the schools' is pretty much top nationally, especially for poorer kids. As Blu and Jamie have pointed out.

JamieandTheMagicTorch Wed 19-Sep-12 18:01:40

Blu - ironic because I'm banging on about Essex when I live here (and have 2 DCs very happily in state schools)grin .

JamieandTheMagicTorch Wed 19-Sep-12 18:01:52

... here being Hackney

Blu Wed 19-Sep-12 18:45:40

Jamie - oh, I see, sorry!

Farewell - yup! Lambeth schools perform above the national average, despite having very high levels on all the indices that we are told are factors against high achievement. And there are many excellent schools in Lambeth.

abrimfullofkasha Thu 20-Sep-12 10:24:45

countrysidemuffin there's a popular school in Victoria Park called Lauriston school where a friend of mine used to live - I thinks its quite near your area. Its oversubscribed as you would expect, but you could follow suit of the many parents who rent a nearby flat (there's a couple of blocks right next door to the school) until their kid gets a place, and do as they do - move out - or if you have enough cash you probably dont even need to move in. Unfortunately it means that the local families who have lived in the area for much longer may not get a place because of that, but you know if you have no scruples like them, and are really focused on getting a place for your child, then I'm sure you would fit in nicely. You could look at it as a cheap alternative to private schooling, a shortcut if you will. Pay for a flat for a few months, and hey presto you'll get a place without having to pay for the next 6 yrs whatevs. I think this is what parents do these days, those that want the exlusivity of private schooling without having to pay the fees.

Anyway, I hope it works out for you, good parenting and supporting your child will outweigh any 'good school' credentials.

Blossom8 Thu 20-Sep-12 11:18:02

I also work at Liverpool Street. Wanstead is a nice area and about 25 mins by tube to Liverpool Street and are the same time to Canary Wharf. The state primaries in the area are very good. The grammar school for girls in this borough (Redbridge) is Woodford County High which performs well. There are various private schools in the area which provides scholarship from 11.

Nottigermum Thu 20-Sep-12 11:22:06

Yes yes please move here, Wanstead, E11. Central line station 15 minutes into Liverpool Street. Really good state schools, very oversubscribed so you have to be quick. There are two very good primary schools (One OFSTED outstanding), another one which is good, two very good faith schools, and many excellent private schools. It's a reallly nice place to live and you can get a 3-4 bed for about 500 k

Mightyroar Thu 20-Sep-12 21:41:36

I am wondering if anyone on this thread knows which grammar schools do not judge on catchment area, in the kent/bromley area. I'm in SE London but too far from Newstead Wood which you need to be 9 miles from. I'm aware of Graveney in Tooting (not a grammar I know) but I'm wading through the list on 11+ checking each admission criteria and my brain hurts now.

suburbandream Fri 21-Sep-12 14:14:25

Mightyroar, I think wading through is the only way to do it - many have their own criteria. Also if you look on the local authority websites they do often have the criteria there and the details of last five years or so applications and the furthest distances children came from

oliverreed Fri 21-Sep-12 14:38:02

Mightyroar - in Bromley, St Olaves Grammar school for boys has no distance criteria - they pick the top scorers only. Other 'superselectives' in Kent such as Judd and Skinners (Tunbridge Wells) iirc.

BlueSkySinking Fri 21-Sep-12 17:30:30

Work backwards. Find a good grammar with a great state secondary school close by just in case your DD isn't grammar material. Then look at the feeder primary schools. Find three or four you like and visit them/the areas.

GateGipsy Fri 21-Sep-12 19:48:32

Yeah what BlueSky says. We have fabulous primaries in our area - Gipsy Hill/West Dulwich/West Norwood - Paxton, Elm Wood, Kingswood. St Julians as mentioned above. Dulwich Village. Rosendale.

But go up to secondary it is a lot tougher. Fabulous secondary schools - but far too many applicants for places. Our closest is hugely sought after, but it doesn't go on proximity! Kingsdale takes applicants from anywhere - you all go into a lottery and admission is based on that. Other schools operate a combination of lottery (they take 10% from each band) and proximity. So for Dunraven, The Norwood School, or Harris Crystal Palace, the children have to sit an entrance exam. Then they take 10% from each band, and if there's too many applicants, go on those closest to the school.

See what I mean? Total angst! Add to that the fact that there's not anywhere near enough secondary places for the number of pupils that are coming up and it is a total nightmare.

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 21-Sep-12 20:02:27

I grew up in Chislehurst, near Bromley, in Kent. Quite nice and leafy considering how near it is to London. Some good grammars I believe. I think it's worth trying to find a pleasant area too, and thinking about that aspect as well as schools. Good luck ! We're doing secondary school application for DS this month and hoping DS can follow DD into excellent faith school (Kings Cathedral School, Peterborough) If you're religious, or prepared to be !, that could be an idea - though I'm not sure I'd recommend it if you have other options smile

Blu Fri 21-Sep-12 20:07:05

GateGypsy: to be precise re Dunraven - all applicants take a banding test, an equal number of places are offered across each of 5 ability bands, and within those bands the places are offered according to the admissions criteria: Looked after / siblings / Social and medical / distance.

The intake stretches for up to a mile for some bands, with the catchment usually being smallest in the lower ability band. (because there are many applicants form criteria higher than distance in this band)

Some people eligible for those primaries you talk of will be able to get into Charter, or ElmGreen, Harrris ED Boys or Prendergast perhaps, and there is a new huge Academy opening on Christ Church Road, first intake in 2013, which should ease out the distances from which people can get into all the local secondaries - I would think it would ease pressure on Dunraven and ElmGreen, anyway.

But you are right, there are 'black holes'. 'Which road' is crucial.

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