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Any thoughts on these primary schools in the Hemel area?

(17 Posts)
MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 18:05:53

A huge thank you and thanks to everyone who has helped me out over the last month or so (here and on the Property forum!) with making decisions in our move to the Hemel area. We've found a rental property that suits us perfectly right near Boxmoor School (yes, have done my research.. I know about the dodgy Ofsted) and if all goes to plan we will be moved by the end of half term.

I know there are at least a handful of you who live there (and have helped me before!) so I'm going to fire off what will hopefully be my last questions on the subject!

To cut a long story short, we need to decide which of Chaulden, Micklem or Tudor Rose schools we should apply to as a stopgap measure for DD1 (in year 1) until she gets a place at Boxmoor. As of 3rd September, these are the only schools with Y1 places according to the council. I've no idea how often they update their spreadsheet though. If anyone knows of any other schools that are likely to have places pop up quite quickly please let me know!

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on these three schools. I've studied the league tables and the Ofsteds but I know only too well they only tell one part of the story.

She's quite sensitive so a school that doesn't have too much of a bully problem is preferred. It's hopefully only going to be short term for at most a few years, so the results stuff doesn't matter quite so much although it would be nice if she didn't get bored (she's very academic).

Also we have three slots for schools to apply to. Obviously one is going to be Boxmoor so we can get on the waiting list, and one should be our favourite from the three which apparently have spaces, but what should I put as the third? Another one that is likely to have spaces just in case the space at the other one gets filled? Or take a gamble on getting in at some other school..?

Thank you!!

ReallyTired Wed 26-Sep-12 18:21:30

I got roasted for commenting on the low results of Chaulden on the thread.

I think that Tudor or Micklem would be fine for a temporary measure. Prehaps one advantage of tudor is that many children go to Hemel School for secondary. Although its not technically a feeder school, its nice to have friends you know when you go to secondary.

Places come at schools all the time. I suggest you visit the schools that I listed even if they don't have places at at the moment to see which ones you like. Nothing can subsitute seeing a school and its teachers in real life. Its well worth asking how long waiting lists are.

clam Wed 26-Sep-12 18:31:06

What about Little Gaddesden? Village school, beautiful drive there, may well have spaces if vertically grouped classes. Or would it be difficult dropping off with another child in the mix.
What about Pixies?
Have you looked at Bovingdon/Kings Langley? Further afield but good schools.

MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 18:43:05

Thanks ReallyTired - you've been great! Sorry you got roasted on my other thread, it did seem you were misunderstood sad

Yes, I was leaning towards one of those two as well, excellent point that those at Tudor Rose would be more likely to go to the Hemel School (where we want to send all the DC eventually) - I hadn't spotted how close Micklem was to the Cavendish.

You're absolutely right, I should go and look round a few of them. It's the practicalities to a certain degree though - we're 90 minutes away by car even when the traffic is good and I need to get back to pick DD1 up from school! And I'd have the two younger DC with me as well and DD2 in particular has zero impulse control and makes doing anything of any importance impossible most days..

I'm planning on asking the council tomorrow how long the waiting lists are. I tried yesterday but their computers were down(!) so I'll give it another go tomorrow as I won't have DD2 around yelling random stuff in the background either.

Thank you again grin

MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 18:57:00

Thanks Clam! I'd not heard of Little Gaddesden. It doesn't seem to have spaces, although Great Gaddesden does. Having said that, it is CofE, and we're not in the slightest bit religious. I'm a little wary of religious schools for that reason - in that DD1 in particular really respects what teachers have to say and if it's something different to the way we talk about things at home she might get confused! Having said that, DH went to a Catholic school and he's now an atheist..

The main downside though, as you say, would be the distance which also applies to Bovingdon and Kings Langley (no spaces for either in Y1, but there are in other years which suggests they might come up easily). It wouldn't be so bad this school year as DD2 would not have started school but it could be a nightmare next year if she doesn't get into Boxmoor before then. Also I love to walk places and hate piling everyone into the car. I wouldn't mind it for a few terms though, just not forever.

Thank you!!

MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 19:12:31

Meant to say - I looked at Pixies, would be happy for DD1 to go there, but don't think she'd get in. Might consider it as the second ranked school on the application form though, as I guess you never know! It's the closest non-religious school after Boxmoor and Chaulden.

clam Wed 26-Sep-12 19:26:23

Bear in mind that a lot of kids from Chaulden also end up at Hemel School. That always struck me as.... not sure what, but when I heard many people desperate for Boxmoor citing all these snobby reasons why Chaulden wouldn't do and then those same people were desperate for Hemel Secondary where, lo and behold, those same kids from Chaulden were going to be!

And forgive me, because my info is probably out of date, but Tudor always used to be regarded as a complete no-go. It has since amalgamated with something else I think, hence the name-change, but the catchment will be dodgy the same. I'm probably speaking out of turn, because I confess I've never set foot inside the place, so it might be fab.

Check out Great Gaddesden! And I wouldn't worry about the C of E bit. All schools, state or church, have to teach an hour of RE a week, with the main focus being Christianity, and lots go to the local church for visits/Christmas services etc.. anyway. I'm pretty sure they won't be sprinkling incense and chanting the Te Deum in assemblies.

ReallyTired Wed 26-Sep-12 20:34:22

I don't think the catchment area for tudor is particularly dodgy (by Hemel standards anyway!). Or maybe it depends what you are comparing it with. The OFSTED report for Tudor is good and behaviour and safety is outstanding.

MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 21:44:19

Thank you both!!

DH says he doesn't want us to need to drive to a school, so even if I was on the fence, that would tip me over. It just adds another layer of complication really, especially as we only have one car and you just never know. It's not like here in London where there's always public transport everywhere every few minutes!

I think I'll try and check out both Tudor and Micklem in person and see which one I prefer. I have to make a trip up to check out nurseries anyway (Lime Grove nursery looks promising on paper and they have spaces..) for DD2. I'd rather nursery two full days than pre-school five half days as I hate needing to be back by lunchtime every day.

Given the area we're coming from, which in terms of statistics has a far more deprived catchment than anywhere around Hemel, I have to say those sort of things don't bother me so much as how the children actually behave. They're fine at DD1's school right now. My sister was bullied mercilessly (to the extent she ended up in A&E a few times, although she lied about the cause at the time) at the private school in the countryside she got a scholarship to because she didn't have a pony. You can't win!

clam Wed 26-Sep-12 22:03:11

Lime Grove is certainly local to Boxmoor. My two went there as babies 2 days a week, but it had quite a "school-y" feel to it higher up. I then shifted them to Moor End Farm Kindergarten once they could walk, as in those days they only started at that stage. They take babies now. Loved it.

MurderOfProse Wed 26-Sep-12 22:21:50

Thanks!!

DD2 could probably do with a gentle introduction to schoolish ways (right now she is just a bundle of impulsive chaos!) before she starts school next September, so that's no bad thing! Her current (really really good) nursery does follow the EYFS, but it is more about play.

Mind you, I have heard good things about Moor End as well, although it's a bit more out the way.

ReallyTired Wed 26-Sep-12 22:58:20

For pre school/ nursery I suggest that you look at

young discovers

It will be in easy walking distance to you and lot cheaper than Lime Grove. Lime Grove is a private day nursery and substantially more expensive. Most of the pre schools in hemel will give you a full school day (ie. 9 to 3) if you prefer.

It might be worth asking if the Heath lane nursery (state nursery) has any places available as it has wrap around care provided by Young discovers. The heath lane children centre is near the young discovers as well.

I think its possible to split your free entitlement between young explorers and Heath Lane to give a full day, but I am not sure. We did seriously consider sending dd to heath lane, but decided against it because of logistics of getting her there and back and ds to his primary school.

Maybe some Boxmoor person can give you a recommendation on doctors. Our inlaws are with Parkwood Drive, but I have no clue what it is like.

MurderOfProse Thu 27-Sep-12 17:21:44

Thanks for the recommendations! We're already using a private nursery so used to the cost. I actually enjoy her having a full day there because it means I can spend some one on one time with DD1 before fetching DD2 smile

Just rang the council - they couldn't tell me anything of real use unfortunately, only if there were spaces available, not how many were on the waiting list. Apparently I can only get that information when I apply and then only for the schools in question and where she is on that list. Damn!

clam Thu 27-Sep-12 18:27:34

I strongly recommend Fernville Surgery. Excellent.
Although Lincoln House has just relocated to Apsley and is brand spanking new. Don't know what facilities it has there.

MurderOfProse Thu 27-Sep-12 19:23:54

Oooh, fabulous - doctor surgery recommendations are VERY useful! Thank you!!

whattodoo Thu 27-Sep-12 20:23:55

Lincoln House is fab. Some very good docs.

Thoroughly recommend Jack & Jill's nursery, but it is the other side of Hemel to Boxmoor, so prob not useful.

MurderOfProse Fri 28-Sep-12 09:35:45

Thank you for the recommendations!!

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