Moving from London to Brentwood/Billericay - primary schools/areas help!

(31 Posts)
LondontoEssex2012 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:19:22


I'm new here so apologies if this isn't the right area to post?

We are looking to move from south east london to Essex as my husband works there and I'm looking for advice on primary schools/nice areas to live in the Brentwood/Ingatestone/Billericay area. Can anyone help? We are looking to an area that is quick transport to London for me/is in the catchment area for good non religious primary schools/isn't too boring! We are used to living in an area full of lovely pubs, cafe's etc and am hoping to find somewhere with what kirsty and phil might call 'cafe culture'?! So far I like Stock but it's uber expensive and not near enough to a station and Ingatestone possibly.

Here's the things whirring in my mind I would love some advice on...

- Brentwood - what are the areas outside the town centre like? E.g Hutton/Warley?

- Transport - what's the easiest area for trains into London? Are trains much more regular from e.g. Shenfield than Brentwood? Or one line more reliable than the other/less crowded or whatever?

- Billericay schools - are the best non religious one's Buttesbury and Mayflower? Any thoughts on those/others?

- Brentwood/Ingatestone - any advice on primary schools in this area?

- Private schools - we are considering all options at this stage, so are there any really great, academic private schools in this area of Essex? St Jospeh's in Billericay doesn't seem academic enough and again, we're keen on a non religious school.

- Application for primary schools...In London you have to be living in the catchment area for 12 months before the application date. Is this the case in Essex?

Sorry for a million and one questions, but I would HUGELY appreciate any thoughts at all for those in the area. I would particularly love love to hear from anyone who has moved from London?

Thank you!!

OP’s posts: |
loopsngeorge Mon 22-Oct-12 00:11:29

Yep we moved from Beckenham to Shenfield 10 years ago and have been very happy here. Now in Billericay so can hopefully answer some of your questions!
Transport - Shenfield is by far and away the best for commuting to London but the house prices reflect that. Very regular trains, about every 10mins peak times and they only take 20/25mins. Very crowded now in the morning though. Two lines converge here so if you go beyond Shenfield to Billericay or Ingatestone you will halve the number of trains. Brentwood is only on the slow line (takes 40mins) and I think some people go one stop out to Shenfield and then get on the fast train back to London.

Areas - I love Billericay for it's attractive high street and slightly more rural feel. Shenfield was a great place to live although when you first visit I don't think it looks that attractive. Also it lacks a nice park or focal point I think - if you jump in the car there are lots of lovely country parks round about though. We only left Shenfield because the right house came up in Billericay.
Ingatestone would probably have been my ideal place to live as it really is still a village although a large thriving one. Prices are pretty high there though and anything that looks affordable often has either the railway line or worse, the A12 at the bottom of the garden. Once people move there they don't move away apparently!

Schools - great state primary schools really with not much to choose between them. Quilters and Buttsbury in Billericay are both very good. In shenfield it would be Long Ridings if you wanted a non church school. Mayflower is a good secondary in Billericay.
If you wanted a very academic private school, Herington House in Shenfield has a good reputation.

Hope that helps a bit. It's a lovely area to bring up kids, very friendly and down to earth. I love being in the green belt and couldn't go back now to the London madness! Good luck with your plans.

LondontoEssex2012 Mon 22-Oct-12 12:52:31

Thank you SO much for this - it really is hugely helpful and you've mentioned a lot of things I didn't know and a confirmed a few things I've heard from others, which is really useful. We are going to do some trips to the area in November so it's good to have this info in our pocket....

Glad the move has been so successful for you and your family and thanks again for all the tips!

OP’s posts: |
dajen Mon 22-Oct-12 19:48:46

Billericay primary schools are usually very oversubscribed so if you want one of the more popular ones you will definately need to be living in the catchment area when applying in the normal admission round. Outside the normal admission round it is difficult to find school places as most schools are very full and there has been very little movement in recent years.
Billericay schools do have defined catchment areas so do check with the LA or school concerned as estate agents do sometimes market houses as in the catchment of a popular school when I know for a fact they are not!

loopsngeorge Mon 22-Oct-12 21:00:35

Glad to help - let us know how you get on!

LondontoEssex2012 Mon 22-Oct-12 22:00:04

Thanks for the tip on catchment areas/admission round - really helpful. One last question on this front... is there a rule about living in the area for a certain amount of time before you apply for a school place do you know? In London it's 12 months - proven by council tax bill or whatever.....otherwise you kind of get a bit shoved wherever I believe.

Thanks again

OP’s posts: |
dajen Tue 23-Oct-12 18:52:20

There is no requirement to have been living in the area for a period of time before application. As long as you are living in the area at the time of application, then during the normal admission round there should be no problem. You may be interested in the 'catchment area tool' now available on the Essex school admissions web page. Put in an address and it will tell you which catchment area it is in.


LondontoEssex2012 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:57:27

Thanks again! That's good to us a bit more time.

OP’s posts: |
BrigitBigKnickers Thu 25-Oct-12 09:36:00

Brentwood has a good shopping centre and the rail links to London are ok but it actually takes longer to get there than from Billericay which is strange not as it's two stops further away. There are some great Primary schools in Brentwood but the secondaries are more problematic. One has just been reopened as a CoE free school so no results to go on and Brentwood county High is really not as good as it should be considering the catchment. However they have a new head teacher (Mr Drew from Educating Essex) and that might change.If you are thinking private Brentwood prep and Senior are fab.

Shenfield has two secondary schools. St Martin's is hugely over subscribed and considered to be a good school Shenfield is held with less regard. I have heard good things about Long Riding primary school. The shopping centre is a few coffee shops opticians and estate agents- very very little there. Rail links are frequent and quick into London

I myself live in Billericay which takes around 30 mins to get to Liv St by train and there is a very regular service. All of the primaries have a good reputation. Buttsbury is considered to be one of the best schools in the town- both my DDs went there, one had a better experience than the other. It is a very big school and the KS2 results are good. Whether that is to do with the "outstanding" teaching or the fact that we have a very good Kip centre in the town remains to be seen. hmm (We are in an 11+ area with six grammar schools within reach.) If you are tempted by private don't bother with the small independent we have here - the prep school is ok but the secondary beyond awful.

There are two secondaries both of which are considered to be good although I would say the Mayflower is better than Billericay High. We did the round of VI forms last year and I was very impressed with the Mayflower VI form- less so with Billericay which seemed a little more ragged round the edges.

It's a nice place to live with relatively low crime rates. The high st is quite nice with a range of shops and restaurants although not a huge choice.


NotGeoffVader Thu 25-Oct-12 09:43:35

Ooh local people! smile

I moved from London to Shenfield many years back. Direct trains into London around every 10/15 minutes during peaktimes.

At the moment DD is too young for school so I can't advise on that. However, Cousins children have done Mayflower school and gained excellent qualifications.

Brentwood High St in the daytime has reasonably good shops, but at night is a dive, and personally I find Shenfield a bit lacking, although we have just got a charity shop with excellent clothes/toys etc.
You're not far from Basildon (great for shops) or Chelmsford (ditto); and if you must, Lakeside isn't that far either.

I favour Billericay, and think of it as the local equivalent of Crouch End - plenty of cafes and shops to browse; you can get pretty much anything you need or want on the high street.

Property prices seem to be slightly higher in Brentwood/Shenfield than in Billericay (or at least you seem to 'get less for your money').

trixietie Sun 04-Nov-12 21:44:51

Hi there!

We've recently moved from London to Billericay and we chose Billericay because of commuting distance to london, schools and the fact that i wanted a town with shops and cafes and ultimately somewhere i could get whatever i needed without having to travel too far if that makes sense!

We've been here about 4 months now and i'm finding the commute ok but my little girl does have a longer day at nursery than she used to but she seems fine! I have found it hard to move out of London to a smaller town though and someone summed it up perfectly as you've moved from somewhere where no-one knows anyone and but everyone says hello to somewhere where everybody knows everybody and people aren't as quick to say hello...and in fairness it has only been a few months so we'll get there!

We have a few lovely shops, loads of great local pubs for sunday lunch and my daughter has started swimming and ballet and has a better social life than in london!

We're just about to start the school admissions process and i'm in the process of booking school visits. We're aiming for Buttsbury even though we're just out of catchment but i know for a fact the kids next door go so i'm not too worried.

on the whole, happy we moved and happy for you to message me with any questions!


shattereddreams Sun 04-Nov-12 22:04:23

It's not true about needing to live 12months in London by the way.
You just need to be living at time of application. A council can check this and do in some areas.
But 12 months? Just not true

lupito Sun 17-Mar-13 17:08:02

Hi every one,same like some of you I have to choose where to live, far from London./Walthamstow(grin) .I would like to find good place for my kids 3.5y.and 12weeks .Im from living in uk from 9 yars.(sorry for my english) I hear many good thinks for Billericay and Brentwood .Some people say Defenatly Brentwood and another say Billericay .Now Im on Roundaband with 2 exits .WHERE ON.IS THERE ANY SWIMMING LESSONS ,OR SOMTHING KIDS TO DO.I been there on a weekend I just sow more older people then young.Any advice please?Thank you

llovizna Wed 02-Oct-13 19:28:50

Hi Lupito, I hope you can read this message. I have moved from London to Billericay and I utterly regretted ! the town is boring, you have to drive everywhere as the public transport is not good and drivers are always in a bad mood ( dont blame them !) high street is boring, not nice places to have coffee or even a simple smoothy . if you want to get something you need to drive to the nearest town that si Basildon or Brentwood. Schools are ok. If you are not english that are few chances for you to make friends as people here are not friendly at all, they even give you a smile ! I miss London and when I can I will go back. London is a nice place to rise your family just depends where you are.

lupito Sat 18-Jan-14 15:09:20

Thank you llovizna

lupito Thu 12-Jun-14 12:20:28

hi llovinza are you still living om billericay

Hanane83 Fri 20-Jun-14 17:15:17

Hi Lupito, did you move to Billericay or not?
I am in same situation as you, We are looking to move from Newbury (West Berkshire) to Essex and I'm looking for advice !!
could you please let me know how did you find Billericay? People? School? ....
I will much appreciate your help.
Thank you

lupito Fri 11-Jul-14 14:16:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lupito Fri 11-Jul-14 14:20:04

to hanane83 yes we moved to Billericay , monts ago

11yearoldmovingtobrentwood Wed 14-Oct-15 08:54:41

Hello mums, I am taking my 14 year old daughter out of london to essex. We like Brentwood and wanted some advice on the best schools for her? And, can I apply before I move? we arent religous and she is very academic but we cant afford private. Anything anyone?

user1467280812 Fri 15-Jul-16 13:26:34

His everyone, It's my first time posting here but I do follow this thread.
I have a few worries and would appreciate some advice please.
We moved from Brentwood to Laindon Essex a year ago as we were renting in Brentwood and when we decided to buy we could not afford to buy in Brentwood hence our move.
I have two children who attend st Thomas of Canterbury infants in Brentwood. When we moved to Laindon we left them at their school in Brentwood but after a year of doing school runs from Laindon to Brentwood plus the traffic, we decided to move them to a school in Billericay. Now my daughter was offered a place at Quilters junior but my younger son was not given any place in Billericay which means I will have to still take him to Brentwood and dad will drop my daughter off at quilters and hopefully we sort clubs out in the afternoon for the one in quilters to allow me collect the one in Brentwood first.
I don't really know much about quilters but from all I have read on Internet it seems a good school; but is it worth it pulling my daughter out from her very good school in Brentwood?
Also.I am hoping by next year September my son in Brentwood will join my daughter at Quilters. Please does anyone have experience or know anything about quilter junior school in Billericay? Is it a very good school?
Any advice will be helpful please.

MGreen666 Wed 20-Feb-19 19:48:39

Brentwood and Billericay are so different to London. If you are looking to stay in Havering or anywhere WITHIN the M25, you might be less shocked... (buses, local life etc)
Just in case anyone is still after info about Billericay schools. Here are the state ones.
1. St Peters (catholic/outstanding/very academic/good clubs/great PTA/overall never heard anyone saying anything bad)
2. Quilters (outstanding/dynamic headmaster/great clubs/good PTA/no complaints heard)
3. Buttsbury (outstanding/mixed reviews/can be a bit 'clicky'/clubs for kids)
4. Brightside (good/dynamic headmaster/dynamic PTA/free after school clubs/dog as pet therapy/happy school)
5. Sunnymede (good/never heard anything negative about the school)
6. South Green (good/pet dog)
7. Crays Hill (good/never heard anything negative about the school)
Private Schools
1. St Johns (Meets all requirements except anti-bullying policy: failed/very religious/clicky/feedbacks about school: mixed ie homework load/severe discipline/parents taking kids away for extra holidays/poor communication school>teachers>parents)

MarchingFrogs Mon 25-Feb-19 00:36:11

Acknowledging that this thread lay dormant for quite a while prior to MGreen666's post, just to add...

1) ignore estate agents. To check catchment areas for schools in the Essex CC area, look here

2) No offence meant to the pp who wrote, We're aiming for Buttsbury even though we're just out of catchment but i know for a fact the kids next door go so i'm not too worried, please don't rely on this kind of thing. Your neighbour's DC may have got in to a school out of catchment in a low birthrate year / at a time when a school was going through a rough patch and undersubscribed / through being placed by the LEA under the Fair Access Policy / as a result of a successful appeal, for example.

HolidayMom40 Wed 19-Feb-20 18:38:19


I’m moving to Brentwood from a West London suburb.
I need to know the good/outstanding CoE schools you would recommend for my 7 year old boy.
The CoE school he is at now the kids still wear shirts and ties. This, to me, in my opinion, is the sign of a good school where a proper inform counts for something.
My main worry about changing schools from where we are is finding good schools these days is hard.
But I thought I’d come on here and ask some advice from those of you who have first hand experience of school in and around Brentwood suitable for me.

I’ve heard that there are good schools in Billericay but I’m not certain about the area.

I really grateful.
Thank you 😊

Secnarf Thu 20-Feb-20 02:01:39

Which part of Brentwood?

In Shenfield, the school you would be looking at is St Mary’s. It is an outstanding school, and the ethos is what I think you are looking for with your reference to a proper uniform. For Foundation entry, it is extremely sought after.

I didn’t look at it myself, but St Peter’s in the South Weald area seemed similarly highly regarded by friends.

Are you a regular church goer? You would be expected to attend St Mary’s (and I think the same is true for St Peter’s). For Foundation Year entry, I think they often don’t make it that far down the list after the church’s electoral roll.

There is a register to sign after church services. This is to evidence regular church attendance for a sought after CoE state secondary in Brentwood called Beckett Keys. I understand that there are good rates of entry to the Essex grammar schools from St Mary’s.

This being said, a lot of the schools in the area are excellent, whether denominational or not. It isn’t an area that you really have to worry about ‘sink schools’.

Having said all that, I actually chose a different primary school, because I felt it suited my child better, and I am happy with that decision.

Don’t know anything about Billericay schools, but it is a pleasant area. Much more attractive high street than Shenfield or Brentwood, and property is more affordable. If you need to commute into London, then Shenfield is the best bet, as the fast train to Stratford-Liverpool Street goes from here.

How does the system work for in-year admissions?

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