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potential move Bucks to Oxon - implications on primary & secondary school choice

(14 Posts)
kronenborg Wed 27-Mar-13 14:36:22

hi there - would appreciate some advice here, from you highly knowledgable people!

quick background: we have 4 kids - 5, 4, and twins of just under 2. The 5 year old is in year 1 at an "outstanding" ofsted rated local bucks primary school, the 4 year old is at a local bucks pre-school but will be joining the same primary school this autumn, and the twins are obviously yet to start school.

although we are british, we have lived abroad for 5 years, and returned to the UK 6 months ago, so are still very much "novices" to the UK education system.

we currently live in south bucks (a few miles outside high wycombe), but are trying to balance having a nice place to live (large enough to accomodate a family of 6!), with being in the right catchment for good schools. the current "plan" is for primary schools for all the children, followed by [hopefully] grammar schools in bucks.

now the reason for my post - we are currently in rented acommodation, but wish to buy - we have been looking for a while, and are struggling, mainly due to the incredibly high house prices in the south bucks area (and im tied to this area by my work).

we have seen a couple of houses literally just across the county border into Oxfordshire (perhaps a mile outside bucks). if we were to end up buying and living in one of these houses, would it be possible for our children to continue to go to the buckinghamshire primary school that (by that time) 2 of them would be attending? logistically, it would be no issue for us to do school drop offs and pick ups, but not only would we be significantly outside of catchment, but actually in another county.

also, what impact would living out of county have on the likelihood of gaining entry to a bucks grammar school? "as the crow flies" the distance between one of these Oxfordshire houses and Bucks grammar schools would be less than many "in county" applicants...but by moving, would we be badly impacting our childrens' chances of gaining entry? i appreciate any potential of grammar school is still over 5 years away for us, even for our eldest, and who knows how the rules might change by then, but how would we stand given the system as it stands today?

many thanks in advance for any advice.

1805 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:05:07

I think you could do this. I certainly know children who live in Oxon but go to Aylesbury grammars. Could you find out the last distance accepted into the grammars? I'm afraid I don't know how the entry system works for Bucks. Good luck.

blondefriend Wed 27-Mar-13 21:07:38

I think the likelihood of you getting into the Marlow or High Wycombe grammars would be very low. It does vary year on year but you would be playing a roulette game. Have you looked at Cookham (Berkshire), Burnham, Flackwell Heath as they are all slightly cheaper than other villages in the area?

difficultpickle Wed 27-Mar-13 22:30:45

Cookham is out of county but in catchment for some Bucks grammar schools. Wouldn't think it is cheaper than Marlow or High Wycombe though.

prh47bridge Wed 27-Mar-13 23:51:26

Once your children have places at a school those places cannot be taken away from them simply because you move further away.

Regarding grammar schools you need to check the admission criteria. If the schools operate formal catchment areas which do not extend into Oxfordshire your chances of admission would clearly be reduced if you live out of county. However, if they simply decide on distance you may still have a good chance. You can find the current admission criteria for grammar schools on the Buckinghamshire website. This also has links to the proposed criteria for 2014 admissions for each school.

mummymellymoo Thu 28-Mar-13 10:41:10

You'll be fine with primary as once you've got your places, they won't take them away but moving over the border could seriously scupper your chances of grammar. I think the schools only offer a very limited number of places to children in other counties so your children would have to have exceptional 11-plus results. Also by the time your children are secondary age, the rules could be even more tight. The Aylesbury grammars are moving towards academy status and will have control over intake etc so there's every chance children over the border will lose out (as has happened in Warwickshire). Why don't you try north Bucks as it's a bit cheaper than south and still has the grammar schools.

kronenborg Tue 02-Apr-13 09:00:13

thank you for your responses - very helpful.

i wasnt aware that even if you moved out of county you could "officially" keep your child in a primary school in a different county, so thats a encouraging, as come this autumn, both girls will be in the same school, which is one we are very happy with.

i wonder if that means, in a couple of years time, we could get the twins into the same school even if out of county? (the girls will both still be there).

i will have to do some research on grammar schools - at the present time, out of county applications seem possible, although reduce the chance of a place.

we've looked really quite far and wide for houses, but having so many young children, i do need to be reasonably close to marlow where i work - and (with the exception of marlow itself which appears to be in a price bracket all of its own) all the south bucks villages are very expensive - going further afield to aylesbury would make the work commute horrible as there is no decent connecting road.

Eglantyne Tue 02-Apr-13 09:16:03

Just to say, there's no guarantee your children will pass the 11+ and actually get into the grammar schools ! You might be the the most intelligent, caring parents of bright kids, but they still might not pass! Make sure that wherever you move to, you are happy with the non grammar schools, or have left yourself enough money after mortgage to go private.

kronenborg Tue 02-Apr-13 13:53:50

couldnt agree more, with most things, planning for the best, but being prepared for the worst...

Sympathique Tue 02-Apr-13 15:13:51

RE: your twins, look at the admissions policy. If it's a popular school, you could be in trouble if you are out of catchment by then, even with siblings at the school.

Mutley77 Thu 04-Apr-13 14:11:42

It's unlikely you will get your twins into the same primary if you move out of catchment. Generally (unless it is a faith school with own admissions criteria) sibs out of catchment are placed as lower priority than any child in catchment so if they school is usually full/over-subscribed from catchment your youngest children would not get in. Coming from an area very near where you are talking about my experience is that any decent primary is over-subscribed due to high population / demand on school places and where I'm from people don't move out of catchment until their youngest is in the school because they know that otherwise they won't get them a place.

ipadquietly Thu 04-Apr-13 14:47:20

'couldnt agree more, with most things, planning for the best, but being prepared for the worst...'

That says it all about the perception of secondary school education in Bucks. sad

kronenborg Thu 04-Apr-13 16:42:21

it is a faith school (church of england), but admissions are coordinated by the local authority, so i'm assuming usual rules apply - meaning that indeed, there will be a low chance of the twins getting in if we move out of county.

ipadquietly, i wouldnt take my comment as condemnation of non-grammar school secondary education - its just an expression, and could perhaps better have been put as having a plan A and B, (and maybe even C) and being happy with all of them - although it does seem that the grammar schools have a pretty sterling academic record...

LiegeAndLief Sat 06-Apr-13 07:33:13

I think usual admissions criteria take in-catechment children first, followed by out of catchment siblings, followed by out of catchment. So it would really depend on how over subscribed the school is.

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