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Moving to South Manchester from Vienna (Austria) looking for Primary Schools

(22 Posts)
MillyB35 Thu 27-Mar-14 08:45:33

I'm looking for help, my DP has a job opportunity in Manchester so at this very late stage we have to start looking for schools for our boys aged 7 and 9. I'm getting slightly panicked at the thought for 3 reasons :

- seems very late in the year to start looking for schools
- I have no idea about how to apply not being from the UK, or what schools to apply to
- having lived in Paris for a long time before Vienna, both our boys understand English but do not speak it (they speak only French and now have a little German) so I'm looking for a school that could take that into account.

If anyone can give me some advice I would be most grateful we will be heading to Manchester in 2 weeks to look around (I've never been there) and have been told to look in Hale, Bowden and Wilmslow so I guess we need schools in that area?

BambooBear13 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:04:24

You apply via the local authority for each school. Hale and Bowden are Trafford and Wilmslow is Cheshire East I think. You can do a lot of your research on line: house prices, schools. DO NOT however set your heart on any one school as all the 'top' ones are over subscribed. Phone round to see where there may actually be places etc. Don't move expecting to get into the nearest school etc

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 27-Mar-14 09:17:07

Are you looking for state (free) or private (fee paying). I ask as the three areas you mention are all known for having various private schools there. It's an odd combination if areas otherwise - if you live in Wilmslow you wouldn't generally send your child to a state school in Hale for example.

Do you know where you are going to be living?

BambooBear13 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:21:45

I assumed you were looking at houses in the 3 different areas first. There are lots of nice places in South Manchester. There are lots of private schools in those areas.

eatmydust Thu 27-Mar-14 09:23:58

If you are looking for state schools, you would probably be better speaking directly to the local authorities and explaining that your DCs aren't English speakers and seeing what they recommend. Some schools will have more experience than others in teaching children who do not speak English.

The private schools in the South Manchester/Cheshire area generally tend to be hothouses for private grammar school entry and may not be that suitable. A friend in a similar situation sent her DC to Hulme Hall in Cheadle Hulme, which is private, and was very pleased with the school and the help they gave her DC to integrate, the main problems he had settling in was around making friends and after school activities, not during the school day.

anchovies Thu 27-Mar-14 09:25:43

My first port of call would be to phone the different councils and find out where there are school places (before you come to Manchester ideally) and then look at ofsted/results/public opinions of those schools and only then look at particular areas.

Obviously though if you are looking at private schools then this won't apply!

anchovies Thu 27-Mar-14 09:27:35

Having read your post a little more, I really think you need to focus on areas where the school either has EAL experience or are happy to buy in a service (multilingual TAs or whatever)

MillyB35 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:30:51

I do not know yet where we will be living. We were told those 3 areas by Uk friends we have over here but as neither of us know the area we are not sure yet. DP will be working in Ashton -under Lyne and travelling abroad quite a bit. The school is more important to us as we want to make sure our boys will be happy, once we know where they'll go then we'll see where we'll live.
When it comes to state or private we have no opinion, in France they were in a state school in Vienna they are in a private school.
Would you recommend any schools in particular?

BambooBear13 Thu 27-Mar-14 09:35:41

The problem is that the area from Bowdon to Hale to Wilmslow and poss Cheadle Hulme (cheaper) has a huge number of schools: state and private, all different.

anchovies Thu 27-Mar-14 09:38:35

If I'm honest I wouldn't focus on the nice areas of South Manchester but would instead initially at least look at schools (probably more central or north Manchester) that have very well established EAL protocols. An example is Birchfields primary that is mentioned in this article I'm sure there are schools in South Manchester that have EAL experience but I don't know any to recommend sorry.

doodledotmum Thu 27-Mar-14 10:14:09

Birchfields school is a state primary in Fallowfield, much closer to town. I suspect the central and south manchester schools have higher numbers of EAL. There are lots of french speakers about - there used to be a huge french speaking kids meet up on a Sat morning at Barlow High School, Didsbury but I am not sure where it is held now as I think it moved. I woud maybe look up french speaking groups and ask advice there?

SaveTheMockingBird Thu 27-Mar-14 10:22:04

Agree that the more central manchester schools would be better catered for EAL students. I would be looking at areas in M14 (like the Birchfields school already mentioned) and M15.

MissMilbanke Thu 27-Mar-14 10:29:08

I have come across many children coming from different countries without knowing very much english and they have all adapted incredibly quickly. I/m sure your boys will be just fine too.

Saddleworth is where you should be looking.

Wilmslow and Hale are lovely but I wouldn't want to be doing that commute on a regular basis.

doodledotmum Thu 27-Mar-14 10:36:09

Oh yes just read the A-U-L bit. That would be a hideous commute in rush hour. If you want to still be near airport, look near M56/M60 - cheadle / cheadle Hulme / the Heatons or Disbury intersection. Loads of good state and private schools

Bonsoir Thu 27-Mar-14 11:22:25

I would look at private schools if I were you.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Mar-14 11:32:43

Hello OP

The areas you mention as previous posters have said are the areas for private schools.
Ashton is quite away from these areas and comes under a completely different LA and county.
The travel to one of those areas would be nearly impossible for children if you lived in Ashton, likewise a nightmare to commute from Cheshire to Ashton. For a 9am start you are looking at a 2.5 hour commute as the roads are horrendous in between these areas.

doodledotmum Thu 27-Mar-14 11:50:03

I would stick to near the main motorways assuming you need access to trains / planes / A-U-L or you will spend hours sat in traffic!

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:27:13

I live locally to one of the areas you mention. I would just suggest you do your homework before you commit to buying a house because if schooling is your priority, you might struggle to get a place at your chosen school (which may then influence your decision to buy).

All of the state schools are over subscribed and most of the private schools have waiting lists. If you look at the Manchester / Trafford Local Mumsnet page, you will see the situation there � a lady has moved to Altrincham expecting to get a place at one of 3 outstanding schools in Hale / Bowdon, and she has been offered a place at 2 other (good but not outstanding schools) in Altrincham (not what she intended). She has looked at getting a place in one of the private schools, but it is full so she is on a waiting list. I just set that out so you know how over-subscribed it is - Altrincham was voted by The Times as the best place to live in the country for education - one of the Bowdon primary schools has just been classed as the 2nd best primary school in the country, and the grammar schools are consistently in the top 10/20 in the country too. I know lots of places are over-subscribed for schools but it really is quite an issue here. There are also lots of people that move into Trafford at the same stage as you so that their children are within catchment for the free grammar schools so places for Year 3/4/5 (which I assume your children will go into) are particularly sought after.

I think the difficulty too is that you don't know for sure (certainly which state school you'd be allocated) until you have actually got an address in Trafford. I think the LEA can give you an indication but things can change quite quickly. I would suggest that you telephone the LEAs (Trafford and Cheshire East as mentioned up thread) and see what they recommend.

In terms of the private schools, would suggest you just do a ring around. I don't really know Wilmslow but in the Hale / Bowdon area, the private schools are :
Altrincham Prep School (boys only)
Hale Prep (mixed)
St Ambrose Prep (boys only, catholic and this is becoming a free school)
Forest School (Timperley, mixed)
Manchester Grammar School Junior Division (further away but still lots of boys go there from area)

Having said all that, its a lovely family oriented area to live!
Feel free to PM me if you want more info!

MillyB35 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:32:28

Thank you so much for all your advice!
I think that we have to go there and get a feel for the places you've mentioned, rent a car and try the commute before we target any specific area.

doodledotmum Thu 27-Mar-14 13:39:31

Good idea. Don't be fooled by the fact that the journey will be very very different outside rush hour and at weekends (1/2 to 1/3 of the time). It will be much quicker if its not raining !! .. Traffic is mad in mornings if its wet as people take kids in the car etc . You can do lots of research on the areas too from home.

doodledotmum Thu 27-Mar-14 13:45:23

Good advice below. Cheadle Hulme and the Heatons are Stockport LA. Didsbury and South Manchester are Manchester LA. Ashton in Tameside!! Lots of good state and private schools although again state are often full with wait lists. Cheadle Hulme had several private schools plus Stockport Grammar etc Good luck

AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 13:49:49

I'm around that sort of area and would possibly agree that south Manchester may not be the best area for EAL, however I know our school does have some experience with it and have been known to provide interpreters for a short while too! I know a fair few French/german speaking people from the area too. Although if your DCs are speaking French and a bit of german, they should pick up English quite easily, generally speaking! I don't want to say too much about where I live on here, but feel free to PM me if I can help at all!

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