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Worried about moving to Wokingham / Reading for primary school.

(49 Posts)
babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 01:49:38

Hi all mums, (I am new to this site smile).

We are slightly worried about buying a house (approx. £500k) and making the wrong decision about the school and area. We would like our kids to go to a grammer later on so going to a feeder primary with extra tuition is probably our best option?

My husband works in Reading, we have a 2.5 year old girl, a 10 month old baby girl and have another baby on the way shock. We have done a bit of research and thinking about moving from London to either Reading or Wokingham so any feedback from parents in the area would be good. We are looking to buy next month or January hopefully.

babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 01:51:34

Current research we like the sound of Wokingham schools:
Feeders
The Hawthorns Primary (woosehill)
Nine Mile Ride (Wick Hill)
Aldryngton (Earley)
Loddon Junior (Earley)
Hawkenden Primary (Earley)
Radstock Primary (Earley)

Not sure if feeders?
Embrook Junior School (Wokingham)
Walter infant (Wokingham)
Westende Junior School
Hatch Ride Primary School

We have been told Emmer Green Primary & Caversham Primary are also good but we haven't done any research in these areas and am guessing the houses are probably more expensive there.

EBearhug Tue 24-Nov-15 02:11:10

The bottom end of Caversham is Victorian terraces, so probably no worse than the rest of Reading (I only ever rented there, though.) Caversham Heights would be a very different matter! Also, depending on where your husband will be based, the bridges across the Thames can be a bit of a nightmare traffic-wise. There are cycle paths if he's not driving, though. And traffic round the rest of Reading can be totally rubbish, too.

Have colleagues with children in some of the schools (Wokingham - the Earley ones are now at secondary.) They seem to be getting on okay - but as I can't remember exactly which schools, that's not very helpful... My employers also do some outreach work with some of the primaries, but not on work PC to see mails with details.

I am not at all helpful to you... What I would say though is that while Earley is administratively part of Wokingham, it's geographically more part of Reading.

EskiDecaff Tue 24-Nov-15 02:23:37

Do you mean you want kendrick for secondary? Caversham and lower earley are really different, go and have a look around.

SisterViktorine Tue 24-Nov-15 07:46:47

Don't make plans assuming your DC will go to Kendrick/Reading Boys. Both are eye-wateringly competitive and even a really bright child might miss out in a good cohort.

It's a while since I lived in that area but The Holt and The Forest both had a good reputation so it might be worth buying near those (I would think more about Secondary than Primary as most of the Primaries are great in Wokingham).

Another option might be West Berkshire, there are some lovely village schools and The Downs is supposed to be great.

babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 10:18:55

@EBearhug, Caversham Heights? Sounds expensive shock. Husband is based near Reading Station / Vastern Road. He also thought about cycling as Woosehill to Vastern Rd is 35mins (save him time vs going to the gym). Thanks for the info.

@EskiDecaff, yes, that's the aim. We put a lot of importance on education and most of our uncles / cousins went to Grammer schools (Bucks and Essex areas though). Good idea, we shall drive around Caversham and Lower Earley to have a look around this weekend. Cheers.

@SisterViktorine, I must admit we are a very competitive couple. We can aim for the standard required to get the little ones into Kendrick but if they do not get in then at least we are confident that the education they have will get them into a good secondary. I think Woosehill is near The Holt. Not head about The Forest though. Not sure where West Berkshire is but will do some googling. Thanks.

ps: We were originally thinking about Amersham in Bucks (Dr Challenors Grammer schools). But for £500k you can only get a small 2 bed normally with a small garden and no driveway.... plus he would miss out on them growing up commuting too much to Reading.

YetAnotherUserName Tue 24-Nov-15 10:32:56

There are no feeder primary schools to either of the grammar secondaries in Reading. No primary place will guarantee a secondary grammar place in Reading.

Wokingham Borough schools do seem to have a better reputation and the secondary stats compare more favorably to Reading Borough schools (whose secondaries are not that great, once you take the two grammar schools out of consideration).

Maiden Erlegh secondary and The Holt are highly sought after, The Forest school is boys only. Bulmershe is on the up with a relatively new head and cash investment. All those schools are popular and you'll need to live quite close to get a place, even within catchment, especially as pupil numbers continue to go up. Good luck.

babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:22:01

@YetAnotherUserName, I thought so. The names I got from a different post on here derived from a letter sent out from Kendrick School. Agree not exactly feeders but they have sent 5 or more kids to the Grammar in the last 5 years so probably an indication of a good school... not exact science. confused

What do you mean by "secondary stats compare more favorably to Reading Borough schools"?. Do they do better in secondary school results? We will give Maiden Erlegh secondary and The Holt some thought too. We don't mind moving again once they are older to get into a better secondary.

Catchment areas are so confusing. Rightmove shows some indication of this but where can I get a maps for each of the primary schools? Is it wise to buy "right next" to a primary school to increase the chance of getting in?

HeadDreamer Tue 24-Nov-15 12:30:23

Even if you are competitive academically, it doesn't mean your children are. DH and I both have PhDs. I wouldn't bet on DCs getting into a competitive grammar. The professor DH worked for when he came to the UK had two children who went to a selective private. Neither went to university. It happens.

DD1 is in YR and I don't think she's that bright. She's very dreamy and gives up very easily. We'll of course support her as best as we could.

I don't think other posters are insulting your intelligence. Just pointing out a fact.

babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 13:09:14

@HeadDreamer, of course. didn't mean to imply they definitely would be as just want to give them the best opportunity to try. i.e. give them the tools, the support and ensure they have the right company as best we can. Would be interested to find out how the successful applicants actually get in to Grammers. My relatives didn't have trouble getting in so will try and quiz them a little?

ps: I have other relatives that didn't study much... and they are successful business owners... sometimes I think being an academic and "in the system" stops you from taking the risks needed (topic for another day)

babiesx3 Tue 24-Nov-15 13:35:03

Also, I have just read up on reviews on Woosehill Wokingham as an area to live and it's not coming up good. See below:

www.ilivehere.co.uk/wokingham.html
...^"Woosehill being one of the biggest pike-central areas *has a wonderful variety of places for the pikeys to hang out"^... article goes on about *drugs at Heron Park, getting mugged, raped or attacked at The Willows and Smiths Walk, stale piss and fags at the Woosehill Underpass.

www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-286423.html
... "The place is full of chavs. Especially down towards Woosehill and the Supermarket."

www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/three-deliberate-fires-in-woosehill--8530350

This true? Are the houses artificially inflated because of the Hawthorn and Walter schools?

shock confused shock confused

puddock Tue 24-Nov-15 13:47:00

Woosehill is a big housing estate area outside Wokingham, walkable to the Forest (towards Winnersh) and the Holt (towards Wokingham), both of which are single-sex comprehensive schools with strong reputations. I wouldn't put too much weight on wherever you've found those online reviews from, you really do need to visit the area and look around.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 24-Nov-15 13:52:44

I think you are under estimating just how competitive kendrick is this year 1250 girls took the exam,

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 24-Nov-15 13:53:40

Posted to soon 321 achieved the pass mark of which 176 are 'in catchment'. As there only 96 spaces it

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 24-Nov-15 13:57:58

Damn I pad, it then goes to ranking so they accept the 96 highest scores. The pass mark is 110 this September the lowest score accepted was 114. I know of a girl who got an A in GCSE maths in year 5 who did not make the cut for Kendrick this year, she got offered scholarships at two selective private schools.
West Berkshire is 'catchment' for Kendrick, but as most pupils do not going to reading grammars still has good secondaries if you don't make the cut.

YetAnotherUserName Tue 24-Nov-15 16:59:34

babiesx3 "What do you mean by "secondary stats compare more favorably to Reading Borough schools"?. Do they do better in secondary school results?"

Yes, I mean that if you take a look on the DofE website and compare secondary schools, the headline 5+ A* - C percentages are often better in Wokingham borough schools - the Reading Borough area is actually quite small and there are areas of deprivation, with quite low performing schools (esp. compared with neighbouring Wokingham).

Given the young ages of your kids, I would aim to find an area that I really liked with a good / ok primary school and consider secondary schools after, especially as you say you wouldn't mind moving again.

So much will change in the next 10 years before your oldest goes to secondary, you can't guarantee against things like catchment or admission policy changes. So pick a good home first.

Geraniumred Tue 24-Nov-15 19:59:08

I would say to go and have a look at Woosehill. I went to the Hawthorns and then to the Holt and grew up on Woosehill when it was still new. Don't be put off by a few negative reviews.

Ionacat Tue 24-Nov-15 20:43:21

Drive round and have a look, the schools you've mentioned are all great, but very different. Secondaries are generally very good in Wokingham, but can be a bit more patchy in Reading. Maiden Erlegh, Holt, Forest have all been sought after for years. I would go to Woosehill and make up your own mind, my town is described appalling by some of those websites when in reality it is nothing like it.
Another place to consider is Arborfield just outside Wokingham, you have the Coombes Primary and the new secondary is going to be run by Bohunt, (main school is very successful in Hampshire.)
Be careful of the catchments in Earley, there are some black holes there where even when the pupils were in catchment they didn't get a place. If you go to the LEA websites under school admissions, you can see where how far out the last place was this year, but catchments could potentially shrink again this year.
West Berkshire is well worth a look, some great schools and lovely area and train line into Reading.

SisterViktorine Wed 25-Nov-15 06:52:41

The Bucks/ Slough grammars and Kendrick/ Reading Boys (I am assuming you don't know the gender of the DC on the way) are different kettles of fish.

In Bucks/ Slough there are several grammars and they take roughly the top 20% (someone might correct me on that, but it is quite high). On here somebody was saying that one grammar in Slough couldn't even fill it's places with children meeting the pass mark!

As Lonecat says, Kendrick is a 'super selective'. These are much, much more difficult to get into. Although a few children may breeze in, and the schools attempt to make the entrance tests 'untutorable', in reality most children who gain places will have been prepared, very often out of school.

Of course you want to ensure your DC get the best primary education you can but I would warn against setting so much store by the Reading grammars at this early stage. Keep it at the back of your mind and ensure you have an alternative plan you are very happy with.

SisterViktorine Wed 25-Nov-15 06:56:15

DH and I are both Oxbridge graduates, DH has a PhD and we are both senior teachers so could tutor DS, who does not seem slow, ourselves. I still absolutely would not make any assumptions that he would get into Reading Boys- just for perspective.

HSMMaCM Wed 25-Nov-15 07:12:26

The year DD applied to Kendrick, over 3000 girls took the exam. I know someone who passed well and was still over 100th on the waiting list.

Also ... Just because you're in catchment doesn't guarantee a place at a school.

Mehitabel6 Wed 25-Nov-15 07:24:21

A lot of very able children don't even bother to take the exam for Kendrick because the comprehensives are good and it is so very competitive. It is, as I think all grammar schools should be, a super selective and takes from a huge area.
Your children are very little- why not wait and see what they are like? You can't know that they are suited to a grammar school.
I would find a good comprehensive because they are going have to be exceptional to get into Kendrick - if they need tutoring, other than to get used to the exam questions, they are unlikely to get in.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 25-Nov-15 07:49:11

There's no such concept as feeder schools for the Reading grammar schools. That list appeared a few years ago (so not up to date) when there was a petition to turn them into comprehensives. It doesn't mean there is any advantage in going to one of those primary schools, and I wouldn't use it as a factor for choosing one.

With your priorities, I'd probably go for Earley - as close to Maiden Erlegh as possible, Silverdale Road area - or Woodley. Gives you a few reasonable options for schools.

As PPs have said, don't bank on getting into the grammar schools. Even the cleverest kid can have a duff day.

Mehitabel6 Wed 25-Nov-15 22:32:03

Any of the primary schools are unlikely to get more than 2 girls into Kendrick. It is nothing like the Kent system.
You need to decide on the comprehensive and get in the right feeder school for that and then if they are one of the tiny percentage for the super selective it is a bonus.

babiesx3 Wed 25-Nov-15 22:54:59

Thank you all, you have put a few things into perspective for us. Can't believe so many kids take these tests for few places. We are going to do a bit of driving this weekend around the areas I think. We are also going to the Hawthorns Primary open day tomorrow to meet the teachers and see the school which should be good.

... and yes, we need to look at backup plans wink so will see what's in Earley close to Maiden Erlegh (houses don't look as nice on Rightmove here though for some reason)

Questions:

1) We have just thrown a spanner in the works as there are a few houses we like the look of in Crowthorne within our budget (The bit in Wokingham not Bracknell forest). Is this wise? Does anyone know about this area if its good for families?

2) The catchment schools appear to be those below. Does anyone know about these and if they are reputable?
biscuit a) Hatch Ride primary OFSTED = 395 of 14, 801 / GOOD
wine b) Oaklands infants / Junior OFSTED = 3, 547 of 14, 801 / GOOD
cake c) Crowthorne CofE primary OFSTED = 2, 697 of 14, 801 / OUTSTANDING

3) Can Berkshire primary kids (with extra tutoring) get into Grammar schools in Bucks? I think I read the 11+ test is different per area so maybe the schools curriculum's are different????

4) We may move house again once they are at secondary school age but this may bite us in the as we would not have followed a feeder school route to a good secondary backup? However, the secondary school in Crowthorne is called Edgbarrow School OFSTED = 471 of 4, 279 / OUTSTANDING confusedconfusedconfused Does anyone know it. Thoughts?

5) Is the commute back from Reading by Car in the evenings ok? (i.e. not depressing at 5pm?) One of the main reasons for moving from Gerrard's Cross in addition to a bigger home is for him to drive back from home at a sensible time to spend time with the kids (which he currently doesn't do angry)

smile

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