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Guildford High School (GHS) and Surrounding Areas (House Move)

(27 Posts)
sdeb Sun 21-Feb-16 23:10:45

Our DD has been offered a place in Guildford Girls School (GHS). She will be starting reception classes (Junior School) this September. We want her to continue to the senior school as well. We currently live in Runnymede. We intend to move home so that we live close to the school. We have been seeing various places within Berkshire and Surrey for the last few weeks. However we are not familiar with these places.
Guildford was our first choice but we are unable to get any house within our budget that meets our requirements (e.g. Merrow, Burpham, Jacobs Well etc.). Therefore we have looked around Wokingham, Sandhurst, Crowthorne, Camberley, Bagshot and Windlesham. The places we really liked are Wokingham and Crowthorne. These two places seem to have the affordable good sized house with quality environment. These two places don’t seem to look too posh. We are not saying, other places are bad. It’s just the combination of affordable housing and quality of neighbourhood.

Does anyone know if GHS girls travel from Wokingham/Crowthorne areas? Its approx. 30 – 45 mins (one way) school run for us. Looking at central Guildford’s peak hour’s traffic, we may not be able to drop her off as we don’t have flexible work timings. We may need someone to drop DD to the school until she goes to senior school. Is there any school run service available in these areas, and any idea of the service charges?
For the senior school, there are direct trains from Wokingham/Crowthorne stations and take 30-40 mins. Is it easier to get train buddies?
We are also looking for alternatives. Does anyone know if there are any specific road/places within Camberley, Bagshot, Sandhurst or Windlesham (I have attached an area snapshot in this thread) that have similar environment like Wokingham/Crowthorne. Or even suggest/recommend alternate options.
I work in West London (M4, Junction 4) and intend to undertake school pick up. DH travels to various places for his work, therefore his job location changes almost every year. So he needs to be close to motorway (M3 or M4) to reach M25 (+ further reachability to M1 or M40), and our home needs to be 30-40 mins driving distance from Reading or Woking Rail Station so that he can get quick access to Central London.
We want to move somewhere for a longer term (15 years+). We have spending hours to plan this for months. The experience has been really stressful.
If anyone can provide some insight or recommendation, it will really help us to take the decision quickly (within March).
Thanks in advance for your help.

Stillunexpected Sun 21-Feb-16 23:40:38

I am a bit confused by all your requirements but the one thing that stands out for me is that you are intending to send your 4 year old on such a commute to school every day! Wokingham to Guildford on a good day with no traffic could be 45 minutes, at morning rush hour it's anybody's guess how long it could take! If you are planning on sending your daughter to school on some kind of transport you need to check with the school now what is available and from where any possible transport runs. You cannot buy a house in an area where you cannot drop your dd off yourself and then find out that there is no transport either.

What time will you need to leave work in order to be able to get back from the Heathrow area to Guildford in order to pick your dd up and then possibly drive up to another hour to get home? How long do you think that is realistically feasible - for either you or your dd? And what about events at school and playdates and birthday parties? You are going to spend your whole weekend in the car shuttling around.

I know GHS is a great school but there are other good schools around, I live in the general area of the school and the morning and evening traffic in Guildford and surrounds can be absolutely dreadful. Do you know the area? Have you experienced the traffic?

What kind of budget do you have for your house? Maybe we can suggest other closer areas which might be feasible?

sdeb Mon 22-Feb-16 03:22:55

@stillunexpected, firstly thank you for your quick response.

RE: First paragraph
I am sorry, if my requirements sounded confusing.
To answer your question, GHS does not provide any transport. Just to make it clear, there is nothing available from the school. So either we drop our DD to school or we seek a service provider. These are the two options. By taking service, we can reach our work on-time, and can keep our jobs, therefore pay the fees for GHS. Hope this makes sense.
To clarify, buying house – yes we can definitely buy a two bed room terraced house in Guildford. But as I stated, we are looking for something longer term i.e. 15 years. We will not be able to live in a 2 bed room house for 15 years, in case if we have another child. So we are looking for a bigger house and live there permanently. Hope this slightly helps to build the context.

RE: Second paragraph
I intend to leave work around 4 pm, take DD from after-school. Then go home. It’s actually usual thing for my DD as I currently do the same to pick her from nursery. Our challenges is not pick-up, it’s primarily drop off. Kindly ignore my feasibility (physical and mental) as I can manage everything as long as it’s biologically feasible for my DD. That’s why I am here seeking everyone’s advice. Currently my DD wakes up at 6:30 am, goes to nursery at 7 am, comes back home at 6:30 am, goes to sleep at 8 am. She is doing this for years.

RE: Third paragraph
Yes, I know the dreadful traffic around GHS. I don’t know this area (i.e. villages, roads etc.) well as I have not lived there.
I know there are other good schools in Berks and Surrey. We always wanted our DD to send to GHS, aiming for Oxbridge and her passion for music. We had other offers i.e. from Holy Cross Prep School (Hampton) and NLCS (Edgware). We currently send her to one of the best nursery that helped her to go through GHS’s intensive tests. Anyway, we already accepted GHS contract. It was a strategic planning for long. Please take this as unchangeable.

RE: Forth paragraph
Top line is 650k, but trying to stay within 600k unless it’s absolutely necessary. Looking for 4 bed detached house as a baseline requirement.

Once again, thank you for your response.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 22-Feb-16 09:28:00

If your heart is set on GHS these are things to consider as someone whose DD did the full time nursery getting up at 6.30am etc and full time working thing.

Nursery is easy compared to school. DD who had loved every minute of nursery and never wanted to leave became a devil the moment school let her out at 3.30pm. She was grouchy, tired and miserable and there was reading to be done every day. This only really improved in year 3.

For me nursery was easy I found school a lot more stressful as just as you seem to get into the swing of the routine it's half term and it changes again. In all honesty I survived primary school and it is only really better in senior school.

If your heart and finances are set on GHS I would choose the small house close to the school now and move further out in 5-7years time.

Your DD is going to change dramatically in the next 7 years and your needs from a school will change. My DD showed no musical interest at your DD's age and seemed to be a Maths/science girl now 8 years later music, drama and dance appear to be her gifts and what I want from a school has changed to accommodate this. Though this can and may change again. Don't set your heart on one path at this moment in time.

Happymummy007 Mon 22-Feb-16 11:43:07

I would echo the other posters. Get the house in Guildford! I used to live within walking distance of GHS and confirm everything the others have said about the traffic. It can be OK, but can also be totally dreadful.

It seems like a very long day for a little one. School is very, very different to nursery, and could be exhausting for her. I'm also interested that you are aiming for Oxbridge. Already? How old is she? Enough said.

Guildford property prices are high, sky high. If you really don't want to live in the town, how about one of the outlying villages? I would seriously recommend avoiding any long commute if at all possible. GHS is a fabulous school, without doubt, but don't make life too hard before she even gets there.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 22-Feb-16 12:06:36

I agree, move to Guildford and accept a smaller house, you don't know what the future might hold, a three bed semi is perfectly suitable for a family with 2 DCs. Also is there potential for one of you to find work closer to Guildford? A journey from Heathrow to Guildford and then onto Wokingham every day sounds horrific and I cannot see how you can solve the morning dropoff problem from Wokingham/Crowthorne.

I also agree that school days are harder on DCs than nursery, and being committed to this commuting regime every day is going to be really hard on your daughter. Her social / extra-curricular life is going to be very restricted with this set-up as she won't have any opportunities to get to know children close to where she lives and will live a long way from her school friends.

sdeb Mon 22-Feb-16 12:55:12


Thank you for your time and the useful comments. We really appreciate your feedback.

We would probably compromise on house and accept a smaller house around Guildford.

@Happymummy007 - You mentioned outlying villages. Would you be able to recommend any?

Happymummy007 Mon 22-Feb-16 13:06:11

In one direction have a look at Ripley, Ockham, Clandon, Horsley, In another, Shere, Dorking, Leatherhead. Also Bramley or Shalford. I KNOW that some of these are ridiculously expensive (especially as you head towards London), but it gives you a starter. I grew up in the area and it's a beautiful part of the world.

sdeb Mon 22-Feb-16 13:16:20

@Happymummy007 Thank you very much

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 22-Feb-16 15:57:51

Good luck smile

mary21 Mon 22-Feb-16 17:49:42

I am sorry. This seems like madness. Either move to Guildford. Close to school/ station or close to A3 escape route or pick a school closer to the area you both work in eg. Jack and Jill school followed by LEH another very good all girls school.(Hampton)
An important part of junior school is social/emotional so going to friends houses for tea etc is important to children. Also consider you will need to go to school for parents evenings, assemblies, class cake sales. Dropping of forget ten PE kit/musical instruments/homework.
You will expected to listen to you child read in the evening. It won't be long till they get homework.
Making life stressful won't help your child reach their potential.
Curious never heard of Holy Cross Prep in Hampton?

Stillunexpected Mon 22-Feb-16 19:03:30

Something will have to give in this scenario and if the school is unchangeable then it will have to be one of location/commute to work/size of house because it is not fair on your dd to expect her to undertake such a long day. As others have said, school is different to nursery. The expectations are different and they certainly will be in GHS. Once home, there will be homework and even 10 mins of reading or phonics with an exhausted 4 year old can seem like an eternity. If you have already planned out your dd's Oxbridge future, then you need to support her with her needs now, rather than for some, as yet, untested future.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Mon 22-Feb-16 19:24:38

I really don't mean to hijack your thread OP but I do have a question related to Holy Cross, which I read that your DD has a place at? And people on this thread have been really helpful at responding with the 'commute' issue...

In the experience of posters on this thread, would a drive of 20-45 mins (15-20 in good traffic, up to 45 in bad traffic, and probably an average of 30 mins) be just too much for a child in their early years of junior school?

We love Holy Cross (though haven't sat assessment there yet) and for us the drive might be an issue.

If we didn't get a place there and choose there, our other main school option would be either a 20 min walk/15 min bus/10 min car ride away.

I have no other children to consider (dragging on a long journey) and work from home so can be flexible... BUT is that sort of car journey just too long for a 4/5/6 year old?

Bearing in mind that HC does seem to be a school really worth going that extra mile (literally!) for... ie it's the ONLY school we'd consider doing this for, there are plenty of other lovely schools a similar distance away that we haven't even considered.

Again sorry to hijack OP and the very best of luck with your decision. (Would just add that I went to Oxbridge and it was in no way a good thing for me!! It's not neccessarily the Holy Grail it can seem...!)

LIZS Mon 22-Feb-16 19:29:52

What is your budget? You don't need to live on top of the school but Wokingham etc is madness. Honestly there is no school worth making that trek at 4! How would you manage play dates and parties with classmates who live even 20 minutes the other direction. Guildford has a range of housing and likewise the surrounding area, I think you may need to adjust your expectations or put GHS on hold until she is older.

AMumOfThree Mon 22-Feb-16 19:52:31

There are plenty of DDs doing commutes of up to half an hour into GHS, but commuting from as far away as Wokingham would be unusual. For the Junior school, aside from Guildford itself, families tend to live south of Guildford, so commuting up the A3, in Cobham so taking the A3 in the opposite direction, in places like Clandon and Horsley or in Woking. One option would be to look at places on the train line from London Waterloo via Cobham to London Road, with a view to driving DD while she is a junior, but then having her able to do an easy train commute when she is older.

While I have been very happy with GHS junior for my DC, I second the view that it is not so amazing as to be worth a very long commute for a 4 year old.

Stillunexpected Mon 22-Feb-16 19:56:03

I think OP said their budget is £650k but they want a nice 4-bed detached as a minimum with various commuting restrictions too - so not much then!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 22-Feb-16 20:20:48

Duchess - I think the problem with the 20-45 min drive is the limitations on after school activities / social life (I haven't experienced this but came on the thread as I have knowledge of the area/traffic/house prices). So in part it depends how long the school day is and whether you would be adding in wraparound care which take you into the evening rush hour. But at this sort of distance your DC is likely to find themselves living a long way from school friends and not have friends where you live, unless they join things like Scouts or Guides which they might be too tired for / not home in time for.

My DCs primary school is 5 mins walk from our house and it makes life so, so easy, both in terms of the school run, going back and forth during the day for harvest festivals and the like, and meeting up with friends, who all live within half a mile or so. Now that is a state school, I realise that private schools will have children from a much wider area and even if you live on the doorstep the friends may well not, but at least you are home soon after school and can go to Brownies or whatever.

I would also say for longer distance commuting you need a back up, there will be days when you can't do it yourself (hospital appointment, unavoidable work commitment, illness, car breakdown) and the further away you are the harder that is to find.

Imperialleather2 Mon 22-Feb-16 20:21:29

Op I think you are crazy to consider this. If the e school is your priority then the house size needs to come second. You can't have both and have a sane life.

Live locally get a childminder or nanny- happy days😀

Librocubularist Mon 22-Feb-16 21:34:52

We are 40 mins away, to the east of GHS and it's okay, but we will move closer soon (down to 20 mins), not due to the journey which is fine, but I do think DD has missed out a little on weekday play dates. Of course girls in aftercare build great friendships and seem to love it, so this might not be an issue for your DD actually.

Coming in from the east is by far the easiest journey into Guildford traffic wise but if your husband needs Woking Station I would be looking at properties north of Guildford and Woking tends to have a good range of properties to suit various budgets.

Are you sure you can't find anything fairly close within your budget? A quick look at a 5 mile radius, 4 bed detached gives 12 options - I'd try creating a drawn map that is up to 30 mins from a point between Guildford and Woking and see what comes up. Of course if you're looking for a "dream home" as well as being close to Guildford then yes, you'd need a bigger budget!

Drop off is made much easier if you can do it at around 7.50, by 8 the queue is well developed, before then you'd exit left, to the roundabout, left past the Spectrum and off to Woking station or A3 to M25.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 23-Feb-16 13:05:28

Bisley, West End and Lightwater are close to the M3 and will provide the type of housing you want at the price you want. Bagshot too probably. Windless ham is more expensive.

These are all a 20 minute or so drive from Guildford, BUT it will take you far longer if you are anywhere near rush hour morning and evening time. Pie right may be a possibility, but not so close to the motorway.

I'd go for the A322 option and try to find a back road route if you can.

sdeb Thu 25-Feb-16 22:02:08

Thank you everyone for your helpful responses. Much appreciated for your time and efforts to help us.

sdeb Thu 25-Feb-16 22:02:32

Well, yes – it sounds madness. Otherwise we would not have sought a brainstorming session here smile
We had similar plan for LEH as well. That’s why we sent our DD for Holy Cross Prep’s assessment. We had an offer as well from them. Google search, you will find more details as they do prep well for LEH.

sdeb Thu 25-Feb-16 22:17:36

Thank you. Yes agree. We changed our plan now. We intend to move to Burpham/Merrow areas to reduce the location/commute issue as it’s close to GHS, Station and M3/A3.
RE: Oxbridge future topic
(Unsure if it was advice or sarcastic! Sorry. But let me respond you below. Sorry once again if I sound blunt.)
A capital investment in GHS of £XYZ does not guarantee a place in Oxbridge. Everyone knows this. Additionally, Oxbridge is not top of the world. Everyone knows about it. Our philosophy has been, as a parent we are trying our best within our ability (financial, hard work, etc.) and give our DD a platform. We think, it’s our responsibility. We may need to drop few luxury holidays for this private school investment. But we will still do. Let her use this opportunity/platform or fail it or misuse it or even exploit it! At least we have done our job. No question from heaven  ! By the way, I am not Oxbridge, and I deal or work with many Oxbridge and non-Oxbridge of course. Yes excelled Oxbridge are the best (who reaches top success threshold) as compared to MIT or Stanford. That does not mean every Oxbridge is the same. Hope this makes this clear so that we can be on the same page 

sdeb Thu 25-Feb-16 22:30:49


Thank you. Special thanks for reading entire discussions. Much appreciated.
Well, true , my actual/original question that - would a drive of 20-45 mins (15-20 in good traffic, up to 45 in bad traffic, and probably an average of 30 mins) be just too much for a child in their early years of junior school?

Oxbridge is not a Holy Grail. It’s not a excel spreadsheet that gives us a tick box qualification. It’s a quality attribute of education. Yes – it does not guarantee success or money making or whatever. But it gives a better stand up among entire UK population.

It gives a better standing, better baseline and better standard than anyone else when we have a 64.1 million population and when we compare British education in global market. Oxbridge is the only British education background comparable to Stanford and MIT or Caltech. As a Global hiring manager or a business owner, if you have 35k budget and two candidates (same work experience, same skills) – one Oxbridge and one non-Oxbridge – would you hire non-Oxbridge?

sdeb Thu 25-Feb-16 22:49:17

@ AMumOfThree
Thanks for your time and responses.
Travelling from Wokingham is unusual so we thought to seek everyone (especially GHS junior’s parents) view and advice. We now intend to get a house in Burpham/Merrow area with the same rationale as you mentioned in thread.

For senior school, train line is not bad from Wokingham as there is a 30 mins +/- train to Guildford.

Well, as your DC is already in GHS junior – you will be better experienced than us anyway. But a polite message would be – if you talk and get real like-for-like honest feedback form others, its doing better. My comment might hurt others. Apologies for this. It’s meant to be for GHS parents. Sorry.

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