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Independent schools near Guildford?(11 Posts)
We are currently expats and looking at moving back to the UK but to an area we do not know at all due to my DH job. Typically I have been given the job of sorting out schools and housing (we will be renting). I am now at a complete loss as all the good and outstanding state schools seem to be oversubscribed so we will now have to look at independent ones. DH doesn’t want a long commute but I also don’t want a long school run. We have DD twins who will be going into yr3 in sept 2018. Any suggestions of where we should look to live and also schools to look at? (DD’s have never been in a UK school but in the British system overseas)
Near or in? Guildford High and Tormead are the most obvious options but you probably need to be pretty central to avoid traffic chaos. Are you after single sex or coed?
I would prefer coed as this is what they are used to but don’t have a problem with an all girls school. Is traffic in and out of Guildford horrific in the mornings? The job is near the hospital so I was thinking we could live further out. Is the drive from Farnham too far?
Don't drive from Farnham - that seems to be the worst way to come into Guildford! One of my DCs is in the same school years as yours so could potentially end up at one of the same schools depending what you choose! Don't rule out state if you don't want to - the Junior Schools (7-11 rather than Primaries which are 4-11) will have a Y3 intake but the other schools all accept applications and spaces do come up. It's too early now as the state schools can't reserve places for you for next Sept unless you apply to a school with a specific Y3 intake but ad hoc places definitely come up in the primary schools.
If you look at the independent schools, the closing date for Y3 entrance exams is probably imminent if not already just missed - ut always speaking to the registrars.
Good luck - sounds like lots to sort out!
You wouldn't want to drive in from Farnham for a primary age school run but children travel further afield for secondary. Expat friends there were happy with Barfields for prep. It seemed more easy going than some others but still fed good independent secondaries.
If you have to go the private route, besides the prep departments for senior girls' schools Tormead, GHS and St Cat's (Bramley), other local preps to consider, depending upon your location, are Ripley Court (mixed), Cranmore (mixed), St Hilary's and Rydes Hill (mixed but boys leave after Year 2), Edgeborough, Hoebridge and Longacre (mixed) and Halstead (girls only).
However, I agree that occasional places do come up at good local state schools. We managed to get a reception place from the waiting list at a sought-after infant school within a term of starting at another well-regarded one (we moved to our closer school). There was also a lot of movement on the waiting list for a Yr3 place at Holy Trinity a few years ago. (I suspect people were sitting on places whilst weighing up whether to go private then or delay until Yr 7).
Most of Guildford's state schools are very good. At the secondary level, the recent Maths Challenge evening hosted by GHS saw Guildford County School achieve the highest results across the 4 years participating (Yrs 8-11), with 3 podium finishes and George Abbot were on the podium for at least one year group. I think some 10-12 local schools participated including the private 3 Guildford girls' schools, City of London Freemen's and Charterhouse. (RGS double-booked themselves.)
I also know of at least two County School sixth formers who've achieved Oxford offers in the last two years (if that kind of thing floats your boat, I appreciate that not everyone is that bothered by Oxbridge places and that other universities offer better courses for a variety of subjects). Good luck!
My children are at Pirbright which is a lovely school. I know for a fact that there are four spaces at present in one of the year 2 classes, not sure about the other one. Obviously places might fill up over the next two terms, but Pirbright has two or three military children in each class and there is normally some turnover, plus places come up for other reasons at the end of year 2 (children move away or go to independent schools). There are no doubt other state schools with places available, and in year 3 there is some flexibility as to class sizes. You could either live near the school and drive to the Uni, or vice versa, or choose a mid-point. Historically about a quarter of my childrens school go to independent schools at secondary, so plenty of time to prep for admissions at that stage.
Thanks for all your responses- I would happily consider good state schools but we are stuck in a logistic nightmare as we can’t physically move until the summer and we need an address in Surrey before we can apply for schools and we can’t commit to a property in an area where the schools might be full. The council won’t tell me which schools might have places u til I have an address?!? Catch 22. I would consider moving before the summer but we are still in the same property/catchment area problem. It’s so frustrating hence thinking the private route may be better. DH doesn’t want longer than 30min commute so we just need to find somewhere that works for school and him even if we are going in opposite directions.
I know exactly what you mean. We ended up going the private route from year 4 for two of ours as we couldn't get confirmation prior to exchange on our house purchase that places were available at the good, local junior school. I wanted certainty so that we could plan. We were in by Christmas so we then made an application for a reception place for our third child at the local infant school before the Surrey CC deadline and were successful.
I can thoroughly recommend Tormead School but have a good look around at all of the other preps - choosing a school is such a personal decision. There are plenty of recent Mumsnet threads about other local schools - just search by name and date range. Good luck and PM me if you have any specific questions about Tormead.