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Advice on schools in Surrey (maybe Berkshire & Kent too) please...(10 Posts)
Hi everyone, I'm new here. Hope I can keep this brief!
I currently live in Hong Kong, planning to move to the UK in 2021. I am looking at North Surrey but open to other parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Kent.
My son was born in October 2014 (5 now) so he will be turning 7 by start of school year 2021. He is in 1st Grade now so I assume he will be in Year 3 by then (a little young for his year?)
I have my eye on City of London Freeman's School, Milbourne Lodge, Twickenham Prep, ACS Cobham (as my son is currently in an IB School). I also like the idea of Sevenoaks School (also because of IB) but they take 13+ so maybe Sevenoaks Prep.
I was told I should register ASAP as schools are competitive. However, registering for schools is not a cheap exercise, so ideally I would like to have visited the schools first and narrow down the options. I will be going to the UK to visit schools next year around May.
So my questions are:
1. Should I take the advice of registering now, or should I wait until next year after the visits?
2. Does anyone have comments or reviews on the above schools?
3. What schools would you recommend in those areas? (perhaps my research has missed out on others)
Many thanks in advance!
Can't help with the schools, but FYI he'll actually be one of the eldest in year 2 - school birth years go from aug 1- aug 31, so an Oct birthday is actually old in the year.
Thanks PatriciaHolm - even if he is already in 1st grade now? by that time he would've done 2nd grade, you think schools will make him repeat rather than letting him move forward? (tbh i would rather not pay extra year of school fees )
Yes, he’ll be one of the oldest in the year. Schools are unlikely to put him up a year as that isn’t a done thing.
ACS Cobham isn’t international in the sense of the IB curriculum until the diploma. It follows the American curriculum and it’s generally an area with tons or American ex-pats.
In terms of ‘missing out’ schools - there are tens or even hundreds more you could consider.
Do you want to be in London (Twickenham is a suburb) or a small town outside London (eg Sevenoaks or one of the Surrey towns). Do you want a prep (up to age 11 or 13) or an all-through school? Single sex or co-ed? Are you fussed about extensive grounds and wow facilities or would you be happy with a city school? And where will you be commuting to?
Appreciate your answer JojoSM2, thanks.
Location - I was initially looking at Surrey (Guildford) but was drawn to Kingston/Richmond area, maybe even lower down at Weybridge. It actually really depends on what school DS will get into.
School - I would prefer a Prep school co-ed up to 13. Ideally a school that has boarding option, an all-rounder (decent academics, sports, pastoral care). And you're right about Cobham - I meant Egham where it does offer PYP.
Commute - I wouldn't need to commute, I will look for a job when I'm there. I'm pretty flexible but ideally within an hour of London by train so we can do stuff over the weekend. I'm single with only a few acquaintances in the UK so it's quite daunting for me. I'm worried if I'm in small villages where it's all families I won't be able to meet other single people.
I’m not sure if any schools in London (Richmond or Kingston way) will offer boarding at prep level. However, you could possibly live there and drive your son down to a school in Surrey (down the A3 motorway). Feltonfleet offers boarding and could be accessible from London or you could live in Cobham or Esher - both upmarket but quite small.
Other option to consider could be living in Reigate which is a cute, small town but it actually has a vibrant upmarket high street with nice eateries and lovely boutiques etc. The schools around there could be The Hawthorns School, possibly a longer drive to Cottesmore (more accessible from Horsham but that’s quite far out). You could also look at Hazelwood (near Oxted). Oxted itself is nice but quiet but the school could probably be accessed from Reigate too.
PS Feltonfleet and Cottesmore offer boarding but The Hawthorns and Hazelwood are day schools.
OP, school years in England start with Reception, then Year 1, then Year 2 etc, so Year 2 is actually the third year of school.
Thanks JoJo - I'll look at the schools you suggested. Really appreciate the info on the towns, I will stay for a couple of months next year so will probably stay in some of them to get a feel. Honestly I am overwhelmed with the choices, I tried to narrow it down but keep ending up finding new interesting places.
BikeSunSki - thanks for clarifying
i guess I shouldn't register for the schools now then until I have a clearer picture of where I want to be.
I can only talk to the schools in the Esher/Cobham area, Milbourne is all about the academics so is a very traditional type school. Hence if your son is not academic they don't focus on other areas of learning e.g. IT etc. to the same degree compared to other schools. We ruled it out as we felt it was too fashioned that wouldn't prepare our son for life / everything is about winning. You should look at Shrewsbury as well which achieves similar academics but has a wider focus.
ACS Cobham has great facilities and I have friends whose kids are happy there but like many international schools it can be transient with pupils coming & going.