Anyone familiar with South Wimbledon?

(12 Posts)
ukintheusa Wed 22-Jul-20 20:57:16

Hello Mums! Looking for a bit of 'insider' knowledge, as I'm based in NYC, and a bit removed from it all at the mo. I'll try to make a long story short...

I am originally from the UK, and my 6 year old daughter is a British Citizen, but has lived in NYC all her life, beginning primary school here. She's been with me to visit the UK several times and loves it, and right now I'm planning a 2 month stay beginning in August through October. Basically, since March, she has been cooped up in our Manhattan flat, isolated and bored to tears (probably doesn't help having her mum for a teacher too!). It's been breaking my heart, and so unhealthy for this happy little girl to not even recall what a playdate looks like! Though NYC is in better shape than the rest of the US, remote learning will continue in Sept. for the foreseeable future. Neither of us can take it anymore.

Following a strict 14 day isolation upon arrival to the UK (quite honestly not that different from the last 4 months for us), I'd like to reintegrate her into UK society a bit, as much as circumstances will allow and is of course safe. Ideally, I'd like to enroll her into a school, but being temporary housing, I see where this will be a challenge if not unlikely. I am looking all over, from a house in South Wimbledon, to not too expensive but still safe and family friendly areas in London, to Bristol, where my family is.

My question is, what is socialisation looking like now? I realise the children will be headed back to school in September, with utmost precaution. If I cannot get her into a school and have to continue homeschooling, does anyone have ideas for how to get my six year old in front of a child? Pretty sure she's had enough play with the 34 year old likes of me. Also would love to hear any suggestions of regions to consider (would just need to be in the London or Bristol areas), thoughts of South Wimbleton specifically if possible, and the general climate over there for the kids. We're very desperate to make something good of all this! Thank you so much xxxx

OP’s posts: |
BendingSpoons Thu 23-Jul-20 17:00:56

I think you are unlikely to be able to enroll her in a school. It would take a few weeks to get a place sorted once schools reopen in Sept and you wouldn't normally get a place for basically a long holiday.

In terms of socialisation, playgrounds are open and busy, if she is the type of child to make friends easily. Some places are opening up in terms of summer camps. I live nearish that area and could book days at a pottery painting place plus some of the sports places. Obviously this is holiday provision and will probably stop by end August. There are meet up apps like Mush for meeting up with children that you could try. Sept/Oct will be trickier once kids are back at school, but you may find more after school options are open, like sports clubs etc. I can't comment on the area directly but hopefully someone else will.

ukintheusa Thu 23-Jul-20 18:18:30

Bending Spoons-

I tend to agree- I think it was a bit of wishful thinking, if not rather unfair on my part to expect a school or council to take her in on such a temporary basis. I'd love to make it a more permanent thing, but that's another situation entirely to contend with.

Thank you for this helpful info! My daughter is the type to make friends quickly and easily. It's a bit tricky during school hours of course, although if she ends up sticking to homeschool, we'd be working on that about the same time anyway, I suppose. Will download the app you suggested (thank you!!), and it's nice to hear there are certain places like pottery painting and things open. Of course safety is number one priority, but nice to look about for some reasonable outlets, whatever they may be. Nothing quite here in New York City happening. Appreciate your post! x

OP’s posts: |
24carrot Thu 23-Jul-20 18:28:08

Hi ukintheusa! I am from Bristol originally too with all my family still there, now I live down the road from South Wimbledon (Raynes Park/Morden) but know it well as we lived there for eight years until our six year old daughter was born. So we have a few things in common! smile
Unfortunately we have yet to hear about any clubs or activities that will restart in September, nor do I know of much going on over the summer to be honest. However the good news is that playgrounds have reopened and there are some really nice ones around Merton where you could hang out every day, weather permitting, and your daughter would be sure to find kids to play with (kids aren’t socially distancing and I haven’t noticed any parents attempting to enforce it!). You could get on the local FB group too, SW19 Mums, for updates if any activities or events do start happening again. Of course Bristol will be the same re. playgrounds and activities. I would look to stay somewhere with lots of different parks in easy reach if you have the choice, given this is the only guaranteed way to meet people right now sadly.
As for school, I’m no expert but I don’t see why you couldn’t enrol your daughter in a Year 2 class - do you have to tell the council you are only here temporarily? You’ll need proof of address to get a place and you might not get in somewhere close to home but with only one DC I’d think you stand a good chance. Many people would be in temporary accommodation so that shouldn’t be a barrier (like I say I’m not an expert though!). Lots of families migrate away from London so spaces do open up, that’s certainly been the case at our school. Bristol might not have such a transient population so could be harder to find a spot but that’s purely speculation. I think you should try though because it would be an amazing experience for your daughter. They are doing year-group bubbles at our school and it’s bound to all be a bit chaotic those first few weeks with some anxious kids but if your daughter is ok with that then why not? Will give you a break too! Let me know if I can answer any more specific questions and I’ll try my best.

Pud2 Fri 24-Jul-20 09:47:44

There are more and more holiday camps opening up so enrolling her in one of those in August would be your best bet. Deen City Farm, walking distance from South Wimbledon, has also reopened as has the riding school there if she’s into riding. They do usually offer activities for kids in the holidays but not sure if they are at the moment.

As for getting a school place for a few weeks - that’s a tricky one. You’d have to buy uniform etc. The school would invest time in getting to know your child, assessing them, giving them books etc, and then you’d be gone. You would, however, be entitled to a school place if you were resident. Within school, children are still in class bubbles so, whilst they’re mowing with their peers, they’re still not able to mix with other classes.

ThroughThoroughThoughTough Fri 24-Jul-20 13:39:15

Quite a lot of things have opened up locally for kids - tennis clubs (Wilsons, Cranleigh), cricket clubs in Dundonald Rec, Merton Park Sports Club (also in Dundonald Rec) and the Young Ruts rugby in Merton Park. The playgrounds (Wimbledon Park, Dundonald) are busy and the kids are not socially distanced, people seem to be relaxed about kids getting closer than 2m but are using anti-bac before snacks etc. If you don’t have a car, it will be limiting as means you can only get to places you can walk to (tube / bus are still for essential travel) but that may change soon.

On schools, some of the Merton schools do have spaces. If you look at the education bit of the Merton website it has a list of schools with places in each year. Would you need Y1 or Y2?

JoJoSM2 Fri 24-Jul-20 15:12:19

I’m down in South Sutton and have also seen the playgrounds busy. As above, leisure facilities have just reopened so if she’d like to, she could to tennis, swimming, ballet etc. For great farms I tend to drive slightly out of London and currently you need to book a slot but they’re open (eg Bocketts Farm Park) and have tons of play areas and enough children to socialise with. I think in Sutton the trampoline park might be open again but not the play park (probably a much higher risk of infection).

This is an example of a summer camp at an independent school in central Sutton. I imagine there will be options in Wimbledon too.

However, if you’re looking for area recommendations, the Sutton area is great for kids (South Sutton or Cheam village are leafy areas to stay). Other than the above, you also get a dance studio with a good provision for children. The public golf course and climbing wall also organise camps for kids but not sure of ages or timings etc.


ukintheusa Fri 24-Jul-20 19:19:10

Wow, you ladies are amazing!! This is so helpful!

@24carrot - sounds like we do have a few things in common, how fun! I've hopped on to the SW 19 Facebook group (thanks for the tip!)- in the meantime I'm glad there's at least some good parks around. What you said makes so much sense with transient families in London v. Bristol. I get the overall impression that placement is a bit tougher in Bristol. The idea of getting my daughter Penny in front of other kids = fabulous... the idea of getting her into a Year 2 placement where I can actually complete a thought without interruption = divine! smile

@Pud2 I will check out Deen City Farm, that sounds great! Love this idea. May have to get creative here. As much as I want my daughter in a school environment, I can appreciate the investment of time and effort required welcoming her in just to head off. It's really tricky- I'd like for this to be a more permanent situation if it feels right when we're there, but there may be some external factors to content with there. A lot to weigh here!

@ThroughThoroughThoughTough Have just had a look at the link you provided-- omg cannot thank you enough. I did not find this gem before! We're looking at Year 2. In New York City, a good number of people are not exactly abiding by social distancing, although we have (might be why we feel so cooped up). I've heard transmission rates tend to be lower with children, but we exercise caution nonetheless. This may be a silly question that really comes down to a matter of personal feeling, but do you find it feels safe or when the kids aren't practising social distancing on the playground/parks (assuming hand bac is used, etc.)? I'm also a bit clueless... is anyone wearing masks these days? We've had some hot days here lately, and sometimes it's absolutely miserable with one on, but we've complied with it. My daughter is pretty used to it because it's mandatory but wondering if that's happening on the other side of the pond?

You mums are the best!! xx

OP’s posts: |
ThroughThoroughThoughTough Fri 24-Jul-20 20:05:37

I’m comfortable with what I’ve seen in playgrounds, which is playing fairly closely together but not touching, with plenty of hand-washing and anti-bac before eating / leaving. But your risk appetite may be different. I think the evidence about transmission in the open air and between young children is such that it’s a low risk activity. No one is wearing a mask in the playground - and kids under 11 are exempt on public transport in London, too, though I plan to make mine wear them on the tube and in shops.

For a Y2 place in S Wimbledon, Merton Abbey will be the closest. It’s a bit of a building site at one end at the moment (building a new secondary school) and it’s not one of the sought after schools in the area. Park Community School is also fairly near and has spaces, but that’s quite new and set up by evangelical Christians, which may or may not be your cup of tea. If you want to ask the council about other schools (in case the website is out of date) then the other nearby ones would be Pelham, St Mary’s (RC), Merton Park and a bit further away Dundonald and Wimbledon Chase.

ukintheusa Sat 25-Jul-20 14:47:57

@ThroughThoroughThoughTough Really helpful insights, thank you so much. Truly invaluable! x

OP’s posts: |
Yellownotblue Mon 27-Jul-20 18:39:27

Also check out Holy Trinity school, it is listed as having Y2 places (although presumably that’s for the academic year just ended, not the year starting in September ?). From recollection it has a good reputation and is usually full.

Otherwise Pelham school would be good for S Wimbledon. It is listed as having a year 1 vacancy, which might translate into a year 2 vacancy in September.

Yellownotblue Mon 27-Jul-20 18:43:00

Dundonald, Wimbledon Chase, St Mary, Merton Park are all heavily oversubscribed, and unlikely to have space. However, occasional vacancies do happen. I hear a lot of UK families are going private, which might free up some places in state schools.

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