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Sevenoaks - what can you tell me?

(28 Posts)
Doozie Sun 15-May-11 20:12:11

Hello MNers,

I'm looking at Sevenoaks for a potential place to move to and buy a house. Does anyone live there and can tell me about it? What are the best areas, what are the schools like (I've a baby and a toddler); how is the commute into London; is there a decent high street?! Anything you can tell me would be much appreciated.

Thanks very much!

MirandaGoshawk Sun 15-May-11 20:13:21

It used to have seven oaks.

Sorry, that's all I know. smile

LIZS Sun 15-May-11 20:18:29

Been through it a few times. Nice High street (Fat Face, Gap etc), restaurants and so on. Also out of town shopping area near Riverhead and nto too far to Bluewater or Ashford outlet centre. Town quite sprawling. Train to London not too bad and easy for M25.

LadyMacnet Sun 15-May-11 21:43:42

Very very very expensive. You probably already know that the commute is into London Bridge / Waterloo / Charing Cross and is fast about 25 mins I think. There is one state secondary called Knole Academy which is an amalgamation of two single sex high schools which were / are known as Wildernesse and Bradborne. Few want their children to go to these schools but 11+ schools are all in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and are potentially out of catchment depending on the school and the gender of the child - but not necessarily. I don't know anything about the primary schools. There is also the private Sevenoaks School.

S' oaks like a lot of W Kent is uber middle class and imo very dull. The high street has an ok range of boutiques and clothes stores and coffee places and a Waitrose. Bluewater is about 15 minutes away.

N1MTB Mon 16-May-11 11:53:43

V good commute if you want to live outside London and work in the city or West End. Sevenoaks itself used to be quite boring (although I haven't been there for a good 10 years so I daresay it's more interesting now!) but it's got beautiful countryside around it. Parts of the town are very pretty - nice cricket green for example, I think (if it's still there - it's near a nice pub I used to drink at when under age.....).

If you can face adding to your commute (by 10-15 mins) and want to live just outside it, there are some lovely villages. There a quite a few new build "executive" homes that are very grand and expensive, that are near the station. There are some late Victorian/Edwardian semis and some 1920s/1930s semis (and detached I think) near the station.

I don't think state primary schools are all brilliant but some seem good, especially in the villages near it. The private schools in Sevenoaks are very good.

Secondary school options are good as Lady Macnet says. Grammar schools in Tonbridge are the nearest - as I'm sure you know, they are excellent and some of the best state schools in the country. I went to the girls one on and off for a bit - lots of children from Sevenoaks went to the Tonbridge grammar schools then but I know catchment areas have decreased - worth a call to Kent county council I think though, especially as there are no grammars in Sevenoaks so if a Sevenoaks child passes the 11+, that is their nearest option. And Sevenoaks school itself is fab if you have the money and a very academic child. They just do the International Bac instead of A-levels now (which I think is better for most children but depends on the child). It's very sporty, musical and has great drama facilities (I also went there for a while!). Or Tonbridge School if you have a boy and want a very traditional education (and have pots of cash - it's v v expensive, even for day pupils - even more so than Sevenoaks).

We're in the process of trying to find somewhere to move to aswell at the moment and considered it. But, personally, I'd prefer to go further out, to Tunbridge Wells and have more of a commute than live in Sevenoaks, I think... (Prettier and more lively, I think, better state primary schools, option of the T-Wells and Tonbridge grammars plus good private schools at secondary level if you want/can afford that.) However, we're going to stick to London for now - maybe we'll move out to Kent next time!

Sevenoaks is right on the edge of the M25 too which is fab for airports/general getting to other parts of the country. Wouldn't want to commute on it though.

lechatnoir Mon 16-May-11 13:14:00

I much prefer TWells to Sevoanoaks for both shopping and eating/drinking but it is another 15-20mins further on the train and not that much cheaper. I live near Twells plus have young children one of which has just started school (following some pretty extensive primary school research) so happy to answer any questions if you decide to venture that bit furthe.

Page62 Tue 17-May-11 09:14:19

Hi. We currently rent in sevenoaks (coming up to a year) as we do up a house we bought around 15-20 mins outside sevenoaks in borough green/ightham. sevenoaks is a town really but surrounded by countryside so if you are wanting country, then you have to go a bit further out. the high st is ok and has lots of shops (waitrose, tesco, gap kids, monosoon, jojo maman bebe, marks and spencer - but as you can tell, little of the independent shops which you will find more of in tunbridge wells). Commute is great (25-30 mins) into charing cross, london bridge, or cannon st. DH and I both work in the City so the commute is quite cruicial for us.
Schools wise - our DCs are in private primary - and there is a lot of choice there - sevenoaks prep, granville, walthamstow hall, st michaels in otford etc. I don't really know about the state schools. Secondary schools - as others have mentioned - the grammar schools in tonbridge, there's sevenoaks school (IB), Tonbridge Boys school etc. I haven't really done my work regarding state secondary school options.
Sevenoaks really isn't to our taste - hence bought outside sevenoaks - but that's because we really wanted a "country feel" - ie. for it to be much different to the time we had living in london. hope that helps.

Doozie Tue 17-May-11 19:34:40

Thanks so much for the very comprehensive responses - extremely helpful! I really appreciate it. Will have a look at Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge now too.

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traceyjacks1 Tue 15-Jan-19 15:49:59

Hi,
Has anyone moved from outside of The UK to Kent Seven Oaks Tonbridge Wells Area? I have lived in Asia for the past 16yrs. Returned to Ireland for 1 year and we will move to the UK June 2019. I have 2 boys who will go into Y5 and Y3. Currently looking at Amherst but the cut off for schools are tonight at Midnight. Difficult to organise a school place when living arrangements and Address will not be confirmed until June.
Anyone else in this prediciment and been successful in organising school places My husband currently working in The City and will commute from Kent to The City when we move.
Appreciate hearing from you should you have had similar circumstances. Also to add re schools only those that are non fee paying.
Thank you

chopc Wed 16-Jan-19 09:35:08

We are moving from Dubai to Sevenoaks but have lived in Tonbridge before. You can join Sevenoaks mums network for any queries. If is very useful

Blahblahblah1000 Wed 20-Feb-19 19:41:25

Hi Lolly

I would say the entrance exams are very different to CAT testing and 11+ . My tip would be to use the past papers as much as you can and also have a chat to the admissions team. As you suggest, the other assessment day activities (and also the reference from current school) carry real weight for this school.

Not a top tier school 😂😂😂

Blahblahblah1000 Wed 20-Feb-19 19:44:48

Oops wrong thread! 😂

meljwhite Wed 14-Aug-19 09:13:52

I am moving from Dubai to Sevenoaks early next year too! Will have a look at the Sevenoaks Mums network. Any advice on what areas in Sevenoaks to avoid?

Thank you!

chopc Wed 14-Aug-19 15:55:17

@meljwhite I just moved from Dubai to Sevenoaks!!!!! It was a strategic move due to schools and commute to London but lovely place! Really pleased with our move

chopc Wed 14-Aug-19 15:56:29

Don't know areas to avoid yet but when I asked my friend she said to avoid Bradbourne Park area . But unsure why

JoJoSM2 Wed 14-Aug-19 20:19:27

@meljwhite

Have you got children? Independent schools in Sevenoaks are great. Secondary state schools are problematic - if you have a bright child they’ll go to a grammar, if you’re practising Christians there’s an ok Christian free school. Otherwise, it’s a truly awful secondary (Knole Academy).

meljwhite Tue 20-Aug-19 11:44:01

Yes, he's only 5 though. So may move to Tonbridge later on for secondary schools. Thank you!

meljwhite Tue 20-Aug-19 11:44:54

Ah thats great to hear! Really looking forward to our move.

JoJoSM2 Tue 20-Aug-19 13:34:41

Tonbridge is just as bad for secondaries. Basically anywhere in Kent you either pay fees, get into a grammar or go to a rubbish school.

meljwhite Tue 20-Aug-19 14:02:59

I guess I’ll have to see what options we have at that time - Surrey would be an option too I guess. Thank you for your advice!

chopc Tue 20-Aug-19 14:03:02

@JoJoSM2 If you have a girl Hillview School in Tonbridge has a good reputation as do Trinity School in Sevenoaks (mixed).

Off topic but I don't understand how Surrey has good secondary comps when it has Grammar Schools too eg Tiffin, Wilson's, Wallington etc

JoJoSM2 Tue 20-Aug-19 14:24:28

@chopc

Trinity is a faith school. Hillview has excellent progress scores but still low attainment so loads better than going to Knole but still not wow.

To answer your question re Wilsons's, Wallington etc. They're in the borough of Sutton. We've got 5 grammars and 10 comps. The local primaries are very very high attaining (top 5 LAs in England) with largely well-educated parents. In addition to that, many of the pupils in grammars come from other boroughs. That means that there are plenty of high ability/attainment children in the comps too (even 50% + of high prior attainers in some comps). Sutton's Attainment 8 at GCSE is the highest in England.

Kent is different because overall it's completely average attainment-wise with the pupils split between the high attaining grammars and the low attaining comps (many with dire progress scores too).

JoJoSM2 Tue 20-Aug-19 14:27:56

Oh, the Tiffin are in Kingston but again, only 2 grammars in the LA with a largely skewed intake (skewed towards professional, educated families) and excellent primaries so plenty of clever clogs in the comps pushing results up.

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