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Tell me about Reading, please, potential move

(16 Posts)
HerRoyalNotness Mon 01-Oct-12 21:00:54

(Reposting from Local - Reading, lack of traffic)

We are possibly moving to Reading in the next couple of months. We're currently abroad, but have our home up in the NE of England (I'm not from UK though, so not overly familiar with other parts of it).

We have 2 small children, one in Reception and one in daycare. We'd need to look at before and after school care, and childminders. Where in Reading would you live for good schools? We'd think about buying a home (4 bed), at a rough guess, up to about 280k. At this stage we don't know where the office would be located, so we'd look for school area first, affordability, then potential renting of it or resale when we move again in a couple of years. What is the market like there, I'm presuming it's robust as it's close to London. Are there any deals to be had?

How is it for families? What do you all do on the weekends? Are there school holiday programs?

Any tips and hints you can give us would be great. I'd like to get a good picture of the place before we move to lessen the time I'd need off work to sort everything out.

I will have a good trawl through the Local Threads too.


MrsJamin Mon 01-Oct-12 21:32:53

Market is pretty robust. School places are hard to come by so it may be difficult to find a place for your reception child I am afraid. It may be this that determines where you decide you can live, if you want to live near your eldest's school. North reading (caversham) is most expensive and desirable, followed by east for its links to te m4 towards London, followed by west then south. I live in west reading and it has some good/outstanding primaries but all have waiting lists. You may struggle getting a 4 bed semi for 280, probably mOre like £300k+? Have a look around right move, I guess. Reading is actually great for families I think. Wokingham however is better known for great schools and fab for families but it is more expensive.

BizarreLoveTriangle Mon 01-Oct-12 21:49:01

Caversham is more of a village, but it is very congested in the morning over the bridge. Earley is lovely - near two parks - but parts are filled with students or bedsits, others are blackspots for schools and parts are very expensive. Oxford Road and Whitley are the less well-off areas. The Oxford Road area is mostly terraced houses and Whitley is semi-detached council houses. Neither area have great schools.

As for primary schools, Aldryngton (next to Maiden Erlegh in Wokingham Council) is said to be great; Earley St Peters (on the boundary between Wokingham Council and Reading Council) is also good with a swimming pool but stricter discipline; and Radstock, Whiteknights and Loddon Valley are also good.

If you are thinking further into the future, secondary schools are an issue at the moment. Maiden Erlegh catchment has been reduced on the Reading side so you'd have to live in east Earley to get in. There are talks of building a new school somewhere (possibly near Alfred Sutton) but it wouldn't be very academic or cover years 7-13. Bulmershe, Waingels and Reading Girls are not regarded as very good, and John Madejski Academy is terrible. Kendrick and Reading Boys are the grammar schools that are very competitive. There are a few good private schools - The Abbey, for example.

There are many holiday clubs, if that is what you were asking. I know of two good childminders (but only in one area).

The market is fairly good but not completely sure.

Arithmeticulous Mon 01-Oct-12 21:50:32

Wokingham was in the Telegraph today:
Woodley was second - and is only 5 miles out of Reading.

HerRoyalNotness Mon 01-Oct-12 23:55:36

Thanks very much for the info! Lots to investigate. I have seen plenty for sale up to 300k but I guess they'd be less desirable areas. We'd be looking at 2 years I think in the area, but would prefer to buy than rent.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 02-Oct-12 13:38:41

How about the Calcot area? The houses there are in our price range, and the Infant school is rated good by Ofsted. How many ratings are there? Is there a rating between good and outstanding?

vj32 Tue 02-Oct-12 16:08:55

There is no rating between good and outstanding, but Ofsted assess the school and give it a rating for each of a number of categories, so for example they could be 'outstanding' for school leadership, capacity to improve and children feeling safe, but only 'good' in all other areas, which would make them good overall. You need to look at the summary page in the full Ofsted report. Most Ofsted reports are not that long so its a good idea to read the whole thing.

vj32 Tue 02-Oct-12 16:17:32

This is completely beside the point but - I lived near Reading for a year and found the traffic and particularly the ring road appalling.

The centre, shopping and parks etc are really nice but that ring round and all the concrete really got to me - had to move back to the sea! Can you visit before you commit to anywhere or is that not possible?

financialwizard Tue 02-Oct-12 16:28:36

OP I lived in Calcot about 10 years ago.

The M4 is on the doorstep (couldn't hear it from my place), National Express at the Sainsbury's over the road (walking distance), work for me was in Theale (just over the roundabout - could walk at a push). Good bus service too.

Dependent on where your OH's office is going to be it is a possibility but I would not want to be driving from Calcot into Reading town ctr (too busy).

It is a relatively new place (maybe 20 years old ish) and quite built up. If I was looking at living in Reading again I would probably go further out and look at Wokingham/Winnersh/Shinfield (if I could afford it) maybe even Theale itself, although there is not much there.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 02-Oct-12 17:54:51

thanks for that. We find out more beg. of November. But unfortunately it'll be a case of, the job starts on x date, pack your stuff, here is your plane ticket! We normally have a month in temporary accomodation until we find something longer term, but we really want to have it all lined up so we can immediately go to agents, look at house and get the ball rolling with buying one, and probably register with schools before we get there (maybe that's impossible without an address though). I feel stressed out already!

I think I'll have to convince DH to be further out, we're spoilt down as we live a 10min drive or 15min bus from our office, and this is in a big city. He thinks commuting is a major PITA now grin

HerRoyalNotness Tue 02-Oct-12 17:55:25

mmm one of the potential places for the office is shinfield.

MrsJamin Tue 02-Oct-12 22:08:16

Bizarrelovetriangle- not sure what you mean about the Oxford road schools not being very good- Wilson is "outstanding" and all saints infants is "good" ofsted-wise.
Herroyalnotness- you could look at tilehurst if you are interested in west side of town? Again I would ring the council and ask where has school places as I think this may determine where you go. A lot of what looks like Reading actually comes under different councils, so ring west berks, Wokingham and Oxfordshire as well as reading. Hope there is a space at a good school for you!

HerRoyalNotness Tue 02-Oct-12 22:27:01

Thanks MrsJ.

I've just been researching childcare, the first one I saw left me shock. Byebye salary and DC3! I think here in Montreal is one of the best places for this as we can access subsidised places, it costs me CA$150 per month!

MrsJamin Wed 03-Oct-12 13:26:56

:O at $150 per month! Generally a childminder is £4-5 an hour per child in Reading. 3 year olds get 15 hours of free childcare though.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 18-Oct-12 15:10:32

Thanks everyone for the good info, unfortunately we found out yesterday our company didn't win the work. boo. Not sure what we're doing now, we have a couple of months left for them to find us something else, but it looks like we are stuck in Canada for another winter <sob>

financialwizard Thu 18-Oct-12 15:55:16

I think I would rather be stuck there than Reading tbh!

Good luck wherever you end up x

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