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N.Berwick High vs Edinburgh independent

(46 Posts)
cedricsneer Wed 23-Sep-15 11:19:59

I have posted this elsewhere but am looking for traffic, so I'd be hugely grateful for any advice. I am aware I am asking for a comparison between apples and pears, but I am really dithery and need some help.

We could scrape independent day school fees for our 3 kids but it would be a big struggle and would mean sacrificing lots of holidays etc. This has always been the plan (probably the Edinburgh Academy) but I am starting to get pretty nervous about the committment this would entail and what could happen if our circumstances change.

We have 3 ds - the eldest is in p5, so we are thinking about secondary now - he is very sensitive and I worry that at a big Edinburgh high school he would get lost. The other 2 are more robust and would probably be fine.

Could anyone give me any feedback about how these schools may compare. Particularly how N.Berwick has suited a kid of a sensitive disposition who is inclined to daydreaming! My dh is not massively keen to move to N. Berwick, but I know it well and love it. We could afford a pretty decent house in N.Berwick if we sold here (especially if not committing to fees).

Thanks in advance.

OOAOML Wed 23-Sep-15 13:11:46

No knowledge of high schools in Berwick (although work with someone with a child in primary there and not heard anything bad) and not a private school user - but practically speaking have you thought how you will travel? I work with someone who travels in from Berwick, and although the train journey isn't too long, if you're not near a station at both ends it does add on a fair amount, and with private school you may be more likely to be coming in on Saturdays for sports etc (realise you may be driving/travelling into work anyway).

Do you know your catchment high school well? We're close to the border between catchments, and are happy(ish) with the high school my daughter has started at, but wouldn't be too impressed with the other one. However I have some shocking preconceptions about Edinburgh private schools, not helped by the fact most people I know who've gone to them are not the kind of people I'd want a sensitive child mixing with, and I know several people who have had to move their children because of a complete lack of willingness to engage with additional support needs. But I am aware I am judging them on a lack of actual experience. Do you know people who have sent their children to EA?

Have you thought of moving somewhere on the new Borders railway? I think the high schools out that way are smaller (at the moment).

cedricsneer Wed 23-Sep-15 14:44:11

I'm really sorry - I didn't make it clear. I'm talking about North berwick. Thank you for your thoughts though - it's still a commute.

cedricsneer Wed 23-Sep-15 14:46:41

Our catchment high school is at Thomas' which is great. I tend to agree about being a mum in the playground. Although I went to an independent school in Edinburgh I can see mysef as more of a North berwick high mum than an academy mum. But that may be v judgemental of me.

OOAOML Wed 23-Sep-15 15:18:26

Sorry - confusing my Berwicks! blush

kua Wed 23-Sep-15 20:19:00

It is more like comparing apples to oranges tbh. You are possibly looking at two different life styles.

I love North Berwick and did think of moving there at one point. You don't say where you are currently based but I'm assuming Edinburgh.

I don't know much about the schools in North Berwick but I do have friends who have moved there and their children commute to the state (were originally in catchment) and independent sector.

Instead of thinking about what schools to go for, I would be imagining where my family would be happiest and go from there.

Keep in mind there are no guarantees in getting a place in the independent schools as they are oversubscribed, so having a back up plan is not a bad thing.

cedricsneer Wed 23-Sep-15 22:09:23

Thank you. Yes currently in Edinburgh - folks in e Lothian. I think I could be equally happy in both places and swing between the two, so the school thing really is the clincher.

Ds1 currently only in p5 so could wait until there was space at a catchment school in North Berwick - we own a tiny flat in town as well as main house so could potentially stay there/commute until there was space. I'm so indecisive.

cedricsneer Wed 23-Sep-15 22:10:36

Oh sorry - kids down for EA and have been for some time - brother also went there so have reason to believe we could get in.

myotherusernameisbetter Thu 24-Sep-15 10:38:14

Have you thought about other areas that are commutable to Edinburgh with decent High Schools? Dunblane for example - nice atmosphere in the High School and good academic results - loads of people move there in order to save the money on Private Schooling and they spend it on the higher housing cost.

cedricsneer Thu 24-Sep-15 10:56:09

Interesting, thank you. I will definitely take a look - feel like e Lothian is kind of home as my parents live there so that's why we are thinking North berwick but maybe we need to think outside the box. How easily commutable is dunblane? I like the idea of teens getting the train from n Berwick to edinburgh...

myotherusernameisbetter Thu 24-Sep-15 11:13:06

Train Station in Dunblane on direct route to Edinburgh (about an hour) and Glasgow (30-40 mins)

outputgap Thu 24-Sep-15 11:22:41

My husband, who went to the Academy, says "why wouldn't her husband want to move to North Berwick? Divorce him.”

cedricsneer Thu 24-Sep-15 11:32:06

Haha. I like it out. Did he have anything to say about the school?

outputgap Thu 24-Sep-15 12:25:41

It was a million years ago that my husband was at the Academy, well 25 years. His first response was that it wasn't a place for a sensitive child, but not sure that's any use, being so old.
North Berwick High is on Tatler's list of schools to eschew independents for. It's a lovely commute. And it would be good not to pay all that money. Chips are nice in the Seabird Centre too.

kua Thu 24-Sep-15 23:02:43

If you choose to go down the independent sector, your Saturdays will be a challenge getting 3 children to different sites for their games. Even more so from NB.

cazzyg Fri 25-Sep-15 03:42:04

Could Linlithgow could be another option. Easy commute to Edinburgh, certainly easier than Dunblane and decent state high school. Train journey to Edinburgh is only 20 mins or so.

cedricsneer Fri 25-Sep-15 06:52:18

Thanks again for tips. If we go independent we will stay put in edinburgh. One of the points of moving to n berwick would be to go to the high school and join the community. I would want the kids to have local friends. Linlithgow, possibly, but I think if we were to make the move it would be North berwick - easy commute, great school, family v nearby etc.

Does anyone have experience of the school?

Roonerspism Mon 28-Sep-15 16:36:45

Sorry to resurrect this thread but we are considering this exact same thing (albeit with slightly younger children).

Have you visited the school?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 01-Oct-15 09:45:24

I don't have any experience of the school but know a lot of ppl from NB. I can definitely answer one of your points: there is very little difference between an 'Academy mum' and a 'NB High mum'. While there are a couple of estates, the vast majority of people I know in NB are families who would have sent their kids to private schools if they'd stayed in Edinburgh, but instead chose to move and spend their cash on housing rather than school fees.

Roonerspism Fri 02-Oct-15 18:48:37

lonny is it a friendly place; easy to move to or do you know if it has small town mentality? Also wondering if teenagers might be bored at night?!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sat 03-Oct-15 12:01:52

It is massively common for families to move out for schools - I know a few natives but my friend has a full social circle of people who have moved in the last few years. So there's an open-ness. She found it easy to make friends, but they are all in the same circumstances. There can be a divide between the natives and incomers though.

The teen thing - yeah, there's not tonnes for older kids to do, although there is a community centre and some great youth work opportunities. that's pretty common in small towns though.

Sunbeam18 Sun 04-Oct-15 22:32:25

Did the person up thread mean Dunbar and not Dunblane? Dunblane is quite a commute to Edinburgh

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 04-Oct-15 22:43:46

No I meant Dunblane - it's an hour on the train or 45 mins in the car. Not significantly longer than Dunbar or North Berwick for that matter and if OPs DH works at the West of the city then it is closer and an easier commute.

cedricsneer Tue 13-Oct-15 18:12:57

Thanks for more thoughts - rooners I haven't looked around the school but I have heard more anecdotal good things about it. Went today to have a look at residential areas (not much on the market atm) and came away thinking it could be a great quality of life. I was a little concerned by the huge looking developments by the school - I wonder if there will be too much pressure on resources.

When are you thinking of making the move?

Roonerspism Tue 13-Oct-15 23:00:30

You mean the big developments up from the school? Yes, I agree it is huge!

We are a about a year off and are considering NB and a few other places too near Edinburgh.... I love NB but my main reservation is whether teenagers would be bored senseless at night....

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