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(26 Posts)
HappyWombat Sun 05-Mar-17 11:35:53

My family and I have been living in Australia (south of Sydney) for eight years, but are in the process of moving back to the UK for various reasons. We used to live in Suffolk (we kind of ended up there after uni) but have decided that when we move back we want to move somewhere that ticks a few more of our boxes, if that makes sense. We've been looking at a few different areas of the UK, including Scotland which seems to be a good fit. We have both been to Scotland on holiday and actually came over for a visit in September/October to scout round a few areas.

OH has the chance of a REALLY good job in Dunfermline, which is of course one of the areas that we didn't visit last year! We did stop at Loch Leven for a picnic on our way to Edinburgh, but going past Dunfermline on the M90 was as close as we got to seeing that part of Scotland!

I wondered if there was anyone who could give some advice on the more rural/semi-rural areas around Dunfermline and what they are like to live in? I've looked at Kinross HS, and that seems pretty good so I'd be happy to be in the catchment for that (we have two dd's aged 9 and almost 11). I'd ideally like to be in a village but within easy reach of a town for supermarkets, swimming pools, cinema, shopping etc. Are there any areas which are recommended or which are best to avoid?

MoreProseccoNow Sun 05-Mar-17 14:43:20

I've just bumped an old thread for you - might be of interest.

Tryingthisonefornow Sun 05-Mar-17 15:02:55

I live in this area so happy to help if I can. Kinross is lovely, as are a lot of the coastal villages (aberdour is lovely village with good train links for Edinburgh). Dunfermline has a large retail park just off the motorway with cinema, gym, bowling, crazy golf, bingo and a load of chain restaurants.

The town centre is ok, shopping fine (not amazing to be honest) but has your usual shops.

Any specific questions about area(s), happy to answer.

Sunbeam18 Sun 05-Mar-17 15:09:09

Aberdour is gorgeous village, but the high school is Inverkeithing and I don't think it's great. Kinross high school is good. Dunfermline is a lovely town with great green spaces and an old town centre with character. Some lovely houses too at a good price, compared to Edinburgh anyway.

blueskyinmarch Sun 05-Mar-17 15:11:46

There are good rail and road links into Dunfermline from many places around. Kinross is a different LA from Dunfermline but it is a nice little place and the school is good. Plenty of nice places along the coast in Fife too which are lovely. I am not keen on Dunfermline itself but loads of people live there and appear to like it. There are also the towns on the other side of the Forth which are easily accessible and the opening of the new bridge should help ease the rush hour congestion.

HappyWombat Sun 05-Mar-17 23:32:31

Thank you ladies! I'll go and have a look at the other thread now!

Can I please just ask a couple of questions about school? My eldest daughter was born in April 2006. If we were to stay in Australia she would be due to start high school in January 2018, and if we were to move to somewhere in England/Wales she would start in September this year. However, if I've read the information correctly, she would start P7 in Scotland in August and go to high school in August 2018. Does this sound right? I'm kind of hoping that she'll have a bit longer at primary so that she has some time to settle in/make friends before high school.

Also, does anyone have any advice/opinions on the high schools around the area? I've been looking at the school websites/the HMIE site/the Schoolguide website etc, but there is no substitute for personal opinion!

prettybird Mon 06-Mar-17 09:33:36

That sounds right: S1 in 2018.

The current S1s are mostly born in 2004, with just a few (January/February birthdays that weren't deferred) in 2005. Extrapolating that back would mean your dd would go into P7 this August. As an April birthday, she'd be towards the older end of the year.

HappyWombat Mon 06-Mar-17 10:15:49

Superb! Thank you for confirming that for me! Youngest is a Feb 2008 baby, so I'd defer her to P5 to keep the two years between them I think. They've both been in composite classes here, both the youngest side of the composite and the eldest side, so they should find going from being the youngest in the year (as they are now) to the eldest a doddle!

Haudyerwheesht Mon 06-Mar-17 10:30:52

Yes your Dd would start high school August 2018. Ds is 11 in late December and starts then too because the school year age cut off runs March 1st - end of Feb. Your Dd is one of the oldest and he's one of the youngest.

I would love to live in aberdour.

prettybird Mon 06-Mar-17 10:37:55

I have a couple of friends who lives in Kinross. It seems to have a nice village atmosphere and community spirit.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 06-Mar-17 10:58:06

Kinross is nice, we looked at moving there from Dunfermline. You are right next to the motorway and it's just about 15 mins down to J3 for Dunf. (FYI Traffic from the bridge usually tails back past the next (southerly) exit which any sat nav would tell you to use for getting to the offices etc at Pitreavie so don't bank on driving that way if that's where the job is). Also if you live north bear in mind in snowy weather the M90 at Kelty (between Kinross and Dunf) is badly affected. It's usually only one or two days a year but it's chaos when it happens!

Dunfermline is now a commuter town, huge swathes of new housing which is fine if you like that. Some lovely little pockets of beautiful old houses in the town centre though.

If you are looking at the Dunfermline area, be aware they are reviewing the high school catchments so where they go to now might not be where they go in 2018. We're waiting to hear.

I would give a thumbs up to

Limekilns - 15 mins to Dunfermline, good primary, Woodmill High at present, might change, beach
Aberdour - same as above but nicer beaches, train station
Burntisland - improving, big new primary school, beach, pool, train station
Kinross - pool, park and ride bus station on m90.
Cleish - tiny village, no shop, good primary school, stunning location

I'd say avoid
ex mining villages, Cowdenbeath, Oakley, High and Low Valleyfield, Crossgates
There are always lots of houses for sale around Crook of Devon but it's on a very busy road and quite out of the way.

Another random thing to mention is that the cycling infrastructure between Edinburgh and Dunfermline is excellent so if DH is a cyclist then you could add South Queensferry and probably Kirkliston into the mix.

Sorry, that's been a long waffle! Pm me if you want more info.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 06-Mar-17 11:00:58

Oh, also, massive years-long new development planned for the space between w of Dunfermline, Crossford and Rosyth/Pattiesmuir in the south so I'd avoid those areas for now too.

MoreProseccoNow Mon 06-Mar-17 19:00:35

Another few to consider: Cairneyhill, Dalgety Bay, Carnock, Culross, Charleston/Limekilns. Dollar is a bit further, but a lovely village. Also Milnathort near Kinross. All of these are villages.

Avoid: Lochgelly, High Valleyfield.

If it's Dunfermline itself, there is a huge development in Duloch, just off the M90, with loads of new build houses - and still expanding.

I know a few people who live in Kinross who love it.

HappyWombat Mon 06-Mar-17 21:38:22

Thank you so much for all of this information! I have a couple of hours free this afternoon to do a bit more research so I'll have a look at the suggestions. We'd rather be a bit more rural/in a smaller village I think than in Dunfermline itself.

I'm not sure how exactly I'll manage the logistics of moving us over. I guess I'll need a holiday rental to start with, then try and find a longer term rental in the area/s of our choice and rent for a while before we buy, a bit like we did when we came over to Australia. It's much harder coming back with school age kids though, because you have more pressure to find the right place from the start. I don't really want to have to move them from Australia to one primary school and then have to move them again.

Thanks again for the information. If anyone has anything to say about schools and the schooling system, catchments etc I'd be pleased to hear it.

prettybird Mon 06-Mar-17 23:35:45

Catchments are fixed, unlike England (they don't vary according to demand, for example).

Primaries are feeders to specific secondaries - but different LAs seem to have different approaches if you were in one primary as a placing request, whether you can automatically go to it's associated secondary.

You also usually have two "catchment" schools: a non-denominational one and a Catholic one.

HappyWombat Tue 07-Mar-17 05:03:16

The fixed catchments should make it easier. I've a few friends in England who've had trouble getting their children into school.

Do you happen to know if that still applies if we move part way through the year? We are hoping to leave Australia by the end of July meaning that we should be there in time to start the new year. However, we have a house and business sale to organise before we leave, so the timing might slip beyond that.

OH has a second phone interview later on today, so if it sounds promising I might email a couple of the schools and see what they say.

Thanks again ladies! You've all been incredibly helpful!

prettybird Tue 07-Mar-17 07:56:21

I believe that schools now have to (or are allowed to?) keep a few places back for in-year admissions for people who move into the area like you.

No idea how popular/full the primary schools in the area are. Ringing/emailing the schools is probably a good idea to get a feel.

If the school is full, then they'll get a place at the next closest school that has space. If it's more than 3(?) miles, then the Council will be responsible for transport to/from the school.

OOAOML Tue 07-Mar-17 16:14:24

In our area (but we have a lot of packed schools) the P1 allocation tends to keep places back for people moving into the area, and they get released during the school holidays. Further up the school (I think you mentioned P5 and P7) I think you should be fine.

MoreProseccoNow Tue 07-Mar-17 17:28:00

I thought the council deal with P1 & S1 admissions? Or maybe that's just Edinburgh. outwith that, it's a case of calling schools yourself. I've not done a secondary application myself, but for primary 1 a place could not be offered until you had moved into catchment & demonstrates proof of residency e.g. Council tax/utility bill.

prettybird Tue 07-Mar-17 18:26:52

In Glasgow at least, in-year admissions are still done by the council, no matter what year (primary or secondary) you are in - but it still worth making contact with the schools you are interested in to get a feel for how close they are to capacity.

That can then help inform where you look to rent initially.

Piffpaffpoff Tue 07-Mar-17 18:31:13

I think you'll be looking at potentially 2 or 3 councils who might have differing procedures - Dunfermline and surrounding villages are Fife Council, Kinross etc is Perth and Kinross and Dollar and thereabouts is in Clackmannanshire. Might be worth dropping the three of them an email to ask what their general process is for people coming in mid-term.

LordPercy Wed 08-Mar-17 18:58:06

I might teach work in Dunfermline and might have also worked in some of the apparently "to be avoided" areas too. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions grin

wigglybeezer Wed 08-Mar-17 22:40:56

We live in Dollar but our kids have out of catchment places at Kinross, quite a few kids from Dollar and Muckhart do. Primary schools in,both villages very nice and more cosmopolitan than some.

HappyWombat Thu 09-Mar-17 02:23:37

Thank you all so much! I've had a virtual look around all of the places mentioned, there are so many lovely villages I think we'll have plenty to choose from! I'll take Piffpaffpoff's advice and will email the three councils to see what I need to do to enrol the kids, and then once we've narrowed things down a little bit I'll contact some of the schools and see what they say. OH has a third phone interview tonight, plus they put him in touch with one of their ex employees so that he could chat things through with someone who used to work for the company. I can't imagine they'd have done that if they weren't interested in taking him on, so it all looks quite promising!

It's pretty daunting trying to arrange things from the other side of the planet, especially since we want to move back to a completely different area than where we came from. It has been so helpful to chat through things with people in the know!

dementedma Wed 22-Mar-17 21:58:35

My dcs have already been to Kinross High School, youngest is still there. It's a good school but I think the new head is struggling to fill the shoes of the much loved previous head, Mr Keatings and standards have dropped a bit. The guidance and welfare team are great and extra curricular stuff like music is good.
Lots of nice big houses rurally in the surrounding villages, but snowy weather will cause problems. Many kids in this area ride - excellent stables at Over Dalkeith, so great if your dcs are into this.
Dunfermline has had a lot of expansion and new builds leading to soul less estate s like Duloch Park. The High Street is dead from the Kingsgate down to the Glen.
If you want a small village feel try Aberdour( nice beach,bit busy in summer), Culross ( ancient history), Kinross ( bigger than village but still small enough to have community feel). Avoid Cowdenbeath, Kelty, Lochgelly, High Valleyfield and other ex mining villages.

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