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Chislehurst, Bexley or Sidcup?(37 Posts)
Feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed. We're looking to sell our house and move to a grammar school area. We first looked at Sidcup because it was near my parents, reasonably decent commute to London and has grammar schools. With the recent housing bubble in London though, our budget has shot up (we're hoping to have a budget of £450-465k for a 3 bedroom house if all goes well with the house prices here). We're 80% confident that this budget is obtainable. So we started to look at Chislehurst, which looks lovely, as well as Bexley.
Our DD is going to be in reception class and we will have to put in a late application, unfortunately. I'm a bit worried about this. What if we end up with a school that isn't great? But then again, primary schools in Chislehurst are generally good. We are planning DC no. 2, and looking to stay put until secondary school is finished. My main worry is secondary schools. Should we buy in Bexley instead of Bromley because of the bigger grammar school options? Bullers Wood School is ideal, but I read that the catchment area is small and I don't think our budget will get us anything in its catchment area.
We would prefer a girls' school to be honest. Just read the ofsted for Beaverwood and they might be an option, but they don't seem to support high attainment children (DD is quite advanced and we think she will need a school who will support her in attaining high).
I know DD is young and I'm sure a lot of people will think that I'm worrying about something that is unpredictable as it is so far away (the fall of Edgebury school for example), but we're trying to find a home where we can bring up the children until they leave school. Is Bexley Village nice? How does it compare to Chislehurst? Where would be the nicest area to live in Bexley Borough?
We have to rule out private school as we won't be able to afford it if DC2 comes along. Or do you think we should just move to Chislehurst and move again 5-6 yrs time? Confused confused confused.
I come from Bexley and went to Townley Grammar for girls. There's also Bexley Grammar- birth really good schools. Bexley village is a nice area to live in and an easy commute to London.
Chislehurst is vair posh , probably more expensive than Bexley though.
The downside to living in a grammar school area, as I'm sure you realise, is that if your dcs don't get in, they will be going to a secondary modern.
Bromley has only 2 superselective grammars, open to a wide area and v difficult to get into. This means the rest of the schools in the borough are true comprehensives and some, like Bullers Wood, are very good. Beaverwood, not so much, compared to other Bromley comps, but, being close to the borough border, attracts 11+ failures from Bexley. Bromley pupils can also take the Bexley test and qualify for grammar school places if they live close enough to the school. If dc2 is a boy, there are good coed comps and a boys' comp in the east of Bromley borough, which would mean a chance at a Bexley grammar and a good comp to fall back on.
Personally, I'd prefer to live in Bromley, which includes Chislehurst, than Bexley, just because it's generally a more pleasant place, shops etc., but that's just my opinion. And house prices will probably reflect this!
Find somewhere you like to live, where you think you can be happy. But please reconsider the thought that being in a grammar school area is crucial. There are loads of good schools, and many of them aren't grammars. The stress and general awfulness of the 11+selection process is something you really don't want to put your children through.
And can I gently suggest that many 4 year old high attainers are average by the time they are 10. Many aren't, obviously, but it's not something you can bank on.
Chislehurst is lovely (but I would say the most expensive house price-wise of the 3 areas) and has good primary schools but other than Coopers Technical College (hmm) and Beaverwood and the Bexley Grammars, doesn't have good secondaries.
A number of children from Bromley, especially the Bickley/Chislehurst side, travel to the Bexley Grammars and as said above, there are also good State Secondaries - Bullers for girls and although Ravenswood (boys) isn't getting the best press at the mo, will be good again. Ravensbourne (mixed) is more vocational and has a good reputation.
If you want to be sure of good state schools, look at Darrick Wood as well.
Don't know Bexley well enough to comment,
Beaverwood is getting a spot of bad press as well occasionally.
We live in Bexley borough DD is able to walk to school. Some of her friends live in Orpington and Bromley but those from Bromley are often spending a reasonable amount of time on the bus, especially going home due to busy traffic. When choosing an academic school I think it is important to consider homework and travel time.
Having said that a few families have moved in to our road over the last 2 years and did not get the primary schools of their choice (late applications as DC already in reception). DD2 primary school in Sidcup is said to have received 90+ applications for 60 places last year. Not sure what the situation is with waiting lists.
Happy house hunting :-)
Thank you for all of your replies. Which grammar schools (other than Chis and Sid) to the Bromley children attend? How close to the border of Bexley do you need to live (any suggestions on where?) in order to be in their catchment areas? We would prefer a girls' school, but won't rule out coed. How long is the bus journey from Chislehurst to Chis and Sid?
Bullers Wood has such a small catchment area. It would be a miracle to find a property near it, so I can't bank on that school. We would love to live in Chislehurst and if we have the option of the Bexley grammars (without having to be in the top 180) and good comps to fall back on, then it would be perfect.
Martorana - thank you for managing my expectations I wouldn't pursue the grammar route if by then I didn't think my DD was able. It is early days, I agree. But wouldn't want to rule out grammar either, in case it was the best option for her.
wineoclocktimeyet - I thought the schools you mentioned weren't as good? A bit confused.
So are the modern comps in Bexley worse than the comps in Bromley? If you were going to go with good non-selective state schools, which would be the preference and why?
Thank you so much on helping us through this overwhelming stage!
Merlin- what on earth was the point of posting that?
RedDawn- please don't forget the rest of my post, where I talked about the hideousness of the 11+ selection process. Think very carefully before you decide to move into an area whee you will have it dominating your family's lives. Because it does. Even if you manage to keep yourself and your children relaxed and low key about it, you will be surrounded by others that don't.
The bullers catchment isn't that small really.
I'd go for bromley as well.
Dd has several friends from primary who will be going to Chis & Sid from bromley/bickley/petts wood border. The journey was massively off putting for us. Results are no better really that bullers wood which given that BW is a comprehensive, made us come to the conclusion that the journey would not be worth the effort. If you draw a circle about 1.5 miles a round bullers wood, it's surprising how close to bromley/petts wood you can get.
Ds1 is young still but will most likely go to ravensbourne, which is most definitely on the up. I didn't like ravenswood (snuck a visit when looking for dd) and I think a mixed school will suit ds.
Beaverwood has traditionally had a relatively mixed rep but is improving hugely. Being renamed "chislehurst school for girls" shortly.
Darrick wood and Hayes seem the secondaries of choice for mixed schools. Darrick wood has a very small catchment (a tiny bit over a mile) compared with approx. 1.6 miles for bullers wood.
Incidentally, dc are at a primary that on paper doesn't look great compared with some that have been ofstedded several years ago and that have more affluent catchments. But they have thrived!
I suppose the advantage of bromley is that you can experience good comps but also have the option of grammar if that is your bag.
If you take out the top 20-25%(?) of ability (don't know the figures for Bexley), you do not have a comprehensive. 'Modern' or not. The 11+ is a blunt instrument so you will have bright children who did badly on the day, or are v good at maths, but not at English, or late developers - but, imo, without that top slice you end up with a very different school. Not for the better.
Look at the league tables - also a blunt instrument. But a grammar school county, such as Kent, does not do as well for the majority of its pupils as a fully comprehensive area. Beaverwood and Coopers both suffer from grammar school blight, being close to the border. They lose brighter children from their catchment area to the Bexley grammars. But I'm against the 11+ in principle - if you haven't already guessed! I'd also point out that you have to factor in a year's tutoring. Almost everyone does it, if they can afford it. (And this has a part to play in the high SATs levels of the Chislehurst primaries, apart from the higher socio-economic background of the pupils). Re gs being the best place for your dd, I do know of parents who turned down a Bexley grammar place for a Bromley comp. Wider curriculum, more opportunities.
Can't answer your more detailed questions, I'm afraid. Try ringing the boroughs concerned? Qualifying distances are unlikely to be the same when your dd is 10. At the moment, you can live in the catchment for Bullers, Ravenswood and Ravensbourne and qualify for Chis and Sid.
Thank you for all your advice and thoughts. You've given me lots to think about. We are leaning towards Bromley. I think we'll need to do a few drive arounds to get a feel for the area. The road to Chis and Sid does look rather long. I think we'll have to drive it and see for ourselves. Is the A222 a nightmare? Silly question maybe, but are there ample buses taking people to the station, or do people normally drive and park around there?
I live in Bromley, near Sundridge Park, with a DS at Chis and Sid and a DD at Bullers. I drop DS at bus stop every morning, he catches the 269 and finds journey to school very quick. The journey home is slower, but he doesn't seem to mind (gets to talk to his friends) and he still has plenty of time at home. I pick him up from school once a week, otherwise he uses the bus. DD at Bullers is doing very well, we are very happy with school, we are approx. 1 1/2 miles away. If it were possible we would have sent DS to Bullers, but he didn't want to wear a skirt!
Hope this info. helps, do have a good look around the areas you are interested in. Do your research.
We live in Bickley/Chislehurst. Our son (what is it with this DD/DC rubbish) goes to Chis & Sid and it is ideally suited to him.
It strikes me that a lot of very opinionated people on here are just looking at a general view of a school and seem to be self absorbed about what a good school is. A lot of the time people seem to be too swayed by wive's tales and gossip. What is most important is how a school will suit your child and not what you want your child to suit. Obviously everyone wants their child to prosper and be happy at whichever school they go to. There will be a lot of ups and downs in their school years and the occasional problem that might occur. How a school is setup to deal with the problems is important.
From a personal point of view we have found Chis & Sid to be a well balanced school with plenty of support for our child and plenty of communication where needed. The teachers are approachable as is the Head Master. The children at the school for the most are all happy and also ambitious, most have been tutored for the 11+ but this has also given them a good grounding and understanding of how to work and focus. This means that most of the children there are bright and capable, of course there will be exceptions. You will find out fairly swiftly if you child is struggling or rebelling against being tutored and the question is if you force them to go through the 11+ is that really a good thing for them and are they really going to be happy? We had an older son who we tutored, but not as intensely as the younger one and tried him for St Olave's and also for St Dunstan's, that was a big mistake for him as he wasn't interested in doing any of this. In the end he went to Ravensbourne which was the only option left to him. Ravensbourne was good for him and offered a lot of support even though he really wasn't interested in School or anything. The school worked very hard to get him through but in the end it was down to our son's attitude that caused the most problems. He was a difficult teen and ended up in Orpington College for his A-levels, which was also challenging. Thankfully he has grown up and found his direction in the Army, best thing he could have done for himself. He has regrets abouot his school time but is getting there now.
So in conclusion Bromley has good schools that suit most every child. The 11+ system gives options for the brightest children and proximity to Bromley is good for either the Kent Grammar Schools or Bexley Grammar Schools. Where we live the best reachable Kent Grammar school is Judds.
This is not an easy choice to make but take a good look at your children and you have to judge what type of school would suit them. I was stunned to see comments on this website about the cost of uniform having an affect on which school to go to what is that about. If you have children and you think that School X or Y will suit them then you will not be looking at the cost of the uniform!
Hi. We live in Sundridge avenue. My son is planning on going to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar in 2016. In year 6 now. How much does distance matter. We are about 4.7 miles away. The council says the cut off for 2014 is 5.99 miles. Does anybody know anything about distances and things? Or do the schools go by grades alone?
Hi, I live in Petts Wood if you hadn't guessed already by my moniker. Local children often sit the Kent, Bexley and Bromley grammar tests as all have schools within reach. It is also a fantastic place to live, great community feel and great primary school in Crofton. Great commuting options too. However for non-grammar secondaries you need to be in certain locations to get Bullers or Darrick otherwise you will end up with less popular choices of Coopers or Chislehurst (was Beaverwood).
Another option could be to move slightly closer to Dartford. There are 2 excellent girls grammar schools there: Dartford and Wilmington.
Marlarsen the Chis & Sid distances for past years are published in the Bexley booklet and I know the trend is that it gets smaller every year. If your DC is planning to go first he needs to pass the test in September and then if scores in the top 180 distance is not an issue. If they pass but not top 180 then oversubscription criteria such as siblings and distance come into play. Score only comes into it for a top 180 place which is why some come and sit for Bexley from huge distances away.
Chis & Sid definitely getting more popular. DD1 in year 10 has friends from Orpington and Bromley. DD2 is starting year 7 next September and people living 4.33 miles away are on the waiting list! The Bexley Grammars seem to be getting more popular and since the test was changed more local DC seem to pass. When DD1 passed the 11+ 4 DC in her year went to Chis @ Sid. This year it is 15.
I moved to Sundridge Park to be in Bullers Wood catchment as a back up school for my DD but my wish is for my DD to get into one of the grammar schools (Chis & Sid, Bexley or Townley). Yes, whilst I am fortunate to move into Bullers Wood catchment, I believe my DD needs to be in a centre of excellence which will help her to thrive amongst other children who also want the same thing. My DD is easily swayed and although she is quite bright (hopefully bright enough to pass the tests), she would veer towards the naughty children who are not interested in studying so I need to ensure the school environment helps her to stay on track. She has no interest in studying and will make every excuse under the sun not to have to study so a Grammar school environment with like minded children will help her. Until we visit the schools, I have no idea which one I believe she would fit into or indeed feel comfortable in. I've been planning this day since she was 4years old and I cannot believe how competitive the education system has become and it's quite stressful as a parent and a child. Fingers crossed.
I live in New Eltham, which borders Bexley borough. Judging by uniform, there are quite a few grammar school kids around, although I can't remember which atm
we have just started reception and I'm not thinking that far ahead yet so haven't paid much attention.
New Eltham is much cheaper than Chislehurst, and close enough to enjoy it.
Talking about secondary school I live 1.5 miles away from Chislehurst school for girls and 2.5 miles from
coopers which one will admission more likely to give me need some replys
I'd go for Bromley in the catchment of Bullers Wood. Then you have the option of Bexley, Kent and Bromley grammars (i.e. three bites at the cherry) and Bullers Wood (which is excellent).
Yes it is nice. All the benefits of Chislehurst without the huge house prices. A few houses up the road from me, a house similar to mine is more than £100,000 more expensive just for being in Chislehurst.
Within easy reach of Coopers in one direction, St Thomas More in the other, both good comps.
Buses from down the road go to Newstead Wood and St Olave's area.
One bus to Sidcup wherein lies Chis & Sid.
RedDawn. Bear in mind Bexley Council has a number of times discussed changing the system for "out of borough" children who apply for Bexley grammars. There are large numbers of non-Bexley children in their grammars and many Bexley children who pass the test still fail to get places. There has been a lot of local pressure from Bexley residents for the Council to change their system. If your child is only 4 years old this is likely to come up again in the future.
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