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Moving to London: areas with good state school?

(26 Posts)
mamasha Fri 03-Apr-15 16:00:31


We are about to move to London for my job, i am divorced with a 11 yo son (single mum), and oh my god i have to take so many decisions... The main ones are where to live and which schools to try to get into. I wish it could be a different year, with all good secondary state schools obviously oversubscribed and allocated, but oh well.

We are completely new to London, so any advice and suggestions will be appreciated. The job will be in Temple, i would like to commute for up to 30-40 mins. Our apartment budget is around 2 pcm. The company provides for the first year of the international school, but I am not a fan of those after several years of experience. If we are given a place in a very bad state school, then I would consider an independent one for 1 year or until a place at a good state school comes up. We are Russians, the son speaks 3 languages (Rus, Eng, French) and we are moving from a French system - I will try to subscribe for the French Lycee, but i understand it is a very popular school, so we might not be that lucky...

Which areas / schools would you suggest? I am looking at Maida Vale at the moment for Paddington & Westminster Academy.
Ideally i would love my son to finish his school year in the current country, and i don't understand how it works with the primary-secondary transition - if he is given the place in May (when I will rent an apartment) - how can he take it immediately if it's not the secondary school year yet?

Thank you so much for any suggestions smile

LittleFluffyMoo Fri 03-Apr-15 20:01:01

If you have the means to move pretty much next door to a good state secondary school you might get in on distance (as long as its' admission criteria include distance - see the secondary school brochure for the area you want to move to to check). If you move VERY close you'll come in high on the waiting list, and people are still rejecting their places so you'd have a good chance of getting one of those, or one not long after the start of term.

If you're offered a place you should accept it immediately even though he won't start until September, unless you decide to take up a place in an independent school in which case you should reject it so that someone else can have it. Most Y6s already have their offers for September, they're offered and accepted much earlier, ready for the start of Y7.

You won't be able to apply until you have an address, so the sooner you move the better, but you will still be able to apply after your son finishes his last school as long as you move and apply immediately.

Sorry I can't help on the area you're moving to as I don't know it very well, but hope you manage to find a place for him. There are lots of threads on here about which are the best areas for secondary schools in London, just do a search and you should find some info.

fionaf Fri 03-Apr-15 20:32:26

Wow, a lot of changes all at once. I have lived in the suburbs of London all my life and would always recommend where I live, Petts Wood zone 5 which is 28 mins on train to Charing Cross which is close to Temple and also on edge of the green belt so your money goes further, it is safe, lovely place to bring up a family. For 2k a month you'd get a 3 bed house with nice garden, plus your travel. Good independent schools for boys include Eltham College and Dulwich. I have a daughter and we are looking at Sevenoaks school which is very international and has many Russians and generally very international in outlook. State schools you have top ten St Olaves as a super selective, but hard to get into in-year. But Petts Wood isn't for everyone. Nearby Chislehurst is a bit more international and well known and one stop closer into London. When anyone asks me where to go in London I say go where you've got support networks. If you are relaxed and happy your son will be too. Wishing you all the best.

mamasha Fri 03-Apr-15 21:18:33

Thank you so much LittleFluffyMoo and fionaf, very good suggestions, i should indeed read more the thread, there should be plenty of discussions of good state schools.
Do you know if technically I can apply for the place at Y7 / secondary school as soon as I move (May), even though my son will still be finishing school elsewhere? Or i should move him immediately with me, but then he will need to go to primary, and that's a different school altogether, right?
fionaf - i guess i need to psychologically accept the concept of the 'suburbs' - as it sounds very far))) i understand it is not such a long train ride, but the simple notion that it is already out of the city makes me hesitant. I think we will start somewhere with the tube, and then, if we are comfortable, and the job goes well, and i will be ready to buy - we will move. I had an international assignment in Bucharest, Romania when my son was 5-6 yo, and i made a mistake of living next door to the American International school in the suburbs of Bucharest - we just felt so lonely there in the big house confused that i decided to be central next times we move))) You are right about the support network - that's key. and as long as there is a good yoga studio around, and the son is in a good school, we should be fine smile

NynaevesSister Sat 04-Apr-15 14:56:36

You can apply as soon as you move and have an address in London.

Bonsoir Sat 04-Apr-15 16:11:46

The French school situation is changing in September 2015. Enrolment is now underway for the new Lycee International Winston Churchill in Wembley and for Ecole Jeannine Manuel.

mamasha Sat 04-Apr-15 20:00:51

Thank you NynaevesSister, it's good to know i can start the process asap))

Bonsoir, this is very good news - do you know anything about the staff for new Lycee International? Their website looks very good. They do not offer the IB though - maybe because it's too early, they are just about to open.

Bonsoir Sat 04-Apr-15 21:57:07

I don't think Lycee International has any intention of offering the IB though Ecole Jeannine Manuel might in due course.

Bonsoir Sun 05-Apr-15 08:00:50

Some of the staff at Lycee International Winston Churchill are due to be transferred from Lycee Charles de Gaulle and College Bilingue ie the existing "official" French secondary schools in London.

There is major political will and financial clout behind the new Lycee International. And great new facilities.

mamasha Sun 05-Apr-15 12:41:10

Bonsoir, thank you so much for this information! These new schools info is something that the consultant provided by the company that helps me with the relocation did not bother to mention))
What would you say about Ecole Jeannine Manuel? I like the fact it is bilingual. It is not reviewed in the 'good schools' guide' though, and i can't find parents' reviews...

Bonsoir Sun 05-Apr-15 15:05:37

Ecole Jeannine Manuel is a Paris-based school (one of the most competitive in France) that is opening in London in 2015. You need to go to a presentation and open day to see what you think. For a trilingual DC used to the French system it might be a much better fit than an English state school.

mamasha Mon 06-Apr-15 12:43:35


huh the more i read up the more i see that my vision of the good state school in the inner city is, indeed, just my vision - a good dream))) I have filled in the application for Collège Français Bilingue de Londres and for Ecole Jeannine Manuel - hopefully at least one of those will work out. The French Lycee does not open the subscription for the 6eme this year, they are obviously already full sad(

Bonsoir Mon 06-Apr-15 14:48:30

Did you apply for a 6eme place at the Lycee International Winston Churchill or are you going to wait to hear from College Bilingue and EJM?

I would think your son would find the transition to a London state school very hard!

mamasha Mon 06-Apr-15 21:35:44

Good evening Bonsoir, i am a bit hesitant to apply to Lycee International as i can't figure out how comfortable it will be travel-wise. Do kids who are 11 years old take public transport in London by themselves? Will the school provide the bus service? There is only one thing certain for me at the moment - my work address will be in Temple, so when looking at schools i am trying to understand our daily logistics, and to look for the accommodation from the point of view of the school and job... Otherwise it looks like a very good school - price-wise and the facilities-wise.
My son is actually asking me to be taught in English - he liked his 3 years in the local international school, so maybe the bilingual options are the ones i should hope to get the positive answer from smile

Bonsoir Mon 06-Apr-15 21:41:15

I think the idea is that DC should travel by tube to the new Lycee International Winston Churchill. I think that's fine. However, the other two schools you have applied for are closer to your place of work.

How important are facilities to you?

DC who go to College Bilingue in Camden will, as of the opening of Lycee International, be transferred there automatically for Seconde.

Decorhate Tue 07-Apr-15 06:51:01

If you decide to go for the one in Wembley, you could find somewhere to live north of there, on whichever tube line you need. It would be a longer commute for you but shorter for your son. But obviously leafy suburbs may not appeal

Eastpoint Tue 07-Apr-15 06:55:59

11 year olds travel on their own by public transport in London. It is completely normal with the majority of pupils in private or state secondary schools doing so.

GoldenBeagle Tue 07-Apr-15 07:08:35

Mamasha, london state schools are very multicultural and used to childen who have been educated in many systems. At the beginning of secondary, all the kids are new to a new system as there are few similarities between life at primary and at secondary.

London has many excellent state secondaries but you will need to live in one of the more residential areas, and find somewhere right on the doorstep of the school to get a place.
Then your DS can walk to school as many Lonfon schoolchildren do as the catchments are so tight.

Bonsoir should make it clear that she lives in Paris.

One possible option for you would be to live in the Tufnell Park / Gospel Oak area. That would give you the option of the College Bilingue in Kentish Town or Acland Burghley in the state system. You could get to the Lycee International using London Overground to West Hampstead then the Jubilee line. The Northern Line runs from Tufnell Park to central London if you wanted to go to Jeannine Manuel.

Yes lots of secondary school children travel on their own by public transport every day. DS1 has been getting the bus home from school school since he was 9.5 and he wasn't the only one in his class.

mamasha Tue 07-Apr-15 21:21:22

dear ladies, thank you so much for your replies! i am so much happier now, reassured that kids who are 11 quite independent and safe. My son has been using the public transport where we live now on his own since he was 9, however i was not sure about London.
I have filed the docs for the new bilingual school (EJM) and should make a bank transfer for the application to the college bilingual in Camden tomorrow. Let's see which one replies first... and maybe indeed i should apply for the Lycee International just in case and then see how i feel about it once we actually visit London - hopefully end of April ;)

Bonsoir Tue 07-Apr-15 21:27:05

Good luck mamasha and let us know how you get on!

mamasha Tue 07-Apr-15 21:41:12

Thank you Bonsoir smile i will smile

Segache2015 Wed 15-Apr-15 15:38:34

Bonjour tout le monde,
Je vous donne l'adresse d'une maternelle Bilingue (Francais/Anglais)excellente qui va ouvrir ses portes a coté du nouveau lycée francais a Wembley.

Hello everyone,
Please find the link to a pre-prep Bilingual French/English nursery that will open in September next to the new French lycée in Wembley.

lidija14 Fri 15-Apr-16 13:29:21

I wonder how you got on mamasha with finding a school.
I am looking into putting my son in Ecole Jennine Manuel or College Bilingue in Kentish town so would love to hear a feedback if you managed to get your son in any of these two schools.

Marianadixnuef Mon 08-May-17 19:17:43

Hello!! New to the blog! I need some advice, I m moving back to London with my french husband and 3 kids. We have an 11yr who is currently at the french lLycee in Buenos Aires. Does anyone have references about the lycee in wembley? I am also looking in to live walking diatance from the school...
But not really familiar with the wembley park area... any other good opcion on the state school near by? I will appriciante any input! Thank you ladies⭐️

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