School advice for West Berkshire & Wiltshire (Calne/Marlborough) please(12 Posts)
We are relocating from Devon due to my work, working in Newbury until Dec then Green Park Reading. We've found the perfect house near Calne, Wiltshire but the catchment school is John Bentley which I have not had good reports about, and it will be an hours drive to Reading for me or there is a house not so perfect in Compton in the catchment area for The Downs school which has a great reputation and only 30 min from the office. Any advice please?!?! my daughter is due to start year 7 in Sept so it will be classed as a late application. Any advice on secondary schools would be really appreciated!
A friend's daughter is at The Downs and it is definitely strong academically. If you want to live fairly rurally that's probably your best bet. Obviously apply asap and be prepared to home educate/go elsewhere if a place isn't immediately available, but I'm sure one would come up quickly.
I wouldn't want to live as far west as Calne and commute to Reading daily, traffic in Reading is pretty shit.
I think the secondary schools around Thatcham have decent reputations too? Not too sure. Theale Green used to have a good rep but seems to have gone down a bit lately.
The Downs was hugely oversubscribed for September. Some siblings didn't even get on b
Other good schools are St. Barts in Newbury, Kennet in Thatcham or Willink in Burghfield. Again, I think all were oversubscribed for September.
Thank you - it does seem that the good schools are all oversubscribed; which is understandable! Problem is I don't think we can apply until we have found a house and signed the tenancy (we're going to rent for a couple of years first) What happens if we move into the catchment area of a school and then all the nearby schools are full ?!
Calne to Reading is madness unless you're really really keen in commuting. If I were moving for a job I would be looking for a place a lot nearer than that. Traffic into Reading is a bit of a nightmare anyway, and a drive from Calne on top of that would tip me over the edge.
What happens if we move into the catchment area of a school and then all the nearby schools are full ?!
You home educate, or your child goes somewhere further away. Yes, there will be waiting lists, but they aren't run on a first come first served basis, the reason I said apply asap was that you'd hear quicker about a place and be able to relax. It doesn't help you get a place, if that makes sense. Choose a school, look at their admission criteria. After looked after children, siblings, anything else, there will be a distance criterion which is the only one you can affect. Find somewhere to live as near to the school as possible, and you'll be at or near the top of the waiting list. People move in and out of the area all the time, kids change schools.
Basically, if you're worried about the school, pick it first, not the house. If you're renting, you don't need the perfect house from the start.
In truth all the senior schools in Newbury in Thatcham are good, though some have historical reputations they no longer deserve.
There is a lot of waiting list movement as people move regularly in and out of the area.
With the current road works at junction 12 I would live in Newbury to go the Green Park rather than Thatcham. Mind you as the whole of West Berks seems to be one massive road improvement any where can be awful at the moment.
Unfortunately the Down's school is oversubscribed and it the only school I know in the area that struggles to offer places to those in catchment so you will not be guaranteed a place as a late application and may struggle for a place quickly.
St Barts and Kennet have good reputations - both are oversubscribed but historically if you move into catchment then you are likely to get a place relatively quickly and possibly for September. Park House (Newbury) is OK and is NOT oversubscribed, you WILL get a place - tends not to have the results of other schools but locally it is thought to do well with its students (I think it loses the more academic kids to other places). You could get a place at Park House for September and sit on waiting lists for other schools if you prefer them.
Have you thought about St John's in Marlborough? My kids are there - good school, will be oversubscribed for September but they do have a policy of trying to give places to those in catchment (even late applications).
St John's catchment extends 10 miles east towards Reading so commuting possible.
The Downs is oversubscribed - but there is masses of movement (dd got in from 27 on the waiting list & out of catchment), if you are prepared to wait. In West Berks/Thatcham - St Barts is very good, Kennet & Willink have good reputations. I wouldn't recommend Theale Green. I don't know about school further west than that.
Commuting that far into Reading every day would be a bloody nightmare though!
Go and see the school, please - if that's the house you want then give it an opportunity to shine for you. Schools in wiltshire tend to fall, and rise again very quickly...
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