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Moving to UK from South Africa(21 Posts)
We are planning to move from South Africa to the UK at the end of the year. I will have to commute to London (close to Bank station). Not sure where to live, need good state schools for the kids, one in primary school and one in secondary school. Was thinking of Fleet and also Tunbridge Wells. Have family in Portsmouth so would like to be south of London. Concerned about a long commute. Place should ideally have a bit of a country feel. Any advice and suggestions will be welcome.
Yateley (not far from Fleet) has a couple of decent secondary schools. No rail station though.
How old are your children? If you move to Kent you will need to address the issue of grammar schools and the likelihood of getting a place.
Can't help on area but one thing to check - I think (may be wrong) that the school year is different in SA (not Sept-Aug). My DH came to England at 15 and had to go back a year because he'd missed part of what would have been Year 10 (1st year of GCSEs) because of the way the school year is organised.
45 mins from Portsmouth, direct train in to London.
Unless you want to add a Tube journey to your commute, you need to look at trains running into Cannon Street or London Bridge. Or, if you're willing to go east into Essex, into Liverpool Street.
Thanks for the replies! Kids are 6 and 13. And yes the school years are different, in SA it is from Jan to Dec.
You can walk to Bank in less than 10 mins from Blackfriars - which would open up a different rail line south. Check the rail routes and work your way through the stations to eliminate and then make a short list?
Second Guildford. Decent choice of schools as long as you pick your area sensibly. Good train line to Waterloo - half an hourish, then 10 mins to Bank station. Easy to get to Portsmouth.
We would have to rent at first, and will be on one salary, so rent of max GBP1500 per month. Once we both earn money then only will we be able to buy, not sure what our budget will be then.
@Titchy, thanks I will look into Guildford, which areas are good?
I would definitely consider trainlines into Waterloo - as you don't need to use the tube to get to Bank, just the dedicated Waterloo and City line, that just shuttles between Waterloo and City.
In Guildford the old advice was South of the A3, which is generally useful for the better schools. If your DC can share a room you might have more choice of rental properties at that price, although I did find:www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-44468727.html
The second is in a nice area. If you are Catholic you might be able to locate in a wider area.
Be prepared to appeal as schools may not have places. And your eldest might have to "catch up" as some schools have gone to a 3 year GCSE.
Godalming is also worth looking at.
The "jumping back" rather than forward might be advisable.
My dad was over in SA in the summer and was showing his lady friend's grandchildren the Nat 5 (Scottish equivalent of GCSE) Maths paper (actually last year's one as this year's wasn't on line yet), because ds (his grandson) had just sat his Nat 5s.
They went white at the level of the questions
Rent of GBP 1500 per month is going to be very tricky for 4, I suspect. The further out you live the cheaper the rent but the more expensive the train fare.....
Petts Wood is a great place to live. SE London, direct trains to Cannon St in less than half an hour and from there Bank is a five minute walk at most. Close to nice parks and woodlands. Nice community feel, good shops and restaurants and great primary schools. For secondary you are in distance for three grammar school areas (without being in the midst of a Kent system of grammar or secondary modern) as well as good comprehensives.
Both my DDs spent a term at a South African independent school when they were 13 and found the curriculum very different. For the exchange, they were placed in a class with girls aged 15/16. My elder daughter found the English very easy, even though she was two years younger than everyone else, and the French very basic. Obviously my DDs had no Afrikaans or Zulu. They found the maths in SA a bit confusing and different in that they did accounts whilst they were there. Other subjects were OK; different topics but accesssible and enjoyable. They found the science repetitive and a bit boring, but that may just be the way it was taught, not the syllabus. However, what they did with the older girls (Y11 equivalent), was what they did when they returned to their own school in Y9. Therefore do check what your elder child may need to catch up on.
I know people who have moved here from SA very successfully but their children have had to work hard to catch up in some areas of the curriculum.
Thank you for all the comments.
I have another question. I have identified an area where we would like to live and applied to schools (2 secondary schools and 3 infant schools). I have done this even though we have not yet secured a place to rent, but I explained our situation. One of the secondary schools have sent a letter saying that the school is full. What do I do if both secondary schools are full?
You go on a waiting list and find a school which isn't full.
Most schools within striking distance of London are full. If you are making an in-year application then the local authority will find out a space but it may not be at a school near you and it may not be a top choice school. As namechangetoday15 says you can go on the waiting list. You can stay on the waiting list even though you accept a place at another school. However note that if the oversubscription criteria of the school you are applying for is distance and you are far from the school then you may get overtaken by others who move to the area too and are closer than you, it is rarely a case of getting added to a list and gradually moving up the list.
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