Narrowing down Secondary Schools(9 Posts)
I wondered what other peoples' processes are. We live in London and there is one very average state comprehensive, and no private schools near us - although there are some he could travel to, if he gets in.
He is currently nearly 5, at a state primary academy.
People are saying, "hey he's so young, you don't need to think about it yet". But I do, because if it requires us to move, then I need to start researching now!
I love our area and community but we are growing out of our house. Ideally I'd like a bigger one, but would need to free up equity too in order to afford any private school.
I moved a lot to different countries in my first 20 years so moving to a new community doesn't scare me, but I'm aware that making friends is easier when he's at primary than secondary.
I myself went to a very famous private girls' school and feel there is massive benefit to going to a high-achieving school like this. I would want a co-ed Day school with flexi-boarding for my son. (He'd be day boy but hopefully somewhere he could occasionally stay night if necessary).
The only places I know outside London are Oxford, and that's pretty much as expensive as London for property. I know Norwich and Cheltenham. If we have to move out of London this would be a massive deal for me/us and would need a lot of consideration .
So I thought my research could take the following steps:
1) spreadsheet possible schools by looking at good schools guide, Sunday Times, Tatler etc. INclude Grammars. Research their league tables and open day dates.
2) map to a giant map so I can visually picture how far etc
3) try and visit some on open days.
4) narrow down to areas where we could actually afford a property we might want , get to know those areas better over the next few years
5) when he reaches 7/8/9, see what his interests are and abilities etc.. narrow down list again.
6) See if there is any way to keep london property whilst moving to area near school and being able to afford the school (if fee-paying).
Do you all think I am bonkers? Is it very convoluted? I just don't want to leave it too late (like his father would do) and then make a random decision and then feel that I hadn't done all I could to secure the best future for my child.
Argh. It all does my head in!
I think it's bonkers. But I'm sure many others won't.
You need to find an area you like that has a range of good state schools. (e.g. in Hampshire, Winchester might suit, it is pricey though, 3 good state comps (Hants is a no grammar area) and an excellent state 6th form.)
Having found an area you like and want to settle in, move there making sure you are near to some good schools, then ignore until y5/y6.
I'm sure other people can suggest areas in their counties.
If you know where the schools are then this website may help with an overview of the housing currently for sale www.locrating.com/
Buckinghamshire is still a grammar county and we used to live in Denham so literally kudt outside Greater London but went to Dr Challoner's. benefit of being non fee paying but still close to London.
I completely love your approach. When I was pregnant, I had a spreadsheet of schools (I had a thread about it at the time) - friends thought I was nutty but I like to project manage big decisions.
What is it that you would like to get out of this thread? It is likely that people are going to suggest possible areas / schools (I was tempted to) - would that be helpful?
Do you need to be able to commute to London or can you live pretty much anywhere?
In relation to the Good Schools Guide etc, the schools that are considered most desirable today may not be top of the list in five years' time. One thing that will make a big difference is when a head moves on. So you will need to keep your spreadsheet updated.
It's worth bearing in mind that when you are looking at the highest ranked schools, there may not be all that much between them in terms of academics. A boy who goes to Westminster (say) will also probably do brilliantly at Highgate (for example). It's as important that you decide based on your overall family wellbeing, rather than only on which school is the most prestigious.
Am not sure whether that is helpful or not.
It is also important to remember that if you are picking a grammar area, that your child might end up at the alternative 'secondary modern' provision, even if they just miss the cut. So you need to make sure you are happy with the school options for the less academic too.
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