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Farncombe / Guildford Secondary school

(9 Posts)
user1492320735 Sun 16-Apr-17 07:11:22

Hello mums, advice definitely needed please.
We are South African and living in Dubai, my kids and I will be moving to the UK by the end of this year.
DH is an airline pilot and will have to commute to join / visit / live with us.
I'm thinking of Farncombe or Guildford for 2 reasons.
DS can start uni at Surrey after A-levels (holding things for that!) and DD will be in Year 10 (GCSE).
I believe from previous threads the rental is slightly less expensive in Farncombe.
What is the commute like from Gatwick and Heathrow airports?
The process of getting DD into school is confusing me, please can somebody outline it and give me a starting point. The catchment area is not something I'm familiar with.
Is commuting to university going to be an issue? Possibly to Oxford-Brookes University if doesn't get into Surrey.
TIA.

mummytime Mon 17-Apr-17 07:36:48

Oh dear!

Okay how old are your DC? When are their birthdays?
Farncombe is cheaper firstly because it doesn't have the big detached houses you find in some areas of Guildford. Also because it's secondary Broadwater didn't used to be as good as Rodborough, George Abbot, St Peters or County.
However as you will be arriving outside the normal admissions round, you will be struggling to get a place, especially in year 10. Some schools for example George Abbot are teaching GCSEs over 3 years as the syllabus is so packed. History requires knowledge of English History for 1000 years, with in depth knowledge of certain time periods and topics.
So schools maybe reluctant to take your child. Admittedly when required to by the LA in my experience they will do their best to come up with a modified timetable which will allow for at least the minimum 5GCSE passes in core subjects.

Next you have not experienced British Roads, I would not recommend commuting between Farncombe and Guildford for schools. There are regular traffic jams on the A3 around Guildford, and alternative routes also involve congestion.

As for commuting to Oxford Brooke's Uni... at 4 in the morning I can drive there in about 1 hour, but most of the time it takes much much longer, 2 1/2 hours is not uncommon. Or by train, which from Guildford involves changing at Reading, takes 1 1/2 hours and needs a bus or long walk at the other end. University life in the U.K. Is designed to be residential, and living out would involve missing out on a lot.

mummytime Mon 17-Apr-17 07:39:34

Oh and a friend's daughter who went to Surrey despite her parents living in Guildford, still stayed in Halls as it is all part of the Uni experience.

Surrey doesn't have catchments, and the people you need to talk to first are Surrey County Council, schools admissions team.

Brumby10 Mon 17-Apr-17 15:05:48

Oh boy, I didn't expect this to be easy. Thanks for the reply mummy time.
DD is 14, she starts GCSE first year in September and is into art related subjects.
DS is 17 and will finish A-levels here before starting uni. Regular trips to the UK are on order.
So Oxford-Brookes from Farncombe / Guildford will have to be a live in situation.
Here's hoping he even gets the scores required for Surrey, he's a bright boy and works hard so am holding thumbs.

If you wanted to live within a relatively easy commute from Heathrow and Gatwick, taking into account school and uni needs, where would you suggest? I've pretty much just looked at a map and need as much advice as I can get.
DH will have to catch a train or hire a car as I plan to start working as soon as possible.

Until I get my BRP I won't be able to buy / rent anything (house / car) so can foresee I'll be over there setting up and feathering my nest until DD and DS can join me. Hopefully I can get this done quickly.

I would love to have DS live with myself and DD especially if I am working full-time.

So much to try and figure out.

Brumby10 Mon 17-Apr-17 15:06:21

Sorry, DD birthday in June.
DS, December.

helenwilson Mon 17-Apr-17 23:09:57

Hi, if your dd is 14 and 15 in June then she would go into year 11 in a September. If she's 13 and 14 in June then you are correct, she will go into year 10. Is private school affordable to you or does it need to be state ? Guildford would suit you well, easy train journey to Gatwick and commutable to Heathrow (although by car would be easier), you could also look at places like Frimley too which is closer to the M3 for Heathrow but still on the Gatwick train line (Frimley is smaller and cheaper than Guildford and has a good school). Guildford is a nicer town though. Surrey Uni is great, I went there and loved it. Most students do live in, but there are cost considerations too, it's fine to live at home.

If you decide on Guildford then it would be better to look for schools that start GCSEs in year 10 (note, if your dd is 15 in June then you are going to have a big headache going into year 11). My son is at George Abbot and I believe they start them in year 9, so not ideal, but it is a very good school.

Guildford County is a good school too so worth considering as is St Peters, depending on whether you have any religious affiliations. You would have more options in terms of year group flexibility at private school, but not sure if there are places and how academic your dd is - the Guildford indies are academic.

You really need an address to apply for a school place but it might be worth phoning Surrey council (be aware that primary places have just been released so they will be snowed under for the next couple of weeks) and seeing where has places and then speaking to schools directly to see what your options are.

Brumby10 Tue 18-Apr-17 15:02:49

Thanks helenwilson, I appreciate all your advice.
My DD is turning 15 in June. She is currently in Year 9 here. When we moved from South Africa to Dubai that's the Year I was told she would be put into by all the schools we applied to.
She will start Year 10 here in September 2017 and as the earliest I can move over is November, I think it best to get my BRP and address sorted out and have her start school in the UK only in January 2018. That way I can get car and house sorted out. DD is not very academic and prefers art to oxygen!
My DS will stay and finish his A-levels here in Dubai as I see no point in moving him before he is finished school. That would be very unfair on him.
I will look at the towns you mentioned. Thanks a bunch!

mummytime Tue 18-Apr-17 17:41:46

If your DD is 15 in June, and doesn't get to the UK until January - I really don't think any school will take her! There is just no way she could be ready for exams between January and May/June, and state schools are very reluctant to take out of year. However, if she came in the summer of 2018, then she could go to Sixth form college in September, maybe take 3 years over it, getting GCSEs in one year, then two years for A'level.
I would recommend talking to Godalming College, Woking College, maybe Farnham and Farnborough Sixth form colleges too. Alternatively Further Ed colleges like Brooklands, Guildford and Farnborough Tech.

Decorhate Wed 19-Apr-17 06:34:01

I agree with mummytime. Even if they allowed her to drop down a year she will have missed a huge amount of year 10.

It would be much better for her if you don't move her until she has finished her GCSEs in Dubai. Your son could still start uni in the UK in the meantime. Many students come to the UK for university without their families.

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