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Guildford - Primary & Secondary School Combinations

(16 Posts)
colman12 Tue 07-Jan-20 11:28:37

Hi All,

I have tried to do some searching on this forum but not come across the details, so apologies if this is a repeated question.

We currently live in Jacobs Well in Guildford and are starting to think about primary / secondary schools.

The next house move would probably be the last (for a while at least), so looking to move to the right area for the right schools.

From the quick research, the good state secondaries would seem to be George Abbot (although they haven't had an OFSTED review for years) & Guildford County.

Pairing up a good primary would seem to be:

Guildford County - Wood Street (Oustanding), Guildford Grove?
George Abbot - Burpham (Oustanding) , BoxGrove (Good), Merrow

Perhaps Worplesdon Primary as well, but unclear where you would feed into for a secondary if you lived in Worplesdon.

Advice i am looking for, is what are the right and best combinations, and where would you advise on living to ensure you are in the right catchment areas.

Merrow/ Burpham for GA schools, presumably but not so sure on Guildford County.

We aren't religious, so not intending on doing the catholic route.

Thanks

suitcaseofdreams Tue 07-Jan-20 12:51:28

This link will show you how places were allocated in past years:

www.surreycc.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/schools/admissions/arrangements-and-outcomes/previous-years

No guarantee that this will be the same in future years but it gives you some indication how close you need to be to get a place - secondary likely to be the bigger issue than primary so if you’re sure you won’t be moving again before secondary I’d start with that and not worry too much re primary as most of the primaries are good (although if your kids are not even school age yet who knows what the situation will be when they reach secondary age!)

Allocation is based on nearest school to home so you need to ensure your target school is your nearest - for 2019 entry half the places at County went to siblings and you would have needed to live 1.4km or closer to get a place ( and not be closer to any other school)

George Abbot went out further to 4.3km so you may have more flexibility there but certainly Merrow/Burpham should be ‘safe’ options for now - although as said above, if you don’t actually have school aged children yet then an awful lot can change in the time it takes your pre schoolers to reach secondary age!

Also just to note that Merrow is infants only, from there most go to Bushy Hill and on to GA. I personally liked Bushy when I looked round a couple of years ago and the recent OFSTED was good, (although my kids went elsewhere in the end for logistical reasons) but it seems to have a somewhat negative perception locally for some reason.

Overall I’d say don’t be over influenced by OFSTED for primaries - best to visit schools and talk to local parents and think about which school would best suit your children. Guildford is lucky to have lots of good primaries and whilst every school has good and bad points, it’s also about the right fit for you and your priorities.
Secondaries is a but different and certainly right now most people would want GA or County I think....but things can and do change and if you are a decade off needing a secondary school then it’s hard to predict...

Good luck!

JoJoSM2 Tue 07-Jan-20 13:56:48

www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&parliamentary=Guildford&geographic=parliamentary&for=primary

It’s very useful to look at stats too.

colman12 Wed 08-Jan-20 09:13:36

Great, thanks all. I will take a look.

Personally, i think the answer is moving to somewhere like merrow, to access Boxgrove / GA

Trying to get into Guildford County Catchment area looks probably too expensive from a house buying point of view.

MollyButton Wed 08-Jan-20 09:37:22

Guildford County catchment is getting tighter - Onslow is probably okay, but I know my road is no longer in catchment (and people get offered King's). There will be more affordable houses in the area, but probably tricky to find (or up by the A3).
The George Abbot catchment seems to go further because they used to take all the children in Send. I'm not sure if they still will with Hoe Bridge school. But there are lots of decent houses in Boxgrove area (and not too fashionable as they are 60s built), as well as the newer estates in Burpham.

Personally I really rate Guildford Grove as a school, but it does feed into King's.
I don't think any of the Primaries are that bad on the whole, and secondaries are more of an issue. Of course the North Guildford schools could transform in the next 5 years or so.

suitcaseofdreams Thu 09-Jan-20 20:56:27

From around the middle of Send out towards Woking now has Hoe Valley as nearest school so are unlikely to get George Abbot. Those in the other direction - ie middle of Send back to Send Marsh/Burntcommon are still nearer to GA than any other school - as are those in West Clandon....although no guarantee of a place if there are more children closer...hence Burpham/Merrow def the best bet for GA

Just for clarity, none of these schools have an official ‘catchment’ at all - they simply work on nearest school to home. Some years this can mean all the children come from within a very small radius (especially in a high birth rate year), other years children come from further afield. Ie it’s not fixed distance and your best bet is to be as close as possible to stand the highest chance of a place

And none of them have official feeder schools either - the children from Guildford Grove mostly end up at Kings because it’s likely to be their nearest school, not because GG feeds into Kings in any formal way...so choice of primary doesn’t dictate secondary...it’s all based on proximity...

colman12 Fri 10-Jan-20 09:15:49

Thanks, so just so i understand. If you say put down GA as 1st pick but you had a closer school, like Kings. You would be offered Kings and is there anything you can do about it? (other than moving closer to GA), you have to accept the place and thats it?

Ionacat Fri 10-Jan-20 11:17:56

You will get offered your highest preference that you qualify for. So if you put down George Abbot as no.1 and Kings as no.2, and say for this example you live 3k from George Abott and 1.5k from Kings.

If more pupils meet the higher criteria of George Abbott’s admission criteria than you you won’t get a place so say a high sibling year and high birth rate so the distance only goes out to 2.5k as there are lots of 10/11 year olds living close to the school that year you won’t get a place and will be offered your second place.

However if there aren’t many siblings, low birth rate so not as many applications and the distance widens to say 3.5k as there aren’t as many pupils living closer to the school therefore you would get a place at George Abott even though Kings is closer because you placed it higher on your school application list.

This is where historical data comes into play as you can see how far the last pupil admitted to the school lives. If George Abott hasn’t admitted any pupils living further than 3k from the school for the past few years then you know you need to be within that to be as certain as possible of getting a place. Look a any planned developments as well, if there are for example 500 houses going to be built next to the school then the catchment will shrink further.

Ionacat Fri 10-Jan-20 11:18:43

Sorry meant to say above example is hypothetical - I haven’t looked at the distances!

Ionacat Fri 10-Jan-20 11:22:28

Continuing my hypoYou would also only get offered your second place if you qualified for it.
So if you live next to Kings in a high birth year and put down GA, County and St Peters you might get offered a school miles away as Kings would be full from people who put it in their preferences.

colman12 Fri 10-Jan-20 11:45:18

Great, thanks for the insight.

suitcaseofdreams Fri 10-Jan-20 13:46:29

Great explanation from colman12 :-)

In answer to your specific question - if you want GA but Kings is nearer and you get Kings, you can appeal. But many appeals do not succeed.

If you really don’t want Kings but would be happy with other schools in the area you can list those other schools above Kings and if they have space you would get a place - in theory! In practice the ‘desirable’ schools will fill up with people living closer to them than you do and if Kings is your nearest school you are more than likely to end up with that as your offer.

If you look at the link to the Surrey admissions website above, you can see that every year lots of places at Kings are centrally allocated - this means people didn’t put Kings as one of their choices but were given it anyway as it was the only school with space....

IvySquirrel Fri 10-Jan-20 14:40:07

My DC went to Worplesdon a few years ago as that is our nearest primary. We were very happy with as a school. However there is no real 'progression' secondary school and so children in both my DC cohorts went to a wide variety of schools - all 5 in Guildford, Ash Manor, Winston Churchill, Glebelands, Broadwater and a range of privates.
I actually liked this for 2 reasons - I didn't want to choose a secondary 7 years in advance as schools do change, and as my DC went to private secondary on their own there was not the issue of all their friends going to the local secondary and them feeling 'different'.

Michaelahpurple Sun 12-Jan-20 10:34:58

Just a flag, please look v carefully into the statements above on the lines of “if you put K second and are 1.4 km from it and fail to get in to GA, you may miss out on K because it will be full of people who put it first” etc. I am v far from an expert but from what I have read on here from other posters over the years I don’t think is is right. If you are more qualified for K than someone else )in this example by closer distance) you will be offered the place even if you put it second and the other person put it first. Hard to see how it all works out but apparently the computers work their iterative magic.

Again, am far from sure, but have consistently read over the years that the order you put the schools influences the order in which you will be offered if qualifying, but not your priority.

Back in Guildford, my mother looked into selling her house on the mount last year, just up the hill from County and was astonished by the degree of interest from prospective County parents. And a price about £200k more than expected which I think must have been related.

GU24Mum Mon 13-Jan-20 09:31:47

Hi OP, are you sure that you wouldn't get GA from Jacobs Well anyway? The distances shown on the Surrey CC website are the ones on offer day so in practice they will go out a bit more on the waiting lists. Also, the birth rate is much higher in Year 6/7 children than in say, Year 1/2 children.

If you do definitely want to move/be more certain, then GA is probably easier as the catchment is larger and you are less likely to get something you really don't want as a fallback.

ManyHatsOn Tue 14-Jan-20 10:08:03

We moved to the Merrow/Boxgrove area 6 years ago specifically for this reason. Previously our kids were at Worplesdon and where we lived meant that we would be going to Kings, regardless of our choice on the form (outside likely catchment for County based on high birthrate year - I crunched the numbers and we were a few metres outside the likely circumference; not churchgoers so Christs/St Peters not likely, way outside Gabbot catchment for a high birthrate year).

We visited all schools and although at the time we preferred County to Gabbot, we couldn't find a house we could afford in the County likely catchment so decided Gabbot was the best all round bet - type of houses we could afford and reputation of school combined etc.

Our kids went to Boxgrove, an excellent school - highly recommended and kids to Gabbot - also excellent. Incidentally, Gabbot's first OFSTED just came out this week - outstanding for 6th form and Good for main school. They missed outstanding on main school for a couple of reasons including teaching GCSEs over 3 years which is seen by OFSTED to narrow the curriculum too much too early. The parent community does not agree with that point, as shown in a parent survey a few weeks before the inspection which showed that the parent community is happy with a 3 year GCSE programme.

Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to live, don't underestimate the nightmare that is Guildford traffic at school run time. We decided to live in an ugly 60s house that's walkable from the schools we chose which makes things SO much easier for us and our kids than for people we know who live in Cranleigh/Send etc

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