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Topic: Greater London Schools  (Read 741 times)

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Greater London Schools
« on: April 22, 2019, 07:34:08 PM »
Hi - can anyone offer advice with secondary schools in the London area?  We are planning to move this summer and securing a place seems like it's going to be difficult  - to say the least.  Am I crazy for thinking a state secondary ranked Ofsted Good or Outstanding can actually be good or outstanding?   Fee paying schools for two would be a stretch and would prefer to stick with state. 

Will have one child entering Year 9 (possibly Year 8 - B-day is right at cutoff but reading there is no flexibility?)  Another child will be entering Year 6.   

Grammars are another option - but we are so far out of the normal application timeline I'm not sure if it would even be possible to get a spot for this September, and no idea if they would even be able to take the test at the last moment, let alone do well without having been through the UK curriculum.  They would really prefer to be in a co-ed school, which seem to be less common for Grammar schools -  but they have agreed to keep an open mind.

Would appreciate any advice from those with experience.  We are looking at areas of Surrey and Kent but flexible - have friends in Northwest London (Pinner, Ruislip, Rickmansworth areas ) so that's a possibility too. I would love to be close to London so it's not an epic journey to enjoy the city, but schools will take priority.  My husband will be commuting to Canary Wharf and/or the City most days hoping to keep commute reasonable. 

Any advice or insight appreciated!


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 01:49:57 AM »
I wish I could help, but I am desperately looking for the same guidance!  We will be moving this summer with 3 kids, an 11 year old girl and 8 year old b/g twins (so we need TWO spots in that grade! Yikes!).  And we can't afford private (public? Independent?) school x 3 and still afford rent.  It looks like placements went out this month for the locals and I am so lost as to how to get in on the back end.  You can't apply until you have a residence?  But I can't decide on a residence until I know my kids will get into school?

Honestly, I'm willing to hire someone to help is navigate, if such a role exists.

Please.  Someone reassure us that this will work out!!! 


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 07:55:03 AM »
Consider Twickenham or Richmond. The commute into the city is pretty good and the schools are excellent. 

I’m no expert on schools but I always thought that a good score on an ofsted report means what it says. 


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 07:55:48 AM »
Avoid Watford.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2019, 08:40:33 AM »
If you google Education Concierges London, that might give you a starting point. The ones which I quickly glanced at, looked like they deal with private schooling but you could at least ask them if they could point you in the right direction for what you are after. Good luck!
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 05:08:51 PM »
Thank you all for the input - I will look into an education concierge.   

The well ranked schools seem encouraging - and comparable to our well ranked public school system where we are currently in in the States (Northeast).  I understand that actually getting a place is another issue, but one of my husband's future colleagues is acting as though we are insane for even considering state schools.

Forman Five - at least glad to know we aren't alone in the challenge!  When are you planning to move?  We likely won't get there until the very end of June/beginning of July.  Feels like an awfully tight timeline to secure a lease and school places.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2019, 05:15:57 PM »
Take Ofstead with a grain of salt.  They are severely underfunded and short staffed so some schools are going as long as 10 years between reports.  Which means an outstanding school can suck and a sucky school can be outstanding.

I think you'll find it very very hard to get places, if I'm honest.  And I would be surprised if you manage to get all your children into the same school (though some people do succeed). 

Anyone who turns up their nose at public education is a pompous snob.  They exist everywhere I'm afraid. 

There are definitely relocation advisers who specialise in schools.  Is your company not providing you with one?  They really should.  It's a standard offering.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2019, 07:06:57 PM »
Take Ofstead with a grain of salt.  They are severely underfunded and short staffed so some schools are going as long as 10 years between reports.  Which means an outstanding school can suck and a sucky school can be outstanding.


KFDancer knows more than me about this, so ignore what I said.  Maybe though if you look at the inspection date, you can judge how confident in the result you should be.  I'd still think that if a school got a good report recently, it should be accurate. 

I think the bottom line is that schools in rich areas are generally good, and it sounds like you are targeting those places.  That's why the house prices are so expensive, becuase the schools are good. 

I only know one person who went to an INCREDIBLY expensive fancy girls school.  She met a layabout rich kid, started doing drugs and sleeping with Mr wrong, and torturing her mom with pregnancy scares.  Free would have been better.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2019, 07:19:18 PM »
I’ve recently completed an Ofsted course (I’m a governor over a group of schools).  Learning how schools are measured was EXTREMELY eye opening.  Definitely a grain of salt.  But if there is a concern around the safety and welfare of a school, Ofsted will reflect that in its findings.  But you need to look at the whole picture, an Ofsted report is literally one day at a school.  One day....

Gut feel on school visits and talking to your neighbors is far more valuable.  And find out *why* neighbors feel the way they do.  One told me that our area is going downhill because of all the foreigners.  NEWS FLASH:  I’m a foreigner.   ;D

And I absolutely agree with Jimbo.  Good schools will come with the area, which will be reflected in the price.  The school admission program here is a learning curve, to say the least.

One of the schools I’m “over” is due to have an inspection this term.  I’ll report back.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2019, 12:27:24 AM »
Forman Five - at least glad to know we aren't alone in the challenge!  When are you planning to move?  We likely won't get there until the very end of June/beginning of July.  Feels like an awfully tight timeline to secure a lease and school places.

Looks like DH will start his new job in June, two weeks there, two weeks here (Philadelphia suburbs), and the entire family will go over at the beginning of August.  My hope is to have him settle on an area and get the housing situation settled while he's over there in June or July.

Richmond and Chiswick are high on our list.

Any thoughts on Willesden Green, Hampstead, or Crouch End in North London?  Earlsfield in the south?

We're basically looking in a 30-40 minute commute to Piccadilly Circus station in any direction and we have a decent budget for a place.




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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2019, 08:14:07 AM »
You should Google it, but I think you might have trouble getting to piccadilly circus from Richmond or Chiswick in 30 to 40 minutes.  I'm not completely sure since I've never tried.Most people's commute into central London is more like 1.5 hours each way.  If that's a deal breaker, you may have to choose a neighbourhood on a more direct line.

I think there's specialist websites aimed for commuters to figure out where to live based on where they work.  You could check those.

Don't discount Twickenham, right down the river from Richmond.  It's less busy and snooty than Richmond, with just as good rail connections.  No tube though. Really pretty.

One more hint : don't trust anything an estate agent tells you. They aren't your friend and don't work for you.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 08:54:02 AM »
Looks like DH will start his new job in June, two weeks there, two weeks here (Philadelphia suburbs), and the entire family will go over at the beginning of August.  My hope is to have him settle on an area and get the housing situation settled while he's over there in June or July.

Richmond and Chiswick are high on our list.

Any thoughts on Willesden Green, Hampstead, or Crouch End in North London?  Earlsfield in the south?

We're basically looking in a 30-40 minute commute to Piccadilly Circus station in any direction and we have a decent budget for a place.




Whatever the commute time web searches tell you, I'd add 30 minutes to those.  You'll need time to walk from your house, wait on the train platform, and walk to the office. 


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2019, 09:43:02 AM »
Just did a search and Google says 35 minutes from Twickenham station to piccadilly circus via Waterloo and the Bakerloo line.  Richmond will be similar
Add in walking to the station and walking to work and realistically it's a bit more than an hour.  On a good day.  There will be several bad days per month when it will take 2 hours because of leaves on the line.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2019, 04:32:43 PM »
I don't think 30-40 minutes is feasible from Richmond or Chiswick.  MAYBE if your timing was impeccable.  And that assumes you live practically across from the origin station and the workplace is practically across from the destination station.  And all the lines are running perfectly.  And the sun is the right kind of sun. 

Most Londoners have commutes of 1.5 to 2 hours due to getting to the station (e.g. walk, bus), waiting and switching (e.g. some lines are a good 10-15 walk from each other at interchange stations), and getting to work from the destination station (e.g. more walking and/or busing).  I'm at 1.5 hours even though I live technically "close" to work because I have to bus/walk to the station, get a train in, bus closer to work, and walk from the bus stop to work.  Plus all the time waiting for the next train or bus at each change over.  And during rush hour, you might have to wait for several trains (or buses) before one stops at the station that is empty enough for you to be able to squeeze on.  Sadly, just because a train arrives at a station, doesn't always mean you can physically fit on it if it's already jammed full of people.   :( 

I don't want to be negative, but I only know a handful of people with door-to-door commutes in London of 30-40 minutes, and they are all within walking or cycling distance of their job.

I suspect you'll either have to decide if you want the neighbourhood or the commute.   :-\\\\  I love London.  But the commute can be awful.


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Re: Greater London Schools
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2019, 06:43:19 PM »
I  agree with all of the above.

I regularly talk to people who commute more than 2 hours each way every day.  Even though that sounds nuts, you get used to it.  Actually, you just stop caring as it grinds you down and kills you. 



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