Moving up to Chester / Broughton

(14 Posts)
Werback Mon 11-Jul-16 09:15:48

Hello All,

My husband is being offered a job in Broughton (Wales) and we wonder which side of the border is best to live. Any opinion?

We are a French couple with 2 boys (7 and 4) and we lived in Bristol for 5 years when we were students.

Mainly, where we live will impact where kids go to school. I look over the web and all schools around Chester look amazing! (In France you won't find much schools with website and much details on curriculum).

So we don't really where to start: pick up the school and then a house or the other way around.
We'd like our big one continues karate so if you do know a great karate club around, that'd be perfect!

Also can anyone explain me a bit more on English/Wales Education System. I do get a lot confuse with private school, grammar school, primary school...

Thanks for your help and forgive my English, it might be a bit rusty.

mrscoleridge Mon 11-Jul-16 10:52:20

Hey
Chester person here and also a teacher
English side as the schools are better
Primary school is 4-11 and can be free or you can pay
No grammar schools nearby so that would mean a 20 mile journey
A have friends who's kids do karate so I can ask
Please feel free to pm me

Werback Mon 11-Jul-16 11:12:02

thanks for your quick answer.

I'll mp you as I have tons of questions related to school. Educational system is so different from the one I'm used to.

mrscoleridge Mon 11-Jul-16 12:17:29

No problem

CheshireKittyKat Mon 11-Jul-16 18:25:54

If you are thinking of living here long term buy a house just over the welsh border - your kids will save a fortune in uni fee's.

CheshireKittyKat Mon 11-Jul-16 18:26:39

If you are thinking of living here long term buy a house just over the welsh border - your kids will save a fortune in uni fee's.

Hollerback Mon 11-Jul-16 20:56:31

So here's a bit about the schools from a parent's point of view - any teachers pls correct me if I'm wrong!

State schools are free. Some have before or after school club/ care for a small fee which might be useful if you and your husband are working as the child can be looked after 8am-6/6.30pm.

You may see that state schools can be "Church of England" or "Catholic" which means they often use criteria of church attendance to admit pupils if they are oversubscribed. If they are "voluntary aided" (VA) it means the church has an interest and some say in the running of the school but in my experience, not much of a say! If the school is voluntary controlled (VC) it means the church is more involved in the governance of the school. Obvs as a church school there will be some worship but it really depends on the school ie my son attends a CofE school. They don't use religion as an entrence criteria at all and seem to do minimal religious stuff e.g. 1 religious assembly per week on a theme that is pertinent to non Christians e.g. "difference". You have the right to withdraw your child from religious studies/ assemblies if you like.

You may also see a state school that is an "Academy" - this means that the school has opted out of some of the controls that local govenment has traditionally had on schools e.g recruitment of teachers, spending.

If it is a "Free school", this is a school that has been set up by a group of e.g parents or a business rather than the state but they do still follow the national curriculum that all schools are supposed to follow. All the free schools round here are free to attend.

Public/ independant/ fee paying schools you must pay for. You tend to get smaller class sizes and good facilities. The most popular in Chester are Kings, Queens, the Firs, Abbey Gate.

High schools are for 11-16 year olds. In Chester the most popular ones (with good results) are Christleton, Upton and Bishops Bluecoat.

Grammar schools are high schools (11-16) for which your child must pass the 11 plus exam towards the end of primary school and achieve a certain grade before being considered for entry but even once you have passed, the school will only take the X nearest children to the school if they are oversubscribed so there is no guarantee of entry. The nearest Grammer schools to Broughton are on the Wirral e.g Calday Grange. You need to factor in whether an hour each way on the school bus if you live in Chester/ Wales will be a good use of your child's time!

Schools are regularly inspected so check out OFSTED website (english schools) and ESTYN (welsh schools) for reports.

Also bear in mind that schools are often "full" in some years. We had to wait 6 weeks for my son to be offered a place at any of our six choices of primary school as his year group was full.

All school application/ allocation is done by the local council not the individual schools. You can contact the council via the Cheshire West and Chester Council website (schools section) to ask them which schools have places, though this may change by the time you get there.

As far as where to live? It really depends what you are looking for. We moved to Chester because I was used to living in a city and wanted to be somewhere with a bit of life and things to do! But there are beautiful small towns and villages e.g. Hawarden, Christleton, Mollington. Areas we liked in Chester are Hoole, Handbridge, Newton, Upton, all quite near to the city centre.

Please PM me if you want any more info or want to chat!

Hollerback Mon 11-Jul-16 20:59:44

Oh I forgot... Karate clubs:

My son's friends do Karate at the Northgate arena in Chester with these guys and they really enjoy it ( been going for years):www.chesterkarate.webs.com.

Werback Tue 12-Jul-16 08:02:59

Hello,

Thank you all for your messages and karate tips. (^it may sound ridiculous to look for a club while we still don't know where we are living but we think it's important for our big one to rely on something he knows^)

I understand a bit more the educational system...but I'm quite concern about religion (not that I don't approve the well-funded of teaching about difference, helping each other... just that is something I'm not used to). In France, is something we don't talk about in class. Even though after all tragedies we survived in 2015, my big one asks some question about it but it's still very private.

As far as school is concerned, we still don't know when we are moving out. I wish it'd be in Sept so boys could get into their new school with everyone but I think it's a bit too short notice for us to get everything solved here in France (cars, house sales...). I guess the best to do is to explain our situation to the headteacher and see what comes out.
In France, my kids go to a unique class-school from age 2 to 7. They were 15 this year. So despite the languages, it will be a big change for them.
We definitely want a school that will help our oldest son to integrate his class and be understanding to his faculty to understand and express himself in English. He's very good in France though with a big lack of self-confident so we don't want him to be put aside.

My husband is supposed to stay there for 1 year only as he will be a French employee. So for this year, his company is helping with the rent. Nevertheless, we anticipate, he will stay longer so we might buy a house if we do.

For living, we don't really know. As I said we used to live in Bristol for our studies and we loved it. Walking down to city centre was a real pleasure (well we left 10 yrs ago so don't know is it's still lovely!!).
Now we are living in a very tiny village (population 1200) with a school, an hairdresser and a bakery (of course!). The nearest town (with cinema, supermarket, swimming-pool etc...) is 10 min drive.
I am not quite sure we want to live in such a small place. If I don't work I really have to meet people around...Not sure we'll get 2 cars in a first place.
I had a look on rental market in Chester and around but there isn't much...

So many things are uncertain that we do have too much options.

Thanks again for you comments. I'll go looking on Internet houses and schools...

Werback Tue 12-Jul-16 08:06:38

Hello,

Thank you all for your messages and karate tips. (^it may sound ridiculous to look for a club while we still don't know where we are living but we think it's important for our big one to rely on something he knows^)

I understand a bit more the educational system...but I'm quite concern about religion (not that I don't approve the well-funded of teaching about difference, helping each other... just that is something I'm not used to). In France, is something we don't talk about in class. Even though after all tragedies we survived in 2015, my big one asks some question about it but it's still very private.

As far as school is concerned, we still don't know when we are moving out. I wish it'd be in Sept so boys could get into their new school with everyone but I think it's a bit too short notice for us to get everything solved here in France (cars, house sales...). I guess the best to do is to explain our situation to the headteacher and see what comes out.
In France, my kids go to a unique class-school from age 2 to 7. They were 15 this year. So despite the languages, it will be a big change for them.
We definitely want a school that will help our oldest son to integrate his class and be understanding to his faculty to understand and express himself in English. He's very good in France though with a big lack of self-confident so we don't want him to be put aside.

My husband is supposed to stay there for 1 year only as he will be a French employee. So for this year, his company is helping with the rent. Nevertheless, we anticipate, he will stay longer so we might buy a house if we do.

For living, we don't really know. As I said we used to live in Bristol for our studies and we loved it. Walking down to city centre was a real pleasure (well we left 10 yrs ago so don't know is it's still lovely!!).
Now we are living in a very tiny village (population 1200) with a school, an hairdresser and a bakery (of course!). The nearest town (with cinema, supermarket, swimming-pool etc...) is 10 min drive.
I am not quite sure we want to live in such a small place. If I don't work I really have to meet people around...Not sure we'll get 2 cars in a first place.
I had a look on rental market in Chester and around but there isn't much...

So many things are uncertain that we do have too much options.

Thanks again for you comments. I'll go looking on Internet houses and schools...

Hollerback Tue 12-Jul-16 13:16:51

It is compulsory to teach about religions in all UK schools so your kids will be subject to this whichever school they go to. They have to learn about all religions and it's done in a very factual way e.g this is what Muslims believe in, these are the festivals, this is why people celebrate etc. Ds has been learning about Sikhism this term , he had a really interesting Visit to a Sikh temple and a visit from his Sikh classmates mum with some traditional foods. We are complete atheists but I really value my kids learning about the religions others have and I've not been concerned about how it's taught.

If you don't plan on getting a 2nd car you will need to be near a train station or bus roUte which would rule out most of the villages!

For rental try rightmove for agencies or gumtree for private rentals.

Werback Tue 12-Jul-16 14:12:23

I do agree with you with the value of learning about religions, it's just it's something we absolutely don't do here...

For a 2nd car we don't know yet. We don't know if we sell ours here or if he brings one over.

Well date has been planned as ASAP... My husband is going to Chester end of July and Early August to visit houses. Hope he'll find the right one.

Thanks for the tips about rental properties!

CheshireEditor Tue 12-Jul-16 20:35:31

Thanks for your message, you'e had lots of info here, which is great to see. Lots of state primary schools teach other ways of thinking and being, such a fruity thinking, don't be a bystander. As well as other charitable intiatives eg: at my sons school for every house point earned they get 1p for charity (four were chosen in the year) the last charity was Guide Dogs for the Blind and over £900 was raised, along with lovely displays in the hall, class and topic work linked to the subject.

Have you looked on the Wirral for a house and a school? Like Heswall or Neston?

Werback Wed 13-Jul-16 07:03:54

Hello,

Yes got lots of information... time to get everything in order.

One of my husband's colleague lives in Helsby. We thought that could be great so they could commute together and I'll have the car!
What do you think? Not sure it's much to do.

Heswall and Neston looks great but it s a 35 min drive; I don't think he'll agree on that!

Thanks again for you help.

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