Looking to relocate to St.Albans from oversea - help needed!!

(7 Posts)
baio Mon 29-Feb-16 21:10:51

Hi, we are a family of 4 (with 2 young daughters of 7 and 3) looking to relocate from Asia to St.Albans.
Unfortunately we don't know the area and we have no many friends around in UK.
Can anyone please suggest us a nice area to live, particularly kids friendly?
We're looking to rent a 3-4 bedrooms house in the range of 1,500£ - 2,000£. Would that be a reasonable budget?
Regarding schooling: given that we can't enroll for any school until we'll be there, will it make any difference if we'll relocate during summer time before the new schooling year begin or winter time?
We're not familiar at all with UK schooling system therefore any help or suggestion would be appreciated as well as some good primary school names we may have a chance to be accepted or any useful link.
Any other information or suggestion would be truly appreciated.

Thanks to all in advance!!

davidson96 Tue 01-Mar-16 09:54:30

Most of St. Albans is lovely and VERY family friendly. Good family restaurants, parks, and lots on offer for children. Living near the city centre is great, but pricier. Most of the schools are at a 'good' level or better. Not sure about the timing of entering schools, but I'm sure you could check with the Hertfordshire Council for some direction: www.hertsdirect.org/services/edlearn/admissions/

Good luck with the move!

votentia Fri 13-May-16 10:33:00

We will be moving from Asia (Singapore) to St Albans too shortly

But we've explored the area thoroughly since we have friends and relatives living in Herts and make trips to the area each time we visit the UK.

A really fam fab place filled with shops (Marks & Spencer, and lovely restaurants/cafes/pubs (it has the oldest pub in England I believe) and it is so easy to get into London. Great recreational facilities and parks. A real commuter's dream (25 mins into Kings X).

Schools are generally good - check out Ofsted for reports on insights into schools and also Rightmove - a property site - they have a school checker with Ofsted ratings (outstanding, good, requires improvement). There is also a FB group for more insider info.

At 3, your child will qualify for 15 hours free nursery - but you might have to look at private options as the state nurseries are probably full since applications closed in Jan/Feb.

We've heard that Wainscot Nursery and Mount Carmel are great for little ones and will be checking them out when we get there in June.

Your seven year old should be in Year 2 or Year 3 (school year starts in Sept) depending on when she was born.

For your budget you should be able to find a decent property in St Albans.

But do move fast. Good properties near good schools get snapped up pretty quickly. Unlike the rest of the UK, we found that there is a more formal rental application process with lots of documents required (we tried to move to St Albans a few years back but my hubby was posted to Switzerland instead).

votentia Fri 13-May-16 10:39:35

BTW, your 7 year old will be considered as an in-year application when you apply to primary schools.

I am assuming your child is in Year 2 for the 2015/16 academic year (born September 2008 to September 2009). Which means that in September 2016 when the school year begins, she will be in Year 3.

Some schools (usually the Catholic ones) take direct applications; but most applications have to go through Herts County Council where you can list 4 choices.

Apply about a month before you arrive in the UK online - once a school is allotted you have to take the place up within 10 days I believe. However, you will have to give the council proof of your arrival in the UK (airline ticket stubs - save those!!!) as well as a signed lease for at least 12 months once you are able to provide this when you get to the UK - or else they cannot process the application.

To check which schools in St Albans have in-year vacancies, please go to:

The council updates this excel list quite often - so check the link from time to time.

gardencrater Sun 22-May-16 21:27:14

St Albans is a lovely place with goods schools. There are few good schools around and a school that is located very close to St Albans high street/busstops/very close to few famous pubs( stone throw away) had some terrible bullying incidents though its a new free school .School is too reluctant to deal with the bullies and they prefer the victims to leave who has already moved on to a different private school. If pupils do not learn at this age, what hope do they have in later life.
Maple School is amazing with good value system, also high standard academics with balanced sport activities,very strong anti-bullying policies. Abbey school is excellent and an outstanding school. St.Peters also academic with strong ethos, but very difficult to get into theseschools as too many in waiting list. So many end up getting into last priority schools.
Harpenden is also a lovely little place to explore :-)

Interesting about the free school - I hadn't heard that and do usually hear about that sort of stuff through Facebook....

If you don't need to live near the station for work, I'd suggest you look to live further afield as the very central schools (the ones mentioned above) are incredibly oversubscribed. Your rental budget would go further the more distant you are from the station too.

Wigeon Mon 23-May-16 19:54:46

All of St Albans is family friendly, there really aren't any bad bad areas. You'll be able to tell which the "nicest" areas are as the rental prices will be highest! The cheaper the area for housing, the less nice, generally!

Most schools are very full, so I'd start by looking at the list of schools with places which votentia helpfully included above, and then look at schools near there. Even if you see there is a place in a particular school now, that place might have gone by the time you arrive. Read up on the rules for school admission on the Hertfordshire Council website. Bear in mind you are unlikely to get a confirmed school place before you have a definite address in St Albans - that probably means a signed rental agreement and deposit paid, although check the Council to see exactly what proof they need. Bear in mind you will probably have to live very close to a school to get s place there - within a few hundred metres.

I'm not sure it would make much difference in terms of securing a school place whether you move in the summer or winter. The main round of school admissions applications for children starting school in sept 2017 is 15 January 2017, so you are applying as "in year" applicants in any case.

If you could say what month your daughters' birthdays are in, we could advise which school year you'll need for the older one, and when the younger one would start Reception (the first year of school, for 4 year olds turning 5 in that school year).

House prices are much much higher the closer you get to St. Albans City rail station (less so the other rail station - called St Albans Abbey station), because the city station goes into London and St A is very very popular with London commuters. Will you or your DH be commuting to London?

St Albans is a lovely town overall though - how did you choose it?

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