Local Talk

Advice on primary schools in Reigate & Redhill pls!

(87 Posts)
Gracelimsh Tue 20-Sep-11 15:09:37

We live in London at the moment but have bought a house in Redhill/Merstham (Watercolour development). We are looking to move only in spring next year due to existing work commitments but are mindful that we have to apply for a place in reception for my son who turns 4 in April by mid January. I have been told by Surrey County Council that we have to be resident at our house in Redhill at the time of application. I wondered if this is correct (I'm seeking written confirmation from Surrey County Council at the moment)? We can prove that we own the house in Redhill.

Also, I wondered if anyone has any views on these schools - Merstham Primary, Furzefield and St Matthews CofE. Merstham has a good Ofsted report but is oversubscribed and I think we may be just outside the nearest school distance as per last year's Published Allocation Numbers. Furzefield and St Matthew's Ofsted ratings are only satisfactory, but the inspections were carried out a while back, so I wondered if anyone has a view on them?

The last thing is, does anyone live in the Watercolour development in Redhill and if so, which school do your kids go to?

Many thanks!

LIZS Tue 20-Sep-11 18:40:32

yes you should be resident and they will check as place allocations can be very contentious in the area. donlt rely onhte Ofsted's alone , you should visit. Furzefield is improving but not sure they have a permanent head. Merstham Primary would be slightly nearer than St Matthews' and easier to get to, though not walking distance. Nutfield C of E Primary might be another option but again oversubscribed. tbh the Watercolour development itself is still pretty much a building site but does now have a gp, Tesco local, vets and chemist.

heather1 Tue 20-Sep-11 18:51:46

Hi, im pretty sure if you are not resident they will allocate you a place when you call the Council to tell them you have arrived in the area. I mean if you miss the deadline for applications. But this place will not always be your closest school. A friend of mine arrived in August and needed a reception place for her child. She lived 20 yards from Wray Common Primary school but was offered a place in the Woodhatch area. Thats a drive from one side of Redhill. through Reigate and then towards Gatwick. To be honest I have not heard great things about St Matthews but it could be hearsay. Could you hang round the school gates and ask a couple of parents? Thats what I did when I was choosing a school for my son. I have a friend who live just next to Watercolour in St Annes. He daughter started off ar Earlswood (reall nice school but parking is a pain) and now goes to Wray Common (this was for reasons to do with sibling entrance rules rather than not liking the school)

Gracelimsh Tue 20-Sep-11 21:25:46

Thanks Lizs and Heather. Does Nutfield CofE come under a different local council as I can't find them on the schools' information sheet for Reigate and Banstead? Another option is to go private to Micklefield or Reigate St. Mary's if chances of getting into Merstham Primary are so slim (only one reception class!). May have to sell a kidney!

LIZS Wed 21-Sep-11 07:45:10

Nutfield may be under Tandridge, as does St Catherines Bletchingley and Godstone Primary, but is actually only a mile or two away from Watercolour with less traffic, so nearer than many other Redhill and Reigate schools

LIZS Wed 21-Sep-11 08:59:44

Do check what the SCC residence criteria are . We applied while living abroad and had a house which was untenanted so were paying CT etc and application was fine but as this was 7+ years ago the system may have changed to needing to have CB registered at that address for example. For private schools there are other options in the Caterham/Oxted direction but you may find you are already too late to guarantee a Reception place for next year if not already registered.

Gracelimsh Wed 21-Sep-11 09:07:08

Thanks Lizs. Think I missed a trick somewhere! Hope we won't end up with no school place!

heather1 Thu 22-Sep-11 18:55:22

Hi, one option might be to apply. See what you get and then you can always put your name down on the waiting list for your favourite school. Good Luck.

SparklePrincess Mon 26-Sep-11 22:20:47

We are in the process of buying a house in Reigate & I was under the impression that we could use the Surrey address for school purposes as long as we had exchanged contracts on the sale. Look up Surrey Admissions, im sure the info is there somewhere. smile

befuzzled Mon 26-Sep-11 22:33:28

I was under th impression that you need to be resident as you have to supply the council tax bill for that financial year when you accept the place, you get told what place has been allocated to you a couple of weeks after the ct nils come out in march/April. You just need to make sure you are registered for ct by the time the places ate allocated and use that address when you apply now.

Furzefield has the worse rep out of the ones you mentioned. Merstham is v popular and v small catchment. You will get your nearest school as indicated on the Surrey geographical info system in all likelihood. Primary school places v v tight in the area.

befuzzled Mon 26-Sep-11 22:34:49

Sorry ab spelling, iPhone.

Gracelimsh Tue 27-Sep-11 20:56:36

Well, I have now heard back from Surrey County Council and the requirement is that you need to be resident at the relevant address as at close of applications, ie 15 Jan 2012. The risk is that the council or school may conduct a spot check and if you are found not to be resident there, the school place may be withdrawn and you may be prosecuted.

Merstham primary is the best but only has 30 reception places for 2012, and unless you live literally yards from the school, it may be difficult to get a place. I have looked at the Ofsted reports for Furzefield and St Matthews and am not convinced about either. Our plan now is to register at Micklefield, which is private, provided they have spaces. Reigate St Mary's has already sent out offer letters, so no spaces at the moment. Yikes!

So, Sparkleprincess, do have a look at the SUrrey County Council website to see what the published admission numbers are for 2012 and what the furthest distance was from that school that qualified for a school place, bearing in mind that that will vary from year to year, depending on the number of applicants.

This whole schools thing is a minefield and a nightmare!!

SparklePrincess Tue 27-Sep-11 21:28:08

I have 2 dilemmas Gracelimsh. Firstly & most importantly I will be attempting to get my year 8 dd into an established year group. As we will be only half a mile away im hoping it doesnt take too long. Secondly, im hoping we can exchange contracts prior to the end of October so can use the Surrey address for my year 6 dd for next September!! The info online is confusing. In one place it says once you have exchanged contracts you can use the address & on another it says you need a council tax bill no, which of course we wouldn't have upon exchange... confused I was really hoping to get my elder dd's name down asap to minimise the amount of time we will have to commute 35 miles to our old area each day, which will mean leaving the house at around 7am in order to arrive on time. The kids will love that! sad

befuzzled Tue 27-Sep-11 23:05:08

Why cant you just use the address now and then supply the ct bill next April when you get the offer of a place? I would be amazed if they do spot checks, they seriously don't give a @&££ until the offers go out and then they just check the box that ct bill received. If by some chance your purchase falls through, you just contact them and say you have moved and don't want a place this year.

SparklePrincess Tue 27-Sep-11 23:41:01

I am hoping that if we submit proof of exchange of contracts then that will be acceptable. It's a highly oversubscribed school so that is why they need proof of address I should imagine.

I am confused that the OP should have an issue tbh. Surely if they own the property they are paying council tax on it & can use the address for schools. Or am I missing something here?

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 07:43:15

Scc require ct bill for all offers as a lot of people were using grandparents addresses etc in the past. I don't get it either. The deadline for next sept is january. Surely you will all have exchanged, completed and moved in by then and will all be on ct etc.

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 07:45:44

Oh yes op not moving in til after the deadline. She will be being charged council tax from the minute they own it tho surely so no issues?

LIZS Wed 28-Sep-11 08:30:57

Secondary entry deadline is end of October, primary changed to January only a couple of years ago. SP don't rely on postcode alone if your chosen school is St B's. Would n't your elder dc get allocated a place locally even if not at the preferred school ?

OP do look further afield than Merstham schools, RSM and M - the latter 2 won't be very easy to get to in rush hour. Think I've seen kids walking towards Watercolour from Redhill in St Joseph's uniform too. St Johns might be worth a look too.

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 08:47:40

also, if going private primary route from Watercolour, there is Oakhyrst Grange and hawthornes which might be easier to get to without having to go into town.

I really dont see the problem with applying though as long as you have a ct bill with your names on it by the deadline for application - in fact, it is only the next one you need for primary, the one that will have just come out by the time they notify of places in april. From my dealings with SCC, I would be tempted to give them as little info as possible and dont give them your address - just establish that if you own a property and are paying CT on it by the deadline for application then that is fine. I don't see how they can prove either way where you are resident - you are perfectly entitled to own or rent 2 properties and split your time between the two. Residency is proved, for them, by the CT bill. And put yourself on the electoral register the minute you complete.

Like LIZS, I have to warn you to be prepared for some nasty surprises and have your backup plans in place - all schools v oversubscribed in the area and many (like us) forced into private as a result.

LIZS Wed 28-Sep-11 09:02:10

I guess the problem with CT bill "evidence" is that, assuming she already owns the house, op could be claiming a discount for non-occupancy, which would in turn flag up that she is not yet resident in the area, akin to renting an address but not living there. OP could you plan to move earlier and commute for work ?

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 09:10:42

true. or just take a hit and pay the full amount from march/april next year, give up the non-occupancy discount - and use that bill. Will still be cheaper than private school fees!

What are the rule for renting? I have always wondered how they can stop people renting a flat near the preferred school for 6m around application time. Again, as far as I can see, as long as you have the current CT bill you would be able to do so. Or sleep there with the kids one night a week?

Gracelimsh Wed 28-Sep-11 14:15:09

Thanks, LIZS for the suggestions. Will have a squizz at the admission criteria for St Joseph's and St Johns.

I've not heard of Oakhyrst Grange before. Will have a look. Where do your kids go to school, Befuzzled, if you don't mind me asking?

Is traffic a nightmare going from Merstham towards Reigate in the mornings? How long does it take?

Yes, I think we will take the hit with the non-occupancy discount and also put our names on the electoral register. Moving in Jan isn't ideal as hubby currently works in Lewisham and will be setting up his own business in Surrey in March, so anytime after March is better. Don't think there is an easy way to get from Redhill to Lewisham.

What docs do I have to submit with my school application? Would it just be a CT bill?

We have already moved some of our stuff to the new house and will probably be spending time there at weekends.

Gracelimsh Wed 28-Sep-11 14:20:41

Just had a look at Oakhyrst Grange, which looks like a good option. Thanks for the tip, Befuzzled!

SparklePrincess Wed 28-Sep-11 16:23:32

I am only interested in Reigate school LIZS. St Bedes is religious & we are not lol. Had enough of all that at primary school. Im sure dd1 will be offered Warwick, but I want her to go to the local school & be able to walk there. Im hoping it wont be too long before she gets a place considering the proximity. I have spoken to someone whose dd went to St B's, didnt get on there & managed to get into Reigate within 2 weeks. This was year 7 too. I suppose its just the luck of the draw... We are aiming to exchange contracts by the end of October so can use that address for dd2 starting year 7 next year too, but the most important one for the moment is getting dd1 in. Until she gets a place I will be forced to commute them both back to where we currently live. Im not having dd1 change schools twice in a short space of time. Im hoping that a proof of exchange of contracts will be acceptable as per a doc on the admissions part of the Surrey site "Surrey’s Scheme for the Coordination of In-Year Admissions to Schools" states

(Admissions during the school year September – July)
1. Applicants should contact their home Local Authority, except:
• House moves – if exchange of contracts or completion of rental agreements has happened then the applicant contacts their new Local Authority (ie where they are moving to).

This implies to me that a proof of exchange of contracts is acceptable... or am I reading it wrong?

Gracelimsh Wed 28-Sep-11 16:37:48

That's how I would read it too - as long as you have exchanged, that's fine. Good luck!

SparklePrincess Wed 28-Sep-11 16:58:40

Thanks Gracelimsh. smile Fingers crossed all goes to plan.

befuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 17:52:31

Hi there we live central Reigate and mine go to the one I mentioned which is v good I have to say, even as someone that is a but sceptical about private schools. We are planning to move to caterham in the new year. Th traffic my way, Reigate to caterham is fine really, takes about 20 mins. Watercolour to Reigate would be ok too, maybe a bit longer, traffic is not really that bad, compared to London. Does sometimes snarl up if there is a problem on the m25.

Bizarrely, I work in Lewisham and actually it is quite easy to get to from redhill, that is what i do! 25 mins train from redhill ( or merstham might be nearer ) then quick change at london bridge over the top o the platforms and 10 mins to Lewisham. I sometimes drive too if dropping the kids off, J 6 m25 round to J 3, takes just over an hour in the mornings, 50 mins back if I leave at 5.

Gracelimsh Wed 28-Sep-11 20:33:13

So yours go to Oakhyrst? Will give them a call tomorrow to see if they still have spaces for reception next year.

How bizarre that you work in Lewisham too! How long does it take you door to door if you take the train? Also, do you park at the station? Maybe moving earlier is possible then. We always thought that the commute to Lewisham would be a nightmare.

Thanks for the useful information!

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 09:17:18

Oakhyrst is full for reception 2012!

SparklePrincess Thu 29-Sep-11 12:14:48

I don't understand how they can be full for a Sept 12 intake when primary admissions haven't even taken place yet? Or is this a private school?

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 14:24:02

Yeah, it's a private school. I'm not optimistic about getting into Merstham primary and the next two nearest schools aren't great, so I'm trying to line up some private options, but it looks like my choices are very limited!!

befuzzled Thu 29-Sep-11 15:21:19

Hi There. I think every year group is full now sad - all the private schools round here fill up really quickly in the early years because state primaries are so massively oversubscribed. I have just registered my 9m old for the Nursery class! there is a waiting list and you get movement sometimes in Y1/2 and 3. One child left my eldests class after reception as moved away. Have you tried Hawthornes? I think RSm and Micklefield are doable distance wise but you may find they are also full for reception as fall out from this round of admissions (i know 3/4 famillies in my other dc preschool class who went this route as didnt get the schools they wanted). where is your nearest school straight line distance? you will get this ime. Hope it works out! and you will enjoy living in the area once you get the schools sorted out.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-11 15:49:05

Hawthorns likely to be full too (they have is a nursery which feeds vast majority of Reception places) but you never know. There is an open day there next week so definitely enquire before then !

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:06:22

Befuzzled, no, I haven't tried Hawthornes as the fees are quite a fair bit more than the other private schools. I guess we will see Micklefield on Monday - they seemed to indicate that there are spaces but wouldn't commit - maybe they want to see if we are the sort of people they want to have in their school!

The nearest school to us in a straight line is Merstham Primary, which is just over 0.9km. Next nearest is Furzefield (yikes), which we will definitely get into easily but I'm not happy with. And then nearest after that is St. Matthew's. We wouldn't qualify for St. Joseph's as the child needs to be baptised, etc, etc and we aren't Roman Catholic.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-11 16:14:07

Have you visited Furzefield ? You may be surprised. Certainly don't rely on Ofsted reports alone. Surely Hawthorns is a similar cost to RSM ?

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:31:42

Lizs, you are right! RSM's fees are the same as Hawthorn's! Not sure why I thought they were cheaper! No, we haven't visited any of the state schools yet.

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:41:10

Hawthorn's is full too!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 16:50:41

Hiya Gracelimsh... I live in Redhill, we've just done our application for ds. I live 900m from St Johns and last year the furthest applicant lived 800m away and there were 17 siblings (they only have an intake of 30) shock I've applied anyway because ds goes to pre school there. I have also heard bad things about St Matthews. One of the mum's at ds's pre school is actively trying to move away from it because it has a reputation for bullying.

Sorry I can't help about applying before you've taken up residency in your new house. It's all been a bit of a blur for me too. I just to say hello to another Redhill mum who's looking for a reception place next year too! smile

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:59:16

Hi there, Headfairy! Good to hear from another mum looking for a reception place! What were your other two choices, if you don't mind me asking? I think there is definitely no harm applying as the furthest distances vary from year to year, depending on how many children there are entering reception that year.

Thanks for the information on St. Matthew's. I did read a section in the Ofsted report about bullying and thought that that did not sound good!

Good luck and I hope you get the school of your choice!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 17:06:53

I put down Earlswood and Wray Common as my third choice. I'll probably end up at Wray Common. It's not terrible. Our builders children go there, and he said it's fine, they do lots of extra activities and involve the parents a lot. He did say it was a bit chavvy (his word, not mine grin) but so long as I stick to a rigorous routine of elocution and polo matches at the weekend we should be able to avoid the worst influences wink grin

Our nearest school is St Josephs' but we dont' meet the criteria, although ds is baptised (dying wish of great granny) we don't go to church much beyond Easter and Christmas so we wouldn't get the referral from the priest.

As for St Matthews... bullying in primary school is scary. Puts me waaaay off. I rang the Surrey Admissions people and they said if I didn't put it down on my application then we probably won't be offered a place there (phew!)

I'm dreading doing this all again for secondary schools.. it's even tougher! <starts saving hard for RAAS> grin

Gracelimsh Thu 29-Sep-11 21:02:30

Earlswood and Wray Common are both good choices. They would be my second and third choices, but I know that we won't get in by a long way. Did you apply online? What docs did you have to submit?

Can't believe what a minefiled this whole school application thing is! Ironically, we wanted to move out of London so that we could have a better choice of state schools, but at this rate, it looks like we will end up going private and having to pay an arm and a leg for school fees!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 23:01:02

I did apply online, purely to allow me to change my mind if open days change my views on a school. I wasn't asked to provide any documents, though I was asked my council tax number. As I was doing the application at work I didn't have it with me, but the application went through any way... I must remember to add it in later before it's too late!!!

headfairy Thu 29-Sep-11 23:06:44

Could you apply as soon as you complete your move and get on the waiting list even if your dc does one year or term at a private school - I know one friend who's son is on the waiting list for St johns even though he's at earlswood... She said she'll decide if and when a place comes up whether to move him or not. She's right next door to St johns so it would be more convenient for her, but they like earlswood too.

That's one of the reasons I put St johns down first... If we end up at wray common I will go on the waiting list for a place St St johns as it was my first choice and then if a place comes up we can decide whether to move ds over...

befuzzled Thu 29-Sep-11 23:49:05

If merstham is your nearest you may get it you know. You generally get your nearest school in surrey due to the priority system if your child is not a sibling or doesn't have special or social needs.

LIZS Fri 30-Sep-11 08:38:58

I think you really need to visit these schools, meet staff, get a sense of how they are run and the areas from which the kids come. Also broaden your search to the local village schools as I mentioned before. They are as easy to drive form where you will live to as any school in Reigate or St Johns.

LIZS Sat 15-Oct-11 07:21:59

How did you get on ? Drove through Watercolour last week and spotted 3 in Nutfield uniform and one in Furzefield (Red Oaks nursery bookbag!).

dawnpreview Sat 03-Dec-11 13:50:00

Hi

I have put down Wray Common as first choice for my twins for next Sept. My closest school is St Johns, but I just didn't get as nice a 'feel' for it as I did for Wray Common. It is so important to go and see the schools, as until I looked round I would have automatically put St Johns as it is nearest.

Gracelimsh Thu 08-Mar-12 13:08:17

Hi Lizs, sorry for the long silence! We put in our application for state schools and are awaiting the outcome - we have put down Merstham Primary as a first choice, Wray Common as second and Earlswood as third. Very unlikely to get into any of them, especially Merstham Primary as the head there said that NONE of the kids at the school live at the Watercolour development!! Anyway, we have secured a place at Micklefield, so will probably go private and work until I'm 80!

headfairy Thu 08-Mar-12 13:19:45

Good luck Grace... St John's announced on Monday they're taking a bulge class this year. Many of the parents of children already there are not happy as they feel the school hasn't got the space and can't cope with a two form entry so everyone will suffer. I don't know if this is true, it might make the difference for me to get ds in though. I do hope he gets his place, if for no other reason than dd will be going to the nursery there from Sept too!

I'm surprised you got that dawnpreview. I liked Wray common and it's on my list, but I felt St John's, being smaller, felt more friendly. Mind you, everyone gets a different vibe don't they? I might be regretting our choice when I see Wray Common's amazing new pool! grin

Gracelimsh Thu 08-Mar-12 13:48:56

Good luck, headfairy. If St John's is taking a bulge class, that will improve your chances of getting ds in! I haven't even gone to see Wray Common although I've put it down as second choice!

headfairy Thu 08-Mar-12 15:56:47

Thanks Grace. My impressions of Wray Common were good. The pool will be fab when it's finished. Not long now, I think they said it would be done by Easter. And I think the on site catering is meant to be brilliant. It's a shame the tour was conducted by a couple of year 6 boys, they were really lovely, but much more interested in showing me projects they were doing, and telling me about the toys they really liked in reception.

Talking of which, the reception area is fab, lots of nice space to run around in, a good outdoor classroom, really good excellent facilties. I did get a bit lost because it's one of those schools that has had bits added here and there so it's all corridors and twisty paths to different classrooms, but I'm sure the kids would know them off by heart in no time. The two boys showing me around knew the place like the back of their hand!

I wish i could tell you more, I'm terrible at working out if a school is good or not just by looking at it!

We'll all have to reconvene on 18th April to see if everyone got the place they're hoping for. I just don't want to have to do the school run to two different sites grin

Pinklady14 Sat 10-Mar-12 20:42:16

Hi
I live on the watercolour and I am having the same concerns. My daughter is just 2 but I am starting to get knowledge on the local schools so that when it comes to the time I am prepared.

It's so nerve wracking, as you want the best for your children. I can't afford to go private. I have my heart set on Merstham primary but I just know we won't get in. I think wrap common is the only decen one in the catchment area for us, there is NO WAY my daughter is going to fury field, I've heard it's the only school that accepts gypsy children.. Not sure how true that is?

What would happen if the choices are all out of the catchment area that we put down ?!???

LIZS Mon 12-Mar-12 16:51:00

There are apparently plans to build a new school close to Watercolour, along Battlebridge Lane, to open around 2014. Furzefield is definitely not the only local school taking the children of travellers (assuming that is what you mean by "gypsy" hmm). There is no such thing as a catchment around there, distance is just one of the admissions criteria and what is accepted one year may not be another.

LIZS Mon 12-Mar-12 17:13:46
headfairy Mon 12-Mar-12 18:02:10

oh that's good, lets hope it goes ahead. I'm assuming it'll take the pressure off all the other schools in the area... Apparently St John's isn't the only one taking a bulge class this year, Wray Common is too!

kipperandtiger Tue 13-Mar-12 17:26:34

Hello everyone, I know the area well, and Watercolour is indeed in one of those areas that isn't right next to any particular school. Merstham Primary is good but has been oversubscribed of late - Watercolour is too far; their last admission was about somewhere halfway up Nutfield Road, near Bourne and Deans Road (or in the opposite direction, but just giving you some idea of the distance).

Furzefield is not "undesirable" whether in terms of teaching or intake (to put it nicely!) - it has a lot of local children in the same area that you are living in, eg all the way down Nutfield Road and Watercolour, so they do mix with a lovely bunch of kids and families. LIZS is right- children from traveller families are admitted to a lot of the schools and not just Furzefield. The only drawback to Furzefield I would say is that it is a very large intake school and the school is run as a large, tight ship - everyone has to follow the same programme and rules, no exceptions or leeway. You could put down schools in Tandridge eg Nutfield (that is C of E, just check the entry criteria), Godstone Village, St Catherine's, but you could well find that Watercolour is still too far away and end up on a waiting list. Wray Common and St Matthews have both been very oversubscribed last year - a large part of Reigate will be closer than Watercolour to Wray Common such that even families off Gatton Park Road didn't get in- this was even after they had a bulge class. The only other option is to see if you might eligible for Catholic or C of E schools, which though good, I wouldn't say (IMHO) are tons and tons better than any of the state schools mentioned here, might be another choice that you are likely to get into. (St Josephs emphasises regular church attendance and early completion of the paperwork for the priest, so don't leave it till April if that is a possibility you are considering).

You can check the catchments on Surrey council's school admission website which calculates the distance - the general word from the headteachers is that any address more than a mile from the school would have only a very slim chance. You can also get a rough idea of the chances by looking at the furthest distance that they admitted a pupil from, which is on the chart too. (you'll be under Reigate and Banstead council).

kipperandtiger Tue 13-Mar-12 17:36:40

Just managed to read some more of the thread, sorry to do it backwards! Befuzzled, I'm afraid Surrey council definitely operate a case of "allocate the school their nearest families", and not "allocate the family their nearest school". So if you live somewhere like Radstock Way or Worsted Green you can pick or choose whether you want Merstham Primary or Furzefield, and you'll get it pretty much for certain. And a lot of places get filled by sibilngs - they do operate the criteria of existing siblings get in, even if the family have moved further away since (some state schools are now giving priority to siblings only if they still live in the area - although I'm not sure how far "in the area" applies to!).

Gracelimsh - Micklefield is v good. You also have the option of moving back into the state system later at any stage (eg Year 3), quite a few families do that and there is no class size limit when they are older, so there's a good chance then. Also there will be some junior schools whose intake start at Year 3 for you to choose from too.

kipperandtiger Tue 13-Mar-12 21:27:57

NB Traffic going from Merstham to Reigate is indeed a nightmare in the mornings but if you go before 8.00am you will be fine. MIcklefield says it is ok for parents to drop off earlier than start times as they already have children in taking music lessons at eight so they will have staff on hand, as there is a lot of traffic on the road in front around 8.30 anyway.

Another point for parents who commute dropping off at state primaries - many state schools will absolutely NOT allow you to drop off your kids early; most have only a short window ,eg 8.45 is ok, 8.40 is not. (No staff on duty to look after the children). Anytime after 8.55am you will be marked late. (The times vary between each school, but the window is always about 10 minutes, definitely no more than 15 minutes.) Cue a lot of traffic pile ups as parents sit in the car with DCs till the dropping off time is reached and they can get out of the car. And if the start time is 8.45am, that means the school run will be impossible for a commuting parent, unless they can start work late every day. Or they will have to get a childminder or someone else to do the school run. Independent schools usually have a longer window period of about 30 minutes or more.

Gracelimsh Wed 14-Mar-12 16:22:05

Hi kipperandtiger, thanks for the information! We were at Micklefield's open day on Sat and we were really impressed with all it has to offer, so I think we will go with Micklefield even if we do get a place in one of the other state schools that we put down on our list and we will just have to work until we are 80!

How long do you think it will take to get from Redhill to Reigate in the morning? We need to get to school by 8.45am, but I know that we can arrive a bit earlier. Just need to work out what time we need to leave the house!

Pinklady14, hopefully the new school will open by the time you need to apply for schools for your daughter! I will let you know what school we get allocated. I'm afraid you are right re Merstham Primary - when we went to visit, the headmistress said that none of the kids there live at Watercolour! But maybe you may get lucky and they may take a bulge year when your daughter goes to reception!

Gracelimsh Wed 14-Mar-12 16:22:26

Btw, does anyone have a good, reliable and trustworthy cleaner they can recommend??

kipperandtiger Wed 14-Mar-12 16:42:18

Leaving by 8am will guarantee you no traffic hassles. You could probably manage it from Watercolour to the school by 8.15am, but no guarantees. The crowded bit is around Reigate station or Reigate Hill, depending on which route you take (both are busy) - as all the cars have to wait for the railway crossing to give a clear signal. But try various routes (there are about 3) as there may be some things - like parked cars or small lanes - you find easier than others. Again, if the person dropping off has to do the commute into south London, just bear in mind that state school schedules in Merstham/Redhill/Reigate won't allow an early drop off.

headfairy Wed 14-Mar-12 21:41:59

Oooooh grace, I'm interested in finding a decent cleaner too.... Our current one is shocking.

Gracelimsh Wed 18-Apr-12 21:12:26

Ladies, we got into Furzefield, as expected, so will decline the place and go private. What about everyone else?

kipperandtiger Thu 19-Apr-12 00:43:40

Sorry, don't know any good cleaners - one or two companies do it as a team, may be worth trying that. So that you always get someone even if one person is off sick. Forgot the name, but they should be online.

Gracelimsh - not surprised, to be honest, but I guess you are happy with your choice of private? PS make sure you have your radio turned on to BBC Surrey for the traffic news - sometimes the stretch between Wray Common and Reigate Hill gets jammed as a result of some accident on the M25 coming in that direction.....so you'll need to know some alternative routes. (If you are near enough you could actually park somewhere and walk though. Print out a big copy of the street map or google maps for the car...)

Gracelimsh Thu 19-Apr-12 08:46:35

Yes, we are happy with Micklefield and will just have to work harder to pay the fees. Thanks for the tip re BBC Surrey. Do you think it's easier to park on the Wray Common side and cross the road to Micklefield or to park on the Micklefield side?

Also, do you know of any good toddler groups in the area? We have discovered Heaven in Nutfield, thanks to another Mumsnetter and attended the rhyme time at Reigate library on Tues, but would like to find some other groups to go to. Our nanny will take my 2 year old since I work full time. We don't know any other families in the area, so still trying to find out feet! We only moved in on Sat!

kipperandtiger Thu 19-Apr-12 21:30:01

Happy Housewarming then! Hope you are enjoying the area. Toddler groups - St Josephs (the Catholic church on Ladbroke Road, Redhill) has one most Monday mornings according to school term times which is the cheapest I know £1 (could have gone up but shouldn't be much) which also gets the parent a cup of tea/coffee. You don't have to be attending the church to go. Lots of toys laid out - boisterous but interesting. Volunteer mums who do the nursery rhymes very sweet and enthusiastic. Only problem is that to get info - like they might not open one week if someone is away or something - you either have to attend every single week and get someone's phone number (someone in charge) as it's not published online or in the church office.

There are toddler groups run by Micklefield on Tue, Wed, Thur (you can get the info online and ring the school office to check on cancellations) afternoons which are £2. Hawthorns School has theirs Mon and Thur afternoon and is either £2.50 or £3 (can't remember). The school ones have a bit more laid on - eg painting, sometimes playdough or a sand tray or water tray (M always lays out their water tray), maybe a craft with glitter or something. M doesn't do nursery rhymes, but Hawthorns do at the end, but M will have some activity on so it can last the whole session - 90 minutes if I remember rightly, for both. Prices might have changed this year, just ring their school offices. I suppose if she brings her to either school Mon to Thur, that gives her something to do every day apart from Fri (Redhill library used to have rhyme time on Fri morning, not sure if that is still on). Merstham library also has a rhyme time like Redhill (just check online or visit the library to ask). - I think Redhill might have two a week. If you ring the library, they tend to divert you to a central helpline who do not actually know. I think those are the best for her age. There's a story time at Reigate's Priory Park (in the cafe) - I forget which day - I've never been but someone else did and said it was not bad.

For the school run, you should really park along Somers Road and walk down; Wray Common can get v jammed and busy, so it isn't really safe (it's also quite far for a child to walk if it rains!). I was just suggesting that if there was a jam maybe stopping at one of the side roads like Raglan Road might be ok, before you reach the part where Reigate Hill joins the suburban traffic. But on a normal day, you should be able to stop on/near Somers Road. For the actual parking/drop off you might be best to ask the school or other parents, as some schools have rules about this.

dawnpreview Fri 20-Apr-12 11:49:15

We got Earlswood school, my 2nd choice.

Gracelimsh Fri 20-Apr-12 15:36:42

Thanks, Kipper and Tiger! All very useful information!

Glad you got your second choice, Dawnpreview!

headfairy Fri 20-Apr-12 15:43:59

Hello all, we got St John's, our first choice, so I'm very happy. I took a real risk in putting it down as last year we wouldn't have got in, but they announced the bulge class officially about four weeks ago and that is what swung it for us.

Gracelimsh Fri 20-Apr-12 15:46:05

Really pleased for you, Headfairy! Hope it goes well!

headfairy Fri 20-Apr-12 15:54:37

Thank you, you too. I'm afraid I can't better Kipper's knowledge of toddler groups. My nanny takes my dd to one in Redhill Baptist church every monday morning and to the playgroup session (one hour only) at St John's nursery every Friday. I tend to not go to playgroups myself because I organise other stuff for us to do on my days off. But I do know there are loads around... Can't help you with school run either as at that time of day I'm on the other side of Redhill common grin

dawnpreview Fri 20-Apr-12 22:32:14

There is a lovely toddler group at Reigate park church on a Thursday morning, starts at 9.30.

kipperandtiger Fri 20-Apr-12 22:52:09

I don't know any other church toddler groups as haven't been and don't know anyone who goes to them. There should be quite a lot of good ones about. The free publication "Grapevine" (and there are a few others that are similar) give listings alongside local ads and stuff. The local libraries should have plenty of copies. (thanks for the compliment though, headfairy smile)

Gracelimsh Sat 21-Apr-12 22:13:09

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions, ladies. Will definitely get our nanny to check them out.

Headfairy, if it's not too bizarre a request, would your nanny mind meeting up with ours as our nanny doesn't know anyone here and is used to meeting up with other nannies and mums when we were in London. The poor girl is looking for her own flat and in the meantime is living with us during the week! I think she is going a bit stir crazy with no adult conversations during the day!

headfairy Sun 22-Apr-12 21:45:23

Hi Gracelimsh... I'll certainly ask her. She's Polish but her English is excellent. She doesn't drive at the moment so she's limited a bit in where he can get to.

Apart from your ds, how old is/are your other dc/s? I've got a two year old dd, and our nanny also has a 2 year old dd she brings to work with her. They could always meet at one of the play groups our nanny goes to with the girls while ds is at nursery. She usually goes to one on Monday mornings (not sure where that one is, I'll double check with her) and one on Friday mornings 9-10 at St Johns Primary school. She only works Monday, Thursday and Fridays for us.

Let me know what you think and I'll mention it to her.

Gracelimsh Mon 23-Apr-12 14:15:01

Hi Headfairy, many thanks for your kind offer. My other ds is 2. If your nanny wouldn't mind, I know our nanny, Camelia (who's Romanian) would love to meet some other nannies in the area. Thanks again!

Gracelimsh Mon 23-Apr-12 14:16:11

P.S. Headfairy, one of my neighbours has recommended her cleaner. She will be cleaning for me on Fri, so I will let you know if she's any good!

windowcleaner1 Thu 03-May-12 12:06:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

windowcleaner1 Tue 08-May-12 21:20:43

dentist in high street Godstone is great, i pay 47 pounds for every visit and the girls there are fab plus its got the cleanest windows in town.

MandaMilner Tue 19-Jun-12 16:02:40

hello. Don't know if you're still looking but I have a brill cleaner who I can recommend, she lives near watercolour too. Trust her with the house, children etc. Also looked at Micklefield this morning and think we're going there, st Matthews is our local and heard horror stories about it! Even in the national press.

Gracelimsh Thu 21-Jun-12 15:27:17

Hi MandaMilner, thanks, but I've found a brilliant cleaner. Micklefield is great, my ds settled very quickly and is happy there. Have you got a place yet?

Whistleforit Mon 26-Aug-13 20:37:36

Hello - this thread is so brilliant, am keen for the latest. Also thinking about move from London to Reigate/Redhill. Having read it - assuming nothing could be worse that flippin Tower Hamlets - am now terrified about schools as DD1 (almost 4) starts in London in two weeks so would have to join an established class. Dd2 is 18 months and third due Jan 2014. Any update on advice on where to look first? Really keen not to go private with three of the buggers to pay for.

Gracelimsh Tue 01-Oct-13 14:16:54

Hi Whistleforit, not sure if you have moved yet, but in case you haven't, here's an update on the schools front, from my perspective! After living here for 1.5 years, I think that probably the best local school is Holmesdale Infant School in Reigate. But you do have to live near the school and Reigate is expensive! I think you could possibly get into Wray Common Primary School, which I gather is good too, and I think you could get in if you live in the right part of Redhill (less expensive than Reigate). It all boils down (mainly) to scrutinising the school admission stats for the previous year (available on the Surrey county council website) to see how many reception places there are and what the furthest distance was from school that got a place. Of course it is trickier if you need an "in year" place and not a reception place as that will depend on whether there are any movements in the relevant year group. There is also a new school, which has only opened this year, called Lime Tree school, which was set up mainly to cater for children living on the Watercolour estate and surrounding area. They are an academy and are currently being run from a school in Reigate, with plans to move to Merstham once the school has been built there. Hope this helps!

P.S. We moved from Tower Hamlets as well!

Hi Gracelimsh, thanks for updating this thread - we're contemplating a move to Earlswood so this has been really helpful. I don't know the area at all - are there any details you could give on Redhill and what it's like? We're looking at Earlswood infants initially. Thanks!

browndog Tue 08-Oct-13 17:10:53

Hi WorrisomeHeart. My twins are at Earlswood infants, and they are very happy there. I think it is a lovely school, and everyone is very friendly and approachable.

Thanks browndog, that's really helpful. Did you use a nursery in the area? Also, are you living near the school, i.e. is it your nearest and were you worried about not getting in because of distance?

ParsleyLion1 Mon 21-Oct-13 08:24:16

Hi, my 21month daughter goes to Royal Earlswood nursery, she is very happy there.

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