If anyone is moving to Tunbridge Wells….

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Mama1922 1 month ago.

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  • #2472

    AHW
    Member

    and wants to know about primary schools (and to a certain extent – secondary), please let me know. I am involved in a bid for a Free School here (thewellsfreeschool.co.uk) and so have a fair amount of data/information about catchments, intakes etc.

    #3483

    jenwa
    Member

    hi i’m considering moving to TW and would love some advice on catchment areas etc. i have a daughter who will be starting school 2014. As far as i can tell all the schools (other than sherwood) you need to live next door to get in and even that might not guarantee it as siblings take priority. where is the free school going to be?

    #3484

    AHW
    Member

    Hi there,

    Great choice – we moved here coming up to 5 years ago and love it!

    Have you got a particular area of TW in mind yet? Do you know whether you want a church school (most of them are) or are you aiming at Bishops Down or Claremont, neither of which have an affiliation with any religion. The location of the FS isn’t yet settled but is most likely to be on the old Kent and Sussex Hospital site on Mt Ephraim – planning is in for approval (as part of the Berkeley Homes development) but not yet granted, and if it is given consent, we will in any case, be in temporary accommodation until 2015 or even 2016.
    Siblings do take priority which for some schools makes catchments difficult (Claremont for instance) but as several of the schools are going to be three form entry soon, there is less worry about sibs.

    If you can let me know more about where you think you would be looking I can help. St James’ has a list of roads on their website which are in catchment – the only school which does operate a catchment area.

    #3487

    jenwa
    Member

    Hi thanks so much for your quick reply!
    Ideally we would prefer a non-church school, but realise that limits our options in TW.
    To be honest we don’t know the different areas very well. We fell in love with the village area around the park up behind the hight st (is it grove hill?) but that is a bit pricier and Claremont sounds impossible to get into! On their website it says they are going back to 2 form entry which presumably will mean only siblings get in for a couple of years at least! Or are they changing that again? (hope so!)
    St Johns has so many nice houses that we are due a visit back down that way to investigate that area further. But i understand their catchment area is shrinking all the time too.
    My husband will have to commute to London every day, and i will 2-3 times a week, so we don’t want to be too far from the station either… a long list of wants i know!

    #3500

    AHW
    Member

    Hi again,
    It sort of depends to a certain extent on your budget and wants. Obviously the area around Claremont is sought after because it’s close to the station, is known as the ‘Village’ because it’s very like a little London – most people there are London expats/commuters and it’s got the feel of Wimbledon Village or Richmond for example. If you want a non church school then you are better off looking at Bishops Down because Claremont is reverting to two form entry and they have already told parents from the ‘bulge’ year of 3 form entry that siblings are very unlikely to get in – so the whole intake is likely to be sibs, not ‘new’ children. Bishops Down is also very sought after – it does rather depend on your budget really – large family homes with a ‘guaranteed’ place would be starting from around £700k.
    St John’s is another 3 form entry school, and catchments have been shrinking – we are 0.33 miles away and were on a ‘banker’ of a road when we moved here – now we aren’t in catchment, so a lot of people do rent as close to the school as possible before moving further afield (but within the 2 miles!) for sibling entry. The schools you probably don’t want to aim at are St Matthew’s, St Mark’s, Sherwood.

    Southborough is another area that is underrated, and particularly for commuters – friends of mine live there and scoot to Tonbridge station – there are more/faster trains, and it’s cheaper than the heinous cost of TW or High Brooms. But, you are then a bit cut off from TW itself and you do have to drive in to town – not something you want to do that often, given the heinous traffic problems in TW. If you’d rather take this off a ‘public’ forum, please feel free to email me – annhw@hotmail.com or I’m happy to chat on the phone if you want more specific advice on roads.

    #3610

    jenwa
    Member

    Hi again!
    So it looks like St Johns and St James are the areas to aim for, although St Johns seems to have more larger houses around. But not all super close to the school! Do they measure the distance based on travelling by road, or how the crow flies?
    For example roads like Upper Grosvenor, the High Brooms end – would that be too far?
    Presumably the catchment for the Free School will also be pretty small if it only has an intake of 25? Any advice on a good area for there? I had a look at the website and it sounds great!
    Also you mentioned people scooting to Tonbridge for the better transport – what is your opinion on Tonbridge itself as a place to live?
    Thanks again for your advice!

    #3612

    AHW
    Member

    Hi again,

    Distance is measured as the crow flies – St John’s distances are measured from the loo block which is at the rear of the school – so people tend to rent on roads like St David’s Way, All Saints Rise, Silverdale Road etc and then move. Upper Grosvenor Road (the end towards High Brooms Station) should get you in, but being on the Sherwood side of High Brooms Road is probably too far.

    The Free School catchment will we think, ultimately end up being rather small, but the houses on the development won’t be being built for a bit, so if you have a 2013 or 2014 entry, you should be ok from roads like Stephens Road and Queen’s Road, which are also really lovely. We obviously have no idea how many people are going to apply for our first year – we’re hoping to fill Reception obviously, but until we open applications (v shortly) we won’t know what the catchment looks like.

    I honestly can’t comment on Tonbridge – people in TW tend to be a bit sniffy about it, but there are some fantastic primary schools (Woodlands and St Margarets are two I think), and there are more grammar schools than here, particularly for girls – but I have no idea what it’s like to live there. The shopping isn’t as good as TW – but the cost of the commute is obviously much lower. Perhaps there is a contact for Tonbridge on here – not sure!

    I hope that helps – happy to help further if you want specific help on particular roads.

    #5833

    Caroline
    Member

    Hi, We are thinking of buying a house In TW. We have 3 children. One is about to start in Year 3 and one in Year 1. We have seen a house we like near Sandown Park (TN2). Would you know which schools (church if possible) the children might get a place in? What’s the catchment criteria for St James’s for example?
    Many thanks

    #5834

    AHW
    Member

    Hi
    Am on hols for 2 weeks so on phone – will be brief! Think you will get Temple Grove Academy or Pembury – Sandown Park AFAIK out of catchment for anything and a bit if a school black hole. If you go to the St James’ website it lists the roads in catchment, obviously in year admissions are different as each school operates their own waiting lists now, so best bet may be to phone and see what their waiting lists are like.
    Am back in a couple of weeks so can help more then!

    #5904

    ALH
    Member

    Hi.

    We are currently living in Singapore but want to buy house in Tunbridge Wells to let until we return. It would need to be on the catchment for TWIGGS but I love the idea of the Free School as the ethos appeals. We are looking at a property on Claremont road and wondered if that would be guaranteed for either school catchment but we are open to all areas within catchment. It is hard to know where would be guaranteed as advice is often conflicting.
    Any advice would be gratefully received.

    Many thanks

    #5906

    AHW
    Member

    Hi there,

    TWGGS is obviously dependent not only on catchment but passing the 11+! However, that little (!) task aside, you would currently have to be within 1.4ish miles of the school to get a place, assuming the child has passed the exam.

    The Free School catchment is much smaller – not that we have a defined catchment, but distance is one of the factors after siblings, looked after children etc, as Kent do. As the houses get built on the new development by the school, the distance to the school will shrink and we think will probably end up being closer to the average in TW – which is around 0.3 of a mile……if you bought a house on the new Royal Wells Park development, you would be in catchment for both!

    Be very wary of estate agents telling you that you are ‘in catchment’. There is no such thing, and close to very oversubscribed schools, where for example the ‘bulge’ classes are no longer being taken (Claremont being an example) there will be an issue with any non-siblings getting in. Best thing is to check with KCC as to where the last admitted child came from in the previous year and see whether your potential purchase is within that circle….

    #6671

    Mariette
    Member

    Hi – I know this is a bit of an old post, but we’re starting to look at moving out to TW too, having not had much luck finding anywhere in the Guildford area we like/can afford! I’ve seen a house in Southborough, Reynolds Lane, which we like, but wondering what thoughts are on that part of town? Is it a bit cut off? I think we’d be in catchment for St Johns but not Southborough primary schools. We’d like to get our two daughters into TWGGS o(or another grammar) if poss – but would it be wise to stretch our budget to send them to a private primary to increase chances of passing 11+, or does it not really make any difference?
    Thanks for your time!

    #6674

    AHW
    Member

    Hi Mariette,

    I think I know what house you are looking at on Reynolds Lane, and with that sort of budget I think you’d do better to look elsewhere – it’s a bit cut off there and I’m afraid isn’t in catchment for St John’s (which is now down to somewhere around 0.3 mile), but may be for Southborough because they are now three form entry. If you have that sort of budget, then you’d do better to look at the newly refurbed house on London Road which would get you into Southborough and at a push Bidborough (I know children v near that house who are at BS). Or, one of the houses on the new Royal Wells Park development, which will be in catchment for the Free School and is much more in the thick of things with the station/library/shops/TW Common etc on your doorstep.

    Obviously a private primary will help because of the teacher/child ratios, but I know people who have sent children to private primary, only to have them fail the 11+ so it’s not a guarantee, they have to be bright too! The record into the grammars from the state schools is good here – but there is a lot of tutoring, and at the superselectives there are more privately educated pupils. I don’t know how old your children are, but if you are looking at the more popular private primaries like Rose Hill, you would need to have had their names down for a while to guarantee entry in the next year or so as they are always full. TWGGS also have a distance criteria so you would need to be within about 1.2 miles of the school to guarantee a place if they pass….

    Another area to look at would be St James’ – the school is excellent and something like this would be in catchment for the school and is in easy reach of the town etc.
    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-41260810.html

    Hope that helps a bit – do have a look at the attached link – on P49 it tells you the distance of the last admitted child to the primary school – Claremont for example was 0.19mile last year!
    https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/education-and-learning/school-education/applying-for-school/Primary%20School%20Admissions%202014%20Sevenoaks%20and%20Tunbridge%20Wells.pdf

    Shout if I can help further – best move we made (SW London to Epsom then to here!).

    Ann

    #6693

    Mariette
    Member

    Thanks Ann, that’s very helpful…although we are hoping to live somewhere semi-rural, so the Berkeley houses are a bit to ‘towny’! It’s going to be a tough balance of open space and access to schools and station for commute…I suppose there will be some compromises on the way! The free school looks great by the way! Our kids are only 4 & 6 so we have time before needing to commit to secondary schools, and we’ve just missed the deadline for reception in sept, so not sure what’s going to happen!. We’re going to have a look around next weekend to get a bit of a feel for the different areas, will have a look at a few houses. If I have further questions after that I’ll post them!
    M

    #6694

    AHW
    Member

    Ah, the holy grail! I think that it will be hard to tick all of those boxes and stay within shooting distance of TWGGS, which is your only grammar choice for girls in TW. I have no idea what your budget will stretch to, but this house is in one of the most sought after parks in TW, looks out over farmland, but is within striking distance of the station. It’s been on for a while so may be a deal to be done….it will be hard to find a good state primary school with spaces on your doorstep though – most go private from here.
    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-39330415.html

    If you want to talk on the phone or email off forum, am happy to help further.

    Ann

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