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We live in Farnham. I grew up in the town and moved back here from London 4 years ago. We love the town, have made some great friends as well as seeing more of old friends. My husband commutes daily and I do once a week and the journey into Waterloo is pretty good plus you can get to M3/A3/M25 very quickly. Schools are good but if you are thinking of state schools then depending on the age of your child you need to be careful at the moment as the most popular school South Farnham has just last week released plans for a new admissions procedure for 2014 entry which is quite radically different to the previous years. The school is split on two sites and from 2014 it will depend on how close you live to either site not just the infant site. No one knows how close as yet and indeed the plan is still at consultation stage. There is a lot of uncertainly especially as the plan also involves removing one of the current infant feeder schools into the South Farnham Junior section at age 7. We have friends who have given up trying to guess where to live to get a place at South Farnham and moved to Bentley, Rowledge, Frensham or Crondall to access very good primary schools there. If you go to church there are some very good CofE schools as well which widens your options. House prices peak around the station which is also close to the South Farnham junior site and in the village of Lower Bourne close to the South Farnham infant site. There are two really lovely prep schools and a refreshingly different all-through private school in Farnham/surrounding villages but loads of children end up going to the Guildford/Farnborough private schools at 11+ or the local academy Weydon has an outstanding status. Going out – there are a good range of restaurants in town although mostly chains Chimichanga, PizzaExpress, Zizzi, Prezzo etc but lots of lovely pubs in the surrounding villages. Alice Holt Forest is 5 minutes by car and is just great for taking the kids to at the weekend. Guildford not far and you can get down to the big new retail parks at Portsmouth and Southampton within the hour too. We do love it here. I think Surrey has some lovely areas – we thought about Reigate/Dorking/Haslemere and Godalming and really liked all of them but my history here and fact grandparents are here made the choice quite easy in the end for us. If you would like more info on the schools stuff happy to help if you tell me whereabouts in Farnham you were thinking of moving to.
Hi Inge, I grew up and went to a primary school within 5 mins walk in Farnham then went to a private school in Guildford from the age of 11 where girls did come from quite a long distance around. I am back in a village just south of Farnham now with my two small children (3 and 18 months) and we do just meet people walking to shop/pre-school, in local playgrounds etc and play dates etc do come from those meetings or you just find you see the same people at the playgrounds/classes in town and friendships form. I see neighbours’ school aged children just playing out after school and I remember doing that. The village is quite large and I don’t think it makes any difference if you are right on the green or not as people just tend to gravitate to the play areas (or village pub garden in the summer!). I agree with Julie, it is probably best to think about schools first as distance is such a crucial factor for primary schools in Surrey. If you live near a good school you will be near other children; if you chose a village without a school you may find you don’t make those friendships. Good luck!
You can view catchment areas for all the schools here on the council website http://www.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=21374 but bear in mind that if a school is oversubscribed living in the catchment will not be enough to guarantee a place. On this PDF you can see how close you had to live to get a place for this coming year so is a guide for future years http://www.westberks.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=30710&p=0 although a lot depends on how many siblings there will be in a given year as this can greatly reduce the number of places for other children. In terms of the best schools look at their Ofsted and SATS results on the Department for Education website or the BBC website as an initial guide. Hope that helps a bit!