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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:48 pm
Posts: 12
Hello everyone

We are considering moving to Bucks for the Grammar schools (2019 entry) - from Pinner.
We are particularly interested in Chesham Grammar School and Dr Challoner's High School for girls.

This will be a permanent move - we hope to buy a house and live near the grammar for the foreseeable future, this is not an attempt to play the system and move away once we find a place :)

Please could someone help me understand how it works or confirm my understanding? I've been scouring the school websites and getting very very confused (and stressed!)

1. Eligibility - Is there a minimum "before" duration we need to have lived in a property before we make the application from that address? If we cannot find a good house to buy and end up renting, is there a minimum length of lease that is required? It's quite rare to find a 2 year lease - hence the worry. Is there a chance that the address rules could change?
2. Risk - I am apprehensive about what could happen if we don't make the cut-off. If I have understood it right - the deadline date for moving is 1st October 2018, which is about a fortnight BEFORE we know if we made the cut-off or not. Is that correct? So we have to commit to Bucks grammar/non-grammar? What are the non-grammar schools like in that area? Is it worth the risk of moving right now? Or would you advise staying on in Pinner and hope the OA distance would cover our current address; and move once we get a place?
3. Test format - no longer CEM, but GL, and we need to wait until November to find out exact format. Is this understanding correct?

Many thanks and any help on this is much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:49 pm
Posts: 356
Hi,

Please don' t move just for that one reason.

It is one thing moving because you want to upgrade/downgrade, or job moves etc but moving house, and moving to a new area is stressful for a child. They lose all their friends and have to make new ones and start at a brand new school. If you chose to leave her in the school she's already in, she'll have a longer journey to school and that will make her tired. She may have to give up afterschool activities she likes doing.

The main thing is that if she knows the only reason you moved is for a grammar school for her, she will feel a lot of pressure and if she doesn't get over 121, she will spend a lot of time feeling guilty which will actually hurt her progress and future prospects.
I'm guessing she is only 9. She might be a child genius but if she has an unhappy year from being moved she will not do as well in the 11+ as she's capable of.

If you are absolutely determined to move. Then you need to check out the local non grammar schools and move near a good one.

Good luck with it all

Blue_Marigold


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Why are you asking about renting if you intend to buy?

You are right to consider the alternatives should she not qualify - they are variable. Do some research on specific places [and think about Primaries - good ones will be full] and get back to us.

Seriously think about uprooting everyone - they are just schools.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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We were blissfully unaware of the grammar school system & moved to Bucks when DD was a toddler for several reasons, but partly because we had heard that the schools were good. If I had known then what I know now I wouldn't have done so, I would have moved to somewhere with good comprehensive schools rather than get caught up in the grammar school system.
I realise that no-one has answered your specific questions, but yes, generally you need to commit to the system before knowing if your child will qualify.
(edited for typo)


Last edited by scary mum on Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
Posts: 1763
Others have already given sound advice. Here's some points and questions from me:

kips wrote:
Hello everyone

We are considering moving to Bucks for the Grammar schools (2019 entry) - from Pinner.
We are particularly interested in Chesham Grammar School and Dr Challoner's High School for girls. What is it about those schools that particularly interest you?

This will be a permanent move - we hope to buy a house and live near the grammar for the foreseeable future, this is not an attempt to play the system and move away once we find a place :) Good, but your comments about renting slightly undermine that.

Please could someone help me understand how it works or confirm my understanding? I've been scouring the school websites and getting very very confused (and stressed!)

1. Eligibility - Is there a minimum "before" duration we need to have lived in a property before we make the application from that address? Yes. Keep an eye on the Bucks County Council website and the schools' own admissions policies for details of their residency requirements.If we cannot find a good house to buy and end up renting, is there a minimum length of lease that is required? Same advice - it's up to you to keep abreast of what's required and be aware that sometimes,
requirements change.
It's quite rare to find a 2 year lease - hence the worry. Then commit to buying and remove the worry. Is there a chance that the address rules could change? Yes, I would say there's a good chance, mainly to address the sort of behaviour you mentioned earlier, of people playing the system.

2. Risk - I am apprehensive about what could happen if we don't make the cut-off. If I have understood it right - the deadline date for moving is 1st October 2018, which is about a fortnight BEFORE we know if we made the cut-off or not. Is that correct? As things stand, yes. So we have to commit to Bucks grammar/non-grammar? Pretty much, yes. Anyway, you should be committing to Bucks as a place to live, with the schools as just one factor in that decision. What are the non-grammar schools like in that area? It's time to start scouring the upper school websites as you've been doing for the grammar schools. All part of researching Bucks life. Is it worth the risk of moving right now? Or would you advise staying on in Pinner and hope the OA distance would cover our current address; and move once we get a place? No-one can be certain, but it would seem highly unlikely that a Pinner address would secure a place based on recent trends.

3. Test format - no longer CEM, but GL, and we need to wait until November to find out exact format. Is this understanding correct? Yes.

Many thanks and any help on this is much appreciated.


As others have said, the over-riding advice is that it's probably not a good idea to move into Bucks purely for the grammar schools. Once you have done some proper research on the upper schools (which you must do, because only a third of children will qualify for the grammar schools) you will know whether it's the right move for you. Personally, I wouldn't move into a selective area if the comprehensive schools in my area were good. I've lived in Bucks all my life and when my daughter was younger, we actually considered moving away from Bucks because the upper school options at the time were not good. Thankfully the local upper option improved so we stayed put.

You state your intention not to play the system but what you're proposing could be viewed as exactly that. Looking for a house to buy or rent just to increase your chances of a grammar school place could be considered as playing the system. Bucks can be a great place to live, but you really ought to commit wholeheartedly to it for the whole family's benefit, not just to try and get a grammar school place. As you have discovered, there are a lot of unknowns, some significant financial risk and you are laying a lot of pressure on a child for whom you're prepared to uproot your life. There's nothing wrong with investing heavily in your daughter, but it will be a delicate balancing act to ensure that the inevitable pressures that come with a house move, a primary school move, possibly tuition, transfer tests and so on don't adversely affect her enjoyment of school and family life.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:41 am 
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Just to add to the good advice already given, this summer, we have done what you are proposing to do. We moved from Middlesex to Herts (very close to the Bucks border). We primarily moved because one of my children has special needs and we found a specialist school for him. We had intended to stay where we were until the following summer (ie 2018 which would be end of yr6) and for my other son to try and get a place at CGS and then move over the summer but realised that we would have no chance of getting a place once the allocation distances came out earlier this year. For CGS, the address at 31 October of the previous year is the one used for allocation of places. So we moved a year earlier than planned to ensure that my son would have the best chance of getting a place, assuming he qualifies. From Pinner, I think you would have no chance of getting a place at either school based on the allocation distances over the past couple of years. I honestly can't see that they are going to get longer, only shorter.

As we moved at the end of yr5, my son had to deal with moving house, preparing for the 11+ and starting a new school over the course of a few weeks. He has left all his friends behind. He has left his childminder who looked after him for 8 years. He has been tired and emotional and it was not the best preparation for an important exam.

Primary school places are not easy to come by, especially if you want a certain school. My youngest child could not get a place in the same primary school so currently I have 3 children in 3 different schools which is a logistical nightmare.

We have sold our house and are renting before we buy next year. There have not been many rental properties available and we were very lucky to get the one we did (literally because we were in the estate agents at the right time, it was never advertised), so factor that in as you may struggle to find something suitable. We were also fortunate in that our house sold quickly and without a chain, but we still had a period when we were paying both a mortgage and rent on the new house.

Because we are not in Bucks we have a backup plan of the local comprehensive school which will be fine if my son doesn't qualify for grammar, so I would definitely look at the alternatives if your daughter does not qualify for a grammar.

From Pinner, you have quite a few options, including a newish small secondary school which when I looked around felt like a really nice school with an impressive head. Honestly I would not uproot everything if you don't need to.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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scary mum wrote:
We were blissfully unaware of the grammar school system & moved to Bucks when DD was a toddler for several reasons, but partly because we had heard that the schools were good. If I had known then what I know now I wouldn't have done so, I would have moved to somewhere with good comprehensive schools rather than get caught up in the grammar school system.
Substitute 'Bucks' for 'Glos' and wind back a few years - no toddlers even. I had to move here for a job and also had no idea about the grammar schools. We were abroad for the year before the test and didn't even realise DD could take it (Glos is opt in) so she didn't. I would prefer to live in an area with good comprehensives as well so agree with the last part of your post, scary. To me it is incomprehensible that anyone would uproot their family to go and live near a grammar school. They really are just schools!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:09 pm 
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We moved to the Bucks border purely so that DH would have an easier commute in the medium-long term: eldest child was 6 at the time. We bought near a decent non-selective with a view to an easy toddle to school, and on realising it was a grammar area thought fleeingly "oh good, extra choices"...... what can I say now, how naive we were!!
We knew nothing of the crazy tutoring culture, the geographical slog many GS children have, the lack of predictability, the complexity of the appeal system, the "rent-into-cachement" that no-one admits to doing, yet everyone has heard of someone doing... many local children view the GS's On their doorstep as unachievable, so don't even apply, raising the bar higher for those who do....

If you wish to spend your £££ moving to an area, and are happy to pay more for a cachement, at least do it to an area with a good non-selective in case your GS plans don't go the way you plan...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:48 pm
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Thank you everyone for your responses, much appreciated.

We were planning on moving in any case, as we really want to buy our own house and cannot afford to where we are (Pinner). We've had to move twice before at the whim of the house owners - so just want some stability and an easy home <-> school experience for our child.
We think she is quite able, and in fact had her assessed to see if it's even worth putting her through the 11+ work and whether she would do well in a grammar - and the results showed that yes, she was.
The only reason I mentioned renting was because I was worried we cannot find a house we could afford or one we liked in the short time frame we have.

It does hurt a little when someone mentions buying property as a way of committing to a place to live - please do remember that not everyone can AFFORD to do this. We have been here more than 11 years and are still looked on as "temporaries" by people who've just moved in - in spite of years of local business support, being a part of the local life etc. :( But I guess it's frustrating to see local schools filled up with people who've come and gone, so I do understand and sympathize. But I do not plan to be one of them.

Thank you for all your advice, will definitely keep this all in mind.

K


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:02 pm
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Best of luck with your move, kips. Hope you find your perfect home near your preferred school.


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