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Advice about moving to Forest Hill
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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #1
11-01-2017 01:12 PM

Hello SE23ers,

My husband and I are thinking of buying our first home in Forest Hill. We currently like in SW London and have been to Forest Hill only twice and like it very much, although don't know anyone local to give us advice. We have a two year old so good state schools are first priority. So far we have looked in Waldenshaw and Manor Mount and like that area, mainly due to the proximity to the station. Just want some advice on that area in terms of school catchments, local nurseries, safety, road noise, any other things we should consider etc.

Thanks.

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michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
11-01-2017 03:23 PM

Those roads can be tricky in terms of primary school catchment. If you are lucky you will get a place at Eliot Bank or Horniman. If you are unlucky you will still get a place at Kelvin Grove, which is another good school in the area, but a little further to walk.

I know of children at all three schools (and others in the area) and all the parents are impressed with each of the schools.

For a map version have a look at http://datacollator.blogspot.co.uk/2013/...lwich.html
It is a little out of date, but still reasonably true.

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #3
11-01-2017 04:13 PM

Thanks for that information Michael, thats useful to know. I was given to understand that Horniman would be our nearest (and most likely school) but that doesn't happen to be the case. We are not keen on any particular school as they all seem good, but would be nice not to have to go too far!

Someone sent me this http://www.schoolcatchment.co.uk/?v=1&la...-0.0567297 just now and according to this it looks like even Kelvin Grove's catchment didn't quite cover Waldenshaw last year, so we are having second thoughts now :-(

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,347
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
11-01-2017 07:09 PM

Horniman is a small school. You would need to live near to get a place,

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Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #5
11-01-2017 08:10 PM

We live on Waldenshaw Road, both our girls got into Horniman Primary, one went to Sydenham last year, the other is still at Horniman. A good few properties for sale on Waldenshaw, including ours Wow

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #6
12-01-2017 03:43 PM

Thats good to know Londondrz! We'll keep an eye out :-). I suppose they are a bit older now so you may have benefited from larger catchments when they started. Do you happen to have any friends/neighbours whose kids started school more recently (2015/2016) -- I just want to get an idea of what schools they were offered - just hoping that we won't have to walk more than a mile away to get to school. I'v written to Lewisham council asking for the same but I am not too hopeful I'll get a reply (they are probably busy with more pressing matters). Thanks!

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Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #7
12-01-2017 05:37 PM

LPOak, the catchment area may well have narrowed in the last few years for Horniman. However, I have to say we are very lucky that all of the local primary schools are very very good. Wherever your kids end up I am sure you will be happy.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,347
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
12-01-2017 05:50 PM

All of the local primary schools in Forest Hill are good.
There is Perrymount Primary School in Sunderland Road.

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Decker


Posts: 116
Joined: Nov 2014
Post: #9
13-01-2017 08:41 AM

Don't trust the real estate agents. Download the Lewisham school admissions report that have the actual exact distance measurement from the school. The catchment areas in Forest Hill are tiny. And are shrinking every year. Last time I had a look they were all less than 300m from the school.

Having said that, every council in London is under the same pressure. And forest hill probably has better schools than most.


If you can afford Manor mount / Walden shaw then you're talking about one of the best areas in FH in my opinion. So close to everything but you're just far enough away from the South Circular. The other streets that are a bit of a rat race are Honor Oak Road and Devonshire Road.


But anywhere is good. Forest Hill is just an amazing place. Good luck.

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #10
13-01-2017 11:12 AM

Thanks Decker! We did quite like FH when we visited. It is hard to know what to do - whether to be aspirational and buy a house that we don't quite like well within a school's catchment/go for the house that we do like and hope for the best :-) Who said parenthood was easy!

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michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
13-01-2017 12:01 PM

There's plenty of nice houses in Forest Hill that are in school catchment areas. There are even two in my street on the market at the moment (just 4 minutes from Manor Mount and well within a good primary catchment area). But maybe you just don't like the style of my house (town houses are actually very nice).

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #12
13-01-2017 12:17 PM

Hi Micahel, whereabouts are you? Either they are above our budget or we haven't looked hard enough :-). We have actually liked all the houses we saw so far on FH (none within catchements though). I was talking about the houses in SW London where we currently live.

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OakR


Posts: 213
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #13
13-01-2017 12:46 PM

This will tell you the further distance offered (I believe this is initially and does not include anyone who subsequently got a place on the waiting list etc.

Primary School Catchment for previous year

Keep in mind these change each year, and siblings and \ or bluge classes can have a big effect.

Good luck and don't forget to look in Honor Oak as well if you are not counting that as part of FH, all SE23.

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Loigal


Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #14
14-01-2017 01:32 PM

tbh I'd be a little worried about school catchments in that spot. Have you asked on se23 mums Facebook group? I think you'll get feedback there from parents who've been through this over the last couple of years. Check also the Horniman school bulge years as normally 2/3 years after a bulge the catchment shrinks because of the siblings. Re nurseries get on a list ASAP. I'm still waiting from a call from
The rubadubs waiting list some years later Smile . Good luck, Forest Hill is a great place for families

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #15
15-01-2017 06:13 PM

Hi OakR, Loigal,

Thanks for the recommendations, I have asked to join the Facebook mums group. I have one follow up question. I was trying to read some of Lewisham council's documentation on primary places. They seem to have this concept of Primary Place Planning Localities. Does that mean that if I live within PPL1, I will get allocated a school within that region? My main worry was that I would like in Forest Hill and might get allocated a place in Brockley or somewhere else and have to drive very far.

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OakR


Posts: 213
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #16
15-01-2017 08:55 PM

Hi LPOak

I'm afraid I've no idea what a PPL1 is!

This is the way it works (to the best of my understanding -or did work 2 years ago when we first applied for our son to get into reception).

You put down your preferences for 6 schools. The order does not matter in the sense that if you put your closest school down as 6th choice, and someone else further away puts that school as 1st choice, your child would still get into that school if they had not been allocated a place at any of your top 5. Therefore you should always put your favourite schools first, but also should try and put one somewhere you think is close that is ok you could get into based on distance, for the reasons below.

If you do not get allocated any of your top 6 choices, you are allocated a place I believe anywhere there is space in the borough (I'm not 100% sure of that but you have to be allocated somewhere, so it depends on where there is space in other schools).

Typically people in this situation put their children on the waiting list for other schools. Pupils do leave schools, and some never start so getting on the waiting list can work. I know at least 3 children have left Dalmain over reception year.

We have been in the catchment area for Dalmain for the last 10 years, but the catchment areas have fluctuated. Stillness we have been in for some of those and not others (we were not last year).

I know one year 1/2 the intake was siblings which makes a huge difference to catchment area.

I hope that makes sense!

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LPOak


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2017
Post: #17
16-01-2017 10:58 AM

Hi OakR,

Thank you for that detailed explanation, and yes that makes sense.

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nottinghillbilly


Posts: 457
Joined: Dec 2010
Post: #18
16-01-2017 10:10 PM

No idea about schools not having children, BUT we moved here from Notting Hill 6 years ago and love it.
Transport is surprisingly good and its so nice to have so many trees and green spaces.
We live on the Horniman side of the station

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OakR


Posts: 213
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #19
17-01-2017 12:05 AM

I realised I missed the rest of your questions when I saw nottinghillbill's post (we also moved from West London - Shepherds Bush - me and Ealing - my wife).

We also love it here. The areas is really good for young families (I'm not so sure about secondary schools as have not researched that extensively).

Great Parks close by, often with great views: Blythe Hill, One Tree Hill, Dulwich Park (boat lake and all), Crystal Palace Park (Dinousars, small farm and all), Ladywell Fields (has a stream running through it) and many more. Kelsey Park in Beckenham is further afield but saw a Kingfisher there, and there are also menat to be some on the River Pool I think.

Horniman Museum must be on of the best kids museums, and interesting for adults also, they are brilliant. Their gardens are also really nice and they have a small farm now. They always have different activities on for children, it truly is an amazing museum for children.

Getting into town (whilst getting busier) is really easy (10 minutes to Canada Water for Jubilee line \ head straight to Shoreditch etc). Trains to London Bridge I'm not sure on with Southern but you can get there and then hop to Charing Cross.

Forest Hill pools local swimming pool, but no far also Lewisham Glass Mill, Depford is really good for family swim on a weekend.

Safety wise, as with everywhere in London, nowhere is 100% safe, but I personally feel it is much safer here than W12 where I used to live.

We've discussed schools of course, and the bad thing is the small catchment areas. If you get in however that is a blessing, I went to school where people came from all over London, whereas here most of my sons friends live walking distance or a very short drive from our house - great for playdates and getting a nice community feel (if you do move here you will be amazed by Halloween).

There is a really good community feel, the local library has just been saved in Forest Hill, have a look at the Forest Hill Society and all they have done (Michael from there posts on here).

There are lots of great child friendly restaurants - Babur (buffet on Sunday free for under 8s), Querce on Brockley Rise they love kids, Bona pizza in FH and many more. East Dulwich is just a short ride away.

If you do move here, my last tip, if you want your child to do gymnastics, is put them on the waiting for Ladywell Gymnastics in Bellingham, an amazing club but waiting list closed for 4-7 years olds, but if you get in at a younger age you will be moved up.

There are lots of after school clubs, lots of pre-school at hoc groups to meet people so I'm sure you could meet and make friends quickly.

You can also drive to the coast somewhere like Camber Sands relatively quickly for a day out or get the train easily to Brighton.

I've forgotten loads of things but if you move I think the chances are you will love it - everyone is different of course but most people who have moved here seem happy.

Good luck

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BigED


Posts: 118
Joined: Jan 2016
Post: #20
17-01-2017 01:22 PM

My relatives put their child down for their preferred (and nearest) primary school, along with another five (and they ended up having named the six closest to where they lived). And then they got offered a place at a school that wasn't even on their list. They then had to engage in a war of attrition with Lewisham council to get a change to the decision.

It's difficult - "good" schools are over-subscribed and priority often goes where a child has siblings at the school, even if the family has moved elsewhere. You have to be prepared to pester the council often, but people do withdraw applications - they might be moving elsewhere or may decide on a different school. It ended up fine for my relatives - their child is where they wanted, but it was a stressful few months.

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