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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:51 pm
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Hi everyone

I would really appreciate your opinions. I am a single mum with 1 daughter, we currently live in south London. My daugter attends a good local state school and I am saving for her to go to the local independent at secondary. We are not in catchment of any good state secondary. There are Sutton superselective grammars reasonably close but obviously no guarantee of getting there ( and I am not sure my daughter would fit into an all girls grammar school).

My job location has now moved and I started to consider whether to move to Potters Bar to be in the "local" catchment for DAO. I did think about moving there before (my best friend lives in Potter Bar and most of my friends are in Potters Bar/North London) but previoulsy my work commute would have been unrelistic so I ended up buying a house in south London. Now my job has moved and it would be the same commute from where I am now or from Potters Bar.

So I am thinking what are the pluses and minuses of staying where I am versus moving...

Stay where I am:
+ no moving expenses and my house is really nice and already done to my taste
+ daughter is settled in her primary and has local friends
+ if I continue saving, she will go to one of the independents nearby, which all have good reputation
- we will need some proper 11+ prep to get in (I work long hours so worry when/how we will do it)
- any independent she will get into from our current house will be 45-50mins commute for her, nothing closer that is worth paying for
- if she does not get in or I don't save enough, the local comp is bad (terrible reputation, bulling etc)
- if she gets in, the fees for 7 years of secondary school will mean no savings for me whatsoever and possibly less holidays/days out

Move in the catchment of DAO
+ she will be able to walk into school
+ moving expenses will definitely be less than 7 years of fees
+ I will be less stressed generally (that if I lose work/get ill etc, she won't be able to continue in her school)
+ I will live in walking distance to my friends so won't need to spend weekends driving to see them
- the house in DAO "local" catchment will be worse and more expensive than our current house
- I will need to do all house renovations etc again
- I will still spend lots of money (all my current savings) to move and then renovate (although will be able to start saving again once she is at DAO)
- daugter will have to move to a new school in Year 5, and then move again for secondary

Any opionions please?

I think ultimately my question is whether DAO is worth moving to comparing with a good local independent (but not a top one like St Pauls Girls or Latymer Upper) to save some money and be able to have more holidays/get some luxuries in our day to day life? Or am I better staying put and just spending that extra money and sending her to a local good indy for smaller classes/more extra-curricular/better pastoral care (possibly adjusting our lifestyle with less holidays etc)?

Thank you!


Last edited by ulanata on Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:45 pm
Posts: 7858
Someone local will be along to advise you soon, but, as far as I know, you have to be incredibly close on distance to DAO to get in on distance.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:20 pm 
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scary mum wrote:
Someone local will be along to advise you soon, but, as far as I know, you have to be incredibly close on distance to DAO to get in on distance.


Thank you, I know - something like within 0.2miles :(


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:01 pm
Posts: 10591
Location: Herts
Here is the last distance place allocated each of the last 5 years:

2021 402.06 metres
2020 387.65 metres
2019 387.66 metres
2018 843.43 metres
2017 660.05 metres

I would strongly recommend that you move into the general catchment area (which for Herts extends down the A1000 through Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City and parts of Enfield and Barnet and all of Islington ) and prepare to sit the academic test.

What year is your daughter currently in?

In my opinion DAO has more to offer than any of the private schools you mention. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:51 pm
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Daogroupie wrote:
Here is the last distance place allocated each of the last 5 years:
What year is your daughter currently in?
In my opinion DAO has more to offer than any of the private schools you mention. DG


Thanks very much Daogroupie!

Daughter is in year 3 now but I have fixed mortgage for 2 more years, so if we move this will likely be around end of year 4/beginning of year 5 for her.

Can you tell me what more does DAO have to offer comparing to a selective private school? The results are very similar, and I saw that there a lot of extra-curricular opportunities at DAO, is there anything else that is better at DAO comparing to a selective private school (apart from no fees, of course)?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:02 pm
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There are lots of really good comprehensives around London and the home counties, with larger catchment areas so offering greater flexibility for your move. Unless there's a particular reason for focusing on Potters Bar (I know you said you have links there) you might be better off exploring other areas.

What school you would get if you moved near DAO but were too far away for the catchment place and didn't get through on the test? Would you be happy with it? The advantage of moving close to a comp that admits on distance is that it takes away the stress of needing to pass a test in order to make the move worthwhile.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:51 pm
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streathammum wrote:
There are lots of really good comprehensives around London and the home counties, with larger catchment areas so offering greater flexibility for your move. Unless there's a particular reason for focusing on Potters Bar (I know you said you have links there) you might be better off exploring other areas.

What school you would get if you moved near DAO but were too far away for the catchment place and didn't get through on the test? Would you be happy with it? The advantage of moving close to a comp that admits on distance is that it takes away the stress of needing to pass a test in order to make the move worthwhile.


Thank you. I don't think I would move anywhere but Potters Bar, to be honest. If I were to move from my lovely house, it would have to be to the same town where my friens are now (I really wish I did it in the first place...)


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