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Brockhurst Road Chesham


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#1 Jeannie686

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:29 PM

Hello everyone!

My husband and I are thinking of buying a house in this road in Chesham. At the moment we are renting on the Waterside part of town but we found a house on this road that we really like.

We are planning on starting a family and before we commit to this part of town we wanted to know more about the schools in the area.

How does the catchment area system work? Thinking about Primary schools for now as we are likely to move again by the time our first child is 11 (hypothetically!). I'm incredibly confused by the whole thing to be honest! Is the school catchment area something important to consider before buying a house?

Thanks!

#2 David P

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:42 PM

You can find advice, contact details and maps of catchment areas on the BCC website.
I would suggest that you look around, find a school that is convenient for you, look it up on the maps, check the Ofsted report and ask around (this forum is a good place) to get other parents' opinions. Remember, though, that you are at least 5 years away from actually sending a child to school and that schools can, and do, change in that time (due to changes of staff, new housing locally, etc.)

Good luck, I hope you get the house that you want.
David P

#3 Fran

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:04 PM

Is the school catchment area something important to consider before buying a house?

I would give a strong "yes".

Schools vary hugely, not just in terms of whether they are perceived as "good" or not, but in their strengths, weaknesses, atmosphere etc. What is commonly regarded as the best school, is unlikely to be the best school for every child.

Regarding catchments, look at the maps David pointed to. Primary schools tend to have very small catchments, so if you want a particular school, you need to be close.

It's very different at secondary level. The system might change by the time it's relevant for you, but grammars have large catchments (because they only take about 1/3 of the children that live in them), whereas the upper schools have smaller ones, though still larger than most primary schools.

Good luck.

#4 hyposmurf

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:37 PM

I found a postcode on the internet for that road and it brought up Brushwood Junior School, who have got a good reputation in the area.They also have good ofsted reports,with some grades in the report being exceptional.The school is for ages 7+,the other primary school listed is Newtown Early Years and Infant School which is for age 3-5 & 5+.Newtown Early Years and Infant School is a feeder school for Brushwood.The postcode I used was HP5 3JA,you may want to search yourself as the postcode of the property might be different and yield different results.

#5 Speedy

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:36 PM

I have always used elmtree school, which is about a mile away from brockhurst road. oh and a heads up, brockhurst road is not a road i would choose to live in let alone buy a house there ;)

#6 147

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:34 AM

I have always used elmtree school, which is about a mile away from brockhurst road. oh and a heads up, brockhurst road is not a road i would choose to live in let alone buy a house there ;)


Its a long time since I've been along there, but I would echo Speedy's advice.

#7 Jeannie686

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:57 AM

Speedy and 147, why do you say that?

To be honest, I am from London originally, South London, and although I love the house we found there was something about that part of Chesham that reminded me of areas in South London that I am dubious about. The house we found is huge, and has lots of potential (maybe you know the one I mean as it has been on the market a while), but coming from living on the other side of Chesham there seems to be a big difference.

Saying that though I couldn't possibly compare that part of Chesham to London as it is different in so many ways, I'm not saying I wouldn't feel safe in Brockhurst but there was something about it that I can't put my finger on.

What parts of Chesham should we be looking at? Amersham is out of our price range or we would move there, but we love Chesham and if we don't stay here it would probably be somewhere like Berkhamstead.

Could you elaborate maybe? On the side of Chesham we should be looking at? We can't find any places for sale on the Waterside end and we looked at a place in Ley Hill/Botley but it is just too far away (we commute into London and it's a long walk from the station!).


Thanks everyone.

#8 Jeannie686

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:44 PM

Oh and another question whilst I think of it; if you don't live in a catchment area for a school, does that definitely mean that your child won't be accepted to it? I've heard lots of stories about how children were not offered places in any of their chosen schools in their catchment and have to travel elsewhere... but maybe that's in London and the system is better in Buckinghamshire?

Obviously there are independent/fee paying schools, or do they have catchments as well?

#9 Fran

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 01:08 PM

What parts of Chesham should we be looking at? Amersham is out of our price range or we would move there, but we love Chesham and if we don't stay here it would probably be somewhere like Berkhamstead.

Berkhamsted is pricey too; I doubt you'd find much that is cheaper than the less expensive parts of Chesham. If you're thinking of Herts, Hemel has a wide price range (but only a couple of decent senior schools) and maybe Tring (which has quite a well-regarded senior school).

if you don't live in a catchment area for a school, does that definitely mean that your child won't be accepted to it? I've heard lots of stories about how children were not offered places in any of their chosen schools in their catchment and have to travel elsewhere

Impossible to give a categorical answer (sorry). It depends on how oversubscribed each school is, which is affected by its popularity (often linked to league table position) and how many school aged children live in the catchment, which is in turn affected by things such as new housing developments.

An unpopular school may have places for all those in catchment who apply and so offer spare places to those who live at the edge of the catchment of a more popular school, for which they couldn't get a place.

Another thing to bear in mind is that some (and only some) of the scare stories about children not being offered any school nearby arise because their parents make their main choices schools they have little chance of getting into, and then they don't get the nearby ones because they only ranked them fourth or fifth choice. When applying for schools it's really important to read the local authority admissions rules very carefully to minimise such mistakes.

#10 Jeannie686

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 01:15 PM

Thanks Fran, that is so much appreciated! :)

The truth of it is we want to stay around Chesham and Amersham; we moved from London to Chesham because when we visited we fell in love with the place, and my father has links to the area (he was born in Wycombe/Sands, got married at the West Wycombe Park, knows Thame/Stokenchurch/Amersham really well). We can't afford Amersham though, and I know some people have said there are better schools in that area, but we love Chesham so it's really hard. Obviously we are thinking down the line, in say 5-6 years, so we thought why not buy a house in Chesham, do it up, sell it and move to Amersham. Or at least Ley Hill/Waterside/Chesham Bois as we like Chesham.

Obviously it's not as simple as that! We are only just realising how important it is to live in the right area when you have children or plan to have them. Which is what makes it so hard when looking at buying a house within our budget.

#11 roob_the_doob

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 07:13 PM

Another thing to bear in mind is that some (and only some) of the scare stories about children not being offered any school nearby arise because their parents make their main choices schools they have little chance of getting into, and then they don't get the nearby ones because they only ranked them fourth or fifth choice. When applying for schools it's really important to read the local authority admissions rules very carefully to minimise such mistakes.


Unless things have changed in the last couple of years, that isn't the case. When we were choosing schools 3 years ago, we were explicitly told that putting a popular out-of-catchment school first would have no impact on the chances of getting a school lower down the list. Such stories are more likely to be because *none* of the schools on the list were the local ones.

#12 Fran

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:22 PM

Unless things have changed in the last couple of years, that isn't the case. When we were choosing schools 3 years ago, we were explicitly told that putting a popular out-of-catchment school first would have no impact on the chances of getting a school lower down the list. Such stories are more likely to be because *none* of the schools on the list were the local ones.

Well, I'm not an expert, but I don't think that's quite right, or at least, not the whole story.

Firstly, it makes a big difference whether you're talking about being in catchment or out of catchment.

Certainly schools can't take offence and reject an applicant because they put the school third instead of first, but if all the places are filled with in-catchment applicants who put it first choice, there won't be any spaces left for those who put it second or lower.

There are certainly some popular schools that don't manage to offer places to all in-catchment applicants who put it first.

#13 roob_the_doob

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 11:59 PM

if all the places are filled with in-catchment applicants who put it first choice, there won't be any spaces left for those who put it second or lower.


That's not how it works. First of all, children are put on the list for their first choice school. Those schools that are oversubscribed apply their entrance criteria, and unsuccessful children are moved to the list for their second choice.

But the "new arrivals" aren't put at the bottom of the list - they are placed in the correct place according to the entrance criteria. In popular schools this may result in a further group of children being bumped to their next choice. And so on, until all children are on a school list or all preferences have been exhausted. Only at that point will school places be allocated.

That doesn't mean you are guaranteed a place in your catchment school, as those in Chestnut Lane catchment know only too well, but you won't be excluded in favour of someone else just because you put the school lower down the list.

#14 Fran

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:15 AM

Those schools that are oversubscribed apply their entrance criteria, and unsuccessful children are moved to the list for their second choice...
That doesn't mean you are guaranteed a place in your catchment school... but you won't be excluded in favour of someone else just because you put the school lower down the list.

I think we're actually agreeing with each other; the fact that I can't be 100% sure just serves to illustrate how confusing it can be.

#15 Speedy

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:33 AM

Speedy and 147, why do you say that?

To be honest, I am from London originally, South London, and although I love the house we found there was something about that part of Chesham that reminded me of areas in South London that I am dubious about. The house we found is huge, and has lots of potential (maybe you know the one I mean as it has been on the market a while), but coming from living on the other side of Chesham there seems to be a big difference.

Saying that though I couldn't possibly compare that part of Chesham to London as it is different in so many ways, I'm not saying I wouldn't feel safe in Brockhurst but there was something about it that I can't put my finger on.

What parts of Chesham should we be looking at? Amersham is out of our price range or we would move there, but we love Chesham and if we don't stay here it would probably be somewhere like Berkhamstead.

Could you elaborate maybe? On the side of Chesham we should be looking at? We can't find any places for sale on the Waterside end and we looked at a place in Ley Hill/Botley but it is just too far away (we commute into London and it's a long walk from the station!).


Thanks everyone.


Anti social behaviour, local boy racers using the road as a race track, i personally want to move to berkhamsted, but have not found anyone willing to swap with me living in pond park road.

#16 Rob75

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:25 AM

I can confirm that schools do not consider the order people put their (three) preferences. All are applied to, and the applicant is given their highest preference that can offer them a place.

In most cases, schools are bigger than their catchment areas. And therefore in most cases if you are in catchment you will get in. However that is certainly not the case for every school, and particularly the most popular / succesful - for the 2010 intake the only Bucks primaries that couldn't take all reception catchment children were:

Butlers Court (5 catchment children displaced)
Chestnut Lane (13 catchment children displaced)
Downley School (14 catchment children displaced)
Holtspur (5 catchment children displaced)
Little Chalfont Primary (2 catchment children displaced)
Seer Green (ecclesiastical parish, some in the catchment area not allocated)
St Mary’s and All Saints CE Primary (some in the catchment area not allocated)
St Mary's CE Aylesbury (20 catchment children displaced)

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/moderngov/Published/C00000161/M00003705/AI00012452/$Item72010AllocationRoundUpdate.docA.ps.pdf

In all other cases, if you were in catchment (and put it as a choice), you got in. However this obviously changes year by year, but you'd expect these particular names to crop up again.

Beaconsfield was the real problem area, where all schools filled up in catchment, so lots of people had to go to other towns.

"We are only just realising how important it is to live in the right area when you have children or plan to have them. Which is what makes it so hard when looking at buying a house within our budget."

I sympathise with that, and it is great you are thinking about it. You can get very bogged down in it, so I suggest doing exactly what you are doing. First find a house and area you like, then check the school situation (where would they realistically go, what is plan B, check ofsted reports, league tables, historic admissions, even look around the school etc), and if it is not acceptable to you start again.

#17 maybe

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:18 PM

I can confirm that schools do not consider the order people put their (three) preferences. All are applied to, and the applicant is given their highest preference that can offer them a place.

In most cases, schools are bigger than their catchment areas. And therefore in most cases if you are in catchment you will get in. However that is certainly not the case for every school, and particularly the most popular / succesful - for the 2010 intake the only Bucks primaries that couldn't take all reception catchment children were:

Butlers Court (5 catchment children displaced)
Chestnut Lane (13 catchment children displaced)
Downley School (14 catchment children displaced)
Holtspur (5 catchment children displaced)
Little Chalfont Primary (2 catchment children displaced)
Seer Green (ecclesiastical parish, some in the catchment area not allocated)
St Mary's and All Saints CE Primary (some in the catchment area not allocated)
St Mary's CE Aylesbury (20 catchment children displaced)

http://www.buckscc.g...ate.docA.ps.pdf

In all other cases, if you were in catchment (and put it as a choice), you got in. However this obviously changes year by year, but you'd expect these particular names to crop up again.

Beaconsfield was the real problem area, where all schools filled up in catchment, so lots of people had to go to other towns.

"We are only just realising how important it is to live in the right area when you have children or plan to have them. Which is what makes it so hard when looking at buying a house within our budget."

I sympathise with that, and it is great you are thinking about it. You can get very bogged down in it, so I suggest doing exactly what you are doing. First find a house and area you like, then check the school situation (where would they realistically go, what is plan B, check ofsted reports, league tables, historic admissions, even look around the school etc), and if it is not acceptable to you start again.



Interesting that there were not enough spaces for catchment children in Little Chalfont Primary, Chestnut Lane or Elangeni, but county say there are enough places available locally for children of Bell Lane School to be transferred to!!!

#18 Gooner

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:27 PM

Brockhurst Road - I'd have to agree with a few as above. Steer clear of that part of Chesham! It's bad and going downhill rapidly I'm afraid. Pity
Yah yah yah...

#19 hyposmurf

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:47 PM

Brockhurst Road - I'd have to agree with a few as above. Steer clear of that part of Chesham! It's bad and going downhill rapidly I'm afraid. Pity

Not sure I'd agree with it going down hill rapidly, I grew up near this rd and havent noticed a rapid decline, but part of the reason behind people not wanting to live there maybe that many of the properties down the road are/were council properties, it's close to the main road and has a high number of Asian families.As silly as that is to me, it does in some peoples mind taint an area with a social stigma.Areas that I can think of that have a better reputation would be Chartridge,Hilltop,Old Chesham,Pednor,Bellingdon,Botley,Lycrome Rd area and near where I am around Greenway :).Thing is the majority of these areas are more expensive.

#20 Veronica

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 02:40 AM

Not sure I'd agree with it going down hill rapidly, I grew up near this rd and havent noticed a rapid decline, but part of the reason behind people not wanting to live there maybe that many of the properties down the road are/were council properties, it's close to the main road and has a high number of Asian families.As silly as that is to me, it does in some peoples mind taint an area with a social stigma.Areas that I can think of that have a better reputation would be Chartridge,Hilltop,Old Chesham,Pednor,Bellingdon,Botley,Lycrome Rd area and near where I am around Greenway :).Thing is the majority of these areas are more expensive.



Having said that, it is very close to Newtown School. I personally think that Elmtree School is better, although I personally think both schools are better than Little Spring, based on their ofsted results. Try looking at the catchment areas on the Bucks CC website in the schools section of the site.

#21 ThreeDaysGrace

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 09:37 AM

Schools can change SO much in 5 years, I would concentrate more on getting the right area to live in with regards to what that area is like rather than what the catchment school is. Good luck! :)

#22 DUTCH WAGENBACH

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 02:52 PM

Hyposmurf, I totally agree with your comment about the silliness of knocking an area because it has a high number of Asian residents. Sounds very '70s. Same applies to stigmatising a street or whole area because it has a high number of council houses. It all has relevance to education because schools can be stgmatised for the same reasons. I can certainly recall this happening locally in the '70s when I was a pupil at a local grammar school (most readers will probably know which one!), and it looks as if it is still happening. Old worn-out dogmas rarely die ; over in the US, just after the re-election of its first African-American president, a prominent Republican senator has written a book proclaiming that the slavery era was good for the States and that school discipline has gone down the pan since schools were desegregated in the '50s following the Brown v Topeka Board of Education judgement.