How exciting that you are considering a move to Merton. Dumond Moving and Storage would like to help you decide on the best schools for your children, but first, let's take a look at the lovely area you are investigating.
Did you know that Merton Park is one of the earliest garden suburbs of London, with some of the first houses being built in the 1870s? The exceptional John Innes developed the area, planting gracious avenues of chestnut and plane trees and dividing properties with characteristic holly hedges. He built attractive houses along roads such as Mostyn, Dorset and Sheridan, which are still highly desirable (roads) today.
There are several conservation areas established in John Innes' name, and you can learn about all of these through the John Innes Society once we've moved you and you have had time to settle in.
Being MOVED by us means that you are taking on our expert packers, who pack your items properly to minimise the risk of damage. We work with you so that your house move is hassle-free and completed in time for supper and to get the kids into their beds in your new home.
Dumond has specialised in relocating families to South London from far afield and from around the corner. Our expert knowledge of the SW postcode area allows us to offer you a quick survey visit, a competitive quote and sound advice.
The professional Dumond team looking after your move will ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. From the process of quoting accurately, prompt arrival at your door on the morning of the big moving day, packing up and offloading carefully, to placing your furniture and precious items exactly where you want them.
Now to the schools. Of course, there is a list, but the best one for your child is another matter entirely. Do make sure you do your homework by giving yourself plenty of time to research all the available options. Spend as much time, if not more, on this exercise as you spend house hunting – choosing the right school when moving is on the ‘critical list’.
Visit each school on your shortlist on their open day. Be mindful of whether you are witnessing a rote and regimented visit, an inflexible scheduled tour, a set of PowerPoint presentations with no opportunity to ask questions (is this a school run by a fearful management distrustful of staff/students?). It certainly indicates what type of relationship you and your child will have with that school. Better if you have a more relaxed visit, providing opportunities to chat with students and teachers – in the future, you can be assured of good communications with the school after such an experience. Make sure you look beyond the marketing spin during an orchestrated open day and never leave a school wishing you had asked something!
Explore the buildings, classrooms and grounds. Are they proudly looked after or neglected? Observe interactions between staff and students – are they warm and respectful, both ways? Are students polite and well-mannered towards each other, towards visitors, towards their teachers? Are uniform regulations being observed?
Look at the quality of the students' work on display. Ensure you know the academic programme on offer – and drama, music, concerts, additional subjects – all of these are essential attributes. Consider your child's strengths, or areas of challenge, at all times as you assess each school.
Question some of the teachers. Find out if they receive additional training, are mentored and evaluated? Look for a school where the teachers are not being treated as interchangeable, easily replaceable cogs. Are the teachers exhausted or enthusiastic? Does the school champion their great teachers?
What is happening on the sports field? Check that all levels of ability are catered for – not just the A-team players.
The parental grapevine is remarkably useful in making the right choice – we’re sure you will be able to make contact with one or two parents if you go and watch a sports match at the school.
Ultimately, quality teaching makes the most significant difference to a child – that, and family upbringing. And if you find a school with a warm and happy atmosphere, you're on the correct path.
Last but not least, make sure the schools you are investigating are in the catchment area of your new home – it may be helpful to research on a school finder/catchment checker website.
Some food for thought ... do not be put off a school because its OFSTED rating may not be to your liking. These ratings only come around every four years or so, and much can change in that period. Use your excellent judgment in choosing the right school for your child, with OFSTED as a guide. Studies such as this one published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP) titled 'School quality ratings are weak predictors of students' achievement and wellbeing' make for interesting reading.