Choosing where to send your children to school can be a hard decision. Distance from home, work and competition with other local schools are all factors for consideration. On top of this, after all is considered, limited availability of places can mean families do not always get their first choice of school. One area where this problem is particularly prevalent is in the capital.

There are over 600 schools in London so families have plenty to choose from. However, in many London boroughs, the demand for schools is high. In some, the success rates for securing places at preferred primary schools are the lowest in the country. Many parents raising children in London choose schools further afield. Often sending their children to a school outside of the city would not fit around their work commute. More often than not, the family moves out of the city to take the advantages of living in more a rural setting. Whether relocating out of London entirely or choosing only to school your children out of the city, there is much to be said however for providing children with a taste of both urban and rural lifestyles. In this post, we outline the benefits of going to school outside the city.

Transport links

A potential deal breaker when selecting a school is the transport links available. This is both for now and when your child is older. If you currently schedule the school runs around work or other commitments and do not employ childcare services at home, it is likely that you drive your children to and from school. Therefore good road links and school bus services are important.

Dependent on where you live, a lot of secondary school children travel to school together via buses and trains which may be an option for your children when they are older. However, this is unusual in children younger than 11. If your child is too young to travel to school semi independently – that is via school buses arranged by your school – at the moment, this may be something that they would like to do when they are older. Not only will this make your life easier as parents and guardians, it will provide them with independence and a new social element to their school day. Of course sharing school runs with other school families is another popular option. For parents commuting back to London, both rail and bus services are abundant and can facilitate families to travel with their children to school before they journey onto their workplace.

Exposure

Children between the ages of 4 and 10 are extremely impressionable and influenced by their surroundings. It is amazing the behaviours, phrases, mannerisms and knowledge they pick up after only spending a short period of time with people. As adults we know that not all of the UK is like your neighbourhood however until introduced to them, children cannot experience how communities differ.

Aside from holidays and travel, the best way to encourage your child to be as street wise and worldly as possible before they reach the age of 18 is to provide variety and comparison with their living, educational and social settings. Encourage interaction with a variety of people that is representative of society by sending them to schools and sports clubs which are nearby but in slightly different areas. Your child is then given the chance to observe and learn from other children and families; this will eventually shape them into the person they grow to be. As a parent you cannot give your child confidence, you cannot pick or manage their friendships, you cannot always be their coach. But you can provide them with the best possible opportunities both at and away from home.

The big outdoors

Outdoor education is another big benefit gained through moving away from urban areas for schooling. According to a government funded study, one in nine children in England have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for the past year – a shocking statistic. Whilst there are parks and nature reserves in the city, on the whole the landscape is very urban, with few natural spaces and with little to no agricultural land. In general, schools in more rural areas have a greater choice of sports playing fields and facilities as well as, on occasions, special woodland and nature areas onsite.

Lifestyle

Just as a healthy distance between work and home can be beneficial to adults, geographical distance between your children and their school can help them to get into a structured and focused routine. Keep home and school separate. Going to school further afield helps to keep study and leisure separate which can promote a healthy school-life balance and boost productivity whilst at school. It is possible to commute to work in London from many towns in Surrey.

If you and your family are currently London based but the option of going to school outside of the urban jungle appeals to you, Surrey is a good place to look. The county has over 60 primary schools and is located within commutable distance from central London. In fact, a lot of people that grow up in Surrey, move away in their twenties before moving back later in life.

Cranmore Prep is one of the county’s leading prep schools. Working with a team of specialist teachers in outstanding facilities, your child can enjoy a diverse range of sports, music, drama and other activities with excellent facilities. Safe and reliable transport services are available every day within the local area. If you’re planning on attending some open days, then have a read of our guide on how to get the most out of open days.

Only 30 miles away from central London, Cranmore Prep is situated within a commutable distance for parents working in the capital. It is proud to maintain high academic standards, exceptional opportunities in sport and music, a diverse extra-curricular programme, and a commitment to nurturing pupils’ social skills and moral values.