School catchments: why the right address is vital when relocating families

Relocating a professional is a tough job as it is, but add into the mix a family facing a complex school admissions process and finding the right property for your client becomes a different ball game.

Although many people relocating from global shores will have a financial package covering private education, that’s not always the case – especially for employees who are moving within the UK. Our state-run schools are some of the best in the world but since the introduction of Ofsted rankings and league tables, it has become much easier to identify the highest-flying facilities. This has had a direct impact on where families live, with the very best schools tightening their admissions catchment. In many cases, applicants have to live less than a mile from the school to stand a chance of their children gaining a place.

In fact, the school with the tightest admission area in 2015 was Fox Primary School in Kensington and Chelsea, where children must live within 107 yards of the gate. Unsurprisingly, the school has an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Fox Primary School is just one of many where the key admissions area is less than 300 yards. There’s also the grammar school network to navigate in some counties, once again with tight catchments and the added pressure of entrance examinations at set times of the school year.

The race to live in the right area is not confined to early years education either. A report by The Social Market Foundation found that location is now a much bigger influence on children’s achievement at every academic stage than it was for previous generations, with children’s performance more dependent on the area in which they grow up than parental income. The report went on to claim that GCSE results are highest in London and lowest in Yorkshire – a result of massive improvement and investment in the capital’s schools since the 1980s when many were classed as underperforming. 

Of course, inflated prices can be expected in the most sought-after catchment areas. Research from Lloyds Bank in autumn 2015 revealed parents are paying an extra £41,000 to buy a home near the top state secondary schools in England. Evidence from letting agents on the ground suggests this is also true for rents, so factor in higher charges when compiling relocation proposals for families keen on the best state education.

For properties to rent near the best UK state schools and for details of our full home search and orientation services, contact us today.


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