Up to a quarter of home movers move home specifically to make sure their children are in with the best chance of securing a place in their chosen school.* This is one of the top reasons for families choosing to move house.
This behaviour has increased competition for houses in specific areas, particularly those within the catchment areas of good schools with outstanding Ofsted reports. So in order to get your child into your preferred school, you have to be ready to move quickly, when the right home for you becomes available. This is made much easier if you can plan as far in advance as possible, so start thinking about which school you would rather your child go to before the rush begins (the deadline date for primary school applications is 15th January and secondary school is 31st October).
Be prepared to pay!
A good school can have a significant effect on house prices within its catchment area, adding up to a 20% premium onto the cost of a house. This could mean a lot less house for your money so you may need to carefully balance educational needs with the demands that growing children have on the space within a home. Some may argue that the benefits of a good education last a lifetime, and you could always move back to an area once the children have left school.
Finding out the catchment areas
There are plenty of tools that can help you determine where it is you might want to buy with regards to the local school’s catchment area. Sites such as Zoopla and Right Move both offer postcode lookups so you can start to research the areas you are interested in moving to.
Applying for the school
If you want your child to attend a specific school, you should apply at least 6 weeks before they are due to start. Each local authority is different, but the earlier you begin the process the better, particularly if there is a chance that you aren’t successful with your first choice.
You’ll need to have some sort of proof of your new address. Usually, a school will accept a solicitors letter as proof if you’ve not already moved in. If you know what school you want your child to attend, talk directly with the school and confirm that you will qualify to have your child attend if you were to move to the address. It is expensive to move somewhere in vain when you’ve done so specifically for a school.
To see more details on applying for schools, see the Gov.Uk site. Your local authority website will also have resources about local schools.