Catchment Areas: Moving House To Attend Top Local Schools

The UK government has recently seen much topical news coverage on the recently raised topic of education, and the new Prime Minister’s suggestion as to whether reinvestment in to traditionally British, public Grammar schools could help improve the overall standards over the slowly phased-out, two-tiered state school system.

Due to the lack of funding in some boroughs, compared to others, there has been a growing divide in comprehensive school standards, with many parents now opting for their children to attend faith schools or grammars that omit the postcode selection process entirely.

The drastic willingness for parents who simply cannot afford a private education has instead seen a rise in solutions to beat this postcode lottery. – and even then, many of the best comprehensives are still massively over-subscribed, with some London Borough Secondary schools only able to offer one space per ten applicants.

Strain On Comprehensives

This has been brought to the forefront of discussion due to a large surge in child population, which looks to be the highest since the Baby Boomer’s offspring growing up in the 1970s. The one-size-fits-all comprehensive system is a noble ideology that should be achievable, however with the communication and feedback reviews on online parent portals expose the wide differences many state schools face, it is increasingly clear that gold-painted popular schools and their less desirable, lower-rated Ofsted alternatives offer their places each year to their local catchment area – essentially a postcode perimeter around each school.

Catchment Areas

Catchment areas were first set out to ensure a fair, locally managed way to offer school places for all. Able to guarantee the best features of demographic and economic diversity, the comprehensive system should, at its inclusive and dynamic best, select a fair and wide mixture of students from all backgrounds and abilities.

The Guardian has reported that the reason for a quarter of all those moving home is now, primarily, to obtain a better chance in gaining the desirable state school place.

The rise in cost of living and high cost of house prices in certain areas has hit the middle classes. The wanton need for a good school for those who would have once afforded their children a private education, are now resorting to the next best thing – moving house within a desirable school catchment area.

While this seems a drastic but natural, well-meaning solution by parents to ensure the best educational chances for an ever-rising population of children, this isn’t without the consequence of social gentrification.

The Guardian reports, “In Wales, where the average house price was £117,000, families were paying a further 15%, or £17,000, to be within range of a desirable school”, while London Boroughs have seen a huge School premium of up to £77,000 on a modest London 400K home.

Renting A Second Property

The Guardian’s article goes on to report that one in six rentals are now let to create a temporary address within a desired catchment area. The House Shop is an easy way to view and list properties all over the UK. Web portals for house buying and rentals are the perfect way to gain a quick, hassle-free valuation on your home or others in your nearby catchment area. They also offer free listings for property lettings and sales.

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