Would you move to get into a decent catchment?

(58 Posts)
Valdeeves Fri 05-Apr-13 16:43:02

Would you move to get into a decent catchment or is it not a priority for you?
I'm feeling that I may be unhealthily obsessed and need some help here!

happygardening Fri 05-Apr-13 17:25:20

Many years ago we moved out of what was then the 5th the worst LEA in the UK and into the countryside this wasn't our sole motivation for going but it was a factor (I come from the rural idyl). We didn't look specifically at the schools as my children were not old enough but as the four LEA's in the UK that were worse than the one we were then living in were no where near where we moved we figured it could only get better.
We were keen on the idea of not paying fees and the LEA we moved to had plenty if good primaries but we still ended up paying. Such is life.

Rainbowinthesky Fri 05-Apr-13 17:26:36

Did when we rented but wouldn't sell and buy for this now.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Apr-13 17:35:12

Yes, children's education is a massive priority for our family and we would never move unless we were in the catchment of excellent schools.

DS1 goes to a really good school that we aren't in the catchment area for. He just travels there. We didn't have to move.

Manchesterhistorygirl Fri 05-Apr-13 17:46:15

Yes. See my other threads. House is going up for sale in the next couple if weeks.

DieWilde13 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:49:22

Yes, will do.

AvrilPoisson Fri 05-Apr-13 17:49:30

why wouldn't people want to give their children the best possible start in life? confused

givemeaclue Fri 05-Apr-13 17:50:01

Yes, we did, don't regret it

tomatoplantproject Fri 05-Apr-13 17:53:16

Yes. We bought on the basis we would be in the right catchment area (ttc at the time). Dh has promised he won't think about moving until dd is in the school and even then we wouldn't move too far. School is ofsted outstanding. Given the choice I would go for right school smaller property any time - education is too important and going private isn't an option financially.

Mandy21 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:55:16

Absolutely, 100%. Moved the year before my children started at school - the whole move was solely to get into an outstanding school with outstanding secondary schools. I see education and schooling as one of the most important things I can get "right" as a parent. We have compromised quite alot (size of house / size of mortgage) to be in the location that we are - specifically due to the education provision.

So should I have moved? confused

Mandy21 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:59:35

I think most outstanding schools are massively over-subscribed (certainly the case where we are) so you have zero chance of getting in if you're not in catchment. That doesn't sound like its the case where you are Sparklingbrook - if you've managed to get your son into your preferred school without moving then obviously that's worked for you.

Oh right. I am sorry, I hadn't even thought of the oversubscribed thing. blush Feel awful now.

So there is a danger of moving into catchment and still not getting in? sad

Mandy21 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:13:20

It obviously depends on area. Where we are yes. My children's school has a 2 class intake (60 children) and is a church school so children of parents connected with the church (clergy, sunday school helpers for instance, leaders for children's activities - brownies etc) get priority, as do siblings. This year (just as a rough estimate) there are about 8 children of parents connected to the church, and 30 siblings, so that leaves 20 odd places for other children living in the catchment. Its a big area so there are definitely children living close to the school who won't get in. I don't think they've taken anyone out of catchment for years.

Our house is currently on the market as we need to move closer to a couple of good schools. They are always oversubscribed and the other schools close to us are unfortunately really bad. Really hoping we can get a house and sell ours otherwise I'm not sure what we will do.

tiggytape Fri 05-Apr-13 18:18:09

There is that danger - yes. It depends if you mean primary or secondary. Primary schools right now are facing a baby boom. It is not unheard of for almost every single reception place to go to siblings and therefore living in 'last year's catchment area' might mean that, this year, you totally miss out on a place.

At secondary level, assuming 200+ pupils per year, you'd be very unlucky to be gazumped by 200+ siblings so there isn't that risk. But, even then, sometimes you still have to live very close to be certain of a space - metres rather than kms for some schools. In areas where there is one decent school and lots of less desirable ones, the distance you need to live to the good one can shrink and shrink as more people move especially for a place.

lalalonglegs Fri 05-Apr-13 18:19:55

Yes, have done and would again.

And yes, sparkling, most London schools (where we live) don't have formal catchments just roads where generally people have a good chance of getting their kids into the nearby school. It only takes a birth rate spike or a particularly high sibling intake though to mean that even those living a couple of hundred metres away won't make the cut.

lljkk Fri 05-Apr-13 18:20:35

Depends what you call decent, no??!!
I just know this thread is only for people who think that ordinary is never good enough.

I feel huge hmm when I hear folk state the school is Ofsted Outstanding like that says everything there is to know. In my mind it says nothing.

Sunnymeg Fri 05-Apr-13 18:26:53

I think it depends on how well you know the school, not just hearsay from others and the OFSTED report. We considered moving in to town from our village to place DS in the catchment area for the 'best' local secondary school. However this would have added another half an hour to DH journey to work. We decided that as DS was in a low birth year, to take our chances.
When we actually visited the school prior to deciding which secondaries to opt for, we didn't actually like the one we would have moved for. All our friends have sent their children there and they have done well, but there was just something about the place we couldn't warm to. I'm so glad we didn't move as we would have spent thousands on moving to get DS in to a school we didn't actually like.

DS got a place at a school we are happy with. If we had moved we would have had no chance to get him in there.

If it were possible I would visit the schools in your area and make an honest decision about whether it is worth the upheaval to move.

poshbeaver Fri 05-Apr-13 18:29:24

We did and don't regret it at all. We put our old house on the market when DD was 6 months old to move here so that she could go to a lovely, little school. Both myself and DH are teachers and knew there was no way we would send her to any of the schools near our old house.

tiggytape Fri 05-Apr-13 18:31:32

Definitely Sunny - I am not someone who dismisses Ofsted. In fact I think a lot of their feedback is helpful to parents.
However anyone who moves just because a school is rated Outstanding without having visited and fallen in love with it and without checking the new house is so close that there's no way they'll be turned down is very brave totally nuts

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 05-Apr-13 18:35:02

We are in London. The uber school in the area has 4 class take, out of the 120 places in reception, 40 were avaiable to non-siblings/SEN etc. So you had to live very near.

Things can quickly change too, so a move doesn't always mean a good school if that school then changes.

And Ofsted can be a little like choosing a house based on the estate agents details.

However, on balance I think most parents would do it if they could etc.

racheael76 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:35:21

my child went to an outstanding school the headteacher had excellent leadership skills.he was headteacher for 15 years and then retired.we got a new headteacher and she is poor not well liked ,school website has never been touched either.looking at the school they came from ofsted rated it satisfactory.so schools can change rapidly with change.i agree with giving your child the best start but from day 1 .ie when a child is at the end of primary school they want to be with their friends so putting them into another comprehensive may make them unhappy and this could effect their school work.moral=happiness of the child should also be taken into account. is the school in a posh kind of area if so will the child be bullied many go on sking trips ,etc will your child be able to keep up.you know some mums could be like keep away from tyrone hes not a nice boy hes from a rough chavvy school play with the nice boys.

MrsGeologist Fri 05-Apr-13 18:35:30

Yes, if we were surrounded by truly awful school, that I just could not send them to.
If they were good, but not my first choice, I'd probably stay put.

So you move house, get the child in against all the odds but then the child hates the school. What then?

Viviennemary Fri 05-Apr-13 18:37:47

It would depend on the schools that were already there. If they were really poor then I would move.

tiggytape Fri 05-Apr-13 18:42:07

Actually MrsGeologist - that's probably a better point.
It makes far more sense to consider moving away from a school than it does to move closer to different ones.
If the only local option you have is well known to you and totally dire, it makes sense to move if you can to escape it.
Whereas if your local options are O.K but you move towards what are believed to be better ones, the potential for problems is much greater. As well as the possibility of not getting a place even if you move very close, you also risk the fact that the school (any school) can get dramatically worse overnight with a change of Head.

CarpeVinum Fri 05-Apr-13 18:43:36

I seriously considered moveing back to the UK to be in the catchment area of a British school when I'd had my fill of both Italian state and home ed. But then I discovered an online indpendant British secondary school and got to stay put.

I reckon even with the two and a bit grand a year it costs we'll still end up spending less than the estate agents fees and moving fees by the time he finishes his IGCEs.

I really didn't want to have to pick between being where we wanted to live and being in the right place for a decent education, but if this option hadn't been arpund I think I would have plumped for the education as the priority.

Normally by xmas I was at the slightly sweaty and run ragged stage over school. And this year I am all chill and chuffed with reportd, progress, lesson quality. Which massively impacts how much we all enjoy life, so I guess picking the place you'd rather be over access to education might mean you don't get the benefit of where you want to live cos you are all stressed out over the school.

I did have a really rough ride with our local schools though, if the alternative schools are OK rather than "oh god" perhaps it isn't such a big deal in terms of being driven quietly bonkers ?

mercibucket Fri 05-Apr-13 18:45:05

I couldn't care less about the rep of the school, and actively avoided all the middle class pushy parent ones, in favour of a school with a very mixed intake but caring ethos. Satisfactory ofsted, now moved up to good. It was not a horrible sink school either. My kids are all on line for high 5 s or 6s, so academically they have achieved what they would be expected to and I am really pleased with the emphasis the school has placed on multiculturalism, valuing individuality, and being polite and well mannered.

We chose our house based on proximity to the school we liked, so in a way, yes, but I would caution moving to an outstanding school in a very middle class area. Sometimes means a 'we have no bullying' policy (aka we ignore it), and if your child has, say dyslexia, or special needs, that might not fit with their school ethos either. I know several people at different outstanding schools whose kids have been encouraged to leave for those reasons. Not something I want my children to be tainted by.

My kids have done pretty much as well as they could do academically so it hasn't held them back.

Mondrian Fri 05-Apr-13 18:52:49

Currently considering the options, pay more for catchment property or pay more for school. Not as straight forward as one might think due to financial implications (possible drop in property value over the next few years) and state (Grammer?) vs private education.

racheael76 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:54:52

schools are all pretty much the same .if your child works hard and pays attention he will get good grades anywhere.one thing i have found in the top ability classes kids get on with there work whatever school. lower ability who dont want to work or learning problems/ austism /behaviour problems may be a difficult class to be in with many distractions going on and be a struggle for the child.

I'd be cautious about moving solely based on a school's current OFSTED rating.

Several years ago, our local primary school was in special measures, but probably close. Local families sent their children a school a few miles away to a school that was OFSTED outstanding.

Meanwhile, several local parents made the decision to place faith in the recently appointed head teacher who we felt had the ability to turn the school around. We all were fairly active, and took a huge interest in the school, and our children's education.

A recent inspection rated our school 'outstanding' and the school a few miles away has been rated as 'needs improvement' so it can all change.

RawCoconutMacaroon Fri 05-Apr-13 18:56:12

Yes, we did. Moved a few miles and into a different council area from workplace to guarantee a place at a particular secondary school, before our dc even started primary!

School catchments were a huge factor in every house move we've made, and why wouldn't it be? Education is very, very important.

Schmedz Fri 05-Apr-13 19:07:05

We found it is cheaper to pay school fees for our two children than to pay the premium on house prices (plus moving costs) to get close to a desirable state school. There is no guarantee of a place either!

Suppose we could move to a completely different part of London or the country but then we would both need new jobs, so not always an option...

orangepudding Fri 05-Apr-13 19:11:50

We moved for schools.
The school dd would have got in to was on the North Circular, children were only allowed to play outside for 20 per day due to the pollution. Academically I don't know what the school was like.
We moved out of London thinking catchment areas wouldn't be so much of an issue, we were wrong we have the same problem here. Thankfully we got dd into the school we chose.

difficultpickle Fri 05-Apr-13 20:14:23

No. There is no guarantee that if you move into the catchment of a good school it will stay a good school. When I moved to my current house the local school had an outstanding Ofsted report. By the time I had ds it was in special measures and several years later still has a long way to go to be classed as outstanding again. I wouldn't mind if it was a one off but the other local school has gone downhill since the previous head left, not special measures but has gone from outstanding to satisfactory with some aspects requiring improvement.

Plus what do you do if the DC hate the Outstanding School after you have moved to get them in?

difficultpickle Fri 05-Apr-13 20:22:20

That's true. The shocking thing with our local school was it had been outstanding since Ofsted inspections started. The head retired and the new head just couldn't cope. The next head (who was there when I looked round) didn't know the names of the pupils who showed me round despite having been at the school for over a year. The head after that is still there now and the school has improved.

However there were a cohort of pupils who had four head teachers during their time at the school and their education clearly suffered (as mentioned in one of the Ofsted reports).

It is an expensive area and it must have been shocking to move into the area and find that the school that had been so highly regarded was now seriously failing.

Inclusionist Fri 05-Apr-13 21:23:24

I am moving for an independent school! We love it and don't want DS to have to travel 30mins there and back.

addictedtolatte Fri 05-Apr-13 21:27:38

I did smile and I don't regret it one bit

Inclusionist Fri 05-Apr-13 21:28:10

'schools are all pretty much the same'

This is a misconception.

DS1 quite likes the travelling.

Inclusionist Fri 05-Apr-13 21:33:07

I also recall not minding travelling as a child but DS will have to do long school days anyway (as I work full time) and once I pick him up at 5.30 or so I would rather he did not have another 30mins sat in the car.

TBH it's not just about the school. We want to move anyway. The school is driving the direction of the move though.

KirstyJC Fri 05-Apr-13 21:34:26

We did. We lived in an area where there were 2 poor secondary schools and 1 outstanding, and when we needed a bigger house we only looked in the village of the outstanding school. Although he is 2 years away from applying yet we are about 500 metres away so fingers crossed we will be fine.

It wouldn't have been such a big deal if the others had been OK, but they were really rough - we lived next door to a pupil who went to one and she told us not to send our kids there as the teachers didn't care, and we also know a TA who said the same. The other school was even worse on OFSTED results and has a really poor reputation also.

It was an easy decision. And we also love the village, and the house, so win-win really.grin

That's fair enough Inclusion. DS1 has half an hour on a coach that gets in at 4pm so quite convenient. Going on the coach has enabled him to mix with lots of the other kids. He's 13 though-wouldn't fancy primary School travelling.

Although saying that both DSs went to a village school 6 miles away. By car.grin

BackforGood Fri 05-Apr-13 21:37:53

Depends on what the alternatives are, and how much of a difference there is between them.
What we did, when we were moving anyway is choose an area that meant our dc didn't have to go to the (then) appalling secondary we were (at the time) in the catchment of. The house we chose meant it unlikely that dd1 would get into our first choice school when her time to move came, and, at that point, we wouldn't have considered all the expense and stress of moving again becuse the alternatives were fine.

Valdeeves Fri 05-Apr-13 22:33:51

Thanks for the feedback ladies. As someone mentioned, it's not that ordinary isnt good enough - it's just I would like a school that will give my child the best life chances. The school I want is not Outstanding - it's just small and homely.
Have a great wkend everyone xxxx

givemeaclue Sat 06-Apr-13 07:47:14

I have moved for a better catchment but I wouldn't move for a smaller and more homely school I am afraid, to me that doesn't equate to better

What about moving to the catchment of a school where you thought the child would be happy give?

lalalonglegs Sat 06-Apr-13 12:04:47

I think that's a given, sparkling

Is it though lala. Outstanding school=happy child? I hope so.

Jins Sat 06-Apr-13 12:15:43

I wouldn't and didn't move for primary but secondary was a different matter. Luckily we didn't have to face this issue

lalalonglegs Sat 06-Apr-13 13:35:54

No one would suggest that Ofsted outstanding school = happy child (although imo there's a greater chance of your child being happy st a school that is well run and at the top of its game). The vast majority of parents ask around about s school's reputation, talk to people who already have children there and visit it to gauge how their child will fit in before coming to a decision.

littlecrystal Tue 09-Apr-13 16:24:15

I would not and did not move for primary (because none were terrible), but would (and considering) move for secondary. My current local secondary option is not that bad, but I am worried about potential teenager gang issues, that horrible hat+hoodie “style”, wrong friends and greasy fried chicken shops that get visited by students after school. Can you guess by now that I am in South London? smile We will move somewhere less convenient for work but more villagey and hopefully where is less of “bad choice” options, and obviously an excellent secondary school.

JenaiMorris Tue 09-Apr-13 16:50:52

I can't think of a single school, including some very over subscribed ones, that someone I know hasn't hated (or loved).

It's easy for me to say because there really aren't any 'bad' schools locally and you can generally move schools if need be, but assuming where I live isn't that unusual then I think a lot of people put far too much emphasise on a fairly narrow definition of good. The house price premium for houses near some schools is grossly inflated.

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Apr-13 19:26:21

I would - and did - move from somewhere where there was a single school option (that was actively bad for my DS - 'Good' Ofsted school but turned him into a debilitatingly anxious selective mute) to one where pretty much all schools were OK or better.

The feeling of freedom from worry that it gave us both - that if School A did not work out, there were schools B, C or D which could all be possible (he is in a low birth year, so we had genuine school choice) was AMAZING.

I would not move for a single school that happened to have an 'Oustanding' ofsted, given all the above discussion about variation with time and also the very real chance that a school that looks good on paper may be anything but for a particular child.

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