We are thinking of moving somewhere further out of London. We've got a general area in mind but I am a bit stumped about how to approach it. DD1 will need a primary school place and DD2 a childminder (although that could wait a bit). Do I look for good secondaries and primaries and then look for houses for sale nearby? How do I know if DD1 would get in, and at what stage should I call the council / school to find out (before we make an offer? After? Schools and transport would be the main factors in moving so we just couldn't move somewhere where there was no school place). I am also quite confused about secondary places - are we better to try to get close to one or in between two good ones? All a bit daunting right now!
We've just been through this and I'm sure others will also have advice.
It is best to start with commuting back into London, assuming you are. If you can walk to work from a terminus then great, but whatever you do, don't have a commute that involves half an hour on the tube once you get to London.
Once you've chosen where you want to arrive in London, find the stations that have a decent commute in terms of time, train frequency and getting a seat. This will rule out almost everywhere.
Then you need to see whether you can get a parking space at the station. If not, you need to live within cycling distance.
Then definitely look at secondary schools and I'd want to live within catchment for a good school, rather than in a place with a lot of choice. You'll want to rule out areas with grammars unless you are confident your kids will get in.
Think about primary schools last...
And don't end up with a tiny search area because it'll make finding a house you like impossible. We ended up searching in 4 villages and that worked well...
Thank you! That's a good plan. Transport should be ok as we don't plan to move that far out. But the school catchment thing is doing my head in! I've realised that in the top band our closest secondary as a 600m catchment area which we just fit into this year. Impossible to know whether that will shrink more or what by the time DD1 is ready for secondary.