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to want to choose area / house size over secondary school?

(71 Posts)
stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 09:03:32

Fact: we have a specific budget, a child who is nowhere near secondary so far (about to start year 2) & are thinking of relocating in a nearby area (we have some other options) that we like & can afford. For the amount we can afford, we can buy an OK 3 bedroom house in a number of areas. However, they either don't have secondaries at all or they're 'needing improvement'.

For the same amount of money, we would most likely be able to get a 2 bedroom flat in the areas where there are some better secondaries.

AIBU to want to ignore the issue, choose the area we like & can afford, get more space for our money, and put my head in the sand a bit for secondary in the hope that the 'requires improvement' school/s might improve within the next 5 years? grin Or that other options might possibly become available within the years, and in the meantime we'll have more space & thus enjoy our home life more?

(Not sure if this should have gone to WWYD thread rather than AIBU but here goes)

KnackeredMuchly Sun 20-Jul-14 09:09:15

I would choose a small 3 bed with a good school over a 4 bed... but I think I would choose a different area if my choice was only a 2 bed flat and a good school.

Buying and selling is so expensive that I think I would long term rent rather than buy somewhere and possibly need to sell up and move areas in 5 years.

apermanentheadache Sun 20-Jul-14 09:26:27

Hmm.... tricky one. I think that I would prob buy the house you like and tutor if the school remains crap. However there is a v good chance it will improve in 5 years.

stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 09:32:01

We couldn't afford a 4 bedroom house anywhere. Long term renting is what we've been doing so far but I've ended up feeling now it's wasted money.

Andrewofgg Sun 20-Jul-14 09:33:01

We did the opposite, stayed in our little flat, still there now after DS has moved out, put all our eggs in the educational basket, and I don't regret it.

dontcallmemam Sun 20-Jul-14 09:33:32

5 years is a long time, schools can improved a lot in that time frame.
However, moving is so expensive I'd probably try & find a property in a 'good catchment' if it were me.

chesterberry Sun 20-Jul-14 09:33:56

I would buy the house I liked and hope it would improve over the next 5 years, and it should do. A failing school will have all sorts of resources (human and otherwise) put into it to try and get it up to scratch. I would have thought within 5 years it should have improved, if it wasn't showing signs of improvement it would either be closed or, more likely, they would bring in a new and proven headteacher to bring about the change.

I really wouldn't buy a house based on the secondary school with a child who was still 5 years away from starting, even if you move somewhere with an outstanding secondary school there is no guarantee it will stay that way. Often all it takes is a change in the headteacher or other member of the senior leadership team to dramatically change a school's performance.

If it were me I would buy a house I loved in an area I loved (with a good primary or junior school) and wouldn't start worrying about secondary schools until nearer the time.

Preciousbane Sun 20-Jul-14 09:42:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 09:48:57

My inclination is also house over flat, not least because I just feel sorry to give that amount of money for a flat when the same amount can buy a house in an area really nearby. I also feel education has a lot to do with parents / homwork at home, and not just school.

But at the same time I don't want my child to have to go to a really bad secondary... so might have to go down the 11+ route etc which is by no means a guarantee sad. Or the local 'requires improvement' school might become the next fashionable outstanding grin

LemonSquares Sun 20-Jul-14 09:49:59

Our eldest was nearly 3 - we went for ok primary and a secondary that was supposed to be revamped.

Nearly 7 years later - school still needs to improve - some years after intervention things look like they look up and then they drop. You might have more luck.

The years have gone really fast.

Check deadline for applications for secondary - you apply start yr6 to about Jan - so you'd have to have sold and be in place by then or before to be comfortable of getting places. So from yr 2 in Sep - it really four years isn't it or do I have that wrong?

We are moving for work anyway - and have dilemmas there - balancing budget, schools and commute to work. It's not easy.

LemonSquares Sun 20-Jul-14 09:57:14

I also feel education has a lot to do with parents / homwork at home, and not just school.

One issue I have with local secondary is the GCSE they steer even the able students towards easier subjects to bring their stats up I think. The english bacc might stop that I suppose.

The 11 plus is another option that you'd at least have so it's not like it's sink secodary or nothing.

Area we are looking at we could have a much less good house and still not get into the good secondary as it done on distance down there - each year getting less.

We are re-looking at other areas we'd previously dismissed for other reasons to avoid the uncertainty and get a better house.

Minifingers Sun 20-Jul-14 10:05:24

I would choose house over school.

My SIL lives in a hideous area with very rough schools.

Her dc's went to a very mediocre secondary in a nicer area - many secondary schools can select a small percentage of their intake on the basis of academic/music/sporting ability and they got in this way. But the school they got into is not great.

Both children have excelled. Outstanding GCSE results for the eldest who is now heading off to six form at a fantastic state school.

Bright children at really rough schools can do amazingly well - but ONLY if you support them as SIL has supported hers: she has kept tabs on everything they've done at school, lots of contact with teachers, made them sit down to do regular homework every day, whether they've had school work set or not; tutoring, etc etc.

Minifingers Sun 20-Jul-14 10:09:15

And even the shittest schools produce children with amazing exam results.

A school in my borough which was once listed as one of the poorest performing schools in the country (in the bottom 17) recently turned out a student with 11 A* GCSE's, who had arrived in the country speaking no English 4 years before starting at the school.

It really is about you creating a resilient, resourceful child and you instilling very good work habits in them and supporting them every inch of the way. In other countries they know this, but most people are insistent that success is mostly down to schools, rather than families and the child itself. It's not.

24balloons Sun 20-Jul-14 10:13:57

It depends if your ds is bright or has any sen etc. if he is naturally bright he would probably be fine in most schools. If he is of average ability or has specific needs he may need a better school. Unfortunately both my dss wouldn't be fine at any school.

lecherrs Sun 20-Jul-14 10:25:43

How long have the schools been bad? Do they have a history of not being good, or is this a recent thing...?

We used to live in a town that has a history of bad schools, so decided to move when DD was one to an area with great schools. Didn't move far, just 20 mins down the road, but enough to be in a good catchment. We downsized for the better location and schools.

Now, DD1 is year 5 and I know so many people from that town who didn't get their children into the school they wanted (year 6, out of catchment) and the angst it has caused. I know several other friends who are trying to move before the year 6 deadline date and it all just seems so stressful. It's all anyone from that town can talk about.

I'm very glad we moved when we did. DD may not go to our catchment school, we'll look in Sept, but I'm glad we have the security of good schools all around us. For us, it's worth it, but the dufference was quite huge. Old catchment 45% of children getting 5A-C. New school, 30% getting 5A-A* in the same academic year .

Preciousbane Sun 20-Jul-14 10:27:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Minifingers Sun 20-Jul-14 10:33:32

"Old catchment 45% of children getting 5A-C. New school, 30% getting 5A-A* in the same academic year"

These figures are irrelevant unless you know what the children come in with.

queenofthemountain Sun 20-Jul-14 10:40:12

Very difficult choice.
A smaller house I would say definitely go for the good secondary, but a flat...Flats are grim I certainly wouldn't want to live in one with a child.On the other hand do not underestimate the influence that peers will have on your child as they move into their teens.
People on Mn always say schools can change, but in my experience the type of intake doesn't

stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 10:42:29

I agree that figures don't necessarily always give the whole picture. No does OFSTED. E.g. our local primary where my DS goes is OFSTED 'good' rather than 'outstanding'. But it's in fact an excellent, excellent school that all parents are extremely happy with. The reason it's getting 'good' rather than outstanding has to do with large number of children with english not as first language, and also their ethos which involves not pushing children academically too much & really focusing on excellent pastoral care & settling them in properly, particularly in infants. If someone looked only at OFSTED & didn't meet local parents, they'd be making a completley wrong judgment.

stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 10:44:01

The type of intake must change though, in lots of schools, particularly in london with the crazy spiral upwards in house prices.

TheEnchantedForest Sun 20-Jul-14 10:53:44

In your situation, I. Would rent for four years so that I could choose the secondary school my child attends then buy in the much cheaper area. It is a long game but you would end up with the larger property and your preferred school just with a longer school commute.

DogCalledRudis Sun 20-Jul-14 11:04:46

The urban demographics can change very rapidly. New building and immigration are main factors.

SaucyJack Sun 20-Jul-14 11:13:40

House over a flat every time. Living in a small flat will affect the entire family's quality of life everyday- whereas a less good school might affect one member for a few years.

Andrewofgg Sun 20-Jul-14 11:23:41

A poor school will affect that one for life. Education, education, education. That counts more.

stilllovingmysleep Sun 20-Jul-14 11:49:28

Education is not just about the school though. Happiness / quality of life / parental involvement surely count equally?

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