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To think this is an elite school system via the back door.

(312 Posts)
1DAD2KIDS Sat 07-Oct-17 09:54:20

There is a very good state school in my city. It has great facilities, staff and excellent (plus ever improving) results. It is a school that would give any private sector school a run for its money.

As a result a strange thing has happened over the last 10 years. It was once in a pretty average area with house prices reflecting the rest of the city. But now it is within in a bubble of masivly inflated house prices and rents within its catchment area. The difference in prices between a house that is in the catchment area and one just outside it is staggering. When a house in the catchment area is on the market it's always advertised in BOLD print in the catchment area of said school. These houses fly off the market.

It's clear what is going on here. As the middle classes have been priced out of the private sector they have found a new more affordable way to set up an elite school system. Afterall when you think about it in the long run its a far more ecconomical way to get your kids in a great school without paying private sector prices and once the kids have grown up you could sell the house on again and get the money back (or more). The demographic in the school has masivly changed over the last 10 years. Now the kids are pretty much all from well off, well educated backgrounds. It is no secret that part of the schools improving high achievement is due to change in student demographic. Also the school is not short of generous parents who donate or raise extra funds for the school. The only way to get into the school as it's soon popular is to live in the catchment area. The only way you can afford to live in that area and thus attend the school is by being well off. Even pretty much all the council housing in the area has gone through right to buy and now sells/rents at ridiculous prices.

What has happened in this case is clear. It is an elite school were you can only go to if you can afford the very expensive catchment area. A school for the well off funded by the state. There is nothing technically wrong but is there something morally wrong? Is it in the spirit of the state school system to have an excellent state school were only those wealthy enough can attend due to catchment area? Or is it just another obstical to social mobility?

PaperdollCartoon Sat 07-Oct-17 09:57:14

You know this is the case with literally thousands of schools around the country? Good schools push house prices up, same as being close to good transport links, good parks and any number of other things that make an area more desirable. It's a problem caused by the myth of a choice system.

NapQueen Sat 07-Oct-17 09:58:06

Its a vicious circle. A school must have a catchment area of sorts. A good school increases the value of homes within the catchment area. Expensive homes bring affluent families.

However affluent families doesnt automatically = better results. The kids still need to work hard and have home support.

overmydeadbody Sat 07-Oct-17 09:59:43

It's supply and demand though isn't it. It's a natural thing, rather then some deliberate elite plan.

InspMorse Sat 07-Oct-17 10:00:28

We can't move closer to DC's school for this very reason.
They got in legitimately before the mad rush for places. House prices in the catchment area have gone through the roof over the last 3/4 years.
In London (not where we live) this has been happening for years.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:00:43

Ime you can get into these schools when you live out of catchment but you have to apply partway through the year as people are always moving on.

I've done this myself and it's a sensible approach to an otgerwise closed door.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:01:22

But it's always been the way. There is nothing new about that situation.

5rivers7hills Sat 07-Oct-17 10:01:26


“Oh we don’t believe in paying for education, it’s so unethical creating that kind of a divide” says rich middle class white couple who buy a house inside a good school catchment area at 2x the cost of a non catchment school.

Ktown Sat 07-Oct-17 10:02:12

But this is the same for any relatively wealthy area.

Gorgosparta Sat 07-Oct-17 10:02:17

This is how it is for all top schools.

Dd goes to an outstanding secondary. We got her in on appeal due to difficulties she has.

If we want ds to go. We would have to move. Which means the same house would be 75k-100k more.

Its a problem. A real problem because good schools (and schools in general) are so over subscribed. If all schools were good or if over subscription wasnt such a problem, it wouldn't cause house prices to shoot up so much.

KERALA1 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:03:24

Major factor in choosing our house

munchkinmaster Sat 07-Oct-17 10:03:40

We live in one such bubble. The extra on our mortgage in interest would pay for one to go private for secondary.

It's a vicious cycle though. The other state schools round here are terrible so anyone with any financial means and drive for their kids scrapes the money together and buys a smaller house in the bubble

You see a lot of people selling up when youngest child is in first year secondary.

Floralnomad Sat 07-Oct-17 10:03:53

This is not unusual it happens all over the place ,assuming the school doesn't have an entrance exam they still take their fair share of children with lower ability , justbprobably not many on pupil premium .

RainyApril Sat 07-Oct-17 10:05:27

The only thing surprising about your post is that you seem to think you've spotted something unique.

All over the uk, houses in good school catchments fetch a premium.

It's wrong that the wealthy are able to monopolise good schools by buying expensive houses, but I'm not sure what you could do about it.

NC4now Sat 07-Oct-17 10:06:47

I'd always consider the schools available when deciding where to live.

purplecollar Sat 07-Oct-17 10:07:10

It's been happening since I was a dc in the 1970s. It's one of the reasons I quite like that our secondary school is now so huge it's catchment can extend to 4 miles some years. It ensures that most are able to go there, regardless of which side of town they live.
This seems to eliminate those tiny select areas. But unfortunately the primary schools still have the same problem.

WhichNewWoof Sat 07-Oct-17 10:07:46

House prices near good private schools go up even more if it makes you feel any better! Houses in a desirable location will always command a premium. Children from well off parents will always have more support etc. This is why we at least have pupil premium. What would you do? Place children in schools by their parents income and have people criss-crossing the city each morning?

bearstrikesback Sat 07-Oct-17 10:08:11

Is it Cranbrook? They have recently been forced to change their main intake to 11 rather than 13 to stop the prep school bias. I suspect the catchment area will go next.

Personally, I have never understood the attraction as compared to NI state grammars, Cranbrook is very average.

namechangedtoday15 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:14:16

Agree that its true all over the country. Houses prices here can vary by £100k or more for similar standard 3 bed semis just because they're half a mile apart, one in catchment of good schools, one not.

But its been the same for at least one generation - my parents definitely considered schools when they decided where to live in the early 1970s. Complaining about this phenomenon now, as if its a new issue is odd.

Taxminion Sat 07-Oct-17 10:16:06

It can be tackled if there is the will to do so. In our area a primary school's catchment went down to 100m. People rented or bought in the catchment and legitimately secured places. A number of these places became freed up when kids left for prep schools later on.

This has now changed to a wider catchment area where places are decided by lot (there is a sibling policy). Still a mostly posh area but slightly more diverse.

The Head also says that the school will not provide references for those who leave for private schools half way through. It took about 20 years of complaints, lobbying and numerous appeals before the LEA/School Governors budged though.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:18:15

no need to patronise the op just because she's had a realisation either!

Witchend Sat 07-Oct-17 10:19:18

It's not the school that advertises the houses with catchment areas to bring the richer people into their catchment.
It's the estate agents advertising something about their houses that brings the prices up.

If people could get a better school and pay less they'd do it.

DingDongDenny Sat 07-Oct-17 10:19:44

What happens if the school starts failing - maybe due to change of Head or other factors - do people end up in negative equity.

Does anyone know of this happening?

Teddygirlonce Sat 07-Oct-17 10:20:21

This is why I'm in favour of a lottery system for secondary schools.

It really disadvantages the families who aren't well-off and can't afford to play the game. Mind you, that's life, in terms of paying for tutors, exam remarks etc..

Floralnomad Sat 07-Oct-17 10:20:43

Personally, I have never understood the attraction as compared to NI state grammars, Cranbrook is very average
How on earth does the grammars being good in NI help people who need to live in / near cranbrook , that's one hell of a commute .

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