Move house because of school?!(18 Posts)
Thanks for the input CBM. I have checked out those areas and when I search for a house that is less than £300K more than the likely market value of our current home there are around 10 search results for all areas combined (and all have fewer bedrooms, smaller garden and living space!). This doesn't include the cost of stamp duty and fees (mortgage and estate agent) which for properties of this price range is already equivalent to a few years private school fees. Not to mention that moving from our current home would mean getting to work for both DH and I would be extremely difficult due to significantly increased distance and indirect transport links. So for us, being fortunate to have places at an indie that my children love which is close by to where we currently live, is not only less expensive but less disruptive.
Appreciate this is not the case for everyone but has certainly proved true on the numerous occasions over the past decade we have looked into moving!
Schmedz - Areas such as Herne Hill, North Dulwich, East Dulwich in catchment for Charter, Harris Boys and Harris Girls east Dulwich, or Streatham in catchment for Dunraven and also Elmgreen, with nearby selective options at Graveney and scholarship and lottery options at Kingsdale (currently in a dip). Or within catchment for Harris Crystal Palace, or for girls, Sydenham Girls (the state, not the private). All very popular schools and doing well in absolute terms and the context of the demographic stats.
Some of these areas have extremely expensive roads, but are mostly humdrum, and in some cases 'cheap' for London.
We live in quite a large house, and to move to the catchment of a good comp, within a fair distance for dh to commute to work, to a similar house, would cost us at least £300k more than what our current house is worth.
We would also probably end up down sizing and losing a fair chunk of garden. The housing market is horrible here, so we can't even put a figure on what our house would sell for or if it would. ( The closest house to ours insize, locally, has been on the market on and off for 3 years, rumoured longer)
We know quite a few people who have moved to get their children into better schools, We chose to pay fees instead and stay put. We are mortgage free and for us it is a cheaper option.
Wimbledon and surrounds (probably also technically RBK and Surrey than London..but certainly everywhere we looked when we have, on numerous occasions, tried to move. Frustrating that these premium price houses are even smaller than our own current home and occasionally double the price or more. Possibly prices just as influenced by transport links as the schools.
Would love to know which area of South London you are in for it to be so inexpensive!
"it actually works out cheaper to pay private school fees than the premium price on a well located house, not to mention that if it is oversubscribed you have no guarantee of a place. But that is London."
In our area of S London housing is cheaper than other areas, and a choice of good comps. Where on earth does a schools premium on housing add up to 300k or so? (That it would cost to put 3 kids through private school)
Sadly we can't afford any houses in areas near the 'good' comprehensives (that would be practical with work!) and it actually works out cheaper to pay private school fees than the premium price on a well located house, not to mention that if it is oversubscribed you have no guarantee of a place. But that is London.
I wouldn't move for primary but we did for secondary.
We were renting thus had the choice that that brings. We were very lucky with teh DS's infant/junior combo- we had to find a place for DS1, (4, then), 6 weeks before starting school () having arrived from abroad, and we landed on our feet. Our renter was in the catchment of the 'best performing' primary in the area but it was full and we really disliked the Head when we had a last minute, waiting list interview. Arrogant twat. The next nearest school was a 'gamble', sight unseen etc but we were very lucky- it was a great school, BUT it fed into a secondary we weren't that happy about. It would have been OK for DS1 who is relatively clever, but DS2 would've ended up in the less-able/disruptive classes (imho a feature of 'average' comps where the lower sets are full of the less able and the less-arsed, determined to destroy the educational chances of the committed, well-behaved, quiet but less-able)- So, for DS1's Y6 (and DS2's Y4) we moved into the catchment of the best academically performing comp we could find (only a 4 mile move), our reasoning being that the school in question produces 92% A-C GCSE inc Eng + Maths so we hope that stat will encompass DS2!
We paid £50,000 over the odds for the house BUT we feel it was a good investment (versus how many thousand in private fees!).
We initially (legally!) rented in catchment in order to buy time to choose the house we liked, which we're now in.
So yes, I'd move for a school catchment.
We did and it didn't work out. We got into the primary school that we wanted and 2 years later the Head left and the school went downhill. We've ended up paying for private school.
Where we live just a short walk to town centre and good bus services also we got a few friends nearby which friendship that took a long time to build for us adults. Although only just the next borough but still it is not quite the same as walking distance to everywhere. If we do move we will have to rely on cars and buses a lot more however it would be just a short walk to that secondary school. Also the houses in the new area will be a lot more expensive because of the good schools. Tough!!!
We moved, mainly for schools, at primary and have no regrets. The school our DC went to for primary isn't perfect but it's far better than the ones on offer nearby where we used to live and it has been an idyllic life for them.
If you can see something better, why not go for it?
I don't think a child will ever be singled out for coming from a primary school in another borough! They are all mixed up in 'big school' - no-one cares what primary they came from! And a bully can crop up anywhere.
If you feel strongly that a certain school suits your child, then I would move. 7 years of their education is important! But move properly and live there, don't rent just to get a place.
I know loads of people who have moved mainly for schools! Many seem to do it in haste though based on hearsay, so well done for thinking it all through.
We are considering a similar move for secondary but within our current borough. We are not feeling great about this as we like life where we are, but the area near the good school is probably safer for teenagers. But quality of life and length of commute will be worse for us parents. It will also cost a bomb.
We hope to visit the schools this year to get an idea whether it is all worth the hassle. Good luck with weighing up your options.
Thanks for your replies. My dc and I visited several schools during last Sept and dc just so set his heart on this particular secondary school. It was a formal grammar school but now a comp. I also quite like the school atmosphere even before I realised it was originally a grammar school. My main concern is after all the hassle of moving house and then finds he doesnt get on with the school because of silly things like bully or being single out because he did come the primary schools in the same borough. The disappointment would be far bigger for us.
Agree with Carling - I wouldn't move house based on a school's reputation either good or bad. You'd have to visit your local schools and the alternatives in the neighbouring borough and see what you think for yourself.
Sometimes a school will specifically meet a child's needs (if the school has a dyslexia unit or extensive sports facilities or 10 different bands and orchestras) and you may feel that this is desirable. But if you are basing it purely on good results / less good results then also look at the bigger picture like intake and selection and value added (how well pupils progress from their starting point).
I wouldn't worry about friendships so much - high school often means making new friends for many children. Even ones that move up together often get split up and the schools are so big that if they aren't in the same form or sets, they won't really mix. And as Carling says, if you do move, you'd have to know in advance which school you wanted and how close you'd have to move to be safe. It probably isn't possible to hedge your bets, you'd have to narrow it down to just one to make sure the house move isn't a waste.
You don't have to live in a borough to go to it's school's - as long as you meet the admission criteria. I presume you live too far away to get in on distance?
Have you actually visited the schools? You cna go to the Open Days a year or two early.
I wouldn't move house just on general hearsay - I would possibly move if DC did not have a local school to suit and there was a school we especially wanted. You'd haev to move to the catchment of a specific school, anyway, so would need to do detailed research.
DC go to a comp with a very mixed intake, some high achieving, some less engaged. Some lovely kids, some who may well end up in jail. They are doing well and enjoying it.
The secondary schools in our borough are not great but many parents just put up with them. Many of their dcs still turned out ok in the end and some went on to do 6 form in Gramma schools.
However we are thinking about moving to the next borough where it has better secondary schools. Just sometimes we feel as if though we are just over worried unnecessarily. Has anyone moved house just because of schools? Sorry but any regrets? Does your dc have any problems with the local kids e.g. being single out?
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