Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

What's more important - fab house or fab school?

(24 Posts)
alittleteapot Mon 08-Nov-10 15:31:39

We're trying to move at the moment, in time for the deadline for us to apply for school for dd who starts reception next sept.

I've always been on the relaxed side about schools, in theory anyway. It's important to me that my children go to local school and are part of community etc.

However, it's impossible not to get drawn into worrying about it when your'e looking for a house at hte very time your child is going to start school, and the more i think about it and start to look at schools I think how can you not want your child to go to a school that is deemed at least good if not outstanding?

Where we're at is we've seen a nice enough house near a really lovely school and a really lovely house near a school that has an only satisfactory ofsted report.

Which is the more important? I'm going round in circles in my mind. (obviously going to look at the satisfactory school to see what i think for myself, but still, doesn't feel quite right to spend htat much money on a house near a school that EVERYONE doesn't think is good...)

Please help me with my dilemma as deadline is looming and I'm all of a fluster!

alittleteapot Mon 08-Nov-10 15:32:36

btw i've put this in parenting because i guess i mean what's more important for your child. but as a happy family is the most important thing for your child i guess i mean what's best for the family.

Fiddledee Mon 08-Nov-10 17:11:09

probaby the only reason you can afford the fab house is that it is near a school nobody wants. visit both and decide - although a kids future will not depend on how nice their house is.

runmeragged Mon 08-Nov-10 17:14:23

I would choose a good education over a good house. Houses cost more around good schools for that reason. I would check that the schools are as you think they are - visit them/check with current parents as I personally don't think ofstead reports are gospel.

catinthehat2 Mon 08-Nov-10 17:15:55


YOu can always move on after a few years to a fab house. YOu can't re insert 7 years of fab school to replace 7 years of OK school.

dikkertjedap Mon 08-Nov-10 17:27:32

I would always go for the school. I think that education is a lot more important than a house. The reason that the fab house is affordable is exactly because it is not near a good school. You could gamble on that school improving of course. I agree that it is crucial to visit the schools yourself, because the Ofsted inspections can be a bit hit and miss in my experience. I would take your dc with you when you visit school to see how staff interacts. Good luck.

CharlieBoo Mon 08-Nov-10 18:43:26

We moved to our area for the school. We could have got a LOT more for our money elsewhere in the town. The school ds goes to is mega high in league tables (2nd in whole of Bucks) and the ofsted report is outstanding. The thing is my ds is in year 1 now and although generally I am happy with the school there are some things that get on my nerves, lack of communication to be just one. It doesnt tell you these things on a oftesd report. My friends dc's go to a much less desirable school on paper, but they seem to do so much more with the children, really think about things, have great comms with the parents. What I am trying to say is you need to go see the schools and ask questions and get a feel for the place.

NoahAndTheWhale Mon 08-Nov-10 18:47:55

Have you visited the schools?

I would say that going to the right school for your child/ren is very important, but it could be that a satisfactory school is actually better for you than an outstanding one.

When we moved here I visited a lot of schools and found that I preferred a "satisfactory" one to an "outstanding" one.

cory Mon 08-Nov-10 18:48:36

For us there would be other factors that would be more important than either, particularly enough money to buy books, go to the theatre and visit relatives abroad. All these I count as vital parts of my dcs' education. It's about what's important to you as a family and what works best for you.

alicatte Mon 08-Nov-10 18:54:30

You can always make the house lovely.

Then again the schools may improve/deteriorate you know. My children went to a (primary) school that had a stellar reputation when my eldest started there. Within three years it was a very different story and the 'other' school, that we did not want to be in the catchment area for, is now the 'better' school by far. Then again, my children managed to make the most of themselves anyway.

As the other posters have said - visit the schools you will know what feels right to you.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Mon 08-Nov-10 18:59:03

I would look very closely at the schools,

we are equidistant between an outstanding and a good school, instinct would say go to the outstanding school, but it really has alot of pitfalls as a school, it can be outstanding as it is very small, it has no green area outside only a small playground and the pool of friends is small.
We are a mixed race family and there is almost no racial mix at the outstanding school and there is a great mix at the good school.

Sorry that doesn't answer the question, however I wouldn't just rely on the ofsted to let you know which school may be good for your child.

alittleteapot Mon 08-Nov-10 21:59:48

thanks all, that's helpful in helping me focus. been feeling really quite wobbly tonight with the weight of parental responsibility/fear of change.

SkyBluePearl Mon 08-Nov-10 22:26:05

choose the best school and see the small house as a temporary move lasting X years.

LittlePushka Mon 08-Nov-10 22:48:55

Swimming against the tide here but I would go for the home over the school. Schools can change remarkable quickly with different cohorts of children/staff changes/management changes.

Also, i think a comfortable happy home life if much more valuable to a child than how "good" a school is - if your childs education is in the forefront of your mind then it will be so whether she goes to a satisfactory school or an outstanding one.

I also think the decision is highly swayed by whether you as a person are a bit nomadic in your life or whether you like to stay in one place and put down good long lasting roots.

Also,...its good to wobble. Helps you make a good decision (whichever it will be). Good luck with your choices.

overthehill Mon 08-Nov-10 22:59:46

I agree with those who say that you need to spend some time at the schools and try to get a feel for them. My dc's went to a school that only got a 'satisfactory' Ofsted but was right for them, and my dd especially was very happy there. Some friends of mine moved to our city and chose another school purely on the basis of Ofsted report, but guess what happened: both their ds's were bullied and their younger one was labelled as very lazy, and all attempts by my friend to get the school to recognise that he had speical needs were ignored. (They then took him for a private consultation and he was diagnosed as having dyspraxia). Against their principles they sent him to a private school where he really blossomed, and he has just left secondary school and gone to Oxbridge.

piscesmoon Mon 08-Nov-10 23:23:17

School first, house second- but do visit the schools on a normal working day-don't go by Ofsted, local opinion or league tables.

Roo83 Tue 09-Nov-10 07:42:21

Please don't just go by the ofsted report,there is so much more to a school than that. Also they could have another ofsted between now and your dd starting and get a different rating. It is much more important go look round the school,get a general feel for the place and how well dd will fit in

alittleteapot Tue 09-Nov-10 09:13:53

it's hard when you're looking in a wide area to visit all schools although that's what we're trying to do. Some don't have appointments till December, some don't call back. We've left it way too late. Having said that we have been looking since April. Horrible anxious feeling!

piscesmoon Tue 09-Nov-10 10:08:38

Narrow it down a bit with the Ofsted or send for a prospectus and then be a bit more assertive over visits say 'I would like to make an appointment to see the school next week, which day is convenient?' If they say none, then ask them for the following week, tell them it is urgent because you are thinking of making an offer on a house.
Even better say 'I am in the area next Tuesday could I pop in and see you?'

Fennel Tue 09-Nov-10 13:20:04

Our school is lovely, my 3 dds are happy and doing fine there, as are their friends. It's a Satisfactory ofsted, but always oversubscribed.

The dds started off in an Outstanding school, then were in a Good school, and are now in the Satisfactory school. And really we can't see a difference in terms of quality of education, or much else. the current one is a small village school which falls down in its OFsteds on range of amenities, being totally oriented to the national curriculum and SATS, and not being very multicultural.

it's fine though. dds are very happy there. It really has not been a different experience from the Outstanding or Good schools.

cory Wed 10-Nov-10 11:14:53

Also, houses mean more to some families than to others. For me and my dcs/brothers/nephews, our absolute focus in the world is the summer house that my family has owned for three generations- I'd rather starve than see that go. But the house we live in is far less important. So it's all relative.

alittleteapot Wed 10-Nov-10 12:26:26

A really lovely is def important to me. BUt having viewed a school this morning (ofsted good with outstanding features) that I thought was AWFUL and depressing -
oh dear the answer is they're both important - and estate agents and ofsted can't decide for me. The good news is I think I know what we want in theory and where and that we could afford it. But it isn't there to be had...

So, rent? Not a great solution but beginning to wonder...

monkeyflippers Wed 10-Nov-10 13:04:03

I think you have to weigh it all up carefully. It isn't as simple as choosing a house over a school or the other way around.

We were in a similar situation. We loved the school where we lived but couldn't afford to buy a house there so had to chose a cheaper area. We could have stayed in the flat we were renting but we had run out of room way before and it was becoming very unpractical and stressful all living on top of each other.

In the end we went for a school with a satisfactory ofsted and at first I was really worried but my child has settled in lovely. All the local parents love the school which says a lot I think.

bobblehat Wed 10-Nov-10 13:20:29

I would echo what a lot of people have said on here. A good school is one that is right for your child, and although ofsted reports will give you an insight, but it does not give the full picture.

For example, we moved 2 years ago about 100 miles due to a job move so the dc's had to change schools. The previous infants school had an outstanding ofsted, but after 2 years there, I knew it wasn't perfect by a long shot.

The juniors where ds1 is now scraped a satisfactory rating in it's ofsted a couple of years ago. Since then it's had a new head and was ofsteded again a few weeks ago. It's now good, and not far off outstanding. As a parent, I think it's much better than the outstanding infants he was at 2 years ago.

So, read the reports, but do look round the schools as well to get a feel of them. And remember that schools change!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: