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New home and catchment area dilemma

(28 Posts)
Aquiver Tue 03-May-16 07:45:16

DH and I are stuck in a quandary at the moment (and it is causing me to have sleepless nights worrying!).

Would you go for:

A) Our dream home - at absolutely top end of our budget, requiring no extra work and in a lovely area but outside of the catchment for the local 'outstanding' nursery and primary school, but within the catchment of a 'good' local school.


B) Complete project house - cheaper, but requiring probably equivalent cash to get it up to standard (new kitchen, bathrooms, complete redecoration, new roof, garden redesign) - but absolutely within the tiny catchment area of the outstanding school

confused ???

IceMaiden73 Tue 03-May-16 07:48:58

I'd go for A - school ratings changes, houses don't

MrsCurly Tue 03-May-16 07:50:44

I'd ignore the school catchment element and ask yourself if you want to do up a house or not.

Aquiver Tue 03-May-16 07:52:36

Thanks Ice - we are inclined toward A too but I feel so torn, I don't want to make a 'wrong' decision!

Mrs - we would def prefer not to have to go for a big project home, all things being equal.

Pootles2010 Tue 03-May-16 07:55:42

Have a look at the schools. Ours is outstanding, it's also rammed because the world & his wife want their kids in there.

This means much less one on one time for the children.

Follyfoot Tue 03-May-16 07:55:58

I'd go for the first house and not give the second a thought tbh.

BasinHaircut Tue 03-May-16 07:56:47

We moved last year to a particular school catchment area. Last ofsted was a few years ago. Just had their next ofsted and it needs improvement!

Fourormore Tue 03-May-16 07:57:30

I'd go and see the schools. Our outstanding one is like an army camp. The good one has a much better feel to it.

Aquiver Tue 03-May-16 07:58:07

That's interesting pootles because the local good school (scenario A) does have much smaller class sizes, which I felt was positive.

NapQueen Tue 03-May-16 07:58:15

Do you have kids?

albertcampionscat Tue 03-May-16 08:00:42


What are the secondary schools like?

Brainnotbrawn Tue 03-May-16 08:00:50

I would go for location. Which of the 2 is in a better location? School catchment is only a teeny part of the location consideration, your children will not be in that school for very long in the scheme of your home ownership.

Lighteningirll Tue 03-May-16 08:01:04

Schools change, catchment change go with the house you love. Me I'd always buy a project as i want my own kitchen, bathroom and layout.

MrsJamin Tue 03-May-16 08:01:09

Also check the last admission year's longest distance from school if they are oversubscribed, a local school in Reading takes its nonsiblings from 0.18 miles away!

AgentProvocateur Tue 03-May-16 08:01:53

A every time. Unless you have twice as much spare money as you think you'll need and endless free time, a project house with small children is a complete ball ache.

inkyblue Tue 03-May-16 08:03:07

I really wouldn't rely on Ofsted reports. The 'outstanding' schools that my DC have attended really haven't been the best for them iykwim. A lot could change by the time your dc attend.

Melawen Tue 03-May-16 08:06:26

Interesting - you've said pretty much what I've been thinking these last few weeks and I'm gradually coming round to the idea that schools change but houses don't.

Blu Tue 03-May-16 08:09:26

Since you have good schools (really no need to stress about the difference between good and outstanding, if they are both happy successful schools) just concentrate on which house you would prefer.

What about secondary catchments, if you are planning this as a long term house?

Location of each house? Can you walk to a shop? The school? Will your children be able to visit friends easily?

Respective gardens? Aspect?

Do you e not a project? How does the money pan out?

Schools can easily go up or down between 'good ' and 'outstanding ' based on a couple of factors that wouldn't concern a sane adult. You could find these two schools swap status. Heads come and go, etc.

Does one have a v small intake? (Smaller pool of friends can be a disadvantage).

origamiwarrior Tue 03-May-16 08:22:51

Small class sizes in a 'good' school wins out over large class sizes in an 'outstanding' school every time for me.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 03-May-16 09:34:42

Ooh, going against the grain. Location, location, location for me - but a big part of that would be the school. But it is more than the Ofsted rating - do you know the area? Do you know anyone with children at the schools?

We moved to house B in your scenario, a do-er upper in catchment. Visited quite a few schools, and although I was swayed by the Ofsted reports (actually I disagree that schools change drastically in the short term - my DCs' school has been "outstanding" for at least 10 years if not more), it was more its reputation (for being great academically) but also very much community based / social.

rubberducker Tue 03-May-16 09:55:43

A - I have friends who are teachers who have taught in both outstanding and good schools and all have said there is little/no difference, in fact one said it was more that the outstanding schools know how to present themselves/their admin for maximum ofsted points than being anything to do with the teaching/wellbeing of the pupils.

Small classes would win every time for me as long as the school is good and the secondary options are acceptable.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 03-May-16 10:25:30

OP just one point - School B may have smaller class sizes now because it is under subscribed (worth checking on your LA's website). Class sizes may change year on year depending on demand, are likely to increase if school is regarded as desirable in the future, definitely something you need to check with the school if it is going to be a factor in your decision.

Aquiver Tue 03-May-16 14:56:07

Hi all - thanks for the responses, it is good to talk it out as my head was swimming with pros and cons yesterday for both!

My heart really isn't in the project house (so I'm probably a bit biased already!). I will also schedule a visit to the schools.

House hunting is so tedious angry

Blu Tue 03-May-16 17:06:36

Definitely do not buy a doer-upper unless your heart is well and truly deep in it!!!!

I don't think the difference between 'outstanding' and good' is in any way 'drastic'!

meditrina Tue 03-May-16 17:13:30

Being in catchment may not be enough. Have the schools taken all the catchment children in the recent past?

So as that might not in itself be enough to guarantee you a place (unless this is Scotland), you may as well go for the house you want and bite your fingernails down to the knuckles when it is your turn for the admissions round.

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