I am considering buying a house which is on the borderline for the furthest place allocation for an excellent school. The house is 1.04m away from the school. First round allocations in 2008-2011 extended to 0.9m, 1.0m, 1.11m and 1.07m. According the Good Schools guide that house was among the furthest, but within the allocation distance in 2006-2010.
I know this is not granted but surely the 2nd round (or post-1st round allocation) provides some safety net?
I spoke with one faith school and they had first round allocation at 5 miles at further allocations extend to 8.7m. This is not exactly comparable with a secular school, but still?
There is no other house to buy in the sight. Is this a big risk to take?
There are no guarantees. People only get in after the initial allocations if others reject the places offered, e.g. because they have moved. No places are held back for later allocations. And if others move into the area after the closing date for applications and live closer to the school than you they will be ahead of you in the queue for any places that do become available. Even if you live within the furthest distance for the last few years you may be unlucky - the distance can change dramatically from year to year if, for example, there are a lot of siblings.
My foster daughter's then-family home had been comfortably within the catchment area for years, right up until the year she applied. That year the catchment area shrank shockingly and she missed out by a couple of metres (literally), no place became available from the waiting list and she ended up at the crap one everyone tries to avoid. Even if your home has always been in the catchment area in the past it's not a guarantee, even more so if it's boarderline.