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Would you move to a less nice house for the sake of a better school?

(24 Posts)
fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 11:24:43

Thinking about impact on whole family quality of life, plus finances, vs. good education (secondary). We currently have a fairly big house in a rural location, with a big garden which we use a lot (e.g. grow our own fruit and veg), but for various reasons it is worth less than one might expect. It's quite unlikely that if we moved for schools reasons we'd be able to afford a house of the same size and with as much land, and we would probably need an extra car too.

The local school is OK but not great. The other school, going on what we know so far, is quite a lot better. DC are very academic.

Worth it?

TheOriginalWinkly Thu 06-Aug-15 11:28:47

I would. One of the reasons we're trying to move (in fact probably the main reason) is because the schools round here are crappy. It will more than double our commute but it will be worth it. A good fit school and a positive learning environment is so incredibly important.

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 11:36:36

I agree. We moved for schools.

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 11:38:42

sad Can't bear the thought of moving.

WhispersOfWickedness Thu 06-Aug-15 11:40:12

It would depend on how 'bad' the local school was.

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 11:46:30

It must be hard when you have a house you love, but I think education trumps everything pretty much. I think for secondary school aged children, the priorities are being in an environment which pushes them to strive to achieve, will continue a love of learning, having friends they can meet up with (when you say rural - are they safe to be walking home in the evening if they've met up with friends or will you become a taxi service anyway if you stay where you are?). Sweeping generalisation, but I don't know many teenagers who relish the prospect of living rurally so they can grow their own friend and veg grin!

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 06-Aug-15 11:46:59

Primary or secondary? I wouldn't move for a better primary school, unless the school was really diabolical. An academic child will usually do OK pretty much anywhere, and you can make up/push them with extra-curricular stuff.

I'd be more inclined to move for a better secondary, but would deepend on how bad the alternative really is. Bear in mind that less good schools are usually trying really, REALLY hard to get better.

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 11:53:33

Local school:
Advantages: small, friendly family atmosphere, acquaintances speak well of it, collaborates with the better school in 6th form, LA stats say it does well for highly able pupils.
Disadvantages: last 2 OFSTEDs were 'requires improvement', crumbling infrastructure, stats for general GCSE achievement not great. Reputation over the years has been rocky - poor for a long while, then turned around by a new head, but that head has just left.

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 11:56:53

Mandy rural = safe to walk home, good public transport links to nearby city. It's a large commuter village really, not middle-of-nowhere rural.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 06-Aug-15 12:01:46

Ask them how many of their kids go on to Oxbridge/uni in general, and what they study. Your kids may be high achievers now, but what if they aren't in the future - also ask what careers advice they give to kids who don't want to go to university.

I would imagine the exiting head will have put in good governance before he/she left to ensure teh school doesn't slip again - it will probalby have regualar inspections for a whild to ensure it doesn't.

There's more to a school than crumbling infrastructure - the school I attended in the 70s was crumbling then, and it's still there and doing well. You need to look beyond that to the actual care and tuition children get. The best way to do this is to speak to kids and their parents who already attend this school.

Their website should show procedures for dealing with under achieving children and those who are G&T. But I'd look at pastoral care too.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Thu 06-Aug-15 12:05:56

I'd want to be certain that the "better" school really is better. Schools can change very quickly - all the things that have led to your current one going up and down can happen there too. For me I would need to know that I was making a significantly big step up education-wise to sacrifice what sounds like your forever house.

Can you definitely not get the DC into the other school?

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 12:22:50

Closter we are outside of catchment, and it is well known to be the best local comprehensive. LA stats show it was oversubscribed last year with almost twice as many applications as places. To be sure of going there, we would need to move into catchment, especially bearing in mind that DC2 was born in a boom birth year.

Is it really 'better'? On paper, it seems that way, in terms of results, OFSTEDs, year 13 destinations, range of subjects and extra-curricular activities, facilities...

Damn, why isn't life easy?

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 12:37:52

And yes, we had always hoped it would be our forever house. When we got it, we knew in terms of property investment it was not financially advantageous, but we went for it with the thought of being there long term, rather than a step in the property ladder. We knew at the time that the local secondary was rather 'meh' but that stage for us was a long way off and we hoped it would improve, deciding to cross that bridge when we came to it. We are almost at that bridge - DC1 going into Yr 5 - I reckon if we decide on moving we should be planning for it now.

Crusoe Thu 06-Aug-15 12:40:12

Yes and we did it recently. School was actually damaging my ds so we found the right one and moved to enable him to go there.
He is now thriving. The downside is the new house has been a real compromise and has needed loads of work. I don't love the house or area but my ds comes first. Maybe when he has flown the nest we can move again...

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 06-Aug-15 12:41:20

If he's just going into year 5 - loads of things can change in the next two years. I really wouldn't move for a school that's good today. As another poster has said - schools can rise and fall dramatically quickly with a few changes of key personel.

Consider also the effect a change in family circumstances might have on DH - how would he feel if you move to a less nice house in a less nice area so that he can go to a school that's a good'un especially if it's not such a good'un by the time he starts his GCSEs.

pinkje Thu 06-Aug-15 12:49:18

I would give it a year, see how the new Head teacher performs, before making the decision.

ChablisTyrant Thu 06-Aug-15 12:55:50

Don't worry about sixth form because there are always places available for smart pupils at any school. So your questions are just will your kids be happy and do well at GCSE?
You could think about whether you could support your kids at the local school with extra top-up activities to compensate for any shortcomings as they arise. Private tutors, summer language courses, studying an extra GCSE outside school, doing open access online courses as a family to suit interests.
This would work out much cheaper than the cost of moving (stamp duty etc) and could align nicely with your children's personal talents as they emerge. This is basically what my mum did for us up to age 16.

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 12:56:06

Crusoe if it were a case of DC being unhappy in a school then of course I would move like a shot.

MrsLeigh I presume you mean DC grin. But your basic point is right. In terms of who is most bonded to our house, it's probably me and DC1; DH is more pragmatic, and DC2 is a bit young to be so bothered. Also both DH and I are probably bringing personal baggage to the thought process: DH has anxieties about the local 'meh' school, because he went to a similar school and being very bright was bullied. On the other hand, I persuaded my parents into a school decision that meant we would not have to move house (though to be fair that decision did not impact upon the quality of school).

fluffyanimal Thu 06-Aug-15 12:57:29

Chablis those are good ideas!

Orangeanddemons Thu 06-Aug-15 13:05:11

I'm not sure schools do rise and fall dramatically. They may improve a bit or get a bit worse, but good schools tend to waver between good and outstanding. I've taught in one for 20 years, and the exam results haven't really changed significantly over that time

Orangeanddemons Thu 06-Aug-15 13:06:58

Also, as house prices near good schools consistently remain high, I think it's a safe bet to say they don't change much

Crusoe Thu 06-Aug-15 13:20:28

I don't think my son was unhappy as such, he thought all schools were like his. I could see though it was going to have a long term impact and he would be much happier in the right school.
Good luck with your decision making.

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 13:54:11

I agree that schools don't really change that much - yes they can improve but good schools tend to remain good / outstanding, certainly nothing is going to change drastically between the start of Year 5 and that Start of Year 7.

I think its what the ethos is at the school (as well as results) that matter and whether your DC will be a mix of similarly bright children all wanting to do well, supported by good teachers etc, or not. I think parents can support, as Chablis has suggested, but imo (and it is only my opinion) your DC are more likely to be influenced by the approach / ethos / friends they are with 6+ hours a day x 5 days a week of the approach to education your DC will get at the school.

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 13:55:18

Sorry typing too quickly but you see my point blush

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