Moving home for school catchment
Published 08th October 2020 | Conveyancing

Moving home for school catchment

Considering moving house or renting a property to secure a place at your first choice of school? We share some useful information on buying a property for school catchment purposes.

Getting a place for your child at a preferred school can be like a postcode lottery. In 2018, 91% of primary school children secured a space at their chosen school, while just 82% of secondary pupils were allocated their preferred school.

As a parent, you will naturally want to give your children the best possible opportunity of a great education, which will significantly depend on the school they attend. This is always important, but even more so now, after pupils have had their education disrupted by lockdown.

State schools generally impose a strict geographical restriction to the pupils they consider, and there is no guarantee you will live within the catchment area for a school rated as outstanding.

Parents, therefore, adopt various strategies for getting round these requirements. Some are risky, but the approach most likely to succeed is to buy a house within the catchment area of an outstanding school.

It’s no surprise, then, that according to research by Santander, one in four families of school-age children buys or rent a property to boost their chances of securing a school space at their preferred school.

This is a big step to take, though. Is it worth doing, and what will you need to remember if you do decide to use this approach?

The rules on school catchment areas

The Department of Education currently rates about 3,700 schools and colleges as outstanding. With these ratings available to everyone, it means that these schools can be vastly oversubscribed by parents who want their children to attend.

A catchment area strategy is often used primarily to ensure pupils do not have to travel too far. In the case of outstanding schools, however, it is even more so to reduce the oversubscription. This means that, if anything, the catchment area is likely to be smaller than for an average school.

Certain factors, such as already having a sibling at the school can give an extra advantage.

Getting around the restrictions

Parents have been known to dishonestly put down a relative’s address instead of their own, or even rent a temporary home within the catchment. In general, however, the best chance of getting your child into an outstanding school is to live as close as possible to it.

Moving into a catchment area

The exact location of your new home is far more crucial than with other moves, so it’s important to know exactly where the catchment area is – do your homework.

Be prepared, also, to pay a little more than normal for a home in an outstanding school’s catchment area.

Choose your Conveyancing solicitor wisely

Once you have found a property and had an offer accepted, you will need an expert Conveyancing solicitor for the legal process.

Your estate agent may recommend someone. However, this is likely to be a firm with whom they are partnered with, and not necessarily the best available. They may also not specialise in the field of Conveyancing and work in other legal areas.

Doing your own research to find the best Conveyancing expert will pay dividends. Ensure they specialise in Conveyancing and have a good track record – ask for testimonials and check their reviews on Google or social media.

You can also judge by how they arrange the appointment and how clearly they explain things, whether you are likely to have a good experience of working with them.

If you are moving house for school catchment, or for any other reason, get in touch with us today.

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Osborne Morris & Morgan is an award-winning and nationally-recognised firm of solicitors. Based in Leighton Buzzard our team of solicitors serve Milton Keynes based clients and the surrounding areas.

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