Wouldn’t it be nice if your family could move into your dream home in a great area and never have to move? Despite TV shows like Grand Designs that often seem to suggest you can do just that, unfortunately life often gets in the way. Sometimes you need to move because of your job or your family grows unexpectedly and you find your home isn’t a good fit anymore. And when you find yourselves upping sticks you can find yourself suddenly heading for an area that doesn’t have a school that’s quite as good as the one the kids have been going to. So, what do you do? This blog post examines your options when the combination of your dream home plus ideal school seems firmly out of reach.
Get creative with the catchment area
If there’s a school you desperately want your kids to go to, you might be tempted to tell a few fibs and half truths in order to get their names on the register. Be warned, aside from setting a questionable example for the little ones this could leave you high and dry if you’re not careful. According to recent statistics from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, the number of school places withdrawn due to fraud rose by 50 per cent last year. Tricks used by parents to circumvent the catchment area system include renting a second home and listing it as a main address, claiming to live at a relative’s house or being untruthful about their religious faith. Councils routinely check details against the electoral roll and council tax records and some have even admitted to checking details on social media to catch parents out.
Compromise on your commute
If you need to move to a new town or city for work you could consider commuting a little further yourself in order to snag a property that falls within the catchment area for a good school. As well as adding time and distance on to your daily commute, you may find that you also have to pay a premium for a property. According to research by eMoov.co. uk, buyers take just 53 minutes to decide whether to buy a property with one in four checking which school catchment the property resides in before making an offer. A number of new grammar schools were given the go ahead in England last year and already concerns have been raised that the result could be significant price hikes for properties in the areas where the schools are to be built. Some fear prices will rise so dramatically that local families who have lived their for many years will be priced out of the area. This could have the effect of preventing children from poorer families, who are generally argued to benefit most from free grammar school education from being able to attend them.
Fund private education
If you’re happy in your current home but not with the local school or you’re moving somewhere new but not happy about the school you’re likely to be allocated, you may be thinking about privately educating your child. According to figures from Killik and Co, the average cost of private school for children is £286,000 for 14 years. In London a place at a day school costs on average £15,500 though up north in Scotland or the north east of England that figure falls to £10,700 or £10,400.
While you might save a fair bit on your mortgage by not having to fork out extra for a home situated bang in the middle of a catchment area for a favourable state school, this still represents a significant financial investment. Rather than sending their children to private school from age five through to 18 many children instead choose to change their child’s school at the age of 11. Starting private education at age 5 means children can bypass the 11 plus tests most private schools ask potential pupils to take for entry into Year 7, which can of course provide extra peace of mind. However, there are other options. Many tutors specialise in preparing children for 11 plus exams at grammar schools and independent schools. If you’re looking for an 11 plus tutor, groups that have a good knowledge of the tests carried out by the schools you are targeting like The 11 Plus Tutors in Essex are used to tailoring tutor sessions around the tests at specific schools, giving your child extra confidence when needed in order to pass exams and potentially apply for a scholarship or assisted place.
Did your child win a place at your first choice school? Would you consider moving or paying for private school? Let us know what your experience has been like.
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