The pros and cons of moving to a school catchment area

Moving when you have children makes a difficult task even harder because obviously you have to consider very carefully if the house that suits you in every other respect will also suit your children.

Although it is possible to place your child outside your actual catchment area, this is not easy and does not come with a guarantee of success, so it is much better to go to a catchment area of a good school in the first place, if this is possible. However, in some cases you might need to sell your house fast in order to move to an area with better schools.


Prices may be very much higher

If you have your heart set on a very popular school for your child, you may find that prices for homes in the area are really significantly higher than elsewhere. Even just a few streets away – and in the catchment of another school – prices may be thousands of pounds less for the same property type.

That said, if you can afford the higher price, you could opt for the pricier home as not only will you get the benefit of the better school but also the property will be easier to sell when the time comes to move on. If you can’t raise a high enough mortgage to buy the more expensive house, you could always use the money that would have gone on payments to get extra tuition for your child, if academic levels are what are at stake.


What is making the school so good?

Sometimes, a school which is doing well in the league tables or is very popular locally is reliant on one or just a couple of excellent staff. A charismatic head teacher for example can raise a school’s standards and this effect can end in just a few terms if that person leaves. Similarly, a really inspirational drama or music teacher or a highly qualified and motivated sports teacher can give a school a cachet which will not last beyond their tenure. This is a very important point to consider before buying a home at a premium price because you may end up with an expensive mistake.


Rough neighbourhoods don’t change overnight

It is sadly true that some schools have a bad reputation because of bullying or general bad behaviour and this can get deep into the mindset of the school and all the pupils in it. No parent wants to think that their choice of home has ended up putting their child at risk and so if this kind of educational institution really is the only one on offer in the area you are thinking of moving to, then you should seriously think again.

An option which does not suit everyone would be to home school while an application for another placement is considered. This gives a message to the education authority that you are serious and also keeps your child from harm. If you have several children who need separate schools, this may also be an option if the more senior school is good but the junior and infants not so acceptable. Sometimes buying time is easier than buying a house!

Are you for or against moving to a school catchment area?

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