When it comes to parents ensuring their children get into the right school, let’s face it, they can be a bit, ahem, competitive to say the least! Hence one thing that’s a MASSIVE consideration for families when buying a property is the catchment area.
In short, catchment areas are defined boundaries which are associated with a school. If you buy a house in one of these areas, then you’ll receive priority if you have children over other applications from people living outside the demarcations. The problem is, that even if you do live in the area you can’t necessarily be sure you’ll be guaranteed a place at your preferred school as it depends on the specific rules given by local authorities.
Despite this issue, it’s still unsurprising that schools are such a big contemplation when buyers are purchasing a property. We decided to ask the experts for glimpses of the mindsets of home hunters when it comes to schools, starting with Ajaye Gopal, of Eden Harper, an estate agent in Brixton:
“We’ve had clients move a few hundred yards from their existing homes to the catchment areas. One particular case about three years ago, I had a client living in Brixton in a four bedroom family house about half a mile from Sudbourne School , but out of the catchment area,” he said.
“In order to get her son into the school, they let their house through us to four sharers and rented a two bedroom ex-local authority flat, also through us, just a few hundred yards from the school. This enabled their son to get in. They stayed there for a year and got their son admitted into the school, subsequently moving back to their four bedroom house!” he concluded.
“Many parents will pay more for a property in the catchment areas of popular schools….Merton Local Authority for example will offer the child a place in a state school if they don’t get their first choice, but this may not be suitable for the parents. Many people are willing to pay more to secure a property near a preferred school – distance is not the only criteria applied in the admissions procedure however and there are other factors to consider.”
Belgravia estate agent, Best Gapp said:
“For our clients catchment areas are key and very important when they’re considering what homes to buy in Central London. In Belgravia, properties near to schools tend to go far more quickly with families that have children of schools age.
It appears that schools are enormously important when it comes to families considering exactly where to buy. It’s also evident that they’ll do their best for their children no matter what – even if it means playing with the rules a little!