The Cheapest Places to Buy a Family Home Near an Outstanding School

Date:
28/02/2022

As a parent, it’s only natural that you’ll want the best possible education for your child or children. However, which state school you can send your children to largely depends on where you live, with catchment areas often determining who can apply for places.

With this in mind, we’ve looked at just how much it costs to buy a three-bedroom family home in the same postcode area as primary and secondary schools (in England) that were inspected and awarded ‘Outstanding’ status in 2021.

As conveyancing experts, we wanted to see just how much property prices vary between inside and outside these catchment areas, as well as where the biggest premiums exist – just how much more could it cost to help secure your child a great education?

We’ve also got some advice for parents from our education team on what you need to be aware of and what the rules are when it comes to applying for school places, as well as what the appeals process looks like if you don’t get the place you’d be hoping for.

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How property prices vary

We discovered that the average price of a home in the catchment area of an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rated primary and secondary school in England is £380,824, which is 49% more than the current (January 2022) national average.

We also found out that parents looking to get their children into the very best schools should expect to pay a 2% premium, when comparing the cost of homes in the school postcodes with all other properties in the same towns or cities. This is more in London though, where the premium is 3%.

Bradford came out as being the cheapest place to buy a three-bedroom family home in the catchment area of an ‘Outstanding’ primary school, featuring first and second in our top ten list.

According to our research, parents can buy a family home for just £79k near Bradford’s Farnham Primary school, or £80k near Copthorne Primary school.

Elveden Church of England Primary school near Thetford, Suffolk was the only area in the top ten list that is in the south of England.

Map of average house prices

Top ten cheapest places to buy a three-bedroom home near and ‘Outstanding’ primary school.

School Last Ofsted Report Date City/Town School Postcode Area Average House Price (all) by Postcode Average House Price (3 bed) by Postcode
Farnham Primary School Sept 21 Bradford BD7 3HU £114,121 £79,000
Copthorne Primary School Nov 21 Bradford BD7 3AY £114,121 £80,000
Westgate Hill Primary Academy Oct 21 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE4 5JN £174,065 £85,000
Twelve Apostles Catholic Primary School Oct 21 Wigan WN7 5JS £158,208 £125,000
Smithdown Primary School Sept 21 Liverpool L7 6LJ £138,712 £145,000
The Greetland Academy Oct 21 Halifax HX4 8JB £233,750 £155,000
St Peter's CofE Primary School Sept 21 Bolton BL4 9JT £140,016 £160,000
Elveden Church of England Primary Academy July 21 Thetford IP24 3JN £242,208 £160,000
Hart Primary School Oct 21 Hartlepool TS27 3AP £150,018 £165,000
St Aloysius Catholic Junior School Academy Sept 21 Hebburn NE31 1BQ £153,128 £165,000


In contrast, Camden in London came out as the most expensive place to buy a three-bedroom family home near an ‘Outstanding’ primary school (Gospel Oak Primary School), where prices average £925,000 – nearly twelve times the price of buying in Bradford! This is also where there is the biggest premium. When comparing all properties in the catchment area of Gospel Oak Primary School with those for Camden as a whole, prices were coming out as being 81% higher (£764,000 more) near the school.

Areas where you pay the biggest premium to live in the catchment area of a top primary school

School City/Town (& Local Authority if London) School Postcode Area Average House (all) Price by City/Town Average House Price (all) by School Postcode Difference in £s % Difference
Gospel Oak Primary School Camden, London NW3 2JB £943,913 £1,708,250 £764,337 81%
Totley All Saints Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School Sheffield S17 4AP £231,721 £418,473 £186,752 81%
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE16 6NU £153,159 £217,740 £64,581 42%

Stockton-on-Tees was the cheapest place to buy a three-bedroom home in the catchment area of an ‘Outstanding’ secondary school. Parents may be able to purchase a family home for just £140k in the same postcode area as North Score Academy.

Aerial view of houses

 

Top ten cheapest places to buy a three-bedroom home near and ‘Outstanding’ secondary school

Cloughwood Academy and Beverley Grammar School are boys only, and Queen Mary High School is Girls only.

School Last Ofsted Report Date City/Town School Postcode Area Average House Price (all) by Postcode Average House Price (3 bed) by Postcode
North Shore Academy July 21 Stockton-on-Tees TS20 2AY £150,115 £140,000

Cloughwood Academy

Seot 21 Northwich CW8 1HW £295,003 £150,000
Wright Robinson College Oct 21 Manchester

M18 8RL

£145,886

£180,000

Queen Mary's High School Oct 21 Walsall WS4 2AE

£221,505

£190,000

Dorothy Goodman School Hinckley Oct 21 Hinckley LE10 0EA £261,859 £215,000
Southam College Sept 21 Southam CV47 0J2 £261,859 £250,000
Beverley Grammar School Sept 21 Beverley HU17 8NF £252,780 £260,000
Corbridge Middle School Oct 21 Corbridge NE45 5HX £444,706 £265,000
UTC Portsmouth June 21 Portsmouth PO2 9DU £226,732 £270,000
Alsager School Sept 21 Stoke-on-Trent ST7 2HR £209,824 £275,000


Tower Hamlets in London was the most expensive place to buy a three-bedroom home near an ‘Outstanding’ secondary school (Stepney All Saints), where prices averaged £850,000. There was a higher-than-average premium too - property in the catchment area of the school cost 15% more on average than other homes in Tower Hamlets. However, the premium is highest in the catchment area of Valentines High School in Redbridge, London where it costs parents a massive 56% more on average to buy a home (all sizes) that entitles their children to a place at this ‘Outstanding’ school.

 

Areas where you pay the biggest premium to live in the catchment area of a top primary school

School City/Town (& Local Authority if London) School Postcode Area Average House (all) Price by City/Town Average House Price (all) by School Postcode Difference in £s % Difference
Valentines High School London IG2 6HX £321,500 £500,424 £178,924 56%
Chiltern Way Academy Aylesbury HP22 6NL £400,192 £522,195 £122,003 30%
Alsager School Stoke-on-Trent ST7 2HR £180,619 £209,824 £29,205 16%

Our expert advice to parents

Sarah Woosey, one of our expert education solicitors has shared her advice to parents on what they need to be aware of before potentially making a move to the catchment area of a top school. 

She said: “With secondary school places set to be announced on 1st March, and primary school places on 16th April, many parents will be looking to secure their child a spot at one of the top schools.

Living close to a good school is often key for securing a place and some go to extreme lengths to secure a place at an appropriate school, but there is no steadfast way to ensure you get your child into a top school.

If you don’t get the place you want then there is an appeals process but these are not straightforward.”

Things which may be useful for parents looking to secure a school place are:

  1. Check the specific oversubscription criteria of the school you’re applying for. This is likely to include reference to distance and/or catchment area.
  2. The address you provide in your application must be the main address where the child lives – you can’t put down a grandparent’s address.
  3. If you are in the process of buying a different property, it is the address you live at on the date of the application which must be used.
  4. If you are divorced, and your child / children split their time between two addresses then the address you should provide is where the child resides most of the time. An Admissions Authority can issue additional guidance on difficult circumstances like these ones, and many have their own rules.

Here at Simpson Millar, we have a dedicated team who can help you appeal a school place decision. We know the system and the best tactics to use to help you win your appeal. 

We also have a downloadable guide to School Place Appeals, which explains everything parents need to know about appealing a school’s decision not to give your child a spot.

Child holding parent's hand

Buying a house

If you’re looking to move house and would like some free initial advice, then please get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors. Our nationwide team can help with all aspects of property law.

We also have some useful guides on buying a house, the conveyancing process and conveyancing terms.

Our study

Our study was conducted in February 2022. Further information about our sources and the methodology used are below.

Sources

 

Methodology

      • We pulled a list of all the primary and secondary schools in England that were assessed in 2021 and received an Outstanding rating in their latest Ofsted report.
      • We noted down the age group, gender, religious character, latest Ofsted report date, and exact location for each of these schools.
      • We then put the postcode for each school into the Rightmove value tool and selected ‘three bedrooms’ and the ‘within a ½ mile radius’ search options, for the current on the market listing prices.
      • We noted down all the prices for properties listed, to get an average.
      • We then put the postcode into the Zoopla prices tool to get an average price for all properties in that area.
      • Finally, put the town/city into the Zoopla prices tool to get an average price for that whole location.
      • We noted down the latest average UK house price for January 2022 (£255,556) to see how it compared with average prices in the catchment areas of these Outstanding schools.

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