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Opinion: The quality of schools dictate where parents choose to live

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Opinion: The quality of schools dictate where parents choose to live

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Improving social mobility 'could boost UK economy' - Sutton Trust Improving social mobility 'could boost UK economy' - Sutton Trust

By Ruth Barton

Competition for places in the UK’s best schools is constantly increasing. Nationwide Building Society has revealed new research showing that 23% of UK parents, with children between the ages of 5 to 16 years would be prepared to book their moving company and move house so that they can be in a catchment area of a better school. Within this figure 8% said that they were prepared to pay more than 10% extra for their house and  another 8% said they would pay an additional 2%.

These figures are shocking considering the current housing crisis in the UK and the fact that household incomes continue to be squeezed in the gloomy economy. According to Richard Napier, Nationwide’s divisional director for saving’s and mortgages, those parents that are willing to pay an extra 10% for a home in a catchment area of a better school, will be spending an additional £17,000, and those willing to pay an extra 2% will be having to fork out an extra £3,500 based on the average house price.

In the current economic climate, these are substantial extra costs and with the recent price hikes in higher education, spending extra on a home could make a huge difference. The figures demonstrate the extent that parents are willing to go to, to ensure that their children get a good education and secure a good future. This is supported by Nationwide’s findings that nearly 1 in 5 parents said that a school league table or school Ofsted ranking has impacted their decision of where they live.

As well the financial concerns for parents, research undertaken by Rentonomy who are renting specialists suggest that being close to particular schools in London is also affecting the rental market. Research shows that renting a house close by to some of the best performing schools in the capital will cost roughly 30% more than renting in an area with lower performing schools.

Competition for parents getting their children into a good school in London is particularly high. Although there are lots of reputable schools in central and outer London, a population of over 8 million, means that places at respectable schools can be in short supply. Therefore, many parents are recognising that if they move into the catchment area they are increasing their chances of getting their child to be placed in that school despite additional costs.

The competition for placement in good schools is only going to increase. However, more and more efforts are being put in place to ensure that schools and the education system as a whole improve. As these schemes are introduced, the number of better quality schools will increase, helping to reduce the number of parents feeling like they have to move home (and spend more money) in order for their children to obtain a good education. 

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