If there is one thing that is sure to help set the price of a home, or make a certain area more attractive to a certain type of home buyer it’s how good the nearest school is – or how much access the home has to good schooling.
That’s right, we all place a value on education and everyone wants the best for their children so having a good education will be high on the list of priorities but – it’s not always the easiest thing to accommodate.
How much more is the price for a good education?
In Chester, like many other cities and towns across the country, there are some absolutely great schools which will attract a lot of attention. Competition for places at the best and most popular schools is intense. A lot of would-be pupils need to live in catchment areas in order to stand the best chance of getting a place.
What this means is demand for properties in any given area (especially those with great schools) will be high. Unfortunately, you’ll pay a premium for the privilege as homes near good schools cost more than those in surrounding areas.
So, how much more should you expect to pay for good education? Buyers will spend upto 8% more to buy near the best primaries and 7% more to buy near top secondaries, according to a Department for Education report.
You’ve heard of OFSTED, right?
One of the things that will drive up prices even more is just how well a school performs based on the OFSTED results a school attains. Yes, OFSTED may cause stress and panic for teachers, governors and parents alike, but if a school smashes it… it can mean paying a lot more for a home. (Or selling your home for a lot more!)
In fact, a study conducted by Confused.com showed that the average house price in England where schools have the top Ofsted rating of 1 is £331,605. Costing almost £40,000 more than areas with Ofsted rating 2.
It’s not always results though – do your research
So, let’s say you’ve seen a home in a good area. You’ve learnt that it has a lot of good schools nearby and you’ve even checked the government website for OFSTED results, what’s next? Well, you want to do your own research.
For example, the schools’ websites must include its admission criteria. Will there be automatic admission for a certain catchment area? Does your child need to have to test for a place? Are there any fees – and whilst many public schools do not require fees, some areas will have private education where all of the above may or may not apply.
School websites need to have links to educational authority reports and various performance data, often referred to as league tables. Because schools are not assessed at the same time, neither are the league tables and grades updated all that regularly – so pay close attention to this bit of information as you could get swayed with old data.
With this information in mind, it is important to take results with a pinch of salt, and do your own detective work. Go out and speak to parents in the local community, join local estate and village groups on social media platforms and ask questions about the schools in the area. If there is one that can be certain it is that parents will share their experience and knowledge with other parents so don’t be shy to ask.
When having these conversations, you want to try and get an understanding of a few key issues, including;
- Does a particular school have problems with bullying?
- What are people’s experiences of the teachers?
- Are there any issues that haven’t been made public?
- How prepared is the school for teaching children with a learning disability?
You may find that some of the answers will be varied, so it makes it even more important to get as much information as you can from as many sources. It could be that one parent had a bad experience with their child but several parents did not.
You’re not being paranoid either. Your child will be in the school for years, so you want to make sure you send them to the right one.
What is the acceptance criteria?
Catchment areas will get you into many schools, but that’s not only something you should be considering. What if you are of a particular faith? What if you have some preconceptions about how different schools will teach based on their values?
Faith schools: It’s estimated that faith schools, those that follow a particular religion account for more than one-in-three primaries.
Grammar schools: Children are selected for grammar school, at secondary age, by their ability. If they pass their Eleven Plus and there are spaces available, they may well be selected to attend.
Fee-paying schools: There’s a whole host of fee-paying schools to suit all ages and bank accounts.
Chester has a variety of all of these schools and can be found with an internet search or even asking one of our team at Carman Friend.
What is the local property market telling you?
Finally, one of the last things you need to thoroughly check is what the local property market is telling you. You need to visit the area to get a feel for the properties and where you’d like to live.
Find out how much properties have sold for via Land Registry figures on the official Government website by simply typing in the road names or postcodes to get a full breakdown of prices achieved and the transaction dates. You can also use websites like Zoopla which can give you an indication of historic prices and the value of homes which are yet to go to market so that you can prepare yourself to find a home in a good school area.
You will want to also check out the latest crime statistics by using a website like Findahood.
Of course, you will be scouring the usual sites like Rightmove and looking at what properties are available. You can also however speak to us at Carman Friend to find out what properties are available and develop a relationship with us so that we can understand what type of property it is you are looking for and give you more insight into the area.