Getting your children into the right school is always stressful. And we’ve all heard tales about the pushy parents who will do anything to get their offspring into the best schools possible. From temporarily renting to changing their religion overnight, it’s certainly a subject that’s been making the headlines in the last few years!
Not that we’re blaming them. After all, when it comes down to it, no parent wants to receive news that they’re going to have to send their child miles away to a school on the other side of the county. And here in Wimbledon the competition for places in schools is fierce, as the area’s so popular among those looking to be in London, but with a rural feel. The fact is that the convenience of having a good, local school on your doorstep cannot be overrated. No concerns about little Johnny travelling alone on public transport or long car rides in the morning – a five minute walk is definitely more appealing. With recent research from Nationwide Building Society showing that almost a quarter of UK parents of children aged 5-16 would pay up to ten percent extra on a new home to move into a different catchment area, being close to a school that Ofsted has ranked highly is evidently a factor that influences parents across the board.
Such findings also have repercussions in the rental market. Research from London renting specialists Rentonomy, shows that renting close to certain schools in the capital will cost an average of 30 percent more than near lower performing schools. So ultimately it’s a toss-up: do you bite the bullet and pay the higher prices by buying or renting in the area, or do you just accept a second rate school? If you’re determined to send your child to a particular school in Wimbledon in the right catchment area you should find out as many of the details beforehand regarding the admissions policy and have a look at the local authority website to understand how the system works.
It’s also important to remember that children who live outside the catchment area but who have brothers or sisters attending their preferred school, could be given priority over children within the catchment area who do not have siblings there. Another point is that if a school gets a boost in popularity – for example, it acquires a new Head Teacher who improves results – more families will be attracted to the school and move closer to the area. Therefore, what you perceived to be your child’s ‘natural’ secondary school becomes more in demand and he/she ends up without a place.
When it comes to finding the right school in the right catchment area in Wimbledon or anywhere else parents are competitive. Let’s face it; when it comes to children parents will fight tooth and nail for the best for their offspring! But it needn’t be too stressful if you’re prepared. Do your homework and you should find yourself in a good position when it comes to finding a local school close to your property. And always remember to factor in extra costs if you’re looking to move to a popular catchment area. Preparation is key!