22 Sep, 2023/ by Homeward Legal /Buyer, First Time Buyer, Sale & Purchase

The long summer break is over. The days are getting noticeably shorter and a little cooler. And the little ones have been preparing to get back into the regimen of going to school and facing whatever their new curriculum will present them with. 

Some will be starting school for the first time, while others will be starting at a new school with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The pencil cases are being stocked with fresh stationery, and the school uniform has been freshly pressed.

And parents will have some natural anxiety, hoping that their offspring will be starting the new year with ease, particularly if they are making new friends and learning new things. Inevitably, there's that little niggle as to whether they have chosen the right school to educate their children. 

Or perhaps, they have uprooted the family to move to a new house within a specific catchment area, based on their research into what might be best for their kids' aptitudes and burgeoning skills.

Catchment areas

A catchment area is a defined geographical area centred on each school, which covers the locations within its boundaries from which the school would normally accept each intake of pupils.

While the setting of the catchment area will vary from council to council, as a general rule of thumb, it is usually a roughly circular area, with the epicentre being the school property, with a radius of about one or two miles.

In addition to the geographical location of school and home, there are other considerations (summarised neatly on The Mum Educates), which include:

  • Siblings - if your child has a brother or sister at the same school already, priority will often be given to their sibling seeking a placing
  • Specific needs - if your child has any mental, physical and medical requirements, this will be taken into account as a priority

In addition, if you are looking to place your child in a faith school, there will certainly be some questions regarding religion and associated practices to verify inclusion.

Bear in mind, too, that this is general information, and each school will have its own admissions criteria, which you'll need to investigate once you've got a shortlist of possible schools.

Finding a good school 

As with any important decision in life, it is important that you do your research before coming to your conclusion:

  • Your local council, whether current or where you are planning to move, will have detailed information about schools under their control and catchment areas. This is usually online but there will be a department you can contact to talk through your concerns and plans in person.
  • There are several good online resources for finding schools, such as The Good Schools Guide, Admissions Day or Locrating. It's probably a good idea to list your priorities before launching into these sites so that you can keep on top of the wealth of information you'll receive, by tailoring your searches to minimise the returned data.

The Office for Standards in Education (better known as OFSTED) provides a wealth of information as part of its Ofsted inspection report, including assessed standards of education, the best start in education, children's safety and welfare amongst several other aspects.

Moving house into a catchment area

Some parents will almost certainly find a school that they deem perfect for their child's education, but recognize that they are not within the requisite catchment area for that desired school. This means that any application is almost certainly likely to be turned down (unless there is a significant drop in admissions for that school year - but then a good school will understandably have a potentially long waiting list).

One solution that keen parents look into when they are outside a particular catchment area is to move within its boundaries, either in the form of renting or actually purchasing a new home.

But, beware! 

There are legal implications to consider, thus avoiding the temptation to set up a temporary address in order to get the child into the school before returning to the real home outside the catchment area. 

Or perhaps thinking of using a relative's address that is within the catchment area while still maintaining your original address. 

These constitute fraudulent applications.

Specifically, the law states that the registered address for the child you are trying to place must be their permanent place of residence. 

To underline this requirement, you'll be asked to provide evidence of residential status, which might include a tenancy agreement that is at least 12 months in duration or a solicitor's letter confirming the date of completion on the property designated as the permanent address.

If you are found to have made a fraudulent application, your child's place may be withdrawn from the school with immediate effect, regardless of whether a term has started or not.

When it comes to your child's education, you'll want to do what's best for them, including even moving home if circumstances allow and you can afford it.

But this is disruptive in its own right and you'll want a quality service for the conveyancing at as low a price as possible, if you do decide to move.

That's where Homeward Legal can really help with affordable but quality conveyancing services! 

They will start work on your planned purchase and/or sale as soon as you agree to the quotation and appoint them to represent you. 

Homeward Legal will also provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay for standard conveyancing process.

There are some unforeseen items that might arise during the purchase and/or sale, but the solicitor discusses these and their cost as they come up. 

In addition, to protect the homebuyer further, Homeward Legal operates a ‘no completion, no fee' promise, which ensures that, should the purchase or sale not go through as planned to completion status, no payment is required.

Call  to get your conveyancing quote started, or to discuss your concerns with your plans to move.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Homeward Legal's easy-to-use quote generator.

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