This month’s GCSE and A-level league tables highlight a handful of key schools where exam results equal or exceed those at some of England’s top private establishments.
Lloyds Bank found proximity to one of these schools can have a dramatic impact on values. Homes within the same postcode as Tiffin Girls’ School and Tiffin School in Kingston-upon-Thames, for example, trade at £617,454 — £207,591 more than homes in the rest of the borough.
On average, the bank found proximity to a top London state school adds £54,662 to local property values.
The top-performing London school at GCSE level is Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, ranked in 21st place nationwide. Nonsuch High School for Girls, in Sutton, took 25th position, and the other London state schools to make the top 100 are St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School in North Finchley, and The Latymer School in Edmonton.
At A-level the best performing London state school is The Tiffin Girls’ School, in 17th place nationwide. Queen Elizabeth’s took 21st place, and Tiffin School, also in Kingston-upon-Thames, came in 27th. The other top performers were St Michael’s and Elthorne Park High School in Hanwell.
Paying a premium to live close to one of these schools is a high-risk strategy since most are selective. Nonetheless Steve Moran, of Hunters Estate Agent, recently sold a three-bedroom terrace “two minutes” from Elthorne Park to a young family. They paid the £600,000 asking price but had it not been close to the school, Moran estimates it would have been worth £550,000.
Moran said demand for homes near key schools means such properties often go to sealed bids and sell above asking price — they are the most sought-after homes in a property market which is already “buzzing”.
“We are noticing a lot of people selling their houses and moving into rented so that they can be cash buyers when one comes up,” he said. “We are also seeing a lot of people refinancing their current house so they can buy without a chain. You have to be able to move fast.”
Mark Newton of Winkworth in Finchley said families were paying a 10 to 15 per cent premium to live in the St Michael’s catchment area.
He said he is aware of families buying flats close to select schools — or allegedly registering themselves as living at relatives’ homes — in order to try to win a coveted place.
Jasper Colliver at Hamptons International said house prices in north Kingston, close to the two Tiffin Schools, have risen by 10 to 12 per cent in the last year, compared to an average rise in the area of eight to 10 per cent. He puts this trend squarely down to demand for the schools, including families who are taking children out of the private sector. “When Tiffin Girls’ has its entrance exams they have to close the roads and have the police in to marshal it,” he said. “It is quite an event.”