Parents will go to almost any lengths to win a place at a top-performing state secondary school for their 11 year-olds.
Some have been known to use a fake address, others rediscover religion as a route to a place in a highly rated faith school. Still more employ private tutors to give their child an advantage, while for many, moving house and paying the premium for a home near an esteemed London secondary school seems a small sacrifice.
An exclusive study today says homes with three or more bedrooms in the immediate vicinity of such schools range widely in price, from an average £2.84 million near the Ofsted “outstanding” Ark King Solomon Academy in Marylebone, to £406,000 for a house near the equally highly rated Wilson’s boys’ school in Wallington, Sutton.
FOR PARENTS OF GIRLS
Most top-performing secondaries are selective and highly competitive, but buying close by isn’t as costly as moving to the catchment areas of top primaries.
And it is possible for children to sit autumn entrance exams wherever they live, so their parents only need commit to moving if they pass.
For parents of girls, Townley Grammar School in Bexleyheath, south-east London, has the most affordable surrounding properties, the Hamptons International study shows, at an average £447,000.
|School Name||Area||Last Ofsted Rating||Price of a family home|
|The Henrietta Barnett School||Barnet||outstanding||£1,370,384|
|Queen Elizabeth's School||Barnet||outstanding||£650,090|
|St Michael's Catholic Grammar School||Barnet||outstanding||£764,910|
|Wallington High School for Girls||Sutton||good||£593,221|
|Woodford County High School||Redbridge||outstanding||£647,401|
|St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School||Bromley||outstanding||£435,122|
|Tiffin School||Kingston Upon Thames||outstanding||£724,599|
|The Latymer School||Enfield||outstanding||£356,951|
|The Tiffin Girls' School||Kingston Upon Thames||outstanding||£929,948|
|Nonsuch High School for Girls||Sutton||good||£659,948|
|Sutton Grammar School||Sutton||outstanding||£411,157|
|Wallington County Grammar School||Sutton||good||£431,703|
|Newstead Wood School||Bromley||outstanding||£508,180|
|Townley Grammar School||Bexley||outstanding||£446,618|
|Ilford County High School||Redbridge||outstanding||£435,400|
|Ark King Solomon Academy||Camden||outstanding||£2,847,977|
|Beths Grammar School||Bexley||outstanding||£472,708|
|Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School||Bexley||good||£489,303|
|Sacred Heart High School||Hammersmith and Fulham||outstanding||£1,603,038|
Peter Waters, director of Cromwells estate agents, says its easy to see when Wilson’s and Wallington’s other top schools, Wallington County Grammar (boys) and Wallington High (girls) have open days and entrance exams.
“The traffic is awful, people come from all over to try for a place.” Wilson’s families favour Wallington’s Thirties Chase Estate, where a three-bedroom terrace costs about £425,000.
Local four-bedroom detached homes start at £700,000 and Wallington has good commuter links, with trains to London Bridge from 34 minutes and Victoria in under 40 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £2,208.
For buyers with a little more to spend, Bromley choices include St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School, Orpington, where 96 per cent of pupils go on to further education. A home near the school costs an average £485,122.
MORE CENTRAL CHOICES
If you don’t fancy living beyond the Tube network, you’ll have to dig deeper. Homes near Queen Elizabeth’s School for boys in High Barnet, which is on the Northern line in Zone 5, cost an average of £650,000.
St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, in Finchley, is a couple of stops closer to town, again on the Northern line but in Zone 4, and the average house price is £765,000.
Parents who can stretch this bit further to buy a house do so because an average private day school place now costs £15,500 per child per year, meaning private secondary education for two children comes in at £217,000.
Top performer in today’s study is The Henrietta Barnett School, for girls, in Hampstead Garden Suburb. The average price of a cottage-style house in The Suburb, as locals call it, is £1.37 million, with no convenient Tube station.
Golders Green, on the Northern line in Zone 3, is a 10-15 minute walk away and local streets are gridlocked with traffic at rush hour as a result.
However, the district has a leafy feel, independent cafés and boutiques, and the prestige of Henrietta Barnett’s outstanding results. All of its pupils get English and maths GCSEs at grade C or above, and 91 per cent go on to further education.
Because Henrietta Barnet is a selective school without a tight catchment area, homes nearby don’t automatically cost far more than those a mile or so away. Nick Mayhead, manager of Foxtons, says £800,000-£825,000 will buy a typical three-bedroom semi.
BEST FOR A PROFIT
For families looking for capital growth potential, Townley would be a good choice. Bexleyheath prices have soared 16 per cent in the last year, and 45 per cent in five years, says today’s report.
Homes near Newstead Wood School, also for girls, in Orpington, have risen an impressive 15 per cent in price in a year to £508,180 and 53 per cent in five years.
The best five-year performers are homes near The Tiffin Girls’ School, in Kingston, where prices rose 65 per cent to an average £929,948.
Today’s report is from Hamptons research analyst David Fell, who says that whatever the economic climate, a top-performing school will always attract buyers into an area.
“House values in these areas are not likely to go down,” he adds.