As we approach the end of the term, it may seem strange to think of the importance of school recruiting zones in the minds of homebuyers.
But when you take into account that the application deadline for 2022 secondary schools is October 31, 2021 and for elementary schools January 31, 2022, it’s easy to see why the issue is so current.
“All real estate agents will tell you that the quality of the local school is a critical factor in the attractiveness of a neighborhood, certainly in terms of buyers with young families,” says NDAEA President Jan Hÿtch, which is also a residential partner of Arnolds Keys.
“It’s not just a problem at the start of the school year, but it’s a question we are asked throughout the year. Often times, Ofsted’s reports and reviews on education websites are taken just as seriously as the details of an individual property.
After asking NDAEA members some key questions about the importance of school recruiting zones and the advice they would give to sellers and buyers with families, Jan Hÿtch and Steve Pymm, director of Pymm & Co, provide some answers. based on their responses.
How common is it for families to move based on a school’s catchment area?
This is something that members of the NDAEA come across frequently.
“It’s quite common, especially in high schools, and where there are several brothers and sisters,” explains Jan Hÿtch. “Parents often want to locate near their favorite school for convenience, and also to give all children the best chance of securing a place.”
Steve Pymm, director of Pymm & Co, agrees. “This is one of the most important factors when a family is considering moving,” he says.
Jan’s co-worker, Katie Mountain, residential branch manager at the Arnolds Keys municipal office, adds, “We have had several families who have moved to be closer to their favorite schools, and we have also had several teachers who have moved. for new jobs. “
Do good catchment areas drive up property prices?
They certainly seem to be doing it, whether they are the best private schools or the public schools with a flourishing reputation. “In North Norfolk we have the Gresham School in Holt – prices are significantly higher within walking distance of this school,” says Clive Hedges, residential branch manager of the Arnolds Keys coastal office in Sheringham.
Jan Hÿtch cites three examples of high performing public schools that have had the same effect on prices. “Wymondham College and Hethersett and Ormiston Academies (each rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted) are three examples where houses in catchment villages are significantly higher than those slightly further away. “
Could moving to a “good” catchment area secure your property?
“As long as the school maintains its good reputation, family homes will be attractive to buy in all markets,” says Jan Hÿtch.
“However, you have to keep in mind that if the catchment area algorithm is changed, as it does from time to time, it may exclude an address and then the premium may be lost.”
Another point to keep in mind is that an Ofsted rating is simply a snapshot of a school at a given time. “Schools may as well fall in an Ofsted report,” says Steve Pymm.
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Where are some of the best school recruiting areas in Norfolk?
Ofsted’s grades are only part of the picture, with other factors such as the school’s culture and the nature of its catchment area also playing a role in attracting parents to a particular institution.
“If you look at the website www.admissionsday.co.uk, the top ten in Norfolk include Wymondham College, Hethersett Academy, Ormiston Victory Academy, Springwood High and St Clements in the Kings Lynn area, Marshland in Wisbech, Dereham Neatherd, Hellesdon High and City of Norwich School, ”says Jan H,” tch.
“But there are others who exert a strong influence in a particular area, from the best private schools such as Gresham’s, Norwich High and Norwich School, to outstanding primary schools in many fields.”
Steve Pymm emphasizes this point by suggesting other people in the Norwich area who would be on his hotspot list: “Framingham Earl / Poringland, Blofield and Avenue Road are just a few of the well-known establishments in Norwich and its surroundings which have good academic statistics, “he says.
What advice do you give to parents and families wishing to move to a new catchment area?
The two key things to keep in mind are timing and research, according to NDAEA members.
With admission deadlines several months before the start of the school year, parents cannot be sure of securing a place if they are not established well in advance in the catchment area. “If you want to move to a new school catchment area, do so at least a year before considering changing schools,” advises Steve Pymm.
“The guide to good schools has developed a catchment area analysis system that generates a graphical snapshot of the geographic distribution of the addresses from which students were admitted to a school, ”says Jan Hÿtch.
“You can see the real catchment area of each public school – the area in which the students actually live. “
What about advice for sellers?
“The first and most obvious thing would be to make sure that the property description includes a mention of the recruiting school,” says Jan Hÿtch.
“But always be sure to double check that that hasn’t changed, otherwise you could be held responsible for misleading potential buyers. Use phrases such as’… is located in the current school watershed. XXX ”, or allude to the proximity of a popular school (“ … about a kilometer or 12 minutes walk from the XXX school ”).
And be sure to market the property as family friendly, advises Steve Pymm. “You have to make sure that you demonstrate that your home is usable and spacious for a family, so the study and dining rooms could be used as bedrooms, for example,” says Steve.
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