London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - New Homes -

The most ex­pen­sive “out­stand­ing” school to live close to is Bous­field Pri­mary School, in Kens­ing­ton, where homes have an av­er­age ask­ing price of more than £2.25 mil­lion.

Homes within the catch­ment of Soho Parish CofE Pri­mary School have an av­er­age ask­ing price of al­most £2.2 mil­lion, while those near St Barn­abas and St Philip’s CofE Pri­mary School, again in Kens­ing­ton, cost just over £2 mil­lion.

There are, how­ever, con­sid­er­ably more af­ford­able al­ter­na­tives for par­ents to con­sider that are also in the catch­ment of top-per­form­ing schools. The most af­ford­able lo­ca­tion in Lon­don is in the hin­ter­land of Castil­ion Pri­mary School, Thames­mead, where the av­er­age ask­ing price of homes is £247,284. Homes close to nearby Hawksmoor School, which also has an “out­stand­ing” Of­sted re­port, have an av­er­age ask­ing price of £248,786.

Just across the Thames, in Bark­ing, Thames View In­fants is an­other af­ford­able “out­stand­ing” op­tion, with av­er­age lo­cal prices of £273,459.

Buy­ers will­ing to live right on the fringes of Lon­don could con­sider

Many par­ents, adds Leaf, take an early ap­proach to mov­ing to an area with a good lo­cal school — some­times even be­fore their chil­dren are born.

Other mums and dads sim­ply try to cheat the sys­tem by rent­ing a prop­erty in the catch­ment area, while keep­ing the fam­ily home else­where. But schools are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly wise to this trick.

The high cost of homes close to top pri­maries means some fam­i­lies will com­pro­mise on the prop­erty to be near their school of choice. “Park Hill Ju­nior School in Croy­don is so pop­u­lar that we are now sell­ing twoto three-bed­room maisonettes to fam­i­lies will­ing to sac­ri­fice a gar­den to buy within the catch­ment,” says Ian Ver­non, se­nior as­so­ciate at Bairstow Eves. Though the premium to live by an “out­stand­ing” pri­mary school is

Mark Rimell, a part­ner in Strutt & Parker’s na­tional coun­try house depart­ment, says top schools also cre­ate com­muter belt price hotspots. Across the South-East, homes close to “out­stand­ing” schools are £71,979 more ex­pen­sive than those near schools that “re­quire im­prove­ment”, partly due to an out­flow of Lon­don­ers look­ing for ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tional stan­dards.

“I moved from Clapham to Hert­ford­shire for this very rea­son,” says Rimell. “I wanted bet­ter schools with larger grounds that would give my kids a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and a higher qual­ity of life.”

£425,000: new two-bed­room flats at The Av­enue, close to “out­stand­ing” Park Hill Ju­niors in Croy­don. Through Coun­try­wide (020 8012 6882)

£354,000: a three-bed­room ter­race house in Grange Cres­cent, close to top-rated Castil­ion Pri­mary School in Thames­mead. Tepilo (01702 744264)

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