With peo­ple mov­ing miles to en­sure a good ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren, Caro­line Mcghie shops around in a few prime lo­ca­tions

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

The per­fect com­bi­na­tion for any fam­ily search­ing for a new home is a good school nearby, an af­ford­able house and easy ac­cess to work. This is the holy grail of the prop­erty mar­ket and one of its prin­ci­pal driv­ers. Many will spend years pre­par­ing for en­try to a top­per­form­ing state sec­ondary school. “Lo­ca­tion is im­por­tant be­cause the gap be­tween the good and bad schools is so wide,” says Jonathan Har­ing­ton of search agents Har­ing­tons. “Peo­ple will move miles and change their whole lives for 10 years of school­ing. About 70 per cent to 80 per cent of our buy­ers out­side Lon­don have al­ready de­cided what school they want, and are look­ing for the house to go with it.” The place: suburbia on Lon­don’s south­ern rim with a su­per-com­mute (16 min­utes by train) into Lon­don sta­tions. “En­try is by tough exam, so par­ents usu­ally look for a house only af­ter a child has se­cured a place,” says Diane El­liott-Hale of Alan de Maid es­tate agents. “A lot of chil­dren come by train from in­ner Lon­don.” The schools: St Olave’s Gram­mar (boys, mixed in sixth); Newstead Wood School (girls, mixed in sixth). House for sale: five-bed­room house in War­ren Road, £750,000, Alan de Maid (0168 981 4544). The place: prime ed­u­ca­tional real es­tate with mil­lion­aires’ rows laid out around charm­ing twisted hill­top streets. “It at­tracts fam­i­lies whose kids want to walk to school rather than be seen be­ing dropped off by the limou­sine,” says Trevor Abrahm­sohn of Glen­tree es­tate agents. The schools: Hen­ri­etta Bar­nett School (girls); Queen El­iz­a­beth’s School (boys) at Bar­net. House for sale: three-bed­room Grade II listed cot­tage on Hamp­stead Way, £895,000, Glen­tree (020 8458 7311). The place: com­muter hotspot (35 min­utes to Liver­pool Street by train), close to the at­mo­spheric Crouch and Black­wa­ter es­tu­ar­ies. “Th­ese very com­pet­i­tive gram­mar schools have just changed the rules so you now have to live within 12½ miles to ap­ply,” says Mark Davies of Strutt & Parker. The schools: Chelms­ford County High for Girls; King Ed­ward VI Gram­mar (boys, mixed in sixth). House for sale: four-bed­room Seven­ties house in Mal­tese Road at £725,000, Strutt & Parker (01245 254600). The place: “This is very plush com­muter belt south of Manch­ester, where an aw­ful lot of peo­ple move for the schools,” says An­thony Jevons of Jack­sonS­tops & Staff. “Some even start plan­ning at birth to get their chil­dren into the right pri­mary schools and know ex­actly which streets they want to be in.” Trains and the metro link de­liver com­muters in half an hour. Nearby Hale has fash­ion­able bou­tiques and restau­rants. The schools: Al­trin­cham (girls); Al­trin­cham Gram­mar School for Boys. House for sale: five-bed­room fam­ily house called Edge­moor, in Hale, at £1.495mil­lion, Jack­son-Stops & Staff (0161 928 8881). The place: on the River Thames with Hamp­ton Court across the bridge, full of bars and restau­rants, a charm­ing vil­lage within Lon­don. “Com­pe­ti­tion for school en­try is in­cred­i­bly tough, with around 140 ad­mis­sions each year, and we un­der­stand the schools typ­i­cally re­ceive in ex­cess of 10 ap­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery place,” says James Mor­ri­son of Sav­ills. “We cer­tainly have buy­ers who specif­i­cally move to the area to be near the school gates.” The schools: The Tif­fin (girls), Tif­fin School (boys). House for sale: six-bed­room house in Manor­gate Road at the foot of Kingston Hill, £1.525mil­lion, Sav­ills (020 8971 8111). The place: an­other com­muter favourite (50 min­utes by train to Liver­pool Street), close to the lovely Stour and Colne es­tu­ar­ies, per­fect Swal­lows and Ama­zons coun­try. “We used to have the deal­ers from Ca­nary Wharf mov­ing out to buy, but now it is the pro­fes­sion­als,” says Schuyler Pratt of Jack­sonS­tops & Staff. “If their chil­dren are bright enough they don’t want to pay for ed­u­ca­tion un­less they have to. Ev­ery­one wants the best for their child.” The schools: Colch­ester Royal Gram­mar (boys, mixed in sixth); Colch­ester County High School for Girls. House for sale: pe­riod five-bed­room Grade II listed house in Lex­den Road con­ser­va­tion area, with walled gar­den, at £895,000, Jack­son-Stops & Staff (01245 467468) and Fenn Wright Sig­na­ture (01206 507607). The place: “Schools are the main rea­son for mov­ing here, to­gether with the good com­mute into

HAMP­STEAD, NORTH LON­DON CHELMS­FORD, ES­SEX Bags of ap­peal: Edge­moor in Hale, top; 136 Hamp­stead Way, Queen El­iz­a­beth School, Bar­net AL­TRIN­CHAM, MANCH­ESTER KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, SOUTH LON­DON

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