Time to get ed­u­cated about the best state schools

Prop­er­ties near York­shire’s best schools are at­tract­ing a pre­mium as par­ents do their home­work. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

YOU don’t need an A* in maths to work out that a re­ces­sion plus pri­vate school fees equals in­creased in­ter­est in the best­per­form­ing state high schools.

Those who can longer af­ford to pay for their child’s ed­u­ca­tion are do­ing their home­work and are house hunt­ing in the catch­ment ar­eas for gram­mars and com­pre­hen­sives that top the league ta­bles.

“There has been a move from fee-pay­ing to state ed­u­ca­tion and we are see­ing the re­sults of that,” says es­tate agent David Phillip, of Dacre, Son and Hartley.

David be­lieves that prop­erty close to the best schools com­mands a 15 per cent pre­mium and com­pe­ti­tion for good qual­ity, fam­ily-sized homes in these ar­eas is get­ting stiffer.

Pa­trick Mccutcheon, Head of Res­i­den­tial at Dacre, Son & Hartley, says that lo­cals are now fight­ing off com­pe­ti­tion from par­ents out­side the county, who are tar­get­ing North York­shire with the aim of get­ting their chil­dren an ex­cel­lent free ed­u­ca­tion.

“Whilst they have al­ways been an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for fam­i­lies mov­ing home, we’re now deal­ing with more peo­ple than ever be­fore who are look­ing for prop­er­ties close to the best schools,” he says.

Top of the class as far as for­mer fee pay­ers are con­cerned are the se­lec­tive gram­mar schools in de­sir­able res­i­den­tial ar­eas in­clud­ing Ripon and The Girls High School and Ermysted’s boys school in Skip­ton.

These re­quire chil­dren to pass an 11 plus-style en­trance exam and cream­ing off the most aca­demic chil­dren helps give them ex­cel­lent re­sults.

Last year, 99 per cent of Ermysted’s pupils passed at least five GCSE’S at grade A* to C. Ripon scored 100 per cent, as did Skip­ton Girls High, which hit the head­lines when Beth Smith and Stephanie Ford earned 15 A*’s each.

If you don’t want to put your ten or 11-year-old un­der en­trance exam pres­sure then Ilk­ley Gram­mar, Prince Henry’s Gram­mar in Ot­ley Bin­g­ley Gram­mar and Har­ro­gate Gram­mar schools are pop­u­lar. They are non-se­lec­tive com­pre­hen­sives with ex­cel­lent re­sults. Har­ro­gate Gram­mar had an 82 per cent GCSE A* - C pass rate last year, while Ilk­ley Gram­mar recorded 80 per cent.

Over in York, which boasts some of the best pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion in the county, Ful­ford School is an ob­vi­ous tar­get for those who can no longer af­ford fees. It has a 73 per cent pass rate.

Har­riet Naish, of Naish es­tate agents, says that Ful­ford is peren­ni­ally pop­u­lar with par­ents and adds: “The beauty of York is that there are sev­eral ex­cel­lent schools, both ju­nior and se­nior, with large ge­o­graph­i­cal catch­ment ar­eas. Ob­vi­ous ex­am­ples are Ful­ford, Hunt­ing­ton and Tad­caster Gram­mar schools, all of which seem to have a ma­jor in­flu­ence on buy­ers’ search cri­te­ria.”

Any­one tar­get­ting the top per­form­ing schools needs to plan well ahead as leav­ing it to the last minute can lead to stress and acute em­bar­rass­ment.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have clamped down on those who try to sub­vert the sys­tem. Catch­ment cheats have been known to pre­tend a cousin or a part­ner’s child is a sib­ling. Oth­ers rent a flat and claim it is their main home, putting in­ves­ti­ga­tors off the scent by hav­ing their mail re-di­rected there and a land­line in­stalled. Oth­ers use a rel­a­tive’s ad­dress.

The Code of Prac­tice on School Ad­mis­sions states that if a place has been ob­tained on the ba­sis of fraud­u­lent res­i­den­tial in­for­ma­tion, then it can be with­drawn, so be warned.

If you play by the rules then you need to arm your­self with the facts and be aware that catch­ment ar­eas can change, so the closer you live to a school the bet­ter.

Pa­trick Mccutcheon, of Dacre, Son and Hartley, says: “We would al­ways ad­vise buy­ers to check with lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties about their se­lec­tion pro­cesses be­fore mak­ing any ma­jor de­ci­sions. It’s also a good idea to speak to the cho­sen school and ask them the same ques­tions.”

OUT­STAND­ING: Skip­ton Girls’ High School pupils Beth Smith and Stephanie Ford each got 15 GCSES at A*

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