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School place applications: looming deadlines so make your move now

As an established estate agent in West Berkshire, we are used to families coming into our offices in Lambourn and Newbury motivated by ‘educational positioning’. This might be a phrase that’s unfamiliar to you but in layman’s terms, it means moving home to be in the catchment of a desired school – be it primary or secondary.

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In fact, it’s a phenomenon that has become increasingly common since the launch of Ofsted – the Government-run school inspections that lead to each school being given a grading, reflecting the quality of the school and its governance. Since parents can now see at-a-glance whether a school is rated outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate, the desire to live near a better-performing school is greater.

So why are we blogging about this subject now? It’s the small matter of school application deadlines – they are looming. Some families – even before children have arrived – will buy a house in a particular school’s catchment well ahead of any application dates. Others might only look to move closer in time to when their child starts school.

There are two crucial points here. Firstly, an application for a child’s primary or secondary school place must be made with a valid and permanent address. Secondly, a school will sometimes take into account the proximity from the child’s home to the school gate when offering places.

Many of West Berkshire’s best schools are oversubscribed and it’s not usual for families to move home with the sole intention of being further into the school’s catchment area. In fact, a new survey for Opinium Research for Santander revealed that home movers are willing to pay 18% more for a property near their favoured school.

Now, here are the dates families need to be aware of. The deadline for secondary school applications is the 31st October 2015 – and unless you can negotiate a 28 day exchange, it may be impossible for property buyers to secure a new address. Tenants, however, can still move and have a permanent address before this deadline. The Jones Robinson Lettings Department can quickly match tenants with properties and have them moved in in a matter of days, given the right circumstances.

The primary school place application process for the 2016 intake (for children born between 1st September 2011 and 31st August 2012) is open between now and 15th January 2016. If you want a new address before this application deadline, we suggest you find a property and make an offer in the coming weeks.

Charles Robinson, a Director at the estate agency, comments: “Although distance from the student’s home to the school isn’t always the top criteria when it comes to admissions, the proximity to the gate is sometimes taken into account in a case of oversubscription. We always advise, however, that buyers and tenants check the school’s exact boundary when it comes to the catchment before any offers are made.”

If you like to know more about properties for sale in West Berkshire that are in school catchment areas, contact Jones Robinson today.

Buying | 28/09/15 12:51PM

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