Having children adds a whole new layer of planning into moving house. Not only is there a short term issue - keeping them happy and entertained during the move - you’ve also got long term prospects such as the local neighbourhood and what school they will attend. School catchment areas are crucial to your child’s future, and something that weighs heavily on the decision where to move.
Ultimately, it’s a balancing act. We take it as a given that you want the best for your children. The pertinent question is: is it worth the extra expense, and what compromises can be made in the meantime?
Nature & Nurture
A child’s development is not limited to the classroom. Your child’s upbringing will be influenced by factors like where they play afterschool, who their friends are and of course, the home environment. Parents often overthink the school issue at the cost of a happy home; they settle for cramped quarters and remote locations for the sake of a better Ofsted result. If your child attends a good school but their friends are scattered across the county, they might not be as happy as if they’d attended a ‘lesser’ establishment with plenty of friends around. Education is about physical, social and mental well-being. A child’s social life should not be compromised for the sake of better grades.
Renting In The School Catchment Area
One sneaky technique is for parents to rent an apartment close to the school in order to bolster their child’s position in the waiting list. They often do this in name only, living far away but reaping the benefits of the ‘better’ school. Be wary of this! Not only is it unfair to those that rightfully live in the catchment area, you can easily be caught out; the authorities may request utility bills, visit and revoke your child’s place, even if they’ve begun attending.
Ultimately, the school is just one of many factors to weigh up. Do not let it dictate where you do or don’t live. Most importantly, let your child have their say. Moving house is a confusing time for them, and it’s important that they feel involved in the process. Have them visit prospective schools if possible, and weigh their opinions seriously against your own thoughts. They’ll be all the happier for it.