Moving House and School Catchment Areas: The Dilemma

My eldest child, Max, is in his last term of year 5, which is just crazy. What is even crazier is that we have to start thinking about secondary schools now, because open days are happening over the next couple of months, the 11+ exam is in September, and the secondary school application has to be submitted in October! It all seems a bit much, especially as he’s not even started year 6 yet, and it still feels like he is too little to be going to secondary school. The whole thing fills me with a lot of anxiety, if I’m honest.

Then, as we had Mason, our third baby in December, we have been on the lookout to move home. We’d love somewhere that is detached and that has an extra bedroom, so the children can have one of their own. The thing is, we have quite a specific criteria and it is hard to find somewhere so far that fits exactly what we need. We need to be close-ish to a station that goes into London, be close to good schools, both primary and secondary, and then fit our requirements of being detached and at least four beds. We definitely know that we still need to be sort of within the M25 area, so could definitely make use of some M25 movers when the time comes. But for now, the search continues.

Catchment areas

One thing that has been totally baffling me about where we live at the moment are the catchment areas for different schools. It is a big consideration about where we move to, because there are just so many choices locally. We have a few schools in mind where we’d be keen for Max to go, but aren’t really in the catchment for any. So there is a lot to consider going forward when it comes to where we move to, as it could put us in a catchment area of a school that we’re not necessarily as keen on. It does make a big difference so lots to think about…

Top considerations when looking for a new house

The Location

One of the most important things is going to be the location. Yeah, we could choose a mansion in the middle of nowhere (not that we could afford it), but if it meant driving absolutely everywhere and no access to public transport and so on, then it wouldn’t actually be the house for us. As long as you love where you live, you can adjust the home over time, if it’s not the exact specification of your ideal, to start with at least. When it comes to schools and children’s education, then it is really important to be in the right area for good schools.

The House’s Site

Beyond just the location, you need to think about other things, such as is the plot on a hill, what is the parking like, and what are the views like? Is the area suitable for your family and are you overlooked?

The Neighbourhood

Although it might be Mr U’s dream to live in the middle of nowhere, you still need to look at what’s around you and what neighbourhood you’ll be living in, if any. You need to neighbourhood to meet your expectations, just as much as the house. One thing that I think is a good idea is to view the potential house and neighbourhood at different times of the day. It might be really quiet on a Sunday afternoon, but is it chaos in the middle of a Monday morning?

So although we have a lot to be thinking about, at least we have some direction to steer ourselves. Honestly, kids and schooling feels so stressful, especially when there are multiple options to choose from! Let’s see how the next few months go.

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