Find the perfect home, get your kids into the perfect school. This is what you (could) do. At least it’s what I found to be the most useful strategy:
a) Go to Rightmove, look up a property in an area you are interested in, and click on the Map & Schools tab (easier on a PC than mobile device). You can specify primary or secondary school. The map will show all schools in the area (zoom out if you want to increase the radius), and you can click through for additional information on each. (“Independent school” means private, fee-paying).
b) Read more about individual schools on RM School Finder (linked to the rightmove school entry). Look for Ofsted rating ‘Outstanding’, or ‘Good’ at the minimum. Also check the schools’ websites. Depending on which time of year you have arrived, you may be able to arrange a tour of the school (call directly), or go to their summer / Christmas fair (check website).
c) For state schools in the area you are interested in, check the Borough’s school admission pages. Are there special admissions criteria? You may also want to look at the neighbouring Borough’s information if you live near the border and there are interesting schools on the other side.
d) If you have a specific property in mind, and want to send your kid to
– a state school: Call Borough’s school admissions office. They will be able to tell you a) if there is a waiting list (likely), and b) your child’s position on that list, at that time. First on the list? Hip hip hooray!….but a word of warning: This is just an indication of chances you may get in! You can’t apply until you have actually moved into your property, and your child can move up or down even then.
– a private school: Call the school directly. Here, proximity has no bearing on your chances to get in – i.e. you can start picking private schools before you know where exactly you will be living. Many private schools run a bus service (payable) along predetermined routes for older kids.
Now I have given away all my secrets…happy searching! If you’d like some help for SW London (Boroughs of Richmond and Kingston), get in touch with me.