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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Parents Paying £77,000 'Premium' For Homes Near Top State Schools

Parents are paying ‘premiums’ of on average £77,000 to buy homes near leading state schools, research out today suggests.

Pricey: Catchment area of the Henrietta Barnett school (pictured) has homes with an average price of £655,429.

Property prices within sought-after catchment areas are 35 per cent higher than in the rest of the UK, with an average asking price of £298,378.

The most expensive catchment area of a state school in Britain’s top ten surrounds all-girls grammar Henrietta Barnett, in Barnet, north-west London, where the average house price is £655,429.

The premiums have soared from an average of £20,000 in just four years.

And rent in the catchment areas of the top 50 state schools – at an average of £944 a month – is 7.8 per cent higher than in the rest of the country. For the catchment areas of six of them, rental prices are as high as £1,500 a month.

But the premiums are still cheaper than most private school fees, which can top £30,000 a year.

The research is likely to reignite the bitter row over school ‘selection by mortgage’ rather than ability.

The phenomenon has prompted some councils to adopt controversial lotteries – effectively picking names from a hat – to give children from poorer homes an equal chance of getting a place at a top school.

The research, from property website, is based on average asking prices in July this year and GCSE results taken from 2010.

It shows a handful of the top schools are in areas with typical house prices more than twice the national average of £221,110.

These include St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar in Orpington, Kent, ranked second in the UK, where house prices average £592,471. Notably, house prices in the area around the top-rated Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar, in Salisbury, are just below the average for leading schools at £286,112.

Nigel Lewis, property analyst at, says: ‘For many years now the challenges of the catchment area-based lottery for state schools have vexed millions of parents across the UK – and our research highlights how much it can cost to get your child into the ideal school.’

n The first 24 ‘free schools’ are to receive £130million between them from the Government to cover their start-up costs this year.

Among those getting state backing is the Maharishi School, in Ormskirk, Lancashire, where children as young as four will be given meditation classes.

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