Top tips for a successful move to a top school catchment area

Posted on Friday, November 23, 2018

New research from home moving company,, has revealed that as many as 56% of home movers now strive to live in the catchment of schools ranking high in performance tables, sparking fierce competition.

School admission criteria differs between local authorities, however catchment is usually a key factor. The level of importance families attribute to local school performance also differs throughout the UK. Londoners scored the highest, with nearly three quarters (72%) of people in the capital indicating local school statistics are an important factor for moving to the area.

Manchester came second highest at 63% with Sheffield 62%, Newcastle 59%, Birmingham at 54%, Yorkshire 52%, Liverpool 51%, Southampton 49%, Wales 54% and 59% in Scotland. Movers in East of England scored the lowest, with just 41% of people in Norwich stating school performance as an important factor.

Focusing solely on primary schools, 52% stated the performance of local primary schools is important when deciding where to live. We see a similar story when looking at secondary schools, with 53% saying it is an important factor when deciding where to live.

Angus Elphinstone, CEO of, commented “We move thousands of families each month, and it’s fair to say a large number of them are moving for the good of their children. The pressure to find a place in popular schools is intensifying. It can be challenging to find a home in a good catchment area, with some as slim as few hundred square meters which essentially means you need to live within a couple streets of the school to secure a spot for your child.“

AnyVan’s tips to find the best local schools

Here are moving expert Angus Elphinstone, CEO of AnyVan, tips for moving house in order to secure a place at a top school for your children:

1. Visit the schools you are considering

As impressive as a school’s ratings might be, it will still be important to take the time to check it out, along with the local area.

2.Checking the school performance

Any parent knows about Ofsted but to get an in-depth summary of performance you should visit the website. Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores are important factors you should look for when selecting a secondary school.

3. Admissions criteria

For most state secondary schools, the catchment area will be key but for the best schools you will also have admission tests, sometimes referred to as a ‘transfer test’ or ‘11 plus’. Faith schools may also have slightly different admissions criteria and staffing policies than general state schools.

4. What if my application is denied?

The most common reason for an application to be denied is if the school is oversubscribed, or you live outside the catchment area. About a quarter appeals are successful, so if you have a solid argument it can be well worth trying to appeal. The necessary appeals forms will be available from your local council.

5. Moving during a school year

Known as ‘in-year admissions’, these transfers require a great deal of communication and planning. It will be best to start by contacting the schools and your new local authority to let them know that your child is moving to the area. It will be best to have a few schools in case you struggle to find available spots.


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