A new study has shown that parents in England are prepared to pay a considerable premium if they want to live near a top state secondary school.
The report showed that homes near the best secondary schools command an average house price of £415,844, adding 45pc to the English average.
The data from Lloyds Bank reveals that over the past five years, the average property price in areas with a top-performing state school has grown by £116,696 (39pc), compared to a rise of £51,264 (22pc) across England.
Rental prices are similarly affected by the location of secondary schools.
The study noted how this can impact on the social mix of those state schools, stating “The popularity of areas close to high performing schools may mean that homes remain unaffordable for buyers on average earnings.”
Many families do make house buying decisions without fully understanding their preferred school’s admissions criteria. For example, a selective grammar school or faith school will view the location of the house as a less important consideration than academic ability or church attendance when admitting pupils. Even factors such as sibling priority can alter the “catchment” area of a school year on year, especially in urban areas.
Across the UK, there are now schools run by a range of faiths, especially at primary level. The Church of England and the Roman Catholic churches have the biggest stakes, but there are seven Muslim schools and over thirty Jewish schools. Education and religion seem to be intertwined.
Does this matter? After all, the Anglican and Catholic churches have long played an active role in establishing and managing schools in the UK.
Those for the growth in faith schools see them widening parental choice and driving up standards by taking the day-to-day management out of government’s hands. It has been claimed that children in a church school can be a year ahead of their peers in a community primary school.
Many see church schools as socially divisive. Not just by potentially “ghetto-ising” religious groups but also because many Anglican and Catholic church schools seem to take pupils from a mainly middle-class background, effectively making them selective.
What is apparent is that faith schools have support of both the government and the church communities that they serve.