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Are top performing schools still state schools?

Children up and down the country have packed their bags, filled up their pencil cases and headed back to school. However for many, they descended to a school they never thought they’d be going to.

We’re all aware how competitive school places are. In this day and age getting into a certain school can entirely rest on your street name or postcode. And as a result, millions of children – and their parents alike – are left devastated when they don’t get into their first, second or sometimes even third choice. Subsequently, parents are doing all they can to ensure their children get into their preferred school – whatever the cost.

The competitive nature of school places is heightening year upon year; reports left, right and centre come in at the start of summer, and every year it seems that more and more children are left disappointed. However figures just released from Lloyds Bank has highlighted just how far parents are willing to go in order to secure places at their preferred school. According to the bank, parents are willing to pay £53,000 on average more to secure homes that will guarantee a place at a high achieving school. And the competitive nature is further emphasised by the fact this highlights a 31% increase on last year’s figures.

Although this is seemingly good news for the property market, and a great way to secure state school places, it does exclude millions of families. Average house prices are now peaking at £366,744 in the catchment areas surrounding England’s top 30 state schools. This compares to a general average of £313,318 elsewhere. This has undoubtedly been helped along by the six top 30 schools appearing to have pushed house prices up by at least a whopping £150,000 above their county averages.

The top performing schools are judged by their previous year’s GCSE results. Last week, the Telegraph reported that The Henrietta Barnett School, the selective all-girls school in Barnet was the top performing school this year, while the Thomas Telford School in Shropshire, the fully-comprehensive school topped that list.

However it was Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire, which came 35th out of the selective state schools that topped the list for demanding the biggest premiums for properties. Homes sell for almost £630,000, which is a whopping 171% above the county average house price of £367,191. The Henrietta Barnett School came second on the list with a £429,506 premium on homes, while this was followed by The William Borlase’s Grammar School in Buckinghamshire (£220,082), The Tiffin Girls’ School in Kingston upon Thames (£192,011) and Dr Challoner’s High School in Buckinghamshire (£168,308). According to Lloyds Banks, this analysis highlights that since 2011, average house prices in the areas with the best state schools have increased by £76,000. This compares to a national increase of just over £42,000. Pricing many out of the areas, it is mirroring the paid-for education, allowing only the privileged to attend such schools, and further underlining the class divide for children at a very young age.

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