Poorer pupils priced out of top state schools

Parents are paying over the odds for houses in the catchment areas of sought-after schools, pushing out pupils from less wealthy families.


On average, homes near good schools sell for £268,000 which is higher than the national average house price of £247,000, the Independent reports.

This £21,000 ‘premium’ means that although state education is free and equally accessible to every pupil, it is possible that poorer children are being deprived of a place at the ‘best’ schools, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.

An analysis of exam results in correlation with property prices in the post codes of the 30 top performing state secondary schools showed that one of the highest performing schools, Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire, attracted the biggest premium. Here, parents are paying over £483,000 more than the average asking price for properties that are nearby.

Conor Ryan from the Sutton trust called on schools to adopt “fairer admissions policies” and give priority to pupils from poorer families. “This research confirms that access to the best state schools is too often linked to family income…where comprehensive schools prioritise proximity in admissions, they close off access to many who can’t afford the high house prices.”

In contrast to this half of England’s top 30 state schools are found in areas where property is cheaper than the surrounding area. For example, homes near Heckmondwike Grammar School in Kirklees are roughly £99,000, whilst houses in neighbouring postcodes cost over £150,000.

If you teach in an area where property is expensive, are you aware of pupils from poorer families being excluded? What’s the solution to wealthy parents exploiting the state school system by moving to the catchment area of top schools?

4 thoughts on “Poorer pupils priced out of top state schools

  1. How is it fairer if poorer students are favored? It is favoring a small section of a community, which is inherently unfair. What are the parents who have a little bit more money supposed to do? Pay for tutors? £50,000 would definitely not cover the cost of a private education. The answer is to improve failing schools not social engineering.

  2. That would be unfair. The “rich” parents buying houses are not super rich,they just want the best for their children, and cannot afford to go private – otherwise they would!!! These are hard working families, who are buying pricier houses and making sacrifices in their lives elsewhere!
    Make all schools excellent!!!

  3. So unfair!!!!!! Parents buying into these catchments aren’t super rich (otherwise they’d go private), they are hard working families who want the best for their children. They will most likely be making big sacrifices to buy there. This country forgets that between the rich and the poor, there is a very squeezed middle, who get tremendously penalised for daring to earn a professional income!!!
    Improve failing schools in deprived areas, incentivise excellent teaching and leadership in those areas. Make all schools on a par with each other, instead of penalising hardworking middle class folk!!!!

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