Living close to London’s top performing primary schools will cost parents an additional £32,000, according to latest research by PwC.
While this 5% premium is one of the lowest of any UK region, London’s high house prices means the overall cost is the greatest across the UK. In comparison, living close to high performing primary schools in the North East also has a 5% premium, yet only results in an additional cost of £8,000.
While London’s house price premium to live close to high performing secondary schools is relatively smaller at 3%, it still adds an additional £17,000 to the cost of nearby properties.
Interestingly, in the South East the cost of houses near the top 10% of secondary schools is only marginally higher than that of properties in the wider surrounding area and, in the East of England, there is no premium, regardless of the proximity to top-performing schools.
On the other hand house buyers in the West Midlands will pay an extra 19% (or £47,000) to get their children into a top secondary school, the highest price premium identified in the study.
Andy Boucher, PwC London partner said, “Having access to good schools is a concern for parents as clearly it can have a huge impact on any child’s future employment prospects. Low income families in London may end up getting priced out of catchment areas which can lead to a vicious cycle of social disadvantage.
“Investing in a stock of stable affordable housing, looking at ways to broaden access to good schools and supporting other schools to improve all help address the issue. However, there are broader benefits to society such as the improvement of the community environment and the creation of a more productive economy.”
But building affordable housing could produce its own price competition as there will clearly be a desire for families to own properties close to catchment areas.
Rob Walker, partner and UK housing lead at PwC added, “They could also incentivise retirees who are holding onto their houses around good schools to consider moving to another part of the neighbourhood. This could be done by supporting the development of good quality retirement properties.”
In the short term, however, businesses can play an important part by investing in school-leaver schemes and offering apprenticeship programmes to attract a broader intake, including from less affluent areas. PwC, for example, has both a school-leaver programme and was one of the first employers to roll out the Tech Degree Apprenticeship initiative, whereby students combine practical work-based learning with a university degree.
Jamie Durham, economist at PwC and lead author of the research, said, “Although access to the top-performing primary schools has slightly improved, the relationship between house prices and secondary school performance has remained largely consistent.
“High house prices around good schools have the potential to lock out poorer families from the best performing schools and, while the amount varies across England, it remains a significant obstacle to social mobility across regions. Concerningly, this can also be compounded over time – children from wealthier families who can afford more expensive homes may do better in school as they can afford additional support, contributing to higher attainment in these schools, and reinforcing the house price premium.”