But what happens if you find your dream house first and then need to find the best school close by?
We are asked so often by our buyers, which schools we recommend and whilst we always offer honest advice to the best of our knowledge, ultimately it comes down to what YOU want. Here in this blog we've created some tips for helping you find the best school in Essex for your children.
Start your school research well before your move
It's important that you start thinking about schools long before you move. We recommend doing this as early as you possibly can. You will probably want to visit several schools in Essex before you decide on the best fit, so make sure you leave enough time for multiple appointments and open days.
With the power of modern day technology, it's so much easier to find all you need to know online, even if you are relocating from a-far. Almost all schools have a collection of online reviews for you to look at. Ofsted reports are also listed on school's websites and you can usually download a free online prospectus to print at home.
Start gathering critical information online using reputable sites such as The Good Schools Guide and check the school performance tables on Gov.uk.
School research can be a time-consuming process, which is why we recommend starting early. Once you’ve whittled it down to your top three schools, pay each of them a visit with your child.
Work out what your priorities are
Let’s face it, it may be tough to find a school that has absolutely everything that you’re looking for and all the schools in the Essex area have their own strengths.
When looking for a school, we recommend making a list of your priorities. For instance, are you looking for a school with a tremendous academic record or one with a specific subject focus? Are extra-curricular activities essential or does your child have any special needs that the school should cater for? Are you looking for state schools or private schools? Day or boarding? Single-sex or co-ed?
Writing down all your priorities like this will help you narrow your search, as Essex is an area that’s packed with lots of great schools to choose from!
If you have the chance to speak to your new neighbours before your move, ask them about their personal experiences with the local schools and if they don't have children themselves, perhaps they can introduce you to someone they know who does? Chatting with another parent could save you research time, and they may also have first-hand experience of a school if they are sending their own children to one of the schools that you’re interested in.
If you aren't able to speak with the new neighbours, another good option is local Facebook groups. Join the local group for your new area and put a post up asking people for their thoughts.
Go and look for yourselves!
Although this might not be immediately possible, we highly recommend visiting schools when you can.
Here are some of the key things to observe on a school visit:
- Is the environment and community friendly and welcoming?
- Are the facilities clean and well-maintained?
- Do the teachers seem enthusiastic and happy to chat through all your questions?
- How do the students and teachers interact with each other?
- Do the children appear happy and engaged?
- What is the area like?
Some schools now even offer virtual tours of their campuses so if you aren't able to go in person, this could be a good thing to explore. You could also hold a Zoom call with the headteacher to get a better feel of the school, and it’s teaching style.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket!
Once you have found the perfect fit, find a back-up! It’s always sensible to have a Plan B in case your chosen school in Essex doesn’t work out. Creating a list of your top two or three schools means that you can quickly fall back to another option if needed, although of course, we hope your child gets into your first choice!
Speak to your agent
We're here to advise. We know the area and we have had hundreds, possibly thousands of conversations with similar home-buyers. We will always give you the best knowledge we can and give you a starting point.
Please call us on 01268 778333 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help!