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School catchment issues

Moving house to get your child into a London primary school? Here’s how much it costs to live near the best schools.


The new school year is here and uniformed children are returning to their school runs – which means that the mad scramble for next year’s places is about to begin. Parents of toddlers are suddenly starting to realise that their nearest school might not be all they’d hoped for and that they might need to consider moving. So we’re asking: how much does it cost to buy a home in catchment for five of London’s best non-denominational primary schools? 

1. Fox Primary, Kensington W8 

This is the holy grail of London primaries. The catchment area is tight, and property prices are at a premium – plus the school is oversubscribed. Even in catchment you need to be living as close as possible to be in with a chance. This two bedroom apartment in Campden Street W8 might not be ideal for a large family, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to get your first-born a coveted place at Fox. The flat has two roof terraces and you can even see the school from one of them. Fingers crossed. £1.45m, Winkworth Kensington 020 7727 1500.

2. Thomas Jones Primary, Notting Hill W11

This is another Kensington and Chelsea school that’s so heavily oversubscribed that you need to live within 200 metres of the gates to even hope for a place. This three bedroom flat on the ground and lower ground floors of an attractive Ladbroke Grove townhouse has more than 1,100 square feet and could do with a bit of work, but is potentially a lovely family home with a terrace garden, two bathrooms and an eat-in kitchen. It’s on the market at £849,950 with Winkworth North Kensington 020 7792 5000.

3. Bousfield Primary, Earl’s Court SW5

This is the kind of school that has Camilla Parker-Bowles as a visitor and it’s so heavily in demand that there are rumours of people temporarily renting flats in the nearest mansion block to secure places. But this apartment in Wetherby Gardens SW5 should put you in a good position: listed at £1.6m, it has an unusual layout comprising a vast open plan kitchen/reception room with a mezzanine floor, plus three bedrooms and lots of storage space for family clutter. It’s available through Winkworth South Kensington 020 7373 5052

4. Gillespie Primary, Highbury N5

One form entry means that there are only 30 places every year at this popular Highbury school; this year, the last place offered was to a child living just 0.116 miles from the school. This fantastic house in Canning Road, N5 should be a safe bet, and it’s a lovely family home with three bedrooms, a grassy garden and a kitchen that has been extended into the side return. £1.35m, Winkworth Highbury 020 7989 7000

5. Eleanor Palmer Primary, Kentish Town NW5

Another one form entry school, this one sparked Giles Coren’s rage when his daughter failed to get a place despite living almost next door to it. This two bedroom flat in Ospringe Road is at the furthest end of the street from the school, so you’ll need a bit of luck, but it’s certainly in with a chance. The apartment has a large garden and cosy interiors, with a second bedroom that’s large enough for sharing. It’s available for £750,000 through Winkworth Kentish Town 020 7485 9210. 

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