Relocating and Finding the Right Schools for your Children

One of the top concerns that many families have when moving house is finding the right school for their children. Many local home moves are explicitly made so that families can move closer to the catchment area of their dream school. But what happens if you are relocating for other reasons and then need to find the best school for your children close by?

As your local estate agent, we know the Devon area exceptionally well and receive so many questions about this that we decided to give you our best advice to help keep you informed. In this article, you’ll find our top tips to help you find the right school for your children when moving to Devon.

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 Devon area have their own strengths.

When looking for a school in Devon 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, Grammar schools or private schools? Day or boarding? Single-sex or co-ed? There are lots to consider before you even kick off your search.

Writing down all your priorities like this will help you focus your search, as this is an area that probably has a greater choice and type of schools to choose from which is rare and wonderful, but also makes choosing the right one for your children even harder with such a choice and diversity.

Start your school research well before your move

Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in terms of priorities, it’s time to start researching. We recommend doing this as early as you possibly can. You will probably want to visit several schools in Devon before you decide on the best fit, so make sure you leave enough time for multiple appointments and open days.

It’s straightforward to access all the information you need on the excellent schools in the area as you can do this online, even if you’re currently located in a different part of the country.

Start gathering critical information online using reputable sites such as The Good Schools Guide and check the school performance tables on Gov.uk. Read through online school reviews and scour the Ofsted reports.

Many schools in the South Hams are oversubscribed and have strict catchment area rules, so you may need to focus your search to be within that area.

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. Which brings us on to our next point…

Pay your top choice schools a visit

Although this might not be immediately possible, we highly recommend visiting schools when you can. Take a tour and get a good feel of the environment that your child will potentially be spending lots of their time in. Talk to the staff and pupils and ask them questions.

Here are some of the key things to observe on a school visit:

  • How do the students and teachers interact with each other?
  • Are the facilities clean and well-maintained?
  • Do the teachers seem enthusiastic and happy to chat through all your questions?
  • Is the environment and community friendly and welcoming?
  • Do the children appear happy and engaged?

If it’s not possible for you to physically visit the school before you move, don’t despair. Check out their website. Some schools now offer virtual tours of their campuses. You could also hold a Zoom call with the headteacher to get a better feel of the school, and their  teaching style.

Find out where your new neighbours are sending their children

If you have the chance to say hello to your new neighbours before your move, ask them about their personal experiences with the local schools in Devon. Chatting with another parent could save you research time, as they will have done just the same prior to enrolling their children and may even have first-hand experience of a school that you’re interested in.

Make sure you have a back-up plan

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 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!

Our staff at Chartsedge are local and have extensive knowledge of the local schools with their own children and through friends. So if you are moving to the area start your home search with us, and we’ll be happy to advise you on all aspects of your move. Please call us on 01803 505115 or email us at info@chartsedge.co.uk for more information.