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Back to school! Essex offers top grades and best value for money

By Nicki Treffers - 15 August 2016

Each year Essex’s finest schools top the GCSE and A’ level league tables*; it’s not surprising to find that house prices close to outstanding schools are at a premium, yet properties in Essex still offer the best value for money than any other home county.

Essex is one of the few counties that still boasts a grammar school system and competition to gain an education at the Colchester County High School for Girls, Colchester Royal Grammar School or the King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford comes from far and wide. The county also offers a range of leading public schools such as Felsted, Holmwood House and Brentwood School where alumni range from Douglas Adams author of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ to Sir Hardy Amies, Dressmaker to the Queen and footballer Frank Lampard to Lily Allen’s father, actor Keith Allen.

For London-based workers with academically strong children it’s understandable why families are looking to make major savings by moving out of the City and up the A12 corridor into Essex to grab a free place at a grammar school, whilst also enjoying cheaper housing costs and a better quality of life. 

Increasing in desirability over the past 12 months is the UK’s oldest town, Colchester, which became one of the most searched for places on RightMove in 2016**. Here a family home will cost between £265,000 for a three-bed semi, or £350,000 for a four-bed detached, which is a massive saving for commuters on central or greater London prices where typical family homes in, for example, Gidea Park, fetch between £500,000-800,000.

Terry Holmes, Director, Beresfords, has noticed a growth in the migration of families moving out of the city over the last few years. He says: “There’s such a gap between house prices in central and greater London to what you can get for your money up the A12 into Essex. We recently undertook a survey and discovered families can save as much as £17,000 per mile as they move up the A12. Add to the mix an excellent free schooling at a local Grammar school and you can soon understand the demand.”

Family homes near schools with a good reputation also come at a premium, as Gary Jenkins, Beresfords Upminster, describes: “A modest detached family home in Upminster itself is going to cost you upwards of £600,000, but demand for schools such as the Coopers Company and Coborn can see nearby house prices upped significantly. We’ve also seen family homes on one side of the street get an uplift price as buyers believe they will stand more of a chance of getting their children into their desired school.”   

Beresfords website has a really useful schools feature on every property listed. Just go into the property details in the area you want to be in and click on the Schools Guide tab and all the nearby schools are shown on a map. What’s more, clicking on a school gives you details of their OFSTED rating, pupil to teacher ratio, percentage of non-English speaking pupils, parent ratings and more.

To find out more about the best properties and the best local schools in Essex, click here.

*Daily Telegraph 2015: Colchester County High School for Girls (8th best GCSE results in the UK), Colchester Royal Grammar School (3rd best A’ level results in the UK), King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford (5th best A’ level results in the UK).