Moving home with your family is a momentous time, especially when it involves changing schools. And although it can be challenging for everyone, it can also be an exciting new chapter.
Nonetheless, whether it’s switching from primary to secondary, not liking a current school, or changing location for work or more space, there’s plenty to think about, including:
- securing a place at your preferred school
- preparing and supporting your children
- getting your timing right
- packing up and moving in
- settling into your new neighbourhood
Managing all of that is no mean feat!
Selling and buying a property usually takes between 4 and 6 months, which makes spring the time to get your home on the market for a move in the summer holidays before the new school year.
So let’s explore how you can coordinate selling your home, finding a new one, and changing schools to make the whole process a smooth and swift success.
SECURING A PLACE AT YOUR PREFERRED SCHOOL
You’ve probably already got your child a place if they’re starting a new school this September, but if they’re going to a new school next year, it’s time to start planning to meet the application deadlines.
- As well as getting recommendations from other parents and teachers at your child’s current school, ask local estate agents as they or their clients may have children in local schools.
- Check out local school websites, league tables, Ofsted ratings and inspection reports to narrow your search to the best options.
- Contact each school on your shortlist to confirm the availability of places and any catchment area restrictions, then visit them with your children so they can ask any questions.
- Application deadlines differ slightly between England, Scotland and Wales, but count on January of the same year for primary school, and October/November of the previous year for secondary school. The most popular schools will be oversubscribed and have waiting lists, so get in early!
- You can still apply after the deadlines and make in-year applications because local authorities are obliged to find every child a place, but it may not be at your preferred school.
- Catchment areas make getting a place tricky if you don’t live there yet, so it’s never too early to plan, even if your children are a few years away from changing schools.
Finally, don’t forget how your children will get to school. Whether you’re driving them or they’re making their own way, research routes and probable journey times by car, cycle, public transport and walking to make sure it’s a practical choice.
PREPARING & SUPPORTING YOUR CHILDREN
Moving to a new home and changing schools can challenge even the most resilient children, and worrying about how they’ll cope and settle into their new environment is natural. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to help them feel more comfortable and confident.
- Involve them in the family move by helping them pack their belongings and asking how they’d like to decorate their new bedroom.
- Encourage questions and be honest and open about why you’re moving and what to expect.
- Talk about the places to visit in your new neighbourhood by looking at pictures online, playing with Google Earth, and making plans to visit somewhere fun.
- Help your children keep in touch with their old friends and arrange playdates – thanks to technology, staying connected is easier than ever.
With the right support and preparation, you’ll find that children can quickly thrive in their new school and neighbourhood, making new friends and discovering new interests.
GETTING YOUR TIMING RIGHT
Obviously, the least disruptive time to move your children from one school to another is during the summer holiday, but when should you get started? Well…
- March and April are the perfect months to get your home on the market to have enough time to secure a buyer, find a new home and complete the legal process without stressing about dates.
- Get valuations from two or three local estate agents so you can work out your budget for your next home, then get ready to sell with the tips in our Spring Viewings blog.
- Use our Smooth Moves guide to pick the best estate agent and strip out potential delays, then hit the market asap to catch the spring activity.
- Contact agents in the area you want to move to and cultivate relationships to be first in line when suitable homes come up for sale.
- Confirm the last day of term and first day back with schools to know your moving window well in advance.
By following these steps and allowing enough time for the selling and buying process, you can confidently navigate your family’s move without interrupting school.
PACK SLOW, UNPACK FAST
Moving house can test your logistical skills in more ways than one, even more so with children and a change of school involved. How you pack and unpack can make all the difference, and we recommend the mantra of ‘start early and start small’. So try these handy tips while enjoying an uplifting playlist.
- Start the packing process early so you can declutter, put away anything you don’t need right now, and remove the time-panic later.
- Pack by room wherever you can and use smaller boxes – they’re easier to hide while your home is on the market, they’re lighter to carry, and they make loading more efficient.
- Once you’re in your new place, prioritise unpacking the things that will make your children comfortable, including their bedrooms, clothing, toys and TV.
- Aim to flop on the couch as a family with a takeaway treat the night you move in, so your children feel that life is just as it should be.
Finally, and because it’s the most popular time of year for families to move home, contact a few removal companies now to see how much notice they generally need for bookings in the summer holidays.
DISCOVERING YOUR NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD
One of the most exciting things about moving home is exploring your new neighbourhood and finding all the best places to go. We all love adventures, so why not treat your move as an exciting opportunity for your family to discover what’s on your new doorstep?
- Take a walk, cycle or drive around the area to get your bearings and see how your new home fits into the neighbourhood, including local parks, playgrounds and woodland.
- Pound the high street for local gems like quirky vintage boutiques, independent bookstores, or cool coffee shops, along with hair salons, barbers and pubs – remember to stop for treats like hot chocolate, ice cream or pizza.
- Check out community noticeboards and social media for upcoming events, activities and local groups to meet new people with similar interests and hobbies.
- Research local services such as doctors, dentists, gyms, yoga studios and anything else around health and wellness.
- Save the places you like the look of in Google Maps, so you can pull them up whenever you want without having to remember where they all were.
By exploring your surroundings, meeting new people and immersing yourself in your new community, you’ll soon become part of your new neighbourhood and feel right at home.
Are you looking to move before the new school year starts?
Then we need to talk! If you own a property in Stourbridge and nearby, we’d love to show you how we can sell your home and help you make your family move a smooth and pleasant experience.
Call us on 01384 958811 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to meet and get your plans underway.