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School placing requests and house-hunting habits reveal Tayside and Fife’s most popular schools

placing requests
Families are likely to relocate to an area with a better 'catchment area'.

The most popular schools in Tayside and Fife are revealed as hundreds of parents submit placing requests or flit to their favoured catchment areas.

Schooling is a major issue for families in Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross, with families likely to move to a new area in pursuit of the best school for their children.

Local estate agents from across the four local authority areas have helped map out the areas where families relocate to in order to enrol their children in a ‘good’ catchment area.

Each postcode in Scotland is associated with a denominational and non-denominational primary and secondary school – known as catchment schools.

School placing requests

Parents can also make placement requests to enrol their child at a school which is not within their designated catchment area.

While the decision is being made by the local authority, a place will be reserved for the pupil at a school within their assigned area in case they are unsuccessful.

Scottish school placing requests are generally approved unless there is significant grounds for refusal, such as overcapacity.

Schooling ‘most important factor’ for families

A school considered to be ‘good’ can influence families looking to purchase a house, according to estate agents.

Morton Simpson, area property manager at Thorntons Property, which covers Angus and Dundee, said: “There are always people looking to move to so-called good catchment areas or good schools.

“People will relocate from an area to increase their chances of getting their child into a better primary or secondary school.”

Grove Academy, in Dundee, and neighbouring Monifieth High School, in Angus, are desirable for families, according to Mr Simpson.

Dundee City Council received the most placing requests for the Broughty Ferry school in the 2019/20 school year, with 119 applications.

Area property manager at Thornton’s Property, Morton Simpson.

Morgan Academy also proved popular with 113 requests from outside the catchment area, followed by St John’s High School, which had 97, and Harris Academy, 72.

St Joseph’s and Eastern Primary School, Broughty Ferry, were most the most popular primaries in the city, with 69 and 62 placing requests.

Data for Angus, obtained through a series of freedom of information requests, shows Monifieth High School was the most popular for families, with 45 applications, followed by Arbroath High School, with 37.

Seaview Primary School, Monifieth, had 38 placing requests.

Mr Simpson also picked out Webster’s High School, in Kirriemuir, as being popular with house hunters.

However, changing catchment areas can sway families towards new or improving schools.

“With the new super school merger being proposed for Craigie High School and Braeview, it could switch priorities for parents,” he added.

“On the other hand, parents living somewhere like Invergowrie, where catchment areas could change, may worry about having to send their children to Perth.”

Dominic Wedderburn placing requests
Dominic Wedderburn of Galbraith Properties Fife.

Parents would prefer to live within the vicinity of a good school catchment area, according to Dominic Wedderburn, head of residential agency for Galbraith Properties in Fife, however they may submit placing requests to nearby schools.

Anstruther and St Andrews are popular locations for families looking to relocate, he said, thanks to the reputation of local Waid Academy and Madras College.

He said: “Families will consider schooling as a key priority when choosing where to buy.

“In most parts of Fife, a mosaic of factors will determine how desirable and area is – schooling, access to transport links, good quality parks or green spaces, the architecture of the property itself and proximity to other local facilities or attractive rural scenery (or the coast) will all play a part in the demand and corresponding house prices.

“Waid Academy in Anstruther and Madras College in St Andrews are both excellent schools which attract families by the property market in already very attractive in both places.”

Cupar’s Bell Baxter High School is also regarded popular among families in terms of its academic achievement and sporting opportunities for pupils, Mr Wedderburn added.

Aberdein Considine school placing requests
Aberdein Considine branch manager James McKay.

The development of Bertha Park High School has boosted opportunities for families in Perth and Kinross.

James McKay, branch manager of Perth’s Aberdein Considine, said: “The ongoing development at Bertha Park is a good example of new build home developers often now combine a new school within the development which helps attract family buyers.

“General accessibility to schooling – whatever the catchment – remains important to all family buyers.”

The high-tech school, opened in 2019, is the first UK Microsoft flagship school.

Bertha Park High School was officially opened by education secretary John Swinney with head teacher Stuart Clyde in January 2020.

Alison Millar, owner of Simple Approach Estate Agents in Perth, agrees with Mr McKay, stating schooling was one of the “most important issues” for house hunters.

Alongside Bertha Park, primary schools Oakbank, Inchview and Craigie are popular.

She said: “There are so many amazing locations around Perth which are popular with families.

“Villages like Abernethy and Luncarty also attract families based on their primary schools.”

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