Moving to Hampshire for the schools? Timing can be key!

Moving to Hampshire for the schools?  There are a few key dates you need to be aware of to help the school admissions process go smoothly.  

If your child is due to be starting Year R or Year 7 in September:

Primary school applications need to be in by mid-January for the following September’s enrolment.  Secondary school applications must be in before the end of October the year before in order to be considered in the main round of admissions.  

Most of the Hampshire schools have ‘in catchment’ high up on their admissions criteria - but you need to be able to provide proof of address at the time of making your application in order for this to be considered.  Therefore, if you’re moving to the area for the schools (which so many families do), the ideal scenario is to be in your new home by the January or October before you wish to start year R or 7, to have the best chance of securing your preferred place.  It’s important to plan ahead! 

However, this timeframe is not always practical and often we find families moving to the area who need to make in-year applications, i.e. their children are in a school year other than R or 7, or they are not starting in September.  In these situations, applications can only be made four weeks before you actually plan to start at the school (with the exception of a September enrolment, where applications can be made in mid-June, before the admissions team break up for the summer holidays).  

In-year applications can be a particular worry for parents, as it all depends on what places are available at the time, who else is on the waiting list and how much of the admission criteria you can tick off to determine whether your child is allocated a place or not.  This is where local knowledge comes in handy, as well as time spent making contact with all the schools to check out their availability. Although Hampshire County Council allocate the places, it’s worth getting the inside knowledge from the schools themselves, to understand the state of the waiting list and the likelihood of getting a place. Even then, as in-year applications can only be made at the last minute, it can be a gamble when you move, as to whether you are actually going to get a place at your preferred school or not.  

However, if you’ve done your research and chosen the right location for your new home, you can be in with a good chance - and it is always possible to go on a waiting list whilst accepting a place at a different school.  Fortunately for Winchester residents, virtually every school in the city has been awarded either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted - so even if you don’t get your first choice, there are no ‘bad options’ here.

As part of the ScoutBee service, we work on behalf of our clients to research the availability of school places and the admissions criteria of each potential school to give as much information as we can to make their application successful. As parents ourselves, we understand the stresses involved - and aim to minimise them as much as we can for our clients! 

Rental red tape can be a minefield for non-UK residents relocating from abroad! 

We’ve recently worked with a few families who are living overseas but wanting to relocate to the UK. It’s an incredibly stressful time for the families involved, having to figure out all the paperwork and arrangements required for work, school, visas applications etc - let alone being sure you’ve found the right house to live in when you get there! 

If you’re new to the area, it can be worth renting somewhere initially before committing to a purchase, so you can get a feel for the area and ‘find your feet’.  However, this is not always straightforward due to the red tape involved in renting to non-UK residents.

Proof of identity
The ‘Right to Rent’ requirements demand that the landlord or estate agent sees proof of identity before a tenancy agreement is signed - these need to be the original documents and, if you’re non-British citizen, they need to be seen in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy. Sounds reasonable enough, but if you’re applying for a Visa during that time (which is only valid for 30 days before travel), or travelling over from somewhere like Australia, the chances are you won’t be able to release the original documents as they will be needed for your travel arrangements instead! Frustratingly, we’ve found some lettings agents reluctant to even discuss a tenancy agreement without seeing these documents. However, don’t be put off by this, as the lettings agent can accept faxed copies of your passports and visas to secure an agreement - although they still won’t release the keys until they’ve seen the original documents.

Proof of income
You’ll also need to prove you have sufficient UK income to pay the rent - typically at least 30 times the monthly rent. But if you're just arriving in the UK, it's unlikely you have any UK income! If you’re UK business owner, you’ll need to have completed at least one annual tax return to prove your income in the UK. However, if you can’t prove any UK income, you need to prove you can pay by independent means - i.e, showing you have sufficient funds registered in a bank account to cover a certain period of rental income. Another way to get around the situation, providing you have funds available, is to agree to pay the rent up front for a period of time agreed with the landlord.  This can be anything from two-six months or even a year, depending on the individual situation.  

Developing trust
Some landlords are nervous about letting to a tenant they have never met, so it’s worth building a relationship with the lettings agents and making sure they understand your situation.  This can be difficult when you’re in a different time zone, so it can be a great reassurance for both our clients and the landlords if we are there in person, developing that relationship and trust on their behalf. 

There are a lot more issues to consider when relocating to the UK - like navigating the school admissions process when you don’t yet have a UK address, viewing properties remotely and timing your furniture arrival to coincide with your moving in date; all of which we’ll cover in another blog another time. However, one thing is for sure, we always get there in the end and provide as much help and support as we can to ease the stress of the situation!

New year, new family home? What’s the best way to go house-hunting with the kids?

When you’re looking to move your family to a new home and/or a new area, it is so important to involve your children in the decision making process. Taking them on the house-hunting journey allows them to get excited and helps to ease the stress of adapting to a new area when you finally find that perfect house.

Making your first step on the property ladder?

If you’ve never done it before, the process of buying your first home can be very daunting. It is usually the most expensive thing you will ever have to buy and with it comes a huge amount of paperwork, procedures and jargon. You also have to involve a variety of different professionals to help you through it. Some are essential, others can make the journey less stressful and some you would rather not have to deal with but can’t seem to avoid!