The initial enquiry
We were recently contacted by a family from Boston, USA who wished to move to Welwyn Garden City or St Albans area. The couple and their two boys flew over in May for three days of house viewings and school tours. The boys would need school places in Year 1 and Year 4 in September so this meant our search for a rental had to take school place availability into consideration.
How we helped
Finding school places is no easy task as the County Council handle all the admissions and waiting lists and they will not give any indication on school places until they receive the formal application from the parents with an address.
However to try and establish the likelihood of spaces in the required year groups we called over twenty local primary schools. Many were full with a waiting list, others advised of potential vacancies in one year group but not the other, some schools were CofE or Catholic primaries and preferred their intake to reflect the child’s faith and others were under specials measures which they preferred to avoid.
Once we had established a select number of schools with potential spaces we could tailor the viewings to rental options within catchment.
The couple wanted four bedrooms, a good sized garden and to be close to all amenities. We viewed a range of properties within the centre of Welwyn and they chose a rental which fitted the bill. We were now able to start school tours and the couple and their boys viewed a variety of schools. Some did not ‘tick the box’ but they soon settled on a very friendly primary.
All that was left to do was for Chiltern Relocation to negotiate the rental agreement ready to be signed and the family flew back to Boston.
The problems we faced
A few weeks later we got a call on a Friday evening to inform us that the landlord no longer wished to let their chosen property. The couple were crestfallen given the time, effort – and miles – that had gone into their choice and they were very concerned about finding a new rental option within catchment of a school with spaces for the boys. It was now June and they needed to get their school application to the council within weeks if the boys were to be awarded places for a September start.
It was decided that the wife would fly over on Sunday ready to restart viewings on Monday morning. Chiltern Relocation researched new housing options on the Saturday and prepared a new viewing schedule ready for Monday – a very tight timeline. We restarted the school research first thing Monday morning. After many phone calls to kind school office receptionists we were able to ascertain likely availability at the closest schools and arrange a school tour of one primary which would hopefully fit the bill.
We viewed eight properties over two days and arranged one great school tour. The property was selected and the school visit went very well – it was in fact preferred over the original school choice.
Chiltern Relocation were delighted to turn round the bad news into a successful outcome within such a short space of time. After the initial stress and panic at the house falling through the family are now delighted that they have found a lovely home and that the school is even better than the one they originally selected. A great result!