The best and worst places to raise children in your area

For many parents, the quality of schools is a major factor when deciding where to live.

To help make the decision easier, we’ve ranked local authorities in England on a number of key factors, including the percentage of schools rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, the percentage of available school places and the affordability of houses.

Here are the best and worst local authorities to raise children in your region.

East Midlands

Rutland is the best local authority in the East Midlands for young families to live and is the 10th best nationwide. Rutland rates highly for its number of school places available (36%), and the number of schools rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, with 100% of schools in the area rated highly by Ofsted.

Leicester is the worst authority in the region, with schools oversubscribed by 14%, and below-average scores for house affordability and Ofsted ratings.

East of England

Central Bedfordshire ranks as the top authority in the East of England and is seventh best nationally. This is largely due to its percentage of available student places (17%), and high Ofsted ratings, with 87% of schools rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

Thurrock is the worst local authority in the region, and the seventh-worst nationwide, with schools oversubscribed by 3% and most houses proving unaffordable to those on the area’s average wage.


Sutton is the best local authority in the capital for families to raise children, with 25% of school places available, and 93% of schools scoring highly with Ofsted.

On the other hand, five of the ten worst places in the country can be found in London, including Richmond upon Thames, Croydon, Hillingdon and Islington. Lewisham is the worst in the region, and the country, due to 35% of schools being oversubscribed, expensive housing and poor Ofsted performances, with just 64% of schools scoring highly.

North East

In the North East, County Durham is the best local authority, with 14% of school places available and the most affordable housing in England, as the average wage amounts for 26% of average house prices.

North Tyneside rates as the worst local authority, with only 2% of student places available and 63% of schools receiving a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ grade from Ofsted – one of the worst scores in the country.

North West

Cheshire West and Chester is the best local authority in the North West and  ninth in the country, with 11% of school spaces available, affordable housing, and 84% of schools receiving a high Ofsted grade.

Conversely, Knowsley rates as the worst in the region and the ninth worst in England. Its schools are among the most oversubscribed in the country at 33% over and have the worst ‘Good’/’Outstanding’ rate in the nation at just 17%. However, it does score highly for affordable housing, with typical house prices at 19% of the average wage.

South East

In the South East, families should consider Brighton and Hove, with the local authority boasting 100% of schools with a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating, and 13% of places available.

On the other hand, Reading ranks as the worst in the region, and the sixth worst in the country, with schools 17% oversubscribed, below average affordability at 11%, and just 70% of schools with a high Ofsted rating.

South West

Torbay is the best local authority in the South West for couples with children, with 100% of schools scoring highly with Ofsted, and 17% of school places available.

However, South Gloucestershire was found to be the worst in the region, and the second-worst in the country overall, with schools 2% oversubscribed, below average affordability and only 35% of schools receiving a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ grade.

West Midlands

The research found Shropshire to be the best local authority in the West Midlands, and the sixth best in the country. This is due to schools having 12% of spaces available and 89% receiving high Ofsted grades.

Telford and Wrekin ranked as the worst in the region, with schools 100% full and only 62% of schools rated ‘Good’ or ’Outstanding’. The area did offer affordable housing, however, with house prices at 15% of the average wage.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Yorkshire and the Humber boasts five of England’s top ten local authorities for families, including North East Lincolnshire, Calderdale, Rotherham and North Yorkshire. North Lincolnshire is the best authority in the area, as well as the best in England. This was due to a combination of good school place availability (14%), a high percentage of ‘Good’/’Outstanding’ Ofsted ratings and affordable housing, at 17% of the national wage.

Sheffield is the worst in the region, with schools 3% oversubscribed and just 61% of schools rating highly with Ofsted. It did, however, offer affordable housing, with prices at 15% of the average wage.


Do you think your local area is a good place to raise children? Let us know on Twitter here: @OxfordHomeSch

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