Are the best schools only in the most expensive areas? Not in these Yorkshire towns

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THE former mill town of Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire has emerged as the cheapest place in Britain in which to guarantee a high-class education.

Heckmondwike Grammar School has topped a list that pairs the best performing schools at GCSE level with the least expensive property prices in the surrounding area.

Pupils at the state school, which is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, have an average GCSE score of 616, while properties nearby are on the market for just £113,507.

Estate agent eMoov.co.uk said it works out at £184 per GCSE point.

Around 98 per cent of students at the school achieve at least five A* to C grades at GCSE.

The results were published as part of the estate agent’s annual Schools Performance and Property Price Index, which highlights the top 50 state schools across the nation that offer the best mix of a good education and affordable property prices.

The only other Yorkshire entrant in the top 50 is North Halifax Grammar School, which came in fifth place with properties selling for around £141,521, giving a cost of £246 per GCSE point.

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, said: “Choosing a school is one of those life mile markers that often goes hand in hand with moving house, so doing your research into both can make a big difference in securing a good education for your child and a realistic move for your family as a whole.

“The stress of moving coupled with the restrictions of catchment areas can be a mine field so often it’s necessary to have a third and fourth plan let alone a second.”

Mr Quirk added: “The main thing to remember in both instances is to keep a calm head and persevere.”

Housing costs are dramatically dearer at the 50th cheapest place on the list, Tonbridge in Kent.

The Judd School has a 99 per cent A* to C pass rate, but properties nearby have an average price of £334,523, putting the cost per GCSE point at £589.

The news comes as it was revealed that the cost of buying a home in Yorkshire is bucking the national trend.

The Yorkshire Post revealed yesterday that the region is just one of just two areas in the country to see a rise in asking prices this month.

The average price tag on a home fell by £3,600 in August as “Brexit uncertainty” combined with the summer holiday slowdown hit, property website Rightmove said.

The month-by-month fall in the price of property coming to market took the average asking price across England and Wales to £304,222 in August.

The biggest fall was in London, where prices dropped by 2.6 per cent this month, compared to 1.2 per cent nationally – a figure Rightmove said was consistent with the average decreases seen during the summer holidays.

Yorkshire and Humber and the West Midlands were the only regions to buck the trend of a month-on-month asking price fall, with increases of 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

The research comes just weeks after think tank the Resolution Foundation warned that cities in the north face being saddled with a housing crisis akin to that of London, as home ownership levels across Yorkshire plummet.

A report showed sharp drops in ownership in the region’s biggest cities – Leeds and Sheffield.

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