Study: Wokingham best for families
The market town of Wokingham has been named as the best town in England and Wales to bring up a family.
The Berkshire town, which is just 33 miles from London and has a population of 30,000, has topped a study which examined factors including quality of schools, childcare provision, affordability of living and crime levels.
The rest of the top 20 towns are dominated by counties in the south east and south west, according to Family Investments which commissioned the survey.
They are Woodley, Berkshire; Chulmleigh, Devon; Lightwater, Surrey; Shebbear, Devon; Oakham, Rutland; Bromley Cross, Lancashire; Bingham, Nottinghamshire; Chinnor, Oxfordshire; Yarm, Yorkshire; and Chandlers Ford, Hampshire.
These are followed by Bloxham, Oxfordshire; Malmesbury, Wiltshire; Wendover, Buckinghamshire; Bradninch, Devon; Topsham, Devon; Twyford, Berkshire; Dunnington, Yorkshire; Guildford, Surrey and Llangammarch Wells, Powys.
Kate Moore, head of savings and investments at Family Investments, said: "Wokingham's place at the top of our table reflects its combination of excellent school results, relative affordability for young families and low crime levels.
"Everybody has different ideas about what makes a great location to start a family and bring up a child and we have tried to be as comprehensive as possible in gathering information on the factors parents have told us are most important.
"We hope families find our report interesting and we have tried to make it as inclusive as possible by designing an online tool that allows parents to adjust the weightings of each factor to generate postcodes that might suit their own particular needs.
"We know that family finances are under pressure and have attempted to provide parents with as much information as possible on the affordability of key financial considerations such as house prices, and a new addition for this year's report, childcare affordability. Of course we do recognise there are some factors that can't be measured, such as the valuable support provided by family and friends that live close by."
The factors considered by the study included key stage two and four results, school inspection outcomes, quantity and quality of early years care, affordability of childcare, local crime figures and property affordability. It also considered the availability of an existing population of parents with young children, parks and green spaces, leisure centres, zoos and farms and museums and theatres.