I lived in Manchester for a few years while I was at university. I think a good area for you to take a look at would be Didsbury. The area has lots of large family homes and provides fairly easy access to Manchester's CBD.
Take a look at the Manchester City Guide for more information.
We saw your post by accident while we were checking information of Manchester. Hope your family has settled well in UK by now. We are a kiwi family of 3 about to move to Manchester due to work arrangements. As our daughter will turn 12 when we arrive, her education becomes our biggest concern. If we choose to study in State school, should we apply for a place first or find a rental first? Should we contact school directly or the city council instead? There are so many different info online, very confusing. Hope you can share your experience and thoughts. Thanks a lot in advance.