How do you find out about primary school catchments?

(18 Posts)
hazelnutlatte Fri 05-Apr-13 19:36:33

We are looking to move house and are looking in an area where there is a lot of pressure on primary school places. Is there a website where I can find out how close I am likely to need to live to a particular school in order to have a good chance of getting a place? I've looked at the schools own admission criteria, which doesn't help much - it's siblings, followed by churchgoers, followed by distance to the school, but I have no idea if it's oversubscribed whether only members of the church have a chance!
I'm sure I've seen mnetters discussing this before but I've paid no attention as my dd won't be going to school for a few years yet, but it's suddenly become important now we are looking at houses. Any advice would be much appreciated thanks.

Teddyking1 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:41:32

You can find this information out easily by looking at your local authority education admissions section online.This information should be in the primary / secondary admissions brochure and will include admissions criteria including distance from school that the last child was offered.but you need to be well within this particularly if you are in an area of high population density.

needanewnickname Fri 05-Apr-13 19:59:10

My experience (just of one city) is that the local authority published information does not say that much about how many of the intake fell into each priority category in relation to church schools with their own admissions policies, although it does say whether the school was oversubscribed. You could try posting in MN Local naming the specific school you are thinking of and seeing whether anyone with local knowledge responds. You say that you know that there is a lot of pressure on primary school places in the area concerned. If that's the case, it seems likely that the places of a good church school will be 100% filled by siblings and churchgoers, particularly if it's only a 30 pupil a year intake.

Wolfiefan Fri 05-Apr-13 20:02:27

There is no set catchment. It depends on how many children apply each year and how close they live to the school.

hazelnutlatte Fri 05-Apr-13 20:16:52

Thanks for your replies, I've found the local authority info which tells me how many 1st preferences v how many places were available (both schools I looked at were oversubscribed) and for further info it just said 'see school' which wasn't much help!
I think it's likely that the houses we are looking at will be risky in terms of schools - they are 0.5 miles from both schools and the houses are much cheaper than those closer to the schools.

LIZS Fri 05-Apr-13 20:20:02

When the places have ben finalised for this September the LA will publish the distance of the furthest admitted pupil from the school, or you could ring for the info.

DorisIsWaiting Fri 05-Apr-13 20:25:31

OUr local authority has a map on it's website with rough catchment areas, it's not easy to find so have a dig around the admissions info stuff.

TuttoRhino Sat 06-Apr-13 08:15:01

Try www.findaschool.info/ if you live in London or Manchester. The measuring tool is good but not totally accurate. We actually live 40 metres closer to our closest school, compared to their estimate.

The admissions team may tell you how close an address is to a school if you ring them up.

hazelnutlatte Sat 06-Apr-13 08:51:56

after lots more googling I have come to the conclusion that our local authority isn't great at publishing information, but I've found what I wanted to know via an old mumsnet thread. I think we are really going to struggle in the town we live in, will have to consider downsizing or moving to a different area.

creamteas Sat 06-Apr-13 10:15:06

Wolfie it depends were you live. My LEA does have catchment areas and distance to the school is a lower criteria than living in catchment.

hazelnutlatte Sat 06-Apr-13 13:58:59

as far as I can tell there are catchment areas for some schools in my area - eg one of the schools I was looking at prioritises those living in the church parish over those who are not.
It's really a minefield, I don't want to play the game of going to church etc, and can't afford to live on the doorstep of a good school. I do wonder if the 'bad' schools would actually be fine anyway.

givemeaclue Mon 08-Apr-13 09:45:05

Have you called the local authority? We called them and they gave up all that info straight away over the phone

Talkinpeace Mon 08-Apr-13 09:52:54

and Academy schools are no longer part of LEAs

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 08-Apr-13 11:29:26

Have you looked at the OFSTED for the 'bad' schools? They usually have a parental survey about satisfaction with the school, which is useful.

Worth a visit too of course, ofsted isn't everything.

prh47bridge Mon 08-Apr-13 11:46:45

Not sure of the relevance of Talkinpeace's comment. Academies are required to provide information to the LA in exactly the same way as VA schools, which are also not part of the LA. So, as others have said, you can find out about formal catchment areas (if they have them) and the distance for the last child admitted last year from the LA regardless of whether the school you are interested in is a community school, faith school, academy, free school or whatever.

BackforGood Mon 08-Apr-13 12:10:50

Why not just ring the individual schools? They will be able to tell you about last years entrants, and may add if that was about "usual" or if it was a particularly unusual year. Of course, things can change rapidly from one year to another.

hazelnutlatte Mon 08-Apr-13 14:37:25

I think I will just call the schools then - I hadn't done this originally as we might end up calling a lot of schools as we are looking at different options of where we should move to.
The 'bad' school in question does not yet have an ofsted - it's a brand new school which has replaced a failing school, so it could turn out to be a good school after all.

Talkinpeace Mon 08-Apr-13 22:16:43

if the school has "replaced" a failing school, check how much has actually changed.
teaching staff, admin staff, pupil intake

as new names and shiny buildings do NOT change results in the long run

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