Hi everybody, I am new to this country and am looking for a good way to research schools in Fulham, Queen's park, Maide Vale and Ealing. Before moving in one of those areas I would like to know more about schools there...I am finding hard to get school catchment areas' maps on line though..any suggestions? Thanks a lot!!!
Hi, don't know these areas but just to say there aren't catchment maps as places are filled by children who have a special need, or a sibling, or live nearest to the school. As factors including birth rate and sibling count vary from year to year the "catchment" varies from year to year, e.g. at our school we would not have got in this year.
Having spent a couple of years trying to move I would suggest that either you should find the school you want and rent while you try to buy or find a house you want to buy, otherwise ,as we did, you might miss the school application deadline before you find the right house, or find a house you love and check out the schools near it and your chances of getting in based on previous years (the LA will give you distances of intake in previous years.)
If going down the first route then look at school websites and ofsted reports of schools in your chosen area(s) - and choose a few to visit as no substitute for getting a feel of a school. Xmas fairs will be in early december so that's a good way to get a sense of the vibe and community feeling.
But really, my advice would be house first, and reject the house if the schools are just not right for you, go for it if the schools seem ok. Otherwise you've got a LOT of schools to research in those areas and then no surety of getting a house near the one you like best - depending how long you have before you need to apply. Also, you might get to "the school" and find it has its own problems that you hadn't foreseen, hence my view that house comes first as long as schools near are not dire.
Hope that helps - i know doesn't really answer your question but we've had a bit of a nightmare and the above is what i've learned from the process! good luck.
The problem is that living in the catchment area does not guarantee that your child will obtain a place at your catchment school. What you can try is putting a postcode into a website such as school finder (see previous posts) and it will come up with a list of your nearest schools. Some LEA websites also have this facility. Also it depends on how old your children are. The comments about application deadlines are only relevant if you are applying for a place in reception for Sept 2013. If your children are already of school age (5 this academic year) then you will be offered places at the nearest school with space available. So you could move next door to a school and then find out it is full.
Are you religious, more accurately are you Christian and a regular churchgoer. Are your children baptised?
In this country we have some schools that can select on the basis of faith with priority being given to children who meet certain faith based criteria.
Generally in London there are no catchment area maps with distance being a determining factor (unless its a faith based school where distance is fairly low on the list). Each council will publish some details of its schools
Maida Vale The two best schools in terms of academic performance are St Joseph - Catholic St Saviours - Church of England
The local community schools such as Queens Park and Essendine have high ethnic minority populations (70%+ speaking English as Second Language) and also higher levels of eligibility Free school meals at 50% (taken as a proxy for deprivation). We live in the area and my sons belong to one of the main minority groups in the area (North African - there is a large mosque 10-15 mins walk away).
My sons go private and you will find in certain boroughs, Westminster being one of them, a higher than average proportion of children go private.
good luck with your second move and decision making! It is challenging. Just moved to the UK from abroad 7 months ago, and we are now in the process of applying to state schools. Not easy. We are in the Maida Vale area - and the two schools that one mum shared above are hard to get into if you do not meet their religious criteria. Another area close to Maida Vale that has a number of community schools is St John's Wood. You may want to consider that area as well. Sorry, I don't know much about the West Hampstead area.