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This is perhaps a stupid question...

(17 Posts)
TerrariaMum Mon 01-Oct-12 09:56:19

I grew up in the States so the system here is unfamiliar to me. DD is almost 22 months so it might be early to start thinking, I don't know. My main question is how do you know which schools you fall into the catchment area for? Or rather how do you find out? Thank you for any help.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:00:59

You can apply to any school, and you put 3 down in order of preference. Each school will publish its "order of acceptance" criteria, most have looked after children and children with statements top of the list, and then in some sort of order, children who have siblings there, children who live close...faith schools slightly different.
Do you know what your nearest school is? Where do the children who live in your street go?

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:03:16

To get official answers, you need to contact your local education authilority. Google "children's education services <area name>". Your dd will be able to start pre school when she is 3 and they will help guide you through the school applicaion process. The forms and guidance are usually available there, as well as in schools and in private nurseries.

meditrina Mon 01-Oct-12 10:08:45

Catchment area should mean "priority admissions area" and the boundaries of those should be published on the school or LA website. It does not guarantee you a place however, if there are more children in the catchment than there are places, if that happens, then the typical "tie break" is siblings at the school then distance from school gates.

Catchment area is sometimes used to refer to the footprint of actual offers made for places at the school. This is also referred to as last or greatest distance admitted; this is sometimes on the website, or should be readily available from the school or LA if you email. This measurement can vary a great deal from year to year (and the trend is usually to get smaller).

TerrariaMum Mon 01-Oct-12 10:11:09

I know which ones are closest and my friend has told me about where her two DSes (one is doing A levels and one is at uni) went. There's a state one at the top of our road and a C of E one at the bottom, but DH and I want to avoid faith schools if possible.

At my GP surgery, there is a map printed from either google maps or an A to Z and there is a large circle around their catchment area. Do schools generally not have anything like this?

I am trying to learn before it gets urgent.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:12:51

There are no official catchment areas as such. Visit the 3 schools nearest you, we did when ds was about this age, and see whether you like them.

TerrariaMum Mon 01-Oct-12 10:12:57

Ooops, forgot my manners. Thank you both very much. This is making things much easier. DH would help, but he was homeschooled so, despite being British, he has no more idea than I do.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:14:36

No problem smile Tbh I had no clue before I started with ds, at which point I was working in children's services so it made it a bit less of a minefield.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:16:04

Actually, go and pick up an admission form for this year. I expect they'll be all over ay the moment, if you have a local preschool they'll have one, or look on your local education authority website. It'll tell you everything you need to know, and unlikely to change in the next couple of years

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:16:21

Sorry, unlikely to change much I mean

creamteas Mon 01-Oct-12 10:37:33

Infinity It does depend on where we live, in my area we do have catchment areas for schools. Children in the catchment area have a higher priority than those admitted on distance (even though those in the catchment might be further away).

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Mon 01-Oct-12 10:45:24

Ah fair enough sorry. I was told "there are no catchment areas any more" and assumed this was national

iseenodust Mon 01-Oct-12 10:52:31

This area also has definite catchment areas, no grammars. Secondary schools tend to show theirs on their websites. Primary schools you can just phone and ask. If they are not full then you might get a place at one where you do not actually live in the catchment area. DS & a few kids in our village do not go to our catchment primary. (Only downside no free school bus provided but as it's nearer than the catchment school not a problem.)

mummytime Mon 01-Oct-12 10:53:48

Do be aware that choosing a community school will in no way mean your child will not receive religious instruction. Religious Education is a compulsory subject, and all schools are supposed to have daily assemblies which are almost always "of a broadly Christian" nature.
I would find out the most local up to 5/6 schools and gather prospectuses and visit. Do not necessarily listen to others opinions, schools can change quite a lot over quite a short time. Also do visit CofE ones, as they may not be what you expect.

TerrariaMum Mon 01-Oct-12 12:31:32

Thank you all so much. I have started looking around on the web to begin with and will keep all your advice in mind.

TheBuskersDog Tue 02-Oct-12 23:36:41

If you go on your local authority website they will have the catchment areas, either as a map or often a PDF that lists by street

BackforGood Tue 02-Oct-12 23:50:34

It does vary from local authority to local authority. Finding their website would be your best bet, but asking at your local school would probably get you the information too. smile

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