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Bagging the best state schools in Herts

(9 Posts)
SchoolGuru Fri 22-Aug-08 19:11:09

Hi, I've just set up www.SchoolGuruHertfordshire.co.uk – a free website for parents applying for state schools in Hertfordshire. You just put in your details, and it reveals whether or not you would have got a place in previous years. It also predicts whether you're likely to get a place this year, using the very latest official data from Hertfordshire County Council. The aim is to help parents find the best schools – and avoid the worst ones. If you know anyone who's applying for primary or secondary schools, please spread the word: www.SchoolGuruHertfordshire.co.uk
I'd really welcome any feedback, too. My email is Catherine@SchoolGuru.co.uk
Thanks very much.
grin

JLo2 Sat 30-Aug-08 11:24:59

Great site Catherine - shall be passing it on to all my friends who are choosing secondary schools this year. Not sure whether it's left me more stressed or less, but certainly feel informed grin

ReallyTired Sat 30-Aug-08 12:15:04

Lol.. my poor son is doomed unless we catch religion.

Still my son is at a state primary that is quite low in the league tables. He is doing well because he has a good attitude and works hard.

RustyBear Sat 30-Aug-08 12:27:32

All Saints CE VA Primary School (Knebworth)

Address of school: Hollybush Lane Datchworth Knebworth Hertfordshire SG3 6RE

This school (my old school) is listed on your admissions calcuator as being in Knebworth - although this is the correct postal address, it's very misleading, as the school is actually in the village of Datchworth - there's another completely separate primary school in Knebworth. In fact the school is normally known (including on the OFSTED report) as
DATCHWORTH (ALL SAINTS) JMI SCHOOL.

I also think you should put your note about lack of data meaning you get a result of 'Poor' a bit more prominently, as you don't see it unless you scroll down.

intolerant Sun 31-Aug-08 12:16:09

Hi there. I just tested out my address with regard to the secondary schools nearby, but it will not allow me to use a (short) alleyway which, I've been told, County does use in its calculations. So, according to this map, DS would not be able to attend the school which, in fact, he has got a place at..... Am I doing something wrong?

SchoolGuru Mon 22-Sep-08 19:15:56

Hi there,

Thanks so much for your messages - and sorry it's taken so long to reply (where does the time go, eh?!). If anyone wants a quick response to any further queries, please email me at Catherine@SchoolGuru.co.uk

Ok, so to address your comments in turn...

grin JLo2 - Thank you so much! The site may not tell you what you want to hear, but at least you'll be prepared for what might happen on 2 March 2009 (secondary school allocation day). If you've set your heart on a particular school, it's better to know now that it's a long-shot, rather than finding out on allocation day. You've still got time to adjust your expectations and come up with a back-up plan, if necessary. Also, remember that places do become available through the 'continuing interest' system, after allocation day - although this isn't something to rely upon. Good luck!

wink ReallyTired - Your son sounds like a smart cookie, I'm sure he'll do well wherever he goes! Schools that top the league tables don't suit every child. There are some fantastic schools in Herts that aren't anywhere near the top of the tables, but they offer excellent pastoral care - and many children, regardless of their academic ability, thrive in that kind of nurturing environment. Hope you find a suitable secondary school... and if you 'find God' in the process, you won't be the first parent in the county to do so!

SchoolGuru Mon 22-Sep-08 19:29:33

smile RustyBear - Thanks so much for your input. It's so confusing when there are several schools with the same name. There are two All Saints - and six St Mary's primary schools in Herts! In my efforts to avoid confusion, I follow the style in Herts CC's Starting School booklet. They call it All Saints CE (VA) Primary. However, to clarify things, I'm going to put Datchworth, rather than Knebworth, in brackets. Hope that seems an OK compromise.

Re the schools without data - I couldn't agree more. We've now changed the message to say that your chances are 'Unknown. The school has been unable to supply us with information.' There are only a few schools that we don't have the data for... so hopefully this message won't pop up very often!

Thanks again - and please do shout if you spot anything else. Email Catherine@SchoolGuru.co.uk

blowsy Mon 22-Sep-08 19:41:04

very useful - thanks. Our chances are 'good', which is encouraging.

SchoolGuru Mon 22-Sep-08 19:59:12

smile Hello Intolerant,

Thanks very much for your message, and apologies for my slow response.

You can use the maps on SchoolGuruHertfordshire.co.uk to follow alleyways, cyclepaths, and any other route your choose.

Firstly, please check out the box on Golden Measuring Rules - this will give you a brief outline of what constitutes a legitimate route. The box is on the RHS of this page:

http://www.schoolguruhertfordshire.co.uk/measuringdistance.html

Right, now, at the bottom of this page you'll find the detailed measuring instructions. Look at point No 6:

"For more advanced users, if you want to do your own mapping, click on 'My Maps' and select the distance measuring tool. You can then follow short cuts, cycle paths, etc, to work out your own distances. Once you've played around with this for a few minutes, you'll see how easy it is... promise!"

If you measure distance this way, I'm confident that our system will show that your son would have got a place on allocation day. SchoolGuru uses the very latest official data - it's not my guesswork!

Two other points to make about measuring distances...

* The mapping tools that we provide allow you to make your own estimates of distances. Ideally, you'd want the council to do this for you, so you could be 100 percent confident about the accuracy, but unfortunately it's their policy not to do this. They'll tell you after allocation day, but frankly, that's no use to anyone!

* If anyone isn't sure if a shortcut is valid, Herts CC should be able to tell you - they produce maps, which are updated annually, with this info on.

So.. mystery solved, I hope!

I also hope your son is enjoying his new school.

Best wishes,

Catherine

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