Catchment?? Please help this American!

(9 Posts)
llsharman Wed 27-Feb-13 18:02:04

Hello -

Here in the US we have district lines which mandate which school your child attends. If you want a specific school, you move within the district line, and that's where your child goes.

My understanding of catchments is that if you live in a certain area, there are several schools your child might attend. Some good. Some bad.

We are moving to the Bristol area, and need a secondary school for both our DD and DS. We have locked in on the Thornbury (Castle) or Wotton Under Edge (KLB) area. But how big is the catchment area? Is it possible we could get stuck in an undersubscribed school in South Bristol?


lovinglapland Wed 27-Feb-13 22:13:30

Those are probably 2 of the best state schools around the Bristol area, and I don't think you will be disappointed with either of them. KLB is slightly smaller and from friend's who have had children at both of them I believe the pastoral care in slightly better at KLB - however both schools have consistently good results.
What year groups would your children be entering into? If you are applying for in-year transfer - ie not a year 7 place, then it won't matter where you live. If the school has a place in the relevant year group then they will offer it to you if you want it.
If you need to apply with the general intake for a year 7 place then location of where you live is more relevant. Places are offered in a specific order. Usually something like - cared for children, siblings of children already at school, distance lived from school in area of prime responsibility, distance lived of children out of A of PR. Add in a faith category if school has one! (neither of which the two in question do).
Castle school falls under South Gloucestershire authority, and KLB under Gloucestershire - not that this matters when applying, you get to choose 3 schools that can be located anywhere, but you put your application into the authority in which you live.
This (hopefully) shows Castle's Area of Prime Responsibilty - this means all the children who live in this area have to be considered for a place first over any others living out of area. From my experience children get into Castle from outside of this area as is has quite a high intake, and they have certainly in past years run a bus service from the North edge of Bristol. (pg 27/8)
And this is KLB's info... (pg 47)
Again I know of families who have children at KLB who live on the northern outskirts of Bristol.
Obviously the closer you are to the school the more certain you are of a place. But I think its fairly safe to assume that for these 2 schools as they are semi-rural, if you live in the designated areas you will get a place.

There is also all the info on these 2 council websites for in-year/ non year 7 places as well.

If you were unlucky enough not to get a place at one of these, you would be offered a place at the nearest school to your home address with places - so assuming you are going to be looking at North Bristol/ Thornbury/Wotton it would not be a south Bristol 'very average school'! More likely somewhere like Marlwood/Patchway or one of the Yate schools - but that would all depend on where you were living.

Sorry for the essay!! Hope I have been some help

lovinglapland Wed 27-Feb-13 22:18:21

Arghh the links failed.....

(pg 28)

(pg 47)

llsharman Thu 28-Feb-13 06:23:13

Thank you!

Both children are in-year. My daughter will be Y11, which will have its own set of problems. My son will be Y8.

I guess we have to just get a place as close as possible, or nicely between 3 good schools.

Our real concern is finding a school who will support a new Y11 student.

lovinglapland Thu 28-Feb-13 10:30:23

I would try KLB. To be honest it is something of a hidden gem! I teach in a private prep in norrh Bristol and we send most of our children there if not going onto private secondary. We seem to be able to get children in there well after offers have gone out if they are unhappy with what they have been given - and these children usually live up to 10/12 miles away. I would call and discuss your daughter's position - to be honest I'm not sure what they will suggest. Perhaps some tutoring through yr 11 would be enough for her to catch up on yr10 work. The sixth form at KLB is one of the best around if she is planning to stay on.

crazymum53 Sat 02-Mar-13 16:04:59

I would be very wary of choosing any school before looking round it though no matter how good the position in the League Tables, OFSTED reports, prospectus all appear to be. The best way to work out how a school would suit your child/children is to visit and ask questions. If possible I would come and visit Bristol/Bristol area a few months before you move and make appointments to look round the schools and ask questions. Yes rural schools are more likely to have places than the "best" schools in the cities (Bristol and Bath) but it could also be that city centre schools would be better able to support a child newly arrived in the UK in Y11, so you really do need to balance the two. For some schools the only extra support they provide is to recommend extra private tuition whereas others may provide support at school.
Your dd is in a year group that has a fairly low birthrate in the UK so there should be space somewhere.
If you search through past threads, there was a family whose child started KLB in Y10 fairly recently so it may also be an idea to pm them and find out more about what this school is like for welcoming new pupils.

llsharman Sun 03-Mar-13 21:49:34

Thanks! More really great advice.

The current plan is to try to get to the general area for a visit some time before we move. We will try to move in the very beginning of June, since our kids will be out of school already, and stay with my father-in-law for a while as we search for a home. It will give us the month of June to investigate schools in session, then the months of July and August to find a home as near to our preferred schools as possible.

I have been in contact with The Castle School, who seem to believe it would be ok to accept our DD into Y11. We're also going to investigate KLB and Winterbourne. And we haven't ruled out Cheltenham either.

It's all so overwhelming!

Nowhere723 Fri 19-Apr-13 16:24:15

Nowhere723 Fri 19-Apr-13 16:24:38

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