In-year applications and the catchment area issue

(5 Posts)
Neverbird Thu 21-Apr-16 10:25:04

Hi everyone,

I'm relocating to Cambridge from another country with my 12 y.o. daughter to work on my PhD at CU. We'll be making an in-year application for her to attend school in Cambridge, so I am now looking at appropriate schools, as well as accommodations choices.

So far, Chesterton CC looks like an ideal school for my kid, however I am not sure whether we will be able to get housing within their catchment area (we'll be renting a college-owned apartment, and half of their properties are within the Chesterton catchment area, while the other half falls into that of Parkside).

I've been a bit boggled with all this catchment area system (somewhat different from what we have in our country). Hence, I'd really appreciate your advice.

How much does being within a certain school's catchment area really matter for the in-year applicants? Is this something that can determine whether we get in or not? Would it be risky to apply to the non-catchment-area school (e.g. living within Parkside c.a. and applying to Chesterton)? Generally, any advice on in-year applications would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks!

IriIri Fri 22-Apr-16 11:18:56

Hi Neverbird,
We just moved recently, so we just went thru in year application for primary school so. The situation here is crazy and stressful. Honestly. It's a lot about just pure luck. Living in the catchment area is not guarantee at all if the school is oversubscribed - check it with your chosen school by calling both school and admission service. Call them, email does not work that well. Ask how long is a reserve list. If its many kids for your daughter age, you probably have no chance. If they say we have one place now - it means nothing to you, as by 10 days for the application consideration this one will be most likely gone ( happen to us, to the school we are in catchment, leave like 3 mins walk, but still when we applied there was a place but by the time application was considered it was given another child on the reserve list). The catchment area is important. You can get to school not in your catchment area if there is a place when you applied and no one is on its waiting list. You will be put on waiting list for this school for two terms - if someone leaves, then places will be given to catchment children in the waiting list and if there is none to you. Chances are really low if it is a popular school, and it's pure coincidence and luck. But as our catchment school was and still full ( we rented because of it ) we got a place at another school which is not easy to get to too and end up being lovely and now we are happy we are there even it's a bit further. Also, I highly recommend to visit the schools and see for yourself, Ofsted reports can be old and not showing atmosphere and teachers. You can put your preferred school first on the list for sure, and I was told that calling admission and checking how things going regularly ( annoying them .) can help if you know they have place. Well, good luck. And it will be all good.)

northofcambridge Fri 22-Apr-16 17:10:38

There is a lot of movement in Cambridge schools - once you have an address put the application in - with your preferred option first where it currently has a place or not.
Make sure you use all your options as otherwise if your top 2 are full they can give you any school.
I think you can accept a place but go on the waiting list for your preferred school - and as I said there is fair amount of movement so one may open up.

orchardy Sun 24-Apr-16 17:57:00

I don't think Chesterton is full, so fingers crossed you should be alright. I've never done an in-year application though. Have you tried calling the school and asking if there are places in the appropriate year? To be honest, both Parkside and Chesterton are considered good schools so you should be OK if you can get a place for your DD at either of those. Good luck.

Neverbird Sun 24-Apr-16 20:36:09

Many thanks for chiming in, everyone! I finally feel like I start understanding how things work - at least a tiny little bit smile

IriIri, it was especially great to hear from someone who has been in a similar situation recently. From what I hear, I see that it does not make much sense to make the distance from school a priority when choosing housing (as we might end up in a different school anyway!). Besides, neither of the housing units my College can offer is really that close to any of the two nearest schools (Parkside or Chesterton).

Northofcambridge, I'll make sure to list all the preferences. Also, it's good to know that there is movement in the schools. I'm just afraid that P and C, both being popular schools, might have dreadfully long waitlists...

Orchardy, thanks for info on Chesterton! I do hope we will be able to get in. I will start calling the schools this week, to see how things are with the places in the 7-th year. I am really worried that whichever catchment area we end up living in, it's gonna be a really competitive school - either P or C. Hopefully, things will work out though.

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