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Riddlesdown / Sanderstead (Croydon borough) primary schools Sept 2011 intake

(24 Posts)
dirkdirtbin Mon 05-Sep-11 11:17:31

Hi All,

We live in the Sanderstead/Riddlesdown area and would like to get our children into Atwood, Ridgeway, or Gresham state primary schools. We pretty much live in the middle of all three schools with Gresham being the closest, followed by Atwood and then Ridgeway. I've taken a look at the figures published by Croydon Council for distance for furthest pupil accepted for each school and we wouldn't have got into Gresham or Ridgeway for the Sept 2011 intake. We're slightly concered as we moved to the area to specifically get into one of these schools! We thought that being under a mile away from each would be fine for getting into one of them.

So, my question relates to Atwood school. As Atwood is a foundation school it doesn't have to publish the distance data. Does anyone have any idea on generally how close you need to be to get in? We understand that it depends on the birth rate for a particular year, but an indication would be good. Also, on that note, does anyone know if the Sept 2011 intake was a freakishly high bith rate year?! We're hoping that it was!!

Any information much appreciated. Thanks.

admission Mon 05-Sep-11 13:03:31

All maintained schools have to publish data on the previous admissions and they are supposed to be in the book on admissions published by Croydon for 2012 admissions, which they are not. Croydon seem to be taking the easy option of saying data not available for Atwood as it is a foundation school - but it is still a maintained school and therefore should be made available. You could contact Croydon and insist that they get the data for you but I suspect the easier option is to phone Atwood school and ask.
School places are allocated in strict admission criteria order which for all three schools is looked after children, siblings, medical reasons and then straight line distance to the school. So whilst the birth rate obviously does have a bearing on who gets in, it is really the distance that is all important, given there are no catchment zones.
The data shows that for the 2011 admissions the furthest distance for a school place offered were Gresham 0.217 miles and Ridgeway 0.757 miles. Normally these figures are based on the initial allocation of places and you need to check with the LA that this is the case and then ask them for updated figures on what the actual last figure for admission was. It might not have changed or there might have been substantial movement in pupils after the initial allocation.
The birth rate nationally has been increasing slowly but surely since 2001 and is still going up. Obviously there are local variations and it is not at all unusual for there to be variation in pupil numbers wanting a school place from year to year, but I would not be betting that 2011 was big year group and 2012 will be that much smaller! The data from Croydon also has the total number of applicants for a place at each school and at first glance the schools appear to be very oversubscribed but this can be misleading. Remember that each parent is allowed 6 preferences, but 5 of those are actually not required, eventually. It is almost a certainty that anybody that applies for Atwood will also apply for Ridgeway and Gresham, given they are close together.
One way of measuring how oversubscribed a school is actually likely to be is to multiply the admission number for the school by 6 (allowable preferences) and see how that compares with the number of actual applications. Atwood has an admission number of 60 and therefore might expect 360 applicants and got 368. Gresham has an admission number of 30, would expect 180 applicants and got 281 and Ridgeway has an admission number of 90, an expected number of applicants of 540 and received 339. From that I would expect Gresham to be the most popular school and Ridgeway the school that you might expect to have the best chance of an offer of a place, especially given that the straight line distance was 0.757 of a mile.
The equal preference scheme for allocation of places means that there is no preference to which order you put the schools on your application as far as admission priority is concerned. Only if you could you be offered more than one school based on the admission criteria will the order of preference have any significance.

dirkdirtbin Mon 05-Sep-11 14:01:54

Thanks for your reply admission - very informative. I was thinking of contacting Atwood directly to ask for the information. I wholeheartedly agree with your point regarding maintained schools. If a school is receiving state funding it should provide the distance data regardless of what type of school it is. There are a great number of schools within the Croydon brochure who aren't pulishing this data which is frankly not helpful.

On further inspection we wouldn't have got into Roke either, which is the other closest school. There is something not quite right when you can't get into the 3 (potentially 4 - Atwood is an unknown at the moment) closest schools to your house when each is less than a mile away!

We probably wouldn't send our children to Roke, so if we put down Gresham, Atwood and Ridgeway on our form and didn't get into any of them how would we be allocated a place?

BigBadBear Tue 06-Sep-11 11:24:26

dirk if you didn't get into any of the ones you applied for, and you left the rest of the form blank, you will be allocated a place at the nearest school to you with a vacancy. This year the school in the south of the borough that mopped up everyone who didn't get a place was Selsdon primary.

It is worth visiting any school you think you have a shot of getting into, so you can fill your form. Better the devil you know and all that. I went through this recently (visited seven schools), and my DD1 is due to start at our local school this week, which I thought we stood no chance of getting into as it is church affiliated (and we are not).

So I can probably provide a bit more local information: this year was a boom year, but the Sep 2012 intake is expected to be much the same. The catchment for Ridgeway shrunk significantly after it went from satisfactory to outstanding according to Ofsted. The LEA put on 13 bulge classes - this is all planned out, so do some internet research and you will be able to find out where this is likely to be (I did this and discovered that my local school was going to take one, which is why we got in). The heads of all three Sanderstead schools are very helpful if you arrange a visit. And do go and see Roke - it is an excellent school.

In a way, it seems very confusing in Croydon, but actually most of the schools are very good and well supported by parents, so don't despair. The waiting list process works - everybody I know who didn't get into their first preference school to start with did on either the second or third round of offers. And good luck!

dirkdirtbin Tue 06-Sep-11 16:51:24

Thanks BigBadBear - very helpful indeed!

I just Googled bulge classes for 2011 so can have a good guess at which church school you got your DD1 into! How did you manage to skirt the religious requirements for entry?

Also, how do the waiting lists work? Do you accept the school you are given, start there in Sept, and then move to your preferred school if a place becomes available?

Thanks again.

BigBadBear Tue 06-Sep-11 16:58:00

Yes, accept the place you are given and you can go on the waiting list for amy school that was a higher preference on your application. There is a fair bit of movement after the results are published so even if you are quite far down the list, it is worth doing. You should be able to find info online about where the bulge classes are likely to be in 2012. It will be on board papers and they may be cached but they are there if you look hard enough.

Ladymuck Tue 06-Sep-11 22:44:46

Riddlesdown parents tend not to get a first offer of any school, but they all seem to end up somewhere in the end. I know that it is very early days but you may want to think about secondary schools, as currently Gresham, Atwood and Roke are all feeders to Riddlesdown, but Ridgeway isn't. Usually by year 5 a fair number of children have been moved from Ridgeway with a view to being in the best position for senior school. The current bulge isn't that new, though the size has increased.

If you can be bothered to visit Taberner House you can view at reception all of the admission maps for each school by year - so for each school you can see the map of all applicants and who was successful in each round. Personally I found this more informative than the mere distances, as I could quickly see when children from my road had been able to get into schools (and also when they couldn't).

NoseyNooNoo Tue 06-Sep-11 22:56:42

Hello. I think you must live on my road!!! My child is going to Atwood this year (tomorrow). She would have not got into Gresham or Ridgeway. The furthest distance this year was 0.7 miles for Atwood and we just snuck in. You can confirm this by calling the school office - speak to Mrs Sharman-Gay.

Gresham was particularly difficult to get into this year - just 8 non-sibling places - but this was due to the bulge year 2 years ago since the extra children would have been oldest children with younger siblings going this year. Atwood also had a bulge year 2 years ago so had less non-sibling places than usual. Hopefully the situation will not be so bad next year.

I hope this helps. I'm wondering where you live now. Perhaps I know you already!

Ladymuck Wed 07-Sep-11 09:20:32

Agree that school secretaries are a good source of info, especially re siblings. The schools were always very good in trying to work out numbers of siblings to give new prospective parents the best information.

dirkdirtbin Wed 07-Sep-11 12:26:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoseyNooNoo Wed 07-Sep-11 12:31:21

I wouldn't want to totally out myself but my road is up the hill parallel with yours!

I really do think that this year was particularly bad due to the bulge year in 2009. I think that should have cleared by 2013.

BigBadBear Wed 07-Sep-11 12:54:58

I agree. After the September 2012 intake the number of applications is expected to go down (though with so much building work going on in the borough, it is difficult to see how!).

As for secondary schools, I am not sure how the feeder system works, but all the heads I spoke to said they were unsure how long it would continue for. You are very close to Riddlesdown, so I wouldn't worry too much (and it's a long time away for you).

Do try not to worry about primary school too much, and certainly not until next year. That's the time to look at the maps and stats, and start visiting schools. The heads are all very helpful (though I think Atwood will have a new head by then), and understand how difficult the admissions process is for parents. Another thing you may want to think about when you do get to it are wraparound childcare (if you will need it) as this varies enormously from school to school. Some provide on-site care using school staff from 8am until 6pm, whereas others have arrangements with local agencies or children's centres, and some don't do anything at all.

But as I said before, you are very lucky with primary schools where you are living, as all are good or outstanding according to Ofsted, all get good SATs results, and all have excellent parental support. So try not to fret too much.

NoseyNooNoo Wed 07-Sep-11 13:57:15

Also, are you measuring your distance from Atwood correctly? It is measured from the front gate on Limpsfield Road or the rear gate in Tandridge Gardens, whichever is the closest.

Seeline Wed 07-Sep-11 14:22:23

alot of Ridgeway kids do get to Riddlesdown but it is by no means guaranteed. If you look at the map for Riddlesdown, Ridgeway it self is only just within the admission area, most of the pupils south of the school have to try through the entrance exam so do think carefully!

dirkdirtbin Wed 07-Sep-11 14:51:34

I used the tool below as suggested in the Croydon Council brochure:

I did read about the use of the two entrances in the admissions brochure for Atwood and wondered if the tool above would be smart enough to take that into consideration. I guess it wouldn't, so do Atwood/Croydon Council work the admissions out manually given the two entrances rule? We would have been very very close this year if we take Tandridge Gardens entrance into consideration! That's given me some hope!

Thanks for the info on Ridgeway/Riddlesdown Seeline.

VickySS Sat 09-Mar-13 00:37:14

Ladymuck don't know where you get your information from but clearly it's a dud. My son is at Ridgeway (year 6) and 6 children have left his class in the last two years. 2 moved to other parts of England and 1 went to private school. Places were quickly filled up. Out of the 28 children in his class, 20 were offered places at Riddlesdown on the first round. Please check your facts before you report inaccurate information in future!!

Ladymuck Sat 09-Mar-13 20:15:41

The info was accurate in relation to the current year 8 when it was posted a couple of years ago.... For the avoidance of doubt, secondary school admission policies are reviewed annually and can change each year.

VickySS Wed 13-Mar-13 17:13:45

Ladymuck, 6 children in my son's class have siblings in year 8 at riddlesdown and all were offered it as the first choice! So whether it was then or now children from riddlesdown don't seem to have a problem getting their first choice school.

Ladymuck Wed 13-Mar-13 17:27:12

Well a number that year and in previous years certainly transferred to other schools in Year 5, and earlier, though of course Ridgeway usually manages to fill those spaces, so perhaps that is where we differ in our views? If you are not at Gresham or Atwood or another feeder school then you get in to Riddlesdown via the selection test or by where you live (well, after looked after/medical of course). Whilst in some years the catchments do overlap, a child who attends Ridgeway is not guaranteed a place at Riddlesdown, whilst those attending Atwood or Gresham go ahead on the list because they are at feeder schools. As others have said, plenty of Ridgeway children do get into Riddlesdown, they're just lower down the list than the other Sanderstead schools. There always seems to be more playground angst at Ridgeway than the other two schools as a result, though I'm pleased that you seem to have escaped it.

VickySS Wed 13-Mar-13 18:43:03

Thankfully the feader system is finishing for Riddlesdown and a sibling policy is being introduced. This will be fairer for children in Ridgeway, Atwood and Gresham who tend to live closer to Riddlesdown than children at the other 'current' feeder schools.

Ladymuck Wed 13-Mar-13 21:14:44

"So whether it was then or now children from riddlesdown don't seem to have a problem getting their first choice school."

Perhaps we're talking at cross purposes on this, and I'm confused as to which point you feel I gave dud information? This thread deals with primary school admissions, and there has and continues to be problems for children in Riddlesdown (ie the area) in getting into their first choice of primary school (unless it is Purley Oaks). Unless you meet the church criteria for Christchurch, you tend to fall out of both the Sanderstead and Roke catchments, though obviously this will swing year on year. As an aside in looking at these 4 schools, I mentioned that of the 4, one is not a feeder to Riddlesdown?

Finally, in terms of feeder school, the proposed changes for 2014 entry still retain the feeder schools. There is a proposal for a sibling policy but it only applies to siblings in catchment( ie the 2 mile circle), so a child attending Selsdon primary living outside of the circle (sibling or not) still has strict priority over a child attending a non-feeder even if they have a sibling at Riddlesdown. However when it comes down to the places offered on distance, at that point siblings in catchment have priority. This surely means that those children at non-feeders (Ridgeway, Christchurch etc) and who don't already have a sibling at Riddlesdown go further down the list? Unless they get one of the selective places of course. Hard to know whether it is "fair" or not, but a Ridgeway child who is eldest in the family will now be less likely to get a place at Riddlesdown rather than more so.

Obviously you may have info that isn't in the public domain yet, but I thought that the consultation period for 2014 had finished?

VickySS Wed 13-Mar-13 23:32:53

So you caught me out, should have said Ridgeway not riddlesdown. Apologies for my error! Surely it is generally better that children go to their 'local' school? As a lot of ridgeway children live close to Riddlesdown they tend to get in on geography, as only about half the places go to feeder schools. Understandably Riddlesdown is keen on getting the ridgeway children, given the sats results and the current Ofsted 'outstanding' status. Luckily for my second child his brother got in to riddlesdown (first choice) even though he is currently at ridgeway so he can look forward to getting in on the sibling basis in two years time.

Ladymuck Thu 14-Mar-13 00:02:33

Still not sure what dud info you think I've given. If you live in Riddlesdown ie near the station, then there isn't really a local primary school. Our nearest are Christchurch, Margaret Roper, Roke, and the 3 Sanderstead schools. Unless you meet the church criteria, then you will almost be certainly rejected by all the other schools in the first round of allocations (due to distance). Now, you do get a place eventually (most of our neighbours get something by July), but it is not always their first or second choice.

The flip side is of course that we're in catchment for Riddlesdown at secondary level. Though still after everyone in feeder schools. And now after in catchment siblings too.

JamesPxx Mon 20-May-13 13:05:11


Riddlesdown Parent here. Our child got into Roke for reception in 2013, we are pretty happy that we are at a local school - but we don't know anyone in the local area with a child going of a similar age - there is no-one from her nursery; any ideas on how we could find out? Also if anyone has any tips for drop off and pick up that would be great - we can't figure out how it works!

We are also quite high on the waiting lists for Gresham and Atwood (10 and 13), does anyone have experience of these waiting lists and how likely we might get in. We want to get our child excited about the school.


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