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Anyone know which mapping system etc is used to measure distance to school?

(10 Posts)
PatButchersEarring Sun 05-May-13 20:26:19

Hi,

We are in the process of appealing for DD's first preference of Primary School place.

I posted a thread about this a few days ago, and received some excellent advice, which was much appreciated as we've had a thoroughly crap year and this could well be the straw to break the camel's back.

We are aware that we did not meet the criteria based on 'criterion allocated to' Number 6 (distance) with the distance quoted as 0.492 miles.

I am therefore assuming that this means that all who applied that were not catchment and did not fit criteria 1-5 were allocated a place up to (and including) a distance of 0.492m from the school?

If this is the case, then we think that they have likely made a mistake. As it happens, DP works in mapping and is able to measure distance etc v. accurately. According to his calculations, we are 0.470 miles from the school (in a straight line- the method that the school's over-subscription criteria state). However, as he pointed out, different systems etc are likely to yield slightly different results, and this will also depend on precisely where the points to be measured are taken from- so I don't want to start arguing this unless I can be sure.

We have emailed the LA, but they have been their usual helpful selves hmm.

Would I also be right in thinking that should we be able to show that a mistake has been made, we would not have to go to appeal?

TIA.

lljkk Sun 05-May-13 20:28:36

background in GIS?
they have their own maps & you'll be on a hiding to nothing, I suspect, but you could try. They should be using same map projection etc. so then the only problem could be in map scale.
The probably measure from their postcode grid ref to your postcode grid ref, so that could easily account for an extra 200m.

LittleWhiteMonkey Sun 05-May-13 20:33:15

It may say on council admissions website. For ours (Surrey) I think it's distance from centre of our house to nearest usable school gate. They have a tool that does the measurements on the admissions website.

notfluffy Sun 05-May-13 20:35:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

titchy Sun 05-May-13 20:45:45

It's about 100 feet and is probably a result of them measuring from different points to your DH - you may be starting from your front gate and going to school gate whereas the official measurement will probably be from the centre of your property to a specific place at school. You will absolutely not be able to use this as a way of proving a mistake.

PatButchersEarring Sun 05-May-13 21:14:40

Thanks. Found it- it is the Land and Property Gazateer system or similar. Think you're right though- it is a long shot.

admission Sun 05-May-13 21:40:48

Nearly all Local Authorities uses a system which finds its origins as an Ordnance Survey mapping system. As it is a direct line distance it is usually from the "seed point" on the home to the "seed point" of the school, which is normally nominally near the centre of the school. You need to check on the admission criteria to make sure that they are not measuring to the front gate of the school or some other point around the school. That should definitely be on the admission criteria in the LA booklet.
In terms of accuracy a difference of 0.22 miles is a lot on a straight line distance so you need to find out what the "seed points" are, so that your DP can check what they have measured. If they appear to be the same points then I think you have at least an opportunity to mount a case based on this but as others have said the LA will simply say that their measurement is right and it is for you to prove they are wrong. I think your DP is going to have to produce a map which shows the distance of 0.47 is to your house and where 0.492 takes it to. You have to make the panel believe that a mistake has been made and for that you will need some physical evidence just not a belief it is wrong.
Having said that if you can show that a mistake has been made then that does not automatically mean that you will get a place as the panel will have to consider whether all distances are wrong or just yours. If they think all may be flawed then they will adjourn the hearing and ask the LA to re-run the whole process of measuring the distances, which could result in anything happening.

BrienneOfTarth Sun 05-May-13 22:10:23

Which local authority are you in? In some councils this information is readily available on the web site. We have this in Bristol.

Postcode to postcode, using this website the distance from us to the postcode of the school we wanted is 530ish metres, but the council don't use the centre of postcodes - each school has an exact grid reference position which is independent of postcode and that is the distance used, all visible on this site under which our distance to the school is 560ish metres. And yes, since you ask, the cutoff distance for this school is about 540 metres this year.

If your local authority don't have a similar site to this they ought to have no problem telling you the grid reference of the school position that they use, and the grid reference for which point on your house they used, so you can check their calculation.

However, there is no point appealing unless you get these numbers and find that the maths was not done correctly - an appeal based on the assertion that they should be using a grid-reference position more favourable to you will not be successful.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 11:47:27

The trouble is that when parents start using their own measurements - however accurate - it tells you nothing about whether your child would have qualified or not because all that matters is whether other people live closer than you do and that they were all measured using the same software to the same points.

For example your DH's measurement says 0.470miles
If he was given the address of the child who lives 0.492 miles (according to the council's measurements), your DH's system might come up with 0.469 miles for that child.
That child still lives closer than you do but the 2 numbers are different because the council is measuring to the school gates and your husband is measuring to the school office.

If however the council confirm the start and end points and you still think it is wildly wrong, you can appeal. BUT it might then mean that ALL the distances are wildly wrong (afterall - they're all done with the same software). The council may agree your distance is now 4.70 miles but might say that the corrected distance for the last house offered a place is now 0.459 miles.

A mistake helps you on distance if it only affected your child and nobody else (eg the council inputted your address wrong on the measuring system but got everybody else's right)

admission Mon 06-May-13 18:46:06

Mistakes being made on distances are relatively rare but they do happen - look at the other posts for Haberdashers school where 26 where apparently given the wrong map reference!
So you need to be realistic about your chances of success, just because your DH can access another mapping system does not mean you will be successful but it is a good starting point!

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