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Distance from school calculations

(11 Posts)
loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 04-Nov-13 16:00:41

New to the school applications system as DD is due to start next year and the online admissions system is due to open next week. So... still figuring out how 'catchments' actually work.

We live 602m (according to county council's calculator) from preferred school. Last year, the furthest distance was 1100m, the year before it was 745m. So even though it varied hugely (I assume because siblings were far fewer last year) under those distances we would have got in. Or would we? Is it as simple as that, or are there other factors that go into the decision making?

mummytime Mon 04-Nov-13 16:21:02

If you look in the admissions guide it should tell you how they prioritise admissions. Also look at how they measure distance: is it straight line or safe walking route? What points do they use to measure the distance from?

NynaevesSister Mon 04-Nov-13 16:58:29

Most schools go by children in care, medical/SEN, siblings, then distance. Some schools differ. The admissions criteria should be on the website.

The website should also say how distance is measured. If the council has given you your distance based on how it measures for admission to the school, then yes that is correct.

Some people use Google Maps and then get a shock as this isn't as accurate, won't measure from the same starting point, and won't take into consideration factors like a road not having a footpath (whereas the council may have a safe route rule).

It sounds like you are sure to get in but do put other choices that you could live with if you had to. Just to be safe.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 04-Nov-13 17:16:56

Sorry, to clarify, I understand that there are other criteria which take priority over 'nearest school'. So, last year, out of 60 places, there were no SENs/children in care, 33 siblings and 27 admissions based on distance from school.

My question should have been, out of those 27, if the furthest lived 745m from the school (by straight line, which is how they measure), and I lived 602m, is that enough information for me to reassure myself that I would have got in (based on last year's data)?

The reason I ask is that someone I know lives closer to the school than me and didn't get in. So it's got me wondering why if the admissions rules were applied correctly.

prh47bridge Mon 04-Nov-13 17:23:13

Yes, that is enough information to say you would have got in provided your figure for distance is correct. I suspect that the county council's calculator measures from the centre of the area covered by your postcode whereas they will measure from your property when deciding admissions. If your postcode covers a large area you may be significantly more than 602m from the school.

mummytime Mon 04-Nov-13 17:24:18

Okay if someone closer to you didn't get in, you need to know: did they apply on time? Have they moved? How did they measure distance and is it the same now?

And I am assuming it doesn't have a faith based entry criteria. The distance by the way only refers to the last entry criteria. Several local schools to me take children further away than stated in the admissions criteria, but they are either siblings or it is their "nearest school" (rather than them being the nearest applicant to the school).

tiggytape Mon 04-Nov-13 19:15:00

You are right in your assumption that 602m is a safe distance for that particular year.
It can vary based on siblings as you know and also on whether new houses have been built nearer to the school one year / if houses have been converted into flats so increasing population nearer the school / if other schools nearby get a terrible Ofsted prompting people to apply to 'your' school instead of another local one.

As for your friend. There a few reasons why someone living closer than you didn't get in:

1. They missed the deadline to apply. They were therefore a late applicant and got issued a place after every on-time applicant has theirs. This means they will get whatever is left over after everyone else has a place allocated.

2. They don't live closer at all. The distance will either be by road or by 'as the crow flies.' Sometimes people can seem nearer to a school than they actually are when you come to look at a straight line on a map or exclude all the unlit / unsafe roads the council won't allow in the calculations. Their booklet will explain how they measure.

3. They listed another school higher up on their form than 'your' one and got an offer at that school instead. The fact they qualify for 'your' school by distance won't get them an offer if they already have an offer from a school they said they liked more.

4. They applied on time but moved to that address too late for it to be counted as their admissions address.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Tue 05-Nov-13 16:25:46

Thanks everyone for replies, really useful. Also interesting comment about postcode area; the county council calculator required my house number and road prior to making the calculation so I'm not sure if 602m is based on the whole postcode or my house in particular.

I've just found out that the school we like has confirmed an extra class for this year will definitely go ahead so that's another 30 places to boost our chances. Fingers crossed. smile

mummytime Tue 05-Nov-13 16:47:59

For my LA they state "Remaining places will be offered on the basis of nearness to the school measured in
a straight line from the address point of the pupil’s house, as set by Ordnance
Survey to the nearest official school gate for pupils to use. This is calculated using
the Admission and Transport team’s Geographical Information System" So it is from the school to a specific address. (I know they have a rule for flats, to determine who is closest.)

tiggytape Tue 05-Nov-13 16:50:33

mummytime is right - it is from your house to a fixed point at the school (the gates or the office usually) and it is accurate up to 3 decimal places (in cities, people are so crammed in that it can come down to fractions of a metre).

prh47bridge Tue 05-Nov-13 17:17:16

Just for clarity they must use a precise measurement similar to that outlined by mummytime for determining admissions. The point I was making is that the distance calculators you find on council websites are not that accurate and often measure from the centre of your postcode rather than your property.

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