No catchment school?!(15 Posts)
My fiancé and I are trying for a baby and currently in the process of buying a house. We've just viewed a lovely property but from what I can see on the website where the property is advertised, the schools around aren't catchment schools. My question may sound a bit silly but does this mean that it'll be difficult (or impossible) to get a place in a primary school? Look forward to your replies :-)
Are you in an LA area that has catchments? If so the house will have a catchment school.
If there are no catchments then distance matters but how much depends on area.
You should be in the catchment area of a school but whether you will get your child in is another matter.
Eg, we used to live on an estate which was in the catchment of school x but it was geographically closer to school y.
No-one ever got into either school because it was a bit of a catchment black hole area - it was two far from both schools and they were both oversubscribed. It was one of the reasons we made sure we were closer to our preferred school when we moved.
Which borough/council is this house in? That would allow us to give a much better reply.
Every LA is slightly different which makes a huge difference. Within each LA different may schools have different admissions criteria.
Proximity to great schools does influence house prices massively
If you look on rightmove and on the map, it has a sort of infographic about where schools have in the past taken children from.
It's not exact. But gives a rough idea. Though shows us as just in the usual as the crow flies distance to my childrens school although I know we wouldn't have got in last year.
My borough doesn't have catchment areas as such - done on proximity as the crow flies. Some areas do proximity by closest walking route.
I looked at ours on right move. The fuzzy bit between colours is because distances moved each year. 0.2 miles here may as well be 2000 miles. Does not include church criteria etc!
it may depend on your LEA.
In my LEA, only religious schools have catchment areas. Non-religious schools all work on a closest walking distance system for admissions. So not being in a catchment area would only be an issue here if you were set on your DC going to a religious school.
Schools in my town don't have catchment areas, they have "priority admission areas". Which cover all the schools in the town (they all have overlapping admission areas) and mean diddly squat when it comes to determining if your child will get a place in your preferred school as the demographic of the surrounding streets is of much more influence.
If you look on your LA website, you should find the admissions booklet for this year, detailing all schools and the categories under which children were offered places. It might help you work out what is happening.
Also - word of caution re Rightmove, if that's the website you're looking at. Our next door neighbours currently have their house up for sale, so I was
being nosy looking at it on Rightmove.
There was a map on there claiming to show how likely it is to get into the local school. The map gave a highly misleading impression of how likely this was. Apparently we're in the very likely category. Not true. We were too far away for DS1 to get a place this year, and most recent years, our address is very close to the distance cut off. In reality we're on more of a "only likely if it's a low birthrate year" category.
But if you were going as the crow flies, we're a heck of a lot closer to the local school - we would be in a "very likely" category if that's what the council used - and from their map, it looks like the system Rightmove are using is based on an as the crow flies distance measurement.
A catchment is, formally, a defined priority admissions area (if you are in England).
It does not guarantee you a place (as it would in Scotland), because even with catchments, you still need to live close enough to the school if distance is the tiebreaker and the school is oversubscribed in your category (assuming not full before they reach the category your DC is in).
People often say 'catchment' when they mean the admissions footprint of the school (ie greatest distance offered in each category in a particular year). This can vary enormously (knock on of bulge classes in any nearby schools, permanent changes to size of schools, new housing, new schools, introduction or abolition of catchments, changes to sibling priority etc) so can only ever be taken as a general indication.
I've just been nosing at the Rightmove info for our area - not accurate at all. The only useful thing is that it does show where the nearby schools are. The best thing to do is look at the information published by your Local Authority.
However, a lot can change in 4/5 years!
I've just tried that Rightmove tool for a property on sale very near our house and it says it's 'very likely' but the location of the property is clearly on the boundary of 'quite likely' and 'not likely' while all other schools are private, religious or 'not a snowball's chance in hell' (I paraphrase). Besides which, the main issue is that the admissions distances get smaller every year where we are, so unless your child is in the pre school year, there's no way of knowing what the position will be when you actually need to apply. So I think this tool is misleading at best and useless at worst.
OP, it's difficult to plan at the moment so my advice would be not to over stretch yourself financially as you may need to consider moving again later, the way things are going. Or find a nice church!
If your question is whether there are areas now where the child would not get into any chosen school on first try, then yes there are.
Thank you so much for all these pieces of advice. I'll have a look at the information published by our Local Authority - we live in Northampton - and try to work out what's happening.
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