Admissions distances- measured as a radius?(17 Posts)
Are distances for admissions always measured in a circle outward from the school postcode?
If a school is at the edge of a park would that not give a really skewed measurement?
As the crow flies (straight line from school to applicant's home) is the most common way to measure. It might mean that there's more people north of the school than south but I don't see a problem. Population density will differ around an area.
It stipulates in the admissions criteria how they measure and from which point.
Often the main reception entrance as the crow flies IME.
They measure from a specific point on the school, not its postcode. If they use straight line measurement it is less likely to be challenged but can throw up anomalies such as you mention.
Some LAs and some schools measure using the shortest safe walking route. That avoids this kind of anomaly but can lead to arguments about whether they have actually measured the shortest route.
One of the local schools has this issue with a park and yes, it does skew things.
Due to other geographical constraints, shortest/safest walking routes really would be the best way of allocating places here.
Instead parents round here are forced into cars for relatively short journeys because of having to cross major road junctions and other obstructions that just aren't safe on foot or by bike (several adult fatalities a year).
The system is bonkers.
As the crow flies for our (preferred) school
I don't see that it gives a skewed measurement. The admissions criteria are applied in order. So all the things like children in care, statements naming the school, siblings etc are allocated first. Once it gets to the distance criteria, all the remaining children who have applied for the school are listed in the order of their distance from the school. As above, this is almost always as the crow flies from a specific point inside the school grounds. If there is a park on one side of the school then obviously fewer children will be admitted from that side of the school but only because there are fewer houses on that side. A child who lives 0.2 miles away across the park is ranked in exactly the same way as a child living 0.2 miles in the opposite direction.
Essentially, yes, it is a circle with children living the exact same distance away in any distance from the school all having equal priority. So not at all skewed.
I think that the main time that it doesn't work is when there is a feature which can't easily be crossed such as a railway or river. Then your nearest school could be close as the crow flies but hard to access. With a park it just means that the boundaries are pushed a little further out, which few people complain about.
There are positives and negatives to both ways of doing the measurement but in the end I always believe that the straight line distance measurement gives less cause for concern and arguments.
However for everybody it is worth establishing exactly where the distance is measured from. In many systems it is from from is called the seed point of the school to the seed point of the individual house. As these are preset there can be no argument about the distance measured and is therefore fair to all.
However quite a lot of schools take a measurement from the main gate of the school or the main entrance of the school and that then can lead to some discussion. So for instance if we are talking about the reception children and they have their own entrance into the infant end of the school, where exactly is it being measured from, that entrance or the main visitor entrance. When we are literally talking distances to 0.001miles that is only a few yards between getting a place and not getting a place at the school.
So it is always better to check exactly how it is being measured from the admission criteria and that this is what is really being measured.
It's not measured by radius, but by straight line, usually. However, because the straight line can originate at any angle from the datum point, that will create a radius.
So the catchment area for a school I liked has a defined area on the map (not a circle). I feel my home is technically nearer to the school then others which sit in the catchment area just because of the way they have cordoned the area off. Can I argue this?
Eesha what is the schools' oversubscription criteria (e.g. how they prioritise?)
If you mean that you live outside the catchment area and the school gives priority to those living within, then no you won't be able to argue it. Not unless the catchment area is unfair in some way. It's not necessarily unfair just because it's an irrdgular shape but if, for example, it'd been redrawn to exclude all social housing or a traveller site, that could be contestable.
Ours use the shortest safe walking distance which will use a walk across a park. They will even walk using a measuring wheel door to door if you appeal.
It seems to have been drawn to exclude the crappy areas, and include the nicer ones
Eesha, if they really have done it to exclude the crappy areas then that is illegal but proving it is very much more difficult. You need to accept that the catchment zones do vary in distance from the school and you will not receive any priority because you live closer than somebody who live in the catchment zone.
You can't argue that a Priority Catchment Area should be circular. A local secondary school has a long narrow rectangular one.
The time to try and force a change is when they announce the admissions criteria for the year that you are applying for. (I have no idea how easy it is to get a change )
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