Applying for Primary School, what reasons for out of catchment are considered

(13 Posts)
Tuppencew0rth Mon 27-Nov-17 13:53:12


As title really -

I want to apply for a school out of our catchment (we have only one school in the catchment area).

The school we want - KP - is the same distance drive but not in the catchment. The main reason is myself and said childs' Dad are separated and this school is on the route between both our homes. It would make a lot more sense for us to have her in school here, and her little sibling is in the nursery in that village already (but won't be going there forever so it's not a very valid reason).

The catchment school is in the opposite direction and is also the opposite direction for my work.

I'm just wondering if our two-home set up is something they consider.

The catchment school is very small and undersubscribed and I like it, but it won't help our already tough to manage routine of journeys, picks up, and shared parental care.

I'd love to hear the experiences of others. Boring post I know, I am sorry!!!

The school I am after was oversubscribed but I am aware of kids getting places out of the catchment last year, which I don't understand confused

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
Tuppencew0rth Mon 27-Nov-17 14:03:46

to add, I'm not from the UK, I'm living here three years but don't know to many Mums in the system to ask... so your words here would be really useful!

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Mon 27-Nov-17 14:04:39

Ok, so you need to completely rthink how you are approaching this.

Reasons are in essence irrelevant.
Each school has a list of criteria, and the places are awarded strictly according to that criteria. Personal circumstances of the parent are irrelevant (even to the extend of putting kids in different school with a parent who was dying of cancer, yes really this did happen and becuase the LA had followed the rules, there was no way round it)

Catchment areas vary from place to palce according to their usefulness. And they are not a guarantee of aplace anyway.

So, the school's criteria will probably look something like this:

1. SEN children (kids whose statement puts this school on it)
2. Looked after children (kids in care)
3. Siblings of kids already at the school
4. Distance from school.

There may be items like: kids from xx feeder school; kids who live in catchment take priority over siblings out of catchment; 10% places given to kids who go to xx church, or play xx sport; and so on.

Each school can have it's own set of criteria, and then they are obliged by law to stick to them.

In your case, I would ask the LEA how far away the last child accepted lived. Then look at how far away you are. Eg, if the furthest child was 1.4 miles away and you live 3 miles away, then you don't stand a chance of getting in. If the furthest child is 1.4 miles and you live about that distance, then you stand a reasonable chance.

The box for reason for wanting the school is only used in an appeal, and even then, the parent's family situation is irrelevant, they can only look at if the school followed their own admissions criteria or not.
The system in computerised and cannot be 'persuaded'
The kids from out of catchment must have fulfilled a criteria from further up the list, eg sibling, SEN, forces kids etc

Tuppencew0rth Mon 27-Nov-17 14:14:43

Brilliant thank you. I was wondering how reasons were 'weighted' in the application assessment.

My worry is getting my hopes up about one school so I'd rather know it's very unlikely from the onset.

She is the eldest, so no other siblings, it's a Reception class, no mention of sports, feeder school isn't relevant (at least I don't think so, she's in the nursery next door but doesn't mean anything).

What does SEN mean?

I will put that question to the LA if I can figure out how to get a question in front of them ;)

Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Mon 27-Nov-17 14:39:41

SEN is special educational needs.

The first two items on the criteria - SEN and Looked After kids (including adopted kids) are pretty standard, the rest can vary from school to school. Those first two usually only account for about 2-3 kids maximum per class.

You can call admissions at the LEA and ask for information wrt a particular school, eg how far was the furthest child who was accepted according to the disctance criteria (so not because they were a sibling etc)

The infant class size rules are very strict, so appeals are very rarely accpeted, usually only if the LEA made a mistake.

On your form you have several options (anything from 3-6). You should fill this in according to you idela wishes as to which school eg

school 1. would love this school but unlikely to get in
school 2. would love this school but 50/50 chance of getting in
school 3. I don't love this school but it is close to me and therefore a 'safe bet'

If you are not eligible for school 1, your application for school 2 is then considered alongside all the people who put school 2 as no. 1. You do not lose out, or get considered second etc, the complex computer system works out the places, as it does it according to equal place preference, which means, that if you do not get in to schools 1 and 2, you have just as good a chance at school 3 as all the people who put it first.

Please ignore anyone who tells you any of the following:
1. I only put one school so they had to give me that school (no you were lucky)
2. I put the same school down in all 3 places, so they knew I really wanted it (no, you just wasted 2 options)
3. If they don't giev me the school I wnated, then I'll just be given a place in the school closest to me even though I didn't put it on the form (no, if you don't put it on the form, the LEA can allocate you a place in a school miles away that has places)

steppemum Mon 27-Nov-17 14:40:07

whoops, 2 essays on one thread blush

Wolfiefan Mon 27-Nov-17 14:43:10

Useful information above. Don't apply citing childcare and travelling to work or you being separated. They won't care and it isn't relevant at all.


Tuppencew0rth Mon 27-Nov-17 15:16:29

Steppemum thanks so much!

Argh I wish they did acknowledge the poor child lives in two homes but I guessed parents circumstances won't mean anything.

Thanks again I'll be armed to expect I don't get the school I'm after!

OP’s posts: |
onewhitewhisker Mon 27-Nov-17 18:43:54

Is her Dad's house in the catchment of the school you want? is that a possible angle, to apply from his address? I don't know what the rules are (or if they vary between LA's) as to whether you can choose which parent's address you register as the child's if she lives at both homes, but someone on here will be able to tell you more.

cantkeepawayforever Mon 27-Nov-17 18:56:46

Where I live (a certain amount of admissions 'game playing' goes on locally around 'honeypot' schools) the child's main residence is defined quite strictly, in terms of being the house where the child habitually spends the largest number of nights during the school week (defined as Sun , Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs nights).

OP, what are the over-subscription criteria for each school? is a formal 'catchment' mentioned, or is it simply by 'distance from the school'? If you are equidistant from the two schools, and there is no formal 'catchment' in the oversubscription criteria, you may get lucky in the school you want - you could ask their furthest admitted distance for non-siblings for the last few years to see what chance you stand.

Of course, it may be one of the areas of the country where there still are catchments with defined boundaries, but IME catchment is a term often used very loosely between local parents, so it might be worth checking.

prh47bridge Mon 27-Nov-17 19:47:20

I don't know what the rules are (or if they vary between LA's) as to whether you can choose which parent's address you register as the child's if she lives at both homes

The rules do indeed vary from LA to LA. Many want the address where the child stays most nights during the school week. Some want to know where Child Benefit is paid. Some let the parents choose, particularly if the child is spending an equal amount of time in both homes. I'm sure there are other variations as well.

Without knowing where you are, Tuppence, I can't advise you on the rules in your area. If you want to say where you live (PM me if you don't want to post it publicly) I will be happy to take a look for you,

Tuppencew0rth Tue 28-Nov-17 11:24:07

Thanks everyone for your replies!

She definitely spends more time here at my home and I consider myself her primary carer and this her primary home and he supports.

We are in the country and it seems it does have a explicit catchment area (which maps around various fields etc, it's bizarre) so I am thinking I'm a bit snookered.

I tried to contact the LA but can't find a way to get through to the right team - I'll give it another bash today - I'll ask about the furthest child point.

It's not a case of one school is way better than the other, but I'm so pushed managing everything and my job that I am dreading the connundrum of multiple directions and complicated pick-ups... I know... it's not relevant...

Her dad isn't in the catchment area either but the desired school is about 7 miles from him & 4 miles from me, the catchment school will involve going through the town for him and make it a 40 min commute each way for the days he has her and then off again opposite direction to pick up the other lad... I can see it being a problem. The outside-of-catchment school is accessible by back roads and much easier to get to.

Oh first world problems I know but it IS a problem.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 17:13:10

Boundaries around fields probably follow parish boundaries.

The Local Authority web site should detail where the school you want took children from. It may say all children in catchment and up to a distance of 3 miles. It may say they did not even take all from catchment because there were lots of siblings and SEN children for example. You should be able to find this information. If not, ask the school.

There is no point applying for a school you may never ever get.

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