How do you find out primary school catchment areas?

(23 Posts)
confusedschoolmum Tue 01-Jan-19 19:03:05

Just that really. Can't seem to find this info on schools' websites.

OP’s posts: |
SenoritaViva Tue 01-Jan-19 19:06:04

Look on the council website

Patchworksack Tue 01-Jan-19 19:07:53

Mostly they don't have a 'catchment area' as such. The criteria are usually 1. Looked after children 2. SEN with an EHCP naming the school 3. Siblings 4. Everyone else Within a category it's decided by distance from the school as the crow flies. The local authority publish the criteria for each school and should also be able to tell you how far away the furthest child was for the last few years, but it will vary by number of siblings etc.

RatRolyPoly Tue 01-Jan-19 19:12:17

Yeah, local authority website will probably have them. Ours has a map where you put your postcode in and it shows you the catchment/s you're in, but not the catchments of particular schools. Which was a bit annoying, but you can put in the postcode of those schools as if it were your own address and then it'll show you the catchments.

AuditAngel Tue 01-Jan-19 19:13:36

Also need to take into account any other requirements if a religious school.

Fairylightfurore Tue 01-Jan-19 19:15:15

Zoopla and Rightmove. Just type in your postcode and they show you catchments for local school's.

SassitudeandSparkle Tue 01-Jan-19 19:18:53

Coucils usually have the 'last distance admitted' if the school was oversubscribed, look on the Council's admissions website for either their allocation day statistics or look at the admissions publication for primary schools - each school will list their admissions criteria there and it should say if there is a catchment area.


thecraftyfox Tue 01-Jan-19 19:22:07

Please don't depend on Zoopla or rightmove it's frequently not correct. As pp have said there may not be a catchment as such but places offered on distance from school either in a straight line or shortest walking distance. I also know authorities which take into account things like each pupils next nearest school when allocating places (issue in rural areas especially).

Your best bet is to look on the admissions section of the local authority. It will also be under the admissions policy for each school, this policy has to be on the schools website .

Escolar Tue 01-Jan-19 19:22:41

The schools near us don't have catchments. The criteria are as patchwork says, so it varies a bit each year where you have to live to get in (depending on numbers of siblings etc).

Mudmonster Tue 01-Jan-19 19:35:02

Don’t believe catchment areas for primary schools, the year dd started reception the furthest distance offered was 2.1 miles, when ds2 started 4 years later it was 500m. A better ofsted rating and higher SATs scores meant more parents wanted the school.
Last year the furthest distance offered was 320m.

BubblesBuddy Tue 01-Jan-19 20:49:08

Cities and large towns have more problems sticking to a catchment area. In the countryside they are still largely maintained. Local Authority admission departments will have the information on distance admitted and which criteria were used. It should also say if all applicants were admitted or not. The admission criteria for each school must be on their web sites by law.

admission Tue 01-Jan-19 21:13:49

People need to recognise the difference between catchment zones and the distance that the last pupil was admitted.
The catchment zone is an artificial area around the school which quite often has its origins in parish boundaries. It does not signify that pupils living in that area will get a place in the school only giving a level of priority in the admission criteria of the school.
The distance of the last admitted pupil can and does change significantly in different year groups, often in primary schools relating to the number of siblings given priority on places at the school. It should also be noted that the distance is the distance of the final pupil offered a place at the school when places are first allocated, 1st March for secondary and 16th April for primary. If the school has a significant number of refusal of places then the actual distance of the "real" last pupil offered a place at the school can be significantly longer than the quoted distance.

BubblesBuddy Wed 02-Jan-19 09:18:19

There are though, plenty of schools who offer to all applicants and don’t refuse any. Living in their catchment zones tends to mean you will get in and many schools don’t have a sibling policy. It’s a case of reading every admission criteria for every school plus the data from the LA. Also ask the schools if they ever take a child from your street/area. Of course this can vary year on year too but gives you an indication of possibility.

prh47bridge Wed 02-Jan-19 10:14:44

There are though, plenty of schools who offer to all applicants and don’t refuse any

Only if they are undersubscribed.

gallicgirl Wed 02-Jan-19 14:15:21

Look at the admissions page on the council website. This will also give you admission figures for the last couple of years for each school so you can gauge whether you stand a chance of getting in.

Have you visited any schools?

namechangedtoday15 Wed 02-Jan-19 14:23:38

As this thread shows, they're different in each area but they're only relevant is the school is oversubscribed. Here there are catchment areas and after looked after children, siblings (sonetimes) if you're in catchment, you are more likely to get a place than someone out of catchment. However, even if you're in catchment, places are usually allocated on a distance to school basis.

In this LA each school has a copy of its admissions policy on its website and a map showing the catchment area.

Terentia Wed 02-Jan-19 14:24:51

This is a good site, although it doesn't cover all areas

HopeGarden Wed 02-Jan-19 14:48:30

My local council doesn’t have catchment areas, places (after LAC, kids with ECHP and siblings) are allocated on closest walking distance.

The council website has an admissions guide which lists all schools in the council.
If a school was oversubscribed the list says what criteria the last child was admitted under, and where they were admitted under the distance criteria, how far their walking distance is.

BubblesBuddy Wed 02-Jan-19 18:23:14

Obviously prh. Some rural schools are undersubscribed! It does happen!

JillScarlet Wed 02-Jan-19 18:27:07

Zoopla and Rightmove are uselessly inaccurate and dangerously misleading in terms of the School Checker.

BrieAndChilli Wed 02-Jan-19 18:28:23

We are in wales and our council have a website where you put in your address and it brings up a maps you can then tick what you want to see including school catchment areas.
We still have traditional catchment areas Which defines boundaries. People inside the boundary get priority over those outside. We are just outside (boundary is our garden fence) and are a couple of miles closer to the school than People in the other side of catchment but as they are within the boundary thy get priority (luckilyit was a low birth year with my eldest!!)

reallyanotherone Wed 02-Jan-19 18:35:45

Mostly they don't have a 'catchment area' as such

We do. We have a school literally at the end of our garden but because of the way the catchment is drawn we wouldn’t get a place unless it is undersubscribed after catchment children have been considered.

We do have about 5 schools within walking distance. But as admissions is

A) looked after children
B) siblings of children in catchment
C) children in catchment
D) siblings not in catchment
E) any other not in catchment

Tiebreakers are distance.

We don’t have a realistic chance of any but our catchment school. Even on the wait list we can be leapfrogged by in catchment children who may live further away.

Lesson is read you LA documents thoroughly, especially the admissions criteria.

Ta1kinPeace Thu 03-Jan-19 16:48:24

Every area has its own rules
start with the website of your LEA

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