Where we have pupil data, we have shaded two circles around each school. The inner circle shows the average distance that the last intake of pupils live from the school, the outer circle shows where 95% of the last intake of pupils live. In both cases, we have uniquely excluded siblings, children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and those in or previously in local authority care; as these groups typically get priority over distance. This leaves a small number of children living outside the shaded area; as these are often special cases that cannot be identified in the data, we have decided to remove these outliers to provide more meaningful information.
State school admissions are about so much more than simply where you live. There
just isn’t a magic catchment area and any catchment indicator or heat map must not
be relied upon too heavily. If you are seriously considering a school, you really
need to visit it and speak to the person responsible for admissions.
Here are some important points regarding school admissions and the plotting of catchment
If a school is not oversubscribed, it must accept pupils from anywhere, e.g. it
doesn’t matter if you live inside or outside of the school’s borough or in fact
halfway across the country. Problems only arise when schools are oversubscribed,
which for the best schools is likely to be the case. For these schools "catchment
areas" are often confused with priority areas; if and only if a school is oversubscribed
then, in some cases, priority is given to children who live within a certain
area. But, even living within this priority area does not guarantee an offer of
a place at that school.
Not all oversubscribed schools have priority areas, e.g. academies, foundations
and free schools have extra freedoms as they are able to seek the right to opt out
of some elements of the School Admissions Code in their funding agreements. The
number of academies is growing rapidly and high on the government agenda so expect
many more schools like this. Another example would be a school on the edge of several
local authorities – the local authority that the school is in often does not give
priority to its residents; it is done on distance, regardless of the authority you
live in. So, in a huge number of cases there is no safe "catchment area", it just
depends who else happens to apply that year.
Although distance plays a key role, it is by no means the be all and end all when
it comes to school places being offered. To understand this, let’s look at how a
the primary school admissions process works. Schools receive every year, just before
April, the list of all the children who applied for their school and the distance
they live from that school (the applicant can live anywhere). Remember for under-subscribed
schools everyone gets in, for oversubscribed schools, the school’s admission code
is then applied to that list. For a non-religious state primary school the code
would typically accept pupils in the following priority:
Looked after children (fostered by the local authority) or adopted children.
Siblings – this means brothers sisters, half-brothers or half-sisters and step-brothers
or step-sisters (if they are living at the same address).
Distance from the school, usually measured in meters as the crow flies. (Local authorities
have tools that can measures distance down to the nearest cm.)
Running alongside these there are other priority categories, such as ‘social/medical’
e.g. in cases of domestic violence, social care involvement, special educational
needs, disability, youth offending service involvement, police involvement etc.
These numbers are often relatively low and so can be largely ignored as a big influencing
factor in this discussion.
Admissions criteria for other types of schools can be a minefield as the Governing
Bodies or Diocese are their own admissions authority and they have some quite unique
admissions criteria in some cases. Religious schools usually have church attendance
before distance and parents have to get a supporting letter from the priest at their
local church in order to increase their chances of getting in. Distance is therefore
often at the bottom of the list!
What happened in the past is just that, in the past. Much can change on a year by
year basis. Consider the following:
Number of siblings – siblings can often range from a third to two thirds of a class.
You could live opposite the school and miss out to siblings whilst your neighbour’s
children all attend the school.
Bulge classes – due to population pressure, lots of local authorities in high population
areas ask schools to take in extra classes just for that year. This can give the
impression that more children get in to that school, from a wider area, than previously.
There is no way to predict which schools will take bulge years as this is a highly
sensitive and confidential decision that local authorities take in conjunction with
the schools once the applications have come in at the end of January.
Bulge siblings – the sibling issue can be exasperated by bulge classes in previous
years; extra children in bulge years mean extra siblings in later years. All being
given priority over distance, it is not unheard of that only siblings are offered
places some years and no one from the local area, no matter how close they live.
New build housing – if the local authority or private contractors decide to build
more houses right next to a school, there will suddenly be more children in the
immediate area who will likely want to attend the school. Those extra children push
others who would have previously been offered a place, out of the "catchment area".
You might be thinking, "oh these are very rare things", but really they are not.
Bulge classes are becoming increasingly common as schools struggle to cope with
increasing demand. Of course, for those moving to quiet villages or areas where
the population has not changed much, the places from which local schools admit children
may not change dramatically each year, but there are still no guarantees.
Secondary school admissions can be even more of a minefield, especially if they
work on selective entry. Let’s consider the most famous selective schools - grammars.
The pressure for grammar school places is often exceptionally high, super bright
is no longer good enough, you now have to be super, super bright. So what happens
- well parents get tutors and/or send their children to private prep schools. So
a "catchment area" will be a reflection of affluence and ambition, rather than a
reflection of the distance that people live from the school. One cannot look at
an area and assume just because I live there I am going to get into this grammar
school – actually the reality is probably more likely to be, I live here because
I can afford to and therefore I can afford a tutor and/or independent preparatory
school to get my child into a grammar school.
Other state secondary schools can have their own variations of admissions criteria,
particularly with the growing number of academies and free schools – which are,
as mentioned previously, very high on the Government agenda.
For example, some academies use a “postcode lottery” – imagine a large lottery style
machine that they enter postcodes into and then this machine spits out the names
out of the lucky few. Who gets to go in to the postcode lottery? The children who
are applying all sit a banding test and representative samples from all bands go
into the postcode machine, e.g. if 50% of children end up in the top band they offer
50% of places to those top band children – what this means is that it is impossible
to predict a "catchment area" as you don’t know who will apply, let alone how clever
they are and which band they will get in to.
There are other state schools who offer some kind of scholarship programme – this
is not like an independent school scholarship, where fees are reduced - but rather
a way to prioritise children for admissions with particular talents, e.g. there
might be maths, sports and music scholarships. This means they can set aside a proportion
of their places for those children regardless of distance or siblings or any other
run of the mill admissions criteria – again "catchment areas" have no way to predict
who will apply for these and how many of these will be offered out.
Free schools, well they can just do whatever they like, literally, but they have
to publish what they do.
The key thing to take away from this is, don't assume you can or cannot get into
a school based upon previous intakes, instead:
Back in 2009, when my wife and I considered
moving home, we didn't know where we wanted to move to, but we definitely wanted
to be near good local schools for our children. Every time we found a potential
area, we spent hours trawling the web gathering information on schools and reading
their Ofsted inspection reports. It took us ages and quickly became very frustrating.
We did find some websites that speeded up the process a little, but we soon discovered
that their data was unreliable; some schools were mysteriously missing and often
links were broken and data out of date. They almost always required a postcode to
be entered to start with, something we often didn't have.
We decided that what we needed was something that showed schools on a map, which
you could scroll around and most importantly showed, at a glance, some crucial information
about the schools; primarily their Ofsted report ratings and exam results. We Googled
and browsed all night, but it became clear that there was nothing out there that
does this. So, being a software developer, I decide to write one for us ... and locrating.com
was born. Since then locrating has gone from strength to strength and undergone
many improvements and face lifts.
Thank you to all of you that have sent us encouraging messages over the years and
continued to spread the word about locrating; it is much appreciated. We always
welcome feedback, be it good or bad. Feel free to contact us with any comments,
suggestions or complaints. Finally, in case you are wondering, the name locrating
came from a friend and is a word play on locating by [Ofsted] rating.
Lewis Tandy, Director, Locrating Ltd
||Grade 1 : Outstanding
An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or employment.
||Grade 2 : Good
A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment.
||Grade 3 : Requires improvement
A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within 24 months from the date of this inspection.
||Grade 4 : Inadequate
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
Key Stage 2 covers pupils aged 7 to 11.
The majority of pupils are expected to achieve Level 4 in Key Stage 2 National
Curriculum Tests in both English and Maths. The 'Percentage of pupils
achieving expected Key Stage 2' performance measure shows the percentage of pupils eligible to sit tests
who have achieved Level 4 or above. A year on year comparison enables readers to see whether
a school’s performance has remained consistent or improved over time.
The 'Key Stage 2
average point score per pupil' performance measure shows the total number of points achieved in each subject by all eligible pupils, divided by the number of eligible pupils.
This is often used in league tables to rank schools by performance. The ranking shown next to this figure
in our school markers is calculated by us, based upon published Key Stage 2 results.
The average point score that a child is expected to get at the end of year 6 (KS2) is 27 points. This equates to a 4b which is the national expected level.
Level 5, above national expectation, starts at 5c or 31 points. The higher the point score the higher the children's attainment. Below is a mapping of point scores to levels.
||Above national average
||Above national average
||Well above national average
||Well above national average
2012 is the first time that level 6 tests have been used for Maths and English.
The 'Key Stage 2 average point score per pupil' is a much more granular measure of attainment than the 'Percentage of pupils
achieving expected Key Stage 2' because is shows how far above average pupils are, for example a school could have 100% of pupils
achieving Level 4 or above but that does not tell you if all pupils are just Level 4 or in fact higher. 'Key Stage 2 average point score per pupil'
helps you to identify just how well the pupils are doing, e.g. if the APS is 25-27 then most of the pupils are about average, if the APS is 33-34 then
most of the pupils are well above the national average. However, in both cases the 'Percentage of pupils
achieving expected Key Stage 2' could be 100%, but clearly the school with the higher APS is better.
Click a school marker and then click the exam results link to see the school's full exam data.
For more information click here.
Key Stage 4 covers pupils aged 14 to 16. The 'Percentage of pupils
achieving 5+ A*-C grade GCSEs (or equivalent)' performance measure shows
the percentage of students who achieved five or more GCSEs (or equivalent) each
with a grade between A* and C (or equivalent) including English and Maths. A year
on year comparison enables readers to see whether a school’s performance has remained
consistent or improved over time.
The 'KS 4 average point score per pupil (best 8) -
all qualifications' performance measure shows the average number of points achieved
per pupil across their best 8 qualifications. This is often used in
league tables to rank schools by performance. The ranking shown next to this
figure in our school markers is calculated by us, based upon published Key Stage
Click a school marker and then click the exam
results link to see the school's full exam data. For more information click here.
Key Stage 5 covers pupils aged 17 to 18. The 'Percentage of pupils
achieving 3 or more A-levels or equivalent' performance measure shows
the percentage of students achieving 3 or more A levels (or equivalent) at grades A*-E
A year on year comparison for this data is not available, however
the average point score below can be used to compare performance over time. For more information click here.
The 'KS 5 average point score per
pupil' provides a measure of the average number of A level equivalent qualifications
studied by students at a school or college and the grades they achieved. The more
qualifications undertaken by students and the higher the grades they achieved, the
higher the average point score per student. A year on year comparison enables readers
to see whether a school’s performance has remained consistent or improved over time.
This is often used in league tables to rank schools by performance. The ranking shown next to this figure in our school markers is calculated by us,
based upon published Key Stage 5 results. For more information click here.
Click a school marker and then click the exam results link to see the school's full
Top 10% schools are schools that are ranked within the top 10% of all English schools, based upon their pupils' average point scores, which are a key measure of a pupil's attainment
(see above for further details about average point scores).
There are approximately 20,000 schools that teach at primary level, hence there are approximately 2,000 primary schools marked with a star.
There are approximately 6,000 schools that teach at secondary level, hence there are approximately 600 secondary schools marked with a star.
A secondary school can be marked with a star because of either
its GCSE results or
A-Level results. Below is a list of the point scores used to identify the top 10% schools:
- Key Stage 2: Average point score.
- Key Stage 4 (GCSE and equivalent): Average (capped) point score per student; capped because it only considers the student's best 8 exam results.
- Key Stage 5 (A-Level and equivalent): Average point score per student (including equivalences).