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messagecatchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by edbloke October 06, 11:16PM

Considering the Governmentís education minister recently stated missing one day of schooling to attend a global climate change protest was unwise as it can adversely affect a kidís education, itís crazy how much time we as a family have already spent since the summer taking our 10 year old child away from her primary, in order to visit potential secondary schools. We are doing this despite many of them are likely to be far beyond viable catchment distances.

Why is it that its so hard to find the max catchment distance to all local secondary schools?

I appreciate that the max distance changes every year due to many factors, but if the system was completely transparent, for example, sharing the last 5 years of catchments for each school, then we would be much better informed and could be much more efficient in making our choices.

Without this information to hand, as parents we have no choice but to hunt around trying to find six schools that we are prepared to contemplate our kids travelling to each day, even though many are likely a waste of time due to unknown catchments.

Renata - can Southwark publish the max catchment distance for all its secondary schools over the past 5 years? It would be just as useful if Lambeth and Lewisham did the same, as we are visiting schools within those boroughs too, so as to have a shortlist to edit down to 6 choices within 40mins of home.

Maybe this catchment information is readily available somewhere, but i can't find it on the web - if so, can someone please put me right!

Thanks very much

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by hpsaucey October 07, 12:10AM

Hi edbloke,


You'll find some of the answers in this existing thread if you've not already seen it:
[www.eastdulwichforum.co.uk]

HP

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by edbloke October 07, 07:34AM

Hi HP
Iím really looking for a comprehensive set of data, readily available for all, covering all schools local to East Dulwich. This should exist on Southwarkís schools admissions page. Not piecemeal info buried in messages on a site like EDF.
Again, unless Iíve missed something...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was october 07, 07:35am by edbloke.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Scruffy Mummy October 07, 08:49AM

It's because all secondary schools in Southwark are academies. Education authorities have very little oversight or power now that so many schools are academies. Not all schools have the same admissions criteria either - some like Kingsdale are lotteries so it really doesn't matter where you live. Some like Harris Girls ED have more complicated geographical admissions rather than where the crow files. So even if you could get a comprehensive list, you are not comparing like with like.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by edbloke October 07, 10:41AM

Hi Scruffy Mummy
I appreciate the switch to academies has allowed freedom of criteria to be set by each school and that a few schools have a lottery system, but most donít.
The majority of kids have access to a school based solely on distance.
A FOI request would source this info. Just seems a shame it canít be shared transparently, with the obvious caveats on different criteria.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Peachpie October 07, 02:06PM

Some sort of guidance would be helpful as I am not sure how you are supposed to gauge if a school is a viable option. Lewisham has this page [lewisham.gov.uk]

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by tomskip October 07, 05:48PM

It doesn't seem like much to ask does it?

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by hpsaucey October 07, 07:18PM

edbloke. Yes I know- the thread explains why it doesnt exist ...


HP

edbloke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hi HP
> Iím really looking for a comprehensive set of
> data, readily available for all, covering all
> schools local to East Dulwich. This should exist
> on Southwarkís schools admissions page. Not
> piecemeal info buried in messages on a site like
> EDF.
> Again, unless Iíve missed something...

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by edbloke October 07, 08:08PM

On the contrary, the Lewisham map is very useful. Thanks Peachpie. If it were to have a drop down option to reveal those catchments over the past say 5 years, then it would also reveal anomalies and trends, helping families make informed decisions.

Iím amazed that all councils arenít compelled to have this info readily available.
The amount of time parents and kids collectively spend visiting Ďunreachableí schools is likely to be shocking.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by SR October 08, 12:54PM

I'm with you edbloke!

Sadly I'm pretty sure I won't get into Southwark school but I would love to know that! Any excuse that it's because Southwark has Academies and therefore doesn't publish this information seems slightly disingenuous. Bromley have no problem in publishing this information, including the distance for each band where banding is applicable - (see page 44 of the applying for schools download [www.bromley.gov.uk] ). Itís quite easy to see the schools that have differing admission policies from distance alone. Southwark council seem quite happy for people to waste their time visiting nearby schools which in reality they have no chance of getting into or else they have to gleam admission distance info by searching the east dulwich forum or speaking to neighbours...Not a great experience for parents at what can be a stressful time ( if youíre not stressed Iíd hazard a guess that youíre living on the doorstep of a school that admits on distance and that you are happy with).

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Monkey October 09, 02:28PM

Wow - Super impressed with Bromley. I think the schools around here are badly behaved and refusing to help the Council. Perhaps whatís needed is action from us in terms of lobbying the heads. But frankly, between the visits, reading of admission policies, banding tests, making sure attendance at banding tests has been recorded properly (long story), general and specialist sports assessments etc... I don't have time for anything else. Indeed I could do with a quiet weekend not monopolised by secondary schools.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by hpsaucey October 09, 07:29PM

Monkey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow - Super impressed with Bromley. I think the
> schools around here are badly behaved and refusing
> to help the Council. Perhaps whatís needed is
> action from us in terms of lobbying the heads. But
> frankly, between the visits, reading of admission
> policies, banding tests, making sure attendance at
> banding tests has been recorded properly (long
> story), general and specialist sports assessments
> etc... I don't have time for anything else. Indeed
> I could do with a quiet weekend not monopolised by
> secondary schools.

Agreed! And maybe back to days where you simply went to your loxal secondary ...

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by SR October 10, 10:21PM

Maybe I am missing something here but I think that the Council are responsible for allocating places in line with the school admission policies. So each Head does know the furthest distance for their school's last admission but the council know that information for every school because they make the offer. I am not that impressed by Bromley becasue to my mind that is exactly what they should be producing. Southwark council have this information but for some reason they are not publishing it. I appreciate that from previous threads I can see Renata very engaged and always there to expain the school application process. As a counciller it is also "in her gift" to improve the process. So back to the original post

"Renata - can Southwark publish the max catchment distance for all its secondary schools over the past 5 years? "

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by rahrahrah October 11, 10:35AM

@edbloke I completely agree with you. It cannot be beyond the ability of Southwark to collate and publish such info.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by edbloke October 14, 05:30PM

To be completely honest here, Iíve had a couple of private messages on this topic from Renata since the opening post but no useful info has been forthcoming.
The only thing I can therefore regrettably conclude is that unlike other councils, Southwark are choosing not to share the historic max catchment distances of local schools as it would so blatantly confirm many residentís suspicions -?there are huge swathes of the borough, including areas in the heart of East Dulwich /SE22 (despite the arrival of second Charter), where parents havenít got a chance of securing a preferred school on the distance criteria.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by SR October 15, 08:45AM

thanks for the update edbloke

Are Southwark actually the only council in London with the policy to NOT publish school admission distances!?!

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by tomskip October 15, 06:40PM

edbloke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To be completely honest here, Iíve had a couple of
> private messages on this topic from Renata since
> the opening post but no useful info has been
> forthcoming.
> The only thing I can therefore regrettably
> conclude is that unlike other councils, Southwark
> are choosing not to share the historic max
> catchment distances of local schools as it would
> so blatantly confirm many residentís suspicions
> -?there are huge swathes of the borough, including
> areas in the heart of East Dulwich /SE22 (despite
> the arrival of second Charter), where parents
> havenít got a chance of securing a preferred
> school on the distance criteria.

And there might be an organised effort by parents against automatic sibling places if the max distance data is actually published and not shrouded in secrecy, which I doubt the schools or the council would welcome. When EDbloke says the majority of secondary school applicants get a place on distance (after SN, looked-after, children of staff) I would say that a very significant number get a place because their sibling is already a student. Doesn't matter where the household has moved to in the meantime, or if the general "catchment" has shrunk due to popularity, or if the sibling has the same SN that gave the first sibling a place etc etc.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by MoysieC October 15, 07:00PM

I agree with the sibling policy for primary and junior schools (when parents need to take their children to school). But I don't see why senior schools have a sibling policy when most senior school children can make their own way to school.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Monkey October 15, 07:59PM

I also donít understand why no testing based on previous yearsí data has been run on Harris Girls after it changed its admission policy and nodal point. Frankly given where I am on Dunstans, I donít think weíll make it anywhere near. Weíre making plans to home educate just to have a back up. We shouldnít be in this situation. I bloody hate living in Southwark.

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Scrummymummy October 16, 12:46PM

Hi Monkey,

We are near to you and we got offered Sydenham School for this year's intake.

Daughter absolutely loves it and has made lots of new friends. Most of them live this side of the school and so walking distance. They get the bus from Upland Rd & Underhill Rd bus stops.

We are still over 100 on the waiting lists for both Charters, but do not think we would change now even if we were offered a place anyway.

Not sure what it was like this year, but the previous year, I understand Harris girls still has 2 vacancies at the start of September after the waiting lists moved things around, so don't give up hope!

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Monkey October 16, 02:14PM

Thatís reassuring, thank you!

messageRe: catchment distance to local secondary schools
Posted by Monkey October 18, 03:51PM

Guys, I think we need to review our expectations in terms of getting information on admission distances. Right now iím just trying to find out from Harris Girls ED what band my daughter is in and youíd think iím asking them a complicated philosophical question with many possible answers. The band sheís in seems to change each time I call. This is a complete farce.


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