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School catchment areas shrinking

07/12/2015 Joanna
The average cut-off distances for oversubscribed schools are 2.3km for primary and 4.8km for secondary, according to the FindASchool website. Across the country, there are 400 different sets of criteria to offer pupils a place in a school, with this being a particular issue in London.

Across England 46 per cent of schools have more applications than places, with this rising to two-thirds in London. In some boroughs, such as Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea and Lewisham, 80 per cent of schools lack enough places for the demand. This is much lower in Wales, where only 13 per cent of schools are oversubscribed.

For areas where demand is intense, places can become a lot more competitive. For 393 schools, pupils will not get a place if they live more than 500 metres away and for 91 schools, it depended on living within a distance of 300 metres. This is again a bigger issue in London, where there are 300 schools where pupils have to live within 750 metres, compared with 14 in the north-east.

In addition to catchment areas, schools also judge on whether siblings have attended. If they have, then other siblings who are applying for a place are given priority. This takes up an average of five per cent of school places, further reducing the availability of places.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We want every parent to have access to a good school place for their child. Despite rising pupil numbers, 95 per cent of parents received an offer at one of their top three preferred schools this year and we recently committed to investing £23 billion in school buildings by 2021."

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801807562-ADNFCR
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