Having found a school you like, the question is, will your child get in?
Our helpful catchment area indicator provides some assistance
and crucially busts some common school catchment myths.
Using data from the National School Census 2017, we have shaded around each school. The inner green area shows the average distance that the last intake of pupils live from the school, the middle yellow area shows where 95% of these pupils live and the outer orange area shows where all of these pupils live. 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 data is provided for informational purposes only and we do not accept any liability for decisions based on this data. Past admissions are no guarantee of future admissions, we advise you to always check with the school.
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. Following are some important points regarding school admissions and the plotting of catchment areas:
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:
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:
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.
Warning! If you are seriously considering a school, you really need to visit it and speak to the person responsible for admissions.
Our catchment area indicators are provided for informational purposes only and we do not accept any liability for decisions based on this data. Past admissions are no guarantee of future admissions, we advise you to always check with the school. Catchment area indicators are only available for schools in England, where data is available.
Very informative website and owner is…
Very informative website and owner is extremely responsive to questions and suggestions. I recommend it all the time to people with school aged children who are moving.
Robust and accurate information is…
Robust and accurate information is always provided by the team, a really valuable for any parent and (indeed any teacher) LE
This is a great website!
This is a great website! We used Locrating to search for secondary schools for our son. Having the ability to view past exam results and the oversubscribed data is incredibly useful. We also ventured further afield than we may otherwise have explored and considered a house move which may tie in with the perfect school. Keep up the good work!
Perfect for school searching and also…
Perfect for school searching and also finding nearby homes
We are a family coming from abroad
We are a family coming from abroad, looking for the best school for our child. Locrating is the best web site that we have found to know all the information needed to find the best school. We recommend it 100%
Great help if you are moving house or…
Great help if you are moving house or chosing schools, especially good if you are doing both
Truly helps to choose a school
This service helps to narrow down the schools choice, showing the most necessary criteria in a very friendly way. Thank you for a great job.
A very helpful website to help young parents navigate their way through all the complexity of schools and nurseries!
Very useful for school planning
Superb site - pin your location to find which schools you are in the catchment for and details on ofsted rating, parent opinions and more. Even find properties for rent / sale in the catchments of interest.
Great site for anyone looking at new schools.
Overall a great site for anyone looking for the right school. The map could be easier to use on mobile phones, and it would be nice to see the ratio of student applications per school place on the school panel, important when moving school mid year. Also Rightmove would perhaps be a better partner for property than Zoopla as it has more houses listed and better school catchment details.
A most useful tool coagulating school data. It would help to be able to easily search for a school and it would help to be able to build shortlist of schools filer tonkey data.
Was a bit sceptical, I thought that free services you can find online probably had as much info, but have to Locrating say was well worth the money. Well designed and has really helped in our school search to make more informed decisions.
Indispensable tool for me as I am moving to the UK from Australia and was having a lot of trouble finding a good school. Using locrating in tandem with real estate sites made finding a place to live near good schools much easier.
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An invaluable research tool
I use Locrating.com almost daily as a resource for my Education Consultancy business and find the tool invaluable. The web team are also extremely responsive to feedback and updates and are therefore able to offer a service that families can really rely on to educate themselves on schooling options in particular areas.
We used it when trying to pick a school for our 4 yr old daughter and I can honestly say I have no idea how we would have managed if it wasn't for Locrating.
The site is great and the only one (as far as we can see) that offers all the information combined in this manner. It's very easy to navigate and configure so you can see the information on the types of schools that you are interested in.
We can't praise it enough. If you care about the standard and quality of school you are about to send your kids to, there is simply no other way to go. Without this you either have to look up the Ofsted reports yourself or take a risk and rely on other people's opinions.
An invaluable tool for researching school choices
Locrating has been an invaluable tool for navigating school choices. So much information in one place. It’s great for seeing state & private schools in your area, previous years catchments plus links to Ofsted reports, school websites and more. You can filter those available with lots of useful options like boys/girls/co-ed, state/private, religion or Ofsted rating etc.
Also if you’re thinking of relocating for a particular school or just to a new area, you can then tick a box to show properties for sale or to rent on the map alongside the schools.
I had a couple of technical glitches and was skeptical about using email for support, however I couldn’t have been more wrong-Lewis was extremely helpful and quick to respond. My glitches were fixed very fast.
This website is genius!
If you're looking to move for schools or just research schools in a given area Locrating is invaluable. You can show schools on a map with catchment areas, alongside properties to rent or buy and use all of the usual search criteria for both including school results and rankings. I've used it now for secondary school research and again to plan a 6th form move. Finding Locrating has saved me loads of time and hassle and really taken the legwork out of the research. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Absolutely MUST if you are moving…
Absolutely MUST if you are moving houses, or selecting area to leave with a kids.
great website that also shows you available properties in schools' catchment areas
this is a great website that does what it says. also very handy when you are looking to buy. We have a 2 year old daughter and are currently looking for properties near a particular primary school. the map can include zoopla listings and so you can easily look at the properties available in the catchment area.
Great web site
Great web site. I love that it keeps improving and adding new features.
My family are hoping to relocate next year and it’s all with the help of Relocrating.
Well done !!
Locrating was amazing
Locrating was amazing. It saved me hours and hours of research. All the facts at my fingertips. I was able to scroll around and bring up the info I was interested in on all the schools in my area. It was a useful tool when thinking of areas we might move to as well. So much information. An incredibly useful website.
Useful when researching an area
Helpful and useful when researching an area. Has opened our eyes to some new options we have in our borough. Also, a necessity when looking for that next place where we might buy a house. Highly recommended!
Locrating really is a useful resource…
Locrating really is a useful resource which has helped my wife and I navigate the school situation for our young ones. The data is comprehensive and well presented. What a clever name too!
Smooth as silk
Super easy to use and gives a great picture of catchment area info in just a few minutes. Has helped me out a lot!
Absolutely brilliant! Loads of information, easy to use and for the best value. Much better than other sites I’ve tried.
Handy. Updated always. Saves time.
An extremely helpful website that made…
An extremely helpful website that made the search for the right house and the best local schools so much easier. The site was recommended to us by friends who used it when they moved last year.
Invaluable source of information
Invaluable source of information for parents needing more info about catchment areas and property prices within those. The data are accurate and the interface is easy to use. It was recommended by a friend and we found it an indispensable tool when looking at school for our children.
Although they're charging now it…
Although they're charging now it doesn't take away from the fact that it's a useful website to view all types of schools in your area. The comparison function and the property prices overlay on the map is very useful!
Locrating was a fantastic tool which…
Locrating was a fantastic tool which helped us filter down the many choices of schools we were presented with. We just moved to the UK from overseas and the consolidated console with information about nearly every school as well as real estate was a great help.
One of the best tools available
One of the best tools available in the market if you are planning to buy a property and are concerned about the schools in the area! User friendly and smooth, i think its good value for money.
This is such a great website
This is such a great website. It is so easy to see all the schools using the map and quickly read all of the relevant information about the schools. I like being able to order the schools in a specific area.