16th of December, 2015
New, unique, free guide to school admissions criteria helps parents make informed decisions about their child's education
Accurate and easy to use including information on 20,000 UK schools
Just launched, and a must for all parents and homebuyers with school-aged children, is FindASchool by 192.com, a free definitive guide to all schools in the UK, including admissions information, designed to help families to make informed decisions about their child's education.
FindASchool is the first tool to provide comprehensive, accurate admissions information to help parents research and understand their chances of getting a place at the state primary or secondary school of their choice and to decide where to move house to have the best chance of getting into a given school. It helps parents with the difficult decisions they must make on school applications by presenting all the relevant information they need in one place. It is the only service that provides a mapped Successful Applicant Area showing where you would have needed to live to get in to a particular school in previous years.
FindASchool covers 95% of all state schools in England, Wales, and Scotland. It includes a wealth of key information including a summary of admissions criteria, such as whether a school has a catchment area or gives priority to siblings; whether or not a school is oversubscribed; details of its inspection results (e.g. Ofsted ranking in England); exam results; class sizes; its pupil make-up split into gender, age, religion - together with percentages of those with English as an Additional Language and those entitled to Free School Meals - alongside links to the relevant Good Schools Guide reports. Parents can search by area, by an address or postcode, and get an overview of all the schools in an area, including an understanding of which school you are more likely to be able to get into. This will be invaluable to all parents looking into schools for their children, whether they are coming to this for the first time with no prior knowledge of the admissions system, or seasoned professionals with children already at school.
"From my own experience I know how difficult it is both to find, and understand, the information you need to make an informed decision," said Ed Rushton, founder of FindASchool by 192.com. "Choosing a school for your child and navigating the admissions process can be very stressful, so our product has been specifically designed to help parents make these decisions by presenting all the information they need in one place, and by showing where they would have needed to live to get in to a school in previous years."
Even where the data is available, there is a confusing array of different approaches taken by schools. Through the data collection task, FindASchool has discovered over 400 permutations of state school admissions criteria. And within these variations, there are numerous examples of convoluted and opaque arrangements used by individual schools to allocate places, which would be extremely difficult for any parent to understand. For example, there is a primary school in Rotherham, which admits up to 16 pupils to its reception class. However, they have 23 different priority levels that could be used to allocate these 16 places, with 4 pages required to describe all the relevant criteria.
A recent survey by OnePoll found that 66 per cent of parents surveyed felt that the UK's admissions system makes the process of finding a school unnecessarily confusing. Problems occur because different schools can have different admissions criteria and variable 'cut-off' points - the distance a child can live from the school. This is obviously a particularly stressful issue in areas surrounding popular, high performing schools with good Ofsted ratings, which then become oversubscribed.
The launch of FindASchool by 192.com has been welcomed by The Good Schools Guide, which helps parents find the best schools for their children. Editor-In-Chief Ralph Lucas commented; "Finding the relevant information about school catchment areas has always been a complex and difficult task because the necessary information is notoriously difficult to obtain. The launch of FindASchool gives parents an additional resource that holds all this information in one place. FindASchool complements the Good Schools Guide in helping parents pick the school in their area that suits their child best."
Data collected by FindASchool shows that in 2014, 46% of schools in England were oversubscribed (44% secondary schools, 47% primaries) rising to 66% of schools in London. The average cut-off distance for all oversubscribed schools in England is 2.3km for primary schools and 4.8km for secondary schools, but it is hugely variable. For example, 111 primary schools in the country have an admissions distance of less than 300 metres, roughly a three-minute walk, and in London there are admissions areas as small as 100 metres.
Regional analysis shows that Islington is the worst place to live when searching for a school place because their schools have the smallest successful admissions areas in the country, with an average cut-off distance of just 640 metres.
"We have painstakingly collected this data by contacting every education authority in the country to ensure accuracy and we've spent a year gathering information and presenting it in as simple a format as possible," continued Ed Rushton. "All admissions criteria are included, the good, the bad and the ugly - from the school where you have to live next door to get in, to the local authority which won't tell parents if its schools are undersubscribed for fear of deterring their application. It really is a must-use for parents everywhere."
Information for Editors:
About FindASchool by 192.com
FindASchool is the latest service from 192.com, the UK's leading online directory. Launched in November 2015, FindASchool is a tool to help parents research and understand their chances of getting a place at the school of their choice - the definitive guide to school admissions and more. It is designed to help parents make decisions on school applications by presenting all the information they need in one place, and by showing where they would have needed to live to get in to a school in previous years.
*The Good Schools Guide is the leading independent guide to schools in the UK. It features honest, outspoken and unbiased reviews of 1,200 independent and state schools across the country. The reviews focus on what the schools are really like and answer the questions prospectuses do not. The guide is available from all good book stores or on-line at www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk. The Good Schools Guide Advice Service also offers a consultancy service to help parents searching for schools at www.gsgexpertschoolsconsultants.co.uk