More than 100 schools admit only taking children who lived within a two-minute walk

The Mail is reporting new research that suggests dozens of primary schools now require children to live within 300 yards of the gate to win a place.

More than 100 schools admitted only pupils living within a two-minute walk last year as competition intensifies for the most popular primaries.

This year, the situation is likely to worsen as the demand for limited places grows following a baby boom fuelled by migration.

Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for primary school place applications, new data has emerged which show the worst pressure points in the country.

The school with the tightest admission area was Fox Primary School in Kensington and Chelsea, where children must live within 107 yards of the school.

It is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and lists ballerina Darcey Bussell and Tony Benn’s daughter Melissa as former pupils.

It is followed closely by Beech Hyde Primary School and Nursery in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, Dundonald Primary School in Merton, South London, and Cromwell Junior and Infant School and Nursery Class in Birmingham.

The findings come amid mounting evidence that places at the best schools are being taken by children whose parents are rich enough to own properties nearby…

The research was carried out by FindASchool, a new school-checking service run in collaboration with, which helps parents identify data about local schools.

Founder Ed Rushton said: ‘It’s not just living too far from the school that sees parents missing out on a place – the complexity of the admissions system can also cause problems…’

More at: Primaries where pupils must live next door: More than 100 schools admit only taking children who lived within a two-minute walk last year as demand for places intensifies


A catchment area of barely 100 yards is really quite something isn’t it? Would you argue in such a case that the catchment area should be expanded and admissions sorted out by something like a lottery instead?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. LynsGP

    SchoolsImprove I’m for this, things seemed better when we all just went to the nearest school and could walk! Current school is 30 min…

  2. LynsGP

    SchoolsImprove … Walk and we pass people going to our nearest school which we can’t get into because it’s Catholic

  3. Mirror_Assembly

    Beech Hyde’s problem was partly created by 70+ houses being built on the site of an old school! Villagers predicted this problem in 2008/9 as there was no planning for additional infrastructure with increased housing. There was already a secondary school place problem for secondary schools. LA was NOT listening.

  4. The Mail implies distance alone is the criteria to gain a place in these schools.  But many priority is given to children with siblings already in the schools.  As Fox Primary points out in its consultation to change its admission criteria for 2017/18:
    ‘In the last five years…offers made in accordance
    under the distance criterion were 0.089, 0.060 and 0.057 of a mile respectively.’

    The school says:
    increase in families legitimately renting properties very close to the school for a
    minimum of 12 months has become common practice. The impact of this practice has
    meant that Fox is no longer accessible to families living beyond the roads that
    surround the school.’

    It appears, then, that renting and  not buying property is causing pressure on Fox’s available places.  Owner-occupiers could actually find themselves pushed out by short-term renters.

  5. thiskidsthinkin

    Seems a bit unreal this story, but then I’m in a semi-rural area, and if schools here went by a 300 yard rule, there would literally be no-one attending some schools! A majority of pupils at primary schools in this area live 2 miles or more from the school and get the bus.

  6. The_Data_Adonis

    SchoolsImprove if we rebuild tower estates with schools on ground floor we could get catchment areas inside the school’s footprint. Genius

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