When it comes to which primary or secondary school a student goes to, it is primarily guided by a system of catchment areas. A school catchment area map is a useful tool in deciding which catchment area a family’s children fall into. This article will explore some of the advantages of the school catchment areas system having been adopted. This will help us better understand why it is necessary and reassure our children that it will work for them.
By students continuing to be educated in the same area, they will stay with the friends that they have already socialised with. Familiarity helps children to settle into an environment and therefore to do well straight away by feeling happy and content. This level of relaxation makes them more receptive to continued learning.
Forming friendships is important because it increases a child’s sense of purpose and belonging. It improves self-worth and confidence, boosts happiness, reduces stress, and allows them to cope with traumas in their life. These might include, although we do not want to think of them, divorce, a parent losing their job, serious illnesses, or death of a loved one or pet.
Traumas will happen. Children are best placed when they are among friends and those with whom they are most familiar, who can support them through the difficult period in their life.
With only local children attending the local school, it will increase the chances of siblings staying together by ensuring that there are enough school places to accommodate everyone that is local. That is, younger siblings will be able to attend the same school as their older brother or sister, where they were once or are still being educated, because it is the nearest school to where they live.
Level of Learning
Although there is a national curriculum to ensure the same standard of learning is achieved across the country, there will be differences in regions. By going to the same school as peers you started off with in nursery, there will be an even playing field in which to continue with education.
This means that classes with be more evenly balanced when it comes to previous knowledge acquired. And it will therefore allow for speedier learning together, and greater progression.
When it comes to parental support, the same parents will be involved. They can help take care of another’s children when the other parent needs to work to ensure their family’s survival. Often it can be a necessity for both parents to work and can be made all the easier by parents knowing each other already, just like the children do. This is made possible by living within the same catchment area.
School catchment areas are also about fairness. They ensure that property prices are kept down in the areas close to the schools that everyone would choose to send their children to as a first option.
It would be unfair to make state education about how much money and savings a family has, and whether they can afford to send their children greater distances to school or buy a more expensive house nearer a school topping the league tables based on their past results.
Instead, there is a system of protection in place to ensure that last minute house changes are not carried out with the sole purpose of gaining an unfair advantage over others. Families will need to prove that their loved ones are entitled to attend the local school, because of them falling within the right catchment area, by them having lived in the area and close by to the school for a reasonable length of time, and due to them having registered in good time for their school place.
In terms of travelling, it isn’t good for children to have to travel long distances as the school day can be tiring enough for them. This can be eliminated by them attending the school that is nearest to them and inside their catchment area.
So, there are at least three advantages to running the school catchment system for primary and secondary schools, so we may better understand why it is necessary for the education department to have put it in place.
It will ensure that friends who started early learning together can continue in education together, that everyone is at the same level of local understanding when it comes to learning, and that the necessity to travel long distances is eliminated.
The system creates a level playing field for all. Everyone knows where they stand. It gives schools a way of having some control over their intakes and so being able to effectively plan for it to the benefit of its students.