Wakefield features in list of most competitive secondary school catchment areas

With applications for secondary school entry for September 2022 closing in a month’s time, new data has revealed that Wakefield has one of the most competitive catchment areas in the country for outstanding secondary school places.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:04 pm

It comes as part of new research from mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages that shows which areas of the country offer the best and worst chances for pupils looking to secure a place at outstanding schools in September 2022.

By analysing population data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the latest inspection reports from Ofsted, the research has revealed the towns and cities where competition for places at outstanding schools is most and least competitive as well as what these figures mean for parents and homeowners.

To establish the odds for each location, the research looked at the number of three and 10 year olds in each town and city (likely to be applying for reception and year seven places in September 2022) and compared these to the amount of outstanding schools in the area based on Ofsted’s latest inspection reports.

Locations with zero outstanding schools were not included in the study.

When looking at secondary places specifically, Wakefield had the sixth most competitive catchment areas with around 4,240 10-year-olds in the town potentially vying for places at the city’s two outstanding schools (Outwood Academy City Fields and Outwood Grange Academy), the sixth highest in England (2,120 pupils per school).

Hull topped the rankings (3,260) ahead of Sunderland (3,139) with Plymouth (3,123) making up the top three in terms of competitiveness.

The 10 locations with the most competitive catchment areas for outstanding secondary schools

Hull (3,260 pupils per school)

Sunderland (3,139 pupils per school)

Plymouth (3,123 pupils per school)

Peterborough (3,019 pupils per school)

Colchester (2,465 pupils per school)

Wakefield (2,120 pupils per school)

Milton Keynes (2111.5 pupils per school)

Bolton (2,019 pupils per school)

Canterbury (1,846 pupils per school)

Ipswich (1,809 pupils per school)

At the other end of the spectrum, it was Cambridge that had the best provision of outstanding secondary schools when compared to the amount of pupils in the local area.

With seven outstanding secondary schools within five miles of the centre of Cambridge to cater for the city’s 1,468 pupils aged ten year olds, this equated to 209.7 potential pupils per outstanding school - the lowest in England.

Following closest behind was Norwich (211.3) and Liverpool (233.9) highlighting the accessibility of outstanding schools across these locations.

The 10 locations in England with the best access to outstanding secondary schools

Cambridge (209.7 pupils per school)

Norwich (211.3 pupils per school)

Liverpool (233.9 pupils per school)

Blackpool (267.2 pupils per school)

Newcastle upon Tyne (346.2 pupils per school)

Guildford (349.8 pupils per school)

Nottingham (428.4 pupils per school)

Exeter (429.3 pupils per school)

Wirral (433.1 pupils per school)

Slough (433.3 pupils per school)

Richard Hayes, CEO and Co-Founder of Mojo Mortgages, said: “While the 2021/22 academic year may have only just begun, for the parents of three and ten year olds across the country, thoughts will already be turning to applications for September next year.

“We all want to give our children the access to the best possible education and a place at an outstanding school is an obvious way to maximise chances of doing this. However, it’s clear that the opportunities to secure a place at one of these schools does vary quite drastically across England.

“For those living in the most competitive areas and hoping to use catchment areas as a means of securing a place it’s important to be realistic about your chances of finding a property in the coming months. Whereas for homeowners in these areas thinking about selling in the near future, this could be a prime opportunity to make your home even more attractive to families before it goes to market.”

Daniel Copley, Consumer Spokesperson at Zoopla, said: "The impact of school catchment areas on buyers can not be underestimated, with this factor even playing a deciding role for families choosing the location of their next home.

“In fact, our research shows that parents are willing to pay nearly £29,000 extra on average for a property within an outstanding school catchment area, while some families go as far as renting in an area to ensure they're within the school catchment for the beginning of the school year."

Applications for September 2022 entry secondary school places close on Sunday, October 31 2021, while for primary school places you have until Saturday, January 15 2022.