Choosing your school in Worthing
9 Oct, 2019
Back to school about Worthing & Lancing
Ask any parent of school age children about getting a place at a chosen school and many will mutter that it is a 'postcode lottery' and is something very difficult to achieve. True, that each year there are stories in the local press of twins being separated and children having to make ridiculously difficult journeys to school, but the majority of children are placed in the school of their choice. In 2018, 91% of primary school children were given places in the school of their parents' choice and 82% of secondary school students - which is certainly heartening news.
Nevertheless, a recent survey by Santander found that one in four parents are prepared to move house to ensure that they are living in the catchment area of their preferred school(s). As the new school applications are fast approaching, what is schooling in Worthing and Lancing like and what about the catchment areas and housing?
What is a catchment area?
The catchment area of a school is the geographical area that it serves. Children living outside this defined area are unlikely to be given a place, which is why parents will move and buy/rent a property within the catchment area to increase their chance of securing a place for their child at their preferred school.
Each school has its own criteria that its students must meet to secure a place and these are clearly laid out on the school's website or are available through the local council. If the school has more applications than places, the catchment area and/or distance from school factors have to be introduced. Those schools that do not have a defined catchment area but a 'distance from school' rule, are usually happy to accept children who live further afield as long as it is a realistic distance and that they have places available.
In some recent cases, parents have found that if their chosen school is really popular that even living just a short distance away does not necessarily ensure success in securing a place. When applying for places for your child, it is recommended that you apply to several schools within your catchment area. If you would like to know what the chances are of securing a place at your chosen school https://admissionsday.co.uk/ has all the information!
Can you move house to secure a school place?
If you feel strongly enough about your preferred school for your child, it might well be beneficial to buy or rent in the school's catchment area, but you must do your homework first about catchment areas and you must research what important criteria you must meet before you make your application. It is essential for example, that the address that you give on the application form is your permanent address and you must have documents to support this. If you cannot provide these, a solicitor's letter will usually suffice or a signed tenancy agreement. The school's Head Teacher needs to be confident that you no longer have any ties with your former home and that you are not using your new home address fraudulently. The website https://www.theschoolrun.com/moving-house-for-school-places is an excellent resource and is packed with useful information about how to apply for school places.
If you have believed that in not opting for a private education for your child, that their education will cost you very little – think again! In the Santander survey, the 24% of families that did move into the catchment area of their preferred school, paid on average an extra £26,800 to do so!
Schools in Worthing
There is certainly a good choice with infant and primary schools, secondary schools plus sixth form colleges and there are good facilities for special educational needs (SEN). For those with younger children there is good information on childcare and early education in Worthing on the website https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/education-children-and-families/. Amongst the specialist schools in Worthing and Lancing are The Angmering School which has a Specialist Support Facility for students with a physical or sensory impairment. There are a number of faith schools in the area too. The newest Primary school is the 440 place Church of England Primary School in Broadwater that changed from being a middle school six years ago.
Most of the schools have catchment areas so it is well worth checking on these as the area is divided into Worthing, Broadwater, Durrington, Heene, Tanning, Findon Valley and Goring-by-Sea.
Worthing has a long tradition for good schools. In 1811, the first schools opened – an academy and two seminaries, which were all private. The following year, the first free school for boys opened in the old barrack block in the High Street. By 1833 the number of schools in the area had increased by another four day and three boarding schools – all of them private – and this figure continued to increase until by 1833, there were 11 private schools in Worthing. Interestingly, by 1975, this number had dropped to seven. Today, Worthing and Lancing have 43 schools. Amongst the top primary schools in the area are Broadwater Primary School, Vale School and Orchards Junior School and full details of their performances are available on https://www.schoolsinsight.co.uk/blog/top-ten-primary-schools-in-worthing/orchards-junior-school.
The top secondary schools in the Worthing area are Davisons, Durrington, Worthing High and Chatsmore all described as 'good' in their latest ofsted reports. For information about the schools in the area, log onto https://www.schoolguide.co.uk/best-schools-in/West%20Worthing.
How to choose a school for your child
There are many different aspects to consider when choosing a school for your children and one of the key points is its rating in the Ofsted Report https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&parliamentary =Worthing+West&geographic=parliamentary&for=ofsted which will clearly show how the school is performing academically. The schools also have a wide variety of out of school and after school clubs and vary tremendously with what sports they offer.
With the new academic year now underway, parents will be thinking ahead to September 2020 if they need to apply for a school place for their child. It is best to apply for three different schools - in order of preference - and importantly to get your application submitted on time – by October 2019 (Secondary) and January 2020 (Primary). With time currently on your side, as well as trawling through the various websites, it is well worth visiting your chosen schools with your child on a normal working day. Open evenings do not give a realistic insight as they tend to showcase the school's achievements, but seeing the school 'in action' will reveal much more. The key questions to ask yourself include - what does the atmosphere feel like in the school? Is it warm and friendly? Are there genuine warm relationships between the children and their teachers and a strong mutual respect between both? Are the children engaging in lessons and really learning? Are the children polite and well dressed in their uniforms? One hour in your chosen school will soon confirm whether you have made the right decision for your child....
Worthing – perfect for families
Whilst for many years, Worthing and nearby Lancing, were considered as retirement towns, many younger families have found that the area is a great place to live with all the health benefits of living close to the sea. Worthing's housing options include attractive avenues of detached and semi-detached Victorian houses and apartment blocks. Offington, Salvington and Charmonden are parts of the town with large detached family homes.
Worthing is definitely good for families with some excellent primary and secondary schools plus pre-school activities and good amenities including excellent rail connections to London. House prices in Worthing are noticeably lower than in many other towns and rental prices are good too. Whilst a terraced house in London has an average price tag of £650,000, in Brighton, a similar property will cost £288,000 and living there promises you and your family a great way of life, just a stone's throw from the coast …..food for thought indeed.....