Doncaster named as one of Britain's most competitive areas for places in outstanding schools

A recent study has seen Doncaster rank fifth in the whole country in terms of competitiveness for places in outstanding schools.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 3:43 pm

According to new data from Mojo Mortgages, Doncaster ranks above places such as Derby, Coventry and Bradford when it comes to competitiveness for places in local outstanding schools. This means, in theory, that Doncaster’s best-performing schools are some of the most difficult to get into across the UK.

Only Swindon, Bath, Peterborough and Taunton rank higher than Doncaster for competitiveness at top schools in the corresponding area, with Swindon being the clear leader. However, Doncaster is above every other area in Yorkshire in this regard.

Doncaster currently houses eight outstanding schools within five miles of its boundaries, with potentially 948 pupils per school vying for a place at them. In total, there will be roughly 7,586 primary and secondary school students in Doncaster applying for a place at one of the town’s top schools.

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Meanwhile, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool are the least competitive areas, offering their residents the highest amount of outstanding schools when compared to their respective populations. While some of these areas house huge amounts of people, they also contain plenty of high-performing schools (for example, Norwich has 21), which explains their low ranking.

Mojo Mortgages researched this by looking up the number of three and ten year olds within an area, then comparing it with the amount of schools that had been given an outstanding grade by OFSTED on their most recent inspection. Three and ten year olds were chosen because they will be undertaking their first year of primary and secondary school next year, respectively.

The number of children was divided by the amount of outstanding schools in the area, giving us the data we have now. Swindon had the highest at 2,905 pupils per school, while Norwich was the lowest with 111 pupils per school.

This data was taken from the Office of National Statistics’ Population and Migration team, while the data concerning the amount of outstanding schools was found on OFSTED’s website.

Given Doncaster’s large population, along with its relative lack of outstanding schools compared to other areas of its size, the numbers make sense.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the demand coming from parents to find an outstanding school for their children has increased. This may be attributed towards the increased amount of time that parents spent with their children over the lockdown period, becoming more involved and familiar with their education in the process.

However, this limited number of places may not be such a bad thing. According to Zoopla, having a property in an area with a high catchment rate for outstanding schools could increase its value by around £29,000 or more.

Given the raised interest in outstanding schools, this figure may even increase beyond that.

If you’re sending your child off to school for next year, be aware that the deadline for secondary school applications is on October 31st. Meanwhile, the deadline for primary school applications will be on January 15th, 2022.