Secondary school with outstanding record 'shrinks catchment area' as parents left devastated

Secondary school with outstanding record 'shrinks catchment area' as parents left devastated

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GB News
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 07/03/2024

- 10:25

Many parents had purchased properties they believed to be in the catchment area

Families have been left “devastated” after being told their children cannot attend a secondary school with an outstanding record due to a shrinking catchment area.

Many parents bought nearby houses believing they had postcodes which would allow them to get into Beaumont School in St Albans.

However, many were shocked when they were informed that their children had not been offered a place despite many living just a five-minute walk away.

The catchment area has been narrowed down this year, with prospective pupils having to live 511 metres from the school. Last year, the distance was 873 metres, meaning the area has shrunk by more than 300 metres.

Beaumont School

The catchment area has been narrowed down this year at Beaumont School in St Albans

Beaumont School

Unsuccessful applicants will instead go to schools further away, now needing to brace themselves for a potential hour’s walk.

Joey Kwong’s son Brayden was not offered a place at the school despite living 512 metres away, in a move she described as “pretty shocking”.

Brayden will instead have to go to a boys’ school one mile away. She told The Telegraph: “We are still trying to accept the fact that we have to send our child to this school.”

She said she purchased the house in 2022 partly due to its proximity to the school, which is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.


A pair of twins have been separated due to the reduced catchment, with the boy and girl now going to single-sex schools.

Aasha Shamsuddin, the mother of the twins, lives just 687 metres away from the school gate. When she purchased the property in 2020, they were “well within” the catchment area.

She said: “It was such a shock on Friday. None of us knew this would happen. I didn’t know they would consider a 1-hour 20-minute walking distance for a school. It’s been non-stop stress trying to work out what happened and why.”

Beaumont School has also reduced its intake from 240 to 210, meaning places are even more coveted.

Richard Roberts, Conservative leader of the county council, said about 400 pupils sought a space at Beaumont.

Beaumont School

The school is also reducing its intake this year to 210 from 240

Beaumont School

The school explained in a statement that for “several years”, it accepted 210 pupils, but was asked to temporarily increase the intake in 2022 by the county council.

They said they were happy to make this permanent, however Hertfordshire City Council allegedly decided to allocate those places to other schools.

Headteacher Martin Atkinson disputed claims that parents had not been warned that there were now 210 places available.

He said he gave four speeches during transfer evenings in September which explained the reduction, and it was also “very clear” on the school’s website.

Caroline Clapper, the local authority’s executive member for education, said every child in St Albans had been offered a place at a school within walking distance, with enough places at good or outstanding schools, “for all the students who need one.”

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