We understand that in the 1990s Reading and Kendrick Schools mainly took children from the Borough of Reading but this was extended at some point to open up admissions to a far wider area. Whenever a line is drawn on a map there are winners and losers but we wanted to take a step back and carry out some objective analysis. Using postcode mapping data made available by the Ordnance Survey we’ve estimated population densities and come up with what we think are rational catchment areas for Reading and Kendrick Schools. Not everyone will agree our suggestions but please sign the petition if you do.
The current catchment areas
Neither Reading nor Kendrick schools provide a catchment map making it very difficult for anyone to comprehend the extent of their catchments so we used the postcode information to produced a Google Earth kml file which displays every 10th post code in the catchment areas which allows this to be visualised. (Update: July 2015. Schools are now providing this information although it is hard to find. Reading catchment map, Kendrick catchment map).
With between 15 and 20 households per postcode (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis: UCL) figures for the current catchments are as follows:
- Kendrick School, 33,500 postcodes, 586,250 households.
- Reading School, 23,000 postcodes, 402,500 households.
To get an idea of how far these households are from the school these are plotted by distance, rounded to the nearest km, on the following graph.
Number of postcodes at each 1km distance from the schools
The graph shows that the number of homes in catchment decreases as you get further from the schools as you would expect but then dramatically increases beyond the green line (12 – 13km) as the catchments extend beyond the local town and surrounding country into remote densely populated areas.
The Academies Act 2010 Section 1 (6)d states, “The characteristics [of an Academy] are that … the school provides education for pupils who are wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated.” The information provided Ordnance Survey suggests a natural radius for the catchment should be approximately 12.5km or 190 square miles. (π × [12.5× 0.621]^2≅190).
Another issue we felt with the schools’ current catchment areas is they are defined by a confusing mix of postal districts, postal sectors and partial postal sectors. We think it would clearer to base the catchment on whole postal districts. (A postal district is the first part of the post code before the space – eg RG1 whilst the postal sector includes the first digit of the ‘inward code’ after the space – eg RG1 5).
The next step was to look at each full postal district and calculate the percentage of the individual addresses which fell within this target area (table 1). This shows 10 postal sectors contain 95% or more of their postcodes within 12.5km (shaded green). The three next closest districts RG7, RG8 and RG9 (shaded yellow to green) contained between 50% and 75% postcodes within the target range.
Although about half the postcodes in RG8 are beyond the optimal target distance this is far less than RG42. Only 10% or 20% of the postcodes in RG42 are within the target distance suggesting this is a very clear place to ‘draw the line’ whilst still working with full postal districts. Based on our objective analysis of population density based on the postcode data we proposed the catchment should consist of the thirteen full postal districts; RG1, RG2, RG4, RG5, RG6, RG7, RG8, RG9, RG10, RG30, RG31, RG40, RG41.
The proposed catchment consists of approximately 112,000 households and plotting these by distance from the schools results in a far more natural decrease in the number of households with distance.
If you think this proposed catchment is a more reasonable than the current catchment then please sign the petition If you disagree or have any other suggestions to put to the schools please contact their governing bodies.