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Guide to Schools in Swindon

Moving to a new place is bound to bring up a certain set of questions; where should I live, what’s the area like? But when moving with a family in tow, especially with young children, there’s always one question that’s more pertinent than the rest - where are they going to go to school?

Studies show that a quarter of parents in the UK move houses specifically to enter into a good school’s catchment area. But when your child will be spending an average of 195 days per year in school, for the majority of their formative years, it’s understandable that it should be a driving factor in your decision.

If you’re planning on moving to Swindon, there are a number of high ranking primary and secondary schools that can provide excellent care and education to your child, whether they’re just starting, or preparing to apply to university.

However, despite the schools in Swindon having a relatively low oversubscription rate in comparison to nearby towns, with a huge 92 percent of on-time applications getting into their first preference school, finding, then applying to the best Swindon school can still be tricky.

Luckily, after working home removals in Swindon for a number of years, we’ve come to learn the tips and tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your child into their dream school.

In our Small Move Company Guide to Schools in Swindon, we cover all the essential information on primary and secondary schooling, as well as the admissions process, to help you find the right school for your child.

Finding the Right School in Swindon

Catchment Area

When it comes to school admissions, it’s not about who you know, but where you choose to live in Swindon, as catchment area is the main criteria that dictates whether or not your child gets a spot as a specific school.

It’s only natural then, that access to certain schools may dictate where you look for a house in Swindon, or that the process of narrowing down your children’s school choices evolves alongside your search for your new home. It’s not uncommon to find many parents browsing local Ofsted reports before the specifications of a potential new home.

The earlier you start narrowing down your choice of schools during the process of looking for your new home, the better chance you have of getting your children into the school that’s best for them. Even if it does feel a little pre-emptive, start researching schools as soon as you can and developing a shortlist of schools that you would be happy for your child to attend. If you live locally, you could even arrange a visit to see the school in person, which most schools are quite accommodating of.

If you’re totally new to the area and unsure of where to begin, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ranked primary and secondary schools in Swindon below, so you can begin to formulate a plan of approach.

Similarly, you can use the Department of Education's Find and Compare resource to look at the school’s in your area, alongside their performance, or the Ofsted website, where you can compare the Ofsted reports of Bristol schools within a certain proximity to your new postcode.

If you’re applying to an Independent school, however, such as a faith-based school, who act as their own admissions authorities, you may need to provide additional information or meet different requirements than catchment alone. For instance, a number of the Catholic schools in Swindon, such as Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, require a copy of the baptismal certificate if your application is on faith grounds. So it’s always best to check directly with the school, or the information on school’s admissions arrangements on the Swindon Council’s Website here.

Type of School

Of course, not every child will find traditional schooling the best fit for them. Whilst league table performance can give a good insight into the general success of a school, the learning environment that is most beneficial for your child is going to be highly subjective.

Like most towns, Swindon offers a range of faith-based, independent, specialist and alternative, primary and secondary schools. For more information on these, you can contact the Swindon Borough Council, or read through their online guides to specialist schools and dyslexia friendly schools.

League Tables

Every year, a number of league tables are released, often based on obtained and predicted exam results and inspection reports. Often these can act as a useful marker on the overall performance of the school and what they can offer your child.

We’ve looked at the performance tables from a number of national school guides, newspapers and Ofsted ratings and compiled a list of the 5 best comprehensive and primary state schools in Swindon.

You can find a comprehensive list of Swindon’s Primary Schools on the Council website here and Swindon’s Secondary Schools here.

The Best Primary Schools in Swindon

  1. Moredon Primary School
  2. Redoaks Primary School
  3. Orchard Vale Primary
  4. Shaw Ridge Primary School
  5. Wanborough Primary School

The Best Secondary Schools in Swindon

  1. Royal Wootton Bassett Academy
  2. The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form College
  3. The Commonweal School
  4. Swindon Academy
  5. Lydiard Park Academy

Where Your Child Fits In Best

When you have created a shortlist of a few schools, it’s wise to contact their administration office to gauge the likelihood of a successful application. Often this can give you an idea of whether the school will be oversubscribed and if there’s a high potential your application may be declined.

One of the most important things in this process is to create a dialogue with your child about what they may want. Visiting the schools you’ve chosen so far together allows your child to see whether they would feel happy or can see themselves fitting in there. You may find that this changes the order of preference.

Throughout this process it’s advised to keep your child enrolled wherever they are currently, to ensure they don’t miss any school if the moving day is pushed back

The Admissions Process for Swindon Schools

Unless you’ve timed your move perfectly, it’s more than likely that you’ll be moving your child outside of the typical admission dates, in which case you’ll need to make an in-year application.

The Swindon Borough Council coordinates all in-year applications and transfers for all age groups, as well as for the following range of non-state schools; Community, Voluntary Controlled, Foundation, Voluntary Aided, Academy and Free Schools. So rather than applying through multiple localised access points, you can apply for a number of schools all through one channel.

For more information on transferring to a Swindon school in-year, visit the Council website here.

If you are considering moving your child inline with the usual application dates the arrangement process, alongside the list of necessary supporting information, for the 2018-2019 school year, can be found here.

For more information on moving to Swindon, or for a cracking quote on a home removals service, call us for a chat on 01793 619094.