I was contacted recently by a parent campaigning for a local school to ensure its admissions policy is properly applied. Over-subscribed schools like this one are a common source of frustration and worry up and down the country.
Here’s the rub. Which of these two homes would you say is closer to the school, and therefore more likely to secure a place? By the way, I’m not sure that the location on the left actually is within the catchment area, it’s just a place I randomly chose to illustrate the coming point…
Parents at the location on the right were told they were too far from the school. The method they use to calculate safe distances to the school actually suggests that the location on the right is farther away than the location on the left!
Because they are calculating distances using a model that measures the distance as if you are driving a car. If you try that, you get a totally different result:
Happily OpenStreetMap has all the relevant data (and a few minor corrections the parent, Jasia, pointed out to me) so anybody can plot the route to prove the point.
Incidentally, if you fancy showing your support for this campaign download this letter to the governors, sign it and send it to the address at the top of the document.