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What is a school catchment?

A school catchment is a geographical area in which a student must reside if they wish to attend a certain primary or secondary state school. The school catchments are in place to ensure that every student can enrol in their local state school, with a local state school being measured by the shortest and most direct route from a property to the main gate of the school. You can find out your school catchment area here.

Why are school catchments important?

Purchasing a house in a specific school catchment area can influence a child’s quality of education and therefore their future opportunities. Even if a house is purchased as an investment property, it is important to consider the school catchment as it can affect not only the value of the property, but the income yield from the rental lease. A list of the best ranked schools in Australia can be found here.

What if I want to send my child to a school outside of our catchment?

There are some circumstances where a student can enrol in a state school that is outside of their school catchment, however enrolment is not guaranteed and out-of-catchment students will usually be put on a waitlist. The school will generally accept in-catchment enrolments first, and then offer spare enrolments to out-of-catchment students on a first-come-first-served basis.

In what circumstances will a state school accept my child’s out-of-catchment enrolment?

A state school can accept students outside of its catchment area depending on if:

  • The school has the capacity for additional students after all the in-catchment students are enrolled

  • The number of students is relatively even across all year levels and classes are not oversized

  • There will still be capacity for in-catchment students after out-of-catchment students are accepted

  • A student is planning to relocate into the catchment area throughout the school year

What if the school is almost full?

A school that is close to its enrolment capacity will have a School Enrolment Management Plan (School EMP) that will outline specific requirements that manage out-of-catchment enrolments. This will ensure that there is enough space for local students whilst maintaining a fair process to manage out-of-catchment enrolment applications.

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