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Below are answers to some of our most
frequently asked questions.

FAQs

What is a Support Category?

The Welsh National School Categorisation System gives a clear and fair picture of how well your child’s school is performing compared with other schools across Wales and helps to identify the schools that need the most help, support and guidance to improve.

The system has been developed collectively between regional education consortia and Welsh Government. Its main function is to identify, across Wales, the schools that need the most support. The colour category of support allocated to a school will trigger a tailored support programme. The system is based on three simple steps. It is not purely driven by figures and takes into account the quality of leadership, teaching and learning in schools

The following has been taken from the Welsh government website:

What is the three-step process and how does it work?

Step 1: Standards group We use a range of information to analyse the school’s performance. Schools are placed in one of four standards groups, numbered 1 to 4, which identify how well they are performing against a set of agreed measures. Standards group 1 is the group that performs most strongly against the agreed measures.

Step 2: Improvement capacity Consortia challenge advisers evaluate the school’s capacity to improve further, taking account of evidence about the standards achieved and the quality of leadership and teaching and learning. Schools will be in one of four groups, A to D. Schools where the judgement is an A show the greatest capacity to improve along with the ability to support other schools. Those where the judgement is D need the most support.

Step 3: Support category The outcomes in step one and step two are combined to decide on the school’s support category. The final categorisation is a colour code that shows the level of support a school needs – green, yellow, amber or red.

More information on Welsh school's Support Categories

How do I compare schools?

If you click the heart icon in the top left on the popup it will add the school to your shortlist. You can then view shortlisted schools side by side and compare the school's ratings, exam results etc. You can also use our Schools in View panel to sort the visible schools by other measures, such as Progress 8; this allows you to easily compare school performance for many schools.

Note, you can do the same kind of comparison with properties, using the heart icon in their popups.

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Do you show nurseries and nursery schools?

Yes, as well as over 30,000 schools we show over 28,000 nurseries and childcare providers in England. Specifically, we show all childcare providers that are registered with Ofsted other than those that are run on domestic premises.

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Can I see parent's opinions?

Absolutely, parental opinion is very important. Ofsted run a website called Parent View, where parents can tell Ofsted what they think about their child's school; from the quality of teaching to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour. This is the 'official' source of parent's opinions. We say official because (a) Ofsted ensure that the site cannot be abused and (b) it is used by Ofsted when making decisions about which schools to inspect and when. We feel therefore that it is a better source of information than other sites where anyone can leave feedback, without the checks and balances provided by Ofsted, which prevent abuse of the system (i.e. fake reviews).

Ofsted Parent View allows parents to provide opinions under the following categories:

1. My child is happy at this school
2. My child feels safe at this school
3. My child makes good progress at this school
4. My child is well looked after at this school
5. My child is taught well at this school
6. My child receives appropriate homework for their age
7. This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved
8. This school deals effectively with bullying
9. This school is well led and managed
10. This school responds well to any concerns I raise
11. I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
12. Would you recommend this school to another parent?

The hearts on our school popups (first tab) show the results of question 12, "Would you recommend this school to another parent?" If you click on the Parents Opinions link next to this, you will be taken to Parent View page for the school and you can view all the results. Our anti-bullying score comes from the answers to question 8, "This school deals effectively with bullying."

We feel that pupil opinion is probably closely correlated with the above. As parents are likely heavily influenced by the opinions of their children who attend the school.

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Do you provide details of school open days?

I'm afraid not, for that you would need to contact the school directly.

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Do you provide details of school admission policies?

Unfortunately we don't, we provide a catchment indicator that is based on where existing pupils live, this acts as a rough guide, but for anything more detailed we advise you contact the school directly. Schools are so much better placed to provide advice on their admissions than anyone else. They can tell you whether they are likely to be oversubscribed or undersubscribed in the year you will be applying as well as if there have been any recent bulge years etc. We always advise you speak directly to any schools you are considering for your child. The past is not a guarantee for the future and schools can and do change admission policies from one year to the next.

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Are my credit card payments taken securely?

Most definitely! You will see in your address bar that you are connected securely to our servers using HTTPS. We use Stripe to process all our payments. This process is managed entirely by Stripe and communication is direct from your browser to Stripe via TLS (SSL). We never have access to your credit card details.

To quote from Stripe "We regularly audit the details of our implementation: the certificates we serve, the certificate authorities we use, and the ciphers we support. We use HSTS to ensure browsers interact with Stripe only over HTTPS. Stripe is also on the HSTS preloaded lists for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox."

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How do I find good schools in my area?

This is exactly what Locrating was designed for. Simply enter your location into the search control, e.g. a place name or post code and then press search. You will be presented with a map showing all the schools around you.

You can quickly and easily identify the top schools by their icon, which reflects the school’s Ofsted overall effectiveness rating. You can then further refine the schools displayed using the school filters, for example, to only show local outstanding schools.

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Can I view school inspection reports?

Yes, if you click on a school marker there will be links on the first tab to the inspection reports for that school. If a school is inspected by Ofsted there will also be an Ofsted tab that contains highlights from the school's latest Ofsted inspection report; including the ratings given in each category, e.g. Quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

As well as Ofsted reports, we link to inspection reports from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI), School Inspection Service (SIS) and Estyn. More information on exam results can be found in our inspection and exam results guide.

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I want to relocate to live near good schools, can you help?

Definitely, using our school and property filters you can define your search criteria, e.g. properties for sale or properties for rent within a certain price range and schools that are rated good or better, or schools of a particular type such as grammar schools or independent schools, or even schools of a certain religious character. You can then browse around different areas to identify the properties near good schools.

The ease with which you can explore new areas by simply dragging the map is one of the nicest features of Locrating. Properties are sourced live from Zoopla's database. You can even show only properties that have had price changes in a certain period, e.g. the last week. Something you can't do directly on the Zoopla site.

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How do I find the schools with the best Ofsted reports?

The school icons on our map are coloured according to the result of their latest Ofsted inspection. Green markers indicate schools that are rated as outstanding, yellow markers indicate schools rated as good, orange indicates schools that require improvement and red schools that are inadequate. If you want to view only the best local schools then you can use the school filters to quickly show only schools that are rated good or better.

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How do I find the best performing schools when it comes to exam results?

You can use our Schools in View panel to sort schools by a range of measures, including their GCSE results, A-Level results or their Progress (e.g. GCSE Progress 8) scores. This feature is effectively a mini school league table generator. You can use it to find the top performing schools, in terms of exam results or the schools with the best progress scores, which is in effect the same as saying schools with the most added value.

More information on exam results can be found in our inspection and exam results guide.

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Can I view school catchment areas?

We show school catchment indicators for all state schools where data is available, simply hover your mouse over a school icon and it will show you the estimated catchment area for the school.

Using data from the National School Census, we have shaded two circles around this school.The inner circle shows the average distance that the last intake of pupils live from the school, the outer circle shows where 95% of the last intake of pupils live.In both cases, we have uniquely excluded siblings, children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and those in or previously in local authority care; as these groups typically get priority over distance.

This leaves a small number of children living outside the shaded area; as these are often special cases that cannot be identified in the data, we have decided to remove these outliers to provide more meaningful information. More information on school catchments and school admissions can be found in our catchment area guide.

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What school catchments do I currently live in?

If you search for your location on the map, you can then hover your mouse over the schools near you and it will show you the estimated catchment area for those schools. If you are located within a circles, then you are within the estimated catchment for the school. We strongly recommend you read our catchment area guide.

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How do I identify schools with the best GCSE results and/or schools with the best A-Level results?

If you click a school marker you will see tabs for exam results, the KS2 tab shows the results of pupil’s Key Stage 2 tests and the KS4, KS5 tab shows results for pupil’s GCSE (Key Stage 4) and A-Level (Key Stage 5) exams. Additional tabs also show last year’s exam results.

If you click the heart icon in the top left on the popup it will add the school to your shortlist. You can then view shortlisted schools side by side and compare exam results. You can also use our Schools in View panel to sort the visible schools by GCSE results or A-Level results; this allows you to easily compare school performance for many schools.

More information on exam results can be found in our inspection and exam results guide.

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How do I search for the best private schools near me?

You can use the independent schools filter to show only private schools on the map. You can also the use the Schools in View panel to sort schools based on exam performance and even by independent school fees.

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Can I share my account?

I’m afraid not, when you purchase a subscription you are purchasing it just for your own use. We allow simultaneous use on a couple of devices but our software will temporarily disable your account if you exceed the maximum number of allowed IP addresses within a set time period.

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Can I use Locrating to find the best local schools, when I'm on the go?

Yes, you can. You can use the button under the map zoom controls to set the map to your current location. You will then be able to view all the schools around your actual position. This makes it a great tool to use whilst out and about using your smart phone or laptop.

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How do I find the top primary schools in my area?

There are a few ways to do this, if you are looking at the whole country you can use our school league tables and select primary schools. Alternatively using the map, you can use the school filters to show only primary schools, and then open the Schools in View panel to sort those schools by measures such as Ofsted rating, exam results, pupil progress etc. Move the map around, zoom in and zoom out and the mini league table will automatically update accordingly.

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How do I find the best secondary schools or best colleges?

Exactly as described above, just instead use the school age range filters to show only secondary schools. You can also use the same filter to show only schools that are both primary and secondary schools; if you are looking for a school where your child can stay for their entire school career.

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How do I find the top independent schools?

We don’t have any specific league tables for independent schools, but on our school league tables the school type column will indicate if the school is a private school or not (note that private and independent means effectively the same thing). When using the map, you can use the school filters to show only independent schools and you can even sort them by school fees using the Schools in View panel.

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How do I find the top grammar schools near me?

Just as described above for primary, secondary and independent schools you can use our filters to show only grammar schools, if they are of interest to you. You can then use the Schools in View panel to create a mini league table of grammar schools. This will automatically update as your move the map.

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Can I find local prep schools?

Yes, you can. If you select the school age range filter to Primary and include Independent schools using the Independent schools filter you will be left with primarily preparatory schools on the map; although it will also show independent schools that have both primary and secondary provision.

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