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Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole school catchment areas

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Most families will carefully consider school catchment areas before deciding to buy or rent a property in a specific area. In this post, we take a look  at school catchment areas in the BCP Council region to explain how it all works, and to uncover some common misconceptions about BCP school catchment areas.

What is a school catchment area?

A school catchment area is a geographical area where residents of that area are given priority for school admission over applicants from outside the school’s catchment area. For example, if you live in the catchment area of a school, your child should be prioritised a place at that school over a child who lives outside of the school catchment area. 

If you live in the catchment area, is your child guaranteed a place?

Your child is never 100% guaranteed a place within a school even if you live within the school’s catchment area. Although your child’s chances will be significantly improved compared to a child living outside the school catchment area, it’s not guaranteed to get your child a place. Schools only have so many places they can offer. 

Moreover, if you move into a permanent home or rental within a school catchment area after the school has accepted its published admission spots, the school might not be able to offer your child a place.

Am I in the catchment area of the nearest school?

Not always. Your home might not be located within the catchment area of the nearest school. Your property may be just outside a school catchment area boundary, putting it in the catchment area of the school which is the second or even third closest school to your property.

Do all BCP schools have a catchment area?

Some BCP schools don’t use catchment areas and therefore don’t prioritise school applications based on where the child lives. They use other information to determine which children will be offered a place.

BCP school catchment areas

It would be exhaustive to provide the school catchment area for all BCP schools that use a catchment area. But you can find a comprehensive list of local schools and a map of their catchment areas on this council webpage.

Can you trust estate agent information on school catchment areas?

Estate agents will usually do their best to provide accurate information regarding school catchment areas. However as information changes they may not be fully up to date, so it is always best to check for yourself with the schools or council. 

How can I confirm the school catchment area of a property?

You can confirm the school catchment area of a school in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole by contacting the school directly or by contacting BCP Council. You can email the council at or call their dedicated team on 01202 127 963.  

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