Changes Proposed to Catchment Areas

Parents whose children attend two eastern primary schools could soon have greater choice in which high school their kids attends.

The Department of Education, Sport and Culture will submit its plans to Tynwald in June.

Under the proposals, pupils who attend Braddan Primary School would form part of the joint catchment area of Ballakermeen, St Ninian’s and QE II high schools. Meanwhile, Henry Bloom Noble school would form part of the catchment area for Ballakermeen and St Ninian’s.

The DESC, on the Tynwald Register of Business, has said: ‘This Order will come into operation on 1 September 2022 and will allow parents of pupils resident in the catchment area of Braddan School and of Henry Bloom Noble School the option to register their child at the applicable secondary schools as described above. Previously, all pupils whose parents were resident in the catchment areas for Braddan School and Henry Bloom Noble School were expected to register at Ballakermeen High School only.’

The reasons for this, it says is that under the Education Act, catchment areas are reviewed periodically to ‘reflect demographic changes which may affect school intake’.

However, it doesn’t seem too far a leap to assume this is being done in an attempt to ease the overcrowding at Ballakermeen. Figures last year said that Ballakermeen could be up to 400 students over its capacity at the start of this school year. St Ninian’s, by contract, has long been recording as being under capacity.