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Hertfordshire County Council

Measuring home to school distance

Home to school distances (for school place allocation purposes) are measured along a straight line between a child’s address and the relevant school or academy.

How we measure distances

We measure distances using a computerised mapping system to 2 decimal places. The measurement is taken from the AddressBase Premium address point of your child’s house to the address point of the school.

AddressBase Premium data is a nationally recognised method of identifying the location of schools and individual residences.

It doesn't take into account the actual or expected route a child will travel to school.

Academies and voluntary aided or foundation schools decide their own method of distance measurement. Most schools use our measurement system, but some schools use a different definition. Check your school's full admissions policy.

We use a different method of measurement, using roads and pathways, to decide who is entitled to home to school transport.

Priority areas we use for admissions purposes are not used in home to school transport decisions.


The definition of “nearest school”

Primary schools

The nearest community or voluntary controlled school, or an own admitting authority school or academy using Hertfordshire’s admission rules, or similar. This can include schools outside Hertfordshire.

"Own admitting authority" means that the school's governing body is responsible for its admissions decisions.

Check a school's admission rules for their definitions.

Read up on the types of school in Hertfordshire.

Secondary schools

This definition is for secondary and upper schools using our rules or priority areas.

For co-educational schools (boys and girls), it is the nearest Hertfordshire maintained school, or academy, that is:

  • non-faith
  • co-educational and
  • non-partially selective.

"Non-partially selective" means the school doesn't offer any places based on academic ability.

School type


Faith schools

John F Kennedy, John Henry Newman, Loreto College, Nicholas Breakspear, St George’s, St Joan of Arc, St Mary’s Catholic, St Mary’s Church of England, St Michael’s, Townsend Church of England, Yavneh College

Partially selective schools

Dame Alice Owens, Parmiters, Queens’, Rickmansworth and St Clement Danes.

Single sex schools

Bishop's Hatfield Girls, Bishop's Stortford High, Hertfordshire and Essex High, Hitchin Boys, Hitchin Girls, Presdales, Richard Hale, St Albans Girls, Verulam, Watford Grammar School for Boys, Watford Grammar School for Girls.

Check a school's admission rules for their definitions.

Read up on the types of school in Hertfordshire.

Tiebreak (distance)

A tiebreak is used if 2 applications have addresses that measure the same distance from a school.

For example, if 2 applications had identical home to school distance measurements, a random tiebreak would be used to decide which applicant is offered a place.

Every applicant is given a unique random number for each of their school preferences. When a random tiebreak is needed, this random number is used to allocate the place – the lowest number is given priority.

If 2 applications were received from the same block of flats, the applicant with the lower door number would be classed as nearest and offered a place because they are likely to be closer to the ground floor and, therefore, the school.

This tiebreak method is used for all schools that we manage admissions for.