A guide to Queensland school catchments

17 March 2017

When you’re thinking about what state school to send your child entering primary or secondary, a good place to start is to check what school catchment area you are in.

According to the Queensland Department of Education and Training, a school catchment area is the geographical location where a state school’s core intake of students must live.

Catchment areas are designed to ensure every Queensland student from Prep to Year 12 is able to enrol at their local state school. Your local state school (primary or secondary) is the school which is closest to your home. This is measured by the shortest, most direct route by road—to and from the main entrance of the school.

The easiest way to find your local school is by using the EdMap website. This interactive website allows you to either search using your home address or enter a school’s name to see if your home is within its catchment area.

School Enrolment Management Plans

On the EdMap site, schools that have a School Enrolment Management Plan (School EMP) in place are clearly marked with red signs (schools without a management plan have blue). School EMPs are used to manage and restrict out-of-catchment enrolments when schools are close to or have reached their enrolment capacity.

170317 schoolcatchments2

Out-of-catchment enrolments

You can still apply for enrolment at a state school outside of your catchment area, even those with an EMP, but enrolment is not guaranteed and you will be placed on a waiting list.

Applications are processed and assessed in the order they are received. Some popular state schools have a designated day for parents to come to the school to go on the waiting list, so it’s worth checking with your chosen school about how they deal with out-of-catchment enrolments.

In the end, a school’s ability to accept students who live outside its catchment area depends on whether the school:

  • has capacity once all in-catchment enrolments are met
  • needs to allow for students relocating into their catchment area during the year
  • can ensure an even spread of students across all year levels while maintaining class size targets
  • can ensure their out-of-catchment enrolments do not reduce their capacity to meet in-catchment enrolments.

For help choosing a school, visit our Education Guide

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City

You may also like