AS parents await confirmation which school their child has received a place, one headteacher has spoken out to inform parents that a catchment area is no longer the defining factor when choosing a school.

The introduction of academies and free schools has given parents more autonomy when choosing schools, including state schools that have remained within the county systems.

Many parents remain unaware they can choose a school that is not in their catchment and many schools have unexpected places because there is more choice, according to Rowledge Primary School headteacher Sarah Oliver.

While this is hugely beneficial in many ways, it is also said to be one reason state schools are suffering financially as they are primarily funded on the number of children they have on role.

If numbers decrease, finances decrease. But the need for teachers’ wages remains.

Another common myth among many parents is that if they don’t get their first choice school, it could impact on their second choice.

But, Ms Oliver was keen to highlight this isn’t the case.

Farnham and the surrounding area has a wide range of fantastic schools to offer, some of which may be lesser known because of their location,” she said.

“Rowledge Primary School is located on the edge of Alice Holt Forest and has been working with estate agents to let parents know we still have a few places available.

“The school prides itself on memory making and irresistible learning experiences.

“Rowledge School even has a magical gate into the forest, enabling children to access the forest regularly and, like many village and church schools, has areas used for reflection and quiet times.

“We are currently working towards gaining a well-being award in recognition of the importance placed on children’s well-being during a time of increased mental health issues in young people.”

Ms Oliver believes the key to successful learning is making sure children are happy and ready to learn.

This means a “high focus on friendships, fun and partnerships with parents”.

The school holds regular special events, including a bi-annual whole school pet day, and takes part in a range of sporting and music events.

Rowledge School also received a letter of recognition from Damien Hinds and Nick Gibb, congratulating them on their achievements in reading and maths – the school being in the top one per cent of primary schools in England in these areas.