Press release

How do 60,000 parents every year find out about schools? They use SchoolGuru... has been set up to help parents apply for state schools and nurseries. Members just put their details into our Admission Calculator – and in seconds, find out whether they would have got a place at their favourite schools, in previous years.

"People used to know where they stood when we had legally binding 'catchment areas'. But now the system is so complex that many parents haven't got a clue which schools they stand a chance of getting into", says's Catherine Bassindale.

Hertfordshire is home to some of the highest-performing schools in the country – but competition is fierce, and the most popular schools have six or seven applicants per place. Although many parents assume they’ll get into their local schools, thousands will end up disappointed with the school that they’re offered (and around 1,600 will go to appeal). was launched in September 2008. The website uses up-to-the-minute official admission data, from Hertfordshire County Council and individual schools. Mum of two and former journalist Catherine says: "The system is simple to use, and parents now have fast access to the latest information that’s relevant for their circumstances. Our aim is to help parents find the most suitable school for their child, whatever their needs.”

SchoolGuru was one of the winners of the Cabinet Office's Show Us A Better Way competition for data innovation.

For interviews, quotes, photos or articles about schools in Hertfordshire, please contact Catherine Bassindale on 07957 464585 or email

Pictured left:'s Catherine Bassindale with her two children Arthur (right) and Finlay. This photo was taken on Arthur's first day of school (2 September 2008)

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