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Opt-out on places for Catholics

Tayside has left the issue of places for Roman Catholic children at denominational schools to the region's three successor councils.

The Catholic Church, following national concern over the squeeze on places at Catholic schools arising from the parents' charter, has been pressing for Catholic pupils to be given preference.

Councillors last week accepted a proposal from Jim Anderson, Tayside's director of education, that no action should be taken because there was no unanimous support from the three authorities that will replace the region in April.

Angus Council, where Mr Anderson will be director, is the only one to have agreed in principle to such a move. Dundee's chief executive has undertaken that the city's education committee will consider the matter. Perthshire and Kinross Council said it wished to await the outcome of Tayside's consultation.

Mr Anderson reported to councillors last week: "There is little point in entering into a consultation exercise about a proposal which may not be supported by each successor education authority."

Janet Law, education convener in Perthshire and Kinross, said she would be investigating whether amendments on placing requests in the Education (Scotland) Bill could be used to alleviate the concerns of Catholic parents.

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