A family divided by the school next door

16th January 1998 at 00:00
The Sword family will live with a permanent reminder of Dundee's upheaval long after the current spat is over: their home is next door to the playing-fields of Harris Academy.

Neil Sword's daughter went up from Hillside primary to Harris Academy this session. But, with the primary zoned to Menzieshill High from August his three younger children will go there instead unless placing requests for Harris Academy are successful.

"Our only other option is to switch our daughter to Menzieshill if we want all the children to attend the same school," Mr Sword said. "Last year I would have been happy for her to go to Menzieshill if I had known about these proposals then. But because we lived next door to the academy the decision was effectively made for us."

Mr Sword, a property manager, said he recognised the council's need to adjust school rolls as pupil numbers fall. But like other parents he wants councillors to phase in the changes so families will not be disadvantaged and children split up.

The Sword family and other parents point out that the council has already closed two secondaries, a secondary annexe and three primaries and is about to close the Harris Academy annexe. They fear this rationalisation will make it much harder to succeed with placing requests.

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