Cull on secondary places leaves parents stranded

14th May 2004 at 01:00
Parents in East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow have reacted furiously to plans by East Dunbartonshire to slash the size of its secondary schools.

As part of a rebuilding strategy, the Liberal Democrat-controlled authority has decided to cap intakes to S1 next session as the first step in moving to a leaner pattern of modern schools by 2008. Hundreds of places in first-year classes are being removed from August.

That has sparked immediate border skirmishes in Bishopbriggs - where East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow meet - and in the Robroyston area of the city where developers have built new housing. Families who moved in thought they would be entitled under the placing request legislation to easy access to their neighbouring authority's schools.

Now they are realising that they have collided with East Dunbartonshire's roll capping manoeuvres. One in five pupils in East Dunbartonshire currently comes from outwith council boundaries, mostly from Glasgow but some from North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

East Dunbartonshire denies, as some parents claim, that its underlying policy is "East Dunbartonshire schools for East Dunbartonshire pupils".

John Morrison, the council's leader, said that by 2016 its school population would drop by 21 per cent and that its massive building programme would have to take that into account. The cost of 100 extra places would be pound;1.6 million and it was important to remove surplus capacity.

"The number of placing requests we get is unpredictable and we can't guarantee that they will continue, especially as our neighbouring councils are currently opening new schools which may be equally attractive," Mr Morrison said.

This spring the authority had accepted 243 secondary requests and turned down 234, he said, some from within the authority, others outwith.

Gordon Fairweather, a spokesman for school boards in East Dunbartonshire, said that the plans were "stifling parental choice". Parents had been kept in the dark until it was too late. Boards are pressing for any policy to start in P1 and not S1 to allow parents to buy time.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now