East Dunbartonshire pupil denied school slot near to home despite bullying at primary school linked to new academy
A 12-year-old girl who has self-harmed after being bullied at primary has been refused a request to go to a secondary near her home – while her allocated school is an hours journey away.
The Balornock Primary pupil has endured two years of bullying, which has included girls filming her while she cried.
One bully told her she was ugly and tried to pressure her into shaving her eyebrows.
The child from Bishopbriggs suffers from anxiety and wants a fresh start at the nearest academy but has been turned down as the upcoming S1 year is full.
Explaining what her child has been through, her worried mum said: “I got a call from the primary school saying my daughter said she wanted to kill herself. It has been horrific.”
The 41-year-old decided to pay for a psychologist so her child could get counselling as the NHS CAMHS service wasn’t available at the time.
Her daughter’s mental health has started to improve thanks to the support but the psychologist says getting a place at Bishopbriggs Academy would enable her to continue that progress.
The family, who have asked to remain anonymous to protect their daughter’s identity, live just on the edge of the catchment for the school and have a Bishopbriggs postcode. And they were shocked to discover they weren’t zoned for Bishopbriggs Academy following a move to the area about a year ago after initially being told they were.
The academy is only 10 minutes away on the bus – while the catchment school Smithycroft Secondary is over an hour away. The thought of travelling such a long distance to Smithycroft fills the pupil with worry.
Her mother said: “I keep telling my daughter ‘it is going to be okay’ and I’m thinking: ‘I don’t know if it is going to be okay.’ She says to me: ‘Mum I just want to finish that school and know where I’m going.”’
The concerned parent added: “I applied for Bishopbriggs Academy as it’s closest to us and for a fresh start. I gave in a letter of support from her current school, the psychologist and GP.
“Because our postcode is G64 we are in Bishopbriggs but I pay Glasgow city council tax and not East Dunbartonshire. We were not automatically enrolled. I put in a placement request as soon as possible and received an email saying it was refused.”
Ann Davie, depute chief executive – education, people and business at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The reputation of our schools in East Dunbartonshire means that we receive high numbers of placing requests every year.
“The council has a clear policy and timeline for allocating placing requests with clearly detailed priorities and a robust appeals process is in place to look at cases where placing requests are refused.
“The council must therefore apply its policies in a fair and consistent way across the board, which unfortunately means we cannot always grant a place to a child where a placing request application has been made.”
“We understand that this is disappointing for the family, and we have provided advice and support on the options available to them.”
A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “All parents and carers have the right to choose a school that is not their child’s catchment school.
“However, unfortunately there are never any guarantees that places will be available in your chosen school and we know that this can be upsetting for families.”