Fury as kids in East Dunbartonshire may be turned away from nearest school in catchment area

Parents in East Dunbartonshire are up in arms over changes which could mean children being turned away from schools in their own catchment area.

Photo Emma Mitchell 9.8.17
Bishopbriggs Academy
Photo Emma Mitchell 9.8.17 Bishopbriggs Academy

East Dunbartonshire Council is proposing the changes to the process of school admissions and transfer of pupils from primary to secondary.

Parents are furious this will result in children not being able to attend the school in their own catchment area.

A public meeting is taking place at Bishopbriggs Academy on Monday, November 25 at 6.30pm. One has already taken place at Bearsden Academy this week.

The public meetings are part of public consultation taking place on the changes, proposed as a result of high occupancy levels of a number of schools and a high demand for places.

One angry local parent posted on a community Facebook page: “The order of priority could mean kids not getting their place even if they are in the catchment area.

“On top of that, the council keep giving planning permission for all these new houses but might not have the spaces for the kids - not very clever at all!”

If a school is oversubscribed, places would be given first to pupils with siblings at the school then to children with additional support needs, followed by distance from the school.

A school is considered oversubscribed when number of pupils in the catchment area exceeds available places.

A statement inviting the public to attend the Bishopbriggs meeting said: “The furthest away children will be redirected out of Bishopbriggs. This could have a huge impact on Balmuildy and Meadowburn pupils, homeowners and our local community.”

Changes are also being proposed to all Roman Catholic denominational schools in East Dunbartonshire.

Additional criteria would apply for application and transfer into denominational schools and priority will be given to children whose parents’ agree to an affinity with religious beliefs of the school.

Councillor Jim Goodall, Convener of the Education Committee said: “East Dunbartonshire Council is committed to ensuring the highest standards of achievement and attainment for all children in all its schools. There is a high demand for places in East Dunbartonshire schools.”

He added: “The proposed changes would provide clarity on the Council’s arrangements if a school were to be oversubscribed and I would urge all parents with school age and pre-school age children to have their say by completing the online consultation by Friday December 6.”

The consultation runs until December 6 and is available on the council’s website. If approved, changes would be implemented from session 2020/21.