School placement requests

THE MOST placing requests for first-year pupils across Scotland's 32 local education authorities have been made in East Renfrewshire.

An ERC spokesman told The Extra: "Currently we have 522 requests for primary places and 554 for secondary for entry to school in August".

Expressed as a percentage that's 34.3 compared with a national figure of 13.8%.

The council source added: "Most are from parents outwith East Renfrewshire who want their children to get into our schools at primary one and first year".

He admitted: "It is becoming harder to grant them because of the number of pupils already living in the area who have first priority entry".

Alan Munro,East Renfrewshire's local association secretary for the Educational Institute of Scotland, is not worried about the large amount of placing requests revealed by just-published government figures.

Mr Munro told The Extra: "It's extremely positive and the EIS is in favour of placing requests.

"The high volume shows the standard of learning in our schools".

Strathclyde university's honorary professor of education, Brian Boyd, commented: "There are many middle-class parents who worry that their children should be educated along with other middle-class children".

But a councillor has defended ERC's education record, saying the success has come because of the council and not through wealth.

Education convener councillor Alan Lafferty said: "Far too often we hear our education success taken as a given because of the mistaken, but often-quoted, belief that our area is a leafy suburb.

"They say our schools are crammed with well-off, enthusiastic pupils born to succeed and the approach taken by the council has nothing to do with the success story".

Some eight per cent of East Renfrewshire pupils live in 20 % of the country's most deprived areas as defined by the Scottish indicator of multiple deprivation.

Councillor Lafferty added: "The hard work of pupils, staff and parents is the real driver behind our public service excellence in education.

"It is not the fact many of our pupils come from comfortable or well-off homes".