Mum’s plea to education officials after placement request appeal
The majority of placement requests for Rutherglen and Cambuslang schools have been successful on appeal, prompting calls for an overhaul of the system.
Fifty-six requests for children to attend a school outwith their catchment area were rejected by the council by the end of April.
The majority of placement requests for Rutherglen and Cambuslang schools have been successful on appeal, prompting parents to call for an overhaul of the system.
Fifty-six requests for children to attend a school outwith their home’s catchment area were rejected by South Lanarkshire Council at the end of April.
But 37 of those cases were later granted on appeal.
Parents say the number of successful appeals means families have endured weeks of unnecessary stress and uncertainty.
This is because the initial application form does not take into account the parent’s reasons for choosing the school.
Margaret McInnes submitted a placement request for her son to attend St Bride’s Primary instead of the nearby St Anthony’s.
She said: “You put down their name, what nursery they are at, what school they should go to and if they have any additional support needs. There’s no opportunity for you to give your reasons for the request.
“If you could do that it would give them a better understanding why people want to get their children into those schools.
“More children would be successful the first time round and avoid the need for a lengthy appeals process.”
Margaret’s son won a place at St Bride’s after she explained, via an appeal, that as a pupil of the nursery, staff at St Bride’s were experienced in dealing with her son’s irritable bowel syndrom (IBS), reflux and allergies.
She added: “I felt it would be better for him to attend St Bride’s, knowing that he’s in the same environment and make it a smoother transition for him into primary. If he were to become anxious about a new school, with his IBS, that could make it much worse for the wee soul.”
But now, several weeks after children were allocated their school place, Margaret’s son is one of several who have missed out on their P1 induction day.
Des Dickson, head of education at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “We can confirm that when the initial decisions were made on April 30, 104 placing requests were accepted and 56 were rejected across various schools in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area.
“At June 14 a total of 19 continued to be rejected.
“South Lanarkshire Council’s schools admissions policy provides the priorities for admission to our schools and where available spaces are identified they are allocated to placing request applicants.
“The appeals process is driven by legislative requirements and allows parents to present the reasons why they disagree with the council’s decision not to grant a place.
“We can confirm that there are no plans to alter the schools admissions policy at this time.”
He added: “Induction days are arranged locally by the school. Head teachers are encouraged to arrange further induction for children that are placed later in the process.”