Schools call

Mum’s plea to ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials af­ter place­ment re­quest ap­peal

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

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.”

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