Concerns at school ‘merry-go-round’

A NEWBURGH mum has hit out at the ‘never-ending merry-go-round’ of class structure changes in her local primary school that she claims is hindering learning and damaging friendships.

Gill Peden, who has two children at Newburgh Primary School, has written to Fife Council’s area education officer Ralph Donaldson expressing her dismay at the number of changes that have taken place this year - the most recent of which was announced just days after the new term started.

She said that the change was implemented the following day, leaving children bewildered and distressed and, in the case of P3, involved a move from the senior building back into the infant building, which many saw as a punishment.

“No consideration seems to be given to the disruption and potential upset such frequent changes to class structure cause the children,” said Mrs Peden.

“I believe the social aspect of school must not be underestimated and to continually remove children from strong supportive friendships is, to me, indefensible.”

She continued: “The class structure this academic year also seems grossly unfair, unbalanced and not well thought out. There are two straight P1 classes with 14 children in each, whilst there is a composite P2/P3 class with well over 20 children (which contains a very unbalanced split between P2 and P3) and a composite class P3/P4, again, of well over 20 children.”

Mrs Peden said that to describe the ongoing class structure changes as a ‘never-ending merry-go-round’ was no exaggeration.

CHANGES

In the last year, her daughter, almost seven, had had no fewer than four class structures and five different teachers, while her eight-year-old son has not had the same class structure since starting in Newburgh Primary School in 2009 and has experienced mid-year changes twice in that time.

She also expressed concerns about the quality of the teaching and described as ‘simply negligent’ Fife Council’s failure to fill a vacancy that existed since before the summer break.

Mr Donaldson told the Fife Herald: “Due to the arrival of a number of pupils into the catchment area after the beginning of the new term in August 2012, classes required to be reorganised within the school.

“The school gained an additional teacher due to the increase in the pupil roll and, although this improved the pupil/teacher ratio in each of the classes, a class reorganisation was required.”