Parents of children at Madras College have criticised Fife Council over a decision they feel will lead to a shortfall in hockey provision in the town.
The new school will have 3G and 4G pitches, which are only suitable for competitive hockey for pupils up to S3, despite original plans for the school having a 2G sand-dressed pitch. However, parents and the secretary of a hockey club have criticised the decision. They say the consultation process did not involve parents or the community.
While Councillor Brian Thomson suggested raising funds to construct a 2G pitch at Station Park, suitable for competitive hockey, they argue that it would be a waste of public funds and the pitch should be included in the plans for the school.
One parent said: “A 2G pitch at Station Park is unnecessary if the decision about the pitch type at the school could be reversed. This would surely be the most cost effective and inclusive course of action? There is a thriving hockey community in St Andrews, and to ignore the requirements of the game and that community is very short sighted.”
Jade Milne, Madras College FP Ladies Hockey Club secretary, said the club had lost players to other teams because it struggles to get access to suitable pitches. She added: “If the new school had its own 2G pitch then Madras College FP Hockey Club would be able to provide more training opportunities in addition to being able to train at a more suitable time. This would mean that the club could grow, making hockey more accessible.”
Fife Council said staff were either “represented or directly involved” in discussions, as were representatives from Community Use. It said parents, pupils and other stakeholders were involved in the engagement process.
Head of education, Maria Lloyd, said a sand-dressed pitch was not needed to deliver the PE curriculum, adding: “Consultation with colleagues in community education also noted that, in their experience, there is little demand from the community for a 2G pitch. It was felt that a 4G pitch would be far more useful.”