Empty class but we can’t get kids into Strathallan

Strathallan Primary School, Kirkcaldy
Strathallan Primary School, Kirkcaldy

PARENTS trying to get their kids into a top Kirkcaldy primary school have hit out after placement requests were rejected.

The decision came despite Strathallan Primary School having an empty classroom.

Several parents contacted the Press this week to express their disappointment after hearing their out of catchment placement requests had been refused, and they blamed Fife Council for being unwilling to take on an extra teacher.

The parents say the decision will cause upset and disruption to young children - many already attend nursery at the school - and to those who have elder siblings at the school.

One mother said: “The school had 45 places on offer - 44 catchment pupils were allocated and one placing request accepted. Thirteen requests, including ours, were were rejected.

“It is my understanding that the school has capacity to have an additional class, with one classroom empty out of the 13 they have available for schooling.

“It is completely unsatisfactory that a school that has received the highest accolade from the recent HMI report and has the capacity and want s to continue the education of our youngsters is unable to, simply due to the Council refusing to fund a further teacher.

“I understand employing an extra teacher is expensive, but is it expensive in comparison to disrupting the lives of 13 young children?”

Among those affected by the decision are those with siblings at the school.

Another parent added: “I already have a daughter at Strathallan, and put in a request for my younger daughter to start there. It’s been turned down. Now I face having to disrupt both girls.

“I can’t have them at separate schools - it’s just not practical - so I’d have to take my elder daughter out of Strathallan and move her to Kirkcaldy West, which is already bursting at the seams.

“It would mean taking her away from friends and an environment she’s settled when, if the Council employed another teacher they could both go to Strathallan.”

Gordon Wardrope, education officer, said: “Fife Council policy gives priority to those children who live in the catchment area of the school. All children currently within the Strathallan Primary School catchment area have been given a P1 place next session.

“Where the number of placing requests outnumbers the places available at a school, the policy provides headteachers with additional guidance regarding the order in which any available spaces should be offered.

“We will monitor the developing situation in all schools over the summer term regarding placing requests; working closely with headteachers to respond as required.”

Mr Wardrope added that parents can appeal a placing request decision if they wish and these appeals are heard by the Council’s appeals committee.