Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Madras College pitch row: PE teachers pleaded for hockey surface lacking at £50 million new school

Pitches have been laid at the new Madras College.

PE teachers pleaded for a hockey pitch at the new Madras College in a letter which has been uncovered using freedom of information legislation.

The lack of playing surface suitable for the sport at senior level has been at the centre of a row as the £50 million new school is built in St Andrews.

Players in the town, which has several hockey clubs, say the longer artificial surface of a 3G pitch is no good for the game beyond S3 level and their campaign has been backed by Scottish Hockey.

Madras College pupils Abbey Wallace right and sister Tara were among those who campaigned for a pitch suitable for hockey at the new school.

A demonstration in February pressed for Fife Council to revert to the original proposal for one 2G sand-dressed pitch and a 3G pitch.

A demonstration calling for a 2G pitch was held in February.

With two 3G pitches already laid at the school, which is due to open next summer, it has emerged that the school’s PE department wrote to the head teacher to make the case for one of them to be sand-based.

The council has previously stated that the school and community use teams “strongly feel” the 3G pitches – one for rugby and one all-weather – will address most of their needs and ensure maximum use.

Fife Council initially failed to provide the letter in response to an FOI request from but issued it during an investigation by the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The letter signed by eight PE teachers to the former head teacher said the department prided itself on delivering a broad range of activities and added: “If we are to have two surfaces that are rubber crumb based [3G] then we will restrict what activities we can offer as a part of our curriculum in both the broad general education junior phase and senior core and certificated classes.”

It also said a 2G pitch at the school’s Kilrymont campus was used year-round for several different sports, including football and touch rugby as well as hockey.

Commissioner’s findings

Information commissioner Daren Fitzhenry, asked to review the council’s initial response to the FOI, found the council failed to respond within the required timescale and failed to identify all of the information requested.

He also criticised the lack of record kept of the meeting where the decision was made to proceed with two 3G pitches, given it was already clear the decision would not be universally popular.

Hockey coach Rachel Philp, who made the FOI request, said: “Because there are no records, we can have no confidence that the decision involving over £1m of public funds was made wisely or responsibly.

An opportunity has been missed to value and engage a diverse range of sports – and therefore people, particularly teenage girls – in the synthetic pitch selection.”

Rachel Philp, hockey coach

“The council says that the curriculum is the main reason for the decision but this letter from the PE departments contradicts that.”

The new school, she said, would be a great asset and its delivery was long overdue, but she added: “An opportunity has been missed to value and engage a diverse range of sports – and therefore people, particularly teenage girls – in the synthetic pitch selection.

State of the art school

Council head of education, Shelagh McLean said: “We are eagerly anticipating the opening of a fabulous new state-of-the-art high school in St Andrews that will meet the needs of young people in the area for generations to come.

“It’s really disappointing that, for some, the focus is on what they perceive the school is not providing, rather on what it will.

“The planning for a new Madras College has been on the go for a number of years and over that time there have been many discussions and debates over how sports are catered for at the new school.

“The new school has the added benefit of the ability to share resources with the university – a bonus that allows pupils access to more resources including the use of a hockey pitch.”

The information commissioner’s findings will be published on Tuesday.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Education team

More from The Courier