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School places reserved for new children to be removed from two Dundee schools

Clepington Primary School
Clepington Primary School

School places reserved for children arriving halfway through the term are to be removed at two Dundee schools, and reduced at a third.

Dundee City Council’s children and families committee will be asked next week to approve how many school places are to be reserved for new children starting after August 2021 at each school in the city.

Should the proposed plan be approved at the meeting, there will no longer be any places reserved at Fintry Primary School or Cleptington Primary School because they are “not required”.

The number of reserved places at Ancrum Road Primary School will also drop from three to just two.

Council to approve school placement numbers at meeting

In a paper which will be presented at the meeting on Monday, it lays out how many reserved places there will be at each school in 2021/22:

  • Ancrum Road Primary School – two (down from three in 2020/21)
  • Barnhill Primary School – nine
  • Blackness Primary School – three
  • Claypotts Castle Primary School – two
  • Clepington Primary School – zero (down from four in 2020/21)
  • Craigowl Primary School – 11
  • Downfield Primary School – three
  • Eastern Primary School – nine
  • Fintry Primary School – zero (down from two in 2020/21)
  • Forthill Primary School – 11
  • St Joseph’s RC Primary School – three
  • St Mary’s RC Primary School – two
  • SS Peter and Paul RC Primary School – two
  • Victoria Park Primary School – three
  • Grove Academy – 12
  • Harris Academy – 12
  • Morgan Academy – 12
  • St John’s RC High School – 12

The Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act 2000 gives local authorities the right to refuse offering a child a place at their chosen school if they live out with the school’s catchment area and giving the child a place would prevent the council from retaining reserved places at the school.

Fintry Primary School, Dundee

The report said no ‘priority one’ pupil will be refused a place while a reserved place exists and has not already been allocated.

The report also sets out the council’s decision-making process when it comes to allocating school places:

  • Priority one: Children normally resident in the school’s catchment area
  • Priority two: Where the council’s executive director of children and families considers the particular needs of a child would be met by attending the school
  • Priority three: Children out with the school’s catchment area who have a sibling (or relative permanently living at the same address for at least two years) at the school
  • Priority four: If the school is a secondary school, children who are not in the catchment area but attended an associated primary school
  • Priority five: Children living in Dundee but not in the school’s catchment area, and who did not attend an associated primary school
  • Priority six: Everyone else

For denominational schools, places at each priority level will first be allocated to children who have been baptised into the Roman Catholic Church.

Dundee dad pleads for council to make sure all priority one kids get their school place

One father says he would like to see the committee look at how the council can ensure all kids within a school catchment area are given a place.

Peter and Glaucia Spalding moved to Broughty Ferry from Texas at the end of 2020 and had planned to send their children Michael and Nickole to Grove Academy.

Nickole Spalding with mum Glaucia and dad Peter

However daughter Nikole lost her place at the school after coronavirus restrictions delayed their move to Scotland, and for the past few weeks she has been doing online classes with her old school in the USA.

Nickole and her mum Glaucia are now preparing to fly back to Texas so she can finish the rest of the school term there instead.

Dad Peter said: “We have applied for her to go to Dundee High School and she has sat the assessment exams.

“Her brother is doing online learning at Grove Academy and in the meantime my wife and daughter are leaving for America so Nickole can go back to her old school there.

“She will come back to Scotland at the end of the American school term and go to Dundee High School unless there is a place for her at Grove.

“I am very disappointed at this outcome because Grove would have been a handy school for her, it is only 100 yards away and that is why we bought this house.

“She is still on the waiting list at Grove.

“I would like them to look at solving the problem of kids coming to live in the catchment area of a school but then can’t get to the school because it is already full of kids who don’t live in the catchment area, and probably never have.”

A Dundee City Council spokesperson said allocation of reserved places is reviewed annually “in light of changing demand for places”.

They added: “The report looks at the number of reserved places, which are created in ​some schools where it has been the case ​that all available places are filled in a primary or secondary following the allocation that is made before the start of the school year, including placing requests from outwith the catchment area.

“This means that families moving into the school catchment area either during the school session or after spaces are allocated for the session may find it difficult or impossible to secure a place in the local school for one or all of their children.

“Reserved places are defined as ‘those which are reasonably required to accommodate pupils likely to become resident in the catchment area of the school in the school session to which the placing request relates’.”

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