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School strikes: Chaos for Dundee parents as list of closures released at eleventh hour

Furious parents said information was released "far too late" and was badly handled.

school strikes Dundee
St John's High School in Dundee. Image: DC Thomson

Furious parents have branded Dundee City Council’s handling of imminent school strikes “an omnishambles” as details were not confirmed until hours before closures.

A full list of which schools in Dundee will be affected by the strikes over the next three days was finally released late on Monday afternoon.

Parents have lashed out at the local authority over the late information, which they say did not provide enough detail on arrangements during strikes happening over the next three days.

Unions announced plans to hold strikes involving non-teaching staff between September 26 and 28, in a dispute over pay.

Last-ditch talks since led to two unions, Unite and GMB, suspending industrial action.

But Unison is still going ahead with its walkout.

It has now been announced that nine primary schools will be fully open, while seven will be fully closed to pupils.

The remaining 17 primary schools will open partially, adding to the confusion.

When asked by The Courier what “partially open” means, a council spokesperson said: “It means only open for certain classes and schools are contacting families directly about this.”

Seven out of Dundee’s eight mainstream secondary schools will fully open for S1-S6 mainstream pupils.

St Paul’s Academy will open for S4-S6 mainstream pupils only.

Angry parents hit out at late information

Parents were left furious at when it reached the end of the school day and they still did not know if closures were going ahead.

One angry parent said: “I dropped my kids at school today and they were asking if they were coming in tomorrow or not.

“I couldn’t give them an answer. They came home and I was still none the wiser.

“How can you come home from school with no idea if you’re going back? Not only that but it’s causing havoc with parents working week, as none of us know if we need to work from home to look after the kids, organise childcare or carry on as normal.

“It’s an omnishambles.”

Another said: “Thankfully we have childcare in place regardless.

“However, one of my children really struggles with late changes of plan and they have been asking about the strikes in recent days.

“Forcing them to wait until just a few hours before the school is due to be shut to tell us what’s happening is unfair on them and everyone else involved.”

One parent of a Forthill Primary pupil said school staff were “clearly embarrassed” about the handling, after receiving a letter including an apology.

The School Exclusion Zone outside Forthill Primary.
Forthill Primary School. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson

“The information came far too late and seemed overly complicated,” he said.

“I understand they were trying to minimise disruption but this has not been well handled.

“The school were clearly embarrassed about how long everything took but their hands had been tied by the council.”

Another father, whose children’s school is closed, branded it a “postcode lottery” due to the differences between schools’ handling.

Is my child’s school open?

A full list of schools open, closed or partially open, is below.

Primary Schools

The following seven primary schools will be  closed to pupils:

  • Clepington Primary School
  • Craigowl Primary School
  • Mill of Mains Primary School
  • Sidlaw View Primary School
  • St Andrew’s RC Primary School
  • St Fergus RC Primary School
  • St Joseph’s RC Primary School

The following nine primary schools will be open to mainstream pupils:

  • Barnhill Primary School
  • Claypotts Castle Primary School
  • Craigiebarns Primary School
  • Forthill Primary School
  • Glebelands Primary School
  • Longhaugh Primary School
  • Rosebank Primary School
  • St Pius RC Primary School
  • Victoria Park Primary School

All other primary schools will be open in a limited capacity – only open for certain classes and schools are contacting families directly about this.

  • Ancrum Road
  • Ardler
  • Ballumbie
  • Blackness
  • Camperdown
  • Dens Road
  • Downfield
  • Eastern
  • Fintry
  • Tayview
  • Our Lady’s RC
  • Rowantree
  • St Clement’s RC
  • St Francis RC
  • St Mary’s RC
  • St Ninian’s RC
  • SS Peter and Paul RC

The Rockwell Learning Centre will open for all pupils.

Kingspark School will partially open, and families will be contacted directly about details.

Secondary Schools

The following seven secondary schools will be open:

  • Baldragon Academy
  • Braeview Academy
  • Craigie High School
  • Grove Academy
  • Harris Academy
  • Morgan Academy
  • St John’s RC High School

St Paul’s RC Academy – Open to S4-S6 pupils only

Nursery Schools

Only the following seven standalone nurseries will be open to staff and children:

  • Hill View
  • Coldside
  • Caird View
  • Woodlea
  • Wallacetown
  • Balluniefield
  • Longhaugh

All other standalone nurseries, early years centres and nursery classes will be closed to pupils.

Lunches will be provided to pupils in schools that are open, but this may involve packed lunches. There will be no breakfast clubs operating at primary schools.

Free school meal payments will be made directly to qualifying families who are affected by closures.

Teachers will continue to work, and learning will be provided for pupils who cannot attend school due to the strike action.

Families will be contacted directly by their school about home learning.

School strike arrangements ‘subject to change’

A council spokesperson said all arrangements are being reviewed daily and remain subject to change.

“Decisions about establishments have been taken based on the potential effect of strike action,” they added.

“The council will publish updates on its website and social media channels.

“All establishments will re-open on Friday September 29.”