Dundee’s new Harris Academy is almost full, despite schools across the city running at around 20%.
The recently opened school, which merged pupils from the original Harris catchment area with those from the now-demolished Menzieshill High, is currently at 99% capacity, with a roll of 1,299 pupils.
Dundee City Council had anticipated the school would be close to the limit in its first year because of the merger. However, its popularity looks set to continue, with 213 placing requests for the next academic year already submitted.
Across the city, secondary schools in general have enough space to accept 8,974 pupils, but currently only 7,221 pupils are in local authority education, an under occupancy rate of 20%.
The figures are contained in a new report to the city council.
It reveals six priority grades are used to determine which school a pupil should attend.
A pupil will be given priority one status to a school in their immediate local catchment area and status two where the director of education believes it would be best for that particular child to attend a specific school. Priority three status is given when a pupil has siblings already at the school and four is if they went to a catchment area feeder primary but do not live in the catchment area. Priority five status applies to pupils who live in the Dundee City Council area but are not in the catchment and priority six status is for those who live outside the city boundaries.
Convener of children and families services, Councillor Gregor Murray, said all of the pupils ranking from priority one to three who wanted to attend Harris Academy were enrolled.
Councillor Murray said: “We always knew capacity at Harris in the first year would be near to full.
“Parents have the right to choose what school they send their child to and if there is space the council will guarantee them a place.
“For the most part, pupils will go to the school in the catchment area where they live but families have different reasons for choosing a school.
“The priority is that a child will go to their local school.
“School capacity should not be confused with class sizes. Members of the opposition sometimes like to conflate the two, but they are not the same.”
Councillor Murray noted the council was required by law to not “overfill” classes, meaning there is a limit to the number of pupils which can be put in a single class at a time.
Council primary schools are at a capacity of 81%, meaning there is space for 2,593 pupils.
Blackness, Craigowl, St Mary’s and St Peter and Paul’s primaries are all over capacity.
St Peter and Paul’s RC is 12 pupils over, St Mary’s eight pupils, Craigowl 48 and Blackness 16.
The catchment area for Craigowl was changed at the beginning of 2016.