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Harris Academy parents urge Dundee council to reconsider Invergowrie catchment plans

Harris Academy.
Harris Academy.

Education bosses are being urged to reconsider plans to remove Invergowrie Primary School from the Harris Academy catchment area.

Harris parent counciil chairman Graham McKay has made the plea in a letter to Dundee City Council, describing the rationale for the move as “unsubstantiated”.

He said it could break the connections between the Dundee and Invergowrie communities, that have been built up over a number of decades.

Mr McKay said: “The pupils, parents, carers, former pupils and community of Invergowrie have been an integral part of the Harris Academy community for many decades and this proposal will sever this link.

“There seems to have been no consideration of the impact of children moving to Harris Academy from Invergowrie and the impact socially, emotionally and academically of being split from close friends who they may have shared a classroom with from nursery.”

He added: “Significant change at this time of transition can negatively affect the individual.”

The parent council also disputed Dundee City Council’s claims that the removal of Invergowrie Primary, which is in Perth and Kinross but closer to the city than schools in its own council area, would help tackle the increasing population at Harris Academy.

“We would dispute the assumption that this proposed change will lessen the impact of the primary population on the secondary roll as this could easily be achieved through the rejection of placing requests”, the letter read.

It added: “Nothing in this proposal reduces the number of future places available in Harris Academy.”

The letter received support from Perth and Kinross Council councillor, Angus Forbes – a former pupil of Harris Academy.

Mr Forbes said: “I was absolutely delighted to see the letter from Harris Parent Council, it’s incredibly supportive and points out some inaccuracies in the report.

“It now appears that everyone is in agreement that pupils from Invergowrie should continue to receive their secondary education at Harris.

“I have written to all the elected members on Dundee Council, we have leafleted the entire village and also asked those parents in Dundee who have children at Invergowrie to lobby their Dundee Councillors asking them to support us.

“There are so many reasons that we should continue the current arrangement but the most striking for me is the idea that friendships formed for seven years would be ripped apart at the most important part of a child’s development.”

Angus Forbes has come out in support of Harris Academy Parent Councils letter.

A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “The council has carried out a thorough consultation exercise on the proposals,  inviting people to come forward with comments.

“Any final decision on the proposal will be taken by the city council’s children and families service committee.”

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