Mum’s fury over school snub

Mum Mary Quin is reluctant to tell Mia that she will have to go to Leith Primary
Mum Mary Quin is reluctant to tell Mia that she will have to go to Leith Primary
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A MOTHER has hit out at the council after her daughter was refused a place at a primary school just minutes from her home because she is “two blocks of flats” away from the catchment area.

Mary Quin, who lives in Restalrig, had hoped her five-year-old daughter, Mia Gould, would start at Hermitage Park Primary in August.

Instead, the youngster was refused a place because the family flat in Barleyhill Terrace is outside the catchment for the school.

But Miss Quin, 33, said all the other homes on the street – excluding her home block of flats and the neighbouring block – were within the catchment area.

She appealed the council’s decision, but an independent committee ruled in favour of the local authority at a hearing last Monday.

The decision means Mia will now have to attend her catchment school, Leith Primary, which is a ten to 15-minute walk, compared with just “two or three minutes” to Hermitage Park Primary.

Miss Quin said a garage previously stood where the two new-build blocks of flats are now situated and believes the catchment map for the area has not been updated since before they were built in 2009.

She said: “It’s ludicrous because I stay literally two or three minutes away from the school – it’s only about 250 steps to the school.

“Every one of the stairs in that area is in the catchment area apart from the last two – blocks ten and 12.

“The panel said it was just unfortunate. I was absolutely devastated, I broke down in tears about it.”

Mia has attended Hermitage Park Primary’s nursery for the last two years and Miss Quin is worried about her making new friends.

She added: “I’ve not even told Mia because I know she will be really upset.”

The council received 72 primary one applications for Hermitage Park, 50 of which were accepted. Of the remaining 22, eight appealed and two were successful, leaving six children without their first-choice school.

Sharon Campbell’s four-year-old son, Aiden, will now go to St Mary’s RC Primary in Leith. However, her daughter, Neave, seven, is about to go into primary four at Hermitage Park Primary, meaning she now faces a walk in different directions to take her children to and from school.

“I can’t physically be in two places at once,” she said.

“What is especially frustrating is that Hermitage Park are extremely willing to accommodate all these children in a composite class. This would incur no additional cost to the council and there would be no detrimental effect to any children.”

City head of schools Mike Rosendale said having composite classes at Hermitage Park Primary was not an option.

“Due to the increasing number of pupils starting each year, we can only provide a limited number of out-of-catchment places in some schools,” he said.

“I am confident that all of our primary schools offer an excellent education and we are committed to maintaining these high standards throughout the city.”