Rob Coward: Raising schools standards is focus

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As co-chair of the parent council at Stockbridge Primary School, I was not surprised to read about the difficulties faced by parents trying to find out-of-catchment places at popular schools like ours.

This is an extremely stressful situation for parents, difficult for headteachers, and potentially disruptive for children. I particularly feel the pain of parents unable to find a place for their child in the same school as an older sibling.

To a large extent the city council has brought the problem upon itself by failing to plan effectively. It has compounded the difficulty through its spending priorities, which have favoured “large transport infrastructure” projects over the education of our children.

But faced with this situation the solution is not more choice for parents – and this can actually have the effect of worsening the problem. The way forward is good schools for all children in all areas of the city so that parents can have confidence in their local school.

Parents across Edinburgh need to give their elected representatives the clear message that all children deserve high quality schools. This means investing in schools at the expense of vanity projects and remembering that the future health, happiness and prosperity of our youngest citizens are at stake.

Let’s not be distracted by the mirage of more parental choice, which can sometimes lead to huge class sizes in popular schools and major pressures on important facilities. We must always be careful what we wish for.

• Rob Coward is co-chair of Stockbridge Primary School parent council.