Packed primaries over-subscribed

Some schools have 'accommodation issues'

Some schools have 'accommodation issues'

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PARENTS of children hoping to go to more than a dozen city primary schools face an anxious wait after the city council revealed this year’s most over-subscribed schools.

Education chiefs have already highlighted “accommodation issues” at Liberton, Preston Street, Trinity and Wardie primaries, which is likely to mean out-of-catchment placing requests being refused.

And the number of Catholic primary schools which will prioritise baptised Roman Catholic pupils because applications exceed requests is set to rise to ten this year.

Last year seven primaries, including four RC schools, were in the same situation in the wake of new legislation limiting class sizes in primary one to 25, instead of 30.

The schools set to be affected this year will look at measures including team teaching where two teachers are used in a larger class to provide the legal pupil-teacher ratio.

The city council said the schools would require “careful monitoring” to ensure they can accommodate catchment pupils at the start of the new term.

In a report to councillors, education director Gillian Tee said: “Registrations currently stand at 4501, although this number will fall before the start of session, principally as a result of deferrals yet to be notified and loss to the private sector.”

She added: “Increases in the birth rate since 2005 mean that a continuation of this pattern of growth in the primary sector is likely over at least the next five years.”

In 2010, class sizes of up to 30 in P1 were permitted by the council.

Previously, the local authority had tried to cap class sizes at 25 but often failed when parents took their cases to appeal.

Following the new legislation last year, the percentage of non-catchment placing requests being refused soared from 11.3 per cent in 2010 when the class size maximum was 30 pupils, to 37 per cent in 2011.

Ms Tee warned that this is a trend which is set to continue.

She said: “Due to the increased demand for P1 places being experienced in many areas of the city, it is anticipated that the percentage of non-catchment placing requests being refused will increase further in 2012.”

City education leader Marilyne MacLaren added: “The allocation figures change daily and we are making good progress in identifying places for this summer’s intake of pupils.”

Under pressure

Liberton Primary: Has 69 registered catchment pupils and can accommodate a maximum of 60, based on one class of 25 pupils and a class of 35 with an additional team teacher.

Preston Street Primary: Has 44 registered catchment pupils and can accommodate a maximum of 40, based on a single class of 30 pupils with a team teacher, and ten further primary one pupils in a P1/2 composite class of 25 pupils.

Trinity Primary: Has 88 registered catchment pupils and can accommodate a maximum of 82, based on two primary one classes of 41 pupils, with two teachers in each.

Wardie Primary: Has 71 registered catchment pupils and can accommodate a maximum of 66 – three classes of 22 pupils.

Catholic schools: In ten of the city’s 15 RC primaries – St Catherine’s; St David’s; St Joseph’s; St Mary’s (Leith); St Peter’s; St Cuthbert’s; St Francis; St John’s; St Mark’s and St Ninian’s – P1 catchment applications currently exceed places available