Comment: City right to enforce catchment rules

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THERE are always winners and losers when it comes to school catchment areas.

The system can often seem unfair, especially when there is effectively a price attached to getting in to the better state schools.

The cost of buying a family home in the catchment area for one of the city’s best state schools can be tens of thousands of pounds more than in neighbouring areas where the school is not so highly rated.

It is not a perfect system. It isn’t, in fact, even a terribly fair one. The problem, however, is that no-
one has yet come up with a better one.

If we are to avoid an unmanageable free-for-all, there has to be some control over which schools parents send their children too.

The system which guarantees a place for children at their local school is as fair as it gets.

The long-term answer of course is finding a way of driving up standards in the lowest-achieving schools.

If the gap between the best and worst was not so great then parents wouldn’t feel such pressure to try to get their children into neighbouring schools with better records.

That of course is easier said than done. But it has to remain one of the over-riding priorities of the city and, in turn, the Scottish Government.

In the meantime, the city is right to enforce the existing rules. The vast majority of parents who follow the rules deserve to know that they are being fairly treated.

At a time when parents who play by the rules are being told in some cases that their younger children cannot attend the same school as their older siblings, it must be galling to think that those who bend the rules might be taking a school place that they are after.

The current crackdown is about fairness and will be welcomed by parents across the city as an overdue enforcement of the rules.