Plan to change catchment area for popular school

HUNDREDS of families face being cut out of the catchment area of a popular primary school.

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The number of pupils at Hillhead Primary could be cut
The number of pupils at Hillhead Primary could be cut

The move comes as Glasgow City Council seeks ways to cut overcrowding at Hillhead Primary School in the West End of the city.

Officials have drawn up consultation plans which could see the number of pupils entering the school slashed over the next few years to alleviate the over-crowding which has seen families in the catchment area turned away.

However, the move means many parents who currently live in the Hillhead catchment area and were expecting their children to go there will find the youngsters are allocated to different schools.

There is also an impact on the surrounding primaries of Oakgrove, Anderston, Garnetbank, Hyndland and Thornwood, which will have to take additional pupils.

A report on the issue from the council to its executive committee states: "Whilst the main purpose of the catchment area proposal is to review the catchment area of Hillhead Primary School this inevitably impacts on the surrounding primary schools."

The council will also consult on the closure of Kelvin Park Early Years Centre, a nursery on the same site as Hillhead, to make more space for pupils.

The move affects around 160 pre-school children and will see them being moved to six other nurseries.

The city council's develop-ment and regeneration services is assessing the nurseries to see how they could take more children.

The report states: "It is proposed to close Kelvin Park Early Years Centre to allow Hillhead Primary School to use the teaching areas as classrooms.

"Additional nursery places in council nurseries and also at partnership nurseries in the locale... would result in a significant overall increase in nursery provision within a one mile radius of Hillhead Primary."

In January, families living in Hillhead catchment area were told they no longer had an automatic right to a place for their children because the school was over-subscribed.

Hillhead, in Gibson Street, was built three years ago following a merger with other primary schools and was designed for of 632 pupils. It currently has 649 which is predicted to rise to 678 by August this year.

In the past, the council has said the problem was the result of the popularity of the schools and rising population. The Scottish Government's move to cap numbers of children in P1 classes at 25 has also restricted flexibility.

Opposition politicians argue the council's school rationalisation programme under-estimated the number of places schools will need.

The school's dedicated art room and music room have already become classrooms, and there are plans to convert its library.

The parent council has also highlighted issues, including insufficient toilet facilities and pressure on the dining room.

Hillhead councillor Martin McElroy said: "I am in no doubt about the need to change the catchment areas, but I am concerned that we would create a new space problem elsewhere."

A public consultation on the proposals is to run from June 11 to September 29.


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