Mixed reaction to catchment plans

REACTION to plans to exclude two Glasgow schools from automatic entry to St Ninian’s are mixed.

On one hand, action groups and parent councils call the proposal a “disgrace”.

On the other, a local MSP and various community councillors say it is the best way forward.

A series of working groups were held last year made up of local councillors, headteachers, the Catholic church and school parent councils.

But David McCulloch a father of two at St Angela’s claimed the meetings were pointless.

He told The Extra: “We have known from the start the short life working group and public consultation would be pointless.

“The decision goes against overwhelming public opinion from the consultation.

“It is ironic during Catholic education week, East Renfrewshire issued a paper that will be detrimental to Catholic education”.

Shirley Muir, of the Right 4 St Ninian’s action group, agreed: “We believe this document is ERC’s Weapon of Mass Destruction against the local Catholic community.

“This report is a sad reflection of ERC intentions against Catholic education”.

But Giffnock community council gave its backing to the proposal.

Hugh Moore, chairman, told The Extra: “Our view was that we recognised the pressures on St Ninian’s and saw something needed to be addressed.

“It is a Giffnock school and our priority is to the children in our area.

“I think it largely addresses the issues the residents we represent are looking for.

“But we recognise there are still other pressures that is part of a bigger educational issue in East Renfrewshire”.

The problem of overcrowding at St Ninian’s is an issue that has been long debated.

Following the break-up of the former Strathclyde regional council, agreement was reached that children from homes within St Ninian’s catchment area — which stretches over East Renfrewshire and Glasgow — would be accepted.

That allowed pupils staying in a specific area attending one of the two Glasgow primaries automatic entry into the high school.

Last year ERC lost a legal ruling over access to the school for a pupil living in Glasgow.

Father-of-two Bob Bowie, of Parklands Meadow, raised the action for a judicial review after receiving a letter from ERC denying his daughter Blaire a place at St Ninian’s.

The authority claimed the agreement comprised a list of street names but Mr Bowie’s argument that it was instead a specific area was upheld by presiding judge Lord Uist during the review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

In a written ruling the law lord said ERC’s attempts to block the parents were based on a false pretence.