Schoolkids walking to PE class sparks online debate

Busy Greenlaw Roundabout leads onto Crookfur Road, where parents say something needs to be done to slow down traffic
Busy Greenlaw Roundabout leads onto Crookfur Road, where parents say something needs to be done to slow down traffic

An angry letter from a St Cadoc’s Primary parent has sparked debate on social media about overcrowding at the Newton Mearns school.

Dad Martin Shades complained to The Extra that his child was walking to PE lessons at Isobel Mair School, as a result of overcrowding and government legislation making two hours of PE per week mandatory.

He commented: “It’s a disaster waiting to happen and action needs to be taken to prevent a child, teacher or volunteer being injured.

“I understand the school is overcrowded; the playbarn has been turned into classrooms and there is insufficient space for the kids to play, but this is not a sudden situation which has developed. ”

East Renfrewshire Council is tackling overcrowding with a new £13.6 million joint campus, catering to children of Catholic and Jewish faiths and scheduled to open in August 2017.

But some Extra Facebook followers say that walking Crookfur Road to get to lessons poses a danger.

Richard Francis said: “Martin Shades is right about the speed of cars - the council need to do something about this.”

Jim Francis added: “More people need to get on to the council about its failings in the road design and obvious road safety issues it has created in this area.”

However, Kathleen Biggam Wilson commented: “Yes there is an overcrowding problem at St Cadoc’s which we all agree, but I think to say children can’t walk to Isobel Mair or the Baptist Church for PE is nonsense.

“We live in an overprotective society where children don’t walk anywhere and have no idea of road safety. I think for the children to be transported to and from PE [would be] ridiculous — and probably an added expense to the parents.”

An ERC spokeswoman confirmed that assistants have been appointed to help escort youngsters to and from the church and Isobel Mair.

She added: “The weekly walking bus to PE sessions encourages youngsters to take a healthy walk as part of their regular travel — it means they are benefitting from a longer period of activity and enjoying being outdoors, while promoting good road safety.”