A Newton Mearns parent has hit out at East Renfrewshire Council for St Cadoc’s youngsters having to walk to Isobel Mair school for PE lessons as a result of overcrowding.
Dad-of-two Martin Shades wrote a letter to The Extra complaining about the 25-30 minute walk his eldest has to make to take PE classes.
Raising concerns about the amount of time taken out of the classroom, the dangers of walking along a busy road and a lack of facilities at the primary school, Mr Shades has also written to East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald, Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh and ERC director of education Mhairi Shaw.
He said: “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. The increase in pupils has a direct correlation on the number of houses which have been built over the years.”
Pointing to cars running Crookfur Road too fast, he added: “It’s a disaster waiting to happen and action needs to be taken to prevent a child, teacher or volunteer being injured or even killed. The simple solution is to provide safe transport when taking the kids out of the school, preventing them from the dangers of walking twice a week and also sheltering them from the winter weather.”
An ERC spokeswoman responded that parents had been consulted on the need to provide two hours of PE time each week, as introduced by the Scottish Government, and asked to provide raincoats and wellies for the walk.
She added: “Since St Cadoc’s was built before this initiative was introduced, the school building can only offer an hour-long period of physical education in the school gym.
“As an alternative to using our playground, we decided to also use facilities at the nearby Baptist church and Isobel Mair and two full-time pupil assistants were appointed to the school to escort the youngsters.
“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.”