South Lanarkshire Council proposes to change the catchment areas of James Aiton Primary School, Hallside Primary School, Cathkin High School and Stonelaw High School as follows:
Hallside Primary School’s catchment area is altered by transferring some parts of its catchment area to James Aiton Primary School’s catchment area;
Stonelaw High School’s catchment area is altered to include the new catchment area of James Aiton Primary School and the catchment area of a proposed new primary school at Newton; and
Cathkin High School’s catchment area is altered by removing the new catchment area of James Aiton Primary School and also by excluding the catchment area of the proposed new school at Newton.
The council proposes that these changes would take place with effect from August 2012 for enrolment into the P1 stage in each primary school and for children transferring from P7 into S1 at that point. The proposals take account of the fact that the pupil roll in Hallside Primary School has increased steadily over a number of years. The catchment area for Hallside Primary School was changed in 2003 and in 2008, and the school has been extended on three occasions, the first two involving the addition of modular buildings and the third and most recent involving a major extension. The council believes that, despite these changes, the campus and accommodation at Hallside Primary School will not be able to cope with the projected pupil roll for the future. The proposal also takes account of general population trends and changes within the Cambuslang and Rutherglen areas which have resulted in an increase in the pupil roll of Cathkin Learning Community and a decrease in the pupil roll of Stonelaw Learning Community. There has been significant housing development within Cathkin High School’s catchment area since the design and construction of the new Cathkin High School. The council is planning to build a new non denominational primary school in the Newton area of Cambuslang to address future capacity issues.
The report from HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) is required under the terms of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. It has been prepared by HMIE in accordance with the terms of the Act.
HM Inspectors undertook the following activities in considering the educational aspects of the proposal:
attendance at the public meeting held on 25 October 2010 in connection with the council’s proposals;
consideration of all relevant documentation provided by the council in relation to the proposal, specifically the educational benefits statement and related consultation documents, written and oral submissions from parents and others;
consideration of further information on all schools affected; and
visits to Hallside Primary School, James Aiton Primary School, Cathkin High School and Stonelaw High School, including discussions with relevant consultees.
the likely effects of the proposal for children and young people of the schools, for any other users, for children likely to become pupils within two years of the date of publication of the proposal paper, and for other children and young people in the council area;
how the council intends to minimise or avoid any adverse effects that may arise from the proposal; and
benefits which the council believes will result from implementation of the proposal, and the council’s reasons for coming to these beliefs.
South Lanarkshire Council undertook the initial consultation on its proposals with reference to the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
There were a total of 434 written responses submitted to South Lanarkshire Council. Of these, 308 responses were against the proposal, 101 for the proposal and 25 undecided. Stakeholders expressed three main concerns. Firstly, parents, children and young people in all four schools affected were worried about the possibility that some young people might have to attend a different secondary school from that attended by their siblings. Community members and parents of children currently attending Hallside Primary School are concerned that their children will no longer be able to access education in their nearest school and would have to travel further to attend James Aiton Primary School. There were safety concerns in relation to this increased travel. Stakeholders at Hallside Primary School stated that Hallside Primary School currently serves a catchment area which is diverse in relation to socio economic factors. They welcome this diversity and see it as a strength of the school. They stated that the new Hallside Primary School catchment area would serve predominantly new build housing which would not be as diverse. They felt this would split the local community.
Hallside Primary School stakeholders expressed concern over the current proposal. Parents, staff and children expressed concern at the increased travelling distance and related safety aspects for children who would now attend James Aiton Primary School under the current proposal. They feel they have not been given exact details of travel arrangements by the council. They feel that there are other re zoning options which could be explored. One suggested option was that children currently attending Hallside Primary School who live nearer to Cairns Primary School than James Aiton Primary School could attend Cairns Primary School rather than James Aiton Primary School. Parents felt that there were fewer extra curricular activities on offer in James Aiton Primary School than are currently on offer at Hallside Primary School.
Currently children who attend James Aiton Primary School transfer to Cathkin High School. Parents and children at the school were concerned about increased travelling distances to Stonelaw High School. A number of parents felt that their children would no longer be able to participate in after school activities due to increased travelling time. Parents and children expressed significant concern that siblings would have to attend different secondary schools. Children had mixed views on having to attend Stonelaw High School.
The biggest issue for the staff, parents and young people at Cathkin High School was the possibility that siblings might have to attend different secondary schools. The student council at Cathkin High School expressed the view that siblings should not have to attend different secondary schools.
Stakeholders at Stonelaw High School welcomed the proposal that James Aiton Primary School and the new school at Newton become part of the Stonelaw High School catchment area. They feel that there is sufficient capacity in the school. Staff and young people expressed concern about the possibility that siblings might have to attend different schools. One concern of the headteacher and staff related to possible increased traffic congestion due to a school bus having to drop children off from the re zoned catchment area.
Educational aspects of the proposal
South Lanarkshire Council faces significant challenges associated with demographic change and population growth. These challenges are particularly acute in Hallside Primary School. The implementation of the consultation proposal would improve the balance of primary and secondary school population and school capacity across the schools involved in the proposal.
A number of the benefits outlined in the proposal relate directly to children who currently attend James Aiton Primary School and not to children who currently attend Hallside Primary School. Children who attend Hallside Primary School are currently educated in a modern and partially refurbished school.
The proposal states that children currently attending James Aiton Primary School and those transferring from Hallside Primary School to James Aiton Primary School as part of the re zoning, would have to attend Stonelaw High School. Parents who wished their children to attend Cathkin High School, along with siblings already attending that school, would have to make a placing request. The council needs to take steps to address stakeholder concerns on this matter.
The council is aware of the need to make opportunities for staff to work jointly in preparation for any re zoning. The council is aware of the need to take steps to support transition for young people from James Aiton Primary School and affected young people from Hallside Primary School to Stonelaw High School.
The council has not fully set out information on travel distances and transport plans for children who would be re zoned from Hallside Primary School to James Aiton Primary School, or transport to Stonelaw High School for those children.
The proposal will help to avoid potential overcrowding at Cathkin High School and make better use of the capacity at Stonelaw High School, both of which have been extensively refurbished or rebuilt in recent years, to provide education fit for the 21st century.
The two primary schools and two secondary schools are of broadly comparable standards. Therefore it is likely that there will be no detriment to the education of the children.
South Lanarkshire Council has conducted a consultation process which has allowed children, young people, parents, staff and other stakeholders to express and have their views considered. Overall, the proposal takes good account of the likely pressure on school capacities created by future housing demand and rising rolls. The proposal identifies the future pressure on school capacities and provides an approach that balances capacities across the two primary schools and two secondary schools involved. The council needs to consider what further reassurance it can provide in response to stakeholders’ concerns about the possibility that siblings might have to attend different secondary schools. The council should also consider the possible impact of the proposed catchment review on the community around Hallside Primary School.