Meetings aimed at convincing parents to accept school changes

East End - parents are reluctant to register children at planned new primary school
East End – parents are reluctant to register children at planned new primary school

SCHOOL INSPECTORS WILL be conducting a delayed follow-up inspection at a Moray primary school this week – as a battle over the future make-up of the school population continues to rage.

Parent representatives of children at East End Primary in Elgin have been arguing against their school being ‘split’ into two as a temporary measure before a new school is built.

Now on the eve of a follow-up inspection by HM Inspectorate of Schools, concerns are being shown by Council officials as a number of parents with children due to start school this year are seeking to exercise their option to request their children are allocated schools outside their catchment area.

As a result letters have been issued to parents and guardians who have placed such a request. In these they are invited to attend meetings today at Elgin Academy, where the senior education adviser Paul Watson and the head of education and social care services, Graham Jarvis, will seek to “explain the progress being made in establishing a new school and answer any questions you may have”.

The move is believed to have come as a result of lower than expected registrations for the new school to be cited in the Linkwood area.

A spokeswoman for the East End Primary School parent council said: “The Council’s original proposal was that they would house 50 pupils in the first year who were ultimately destined for the new school.

“However, current legal requirements are that 1.7sqm per child is allocated – in the temporary accommodation at East End that would mean around 23 children in the classroom. When officers were asked at the public meetings if this recommended figure was going to be lowered we were told it would not.

“We are also now noting that registrations of P1 pupils is down significantly than in the previous two years. From talking to parents of children at the nursery we are finding that many have chosen not to place their children at East End because they are unhappy about these proposals.

“They simply do not wish their children to go to a school where they are sharing facilities with another school, and of course this is on top of other issues.”

Meanwhile Moray Council are pressing ahead with their plans to alter the makeup of East End Primary, further fuelling the divisions in the area. A notice has been placed on the entrance to the school giving notice of a planning application to make alterations to the entrance of the school that will see the former heritage centre on the site being transformed into classrooms.

HM Inspectorate will seek to establish improvements made at East End Primary since an adverse report was issued in 2015, which graded the school as being “weak” in a number of key areas. Several improvements have been brought to bear on the school since – both in the main school and its adjoining nursery.