Growing demand for school places in Glasgow
Glasgow City Council is struggling to cope with the increasing demand for school places in the city, as nearly a dozen schools were forced to turn away children in their local catchment areas, according to the latest figures. Education bosses say there has been a surge in demand for some popular schools, which have reached or exceeded their capacity. Some schools managed to find extra classroom space to accommodate more pupils, but others had to offer alternative places elsewhere.
Secondary schools under pressure
The most affected schools were in the secondary sector, where four schools had to increase their capacity to make room for catchment pupils. These were St Paul’s, Bellahouston Academy, Knightswood Secondary and Hillpark Secondary. However, due to the movement of pupils across the city, these schools were not above their pupil cap as the academic year started. The council report said that “all catchment children in the secondary sector were placed following placing request decisions which created movement across the estate.”
Primary schools too full
A number of primary schools also faced challenges in meeting the demand for places from local children. These included Riverbank, St Maria Goretti, Ibrox, St Angela’s, St Francis and St Vincent’s. These schools were “too full” to take all the children zoned for them and had to offer alternative spaces elsewhere. Some primary schools, such as St Monica’s in Pollok and St Monica’s in Milton, ended up offering more places than their “agreed” pupil numbers, after finding extra space.
Gaelic schools oversubscribed
Another issue that the council had to deal with was the high demand for Gaelic education, which exceeded the available places at three Gaelic schools: Glendale Gaelic, Glasgow Gaelic Primary and Calton Gaelic. These schools also had to offer places elsewhere for some of the catchment children. There were a total of 46 children on waiting lists for the Gaelic schools and other squeezed primaries on July 31.
Council report on school admissions
The school admission figures will be presented in a report going in front of councillors tomorrow at the city administration committee. Councillors will be asked to approve maximum new P1 and S1 pupil numbers for August 2024. The report said: “At an operational level the council is required to plan for the sufficiency of primary and secondary school places across the city on a rolling annual basis with priority given to children and young people residing within the defined catchment areas. Having ensured that catchment area needs can be met, then placing requests are approved in line with legislation and the Council’s placing request priority criteria.”
What will happen next?
The council report does not provide any details on how the council plans to address the overcrowding issue in the long term, or whether it will invest in building new schools or expanding existing ones. It also does not mention how the council will ensure that all children have access to quality education regardless of where they are placed. The report only states that “the council will continue to monitor pupil numbers across all sectors and areas of the city and will take appropriate action as required.” It remains unclear what this action will entail and how it will affect the parents and pupils of Glasgow.