Local Talk

Hillhead Primary - oversubscribed!

(78 Posts)
msapplecider Tue 28-Jan-14 19:34:28

Hi, does anybody else on here have DC starting primary in August and registered at Hillhead Primary, and received a letter about oversubscription? We are in the catchment area so I thought my DD was going there for sure until yesterday when the letter arrived and told me that we no longer got in automatically due to not enough places being available… Am not sure what to do now, and just wanted to see if anybody else was in the same situation and had any more info on this. Thanks!

thewaves Wed 29-Jan-14 14:46:13

Yes I have a child due to start August 2014 and we are in catchment but fortunately I have two more children already in the school so I think she will get in.

But there are alot of upset people. Especially those who thought about deferring and are now considering just to go for it this year and get theri child in as council is also going to redraw the boundaries.

The other issue worth considering is how good the school can be (and it is good right now) when it will not have a library, art facilities or IT suite hen this new cohort starts. Space is a real issue at the school, toilet facilities are not adequate, they are worried they will not be able to get all children say down for dinner in 50 mins, they cannot fulfil the required 2 hrs weekly PE , the headteacher currently walks groups of children up to a football pitch in the park every lunchtime so that the children can play football as there is not enough room in the playground.

It is a great school, I love the ethos,the teaching is good, I love how multicultural it is. But it is overcrowded.

sleepyhead Wed 29-Jan-14 14:57:02

Not at the moment (and for a good few years), but we recently moved and stayed in catchment purposely so that we could be sure of a place for ds2. With the proposed future changes it looks like all bets are off. Ds1 will be starting High School by the time ds2 starts so there will be no sibling link.

I agree with thewaves - I'm absolutely gutted about the news re: the library/IT room. It's way overcrowded as it stands, the playground space is already inadequate and changing the catchment area in the future will take a good few years to bring down numbers.

I've no idea about what criteria they'll use to decide who gets in this year. Looked After Children, SEN, siblings in catchment and then distance from the school maybe?

The Parent Council & Head are very proactive and seem to be doing all they can to pressure GCC into taking action other than just catchment changes, but I feel really sorry for the staff to be facing all these challenges when the school has only been open 3 years!

prettybird Wed 29-Jan-14 15:19:17

Glendale Primary had the same issues: over the years that ds was there it lost the music (aka Noisy/Quiet) room, the Computer room and finally the Library. Lunches had to be done in shifts as did (I think) some of the playtimes. Every inch of the school was used for multiple purposes: the area between the classrooms was used for Structured Play, books were kept in the reception corner area, the gym was also the dining hall and assembly hall. Some of ds' PE sessions had to be taken outside as there weren't enough hours in the week to give every class access to the gym.

A new school is now being built - but they are building it for its current catchment requirement and totally ignoring the fact that there has been a massive amount of new building on the road opposite and all those professional couples that have moved in could just possibly wink go on to have kids hmm iand there is a high proportion of local families from ethnic minorities who have larger families - plus the fact that the next closest school is also bursting at the seams.

The Council's comment was that they "didn't need to think about the future - it was just what was required now that was important" hmmhmm. I thought that was what Planning was for confused

Glazzamataz Wed 29-Jan-14 20:59:21

The situation at Hillhead is a very sad state of affairs. So many stressed people. One contribution to the present problem is that the council have filled up the school in the past 3 years with placing request with no thought of how the school would manage in the years to come. People who live at considerable distance from the catchment - with additional knock on effect of increasing car use and traffic problems around the school.

Less than 3 years after it is opened there is talk of redrawing the catchment and people who have lived in the area for many years will be at risk of not getting their younger children in or a direct transfer to Hilllhead High once that become oversubscribed too in a few years (and its roll is increasing rapidly). Something is not right here. The council should be answering how many out of catchment children are actually in the school before a redraw is considered.

It is true this year there are not enough catchment places but the school could have coped if it wasn't filled up in the past 3 years with placing requests (or indeed families who have since moved out of the area but remain at the school). 2 years ago there were 5 P1 classes. Why?

Loss of the art room, music room, library/IT suite. A great school with great staff is being run down.

I have kids there and am very unhappy with the council. 4 schools into 1, and local people now losing out.

Oh and a nursery that is not even a feeder for the school on site?

I wish you all the best OP.

msapplecider Thu 30-Jan-14 06:04:16

thanks everyone for your thoughts. hmmmm it all sounds grim, and it angers me as it seems like the Council has just watched the problem develop without doing anything proactive about it, and the best they could think of was to send out letters like this to parents of new P1s, with just days to reconsider options… makes me want to lose faith in education (not that I had that much faith in the Council to start with, but…). not getting into Hillhead is one problem, but getting into another "local" school is yet a different problem because for us, all of the other options given are quite far away to get to in distance, and we don't really know the area the schools are or anybody that attends there. going up to the big school is already a big enough event for any 5-year olds (and their mums!) but to go somewhere completely unknown with no other friends would really too much, almost wrong… there must be lots of other families feeling the same and the Council thinks they can get away with it - I feel extremely frustrated with this all.

but anyways, moaning about things doesn't solve anything, so I'll stop. thanks again for all your thoughts! by the way does anybody have anything to say about other primaries in the west end? in this weird situation, one idea might be to put a placement request somewhere else to increase DD's chance of getting into an okay school rather than to wait until there's no choice left...

thewaves Thu 30-Jan-14 09:19:29

Good point about placing requests - it's a mess, I know several families who have older siblings at the school on placing request but now cannot get a place for younger siblings.

Before the new building, Hillhead primary was I think 70 per cent placing request due to the fact that not many children lived in the catchment... When my eldest child started it wasn't even at capacity. What has happened in the last few years?

sleepyhead Thu 30-Jan-14 09:52:59

I think (although class sizes would skew this) that P5-7 were relatively small compared to the infants when the school opened which might be part of it.

There's also been an increase in the birth rate in Glasgow in the last 7 years or so. They screwed up the maternity services as well by not anticipating it.

Same with the replacement hospital for Yorkhill. Lovely new building, fewer beds hmm

thewaves Thu 30-Jan-14 10:03:15

It just seems that everything that wax said to the council before the new school wax built - that the sure wasn't suitable, too small, there's a residential property in the playground etc have come true.

Half the upper scholl play ground is cordoned off because the grass area is too wet and muddy to play on. They can't seat the entire school together in the assembly hall. It's just nuts.

Glazzamataz Thu 30-Jan-14 14:23:19

OP I don't know what your letter says as I don't have one starting this year - do you have to select another school as a back up? It would really depend where you are, as the catchment is now encompassing 4 former areas....

If you are up Hyndland side (and Hillhead's catchment goes quite far up there) then obviously Hyndland Primary or Broomhill if non-dom only. I have no personal experience of either, maybe others can advise. Though their numbers may be climbing too.

Though at this stage you might still get into Hillhead? This might be council's first letter out to check exact numbers?

As for the rest....I agree that there should have been some planning done with this merger, especially as thewaves says the old Hillhead's roll included many placing requests and therefore the council should have planned for their siblings - no-one wants to have kids in different schools.

However, there were still new starts who were non-sibling placing request and the council should have had the foresight to see how that would effect numbers and classes as it advanced up the school.

How all this is going to effect children already in the school and the new 2014 intake, I do not know.

Less space all round, problems with PE timetabling, loss of general purpose rooms, no library /IT suite. And, as mentioned, an old house sitting in the middle of the school that should have been compulsory purchased in the first place.

Glazzamataz Thu 30-Jan-14 14:43:57

sleepyhead does that mean they took on more infants as upper school less at the time?

Surely they would have realised that was impossible to sustain? And classes could not be reduced each year as legally maximum numbers increased. Is it 25 p1, 30 p2 and p3 and then 33 after? I'm not certain exact rules.

sleepyhead Thu 30-Jan-14 17:22:10

Well, technically as the max numbers per class are higher as you go up the school you could get smaller numbers of classes by merging infants classes, which I think was the plan when they got the very large number of infants a couple of years ago (5 P1 classes, there had been 4 the year before). Of course that would help with the classroom situation but not overcrowding in the playground etc.

I don't know what the legal situation is with limiting intakes due to potential pressures in future years. It could be that the Council's hands are tied to a certain extent and that parents with placing requests turned down would get them on appeal if they could demonstrate that the school wasn't currently at maximum numbers. Certainly they'd be on a hiding to nothing if they tried to turn away catchment parents on that basis if there was a place available.

My biggest worry is the playground and other shared spaces. Classroom space can be found somewhere (I spent about half of my Primary years being taught in a Portakabin like many 80s children), but unless they can persuade the Council to buy that house, which looks less and less likely now that it's apparently going to be converted into flats, there's literally nowhere for the playground to expand to.

prettybird Thu 30-Jan-14 19:51:15

I know that in the planning process for the new Glendale, the council categorically stated that it would not does NOT plan for placing requests - only for the numbers it thinks are in catchment hmm - and not even "will be" in catchment angry

thewaves Thu 30-Jan-14 20:14:45

Well it looks like they re defintely going to redraw the catchment and it will be interesting to see how they do it and what capacity there is at other schools

prettybird Thu 30-Jan-14 21:29:09

They may end up redrawing the catchment - but that requires consultation. Therefore for this year, it probably does mean the school will lose all rooms that have another function but could be used as a classroom (ie the music room, the computer/IT room, the library, the art room). If it doesn't do that, you would win an appeal as there is room for your child.

Next step would be a portacabin in the playground (which the council hates doing as it costs them).

The education department is trying to scare you into applying elsewhere. The only ones who should legitimately be concerned are those kids are there as placing requests and who want their siblings to go in August as their priority is to the catchment kids (and cared for kids) and the Education Dept has no obligation to squeeze them in.

Glazzamataz Thu 30-Jan-14 23:34:12

A tent on the grass roof? My DD1 might quite like that ;-)

msapplecider Fri 31-Jan-14 11:01:30

on the letter we received (which was just a cut-and-paste of their generic Placement Request letter; they couldn't even be bothered to produce a new letter about this, so some bits of the letter don't even apply to this case with Hillhead… anyways), we are given Section A, where we get to say if the family has any special circumstances that should be considered before they assess general application (ie. medical condition of the child, siblings in school, single parent families), and then Section B with a list of four primary schools to choose from, should the application to Hillhead be unsuccessful. The four listed are Hyndland (which would be quite full anyway, no?), Dunard, Anderston and Oakgrove. I know nothing at all about any of these schools other than that they are all quite far away (all over 1 miles) from us. I spoke to the Head Teacher at Hillhead and he said that many parents are not choosing any from Section B, saying that none of the schools are suitable, and I'm tempted to do the same because I really can't choose.

but it sounds like whatever happens this year, the problem will stay for at least another few years and the quality of children's school experience is not going to improve magically anytime soon. hmmm, what do we do with the Council's shortsightedness? sometimes I don't know why I live in Glasgow - I just busted my tyre the other day because of a pothole on the road I couldn't see, I'm awaiting a reply from council tax department about a mistake they've made months ago, the list goes on and on…

prettybird Fri 31-Jan-14 11:50:29

If it's generic, then it will have been sent to everyone, regardless of whether they are in catchment or not. Suunds like anyone not in catchment will not get a place even if they have siblings already at the school.

If you are in catchment, then they will be required to make space - unless they can demonstrate that there is no space anywhere (including space for a portacabin) for the catchment kids. They might try to say you must go elsewhere but the ED would lose the appeal.

The headteacher will probably also be having a massive headache: she'll be having to make sure that every class is at its maximum capacity - and that may mean moving kids around and/or creating composite classes - which parents will hate if their child is settled with their cohort.

The redrawn catchment area could only kick in for 2015.

msapplecider Fri 31-Jan-14 18:17:04

well, I think that this time, they're saying that even if you are in catchment, there's not enough space, and I don't know how they're going to demonstrate that but that's what the letter says anyway. what I heard is that there'll be intake of 99, and there are 137 children in catchment (not counting placing requests from outwith catchment). I assume some of these kids will not necessarily be wanting to go to Hillhead, but still if they're saying that they are not taking any more than 99 then some of the children in catchment will have to be turned away. I mean, I don't know if they are allowed to do that, but then they make the law, don't they… I know of a family that recently bought a flat in catchment hoping to send their kids to Hillhead but if the council is going to re-draw catchment then there's no guarantee things are going to work for them.

was talking to another mum in the same situation and she said she's going to put in placing request for Gaelic School. it's just madness - something as important as our children's education, the council is not supporting us in making informed decisions about anything.

prettybird Fri 31-Jan-14 22:02:03

I repeat: if there are rooms that could be turned into classrooms even if parents would prefer that they stayed as per their original use then they can't refuse catchment requests. Ditto with if there is space in the playground for portacabins.

I've been through this as a member of the school board (and latterly parent council). We lost every single "extra" room and ended up with having shifts for both meals and playtime and some classes having to have their PE outside no matter the weather.

They might try to tell you otherwise and scare you into putting in placing requests elsewhere but you would win an appeal if they refused you a place.

KitKitKit Sat 01-Feb-14 08:42:58

Hi, I'm in the same situation as OP and got the same letter last week. Phoned the school and head teacher said that there WILL be new starters IN CATCHMENT who WON'T be given placement at Hillhead and in that case they'll be given a place at a nearby local school. I was very angry with the situation so really interested to read what prettybird was saying about the school not being able to refuse catchment requests. I hope she's right, because like misapplecider I wasn't prepared to send my DS to another school so haven't done any research and simply don't fancy any of the schools available. All his friends from the nursery are going to Hillhead and they live nearer the school so have better chance of getting in. Got the impression from the head teacher that he wanted to accept all requests but his hands were tied and they couldn't have any more than 3 classes for new P1. I wonder how soon we find out.

prettybird Sat 01-Feb-14 09:26:45

Glasgow City Council is very good at bullying will work hard to pull the wool over people's eyes - and the head teacher is not allowed to say anything other than the council line, for risk of a disciplinary.

If you look up the case law on appeals in Scotland (there was one in Edinburgh) you'll see that the only ones that failed were for siblings, not catchment kids.

If you say there are still rooms that could be used as classrooms, then the school would be forced to use them. I was more heavily involved with school board/parent council when the Scottish Government changed the P1 class sizes and the Education Dept was very clear then that the only way it could avoid losing appeals was to ensure that every possible room was used as a classroom.

It can however make things really difficult for you and make you jump through every hoop and preferably apply elsewhere go through the full appeals process. hmmsad

For the record I'm not actually against GCC and don't mind paying my astronomical council tax but I do think the Education Dept often displays terrible arrogance and the teachers/school do a good job despite not because of them, with one or two honorable exceptions

prettybird Sat 01-Feb-14 10:26:52

Consultation required

minimum timetables - and the council hasn't even published a consultation paper yet.

Take it up with your local councillor(s) and your MSP(s)

Glazzamataz Sat 01-Feb-14 12:42:49

It isn't a question of the school being obstructive (via council) though, the headteacher is very good and very helpful - it is rather a question of no space at all. Any room which can be made into a classroom will be made into that this year and STILL there is catchment oversubscription. In the last 3 years all general purpose rooms have gone and now media suite.

The playgrounds cannot accommodate a portacabin as far as I can see. The school has well over 600 children and this year it will be way over its working capacity.

I know of lots of people in the situation of the OP and other posters so I am not defending the decision but if there is no space there is no space. And that is what the council must answer.

4 schools into 1, lots of placing requests in last few years taking up to capacity, a derelict house in the middle of the school build that the council refuses to buy, an early years centre that could be accommodated elsewhere perhaps (they have not sold off all building of merged schools I believe). I would also be going local councillor and MSP route and asking them to determine the facts (because even us parents at the school might not know them all....)

A catchment change in the future will not answer all the current and future problems and is massively wrong for people it may impact who have lived in the Hillhead catchment area most of their (and their children's) lives.

thewaves Sat 01-Feb-14 14:13:32

Yes there have been whisperings about the ELC - but it's a great resource fir local parents, good nursery lovely staff.

It's just a mess. And a Shane children who live close by will not be able yo attend local school. And a shame that existing children will not have library/ IT suite etc

And ex Hillhead old scho kids still mourn the demise of the school sift play. There isn't room to move at that school.

Glazzamataz Sat 01-Feb-14 15:21:16

It is a mess, I agree, with no easy solution or one that all will be happy with. I understand about the EYC and that some local parents benefit but it isn't feeding directly into the school for all attendees? It is great for those it does and I do not personally want to bump it off, just looking at options.

Yes the soft play - very much missed.

sleepyhead Sat 01-Feb-14 16:21:27

Anyone know what's caused such a jump in school age children? I wonder what the stats are for the years coming up behind.

New housing? Most of the new building going on in our area the last few years has been purpose built student flats.

Families not moving out to the suburbs in the same numbers as previously?

Babyboomers/elderly in big flats downsizing/moving out of the city/moving to sheltered housing etc and being replaced by families?

Families who would have privately educated going state instead? (I know a few of these actually, but also a couple who are private because of not being able to get into Hillhead).

Dunno.

thewaves Sat 01-Feb-14 16:38:14

Sorry am on phone, posts increasingly incoherent! There seems to have been an increase in parents who may have previously opted fir private school saving money and sending to Hillhead.

But you do wonder if the council has made a mistake closing four schools.

thewaves Sat 01-Feb-14 16:39:29

Certainly north kelvinside seems to have become nappy valley in last few years -

prettybird Sat 01-Feb-14 16:59:17

If the library hasn't been converted yet (and is capable of being used as a classroom) then it will have to go sad. Don't know the school so can't say if it is suitable.

I wasn't meaning to gave a go at the head teacher - often he or she has their hands tied and you can get good information from them off the record if you develop a relationship with them wink. I do think the council at times is positively negligent in anticipating bulge requirements - accepting placing requests without contingency plans for when the school's catchment role increases - which anyone local can predict but the council sticks its head in the sand about hmm

BTW - somewhere in that legislation (can't look at it easily now as am on iPod) it makes it clear that the consultation should be 30 school days - which means that unless the council gets out a consultation paper within the next two weeks, it would be the end of April before the consultation period alone had finished let alone allowing for time for due consideration of the responses.

sleepyhead Sat 01-Feb-14 17:24:46

The library/IT room is definitely going, prettybird. That's already been confirmed. The other non-classroom rooms went a couple of years ago, the last time there was a big intake (5 P1 classes). The playground has been inadequate since the school opened and is made up of various small areas around the school so probably not suitable for temporary classrooms.

I agree about the 4 schools but can also see why the council did it. They were all well under numbers and all old Victorian buildings which probably all needed £££££s spent on them to get them up to standard. The best of the bunch (in terms of the building) was probably Dowanhill but I suspect they already had it earmarked as the Notre Dame replacement. Ultimately, they built on too small a site, but I think they were also quite limited in what they could do by local campaigning (eg not extending into the park. Certainly not enough space to build the Early Years centre too, which could easily have been built somewhere else.

thewaves Sat 01-Feb-14 17:43:24

Playground is inadequate and there are concerns about low fences of 'courtyard' fronting on to Gibdon St. As it is, the large grassy area in the back playground is cordoned off virtually all year round due to drainage problems.

Alot of staff time is taken up just managing the shortcomings of the building. The head teacher gives up his lunchtime to walk the children up the hill so they can play football.

The main concern of existing parents is that if the school is like this now then what will it be like when so many more children join.

DD came out of school in tears one day because she had only been able to eat half her Xmas dinner because so many children had opted fir it and thy coyldn't get them all sat down within the time period. There were still children waiting to get lunch when afternoon classes started! So you can understand why parents are concerned.

prettybird Sat 01-Feb-14 19:01:39

I can understand the pain: been there at ds' primary school sad - ended up with shifts for lunch and playtime, not all the classes able to have PE unless they go outside (great in a Scottish winter hmm) and a "library book box" in each classroom sad. What got/gets me is the intransigence of the council in refusing to plan for the future. They just say that they'll refuse placing requests in future and change the catchment if required - even though they know there is an increasing birthrate and new housing in the area. hmm

Why bother building a "Scotland's Future" school without actually considering the future?angry

thewaves Sat 01-Feb-14 19:21:58

Yes it just seems some people have a made pretty large error - but no one is held to account. The council is very complacent. sad

WentworthMillerMad Tue 11-Feb-14 18:49:56

Am v sorry to hear this and very good points made by sleepyhead. We sold our flat v close to Hilhead 2 years ago and EVERY family that viewed admitted to us that they had to 'keep up their left wing image' and make sure they 'sent their children to the local school'. This meant moving to the Hilhead catchment area and I think this is one reason for the increase in numbers of children.
Personally I am not judging but this is probably against the local school ethos!!! Fine if you have 300k to spend............

ouchthathurt Tue 11-Feb-14 19:02:16

I don't understand your post WentworthMillerMad. If they wanted to "keep up their left wing image" by sending their children to the "local" school, why weren't they sending their children to the local school they were already living in? Are you saying that they moved specifically into the Hillhead catchment area because they were moving to where the "good" school was? I am sure this HAS happened (as it happens all the time!) just a bit unsure of the "left-wing image" part of your argument!

It's obvious that there has been some woeful planning or non-planning going on to end up in this ridiculous predicament. Being on the doorstep of the University always meant that there would a fluctuating element dependent on the number of students with kids attending and the lecturers who only stay for a few years. THAT's a tricky one to judge but not to this degree surely?

Feel sorry for all the families with siblings already there. It doesn't sound like the best environment to be fighting to get into either! The teachers must be so frustrated as it looks like it has the potential to be a brilliant school (with a hundred or so less pupils!)

herdawness Thu 13-Feb-14 17:32:43

I have heard good things about the Gaelic school and also Dunard... Maybe take a look around the alternative schools before you decide whether to apply to any, get as much information as possible.

Hope it works out.

msapplecider Mon 17-Feb-14 08:55:07

thanks everyone and I just wanted to give you an update that on Saturday we received another letter from the Council, which said our DD would be going to Hillhead after all. so that was a relief for us, however I am aware that there would be many parents that have received letters saying otherwise. I heard somewhere that they had to turn down more than 30 children within the current catchment area. plus, it seems like there are a lot of ongoing issues with regards to overcrowding at school which need addressed urgently, so I don't feel that this is a simple happy ending at all… but thanks for all your feedback, I feel a lot more informed about the whole thing!

seakayak Mon 17-Feb-14 10:59:11

We live in the catchment and have just been informed that our DD will not be attending Hillhead. She has been placed elsewhere. I am angry that she will now miss out on making friends in the area. GCC's website states that it encourages children to go their catchment school in order that they can lay down roots in their local community. angry
Any ideas how we can fight this?

msapplecider Mon 17-Feb-14 16:42:18

seakayak, when we received the initial letter, we contacted our local councillors just to highlight the issue and although I was surprised that 3 out of 4 councillors were not even aware of the whole discussion, they were mostly helpful. they queried about it to the Council, communicated our anger on our behalf, raised the issue at other committee meetings they attended, and so on. I am not sure if these have made any difference but you could let your councillors know of the situation if you haven't done so - they will be obliged to listen and (try to) do something about it. I am not sure if you have the right to appeal but as the time frame is quite tight, you should be acting very quickly if you want to challenge the council's decision. I just found out myself that one of my DD's closest friends, who lives in the catchment and in fact quite close to us, has been placed in another school, and it is really upsetting not only because it's making things a bit awkward but also because as parents we cannot really explain to our daughters why they will not be going to the same school (while we've always said that they would). I think most of us agree that the Council is being extremely unfair and unprofessional about this all, and that should be addressed.

ouchthathurt Tue 18-Feb-14 03:07:36

Am interested to hear this update OP. I'm also curious as to which schools are taking up the "overspill". Sorry to hear your child did not gain secure a place at Hillhead seakayak - hope you can take this further with the council as msapplecider suggests.

Weegiemummy Tue 18-Feb-14 03:18:43

I've just seen this. We live Southside (Castlemilk - really don't judge, it's a particular choice of ours) but our dc are at the Gaelic school in the West End - it's brilliant and in fact is so successful that the Glendale rebuilding prettybird's mentioned involves building a new Southside Gaelic school.

It's now too late for this year (have recently submitted my ds's High School application for Ardsgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu -the High School that my dd1 attends) but anyone worried about admissions locally, really consider this school. Transport is included, your dc are bilingual, music/drama/singing provision is awesome. I honestly have hardly a bad word to say about it - my dd1 has been there since p2 (now in s2 - her p1 year was in the Hebrides) and ds and dd2 (now in p7&6) have been there since nursery.

seakayak Fri 21-Feb-14 12:08:38

Thanks for the advice @msapplecider, I have appealed directly to the Head of education and written to my councillor. They both gave words of support. Of course no assurances.
Enrolling at the other school today and the appeal will remain lodged. The whole situation is a mess and I am particularly annoyed that the letter stated that we had not been successful in our placement application. We did not apply to be placed! The alternative school is a bit of a hike away so I guess on the bright side we'll get some exercise.

MadameCumberbatchio Fri 21-Feb-14 21:26:02

I wasn't really aware if these issues with Hillhead. That's such a shame.

Carolside in East Ren is taking a bashing this year as they'll have 4 or 5 P1 classes and one class will have 40 children and two teachers.

It's not ideal, but I gather it's the same problem that Hilhead are having.

Monstermuncher Tue 25-Feb-14 15:30:45

There was a parents meeting about this at the school last night which highlighted current issues re lack of space, loss of general purpose rooms, insufficient toilet/playground/gym facilities and of course the catchment area/future reduced P1 intake. The council are seemingly unwilling to do anything that will cost money as they feel that merely redrawing the boundary of the catchment area will solve the overcrowding problem (even though this wouldn't really have an impact for a few years). The Parents council are actively challenging this but so far the council aren't budging. One proposed solution would apparently be to make use of the attached early years centre - ie to close it and use the space as classrooms. If the council are forced to spend some money then this would probably be a relatively cost effective action. Parent Council would support this but say it still would not be enough and suggest that an extension onto the top of the current nursery would be needed as well. Kelvin Park is massively popular and has a long waiting list for places and goodness knows what would happen to the staff. This would need to go to consultation etc but could potentially happen in the next few months. It is one big old mess which is effecting both current and future pupils and very worrying indeed.

blstringer Tue 25-Feb-14 20:30:19

Given the large number of placement kids at Hillhead and given that it is mostly local people who rely on Kelvin Park Early years. It surprises me that the council are considering closing the ludicrous option of closing the nursery.
Kelvin Park Early Years is also massively oversubscribed and the local community would be better served if the nursery were able to expand into the school.

Monstermuncher Wed 26-Feb-14 09:31:47

No one wants the nursery to close but if the council are forced into taking action to increase the size of the school site then they will most likely go for this as being the cheapest option. They are still ruling out the purchase of the house in the middle of the site as being much too costly.

blstringer Wed 26-Feb-14 16:57:55

If Monstermuncher is correct and the parent council would support a move to close the nursery, then this is disappointing. When the catchment area is redrawn the number of catchment kids will fall and the school should, after a year or two, be able to recover lost space.
Should the nursery close it will be closed for good. The nursery, very successfully, serves around 60 children, a large number of whom will migrate to Hillhead.
I understand there is a pressing need to free up space, but to close the nursery is not a balanced solution. What would be objectionable is if the nursery closes in order to free up space for placement requests.
Also, the nursery operates different hours to the school, so the impact on traffic of a child attending nursery is less than that of an additional school pupil.
If Hillhead ends up with an extra 60 places, potentially more if the council builds up the way, then the size of the school and and the impact on traffic would be approaching a tipping point were it would become difficult to manage traffic in the area at rush hour.
Finally, is it in anyone's interest to have a primary school with over 700 students

msapplecider Fri 28-Feb-14 09:39:11

Am now both relieved and worried to be sending my DD to Hillhead - relieved of course because we've always thought she was going there and that had always been our plan, but worried to learn more about these space and crowdedness issues. It does help to know, though, that there seems to be a very active parent council that are vocal about what matters.

I've just also found out that there would be no after school club provision at the school for 2014 starters - the service that's there just now is not taking on any new kids. This is a problem as I will definitely be needing someone to look after my DD until 6 and I'd prefer it if it was in a group/peer setting. I might start another thread on this topic, but does anyone know of any service that provides care for school children during after school hours? As I say I would like it if my DD could be with a group of other children rather than on her own or with just another child or two, but then if anybody knew of a good childminder I would definitely consider it. I cannot afford not to work (and I don't think being a stay-at-home isn't for me - I appreciate it works for some of us, but I don't think it would for me), so childcare is a huge issue. Really, sending kids to school shouldn't be this hard.

thewaves Fri 28-Feb-14 10:18:06

First of all

Hillhead primary is an excellent primary school, it really is but it is a victim of its own success. The staff will make the school work even though it is overcrowded. The main concern is the amount of physical and mental energy it takes to manage the building when do many spaces are in demand - it means a really tight turnaround for everything. It's just a headache the school does not need.

After school provision was brought up at the meeting. You are not alone in having concerns about this. If I move to working full time next month (a real possibility) then I will be in the same boat. sad

Also I agree about the nursery - it's a fab place, staff are really good and the provision from 2.5 onwards is a lifeline for many parents returning to work. I think the parent council were pushing fir alternative accomodation to be found for the nursery. There are existing council buildings which could be used especially for after-school.

ouchthathurt Sat 01-Mar-14 02:33:34

Wow. Close the nursery to free-up space for the primary school? Extend on top of the existing nursery? Really??!!

What a monumental and embarrassingly bad feat of planning this has been. They should have built it further into the park, made it twice the size and built a car-park over the bowling greens that they've spent thousands doing up in time for the Commonwealth Games.

The old Dowanhill Nursery and school that is now Notre Dame looks lovely. Shame it's a denominational school otherwise I would seriously consider it (although parking round there is a mare too!)

Monstermuncher Sat 01-Mar-14 15:03:17

That's good news that your daughter has a place Msapplecider. Thewaves is right, Hillhead is an excellent school despite the current issues. Goodness knows what will happen next ..

thewaves Sat 01-Mar-14 15:48:55

It looks like the council have promised to pave over the quagmire in the playground: thus was meant to be resemble rolling grassy hills but is actually a mud put. They are also installing more toilets in the playground to ease the pressure - apparently there are only 6 boys toilets at the moment shock

seakayak Mon 10-Mar-14 19:23:30

Hi, after accepting a place at Hyndland we've just been informed that there is a space for our Daughter at Hillhead after all. I have no idea what to do now. Go for overcrowding but in our area or Hyndland for full curriculum and after school care? All advice appreciated.

Monstermuncher Wed 12-Mar-14 10:12:41

That's a tough call Seakayak. Surely the other primaries are going to see their numbers go up as a result of children being turned away from Hillhead and will in turn be overcrowded themselves? After school care is a big consideration. At present there's only one provider at Hillhead (Karemore) but they are at capacity and I don't know if they are able to expand. This has been the case for quite some time and although there are noises being made about using existing council buildings to extend aftercare facilities there is nothing concrete. If you definitely need aftercare and can't get it at Hillhead that may well be the deciding factor. Perhaps speak to Karemore and see what their situation is?

blstringer Wed 12-Mar-14 15:03:45

The Hillhead primary parents council minutes for the March meeting were published online and may be of interest to you seekayak.
The parent council appear to be pushing to annexe, literally and figuratively the nursery. If it happens the school would be a more attractive proposition for some.
As this solution is shortsighted, short term and unfair, it's probably the one the council will opt for.

ouchthathurt Wed 12-Mar-14 17:37:14

Oh dear, feel sorry for the nursery if that is deemed to be a solution to the problem! What a fiasco.

Issi74 Wed 19-Mar-14 11:57:05

Hi - just wanted to state that its not the Parent Council how are pushing for the annexe. In the meetings that they have held with the Council on the problems of the overcrowding, Glasgow Council have offered this as a solution, not the parent council pressing for it. The Parent Council also asked in these meetings that if this was to transpire, then the Council would need to factor in an alternative provision which could provide more places since the demand is so high. Just don't want the perception that if the nursery closes, its down to the Parent Council!!

VodkaKnockers Sat 29-Mar-14 15:35:07

Re the after school provision, I know that Safe Til Six in Community Central Halls pick up children from Hillhead primary and also pick up from 6 surrounding schools.

It might be worth speaking to them now as I know they can get over subscribed from some of the schools

blstringer Thu 10-Apr-14 14:52:25

I was disappointed to read the headline in today's evening times. If the story is accurate, never a given, it adds to the overall impression that the parent council is exerting pressure on the council to close the nursery to expand the school.
The parent council may claim they are merely attempting to force the council to address the difficulties the school is experiencing, however as they refuse to accept that reducing the catchment area will be sufficient, the only alternative being offered is to close the nursery, the p.c know this.
I do not disagree with the p.c's actions, they are acting in the best interests of their children, however I do hope the council consult properly on this and listen to all voices not just a small well motivated and organised group.
With proper management of the catchment area, the school roll will be reduced over the next two to three years and the community will continue to have a very successful nursery. The alternative is a school of nearly 700 pupils, which is not desirable and no nursery.

TheBogQueen Wed 23-Apr-14 11:43:58

The alternative is a school of nearly 700 pupils, which is not desirable and no nursery

What surprises me is that the city council has managed to bungle the planning, construction and organisation of what should be a flagship primary school for Glasgow.

And everyone accepts it in this sort of 'oh well' attitude.

At least the parent council at that school are taking the council to task for this cock-up - losing the nursery provision will be disgraceful, it will impact many working parents in that area, ditto the after school care.

But, you know, in the next two to three years it might start to get a bit better...well done Glasgow City Council! hmm

Hiphopmommy Thu 24-Apr-14 15:24:41

I have been waiting since march to hear wether my daughter is getting her place to start in August 2014 I phoned today to ask and they say she's still on waiting list and I will get a phone all on Monday to say if she had got a place. That is all based on wether ppl are not bothered and move there child to another school. Nothing I can do apart from wait but I won't give because am in the catchment area and I js feel angry about the whole situation angry

Wabberjocky Thu 24-Apr-14 17:22:35

Think unless you live really close (hillhead st, cecil st, Gibson st) it's really hard to know sure....I know of somebody who lives right behind waitrose who can't get in....it's appalling.

Those of you not getting in....how close to the school are you?

JTER Thu 17-Jul-14 13:35:47

Hi Mumsnetters,

I have started a petition on 'Change.org' to stop the catchment change for Hillhead Primary School. Could you support this by signing? I have a very long way to go, as I'm looking for 1,000 signatures before the public consultation on this ends on 29th September 2014. The link is here:

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/glasgow-city-council-stop-the-proposal-to-change-the-catchment-area-for-hillhead-primary-school-in-Glasgow.

Could you please ask all your friends to sign this too? Thank you very much for supporting this.

JTER Thu 17-Jul-14 18:57:28

Hi again Mumsnetters,

Re my previous email, apologies for the previous non-functioning link. I think the link below should work:

www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/glasgow-city-council-stop-the-proposal-to-change-the-catchment-area-for-hillhead-primary-school-in-glasgow

Thank you for your support.

keepkelvineyc Mon 21-Jul-14 13:01:47

Over 120 children attend Kelvin Park Early Years Centre. There is a long waiting list too. The majority either have kids at Hillhead PS or plan to send their kids there. The Council did come up with expansion options and could both expand the school and keep the nursery on site - if enough people make a noise they will have to spend the money to make this happen! So we are asking parents from all affected schools and nurseries to please sign our petition to save the nursery...

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/glasgow-city-council-keep-kelvin-park-early-years-centre-on-site

keepkelvineyc Fri 12-Sep-14 23:33:06

If Kelvin Park Early Years closes there is a massive knock on effect all around the West End and the other Council Nurseries like Elie St and Belhaven will all be impacted on. Another knock on affect will be Garscube Playrooms will be given notice to leave their premises after 35 years on site so Cowcaddens nursery can expand. Save Kelvin Park EYC!

chiajan Sun 14-Sep-14 02:28:37

Hi parents! I am moving to Glasgow from Singapore in Nov. My children 4 &6 years old needs a school. We totally new about school systems here.

Hillhead is good but over subscribed. Would like to ask what is the main different btw popular and non popular schools?
Any parents have reviews on Anderson Primary School or any other not so popular schools?

Thank you very much for your help.

TheBogQueen Thu 25-Sep-14 22:24:21

Hillhead primary now faces decanting its P7 pupils to the high school 3/4 days a week to get some extra space. This would be fir the foreseeable future . There is no information about how thus would work out day to day - do the children have dinner at high school? What happens at break time? Gym? What about pick up/drop offs for parents with several children?

It seems pretty extreme to split up a primary school - particularly decanting P7s preparing for transition to various high schools - to preserve a nursery.

This is our school community which will be directly affected by this - 700 children.

My daughter will be one of those p7s decanted to the high school - and that means no settled classroom, carrying materials up and down the hill, no work on walls, constant up and down hill - at a time when she should be consolidating her learning in preparation for S1.

I bet none of the vocal
Parents campaigning for the EYC
Would tolerate that for their own child.
I appreciate the nursery is an excellent resource but there are many really good state nurseries and private nurseries nearby.

It just seems wrong that education fur 700 children is compromised to preserve the nursery.

The responsibility lies with the council but of course they are happy to sit back and watch the community blame each other fir this dreadful situation.

keepkelvineyc Fri 03-Oct-14 02:00:35

Bog Queen, many and most of the parents who have children at the nursery who want to keep it open are also parents at the school!

127 of the children at the school attended the EYC - given that the EYC has only been open for 3 years that's a large turnover of children who go through transition from the nursery to the school.

The campaign to save the EYC is just that, we simply don't want it closed as it's an essential and excellent facility. The Council aren't proposing to relocate it, (it would cost them over a million pounds to find and refurb a property to statutory nursery standards) - they will simply shut it down thus immediate scattering of 120 children, many with siblings at the school. We believe there are lots of ways space can be found for the drama/dance/art facilities without resorting to this drastic solution. Please see our website:

keepkelvineyc.wordpress.com/suggested-solutions-to-lack-of-gp-rooms-at-hillhead-school/

Please note we aren't supporting any one solution so we are also very keen to hear more about the transition option. But nowhere does it say it's 3/4 days a week at the High School? It says 2 days a week:

https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=22643&p=0

Transitioning is done at Jordanhill/Glasgow Academy/Hutchesons Grammar etc. Any mums have first hand knowledge about it?

did you get the info from that your child would be 'decanted' to the high school 3/4 days a week?

TheBogQueen Fri 03-Oct-14 07:36:22

What's staggering about the high school suggestion is that there is no detail at all.

The high school is opposed saying there is no space.

Where will my child have lunch?

Where will they have break times?

If will take three members off staff to walk them up to the high school

What about the Muslim girls who are going to all girls school at S1?

What about the children who are not going to the High School?

Transitions must be managed very carefully - there are children who are not yet ready for an s1 environment. For a lot of children this will be disruptive but for some it will be incredibly stressful

What do they do with all their classroom resources? Do they carry those about? Do the teachers pack up and transport what the need fir each day they are st the high school? What about access to white boards?

There are so many unanswered questions. My child's education is being affected by a proposed 'policy' which appears to have been scribbled on the back of a fag packet.

And thus isn't about drama, dance facilities - this is about 2classes of p7 children having to share a classroom. Losing IT suite and library. Struggling to feed all the children at lunchtime. Unable to fulfil the gym requirement. Hyndland school also opposed to taking any extra children.

keepkelvineyc Fri 03-Oct-14 22:19:15

Hi Bog Queen,

I do sympathise that the school has space issues. I just don't think it's as simple as closing the nursery to create extra space for the school. Lots of schools in Glasgow are facing space issues but don't close their nurseries to sort out the problem, making one a sacrificial lamb for the other. The ideal educational model that Scottish Govermment is trying to promote is co-location of school and nursery.

If Notre Dame have space problems will they try and take over their nursery? If the Gaelic school have space problems would they sacrifice their nursery? Shutting Kelvin Park EYC to sort out school space issues would create a precedent. It is already a precedent that the school parents are campaigning for it's closure, usually schools fight to keep their nurseries.

The two P7s are sharing the ICT suite and that's far from ideal, I do sympathised but it's not a classroom, it's actually a larger space than 2 classrooms put together and is partitioned. The school could have put 1 P7 in the remaining GP room but have chosen to retain it for GP -general purpose. And there is the social space which is also very large and a depute head told me currently gets used for drama and also houses the library.

We are a group of parents who mostly also have kids at the school or kids who will go there when they are older, we genuinely want the school to have more space and there are potential spaces on site for creation of extra rooms as per the list the council produced in Feb 2014. Did you look at the link I posted about suggested solutions?

The Council are going to cap intake at 90 from now regardless of whether the nursery stays open or closes so figures will go down.

Ironically, as someone from another school pointed out much earlier in this thread, if the nursery is taken and there is then technically lots more room the school will be vulnerable to placing requests and any newly created GP rooms will be usurped as classrooms anyways. Taking the nursery won't solve the canteen lunchtime issue and an increased roll call would make that worse.

I do wonder why they don't stagger lunchtimes like many other schools in the same boat? Fingers crossed the Council find a solution to suit everyone, we are all after all part of the same community and should share!

TheBogQueen Sat 04-Oct-14 12:51:18

Frankly I can't see any 'educational model' be followed by any of the cojncil's suggestions. My P7 child will simply be shunted about to solve the space problem. They can't stagger lunchtimes easily because they need the dinner hall for gym. Likewise the social space is cluttered with the library so they can't do gym in there.

The head teacher currently gives up his lunch hour to take groups if children up to the football pitch fir space to play (accompanied by a rota of parents helpers)

The nursery campaign seems to be championing portacabins in the playground. There is not enough space for them. Once they are there they will never go. Where do the children at?
One to one SEN provision is affected. Children face getting extra help in corridors.

Art is problematic - they are not supposed to do art work in the classrooms.

The chdren mourn the loss of the IT room. There is not enough room in classrooms fur everyone to do IT. And frankly P7s sharing a classroom - even if it is slightly larger us not at a ideal - these children need to be working hard in peace, they need to be consolidating their learning in preparation for S1.

I appreciate the nursery is a fantastic resource fir working parents ( I work full time and have 3 children) but I do not think that childcare should come at a cost to education of older children particularly in the critical p7 year.

TheBogQueen Sat 04-Oct-14 12:52:13

Here is the effect on SEN children:

“Recently I met with a group of parents to discuss the direct effects of overcrowding on their ASC affected children. Stress effects have been very obvious since school returned and ‘break out’ space no longer existed for support activities.

Parents have recorded a resurgence of behaviours and symptoms that had abated during the last couple of school years. These include sleep disorders, loss of appetite and self-harming in children. Break out space is really important for neuro-diverse children who suffer from sensory overload. Sometimes they just need a quiet place they can go to calm down in and this is no longer available to them.

Space for children to meet with specialists for planned support and interventions is also increasingly difficult to find. This means that unintentionally disruptive behaviour on the part of affected children is on the increase. Parents also reported that educational progress made by their children was being reversed as a result of the loss of space for dedicated educational and social interventions.”

TheBogQueen Sat 04-Oct-14 12:53:52

“The new proposal to send P7 children to Hillhead High School is flawed. The children will face a disrupted week and will be forced into a difficult transition before they are ready. For ASC and other children who rely on routine and familiar surroundings for security this will be disastrous. It will cause emotional, social and educational challenges that they are not equipped to cope with. ‘Hot desking’ should not be implemented with children. Temporarily vacated classrooms are not the same as dedicated library, gym or g.p. room space. Turning our children into itinerant learners is not an option.

The promise that g.p. space will return after four years means that for four years, the larger part of a pupil’s primary school life, children with ASCs and other conditions or circumstances requiring support, will be in a non inclusive environment. Their needs will not be met. Is this acceptable?

My daughter attended nursery staffed by the Kelvin Park team and I strongly believe that team should be kept together and offered an alternative site. A move to a new site with the same staff would be a minimal disruption for the children currently attending Kelvin Park. A move to a new nursery would cause minimal disruption compared to that suffered by P7 children forced to split their week between their familiar primary school and the high school.

Fundamentally, the council should offer an alternative site for Kelvin Park. This is where efforts should be focussed, not in half-baked proposals that will damage a school community” contributed by Fionnuala Featherstone

TheBogQueen Sat 04-Oct-14 13:15:20

I know I've posted a lot of text

But I just wanted to show that this isn't about a small PTA clique who only care about their own children

It isn't about not getting enough art or drama - it has real effects on basic education especially for the children who are more vulnerable to change.

prettybird Sat 04-Oct-14 15:57:29

Given that nursery is at most 2 years and is often at a location other than the primary school, I would have thought that the least disruptive thing - looking at the whole school population, would be to move the the nursery.

Ds went to a primary school which had no on-site nursery. Even if there is an on-site nursery - does every P1 go to that nursery. The fact that that isn't the case, demonstrates that an on-site nursery is not a necessity. Sufficient nursery places within the catchment, yes, but on-site No.

I agree with TheBogQueen that it is a far greater disruption to make P7s effectively itinerant - and extremely unfair on them.

Re the GP rooms - that unfortunately is the nature of our schooling system. Unless and until gp rooms become mandated, they will always be commandeered to become classrooms. The only way around it in new builds would be to deliberately design gp rooms that were unsuitable as classrooms (too long/strange shape/too narrow) hmm

In ds' primary school, the enrolment nearly doubled during his time there (no school closures in the vicinity, just a combination of birthrate and placing requests), so it progressively lost its noisy/quiet room, its computer room and finally its library sad - and also had to have staggered lunch and play times. Every single square inch of that school was used - sometimes many times over. Not everything could be stored inside so there was a container for books etc outside.

Visitors waiting to see the head teacher (or any other teacher) had a small bench outside the small office in an area which also doubled for structured play.

The space was so tight that if parents wanted to withdraw their kids from SHRE classes (which, as a school with a high Muslim population - some of whom were quite fundamentalist, was a likelihood) the head had to say that while it was within their rights to withdraw them from the class, the children would have to be picked up for the hour and returned afterwards, as there was literally nowhere in the school to put them while the SHRE class was going on.

TheBogQueen Sat 04-Oct-14 18:18:51

Yes

The P7s are currently sharing the old library. There are 58 children in there. They have a cardboard partition which is head height so they can hear everything each of the two teachers say.
How can NT children learn effectively? Goodness knows what the SEN children make of it.

The nursery is an emotive issue - and one which has considerable celebrity and political support.

And yes Prettybird every inch of Hillhead is utilised. The council is capping numbers and shrinking the catchment but this will not solve the problem entirely.

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