Hillhead Primary - oversubscribed!

(93 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!

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).


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.

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