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School catchment areas in Dumfries set to change

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
School catchment areas in Dumfries set to change

PROPOSED changes to school catchment areas in Dumfries are being welcomed by teachers, parents and pupils.

Councillors are now being asked to rubber stamp the plans to change the catchment area of Dunscore Primary School, Holywood Primary School, Wallace Hall Academy and North West Community Campus.

The Burnhead community currently falls under the catchment for Holywood Primary, which is associated with North West Community Campus in Dumfries.

However, Auldgirth and District Community Council met with Dumfries and Galloway Council’s education director in June 2019 calling for this “historical anomaly” to be addressed and for the Burnhead community to be brought within the catchment area for Wallace Hall Academy.

In order for this to happen, the council will have to realign the catchment area of Dunscore Primary – which is linked with Wallace Hall Academy.

A statutory consultation on the matter was carried out from between September and November last year, including a public meeting at Auldgirth Village Hall, where just one person attended. Council education chiefs have taken the views of the community council on board and are now recommending that the school catchment area is altered.

A report, due to be tabled at the council’s education committee next Tuesday, reads: “Education Scotland recognised the council’s proposal to change the catchment area of school aged children living in the Burnhead area to that of Dunscore Primary School has potential educational benefits.

“HM inspectors agree that this proposal will support the continuity of learning and transition arrangements from primary to secondary school.

“HM inspectors agreed with stakeholders that the proposal should reduce the number of placing requests to both primary and secondary schools.

“In addition, it will entitle a small number of children to access school transport to both their chosen and nearest primary school.

“This may result in a reduction in fuel costs for a few families.

“Children who spoke to HM inspectors were supportive of the proposed change to primary catchment areas. They see value in the proposal as they think they would enjoy shared transport to school and believe that this will positively impact on the environment.”

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