Falkirk’s plan for RC intake change is backed

St Mungo's High School
St Mungo's High School

Proposed changes to the 
admission policy at Falkirk Council’s Roman Catholic schools have been given widespread support.

The local authority will now go ahead with plans to allow only those children who have been baptised in an RC church to enrol at their catchment denominational school.

All other pupils will now be required to submit a placing request to attend such schools.

The changes will be introduced from the start of the 2015/16 session in August.

Education officials said the shake-up in policy was needed to cope with the growing demand for places in denominational schools.

A report to this week’s education executive noted it was “to ensure that capacity can be protected and spaces can be reserved for Catholic pupils where necessary”.

Falkirk is one of the few local authorities which has a growing population, bringing pressure on school placements. Last year, 40 pupils were refused admission to the area’s denominational schools because of high demand.

An eight week consultation was carried out earlier this year which included sending out over 6000 consultative documents and holding three public meetings.

Responses showed 100 per cent of staff were in favour of the change, while parents were split with 56 per cent in favour and 44 per cent against.

The Scottish Secular Society objected to the proposal, claiming it was “divisive and discriminatory”.

However, Education Scotland said: “Overall, the council’s proposal is of educational benefit.”

Councillors agreed to introduce transitional arrangements for non-RC families who already have children at their catchment denominational school.

For the next five years, siblings of pupils already enrolled will be entitled to free school transport if eligible.

Hector Cairns, the RC representative to the education executive, said: “The consultation was very far-reaching and this proposal is very fair.”

Councillor Gerry Goldie said: “I support the desire of parents of any denomination and none to go to lengths to obtain the best educational prospects for their children. This shows that Falkirk is a great place to be educated when there is such a demand for places.”