Education chief is given a telling off

St Bernadette's Primary
St Bernadette's Primary

Falkirk Council’s education director faced a grilling from outraged parents over the decision to cap places at a 
Larbert primary school.

Andrew Sutherland attended Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council’s monthly meeting on Monday to answer questions on why primary one places have been capped at 30 in St Bernadette’s Primary in Stenhousemuir when the school is only at 52 per cent capacity.

Parents in the area have accused the council of a lack of foresight in planning for places when the school was built saying the demand for places has been underestimated.

Mr Sutherland said: “I acknowledge the fact this wasn’t appreciated at the time, but there has been unprecedented demand with a spike in the P1 population. We had to make a difficult decision and we have to look ahead four or five years to make sure schools can handle capacity further down the line.”

Mums and dads who attended the packed meeting also called for Mr Sutherland to reconsider the cap as he revealed children may have to be bussed to St Mary’s primary in Bo’ness if their parents wanted them to go to a Catholic school.

Councillor Tom Coleman said: “It’s not a good use of 
resources, it’s a piece of nonsensical and unsustainable logic.”

Councillor Coleman also urged the education director to seek funds from the administration to invest in places for local families, while Councillor Steven Carleschi said he would try to have standing orders suspended to allow another discussion to take place at the council.

Mr Sutherland said he would discuss the further investment suggestion with the council’s administration.