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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 16:39 GMT
Parents rejecting local schools
Many schools have taken steps to become more appealling
One in four parents of children starting primary education want to avoid their local school, according to new Scottish Executive figures.

The statistics show a total of 31,000 families applied to send their children to other primary and secondary schools.

A total of 86% of all requests were granted compared to 82% in 2002/03. This rate had been declining slowly in recent years.

Many schools are making improvements in an attempt to address the problem.

Applications to Inveralmond Secondary School in West Lothian have soared since it took steps to become more appealing to parents.

My perception was that nobody really cared
Andrew Lawrence

Apart from tackling bad behaviour, lateness, and bullying, it has also put bright children onto fast track courses and refurbished the school toilets.

Parent Andrew Lawrence said some mothers and fathers almost felt scared when visiting the school.

"The corridors used to be noisy the whole time and even as an adult you felt unsure of yourself coming into school.

"Children did what they wanted and my perception was that nobody particularly cared."

The problems at Inveralmond led to parents swamping neighbouring schools with applications.

Ewan Aitken, from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said: "It puts an enormous pressure on everyone involved. It puts pressure on schools, authorities, parents and on pupils."

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