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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 18:40 GMT
School places court victory
Linlithgow Academy
The school must find places for the children
Parents of seven children who were denied admission to their local school have succeeded in having the decision overturned.

The children, who attended Winchburgh Primary School, were refused entry to Linlithgow Academy by West Lothian Council on the grounds of overcrowding.

The parents took their case to Linlithgow Sheriff Court last week and were informed by a sheriff on Tuesday that the decision should be overturned.

Bruce Burnside
Bruce Burnside: "David against Goliath"
They had accused the council of neglecting its duty to provide sufficient places at the school over a number of years.

The parents hailed the court ruling as a victory for common sense.

Bruce Burnside said: "Elated, I think is the word, it's better than winning the lottery as far as I'm concerned.

"At the start we thought it was a mammoth task taking the council on but at the end of the day we've won.

"It was David against Goliath."

Fellow parent Maggie Cornwall said it would be great news for the children, who have been sent to school in nearby Broxburn.

Ruling welcomed

She said: "It's been hanging over them now for a good few months and it's been a huge worry and now it's all over for them. They can get back to school."

Politicians have also welcomed the ruling.

Scottish National Party MSP Fiona Hyslop, who supported the parents' campaign, said she was "absolutely delighted".

"This ruling means that the council can no longer ignore the pleas of parents and pupils with justice on their side," she said.

There seems to have been a lack of forward planning by the council

Jim Docherty
Scottish Secondary Teachers Association
Tory education spokesman Brian Monteith described the case as a "fiasco".

"This gives us yet more evidence that local authorities can't be trusted to deliver on their responsibilities to local parents and pupils," he claimed.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) said the judgement came as "no surprise".

Assistant general secretary Jim Docherty said: "This problem was being discussed in Linlithgow five and 10 years ago.

"There seems to have been a lack of forward planning by the council."

'Increase resources'

West Lothian Council expressed disappointment at the decision and said it plans to carry out an urgent review of circumstances at the school.

Councillor David McGrouther, convener of the education committee, said: "One of the things which West Lothian Council values highly is the provision of education for its children.

"We are going to have to look at the resources which Linlithgow Academy has and it may well be that we will have to increase these resources in order that there is no question of severe detriment to any child who is being educated at the academy."

The children will have to wait for a reorganisation of timetables before they can start at the academy.

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See also:

14 Feb 03 | Education
14 Jun 01 | Education
24 Apr 01 | Education
02 Aug 00 | Education
23 Apr 01 | Education
14 Jul 00 | Education
18 Apr 00 | Education
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