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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 12:35 GMT
Council dampens campus fears
School sign
There are claims of trouble on the campus
Education chiefs in Midlothian have played down concerns about violence and disruption on Scotland's first shared secondary school campus.

It has been alleged that pupils had been assaulted and staff threatened at the Dalkeith Schools Community Campus.

It houses Roman Catholic and non-denominational high schools.

Education director Donald MacKay said the council would speak to parents - but warned people not to get the incidents out of proportion.

More than 2,000 pupils from the Roman Catholic St David's and the non-denominational Dalkeith High School are now based on the campus, along with pupils from Saltersgate special needs school.

We will be contacting parents of pupils attending St David's and Dalkeith High Schools to update them on aspects of pupil behaviour and the steps we are introducing to overcome any difficulties
Donald MacKay
Education director
Controversy arose shortly after the school opened last year when the pupils at the new campus were segregated in the dining area and playgrounds.

That measure was introduced while pupils settled into their new surroundings but was dropped after about two weeks.

Mr MacKay said there were no plans to return to separate playground areas.

The council said concerns had been raised about a "small number of incidents" affecting pupils, one of whom needed hospital treatment.

"We will be contacting parents of pupils attending St David's and Dalkeith High Schools to update them on aspects of pupil behaviour and the steps we are introducing to overcome any difficulties," said Mr MacKay.

'Tiny proportion'

"However, it would be wrong to get the incidents out of proportion.

"While each one is taken very seriously and we are recommending measures which will help address the overall situation, we are talking about a tiny proportion of the 1,700 schools community who are involved."

St David's High School Board said change had been introduced too quickly and three families were refusing to send their children to classes at Dalkeith Schools Community Campus.

We want the schools to be able to decide when the time is right for full integration and not have it imposed by councillors on a whim
John McHenery
St David's school board
Families attended a meeting on Wednesday night organised by the board, which wants supervised safe areas for children who feel they are under threat.

Board chairman and meeting convener John McHenery stressed that the incidents were not widespread and they were "territorial" rather than sectarian.

He said: "The parents were concerned that the council have imposed changes in the way the school was managed without consultation and with apparent disregard for the views and concerns of the senior management team at St David's school.

"In our opinion it's not a religious issue. St David's has a very high proportion of non-Catholic pupils and no religion at all. It's purely territorial, we think."

"We want the schools to be able to decide when the time is right for full integration and not have it imposed by councillors on a whim."




SEE ALSO:
Segregation of pupils ends
17 Nov 03  |  Scotland
School segregation defended
03 Nov 03  |  Scotland


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