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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 00:23 GMT
Spat over top school's catchment
Pupil and teacher - generic
East Renfrewshire has some of Scotland's most popular schools
A row has broken out over enrolment at a school which was given the best ever inspector's report (HMIe) for a Scottish secondary.

East Renfrewshire Council is attempting to limit the number of pupils enrolling at St Ninian's in Giffnock, which has been given unprecedented HMIe marks.

It said it could not take children from new developments in parts of the school catchment area that extends to Glasgow.

Lawyers for the two councils will meet next week to seek a solution.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education awarded St Ninian's seven "excellents" and 10 "very goods" in the report published on Tuesday.

The watchdog listed the exemplary behaviour, courtesy and hard work of pupils as a key strength of the school.

St Ninian's curriculum was noted for comprehensive provision for sixth-year pupils and its support for school leavers going on to university, college, work or training.

We have an obligation to all families and staff concerned to resolve this matter through discussion and consultation
Bailie Gordon Matheson
Glasgow City Council

Headteacher John Docherty, whose leadership merited the "excellent" category, said: "If anyone asks what our secret is, it's teamwork, the teamwork that involves pupils, teaching and support staff, parents, the community, church and council."

The row over enrolment has been exacerbated because the school's catchment area stretches over both East Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

Parents eager for their children to attend the highly-rated secondary school had bought houses worth up to 250,000 in a development which is within the existing catchment area for St Ninian's.

However, East Renfrewshire Council has warned residents from the new developments near Stewarton Road and Parkhouse Road that their children would not qualify for automatic entry into the school.

It said the development has new street names and would have to be added to the catchment area.

The council also claimed the school is already operating above capacity and there is no room for more pupils.

'Friendly neighbour'

It said it had raised the impending problems with Glasgow City Council since 1998 and that Glasgow now has responsibility for providing secondary education for children from the new developments.

Councillor Elaine Green, the council's vice-convenor of education, said residents in the new builds had been misled by the builders and by Glasgow City Council into believing they have right of automatic entry to St Ninian's.

"We are keen to reach a solution to an issue which we fully appreciate is causing concern to some parents in Glasgow who have bought or are planning to buy houses which they believe are associated with St Ninian's, but which, in fact are not," she added.

Glasgow City Council said although the new houses were within the Glasgow boundary, they were on land where children had gone to East Renfrewshire schools in the past.

Bailie Gordon Matheson from Glasgow City Council said: "We are a friendly neighbour of East Renfrewshire and we have an obligation to all families and staff concerned to resolve this matter through discussion and consultation.

"That will remain Glasgow's approach."



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