Pupil refused high school switch despite being threatened with knife

The 11-year-old was told 'not to play in the street' by police after being targeted by another child.

Glasgow primary school pupil refused switch despite being threatened with knife Getty Images

An 11-year-old girl trying to escape severe bullying has been refused a school placing request despite incidents including being threatened by a girl claiming to have a knife.

The pupil wants to go to high school at Saint Roch’s in Royston instead of nearby All Saint’s to avoid bullies in the Barmulloch area who have made her recent primary school years a misery. 

In November she was chased from a playpark at Croy Road by a youth claiming to have a knife, among other incidents. 

Her family also received a call from her school in December warning that she must be collected following a police warning that the same youth had threatened to go the primary to seek her out.

Police had suggested that the P7 student shouldn’t play in the street, which her family felt was unfair as she is the victim. 

To give their daughter a fresh start her parents submitted a placing request for out of catchment St Roch’s as her confidence is being sapped with stress and worry. 

But they were shocked to receive an “upsetting” and impersonal letter saying their request was refused. 

Despite the request outlining bullying concerns the family received a general response, which didn’t focus on the “child’s individual needs” according to a councillor.  

Cllr Audrey Dempsey said: “She has been a victim for three years to the point that police have been involved. She is lacking in confidence and doesn’t go on school trips. She is full of dread going out the door in the morning.”

Springburn and Robroyston Labour councillors Dempsey and Thomas Rannachan are fighting the cause of parents in the area struggling to get “suitable” school places. They want a rethink on how placing requests are dealt with. 

Councillor Dempsey called for a more personalised approach for letters sent to parents during placing requests and for individual needs to be more closely looked at.

She said she has been told the communication is led by the Scottish Government and believes it does not support Holyrood’s commitment to getting it right for every child. 

Commenting on the St Roch’s placing request letter of refusal she said: “It is a standard response that is not tailored. It makes no sense to the individual child or parents.”

The letter said the request was refused for a number of reasons including that it “would be seriously detrimental to the educational well-being of pupils attending the school.” 

Cllr Dempsey said such a statement in reference to a child is “alarming for parents to read” and the wording is a “disgrace”. She pointed out the child hoping to go to St Roch’s “doesn’t get into bother and keeps herself to herself” and was high achieving before the bullying started. 

The refusal letter did not mention St Roch’s was oversubscribed but said the authority “would require employing another teacher” and the “accommodation at the school would have to be altered with significant money spent.” 

Councillor Rannachan described the process as a like a “computer says no” scenario.

A council spokeswoman said: “We know that placing request refusals are upsetting for families but when our schools are at capacity we are left with no option but to follow the statutory placing request criteria to make the process fair and equitable to everyone in the city.

“Responses to families must follow the legal requirements set out in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 Section 28A.

“Families can of course use their right to appeal the decision where they would be able to make their case to the appeal board.”

St Roch’s S1 intake is at capacity and all placing requests were considered together.

The Scottish Government declined to comment.