Dundee City Council has denied claims Invergowrie school pupils were “not considered” under plans to change Harris Academy’s catchment area.
A public consultation on controversial proposals to remove Invergowrie Primary as a feeder school to Harris Academy raised concerns that the “educational benefits” of Invergowrie pupils had not been considered.
Currently school pupils in the village, which is part of Perth and Kinross Council rather than Dundee City, have a choice between Harris Academy and Perth High School.
However the new proposals mean that from August 2021 Invergowrie pupils may not be automatically eligible for a place at Harris Academy and could have to travel to Perth Academy instead – more than 20 miles away.
In an updated report on the plans, Dundee City Council (DCC) remains committed to the realignment of the Harris’ catchment area and dismissed claims Invergowrie had been overlooked.
The revised paper reads: “A number of consultees raised the concern that educational benefits for Invergowrie school pupils had not been considered by Dundee City Council.
“This was not the case, the proposal simply reflected Dundee City Council’s view that these benefits could only be properly assessed by the education authority responsible for providing them.”
In response to queries during the consultation, Dundee City Council amended its consultation papers to include what it perceives the educational benefits could be for Invergowrie Primary School should the proposal go ahead.
Enhanced “social and community cohesion” and a “strong” community identity were among them.
The information shows that without Invergowrie Primary School, the roll for Harris Academy over the coming years will become more manageable.”
Dundee City Council report
The report said: “The proposal would give all the families in the Invergowrie Primary School catchment area the opportunity to have their children attend the same secondary school.
“This could enhance social and community cohesion to a secondary school within the Perth and Kinross Council boundary whilst providing long term placement certainty for families and supporting effective school/community links.”
Dundee City Council also pointed to the new £50 million Perth High School, which is expected to open in August 2023, as a key benefit to Invergowrie pupils.
The report added: “Pupils attending the new Perth High School could benefit from a modern state of the art school with purpose built and varied teaching accommodation conducive to the promotion of relevant and engaging educational experiences for young people.
“A strong identity with the Perth High School community could be fostered from accessing a range of sporting and cultural activities which provides opportunities to expand friendship groups and increase confidence.”
Projected pupils numbers
The revised proposal also sets out projected pupil numbers at Harris, and shows how the school could be at 112% capacity by the 2026/27 academic year if pupils from Invergowrie and new housing developments in the catchment area were admitted.
If all planned homes are built and Invergowrie pupils were not admitted, DCC projects Harris could instead be at 106% by the 2026/27 academic year.
The report added: “The information shows that without Invergowrie Primary School, the roll for Harris Academy over the coming years will become more manageable.”
A full report will be published in January.
All the information gathered during the consultation process, including the impact of the recent Covid -19 pandemic and will be reflected within the final proposals and recommendations.