Cabinet to consider changes to catchment

At Cabinet on Wednesday 28 January, councillors will consider proposals to change the catchment areas for Kilmaurs Primary, Hillhead Primary and Onthank Primary, and their associated secondary schools.

Historically, the size and location of a school have been based on the needs of individual communities, but over time, new developments and changes within communities have impacted on the education provision.

The current catchment areas for these three schools have been in place since the days of Strathclyde Regional Council and do not take account of recent housing developments and developments proposed for the future. It is now necessary to review the allocation of pupils to individual schools to ensure provision of an effective and efficient education service.

Under the new proposals, the catchment area for Onthank Primary School will be extended to incorporate all housing within Southcraigs and the planned Northcraigs developments, as the current catchment of Kilmaurs disects both developments resulting in families in some streets zoned to different schools.

Children living in these areas will, by right, attend Onthank Primary School, with reduced travelling times and a suitable walking route. The catchment area for James Hamilton Academy will be similarly extended. There will be no negative impact on the children currently living in these areas as they are already attending Onthank Primary School by placement request.

The catchment area for Hillhead Primary School will be extended to include Cardhu Gardens and Cardhu Crescent developments in their entirety, thereby removing the current anomaly which sees some children living on the same street attending Kilmaurs Primary School, while others attend Hillhead Primary School.

A small number of families in the Cardhu estate will be affected by these changes, but the Council will honour places at Kilmaurs Primary and Stewarton Academy for current pupils and future siblings for the families affected. The catchment area for Kilmarnock Academy will be similarly extended, although this will change to Grange Academy in 2016 with the creation of the new Kilmarnock Campus.

Andrew Kennedy, Head of Facilities and Property Management (designate), explained: “These changes are long overdue and will bring these catchments back in line with the urban boundaries of Kilmarnock, taking account of existing and proposed housing developments in the area.

“These proposals are of course, subject to consultations, but we will be taking great steps to ensure that no pupil or family is disadvantaged or inconvenienced by the changes.

“Changes to catchment areas do not reduce the opportunity for families wishing to request a preferred school; there will be no change to placing request arrangements.

“We recognise that a small number of families from the Cardhu Estate wish to continue to attend Kilmaurs Primary School and Stewarton Academy and we will honour these wishes for existing pupils and any future siblings from these families.”

Subject to the outcome of the public consultation, it is proposed that these changes would take effect immediately to ensure the situation is clear for August 2015.