FURIOUS mums in Castlemilk are challenging a council’s decision to refuse their children places at a nearby school.

Debbie Douglas says she is “devastated” her son Eden, four, will not be able to join his sister Aine, five, at Spittal Primary – just at Glasgow’s border with South Lanarkshire in Rutherglen - when the new term starts in August.

And fellow mum Nicole Morgan, whose four-year-old son Alfie has also been refused a place, says the decision could have a negative impact on children’s mental health.

Debbie explained: “I live in Castlemilk, but Spittal Primary is the closest school to my house, it’s right across the road.

“Because the school is not my catchment school, I have to put in a placing request, but I just heard last week that it has been refused. I know there are several other mothers in the same boat.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous when these kids already have siblings at the school – especially because we have been told they’re just not willing to put on another teacher even though there is a demand in the area. Last year there were two primary one classes and one composite primary one/primary two class. This year, there is just one class for primary ones so it’s a huge reduction.”

Glasgow Times: Debbie and Nicole with their children Alfie, Eden and AineDebbie and Nicole with their children Alfie, Eden and Aine (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

Debbie added: “There’s going to be a hearing now because we have appealed the decision. It’s so stressful. If we lose, I will have to either uproot Aine and take her away from all her friends and the teachers she knows, or be in the ridiculous situation of having to drop one child at one school and one at another which is a 15-minute walk away.

“I’d have to drop Aine at 9am, walk to Eden’s school for 9.15am, make sure I’m back for Aine at 2.45pm then go to Eden’s school for 3pm – and when you count up all those 15 minutes over a year, it’s a significant amount of missed school.”

She added: “I am on a low income, I have already bought some of Eden’s uniform because I have to split it up over each month. I can’t afford to do it all at once.

“I don’t have a support network here – my dad died a few years ago, my mum lives in Greece, and I have no siblings, so there’s no-one who can help me. I’m at my wits’ end. I’m all my kids have got, and they deserve a mum who’s doing her best for them.”

Glasgow Times: Spittal PrimarySpittal Primary (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

Nicole said: “Alfie wants to go to the school all his friends are going to. This is all down to budget cuts, it’s ridiculous. My mum takes Alfie to school four times a week, so I can get to work and she lives in Spittal – but that doesn’t count.

“I don’t know what to do as transition days are starting now – should I put Alfie through it then have to take him to another school? I’m terrified he won’t settle.”

Nicole, who is a receptionist in Rutherglen, added: “They talk about the mental health problems kids have got – well this is not going to help.”

A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Council said: “The council welcomes placing requests from parents. However, in the guidance, we explain that not all placing requests will necessarily be accepted and they can only be considered if there are available spaces after all catchment pupils have registered and no additional staff need to be employed to meet placing request applications.

“We understand the disappointment parents will feel if their placing request application has been unsuccessful but we review the situation every 10 working days and if spaces become available they will be allocated as per the council’s priorities for admission.

“It is worth noting that there are no catchment areas for early years, so if a child has been in a school nursery this does give an automatic right for a place in the school.”