The Scotsman reports that Catholic primary schools in Edinburgh face being asked to cap numbers of non-baptised pupils following increasing demand from Eastern European families. (12th March 2008)
St Mary’s RC in Leith, which is suffering major capacity pressure, has already been identified as one which will have to prioritise baptised Catholics from next year.
A number of RC schools in parts of the city, like Leith, are reaching bursting point due to the influx of Eastern European immigrants.
Recent figures show there are 3490 youngsters in Edinburgh for whom English is not their native tongue, with Polish the most common language after English.
In addition to this, RC schools have also become increasingly popular with non-Catholic children, who have the option of attending either a denominational or non-denominational school within their catchment area.
Previously, additional classes have been created to cater for the demand from non-baptised pupils, but now the city council is proposing to stop the practice due to a “combination of accommodation and budgetary pressures”.
A report outlining the expected August intake for primary one and first year pupils says: “Accommodation issues are now arising in more denominational schools which are attracting a large non-denominational population and increased numbers of Roman Catholics due to Eastern European immigration.
“The increased demand for places in more of Edinburgh’s denominational schools is now resulting in the formation of additional classes (to accommodate] catchment pupils who are not baptised RC pupils.
“Due to a combination of accommodation and budgetary pressures it is proposed that additional classes are not formed in denominational RC schools.”
The report reveals St Mary’s will only have the capacity for an intake of 30 pupils in 2009 due to the growing demands for places. This year there are 50 catchment pupils registered for the school.