§ Mr. Russell Johnston
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the policy on admission dates to primary school of each of the education authorities in Scotland; whether they operate any appeal procedures in borderline cases; and if so, on what criteria.
§ Mr. Alexander Fletcher
With the exception of Orkney Islands council, all regional and islands councils have one commencement date at the beginning of the school session in August and admit children then whose fifth birthday falls between the preceding February and the following February. In Orkney, two commencement dates operate at the beginning of the autumn and summer terms when children are admitted whose fifth birthday falls on or before the following 15 October and 15 July, respectively.
I understand that in the case of five regional and islands councils—Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Orkney, Strathclyde and Western Isles—there is no formal appeals machinery; the remaining authorities arrange for parental applications for exception to the authority's normal admission arrangements to be considered either at committee or official level. No details are held centrally of the criteria adopted in considering such applications: this is a matter for the education authority concerned.