Individual submission by Mary R.C. Jack, resident of Tayport, retired Principal Teacher of Guidance at Madras College, St Andrews (22 years ), Dumbarton Academy (8 years) and St. Luke’s High School, Barrhead ( 3 years).

In their manifesto for the 2008 election local Liberal Democrat candidates in the Bridgehead area stated that they would make every effort to ensure that a school would be built north of the River Eden which would provide education for the local children and a community use facility for the surrounding area. Sadly this did not materialise

However it was stated that , in view of the disappointment and anger of some of the parents and other members of the community, every effort would be made to ensure that the new single site Madras College would be positioned in the west of St
Andrews to ensure easier and more inclusive accessibility for children, parents and community users given that 2/3 of the school population live north of the Eden.

Hopes were raised and then dashed when the Langlands site was revealed, negotiated and then dropped and siting of the school reverted to firstly Kilrymont and now Pipeland Farm - both located south of St
Andrews.

Many objectors have stated that Pipeland Farm is poorly located to serve the interests of the whole catchment area. I worked closely with young people and families for 22years with 4 year groups (approximately 280 in each year group) from the end of P7 until leaving school at the end of S4, S5 or S6.

Every child who walks through the school gate deserves to have his/her individual needs provided for and parents/carers deserve to have easier access than they have at present. Lack of access to the Kilryment Road building has been difficult for parents and pupils under certain circumstances for the last 40 years. It must be remembered that 2/3 of Madras pupils come from outside the town, the greatest majority from the Taybridgehead communities.

Difficulties.

  • Very early starts for those from Bridgehead settlements especially Gauldry, Wormit and Newport especially if the buses have to stand in a gridlock situation in Largo Road.

  • Distance from home services – doctor/nurse appointments, hospital appointments at Ninewells , optician appointment or dentist appointments.

  • At least 2 buses (3 from Wormit, Gauldry and some parts of Newport ) are needed to attend these appointments unless the 92 service is used from the St Andrews hospital which is an hourly service but takes an hour to reach Tayport.

  • It is not always possible to secure appointments after 4.15. Half a day’s education is lost.

  • One bus only is needed from the western end of St Andrews and it is possible to use the 99 Service, which runs every 10 minutes, to link up with other buses.

  • Parents without access to a car during the day have to use the bus service mentioned above to pick up pupils who have become unwell at school. Unwell pupils cannot just be “sent” home.

  • Parents attending Parent’s nights without a car have to use bus service (except the 92 service which is erratic in the evening and does not fit in with Parent Night timing).

  • Parents asked to come into school for meetings during the day with DSE, Guidance, Support Staff or Depute Rectors have similar problems and may have younger children with them. An appointment including travel can take 3 hours in total + costs approximately £10 per adult.

Inclusion for all in after school activities.

One of the special characteristics of Madras College is the number of after school activities available to pupils. Many of these activities involve pupils at time when no school transport is available
, i.e. debates, pipe band performances and senior pupils helping with Xmas Parties and other activities run for pupils.

Pupils coming back into school from the catchment area or returning home have to depend on the bus service or parents to pick them up.

Again 2 or 3 bus journeys do not encourage them to participate in these activities.

Community Use by Those in the Wider Catchment Area.

A school located on the south side of St. Andrews is not an attractive proposition for young people from the Bridgehead. The western side of the town is more likely to attract young people to the facilities provided by a new school. As Madras is a Community Use School, adults from the whole catchment area should have equal access to its facilities.

These issues appear to have been given no attention in the Educational Consultation or the Planning Application.

Conclusion.

Many other issues have been indicated which I covered in my original objection but I have decided to talk today on the need to provide a school which is accessible to ALL
, one which can be delivered without any further delay and one which the young people in the full catchment area can feel ownership of.