Tuesday meetings

Yesterday afternoon, I attended the City Council’s School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group where there was a detailed discussion about policy on the provision of School Crossing Patrollers.   
 
I asked how quickly the very welcome new patroller site at the bottom of City Road next to Milnbank Gardens will be in place.   This will be of benefit to many Victoria Park Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary School pupils and I was advised it was hoped to have the new School Crossing Patroller in place by the start of term after the October holiday.
 
Yesterday evening, I firstly attended the latest Friends of Blackness meeting at Blackness Primary School.   Friends of Blackness covers the roles of both Parent Council and Parent Teacher Association.  The school has a record P1 intake this year and a very healthy roll and its good to see such a good turnout at the meeting and positive work undertaken by Friends of Blackness on behalf of the school community.
 
Later yesterday evening, I attended the Harris Academy Parent Council meeting, again a very positive meeting.    Mrs White, Acting Head Teacher, gave a very comprehensive update about the school’s activities and very positive SQA examination results.    
 
There was also a good discussion with the Head of Transportation about travel and drop-off arrangements for the school once it returns to Perth Road next year.   
 
It is good to see that work has started this week (see right) on the new pedestrian crossing being installed on Riverside Drive to the south side of the Harris Perth Road site and the playing fields at Riverside.

Concern over former St Joseph’s Primary School site

Back in October 2012, St Joseph’s Primary School moved from its old building (pictured right) to the new West End Campus and ownership transferred to the Al-Maktoum Foundation.
 
The building has since remained unoccupied and over time the playground has become overgrown with also some repairs required – see below :

 

 

Following concerns raised by residents about its deteriorating state, I have spoken with the Director of Operations at the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education who has assured me that the long-term future of the building is being actively considered.
 
Meantime, it has has been agreed that a tidy-up of the site will take place, which is welcome.

West End Christmas Fortnight Primary Schools’ Art Competition Winners

I was at Tesco Riverside yesterday to meet the store’s community champion Kath Torode – Kath and I are pictured above at a photocall at which, not only did Tesco generously donate to the West End Christmas Fortnight, but also sponsored the West End Christmas Fortnight Primary Schools’ Art Competition.
 
Each of our four local primary schools – Ancrum Road, Blackness, St Joseph’s and Victoria Park – allowed all P1 and P2 pupils to take part and the winning entries are below.   Well done to Carys, Darci, Josias and Matylda, who each win a Tesco Gift Voucher.   Here are the winning entries below:
Carys Watt of P2A, Ancrum Road Primary School
Darci Reid of P2B, Blackness Primary School
Josias Roma of P2, Victoria Park Primary School
Matylda Karolewska of P1S, St Joseph’s Primary School

Parking and pupil safety at the West End Nursery and Primaries Campus

West End Nursery & Primaries Campus entrance area
I have previously raised, at the City Council School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group – and elsewhere – constituent concerns about road safety at the West End campus (St Joseph’s PS; Victoria Park PS; Balgay Hill Nursery School).  
 
I recently asked the council’s Head of Transportation for an update on proposed actions and he has advised:
 
“The main areas of concern were around the Glenagnes Road entrances (to the school and car park) with parents accessing and thus mixing with the pupils as they were leaving the school and using the staff car park.  
 
The options to be looked at included changes to the access to both the school service road and car park with the use of barriers (automatic and linked to school office), these are triggered by authorised fob holders or by pushing an intercom.  In addition it was agreed that the school keep clear markings may need to be revised as some parents / carers thought it was ok to stop in the gap in the markings at the service road entrance.
The items above will be looked at during this FY and we will then see if they can implemented this FY or early into FY14/15, budgets dependant.
In general we observed the majority of pupils walking and those collecting by car using the park and stride facilities away from the school.  However there were a small proportion undertaking inappropriate driving behaviour.”

Pupil safety outside Dundee schools

This afternoon, I took part in the latest meeting of the City Council’s working group tackling school parking and pupil safety outside schools across the city.
 
I took the opportunity to again raise my concerns and those of constituents about road safety in the vicinity of the West End schools’ campus – Balgay Hill Nursery School, Victoria Park Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary School.    The concerns include some drivers driving into the school campus area (instead of parking on-street) against school advice and some inappropriate on-street parking including drop off and pick up of pupils on Blackness Road.
 
I am pleased to advise that, after hearing my concerns, the council’s Chief Executive proposed a site visit to the schools to look at the issues and agree steps to tackle them.   This will take place before the end of term later this month.
 
It should be stressed that the vast majority of parents and carers drop off their children appropriately and with care and respect for others, but any remaining safety concerns must be tackled.
 
I also spoke about the situation outside St John’s High School and was assured that a meeting with the school will take place next term to discuss any parking and safety issues.

West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening

This morning, along with many other guests, I had the pleasure of attending the West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening at the magnificent new home for Balgay Hill Nursery School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School.
 
The musical and dance contributions by the pupils were excellent and it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning.   Here’s a couple of photographs from a most memorable and enjoyable event:
A welcome from pupils from all three schools
The talented choir that contains pupils from all years from all three schools

Continued concern over parking at West End schools campus

Since the opening of the West End schools campus at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road last year (the home of St Joseph’s Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School), I have raised concerns about pupil and parking safety around the schools’ site.
 
Recently, the situation appeared to have improved, but yesterday – as reported in tonight’s Evening Telegraph – there were real concerns about the situation.   I had a long conversation last night with our local community police officer about the situation and have made some suggestions this morning to the Director of Education and the Head of Transportation at the City Council as follows:
 
*A minority of drivers ignoring the schools’ advice not to enter the school site by car to collect pupils.   I think the time has come to consider a controlled barrier at the entrance to stop unauthorised entry.
*Some pupils leaving via the vehicle access road and not via the pedestrian entrance/exit.    This needs to be addressed.
*Outside the school grounds, parking on zig zags, yellow lines and right on the corner of Glenagnes Road/Street, blocking Glenagnes Street completely.    There is a clear role for parking enforcement staff to effectively tackle this.
 
I had a very prompt response this morning from the Director of Education and I am anxious to see progress to ensure pupil safety.