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Courtesy Daily Record  

Fewer Scottish parents were given their choice of primary school in 2008 than at any time during the past two decades.

School closures and lower class sizes are being blamed for more than 2,700 families missing out.

Official statistics show 86% of the 19,456 placing requests made to primaries in 2008-09 were granted – a drop from 95% in 1990.

More families than ever before are also going to court to try and get placing request refusals overturned – up from eight to 39.

The acceptance decline comes as the number of families making placing requests is growing, with an extra 1,000 in 2008-09 compared to the previous year, bringing the total to 29,892.

A smaller number of schools has led to fewer spare places and the Scottish Government’s drive to reduce class sizes in the first three years of primary schooling hasn’t helped. Since 2007, local authorities have been trying to reduce class sizes to just 18 in P1 – when most placing requests are made – and officials have routinely used the class size argument to refuse access to families.

Eileen Prior, of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said refusals on this basis are likely to increase as class sized come down further.

But she added: “It can be stressful but it’s important to remember the majority of parents do get their choice of school.

“For those that don’t, it is not the end of the world. Many schools that don’t necessarily capture all the headlines still offer a high quality education.”

Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith claimed the rise in placing requests reflected growing parental dissatisfaction with schools.