A STRESSED West Fife mum says the pressure on Duloch’s schools means she’s unable to get back to work.

The mum-of-three, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Press that her son had missed out on a place at his catchment nursery school for the second year running.

She now faces the prospect of dropping off her three children at three different nurseries or schools – making holding down a job virtually impossible. 

With the cost of private nursery and limitations on working hours, she said her family would have no option but to move from the area. 

The Duloch mum said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. Fife Council’s policy does not work for working families.

"I already have one child at Duloch Primary and, from the autumn, I would have to drop my two youngest off at two different nurseries as the only solution to get back to work.

“How do they think I am able to get employment that would sustain all those drop-offs and collections?”

The Press has highlighted in our Action for Schools campaign the pressure on existing infrastructure from housebuilding in Dunfermline’s eastern expansion, particularly around the looming capacity issues facing Woodmill High School, but there are also problems earlier in the chain at nursery age.

The mum said a ballot system was in place for children who live in her chosen nursery’s catchment area but claimed a Fife Council employee had confirmed to her that this “ballot” was names drawn from a hat.

Fife Council’s website states: “Fife Council is offering more flexible early learning and childcare places for three- and four-year-olds in Fife. This means you will have more choice when your child attends nursery.”

But the mum blasted: “What is the point in filling out an application explaining your situation if they’re not even going to consider it?

“The Scottish Government wants to support early years intervention and help women getting into work but nursery will cost us £1,200 a month and we only seem to get the funding back every quarter, so it’s obviously unaffordable.

“We simply can’t afford to stay in this area. Fife Council are letting down working parents and there is no sympathy.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “It’s clear that local early years provision is not meeting the needs of families in Duloch and other parts of West Fife.

"This is thanks once again to a historic lack of planning by previous council administrations in terms of ensuring that education provision kept pace with housebuilding.

“I will be seeking urgent assurances that steps are being taken to improve the accessibility of childcare in Duloch and elsewhere in Dunfermline and West Fife.

“It’s vital that Fife Council now engages with parents and childcare providers to ensure that the right balance is struck for families with differing needs, so that the increase in free childcare delivers for all.”

The council's spokesperson for education, Councillor Fay Sinclair, said: "There is historically a lack of early years provision in this area.

"Masterton was supposed to have a nursery and Pitcorthie was closed a few years ago so we've seen a reduction. In line with the expansion of more hours for early years, we are looking to increase provision so hopefully the situation will improve. 

"As it stands at the moment I totally understand the parents frustration, but I understand in this case that policy has been followed."