A DUNFERMLINE headteacher has warned parents they are putting children’s safety at risk with their problem parking.

A fire alarm was set off accidentally at Carnegie Primary on Thursday afternoon and selfishly-parked vehicles hindered two fire engines and the evacuation of the children.

Julie Journeaux sent a letter out to parents to remind them of their responsibilities and expressed concern as to what could have happened if it had been a real emergency.

“I take the children’s safety very seriously and that safety was put at risk by parents who have chosen to ignore previous requests to park elsewhere,” she said. 

“I know that being asked to not park at the school entrance seems like a trivial request and inconvenience to some parents but today’s events demonstrate how essential it is that cars do not come onto school grounds.”

Mrs Journeaux told the Press that problem parking was something which was a constant issue for the school.

“I have just been here a couple of months and one of the things I was aware of was the amount of cars on school grounds first thing in the morning and over lunchtime for the nursery pick-up and drop-off,” she said. 

“The fact of this matter is the level of unauthorised vehicles did impact on the organising of the children at the assembly point and two cars parked immediately at the entrance when the fire brigade came in meant they couldn’t get right up to the building.

“I am not doing this to inconvenience people. I am doing it because we need that space cleared as long as the kids are in so from 8.30am until 3.30 in the afternoon.”

Mrs Journeaux said they were trying to remind parents continually about parking and were looking at ways of improving the situation.

“I have sent emails out to parents and put it in the newsletter but parents are continuing to park in the school because they want to be as close as they can,” she said. 

“There is no parking within our school, as there is no parking within any school.

"We benefit as we have got Fife College next door who allow us to use their top section of car park which is literally a 30-second walk.

"We acknowledge because it is a large school, there is a high level of congestion, but the Fife College car park is available.

“As a school, we have been doing a bit of work to help. We have re-established the travel action group, parents are involved, Fife Council’s transportation team is involved and we are looking to review our travel plan. 

“One of the classes is directly involved in doing an audit of how people get to school. 

"There is a lot of proactive work being done in terms of working with the community police on how we can improve people’s safety.”

Local councillor Fay Sinclair, who is convener of Fife Council’s education and children’s services committee, said parking could be an issue around all schools. 

“It can be very tempting, particularly on dark and dreich days like we’ve seen recently, to stop somewhere inappropriate thinking it will only be for a few minutes,” she added. 

“However, incidents like this demonstrate why schools put restrictions in place.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We would ask members of the public to always be mindful when parking their vehicles, and to be considerate of any potential obstruction to the emergency services.

“On the rare occasions when our crews are faced with an obstruction they will endeavour to use all alternative routes available to them or work with our Police Scotland partners who have the powers to remove any significant obstruction should it impact on our response.”