DUNFERMLINE councillor Helen Law has written to Fife Council's education chief about the controversial nursery allocations process.

She labelled it an "omni-shambles" after 385 children were told they didn't have a place for August while others cannot return to the nursery they were attending and must now go elsewhere.

Cllr Law said: "I've written to Carrie Lindsay (executive director of education and children's services) to say it's not been satisfactory at all.

"I'm presuming that, given social distancing, nurseries will have to operate a different way and the council will have to go back to the drawing board.

"If they do I hope that, after children with particular needs and those with child protection issues, they then give priority to those who are already at a nursery, those that have siblings at the school and people that live locally."

Parents and politicians have lined up to criticise the allocations, with Fife MSP Alex Rowley asking the Scottish Government to “intervene” and more than 1,700 people signing a petition calling for changes.

While the council insisted it was the only fair way, other councils like Stirling and Perth and Kinross do have policies giving priority to returning children.

Cllr Law added: "Fife Council have chosen the wrong priorities. I think that in the recovery from the pandemic, one of the targets for the council, and not just in education, will be localism and less people travelling about Fife unnecessarily.

"I'm thinking of people moving around when they could be working locally and, as regards nurseries, the allocation just now has parents having to take their kids to other areas, making four journeys a day to drop them off and pick them up.

"And that's assuming they've got transport to do so.

"The two main problems are not enough capital from the Scottish Government; the council didn't get the money to build extensions and new nurseries in the places where they're most needed, and the priority given to having a balance of three- and four-year-olds rather than looking at where the parents want them to go."

Fife Council's Jacqueline Price, education manager, had previously said there was a "high level of success in the process that is not being widely reported" with 85 per cent receiving their first choice and 9.7 per cent offered their second choice.

She added that there was no shortage of places and that the process was ongoing, with more movement likely as parents accept or refuse a place.

Ms Price explained that, with the new model of childcare being rolled out, parents were being asked to make choices from a "completely new menu" and it was therefore "not possible for any child to 'return' to the existing model".