A CROSSGATES parent has accused education bosses of gambling childrens' futures “in a ballot” due to a lack of nursery places.

Derek Davidson was told his son, Seb, had been unsuccessful in attaining a place – despite currently attending Little Blossoms, for under-threes, which is located within the building.

He said: “I live 150 yards from my local school, there’s a guy who also lives 15 yards away from the school and he also is in the same boat. They don’t have any space for Seb, so where do they expect us to take him?”

Mr Davidson, whose eldest child attends the nursery and will move into primary one after the summer, added: “My daughter’s got to go to Crossgates Primary, so I’ve now got to find a nursery for my son and get him there for nine o’clock. That is impossible.

“We don’t want him to go to another nursery because he’s built a bond with his nursery teachers, he’s made friends, he sees them in the village, but he’s now to go to a different village or different area in Fife.

“Why build all these houses, let all these kids get in and not give us a chance?” he said. “Why not expand the nursery?

“They’re going on about budgets and all this stuff, and that’s fair enough. I get where they’re coming from, I do, but he can’t go to nursery because he’s in a ballot.

“Nursery is still part of kids’ education.”

Councillor Darren Watt, whose Cowdenbeath ward includes Crossgates, commented: “Ultimately, there needs to be more of a human element to all this.

“It’s all very well that you input the details into the computer and it comes up with who’s more priority than others, but there has to be more compassion and consideration given the fact that these are families, and these are pre-school children we’re looking out for here.

“We want to be sure that they get the best start, and jumping in a car, travelling several miles back and forth a day, isn’t necessarily good for the parent, let alone the child.

“We often get reassurances when we hear they’re building 150 new homes, but when we’ve not even got a basic, educational facility that can accommodate local children, real questions do need to be asked and addressed quite quickly.

“A lot of questions need to be asked, especially regarding Crossgates, because it’s not just Mr Davidson – there’s at least another half-a-dozen families that I’m working with just now that have come to me and raised these concerns.”

Fife Council’s head of education and children’s services, Shelagh McLean, said: “Much as we would love to, we cannot provide a nursery place for every child in their first choice and we understand that some parents will be disappointed.

“Unfortunately in some nurseries demand outstrips supply, although we do our best to make sure everyone receives their first choice.

“Within Fife, there are 22 local nursery areas used in the admissions process. Children may not always attend the nursery located within a particular school, even when the family live within the primary school catchment area.

“For session 2021/22 Crossgates PS Nursery was oversubscribed, with not enough spaces available for all the children applying.

“The headteacher of the nursery will keep in touch with families who have not received a place and respond to any enquiries. She will also be able to provide any information regarding the waiting list.

“Places may also be available at other local funded providers and childminders who are in partnership with Fife Council.”