St Columba’s RC Primary happy to throw arms wide to all youngsters

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With most school rolls in the Fort William area steadily filling up, one primary has witnessed its pupil numbers continuing to decline.

St Columba’s RC Primary at Caol was previously the old Lochyside RC Primary and St Mary’s Primary.

They were eventually combined to share the joint campus with Caol Primary. But, according to Nicole MacKinnon, treasurer of the school’s parent council, in the years since the move to the new campus in 2017, pupil numbers have declined.

‘It seems to be mainly because people don’t realise the school exists. They think it is all just one school, which is not the case,’ she told the Lochaber Times, as part of an effort to raise the school’s profile among parents in the local area as well as wider Lochaber.

‘Also many parents may think their children need to be Catholic to join which, again, is not the case and in the nursery there is no religion taught,’ she added.

‘There are buses covering the school route from as far as Glenfinnan and Upper Achintore that stop at St Columba’s, so there is no need to stick to an overcrowded school in their catchment area as there is transport there.

‘All the classes including the nursery are very small which is a lovely calm learning environment for the kids as there is only a total of 32 kids from nursery to P7.’

Ms MacKinnon said a number of parents on the parent council were happy to meet other parents to discuss things further and help promote the school.

And she continued: ‘The parent council has been working hard to raise funds for the children in P4 to P7 to go to the panto in Inverness and the smaller primary pupils to go to soft play but with the announcement made recently they are no longer allowed to do this.

‘I hope you can help give a nice wee story about our school so families become aware of us.’