FOUR school pupils could miss the first two weeks of term as their fight to go to St Columba's High is dragged out in court.

The Tele recently revealed how families are taking on Inverclyde Council education bosses in a bid to get places in the Gourock school.

Inverclyde Council then decided to spend thousands on a QC to take them on in court.

The hearings at Greenock Sheriff Court have now been set for the end of this month, a fortnight after the schools go back.

Weeks before the end of last term the youngsters were told their bids for placing requests had been unsuccessful.

One of the parents said: "Our kids are devastated they are going to miss the start of school.

"It is shocking the council have hired a Queen's Counsel.

"I believe they want to make an example of us."

The four pupils involved live outwith the school's catchment area but went to an associated primary, St Ninian's, and some of the pupils have older siblings at the secondary.

After losing an appeal they were told they would have to go to Notre Dame High.

The parents' spokesperson said: "They don't know anybody there, they haven't been to a transition event.

"We are always talking these days about the mental health of children - what impact is this having on them?

"It has taken everything away from them, they were going to high school with their friends, had all the excitement, now they don't know where they are going to end up."

Education bosses have capped the numbers for St Columba's High ,which has faced pressure with a growing school roll in recent years.

The parents' spokesperson said: "They knew there was a problem and sent a letter out to people in the catchment area to say there might not be enough spaces.

"But they didn't send a letter to any of us. At that point we could have taken action. We could have moved house or schools. But by the time we knew there was a problem, it was too late.

"Instead they are going to separate four children from other pupils they've been friends with for the last seven years."

The families are going to court on August 27 and 28 to face the local authority in front of a sheriff.

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said: “There is no need at all for any child in Inverclyde to miss out on any time at school.

"If a placing request has not been granted, then there is a place is reserved at the catchment school from the start of term.”