Criticism of plans to close only Catholic school in Scottish Town

Fri 16 May 2014
By Jan Kolasinski

The Scottish Government is being urged to stop a council closing the only Catholic primary school left in a town just outside Glasgow.

Parents from St Joseph's have been campaigning against plans to close the school in Milngavie but East Dunbartonshire Council say they need to save money and will move the pupils into a brand new school in a different town.

The proposals would mean a new building more than two miles away in Bearsden, which would house the current St Andrew's Primary and St Joseph's. 

Ronnie Convery from the Archdiocese of Glasgow told Antony Bushfield on Premier's News Hour almost every parent rejected the plan.

The proposals by the council will now go to MSPs in Edinburgh for final approval. Parents at the school are asking Holyrood to step in and stop the plan.

Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, Councillor Rhondda Geekie, said: "Building these two new schools represents the best option by far in terms of the educational benefits they bring to our young people.

"They will provide an excellent learning environment that will better support and enhance the Curriculum for Excellence.

"We also looked closely at the financial implications, given our responsibility to ensure that we provide value for money to taxpayers.

"We must achieve £20 million in budget savings over the next three years and pouring money into old, out-dated buildings rather than using that money to enhance our education provision is not cost-effective. 

"We have carried out in-depth consultation with all stakeholders, including the local community, school community and the Catholic Church and we have taken all of these views into consideration and our consultation report details our response. 

"This is a complex issue and we have taken all the evidence and feedback from our consultation on board in making these decisions.

"We will continue to work with all of our stakeholders in delivering the new schools which we believe provide the best educational outcome for these young pupils."

Parents at the school say they won't give up their fight until the council backs down.

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