Baldernock parents say the whole primary school consultation process was flawed

BALDERNOCK Primary parents have slammed East Dunbartonshire Council’s informal consultation on primary schools - calling it ‘divisive and flawed.’

They say the results are not surprising, including 95 per cent of Baldernock parents being opposed to the closure of the school, because the council is forcing communities to choose between schools.

Parents have also previously insisted that Baldernock Primary should not even be considered for closure as it’s protected by the Scottish Government’s temporary ban on closures of rural schools which applies until the findings of its commission on the delivery of rural education are published.

Rona Hamilton, spokesperson for Baldernock Primary School Parent Council, said: “We all cherish this unique small, rural school. The school costs are all relative.

“Maybe it would have made a difference if those responding to the survey had been told that the council receives around £2,700 per pupil in extra grant funding (for Baldernock PS), as it is a small rural school with under 70 pupils.

“This is recognition by the Scottish Government that small rural schools can cost more. This funding of £116,000 per annum will be lost if the school closes.

“Funding that the council itself has said it could borrow against, maybe the council should be working to bring costs down.

“For example in the last 10 years, its energy efficiency measures have amounted to reducing the temperature by two degrees and steadfastly resisting installing insulation.

“Maintenance spending of £755 per annum is hardly expensive.

“There are cost effective alternatives to schools being closed such as refurbishment which should be considered.

“We now await the commission on the delivery of rural education’s report. We hope that this will recognise the valuable contribution that small rural schools can make and support the legislation’s intentions that, to quote Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning “the need for educational benefit is the driving force and the sole motivation behind each and every proposed school closure.”

“This is clearly not the case in East Dunbartonshire Council.”