Church urges council to consider shared campus

St Joseph's Primary, protest march.
St Joseph's Primary, protest march.

The Catholic Church has intervened in the fight to save Milngavie’s only Catholic school by pushing for a shared campus solution.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: “We made it very clear in our submission that we supports the retention of St Joseph’s as a free standing primary school in Milngavie. This option is supported by parents, the church and the wider community.

“The issue of a shared campus has not been formally proposed by the council, but we have agreed to shared campuses in other places as a last resort to preserve Catholic education in an area, under conditions which guarantee and protect the Catholic identity of the Catholic school.

“The Archdiocese is willing to engage positively with East Dunbartonshire Council on any proposal that retains a Catholic school in Milngavie.”

East Dunbartonshire Council is currently consulting on a proposal to close St Joseph’s Primary and create a new shared building on the St Andrew’s Primary School site in Bearsden.

St Joseph’s Parent Council published a paper in August, with proposals for a shared campus, with community hub, a new library and/or sports facilities.

Parent Council chairperson Laureen McIntyre said the church’s support for a shared campus is a “game changer”.

She said: “It’s now absolutely clear that the council can take forward proposals for a shared campus or community hub in Milngavie and the church will support them.

“This isn’t a new idea. Every other local authority in Scotland has shown that combining services on a single site can produce savings and deliver benefits to the whole community across the generations.

“A shared campus or community hub would bring the opportunity for new sports facilities, a baby clinic or even a new library on a single site.

“St Joseph’s Primary is the fastest growing school in East Dunbartonshire, our children have a right to a Catholic education in their own community.”

The council’s head of education, Gordon Currie, said: “As one of our consultees in the statutory consultation, we welcome the input from the Archdiocese. This will be considered within the scope of the process with which we are currently involved. No decision has yet been made.”