First Minister to meet parents

St Joseph's campaigners
St Joseph's campaigners

The First Minister and the Scottish Conservative leader have agreed to meet parents of children at St Joseph’s Primary School, in Milngavie.

East Dunbartonshire Council plans to build a new merged denominational primary in Bearsden, which would combine St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primaries.

However, St Joseph’s parents launched a campaign last week to run the school themselves in Milngavie - making it the first community-led school in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Conservative leader Ruth Davidson agreed to discuss the issue with parents after the subject was raised during First Minister’s Questions last Thursday.

The parents received unanimous support for running the school themselves at a recent Parent Council meeting and they will set out their plans in more detail at a public meeting on Thursday, March 3 at 7.30pm in St Joseph’s Church Hall.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I will meet parents who are concerned about their children’s education, whatever the issue is that they want to discuss with me. If I do not agree with those suggestions, or they cannot be delivered, I will look parents in the eye and explain to them why.”

MSP Ruth Davidson said: “These parents are determined to keep their school open. They are bursting with ideas; they are ambitious and dedicated. They could do this. They could save their school. But they’re not allowed.

“We need to rebalance the system, giving more power to head teachers and school communities.”

St Joseph’s Parent Council vice-chair Helen Williams said: “It has been an amazing week for our campaign.

“We are delighted that the First Minister and Ruth Davidson have agreed to meet with us and are really looking forward to discussing our plans with them.”

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Director of Education Gordon Currie said: “In December, the Scottish Government gave the council unconditional consent to establish a new £9million denominational school in Bearsden to serve the school communities of St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s.

“This is part of a multi-million pound programme to improve the educational experience of pupils while addressing issues such as under-occupancy.

“Currently St Joseph’s is 64 per cent under-occupied and St.Andrew’s is 45 per cent under-occupied.”