FURIOUS Craigdhu Primary School parents have slammed Milngavie Community Council for putting their school in the firing line.
The convener of the community council, Fiona Risk, has written to IBP Strategy and Research, the independent company carrying out the consultation process for East Dunbartonshire Council’s primary school improvement programme, to suggest that the school in Milngavie should be merged with nearby Clober Primary.
Until now Craigdhu Primary had not been involved in the schools consultation process with no plans to merge it with another school.
Milngavie Community Council’s letter states: “It would appear to be logical to retain a primary school in both the eastern and western portions of Milngavie and that the two smaller primary schools - Craigdhu and Clober Primary should merge.
“The proposal that Milngavie Primary building closes and the school is then amalgamated with Clober Primary School in a new building at the Clober site appears to be impractical and illogical.”
They list the following reasons: Health - if the only remaining primary schools (at Craigdhu and Clober sites) were in the west, pupils who live in the east would be unable to walk to school.
Traffic - they believe there will be severe traffic problems if both primary schools are located in the west along with Douglas Academy.
Pre-school education - by closing Milngavie and St Joseph’s primary schools two pre-school establishments would also shut leaving only one at the Clober site.
Economic development - Milngavie town centre is already struggling and if Milngavie and St Joseph’s close there will be fewer people passing through to use local shops.
The letter continues: “The capital receipt from the sale of Craigdhu site which is in a prime location should be considerable and help pay for the new school.”
Fiona Kyle, a Craigdhu Primary School parent, said: “We are absolutely infuriated that this has all been going on behind our backs.
“They should have invited opinions from Craigdhu Primary parents.
“We believe they have breached Scottish Government guidelines for the community council’s code of conduct.
“They should have stuck to the issues instead of taking sides.
“Their response will hold a certain amount of weight, but we don’t feel it represents the views of the community.”
Parents are going to make a formal complaint to the Scottish Government, the council and IBP Strategy and Research.
They have also raised the issue with local councillors and they will be contacting MSPs and MPs.
Milngavie Community Council convener Fiona Risk told the Herald: “MCC did not consult any local primary schools before making our response, because we felt it was more appropriate for individual schools to make their own representation to EDC so they can raise individual concerns and issues.
“Closure or amalgamation of primary schools is an emotive issue and, understandably, most parents feel protective of the school their children attend.
“MCC has endeavoured to take an overview of an extremely controversial matter.
“We are very familiar with all the schools and between us live in all parts of Milngavie and represent the whole area and a broad spectrum of interests.
“Most members of MCC have attended, our children or grandchildren attend or have attended all the local schools. The MCC response represents the views of the whole committee and not one faction or one individual and it was agreed by the whole committee.”