Parents fear school merger could threaten Baldernock Playgroup

06-o2-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Baldernock Playgroup, Baldernock School House, Fluchter Road,Balmore. They fear for their future if the primary school is closed
06-o2-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Baldernock Playgroup, Baldernock School House, Fluchter Road,Balmore. They fear for their future if the primary school is closed

The future of Baldernock Playgroup is also under threat if the council goes ahead with the closure of Baldernock 
Primary School.

One of the council’s proposals is to merge Baldernock and Torrance Primaries, in the exisiting school in Torrance, and they are holding pre-consultation workshops with the community to discuss the future of the primary school.

Baldernock Playgroup, which meets in the school, was set up in 1975 by local mothers to bring children together from across the rural Parish.

Kirstin Langlois, chairperson of the playgroup, said: “After raising our concerns, the council said they will consult with us and that they’d be obliged to find us alternative accommodation. However, we feel it is unlikely that parents would continue sending their children to our playgroup with no local school to feed into.

“The children would end up being ‘scattered’ between different nurseries, and lose the opportunity to meet up with local neighbourhood children.

“We strongly believe that it would tear the heart out of our close knit rural community if the school closed.”

Despite their concerns for the future of both the playgroup and the school, they responded to demand this year and expanded their service by setting up a breakfast club and after school club for Baldernock Primary School children.

This has been popular with the school children who get to relax or take part in fun activities after school in the playgroup’s cosy, homely environment, or outside in the school’s beautiful gardens.

They have also set up a new ‘Stay and Play’ project, funded by a grant of £6,550 from the Big Lottery ‘Communities and Families Fund’, for younger babies and toddlers, who are too young to attend playgroup, and their families.

The organisers say both initiatives are proving to be really successful and have been warmly welcomed by local families.

In June this year Baldernock Playgroup will celebrate its 40th Birthday and they plan to hold a garden party in the school and playgroup gardens for current and former pupils.

Gordon Currie, director of education and children’s services, said: “The council has not identified any preferred proposal about the future of Baldernock Primary School.”

He added: “We are in the midst of a consultation process during which we are considering all options for the future of education in Baldernock, and we have asked interested parties to put forward their own proposals for discussion.

“Since the first workshop, we have been developing the information gathered and will discuss this further at the next meeting.”