Parents tell council: Let us run our youngsters’ school

St Joseph's Primary, protest march through Milngavie
St Joseph's Primary, protest march through Milngavie

Parents in Milngavie have launched a campaign to make St Joseph’s Primary the first community-led school in Scotland.

The move received unanimous support at a busy Parent Council meeting on Monday night.

The Parent Council plans to set out its plans in more detail at a public meeting in Milngavie over the coming weeks, and will be writing to representatives of all the political parties and the Archdiocese of Glasgow to seek support.

St Joseph’s Parent Council chairperson Laureen McIntyre said: “Our children have the right to a Catholic education in their own community.

“If East Dunbartonshire Council is unwilling to provide this then we as parents, as a parish and community seek support to do it ourselves.

“Parent volunteers already run the school choir, football team and a variety of after-school clubs from netball to chess. This is worth far more to us than the new building that our councillors are offering a bus ride away in a different town.”

St Joseph’s Parent Council vice-chair Helen Williams said: “East Dunbartonshire Council has walked away from its responsibilities to the Catholic community in Milngavie. The results of a survey issued by the Parent Council found that not a single family supports their plan to relocate our children to Bearsden.

“Instead of talking about new buildings we now want to focus on a better vision for delivering education in the 21st Century.

“The success of Jordanhill, in Glasgow, shows that giving parents a bigger say in schools can help raise standards. A community-led school would also secure the future of organisations, such as St Joseph’s Nursery, which is facing closure as a result of the council’s proposals.”

Gordon Currie, director of education and children’s services, said: “The Scottish Government has given the council unconditional consent to move ahead with plans to establish a new £9million denominational school in Bearsden to serve the school communities of St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s.

“We will soon begin a consultation around the design of the new school, working towards opening the new building in school session 2016-17.”

It’s believed a community-led St Joseph’s Primary could be funded by a direct grant. There would be no fees paid or academic selection of pupils.