Primary schools face closure threat

A MAJOR shake-up of primary schools in East Dunbartonshire could lead to closures.

That was the warning this week from the council’s education convener, Councillor Eric Gotts.

East Dunbartonshire Council is about to launch a major review and consultation on its primary school estate.

Speaking exclusively to the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Councillor Gotts raised the prospect of school amalgamations, refurbishments, new schools and joint campuses - as well as some schools being closed.

He says the council needs to face up to the challenges ahead, such as falling school rolls.

Currently primary schools across the district are under occupied by 37 per cent.

Councillor Gotts says some school buildings are in a state of disrepair without adequate outdoor facilities, others aren’t suitable for modern teaching and the curriculum for excellence, and heating older buildings is expensive.

He continued: “We’ve got to remember why people come to live in East Dunbartonshire and often it’s for the quality of education. My chief role is to ensure that we remain a leading education authority.

“We’ve had considerable investment in secondary schools and the big task now is to look at our primary schools.

“Unfortunately, we are doing this in a challenging financial climate.

“However, if we don’t do anything we’d just be burying our heads in the sand. The consequences would be dire.

“We’d have less money for repairs, inadequate facilities, teaching would become difficult and there would be less money for learning support and teaching resources. We would be wasting money and selling our pupils short.

“Teachers, staff and parents would complain about the state of the school buildings and taxpayers would say we’re throwing money away.”

Councillor Gotts said the consultation, which is being launched over the coming weeks, will raise awareness of the problems that are being faced and involve the community in decision making.

The process will involve head teachers, teachers, parents, parent council forums, young people and trade unions.