SNP bid to halt plans for St Joseph’s merger

Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School

Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School

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Parents are hopeful that controversial plans to close Milngavie’s only Catholic school could be scrapped tonight.

Controversial plans to merge St Joseph’s Primary with St Andrew’s primary in neighbouring Bearsden have faced strong opposition from the beginning.

Campaigning parents have accused East Dunbartonshire Council of “walking away from its responsibilities” to Catholic families.

They launched plans last month to set up a government funded community school in Milngavie at a special meeting which was attended by more than 130 people.

SNP group leader Ian Mackay is going to raise a motion at tonight’s meeting of East Dunbartonshire council, calling for the closure plans to be stopped.

He will be requesting that the council stops any further work on the scheme until a report is received from the Equalities and Human Right Commission, which has received a ‘case for support’ bid against the council from the parents’ group.

His motion asks the council to “agree, in the light of recent and new developments, to suspend all work on the closure of St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s Primary Schools and the merger into a new primary school in Bearsden.”

More than 500 people in both Milngavie and Bearsden took part in the council’s original consultation process, with 87 per cent opposing the merger.

The council says the school is under-occupied, with just 45% of places filled.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “Following six months of scrutiny, the Scottish Government granted the council unconditional consent to proceed with our proposals to build a new denominational school for Bearsden and Milngavie.

“This new building will bring together two school communities - providing an excellent learning environment for pupils that will better support the Curriculum for Excellence, as well as addressing significant maintenance and under-occupancy issues for the existing primary schools.”