Workshops to decide the future of primary schools in Milngavie and Bearsden were a success

WORKSHOPS, to get the views of a wide range of people involved in education to help to shape the future of primary schools in Milngavie and Bearsden, have been hailed as a huge success by the council.

East Dunbartonshire Council says a major shake-up of local primary schools is needed to tackle falling rolls and to modernise the estate.

The invite-only independent sessions for parents, school staff, young people and community groups formed the first stage of this and the council leader, Rhondda Geekie, is pleased that they were well attended.

Everyone agreed unanimously that doing nothing was not an option and participants suggested a wide range of options for improving primary schools.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We have committed to undertaking a robust, transparent and participatory review of our primary estate.

“By carrying out these workshops and a consultation on the preliminary options, we are ensuring that we are really engaging with people locally before the formal, government-required statutory consultation takes place.

“We want to know what options are preferable in modernising our primary estate and delivering high quality educational facilities for the children of East Dunbartonshire.

“Council officers are now tasked with looking at the implications of the suggestions that have been put forward by participants.

“Their technical assessment of the options will include looking at the educational benefits, community impact, initial costs and long term financial implications. Ultimately, we want any changes to our primary estate to deliver better educational outcomes for our children.”

The technical assessment of the options will be considered by councillors later this year, leading to a public consultation across East Dunbartonshire. The results from this will shape the choices which will be further developed prior to a statutory consultation in late 2013.

The council agreed in June 2011 to look at a primary school estate consultation process in 2012 as part of its strategic asset review.

According to the council, primary schools in East Dunbartonshire are under-occupied by 37 per cent and that is expected to continue growing to 44 per cent in the future.