Bearsden and Milngavie schools hit by closure and merger threat

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PARENTS, pupils and teachers were given the bombshell news this week that their schools face closures or mergers.

East Dunbartonshire Council is conducting a cost-saving review of its primary schools estate - and this week councillors voted to press ahead with plans which could see some schools in Milngavie and Bearsden wiped off the map.

Amongst the options being looked at are the merging of Baljaffray and Castlehill primaries on the site of St Andrew’s Primary, the merging of Westerton and Colquhoun Park, merging Killermont and Bearsden primaries and St Joseph’s and Milngavie primaries joining up on a single campus.

Councillors voted to progress to the next stage of the school review on Thursday night, depite opposition from independents and the SNP, who said that the process was moving too fast and that adequate consultation had not been carried out.

The crunch will come at a special meeting on December 10 when proposals, which will go to “public consultation”, will be decided.

EDC chiefs insisted the moves, based partly on projected school rolls in 2020 and on a series of ‘workshops’ carried out with parents’ groups, will “improve” primary schooling.

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We were delighted with the success of the workshops back in September and the input from our stakeholders. Due to the large numbers of options that were proposed, it is right that they are properly assessed for viability and an initial stage of this has now been completed.

“We have agreed that officers should now carry out a detailed analysis of the viable options and that these will form the basis of options packages to go out to further public consultation in January.

“The approach we are taking to improving our primary school estate is comprehensive.

“We have started off from a blank sheet and sought input from our schools and communities rather than presenting any pre-determined options.

“Following this next detailed appraisal process we will be consulting on the options available to us before any formal statutory consultation is taken forward, to ensure we take on board the public view.

“After the public consultation in January, which will be open to all residents and will include specific consultation exercises with our primary school pupils, the council will consider the findings and agree what packages will be taken forward to deliver an improved primary school estate for the area.

“At the workshops in September there was unanimous agreement that ‘doing nothing’ was not an option for our primary school estate.

“The comprehensive programme that we have put in place to deliver council wide-improvements will ensure that the primary schools in East Dunbartonshire are able to meet the changing educational challenges of the future and continue to deliver educational excellence for our young people.”

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