Councillor voices concerns over new informal schools consultation

Westerton Hall and library'Photo by Emma Mitchell'10/5/13
Westerton Hall and library'Photo by Emma Mitchell'10/5/13

Bearsden councillor Keith Small has called into question the council’s new informal consultation for the schools improvement programme.

He is unhappy that the questions being asked do not include an option for retaining and refurbishing both Westerton Primary School and Colquhoun Park Primary on their current sites.

As this was many people’s preferred choice he wants to know why has East Dunbartonshire Council has not put it forward as an option?

Councillor Small also questioned why the building of a new merged school on the playing fields behind the current Westerton Town Hall is also still on the table when it was overwhelmingly rejected by the community during the last informal consultation.

Councillor Small said: “There are three options now for Westerton Primary and Colquhoun Park Primary.

“Officials said that it may be possible to build on the current Westerton site but it’s a bit small. Also the school would need to be decanted while they build the new one.

“If the new school is sited on the Colquhoun land this could be done as a tandem build. Pupils would remain in the current building while the new school is built on the playing fields.”

While the school rolls overall are dropping throughout East Dunbartonshire the population of Westerton Primary and Colquhoun Park Primary is set to increase between now and 2020.

Colquhoun Park Primary is currently 11 per cent under occupied and this is predicted to fall to two per cent in 2020.

Westerton Primary is 40 per cent under occupied at present and this is forecast to drop to 38 per cent in 2020.

Mr Small added: “There is a concern that a new merged school building may not be big enough in the future for the number of pupils.

“Bearsden Primary School was saved from closure because the campaigners argued that it’s at the heart of the community.

“This is equally the case for Westerton and Colquhoun Park Primary.”

Both schools also received excellent HMI reports recently and Colquhoun Park Primary’s teaching methods have since been rolled out across other schools in the area as they were considered to be exemplary.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “As we agreed in March, these further informal consultations are an opportunity for the stakeholders of each school community to provide feedback on alternative options to the original proposals consulted on back in January.”