First Minister has agreed to meet St Joseph’s Primary parents

St Joseph's parents campaigning to save the school
St Joseph's parents campaigning to save the school

The First Minister agreed to meet with parents of children at St Joseph’s Primary School during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday).

Nicola Sturgeon told Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson that she would be happy to hear their arguments for keeping the school open.

East Dunbartonshire Council plans to build a new merged denominational primary in Bearsden, which would combine St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primaries.

However, St Joseph’s parents launched a campaign this week to run the school themselves in Milngavie - which would make it the first community-led school in Scotland.

They argue that if East Dunbartonshire Council is unwilling to provide Catholic education in Milngavie then they as parents, as a parish and as a community will seek support to do it themselves.

Their proposal received unanimous support at a recent Parent Council meeting and the parents say they will set out all their plans in more detail at a public meeting soon.

They also hope to get support from all the political parties and the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

The plan was looked at by the Scottish government but it could only have stopped the closure if the procedure followed by the council was wrong or if the information used was incorrect.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “Local authorities are responsible for the provision of education in their areas. The Scottish Government supports local authorities to provide appropriate schooling to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

“The current governance arrangements have served, and continue to serve Scotland’s schools well and there are no plans to change these or extend the current number of grant-aided schools funded by the Scottish government.

“Any decision on individual land and assets is a matter for individual local authorities.”

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Director of Education Gordon Currie said: “We have not had any approach from the parent council about proposals to run St Joseph’s as a ‘community-led’ school.

“However, it is our understanding that there is no mechanism in Scotland that we are aware of that would enable the school to be transferred to parental or community control.”

He added: “We will soon begin a consultation with the school community around the design of the new school, working towards opening the new building in 2017.”