“Massive” response to East Dunbartonshire schools consultation

Bearsden Primary - parents protesting about the closure'Photo Emma Mitchell'11/12/12
Bearsden Primary - parents protesting about the closure'Photo Emma Mitchell'11/12/12

Campaigners fighting to save schools from closure say they are delighted with the ‘massive’ response by members of the public to East Dunbartonshire Council’s recent consulation exercise.

Questionnaires were sent out to 10,000 randomly selected households and more than 7,000 completed forms have been returned to the council.

The questonnaire was also available online.

The council is reviewing the primary school estate due to falling school rolls and deteriorating buildings.

The consultation sought people’s views on a set of controversial packages to merge and close schools and sparked angry protests from parents and the wider community.

In January 500 parents and children from schools including Bearsden, Westerton, Milngavie and Baldernock took part in a rally against the proposals outside council headquarters in Kirkintilloch.

Adele Crothall, of the Save Bearsden Primary School campaign group, said: “We have been delighted with the level of support from so many people in Bearsden who care so passionately about our school.

“We are also unsurprised at the enormous response from residents of East Dunbartonshire overall to these proposals.

“We continue to be disappointed that council officers did not put forward to councillors and the public the option of refurbishment for our school. We believe this would have been the best solution educationally and financially.

“Our school has adapted to meet the needs of changing teaching methods and requirements over its 100 year history, giving children an excellent standard of education. At a time when the council is already trying hard to make budgetary savings, why would officers propose to put further debts on local people for an unnecessary new school building, when refurbishment would be cheaper and a better option for our children and community.

“We hope that councillors will listen to the views expressed in the consultation and insist that their officers come up with a plan which properly meets local needs.”

More than 1,100 people have signed a petition to save Bearsden Primary School and to keep it at its current site rather than close it and move pupils to a new school on the Castlehill Primary site – 1.2 miles away.

Gordon Currie, the council’s head of education, said, “We are pleased that more than 7,000 questionnaires have been returned.

“They are currently with the market research company for analysis.

“A report on the results of the informal consultation will be presented to councillors at a meeting on March 27.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to be a part of the process.

“The education provided to pupils in East Dunbartonshire is among the best in the country and investing in our school buildings is fundamental to improving that service even further.”

“We need to make sure that our high standards of education are sustainable in the long term and all feedback will be considered as decisions are made on how to deliver that.”

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