Parents await MSPs’ call-in decision

Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School.
Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School.

There were high hopes this week that Scottish ministers will call in the council’s recent decision to close St Joseph’s Primary School in Milngavie.

Speaking before the deadline for the decision - which was set for Wednesday this week - leading campaigner and parent, Andrew McFadyen, was confident that the decision would be called in because the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to closure.

He believes that the high level of local opposition, combined with the Archbishop’s intervention, means that ministers won’t allow this to go through without looking at it very closely.

Andrew McFadyen said: “The future of St Joseph’s has become a test case for Catholic education in Scotland attracting local and national media coverage on the BBC and STV.

“The Scottish Catholic Observer has also followed our story closely.

“We are confident that when the Scottish Government looks at the lack of evidence for this school closure they will call it in.

“East Dunbartonshire has admitted that closing St Joseph’s Primary would discriminate against Catholic families in Milngavie.

“This alone should provide ministers with strong grounds to stop the process in its tracks.

“When we consider that St Joseph’s is also the fastest growing school in the area, with an excellent record of attainment, the council’s refusal to consider alternative options looks perverse.

“Our community has been let down by its local representatives, but we believe that now the decision is in the hands of the Scottish Governmentthey will be sent back to think again.

“We are not opposed to change, but neither are we prepared to see 150 years of Catholic education in Milngavie tossed in the bin.”

Gordon Currie, Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “The proposal to invest £8.97m to build the proposed new school clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Catholic education in East Dunbartonshire.

“The council made its decision following in-depth consultation with all stakeholders, including the local community, school community and Catholic Church.

“This consultation process is laid out in legislation and we met our obligations throughout.

“All views were carefully considered and our consultation report details our response to the issues raised during that process.

“The proposal is currently being scrutinised by the Scottish Government and we await their findings.”

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