Parents claim discrimination as Milngavie Catholic school faces closure

MILNGAVIE faces losing its only Catholic school as furious parents accuse the council of discrimination.

Supporters of St Joseph’s Primary have vowed to continue their fight to save it from the axe.

The council has recommended that the proposal to a merge St Joseph’s/St Andrew’s Primary School in a new build on the St Andrew’s site in Bearsden should go forward to the next stage (statutory) of the primary schools consultation but parents say they feel ‘let down’ and ‘disappointed’.

According to the results from the council’s consultation 69 per cent of people from Milngavie are opposed to the proposal with only 17 per cent agreeing with it.

Only one per cent of parents at St Joseph’s want the merge to go ahead with 96 per cent saying it was not acceptable.

Laureen McIntyre, chair of St Joseph’s parent council, said: “The parents are asking whether it is simply that it is a small school and an ‘easy target’ or is it because it is a Catholic school?

“The closure of St Joseph’s Primary would result in the removal of any denominational provision for the area of Milngavie.

“In fact, there would only be one denominational school left on this side of the authority.

“Councils have a duty to provide sufficient denominational educational provision for an area. Can councils now define an area in any way to suit their own agenda without a care for the population served?

“There is a growing suspicion among St Joseph Primary’s parents that there is no support for denominational education in East Dunbartonshire Council.

“There is clearly no community support for the closure of St Jospeh’s Primary but despite this the council has indicated its intentions to proceed.

“What is the difference between the situations of St Joseph’s Primary and that of Bearsden Primary and Milngavie Primary which appear to have been saved from closure? The arguments against moving the schools are almost identical.”

Andrew McFadyen, a parent at St Joseph’s Primary, said: “Families in Milngavie should not be forced to make a choice between their faith and their community.

“Our children have the same right as any other children to be educated in Milngavie.

“We don’t accept that just because this has been put forward for the next stage that it will go through to the vote.

“Councillors can still amend or reject the proposal.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: “The Archdiocese has grave concerns about this proposal which would remove the Catholic educational presence in Milngavie, and those concerns are shared by the local Catholic community.”

Parents at St Joseph’s are urging members of the public to support their school by writing to their local councillor before the special meeting of the council next Wednesday (March 27).

Gerry Cornes, chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “No decisions will be taken until the council meets on 27 March.”