Parents’ joy as closure threat lifts from Bearsden Primary

PARENTS fighting to save Bearsden Primary School have spoken of their relief and delight after East Dunbartonshire Council lifted the threat of closure following a huge backlash from the local community.

Councillors voted last week against closing the school and moving pupils to Castlehill Primary, 1.2 miles away.

The decision came after the results of the council’s consultation found 95 per cent of Bearsden Primary School parents objected to the move, along with 66 per cent of more than 2,200 local people in Bearsden and surrounding areas who gave their opinion on plans to merge four primaries in the area.

The campaign to save Bearsden Primary stressed the powerful educational, health and economic benefits of keeping the school open.

It was also given high-profile backing from former pupils Mark Knopfler, of rock group Dire Straits, singer Darius and Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, who lives in Bearsden.

In December, the council’s coalition administration made up of Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives voted to go ahead with an informal consultation on a series of school closures and mergers which included 26 out of the 36 primaries in East Dunbartonshire area.

The vote was 14 to 10, opposed by the Scottish National Party and two independent councillors.

Adele Crothall, a spokeswoman for the Save Bearsden Primary School Campaign, said parents were delighted that administration parties had decided not to go ahead with the proposals for Bearsden Primary.

Mrs Crothall added: “Our parents and our community were convinced these proposals were wrong for Bearsden Primary and for the community as a whole. We are therefore grateful to local administration Bearsden councillors including Ashay Ghai and Vaughan Moody for doing the right thing and also for the strong support of councillors Keith Small, Ian Mackay and Duncan Cumming.

“We would also like to thank the many local people who showed an amazing community spirit and gave their time so generously to support the campaign as well as all those who took part in the consultation process and backed the school.

“However, we feel now for parents at the other schools affected by the merger plans and give them our full support. We now hope to work closely with local councillors to secure the best possible future for Bearsden Primary in the years ahead.”

The consultation attracted more than 7000 responses – four times more than any previous council consultation and of these 2,200 were in relation to Bearsden Primary School.