Scottish ministers ‘call-in’ decision to close St Joseph’s Primary School

St Joseph's Primary protesters
St Joseph's Primary protesters

Parents are celebrating a partial victory this week after The Scottish Government agreed to ‘call-in’ East Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to close Milngavie’s only Catholic school.

The council wants to merge St Joseph’s Primary in Milngavie with St Andrew’s Primary, Bearsden, in a new building on the current St Andrew’s site however many parents have been strongly opposed to this plan from the beginning.

As the decision has now been ‘called-in’ this will allow more time to discuss the proposal and the council is unable to move forward with the proposal until this process is complete.

Parent Andrew McFadyen said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to call-in this process.

“It is clear that ministers have identified serious flaws with the consultation process and factual errors in the information on which councillors based their decision.

“East Dunbartonshire Council has also failed to recognise or take account of the damage that would be done to our children’s education by taking them out of their community.

“St Joseph’s primary is a fantastic school with the fastest growing roll in the whole of East Dunbartonshire. We belong in Milngavie and today’s decision gives us hope that this is where we will stay.”

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie, said: “The council will work closely with the Scottish Government in its review of the council’s decision for the Bearsden and Milngavie schools.

“This is a complex process and it’s understandable that the Scottish Government wants to investigate the proposal further. We have been through the same process with them for Auchinairn and Woodhill primary schools earlier this year, which concluded with the new school build going ahead for Bishopbriggs as proposed by the council.

“We welcome the same opportunity to explain in greater detail the educational benefits that we believe will come from our proposal to build a new £9 million denominational primary school for Bearsden and Milngavie.

“We understand the significance of any new school build for the local community and what we all have in common is that we want to get it right to ensure the best possible future education for the young people in the area.”

She added: “The council must save a further £20 million from its budget over the next three years. On top of the £40 million we have already saved, doing nothing in terms of our school estate to help address this was never an option.”