St Joseph’s: the fight goes on

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Parents fighting to save St Joseph’s Primary School have accused councillors of overseeing a process which has ‘more holes than a colander’.

Supporters of the only Catholic school in Milngavie, including local priest Father Patrick Currie, met recently to discuss the next stage of their campaign.

Parents are working on a dossier of what they describe as ‘significant flaws’ in East Dunbartonshire Council’s consultation process, which they believe will lead the Scottish Government to call-in and overturn the decision to close the school.

They claim councillors were given factually inaccurate information by officials, such as “respondents associated with St Andrew’s Primary School broadly support the proposal”.

They also say Education Scotland reported “Parents of children from St Andrew’s Primary School who spoke to HM Inspectors were mostly against the proposal”.

It’s also claimed that staff and pupils at both schools also opposed the merger.

East Dunbartonshire Council plans to build a new merged school in Bearsden at the current St Andrew’s Primary site on Duntocher Road.

Parents will also highlight other issues such as Milngavie Councillor Eric Gotts cancelling his surgeries, officials allegedly citing ‘flawed’ capacity figures to justify closure and refusing to share financial information about alternatives.

Chair of St Joseph’s Parent Council Laureen McIntyre, said: “We were delighted to see another strong turnout with lots of new faces wanting to get involved in the campaign to Keep St Joseph’s in Milngavie.

“The way this process has been conducted and the information provided to councillors has more holes than a colander. We are confident that when the evidence is put before ministers common sense will prevail.

“Our job now is to make sure that ministers have the evidence they need to overturn the council’s decision.

“We also want members of the public to get involved, e-mail objections to or write to The Scottish Government, School Infrastructure Unit, 2A (South), Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.”

Gordon Currie, the council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “The Scottish Government is currently considering the council’s decision to close St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s Primaries and build a new £8.97m school to replace them.

“The decision was made following in-depth consultation with all stakeholders, including the local and school communities and the 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 information provided to Councillors that St Andrew’s parents ‘broadly supported the proposal’ was accurate and based on 84 statutory respondents: 43 supported the proposal, 34 did not and seven did not say.

“Councillors were also given comprehensive statistics on rolls, (historical and projected) and under occupancy figures – these figures and methodology in calculating them stand up to scrutiny. The Scottish Government’s consideration period takes about six weeks and we await their findings.”