The council has been told that it doesn’t need to get consent from MSPs under the Education Act 1980 to close St Joseph’s Primary School.
Following concerns raised by the Catholic Church about the availability of Catholic education in Milngavie and Bearsden as a result of the proposed closures of St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s Primary Schools, the council referred the proposal to ministers for consideration under the Education Act 1980.
And ministers have now confirmed to the council that they believe that the closure would not represent ‘a significant deterioration in the provision, distribution or availability’ of Roman Catholic education in the area.
This consideration is a separate process from what’s required under the Schools Consultation Act 2010.
Under the Schools Consultation Act 2010 the Scottish Government has called-in the proposal to build a new merged school for all the pupils in Bearsden at the current St Andrew’s Primary site for further consideration.
East Dunbartonshire council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We firmly believe that our proposals demonstrate our commitment to delivering Catholic education in the area.
“I am pleased that ministers have confirmed that they do not believe this represents a deterioration in Catholic education provision.
“We believe that our £9 million investment in a new school will deliver educational benefits to the community through a state of the art establishment designed to deliver curriculum for excellence.”
The council will now continue to work with the Scottish Government to address the specific questions they have regarding the proposed school closures of St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s.
A parent and campaigner for St Joseph’s Primary School from the beginning, Andrew McFadyen, said: “It is disappointing that East Dunbartonshire Council are still refusing to listen to either the community of Milngavie or the church.
“But the main thing is that the closure has been called in by the Scottish Government now and we dare to hope that it will now not take place.
“The best way to support Catholic education would be to keep St Joseph’s where it belongs.”
Chair of St Joseph’s Parent Council Laureen McIntyre said: “St Joseph’s Primary is a fantastic school with the fastest growing roll in the whole of East Dunbartonshire.
“We belong in Milngavie and the MSPs decision to call-in the council’s decision gives us hope that this is where we will stay.”