Parents say ‘NO’ to proposed school merger

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting against plans to merge their primary school say 94 per cent of parents have voted against the move.

The Save Gartconner Action Group carried out a ballot of parents over the council’s proposal to merge the Kirkintilloch school with Harestanes Primary.

A total of 77 parents (representing 103 children from the total roll of 126) said ‘no’ to the plans.

Last month, East Dunbartonshire Council voted to move forward with a number of controversial school mergers across the district against the wishes of many parents.

Gartconner was originally part of plans for a ‘super school’, which included Oxgang, Hillhead and Harestanes, which have now been abandoned.

Parents said the ballot also revealed that 46 per cent wanted the council to pursue a joint campus with Gartconner and St Agatha’s, but claim the council has never considered this as an option.

David Bauld, from the action group, said: “The parents have told the council what they want, we need the local councillors, like Stewart MacDonald, to listen this time.”

Gordon Currie, East Dunbartonshire Council’s head of education, said: “Before we embarked on informal consultation around the Primary School Improvement Programme at the start of this year, we undertook a rigorous options appraisal.

“At that stage a number of options relating to schools across the area were deemed not viable and therefore have not been pursued.

“This included the option of a joint campus with Gartconner Primary and St Agatha’s.

“At the council meeting last month when councillors reviewed the findings of the informal consultation it was agreed that as an alternative to a merger between Gartconner, Oxgang, Hillhead and Harestanes primaries to form one new school, we would undertake further informal consultation to create two new schools with proposals to merge Gartconner with Harestanes and Hillhead with Oxgang.”

He added: “I would urge parents to be a part of that consultation as they were earlier in the year so that we can work together to improve our primary school provision.”

Parents and youngsters are pictured demonstrating outside the council HQ last month.

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