What will future hold for village primary school?

As part of its Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP), East Dunbartonshire Council is set to consider options for the future of Baldernock Primary School.

In March 2013 the council’s preferred position was to merge Baldernock Primary with Torrance Primary, but it was also decided to do nothing until the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education had delivered its findings.

Last month, many of the Commission’s recommendations were implemented by the Scottish Government and are now enshrined in legislation.

The Children & Young People’s Act 2014 requires councils to carry out a number of preliminary activities to decide whether a closure proposal is the most appropriate way forward. East Dunbartonshire Council will now:

• Set out the reasons for formulating the closure proposal

• Discuss options with the school community

• Give consideration to all reasonable alternatives

• Consider the likely educational benefits of the proposal and all reasonable alternatives

• Consider the likely community impact of the proposal and all reasonable alternatives

• Consider the likely impact of travel arrangements associated with the proposal and all reasonable alternatives

Council leader Rhondda Geekie, said: “It was right that for more than a year we did nothing in relation to these two schools while the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education carried out its works and reported its recommendations to the Scottish Government.

“Almost 18 months on from deciding that our preferred position was for a merger we are able to begin community engagement and set out on the route outlined by the Scottish Government. We will now reassess that position, looking carefully at all options and their impact on pupils, school staff, local people and the entire school community.”

It is expected that council officers, having undertaken that reassessment, will report back to councillors with a recommendation on the way forward.

Councillor Geekie added: “We are reviewing our primary school estate across the council and have already taken tough decisions across the area to improve learning environments for our young people while addressing the serious issues of under occupancy and inefficient buildings.

“The work we are about to do to look at Baldernock and Torrance primaries will help us decide what is best in educational terms for the pupils involved. It will also help us to ensure that every penny of public money is working as hard as it possibly can be within the education service and that we are achieving value for money.”