MSPs call-in St Joseph’s decision

St Joseph's Primary School parents and children are happy after MSP's agreed to call-in the council's decision to close school.
St Joseph's Primary School parents and children are happy after MSP's agreed to call-in the council's decision to close school.

Parents fighting to save Milngavie’s only Catholic school have welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to call-in the process.

MSPs are currently reviewing East Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to merge St Joseph’s Primary School with St Andrew’s Primary School in Bearsden.

In a letter to the council, ministers said they had intervened because of allegations that the consultation documents included inaccurate financial information and flaws in the way that the under-occupancy rate was calculated by council officials.

The letter also said there are concerns that the consultation report “did not fully reflect or have regard to the level of opposition to the proposal” and that a number of educational concerns raised by Education Scotland’s report “may not have been fully addressed by the council in its consultation report.”

Representatives received by MSPs also alleged that the educational benefit of the proposed new school has not been demonstrated.

MSPs said: “In particular, it is not clear to what extent the council has had regard to the advantages that pupils from St Joseph’s currently enjoy, both within the school and in its community location, and which would be lost under the proposal.”

Chair of St Joseph’s parent council Laureen McIntyre, said: “We believe it is clear that the way East Dunbartonshire Council has conducted its consultation process has more holes than a colander.

“We feel that councillors have based important decisions on information containing serious factual errors.

“I would like our local representatives to reflect on the fact that this could have been avoided if they had listened to our community, instead of ignoring us.

“As Education Scotland highlighted in its report, our children are getting an excellent education at St Joseph’s. Putting them on a bus to Bearsden and removing them from the support of a vibrant local community makes no sense to anyone.

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

Parent, Andrew McFadyen added: “Our community has been let down by its local representatives, but we believe that now the decision is in the hands of the Scottish Government they will be sent back to think again.

“We are not opposed to change, but we are not prepared to see 150 years of Catholic education in Milngavie tossed in the bin.”