No choice but to plough ahead with school merger plans, says council leader

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WE had to go ahead with consultation on school mergers – that’s the message from East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie.

The under-fire leader has defended her administration’s decision to proceed to consultation on school mergers.

She previously told the Herald: “This is an additional consultation step that we have built into our review process. We have been engaging and consulting at each stage and whatever decisions we make next year about how we will proceed, will be followed by a period of statutory consultation with each school community.

“We agreed at our last meeting in November that officers should carry out a detailed analysis of all of the options that arose through the workshops. That analysis included educational benefits and cost, and ruled out the options that were not viable to proceed to this consultation stage.

“There have been a number of drivers for our decision to review the Primary Estate in East Dunbartonshire. Most importantly, the need to ensure that our schools are fit to continue to deliver educational excellence.

“We also cannot ignore our school rolls. There are 13 local authorities in Scotland, including East Dunbartonshire, whose school rolls have fallen by more than 20 per cent since 1998/99 and we are the only council that has not reduced the number of primary schools.

“Many of our primary school buildings require modernisation and this programme we have undertaken is a great opportunity to give our young people and our teachers modern flexible educational space that will enhance their learning and teaching experiences.”

The council leader has stressed that no final decisions have been taken at this stage in the process.

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