Parents and pupils rally to save schools

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HUNDREDS of angry parents and youngsters have staged a demonstration against plans to merge primary schools across East Dunbartonshire.

Parents from 11 of the affected schools held banners and placards outside East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters, in Kirkintilloch, on Saturday.

The council is currently holding an informal consultation on a shortlist of possible school mergers - selected by council officers after a review of primary school buildings.

The merged schools would be housed in new state-of-the-art buildings but the moves have proved unpopular, with many questioning if bigger means better when it comes to education.

Woodhill Primary mum Debbie Gribbon, who organised the demonstration, said: “There were just under 500 people at the demonstration, so I was really chuffed with the turnout.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere, with lots of banners and the kids had all learnt chants. One person said that he had never seen such a lively demonstration.

“It’s certainly got people talking and hopefully the council will not be able to ignore the clear strength of feeling.”

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We all knew this would be emotive and do understand the strong feelings, but we are trying to find a solution for our primary school estate.

“At this stage our consultation is still an informal process to decide where our new schools will be built and which ones will merge.

“The indication is that our school role will remain at approximately 8,000 pupils over the next 10 years and the capacity is nearly 10,600 in our primary schools.”

She added: “Of the 13 local authorities in Scotland where the pupil numbers have reduced by more than 20 per cent, East Dunbartonshire is the only council which has not made any reduction to the number of primary schools.”

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