St Joseph’s parents claim council has treated community ‘with contempt’

St Joseph's Primary, Milngavie
St Joseph's Primary, Milngavie

St Joseph’s parents are furious that the council failed to inform them about meetings today (Tuesday, June 21) which will reveal the design of the new Catholic primary school.

The new school, which will merge St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primaries, will be built on the current site of St Andrew’s Primary in Bearsden.

Furious parents have long campaigned against the closure of St Joseph’s - which will leave Milngavie without a Catholic school.

The council has apologised that St Joseph’s parent council did not receive any information directly from them about the meetings, which they say was due ‘to an administration error’.

However, members of the interim parent council from St Andrew’s Primary were informed of the meetings.

Parents at St Joseph’s Primary School have accused East Dunbartonshire Council of treating the community of Milngavie with contempt.

They found out about these meetings, which are being held at both St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s simultaneously today (Tuesday, June 21) from 3-7pm, via a Facebook post from St Andrew’s Church.

They also claim that officials then ignored their request to postpone the meeting until after the summer, which would have given new parents whose children will be starting in Primary One the chance to participate.

St Joseph’s Parent Council Chair, Helen Williams, said: “This is yet another example of East Dunbartonshire Council undermining our faith in the process.

“The community of Milngavie was overwhelmingly opposed to the closure of St Joseph’s. If our councillors were genuinely interested in consultation we would never have reached this point.

“East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie has herself described what is happening as a ‘new school for Bearsden’. Doesn’t she know that it is supposed to serve both communities?

“Furthermore, the design for the new building is very disappointing. Parents’ suggestions have not been taken seriously and it looks like we are simply getting a template PFI school, with all the problems that creates.

“At the very least, our councillors need to communicate directly with the people they are supposed to be consulting. EDC have just done their usual and not listened to good sense and reason.

“Here’s hoping the quality of construction of the school is better than their consultation. The whole thing is a farce.”

But the council insists that this consultation event was as widely publicised as possible with a story in last week’s Milngavie and Bearsden Herald as well as an advert.

They say letters were also placed in the children’s school bags on June 13 and the events were publicised on East Dunbartonshire Council’s website on June 14, as well as being promoted on their facebook page on June 15, reaching more than 4,000 people and on twitter reaching more than 8,700 followers.

Gordon Currie, director of education & children’s services said: “I do not accept that those are the actions of a council treating its community with contempt.

“We have worked with both parent councils and the new interim parent council throughout this process and are able to demonstrate once again that this event was well communicated.

“We have not ignored the request to postpone the event. We understand the desire of parents for information and are grateful for their continued engagement so have agreed that another event, in addition to this one, will be held after the summer holidays.”