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Biting the bullet?

Councillors tend to scurry for cover when closing schools is on the agenda, well prepared to support rationalisation and modernisation so long as their patch is unaffected. Few governance issues draw such local hostility.

This time in Dumfries and Galloway, very few will be able to duck the implications of the nine-month, independent review of buildings. Hard decisions on closures must be taken if finance for reinvestment is to be released through the public private partnership scheme.

Whatever the merits of PPP - and ourcolumns in recent weeks have reflected the short and long-term concerns - it does bring something for something and the prospect of new and refurbished schools quickly, as Falkirk and Glasgow have shown. Both have been bold in their planning.

Dumfries and Galloway is now easing towards a similarly imaginative scheme. Previous efforts to tackle empty rural primaries failed for the traditional reasons of divided political parties and parent pressure. With PPP money on the table, the unpalatable can become acceptable.

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