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Dunblane tragedy brings PTA closer

David Henderson reports from the SSBA's conference in Edinburgh. The school board and the parent-teacher association at Dunblane primary are to reply to all 600,000 cards and letters sent to the school following the death 16 children and their teacher, the conference heard.

Mike Robbins, the school board's chairman, said the incident forced the two parent organisations to come together for almost the first time. "Since then we have never been apart."

Mr Robbins, a member of the SSBA's executive, said one of the first tasks was to remove the floral tributes from the streets surrounding the school. It took 70 parents and others from 10pm until 3am.

He added: "We were not particularly prepared to handle the events of March 13 and it is a situation we hope will never happen again."

The key lesson was the need for parents to have early and accurate information and for the wider community to be kept informed. Mr Robbins suggested a helpline to offer practical advice and assistance, either nationally or locally.

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