Fight to save rural primary

1st February 2013 at 00:00

We note with interest the news story, carried in a recent issue of TESS (11 January), concerning the potential findings of the draft document from the Commission on Rural Education.

We represent the parent council of Baldernock Primary School, a small rural school that is being proposed for merger (closure) in a wide-reaching review of the authority's "non-secondary" estate.

As the only small rural school that has been singled out for closure, in the various options that are currently the subject of an "informal" consultation by East Dunbartonshire Council, we eagerly await the official findings of the commission.

We question why the council felt it necessary to consult on the closure of our school during the current moratorium on closing rural schools before the commission report.

The early indications are that the commission has looked sympathetically on the lot of rural schools.

We agree with many of the points raised, specifically that rural schools are well placed to deliver Curriculum for Excellence (an accusation was levelled at Baldernock Primary by the council in their response to the commission that this was not the case) and concur with the fact that local authorities give the impression that closure is a fait accompli.

We agree wholeheartedly that the possibility of keeping the school open "should always be included" and applaud the observation that "capacity measurements (have) little, if any place, in the assessment of the viability of small remote schools". As observed, there is evidence to suggest a school which is under-capacity may even provide benefits, with large spaces being helpful for individual learning in composite classes.

As a parent council, we feel that the process of reviewing the primary school estate has been railroaded through at a point in the electoral calendar that suits the elected members, with the accuracy of information and validity of the "options" mooted being of a poor standard. The actions of the council have not been in the best interests of our children's education.

Early indications seem to hint that the commission will recommend more rigorous procedures are adhered to by local authorities in the business of closing rural schools. We for one would support this.

Jan Mackay, Douglas Burns, Kimberley Cant Murray, joint chairpersons of Baldernock Primary School parent council. bit.lyWyJ5jT.

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