Primary concerns

17th November 2000 at 00:00
I AM astonished by the contents of David Henderson's article (TESS, November 10) stating that I have "opted not to proceed immediately with a further round of rationalisation despite pressure from the education service."

Glasgow City Council's director of education is aware that if he has educational reasons for rationalising any provision, then it is open to him to seek the approval of the council to issue a consultation document regarding same.

The rest of Mr Henderson's article spotlights an outstanding need for over pound;100 million of capital investment in Glasgow's primary schools, and makes reference to "occupancy rates".

Occupancy rates are, I believe, an issue of concern to the bean counters at the Accounts Commission for Scotland, but they do not, in themselves, constitute educational grounds for rationalisation.

Unlike the secondary sector in Glasgow, where declining school rolls were an educational weakness because they resulted in narrower curricular choice, lower occupancyrates in primary school buildings don't in themselves constitute an educational problem, indeed they may bring certain advantages to teachers and pupils.

The backlog of capital investment in Glasgow's primary schools is a major concern, and indeed there is a similar concern across the whole of Scotland.

That is why Glasgow supports COSLA's request to the Scottish Executive that the financial resources to face up to underinvestment should be made available. We await the Government's response on this.

Whatever the response, I find it inconceivable that the council would consult on the closure of up to 50 schools, as David Henderson suggested, when there is no educational justification for the social chaos that might ensue.

Glasgow is a city which wants to regenerate its neighbourhoods, and butchering its primary schools isn't the way to do it, no matter what the anonymous sources in David Henderson's article say.

Councillor Charles Gordon, Leader, Glasgow City Council


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