When politics gets in the way of the system

7th September 2001 at 01:00
I was interested to read in The TES Scotland last week that the parents determined to maintain the opted-out status quo at St Mary's Episcopal primary in Dunblane have raised the Jordanhill red herring again. As a former pupil of Jordanhill (College) School, I know the two situations to be entirely different in origin.

When the governors of the then Jordanhill College of Education were forced by the Audit Commission under the last Conservative government to stop funding the former demonstration school, the desire of most parents and staff was a transfer to the control of Strathclyde Region.

For a variety of reasons this did not prove to be possible and, faced with the option of becoming independent or transfer to direct funding from the Scottish Office, the latter option was chosen as an alternative to closure of a school with a large waiting list.

If my memory serves me cor-rectly, St Mary's may have been threatened with closure (approved by the episcopal authorities) by the former Central Region but, as a small school at a time of crisis, it was no doubt the intention of the council to spend the money saved to relieve overcrowding elsewhere.

If anything is political it was the desire by the Conservative Party to hold on to its Stirling parliamentary seat that allowed St Mary's to opt out as well as an attempt by a dogmatic regime to implement a policy that had not managed to divide the consensus that exists in the Scottish school system.

David McGhee Bourtree Avenue Portlethen, Aberdeen

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