BY Daniel Harkins | May 15 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

5A-CATHOLIC-SCHOOLCHILD

Decision nears on East Dunbartonshire plans to close Catholic primaries

Council to hold special meeting tonight to vote on proposals to merge St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primaries and combine St Flannan’s and St Agatha’s

East Dunbartonshire Council will today decide the fate of four Catholic schools in Glasgow Archdiocese at a special meeting at the council headquarters.

The council plans to merge St Joseph’s Primary, Milngavie, with St Andrew’s, Bearsden, as well as combining St Flannan’s and St Agatha’s primaries, Kirkintilloch, in a new build on the current St Flannan’s site.

Councillors will vote on the plans at a meeting to be held this evening at 6pm. A demonstration will be held outside the council building in Kirkintilloch by campaigners against the school closures.

Laureen McIntyre, chair of the St Joseph’s parent council, said she expected to see a big turnout in Kirkintilloch.

“If this proposal goes through it will be to the detriment of the community as a whole,” she said. “There are alternative options on the table, which councillors need to look at in a much more meaningful way. Councillors also need to understand that we are not going away. Whatever happens on Thursday evening our fight will go on.”

Council consultations found a majority of parents, pupils and teachers from both St Joseph’ and St Andrew’s were against the merger of their schools. While a majority of St Flannan’s parents and staff were in favour of the merger of their school, those at St Agatha’s were overwhelmingly against.

The Church is opposed to the merger of St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s—and would prefer a shared campus option to keep Catholic education in Milngavie—but has decided not to object to the Kirkintilloch proposals, to the surprise of St Agatha’s parents.

John Watson, chairman of St Agatha’s parent council, accused the Church of abandoning children’s education and said they refused to discuss the situation with parents.

A spokesman for Glasgow Archdiocese emphasised that the final to decision move St Agatha’s pupils to St Flannan’s—due to the falling school role at St Agatha’s—rests with the council and not the Church.

“The archdiocese is one of a number of stakeholders, but has limited powers over school closures and has a right only to ask that appropriate provision of Catholic education within a given area be provided,” he said. “While a number of parents would like St Agatha’s to remain, it is very difficult for the Church to argue that the school must remain with such a very small number of pupils.”

If passed, the council will send the school proposals to the Scottish Government for approval.

 

– daniel@sconews.co.uk

 

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